1. An Education: I will admit a huge part of the reason I liked this so much is the early 1960s fashions. And the fact that I've been to the random small town in Greater London where it takes place. But regardless of that, Carey Mulligan was fabulous, as was Peter Skarsgaard. The desire to do something better/more fun/bigger than what people except of you is certainly something I can understand.
2. Where the Wild Things Are: A lot of people didn't like this movie. They thought it was too dark/too whimsical/ruined their childhood. They are wrong. To be fair, it's not really a "kids movie." It is a movie for 18-34 year olds who want to relive childhood and feel infinite again. It was complex, and heartwarming, and sad, and yes, definitely whimsical.
3. Coraline: My opinion in animated movies this year is probably controversial. The first 20 minutes or so of Up were better than most real movies this year, but the rest of the movie wasn't my favorite. It was good, sure, but I think as a whole I found Coraline more enjoyable. Perhaps because it was quirkier, and we all know I love quirky...
4. 500 Days of Summer: In case you didn't believe that I love quirky...Realistically, this was not a "best of the year" movie by almost any standard. But I'm kind of obsessed with both of the lead actors, and desperately want Zooey Deschanel's wardrobe from this. And to be her, but slightly less bitchy. The musical scene was fabulous, and despite it's occasional corniness (the ending with Autumn, ugh), I think it did have some interesting things to say about love.
5. The Brothers Bloom: Another quirky one, but a little-seen one. Which is sad, because it was a really excellent movie. The acting was great, the story was original, and the ending actually had a twist you didn't quite see coming, and that kept you guessing for a bit.
6. Julie and Julia: Like most people, I could have cut out Amy Adams' part completely and just watched Meryl Streep as Julia Child. There was absolutely nothing wrong with Amy Adams' performance, but damn that character was annoying. Julia Child more than made up for it. She was funny, over-the-top, and just extremely lovable and I want her kitchen at the end. And Stanley Tucci of course was great too.
7. Ponyo/The Fantastic Mr. Fox: These two go together simply because I'm not sure I can justify giving so many spots to kids movies. I had watched My Friend Totoro before seeing this, and wasn't too thrilled with Miyazaki's attempt at making a straightforward kids movie. Ponyo, however, was fabulous. It didn't pretend to be anything it wasn't and it just worked so well. As did The Fantastic Mr. Fox. George Clooney's voice made this fox the foxiest I've ever heard. I'm a huge Wes Anderson fan, and I know people who aren't didn't love the movie, but I mean, c'mon it's a quirky kids movie, what's not to love?
8. A Single Man: Realistically, I didn't like this as much as I thought I would. But since I had been waiting/excited about it for months, that's not necessarily a terrible thing. Colin Firth was amazing and understated, Julianne Moore looked incredible, and I always love seeing the boy from About a Boy all grown up (check out the British show Skins if you feel the same way). People criticized that it was too much style over substance, and while it was very stylized and exquisitely detailed, Colin Firth's performance was incredibly substantive.
9. Up in the Air: I feel like people have already sort of beat this to death as "the best movie!" I think sometimes I forget that George Clooney really is an actor and not a movie star, and he was just the heart of this movie. Of course the movie was heart-breaking, but that's a different story. The story I love about it though is that Jason Reitman actually wanted to make this movie before Juno, but it kept getting pushed back, and it just so happened that it ended up being really timely. I think things like that can really help make a movie...
10. Avatar: The story was atrocious. It was barely passable as a movie I would actually want to watch, and I'm very upset it won Best Picture at the Golden Globes. But the technical feat alone makes it one of the best movies as the year. See my post on the movie.
That's my 10, though there are probably some I've seen this year that I've forgotten, and definitely some one that are considered really good I haven't seen, like Precious and The Hurt Locker.