Kid cruelty, mean moms, sneaky pols and brave boomers abound

Awards season is in high gear, and kudos not only honor the year’s best work, they also function as a time capsule to show future generations what we liked.

But there are other contributions to the time capsule: the themes and recurring patterns that demonstrate what we were thinking and feeling in 2010.

For example, we say that we treasure young people, yet an awful lot of them were smacked around in 2010 films, including “The Karate Kid,” “Kick-Ass,” “The Last Airbender,” “True Grit” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.” Kids were also bullied (“Let Me In”), beaten unconscious (“Winter’s Bone”), targeted for murder (“The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1″), had their organs harvested (“Never Let Me Go”) and were dangled from apartment windows (“For Colored Girls”). And that’s not to mention the dead kids in “The Losers,” “Rabbit Hole” and “Shutter Island.”

In a different age demo: It was a great year for action stars who put the “boom” in “baby boomers,” with “Red,” “The Expendables,” “The A-Team,” “Unstoppable,” “Cop Out,” etc.

And the film biz recognized that love knows no age limits with “Valentine’s Day,” “Letters to Juliet,” “Love Ranch” and “The Kids Are All Right,” while Kim Cattrall juggled hot sex and hot flashes in “Sex and the City 2.”

There were movies that confirmed things I’d already suspected: that the U.S. government is not to be trusted (“Fair Game,” “Green Zone”), nor is the British government (“The Ghost Writer”), nor the Russians (“Salt”).

Also confirmed were long-held suspicions that the economy sucks (“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” “The Company Men,” “Inside Job”), that pretty little ballerinas are terrifying (“Black Swan”) and that burly boxing opponents can be dangerous but not as dangerous as your mother (“The Fighter”).

There were other scary women in “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” “The Ghost Writer,” “Shutter Island” and “Winter’s Bone,” and other scary moms in “Animal Kingdom,” “Black Swan,” “Tangled” and “Despicable Me” (villain Gru’s mother was voiced by Julie Andrews, no less).

It was a banner year for movies with small casts: “Buried,” “The Disappearance of Alice Creed” and “127 Hours.”

The year saw a lot of films dancing with wolves: “Eclipse,” “The Wolfman” and the animated “Alpha and Omega.”

The lines between reality and dramatic reenactments were blurred when “Fair Game,” “Conviction,” “The Fighter” and “127 Hours” concluded with photos and/or video clips of their subjects, allowing audiences to compare the real person to the actor.

It was a year of stunningly beautiful stars. There was Angelina Jolie in “Salt” and “The Tourist,” as well as … well, actually, isn’t that enough?

There was a lot of great dialogue this past year. Some of my favorite lines: “Apparently she has certain … skills. Acquired at an establishment in Shanghai” (“The King’s Speech”); “He’s so fluffy!” (“Despicable Me”); “We’re all just one small adjustment away from making our lives work” (“How Do You Know”); “This rock has been waiting for me its entire life” (“127 Hours”); “I want my family. What’s wrong with that?” (“The Fighter”); “You’ve lost your muchness” (“Alice in Wonderland”); and, of course, “Release the Kraken!” and “Machete don’t text.” (So easy to figure out, I’m not even going to mention the titles.)

Speaking of titles: There was an unspoken competition to see which studio could come up with the most rococo name: “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole,” “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” “Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too?,” “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” and “Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.”

There were also titles that must have given pause to the MPAA: “Dinner for Schmucks” and “Little Fockers.”

And then there were the titles I can never seem to remember correctly: “How Do You Know,” “Life as We Know It,” “I’m Still Here,” “Never Let Me Go,” “Get Low,” “All Good Things,” “The Last Song,” “Takers,” “Killers,” “Cop Out,” “Devil,” “You Again,” “The Losers” and, ironically, “Remember Me.”

And a special tip of the hat to “Suck,” an independent and unrated film that, according to Rentrak, opened Sept. 2 and earned a grand total of $67 for its entire run. Eh, don’t worry about it. Van Gogh sold only one painting during his lifetime.

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