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The Year in Movies

Best Horndog: Sir Ben Kingsley
And he did it twice: As the unself-consciously creepy and lecherous professor in Elegy, and as half of a spectacularly weird make-out scene (with Mary-Kate Olsen!) in The Wackness.

Best Crime Flick: Boy A
While the big studios delivered such bankrupt fare as Righteous Kill and Bangkok Dangerous, this little indie from John Crowley (director of Intermission)—aided and abetted by a taut script from Irish playwright Mark O’Rowe and strong performances from Andrew Garfield and Peter Mullan—delivered the goods.

Best Viral Movie Campaign That Was Better Than The Movie: Step Up 2
The film’s YouTube dance battles—with Adam Sandler, Miley Cyrus, and hundreds of B-boy throwdowns—were insanely fun. The movie, not so much.

Best Runner-Up Documentaries: Stranded, Moving Midway, The Betrayal, Dear Zachary, and Operation Filmmaker
It was a stellar year for docs, and we couldn’t stop with the one on our top-ten list: Gonzalo Arijón’s transcendent Stranded, about the Uruguayan rugby team trapped in the Andes after a plane crash, shows that—cannibalism notwithstanding—the survivors became more, not less, human … In The Betrayal, Ellen Kuras tracks a Laotian family whose father collaborated with the U.S. during the Vietnam War, producing a film with a pervasive sense of loss and a haunting lyricism … Almost too painful to endure, Kurt Kuenne’s Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father chronicles the literally incredible battle for custody of a toddler whose mother almost certainly murdered the father … A superb fusion of journalism and criticism, Godfrey Cheshire’s Moving Midway documents the transport of his family’s southern plantation to another location, while exploring the myth of the plantation in American popular culture … Nina Davenport’s Operation Filmmaker chronicles a grand American liberal humanitarian gesture gone kerflooey, as a young Iraqi invited to work on an American film turns out to be many things, none good.

Best Sidekick: Ari Graynor, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
While the title characters of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist were busy falling in well-mannered love on a larky night in Manhattan, our hearts were won by Ari Graynor as Caroline, the drunken, slutty best friend who careened through her own catastrophic B-plot of an evening. Graynor managed to turn a walking Superfund of a role into a lovable riot, even while undergoing the most harrowing tête-à-tête with a public toilet since Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting.