5. Get Him to the Greek – Directed by Nick Stoller, this Appatow-esque comedy about getting a crazed rock star from London to L.A. is easily one of the funniest movies of the summer. The film stars Jonah Hill as Aaron Green, the hapless, low-level talent scout for Pinnacle Records. Co-Starring is Russell Brand as Aldous Snow, who you may remember from Stoller’s earlier film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, is a rock star in every sense of the phrase. The film also sees a surprisingly good performance by Sean Combs as Sergio Roma, the off-kilter head of Pinnacle Records. The movie is a solid comedy with serious moments peppered throughout that somehow manage not to take away from the humor.
4. Toy Story 3 – I’m expecting hate mail from Pixar zealots for this one. The long awaited third installment in the Toy Story franchise was a big hit to say the least. In spite of this, I think it disappointed. Pixar has done much better work since the last Toy Story came out. Films like 2008’s Wall-E and 2009’s Up showcased Pixar’s blend of family friendly entertainment with serious, adult ideas far better than Toy Story 3 did. While it wasn’t a bad movie by any means, I feel like Pixar back slid a bit on this one. It’s still well worth a watch, and I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t seen it to find a way.
3. Ironman 2 – The second iteration in the Ironman series was an improvement on the first in nearly every capacity. The actors returning from the first were even better than before, and the new actors were phenomenal in their roles. Mickey Rourke made an absolutely brutal villain as Whiplash, and Sam Rockwell was so enjoyable to hate as Tony Stark’s business rival, Justin Hammer. While Scarlett Johansson did the best with what she had with Black Widow’s near constant stoicism. I may take some flak for this, but the only performance in the movie that let me down was Don Cheadle as Lt. Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes, Tony Stark’s friends, and later, quasi-sidekick as War Machine. Cheadle just didn’t have the same charisma as Terrance Howard did in the previous movie when he portrayed the character of Rhodes. Somehow Cheadle managed to be less interesting as an over-gunned version of Ironman than Howard was as a babysitter for Stark. Aside from this, my only complaint with the film was the anti-climactic final confrontation between the two ironmen and Rourke’s Whiplash. In spite of the criticism, Ironman 2 is definitely worth a watch.
2. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – What happens when you give Michael Cera just a dash of assertiveness, and more video game references than you can shake a stick at? Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, that’s what. Based on the series of graphic novels by Brian O’Malley, Scott Pilgrim manages to be an affecting dramedy, and a video game homage that drips with some of the most colorful action scenes seen to date. If there is any part of you that is nerdy in the least, I suggest you find the nearest video store with this movie and see it. See it many times.
1. Inception – The words “Christopher Nolan” and “bad movie” should never be in any sentence other than “Christopher Nolan cannot make a bad movie.” Inception had an all-star cast consisting of actors like Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Ellen Page. It also had, hands down, the best script of the summer and some mind-blowing visuals. It managed to be full of jaw-dropping visuals like 2009’s Avatar, but unlike that movie, it also had substance. With incredible performances from the entire cast, and a story line that gets into your head like no movie has in a long time, I don’t think it’s too out of line to call this the best movie of the summer. Having said all of this, I have one complaint. There wasn’t enough character development. The audience knows next to nothing about anyone but Cobb (DiCaprio) and Mal (Marion Cotillard) before the events of the film. That being said, the movie is still eons ahead of the rest of the films on this list. Fair warning: Prepare to be, as Sean Combs’ character in Get Him to the Greek would say, mind fucked.