I made this design for my favorite film of the year, Mark Romanek's NEVER LET ME GO, a few months ago after I saw the film. I actually really liked the original poster, a dreamy photo of Andrew Garfield and Carey Mulligan running down a pier (a location in the movie, although we don't see this moment in the film), and I remembered one of my favorite shots of the three main characters looking out to the sea together. If you've seen the film, it's a key scene... maybe THE key scene in the whole film, and this image which I simply speckled up and stylized ever so slightly from Romanek's original frame (shot by cinematographer Adam Kimmel) seemed to represent perfectly so much about this film and story. I can't remember a time in which I was more disappointed and confused about a film not finding an audience. There are so many reasons that this movie should have been seen by a wide group of people, and for whatever reason it wasn't. Meeting Mark Romanek after I saw NEVER LET ME GO at Fantastic Fest and getting to tell him how much the film affected me was one of the top moments of my year, and I hope he knows how much it means to a lot of other people out there too. It's a future classic that's already waiting to be discovered.
A few other notes on 2010. I watched a record low number of new movies, yet managed to see almost everything I'd heard was of quality that interested me, which I'm very proud of. The greatest (and funniest and most entertaining) piece of film criticism I encountered this year was a series of video reviews of the STAR WARS prequels by Mike Stoklasa, aka Red Letter Media. For the second year in a row, the greatest technical achievement in the art of motion picture filmmaking belongs to the BBC, for their series LIFE, worth alone the purchase of a Blu-ray player and 52" HD TV. The best thing this year in the movies was Nigel Godrich's 8-bit Universal overture at the beginning of SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD. The best credit sequence of the year was for Gaspar Noe's ENTER THE VOID, a movie I loved the first time and hated the second time. My favorite performances of the year, besides the three outstanding leads of NEVER LET ME GO, were from Jesse Eisenberg, Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, Jennifer Lawrence and Edgar Ramirez. The next dozen or so movies that I loved this year beyond my top ten: EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP, TRASH HUMPERS, COLLAPSE, LAST TRAIN HOME, EVERYONE ELSE, I AM LOVE, A PROPHET, CARLOS, SWEETGRASS, ANOTHER YEAR, RESTREPO and SOMEWHERE. I was pretty disappointed in both INCEPTION and SHUTTER ISLAND, though I consider both to be major successes in Hollywood filmmaking/moviegoing. The best film I saw this year still seeking distribution for next was Jang Cheol-Su's BEDEVILLED. Some movies I really wanted to see but still haven't yet include WHITE MATERIAL, GREENBERG, THE FIGHTER, INSIDE JOB, THE TOWN, MICMACS, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, BIUTIFUL, THE THORN IN THE HEART and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON. My favorite scores of the year, which I have listened to incessantly and more than any other music, have been Rachel Portman's NEVER LET ME GO, Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross' SOCIAL NETWORK, Sylvain Chomet's THE ILLUSIONIST, and John Adams' music used in I AM LOVE. The person I hated the most in 2010 was Tim Burton, and the person I loved the most was Andrew Garfield. I fell asleep during HOT TUB TIME MACHINE and THE KING'S SPEECH, cried during RABBIT HOLE, LAST TRAIN HOME and NEVER LET ME GO, and didn't walk out of any movies in 2010. Movies that I haven't mentioned yet but should somewhere: WILD GRASS, BABIES, MOTHER and KICK-ASS. I generally thought it was another good year for movies, even though it wasn't as good as others recently. The film I'm excited most for next year is Terrence Malick's TREE OF LIFE. As for the worst movie of the year, I honestly cannot determine which was a more grotesquely mammoth waste of time, energy and money between TRON LEGACY and THE LAST AIRBENDER. Probably the latter, but boy it's close.
Below I'm recapping my favorite posters I made for this project. Originally I wanted to design ten posters for my ten favorite movies of the year as an exercise in liberation; I could try new unorthodox ideas, work on my hand-drawing and lettering, things I've neglected and needed an excuse to work on. Life got hectic the last month or two of 2010 though, and I thought I'd have to bail on the idea. At the last minute I decided that it would be better to at least give it a try, even if the results were half-assed, and to just embrace the process. Get some ideas down, see which ones stick, see which ones have potential, and then move onto the next one, which was very hard to do with some of these that I felt could be much better, used more work. I came out with a couple of things I'm really proud of, a few I'm not so proud of, but all in all it was a fun creative project that paid tribute to the films that affected me the most this year. And it's something that I don't think anyone has really done before, perhaps understandably. Listmaking is inherently irrational, nonsensical, personal and messy, kind of like the creative process.