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What Did Armond White Think of the Year’s Most Critically Acclaimed Movies?

Rotten Tomatoes has put out its list of the year's best-reviewed movies, and while perusing the films that earned approval with over 90 percent of critics, we wondered: How many of them were panned by famously contrarian film critic Armond White, the New York Press writer who distinguished himself in 2009 by bashing the beloved Up and deeming Precious worse than the execrable Eddie Murphy comedy Norbit? To find out whether White had truly earned his tide-bucking reputation this year, Vulture selected ten of the best-received films of 2010 that White had reviewed himself — thus excluding critical favorites like How to Train Your Dragon and Exit Through the Gift Shop — and discovered that sure enough, White is a hard man to please (and perhaps the year's most ardent defender of Jonah Hex).

Toy Story 3
White's Take: Thumbs-Down
Review Excerpt: "None of these digital-cartoon characters reflect human experience; it’s essentially a bored game that only the brainwashed will buy into. Besides, Transformers 2 already explored the same plot to greater thrill and opulence."

The Social Network
White's Take: Thumbs-Down
Review Excerpt: "Not Soul Man, Harvard Man nor The Paper Chase — all movies that 'got Harvard' to varying instructive degrees — The Social Network is simply Hollywood’s way, post-Obama, of sanctioning Harvard’s 'masters of the universe' mystique ... Like one of those fake-smart, middlebrow TV shows, the speciousness of The Social Network is disguised by topicality."

Restrepo
White's Take: Thumbs-Up
Review Excerpt: "Such a classic expression of human will shows the kind of wartime universality that The Hurt Locker denied its soldiers in preference of a misconceived, anti-war cynicism."

Inside Job
White's Take: Thumbs-Up
Review Excerpt: "If Inside Job were a great movie it would rebuke the asinine class/ethnic games of The Social Network, in which [Larry] Summers is used to humiliate the CGI Winklevoss Twins."

A Prophet
White's Take: Thumbs-Down
Review Excerpt: "Art movie cognoscenti shame themselves when touting high-minded junk like A Prophet ... Audiard’s fancy camera and music mannerisms are as trashy and superfluous as a Michael Mann movie."

The King's Speech
White's Take: Thumbs-Down
Review Excerpt: "Each scene in The King’s Speech is so poorly staged that its ineptitude sometimes borders on the avant-garde."

True Grit
White's Take: Thumbs-Up
Review Excerpt: "In Jonah Hex, Neveldine-Taylor’s Western reboot provided catharsis for its explosive vision of very modernseeming moral turpitude. The Coens’ depiction is not necessarily better, just subtler."

The Town
White's Take: Thumbs-Down
Review Excerpt: "The familiarity of these clichés explains the critical raves for [Ben] Affleck’s two directorial stints. Given their specious ethnic subject matter, it is necessary to point out the mainstream media’s preference for this heist fantasy over the superior Takers as proof of racial preference; critics swallow Affleck’s thuggish pieties while ignoring the ethnic details in Takers and dismissing director John Luessenhop’s splendid distillation of genre form that gave it speed and complexity."

The Kids Are All Right
White's Take: Thumbs-Down
Review Excerpt: "Director Lisa Cholodenko ... takes the PC-storybook flashpoint Heather Has Two Mommies and turns it into a sitcom, primed to flatter mainstream sensibility. Most critics will love its Sundance formula because it flatters their sense of being liberal and progressive by making controversial issues comfortable."

Winter's Bone
White's Take: Thumbs-Down
Review Excerpt: "This perverse item of rural-realism is relentlessly gruesome, with a climax more macabre than any of the apocalyptic deaths in Jonah Hex, and yet no scene matches the heart of Jonah resurrecting a dead friend-turned-rival."

Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images