My second post in the Best of 2010 series will focus on my Top 5 Favorite Movies of the year. Like books, movies can transport us…enchant us…help us to escape from our daily life, if only for a few hours. Movies are powerful, and can influence the way we think about life, in both good and bad ways. Some movies lead us to have expectations that can never be met, while others give us realistic and gritty glimpses of the sometimes ugly truths of real life. Movies can cause us to stop and evaluate our own life or take us far away from it. While ultimately designed to entertain us, movies are most definitely vehicles for emotion and thought. Here are my picks for the Top 5 movies of 2010.

(*As a disclaimer, while all of these movies were released in 2010, it should be noted that we watched a limited amount of 2010 releases this year. While having netflix, we used our account to catch up on the last two years of movies we didn’t see! And as noted in my first pick, we go to the movies about once every two years! There may be better movies that were released, but these are my picks for what I saw this year.)

1. Inception – This was the first movie my husband and I had seen in the theater since the original Twilight, and we picked a good one! A true psychological thriller, Inception will definitely leave you wondering, and should spark some great conversation. In Inception, a team of extractors go inside the dreams of those they wish to steal from, and take their most guarded ideas and secrets. The bulk of the movie centers around the team trying to plant an idea in someone’s dreams. With lots of action and a mentally stimulating plot, this movie is sure to please a wide audience.

2. Letters to God – What this movie lacks in quality acting, it makes up for in strength of story and message. In this movie, a young boy with cancer writes a letter to God every day. In the course of doing so, he manages to change the lives of many around him. If you know someone battling cancer, or even if you yourself are going through a hard time, I would highly recommend this movie. As a word of warning, I cried nearly the whole time. My favorite line of the movie is when a kindly neighbor tells Tyler (the boy fighting cancer) that he has been hand-picked and chosen by God as a warrior, and as one that will point others to Him. Love the perspective this movie gave me. I highly recommend this very family-friendly movie.

3. Toy Story 3 – Possibly the best in the Toy Story trilogy, this movie details the toys journey to a (very realistic) daycare, and their ultimate escape back to Andy’s house. As Andy is going away to college, he wrestles with the decision of what to do with his childhood toys. It’s funny how a movie made for children can move an adult to tears…I can hardly pay attention when the kids watch this, or I start to cry again. I definitely recommend this movie whether you have a child in your life or not.

4. Date Night – This is simply a fun movie, starring two of my favorite sit-com stars. This movie made us laugh and smile, as we watched a normal married couple on a crazy adventure on date-night gone terribly wrong.

5. Shutter Island/Ghost Writer – The fifth pick is a tie between these two “thrillers.” While neither is a traditional thriller, both take you through several twists and turns, and both have what I like to call, “head-shaking” endings. Both movies have the ability to stimulate conversation and leave you wondering what really happened.