I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier: Film Comment used to do a feature in their print version called “Moments Out of Time” to recap the year in films. They stopped about 10 years ago, but revived it five years ago on I always liked that feature, so I thought I’d do one for 2010.

(By the way, their feature for this year is here if you’re interested. I didn’t know that “Moments Out of Time” had been revived until I stumbled across it just before I posted this. I swear I compiled these moments on my own, but some of their picks are the same as mine, while others of theirs are even better. Why didn’t I include the scene with the Army recruiter in Winter’s Bone?)

We film critics sometimes focus too much on the best movies from the past year. A recap like this is a nice way of acknowledging that lots of mediocre and even downright bad films nevertheless contain valuable insights, striking visuals, inventive touches, or stray jokes that hit home. I limited myself to one bullet point per film. Some of these moments are available as clips on YouTube. Many of them don’t have the same impact as they do on the big screen, but I’ve linked to them anyway. Enjoy!

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• The Universal Studios logo and theme music, all rendered in 8-bit graphics at the beginning of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

• The seizure-inducing, furiously abstract, intensely beautiful opening credits of Enter the Void. They should play this at raves.

• The elaborate dead rat diorama over the opening credits of Dinner for Schmucks.

• Kim Hye-ja does a demented dance in a field in the opening credits of Mother.

• The tsunami at the beginning of Hereafter, presented without disaster-movie trappings, without bombast, and without much warning. Too bad the rest of the movie couldn’t live up to it.

• Two pole dancers dance to Foo Fighters’ “My Hero” for a dissolute movie star in Somewhere. Somehow, it’s all very moving.

• The same song used for different purposes: Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson aim for the bushes in The Other Guys. There go our heroes. Watch them as they go.

• Rooney Mara gives Jesse Eisenberg a kiss-off for all time at the beginning of The Social Network. “You are probably going to be a very successful computer person, but you’re going to go through life thinking that girls don’t like you because you’re a nerd. I want you to know from the bottom of my heart that that won’t be true. It’ll be because you’re an asshole!”

• Ryan Gosling plays guitar and sings for Michelle Williams while she busts out some grade-school tap-dance moves in Blue Valentine. A moment of grace and tenderness before their marriage curdles. It’s all too prophetic that he’s singing “You Always Hurt the One You Love.”

• Natalie Portman waiting in the wings, grimly crushing the toes of her pointe shoes into a box full of sand and ground-up glass in Black Swan.

• Massive seas of humanity rushing forward for train tickets in Last Train Home.

• In Red, the wistfulness of former Soviet KGB agent (Brian Cox) as he drinks a vodka with his former CIA nemesis (Bruce Willis) and sighs, “I haven’t killed anybody in years!”

• Allen Ginsberg (James Franco) reads from Howl, a serious man getting into the groove of performance.

• A teenage girl (Jessica Barden) imagines her favorite rock star (Dominic Cooper) carrying her off in Tamara Drewe, and in the midst of her romantic fantasy, she takes time to turn to the camera and make an “eeeeee!” face.

• The shocked, tickled look on Krysten Ritter’s face as her best friend’s boyfriend confesses about his premature ejaculation in She’s Out of My League.

• The oppressive silent stillness of the hallways while the winds howl outside the beach house where The Ghost Writer takes place.

• The breathless, virtuosic single-take footchase through a soccer stadium — from the crowded stands, through the bowels, and finally onto the field — in The Secret in Their Eyes.

• Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) sees Hermione (Emma Watson) is depressed and tries to cheer her up by dancing with her in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. Who knew Nick Cave could soothe the souls of teenage wizards?

• Kick-Ass and Red Mist (Aaron Johnson and Christopher Mintz-Plasse) grooving in their car to Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” in Kick-Ass.

• Who drags the dog offscreen? Paranormal Activity 2.

• The “subsider” appears, Daybreakers.

• Golden, romantic light falling softly onto a bullied kid and a monster (Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloë Grace Moretz) as they fall in love in Let Me In.

• The one moment when The Secret of Kells successfully evokes the mystical spirits of an ancient world: A fairy of the forest named Aisling transforms a cat named Pangur Ban into a spirit. She sings, “You must go where I cannot / Pangur Ban, Pangur Ban / Nil sa saol seo ach ceo, / Is ni bheimid beo, / Ach seal beag gearr.” The Celtic lyrics translate as “It’s a misty old world, and we are only in it for a short sharp while.” Quite.

• A scientist who doesn’t want kids (Sarah Polley) gazes with awe as the creature she’s just created out of her own DNA tentatively walks toward her in Splice. “She’s imprinting,” she says, with her voice full of wonder. So are you, scientist.

• Anne Hathaway gets naked in front of her boyfriend (and, unwittingly, his brother) in Love and Other Drugs.

• Steve Buscemi tries to hold a conversation with a depressed stuntman (John Cho) slumped in a chair in Saint John of Las Vegas, his protective suit catching fire by itself and going out again every few seconds.

• “Machete don’t text,” says Machete in Machete.

• James Caan, trying very hard to understand the ramblings of a brain-dead computer programmer (Giovanni Ribisi) in Middle Men.

• A fevered car chase and shootout through the narrow streets of Boston in The Town, ending with four robbers in nun outfits running across a random cop. The policeman silently sizes up the situation and just turns away with an “I didn’t see anything” look on his face.

Yogi Bear’s advice to Ranger Smith on dating: “You should stalk her for three days, making snarling noises and fighting any males who look at her. Then urinate on her to mark her as your territory.”

• Drew Barrymore and Justin Long’s failed attempt at phone sex in Going the Distance.

• Rob Corddry throws up on the squirrel in Hot Tub Time Machine.

• The life-size family portrait of The Joneses hanging in their living room, with the family looking impossibly cool.

• A Muslim suicide bomber only succeeds in blowing up a sheep in Four Lions. His friends eulogize the guy: “He was a martyr. That sheep was part of the system.” “He’s not a martyr. He’s fuckin’ jalfrezi.”

• With the other inmates shushing their conversation, Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor whisper to each other and fall in love over the law books in the prison law library in I Love You Phillip Morris.

• The “dance of the lemons” explained in Waiting for “Superman”.

• Eli Wallach lays down the law with his insubordinate underling in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

• Gangsta rap comes to Iran! Forced to make music illegally like all the other rappers in his country, Hichkas rhymes about the class struggle in Tehran in No One Knows About Persian Cats.

• Jackie Chan teaches Jaden Smith kung fu by taking off his jacket in The Karate Kid. You thought it’d be impossible to equal the original’s “wax on, wax off” scene. You were wrong.

• Lena Dunham shows a prospective new boyfriend her pet hamster in Tiny Furniture. He says, “I think this animal is dead.” He is correct.

• In True Grit, Mattie (Hailee Steinfeld) cuts down a hanged man from a tree while Rooster (Jeff Bridges) watches. She asks, “Why’d they hang him so high?” He says, “Possibly in the belief that it would make him more dead.”

• “And now we’re two people walking around with shit in a bag. I mean, what if we didn’t have dogs, and we were doing that? That would be disgusting. But because we have dogs, it’s normal.” — Please Give.

• Michael Shannon bullies Dakota Fanning into singing “Cherry Bomb” the way he wants it in The Runaways.

• Rumpelstiltskin asks for his “angry wig” in Shrek Forever After.

• Ex-bandmates (Rhys Ifans and Ben Stiller) finally air all their long-buried issues (“I didn’t know that would be our only offer! I didn’t think I had the power to break up the band!”) and close the door on their friendship in Greenberg.

• A dad (Stanley Tucci) sees his daughter (Emma Stone) furiously altering clothes in her bedroom in Easy A. He asks her what’s wrong. She’s not in the mood to talk. He registers this and just says, “Give ’em hell,” and walks out. That’s an awesome dad.

• “Wait, whose subconscious are we going into again?” Ellen Page speaks for the audience in Inception.

• Emma Bell wakes up on the ski lift in Frozen, with her ungloved hand stuck to the metal safety bar.

• The New Age birthing ceremony in The Back-Up Plan, which ends with Jennifer Lopez taking a faceplant into the wading pool where the mom just gave birth.

The Book of Eli: In a postapocalyptic world, an old redneck couple (Michael Gambon and Frances de la Tour) entertain their guests by putting on music. Apparently, Anita Ward’s “Ring My Bell” has survived the end of civilization.

• A very cold married woman (Julianne Moore) breaks down and admits to cheating on her husband with another woman in Chloe.

• A very warm married woman (Julianne Moore) breaks down and admits to cheating on her wife with a man in The Kids Are All Right.

• An old lecher (Michael Douglas) breaks down in front of his ex-wife (Susan Sarandon) and tells her why he is the way he is in Solitary Man.

• The meticulous re-creation of the premiere of The Rite of Spring and the ensuing near-riot in Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky.

• A drugged Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) and Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) run down a hallway in Get Him to the Greek, pursued by Aaron’s equally drugged boss (Sean Combs). Aaron: “This must be the longest hallway of all time!” Aldous: “It’s Kubrickian!”

• The climax of Eat Pray Love, and the fear on Julia Roberts’ face as she thinks that falling in love again might jeopardize her whole spiritual quest.

• The religious serenity of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s ex-con preacher as he faces death at a vigilante’s hands near the end of Faster.

• The end of the family’s grotesque social experiment in Dogtooth, foreshadowed in their daughter’s dance routine mimicking Jennifer Beals in Flashdance, weirdly enough.

• Two Earthlings watch in horror and awe as two of the “creatures” meet each other (mate with each other?) peacefully in the sky near the end of Monsters.

• A kid, grown into a decent young man with the help of his toys, gives them a loving home at the end of Toy Story 3.

• Robert Duvall speaks to the crowd gathered for his funeral, Get Low.

• At the end of Winter’s Bone, Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) finally settles on her front doorstep, reflecting on everything she’s been through recently, while her little sister picks up her dad’s banjo and strums it.

• The best use of 3-D: The end credits of Despicable Me.