Although 2010 won't go down as one of the best years in recent film history, it did produce several memorable family films, which is a genre all too often muddled with mediocre (or flat-out awful) comedies featuring talking animals and tired sight gags we've seen over and over again. Here are our 10 favorite family movies that parents, kids and even childless moviegoers, could love.
10. 'Shrek Forever After': It wasn't the best of the 'Shrek' films (or it would've scored much higher on the list), but the beloved ogre couple of Shrek and Fiona can still make us laugh, and amuse us with their fairy-tale story lines and friends (especially Eddie Murphy's Donkey and Antonio Banderas' Puss). If he never makes another comedy, Mike Myers will forever after be Shrek.
9. 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid': Sixth grade boys are silly -- and a bit gross -- but this adaptation of Jeff Kinney's publishing phenomenon shows just how difficult -- and hilarious -- it is to navigate middle school when you're scrawny and unpopular. If you can handle the scatological humor and cheesy (or "Cheese Touch") jokes, this is one of the year's funniest kid flicks.
8. 'Megamind': Since villains are often the most fascinating characters in a movie, it was a welcome surprise to see two villain-focused animated movies this year. Despite getting edged out by more memorable competition, 'Megamind,' starring comedy chums Will Ferrell and Tina Fey, is still a fun-to-watch story with a killer voice cast.
7. 'The Karate Kid': Fears of a childhood favorite getting ruined in a remake were allayed when it was clear that this 'Karate Kid,' with its much younger star, focuses on the ridiculous (and unsurprising, given his parentage) charm of Jaden Smith. Jackie Chan, who for once doesn't play a stereotype, did his most nuanced work ever and introduced a new generation of kids to the ultimate underdog story.
6. 'Secretariat': This biopic of horse racing's most famous Triple Crown winner and Penny Chenery, the dedicated woman who owned him, is touching and expertly acted by Diane Lane, who carries the Disney drama with a dignified grace. Yes, it's a bit treacly (it is Disney), but if you don't mind sentimentality, it's a sweet (and educational!) live-action film for the entire family.
5. 'Despicable Me': The other supervillain flick on our list also explores what motivates an evil genius, but the difference is that Steve Carell's Gru doesn't have a traditional (and predictable) superhero-nemesis or love-interest story line; he's got three adorable orphans to raise. Original, funny (those minions are irresistible) and featuring a hip Pharrell Williams soundtrack, this is a winner.
4. 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1': The Trio of Potter stars are all grown up in this darkest and most faithful adaptation in the magical franchise -- so far. Director David Yates coaxed series-best performances from Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and, particularly, Rupert Grint, who flexed their acting muscles navigating heavy doses of physical danger and teenage angst.
2. (TIE)'How To Train Your Dragon': Most 3D movies aren't worth the cost of theater bonus fees, but this fantasy adaptation is a rare exception. It's one of those kids' movies that has it all: a likable, slightly nerdy protagonist (voiced by Jay Baruchel), genuinely funny dialogue, a fierce warrior-girl love interest, and breathtaking animated cinematography that makes you feel like you're flying through the air with Toothless the dragon.
'Tangled': Disney managed to capture the spirit of their old-school princess movies, but transformed Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) into a guileless, courageous heroine who saves the roguish hero more often than he saves her. Mix in showstopping musical numbers, a deliciously evil villain, and a swoon-worthy romance, and you have one golden fairy tale.
1. 'Toy Story 3': Was there ever any doubt? Pixar's third entry in its flagship franchise exceeded even considerably high expectations (considering the studio has a perfect batting average with critics and moviegoers), reducing the steeliest of adult audiences into a jumble of tears. Watching Woody, Buzz and the gang face their most difficult adventure yet -- Andy's transition to adulthood -- was unforgettably bittersweet.
Honorable mentions to two adaptations: Tim Burton's dazzlingly loopy 'Alice in Wonderland,' Zack Snyder's dark fantasy thriller 'Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole.' And for those wondering why Sylvain Chomet's magical animated drama 'The Illusionist' didn't rank -- we think it's amazing, but it's mature themes made it a grown-up movie.
As for the worst family films of the year, they're not deserving of more than a sentence each.
'Alpha and Omega': With horrible animation akin to a '90s computer game and weird sexual innuendo inappropriate for a kid's movie, 'Alpha and Omega' was the anti-'Shrek' in all the worst ways.
'Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore': Bette Midler should return to the big screen as something other than a hairless megamaniacal cat.
'Furry Vengeance': An "eco-friendly" message and a cameo from Ken Jeong can't save this unfunny movie with its tired animal stunts and even more tired Brendan Fraser.
'The Last Airbender': Any 'Avatar' fan (think kids' TV series not James Cameron's blue aliens) will be horrified; no, wait, everyone will.
'Marmaduke': It's not impossible for a live-action talking-animal movie to be good, but this forgettable flop isn't one of them.
'Yogi Bear': Everyone who didn't directly receive a paycheck for making this movie would agree that it murders the memory of a cartoon favorite.