Summer 2010 started with neither a bang nor a whimper – more like a "meh." Highly anticipated blockbusters fizzled with both critics and moviegoers, leaving some feeling like the dogs days of summer were arriving even before its solstice.
Then came June and July.
We laughed, we cried at "Toy Story 3." We had our minds blown by "Inception." And we were happy to report that "Eclipse" was the best "Twilight" movie by a landslide.
Even August brought some goodies, with the wildly entertaining "Other Guys," "Scott Pilgrim" and "Piranha 3D" bringing up summer's rear.
We give love to the season's best in our first annual Summer Movie Awards.
Best. Movie. Ever. (This. Summer.)
Going into the summer, many a movie geek put Christopher Nolan's mysterious sci-fil thriller atop their must-see list. Somehow, it not only lived up to expectations, it smashed them to pieces (you know, like an orchestrated dream world unraveling), becoming the year's most talked-about movie sensation. It's a film that's finer points and meanings will be debated for years to come.
#RunnerUp: 'Toy Story 3'
Best Movie Nobody Saw
#FTW: 'Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World'
The good news for director Edgar Wright: Gamers, comic book enthusiasts and "Shaun of the Dead" fans flocked to theaters for this adaptation of the graphic novel series. The bad news: they were kinda... alone. Mainstream moviegoers foolishly skipped two hours of great performances by Michael Cera and his friends and foes, as well as some kick-ass fight scenes. People, seriously. Just embrace your inner nerd before the DVD release.
#RunnerUp: 'The Kids Are All Right'
Most Surprising Hit
#FTW: Holy crap, 'The Karate Kid' made $175 million?
RunnerUp: Holy crap, 'Grown Ups' made $160 million?
#FTW: 'The Other Guys'
"Anchorman," "Old School," etc, etc. The comic genius of Will Ferrell has been well documented. So... who expected the real magic of "The Other Guys" to come from his co-star Mark Wahlberg? The one-time punchline (remember Marky Mark?) took this summer comedy to heights we just didn't see coming (with one particular fall from the rooftop that was thoroughly enjoyed), and some well-chosen cameos (hey, Derek Jeter) sealed the deal.
#RunnerUp: 'Get Him to the Greek'
Biggest Breakout Performance
#FTW: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 'Inception'
Some of us have been fans of Joe since he landed on Earth in "3rd Rock From the Sun." Even more of us jumped on the bandwagon when he danced his ass off for the love of Zooey Deschanel in "500 Days of Summer." But we're pretty sure the whole world took notice when he nailed the role of our dreams in "Inception." It was a performance worthy of the superstar career we see in Gordon-Levitt's future.
#RunnerUp: Tom Hardy, 'Inception'
Best Multiple-Movie Performance
#FTW: Jonah Hill, 'Get Him to the Greek' and 'Cyrus'
You know an actor's hot when he's taking over your local multiplex two flicks at a time, and this summer, the hotness was Hill. (Never thought we'd say that.) Judging from his breakout in "Superbad," who knew we'd be discussing his range someday? And yet, here we are, three years later. We can't help but notice how different -- and equally hilarious -- Hill's "Greek" and "Cyrus" performances were.
#RunnerUp: Steve Carell, 'Despicable Me' and 'Dinner for Schmucks'
Most Unexpectedly Hilarious Performance
#FTW: Sean Combs, 'Get Him to the Greek'
With his ever-changing array of rap names, Diddy (that's what it is these days, right?) has provided plenty of unintentional comedy. But who knew he could be so funny on purpose? Can't nobody hold Puff down as a tough-talking music mogul who scares Jonah Hill's minion s**tless and boldly tussles with Russell Brand's crackpot rock star in the underrated "Greek."
#RunnerUp: Mark Wahlberg, 'The Other Guys'
Best Ass Kicker
#FTW: Angelina Jolie, 'Salt'
We've seen Angelina kick booty before – well, at least those of us who endured one or both "Tomb Raider" movies – but we've never seen her kick booty quite like this. Her stunts as one-woman-wrecking-machine Evelyn Salt made the otherwise preposterous thriller more than just watchable. It's without the slightest hint of hyperbole that we declare Jolie one of Hollywood's top action heroes.
#RunnerUp: Scarlett Johansson, 'Iron Man 2'
#FTW: Dolph Lundgren
Consider this our Best Ass Kicker (Male) category. Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham are the clear-cut leads of this testosterone orgy, but it's the ginormous blond from Sweden that left the biggest impression on us once all the gunsmoke cleared (no matter his turncoat tendencies). We refer you to the scene where Lundgren shoots a pirate IN HALF with a shotgun.
#RunnerUp: Sylvester Stallone
Most Awesomely Absurd Mid-Air Action
Apparently, you can fly a tank through the air simply by firing it. Who knew? Bradley Cooper and co. out-Bay-ed the most Michael Bayish action stunt with this memorable scene, where they escape a crashing plane by parachuting out… in a freaking tank. Something tells us the laws of physics don't exactly work in this actioner's favor in real life.
#RunnerUp: 'Knight and Day' (Tom Cruise defeats a cabin-full of baddies)
Best Dance Scene
#FTW: 'Step Up 3-D'
The grand finale of this three-dimensional dance flick was appropriately epic and awe-inspiring, but it was earlier, during the deliciously fun water scene -- when Moose (Adam G. Sevani) busts a pipe and then some killer moves as the fancy floor floods -- that theatergoers really cheered.
#RunnerUp: 'Toy Story 3' (Buzz and Jessie dance the tango)
Best Tent Scene
#FTW: 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse'
Can any other campsite this summer boast a sexual tension-filled sleepover that almost-kinda turned into a threesome between a vampire, a werewolf and a human? We think not.
#RunnerUp: 'Sex and the City 2' (Carrie and co. do the desert)
Best Use of 3-D
#FTW: 'Despicable Me'
Use of this ubiquitous technology has never been as stomach flip-flopping – or adorable, for that matter – as the roller coaster scene from this animated comedy. But that's just the beginning. People who stuck around for the credits were given a real taste of just how delightful 3-D can be in a charming, cheeky nod to the medium.
#RunnerUp: 'Piranha 3-D'
Best Use of Abs
#FTW: Taylor Lautner, 'Eclipse'
#RunnerUp: Jake Gyllenhaal, 'Prince of Persia'