In this installment of Monsterpiece theatre, here I try to call out the best (and worst) of 2011 so you and the missus will know what to Netflix next and then praise me to death the next day on F:AT cuz you got smooches from your good taste in movies.
Also, Ken and I have made out to ALL OF THESE
Good day sir or madam,
So I originally was not planning on writing a Best Movies of 2011 article because I never thought I’d have time to see enough movies with the birth of Emily in January 2011. However, in the end it turns out that my life didn’t end as some people told me and I was able to see a nice amount of movies so that I’m comfortable with making a top 10. I just had to be more choosy (that’s good talkin’) about what to see.
Overall, 2011 was a very dry year for great movies. I saw 4 great movies which I think isn’t much over an entire year. So let’s start off with the bottom of the barrel...
Worst of 2011
So let’s start off by quickly calling out the worst of 2011 which was overall not a great year for movies but there were still some great films to be seen and of course some really awful stuff as well:
Shark Night 3D – This was so incredibly unwatchable, I couldn’t believe it. Especially so soon after that great Piranha movie which did almost everything right. I love sharks and Katherine MacPhee side-b00b as well so how could this movie possibly miss? Well they screwed up the sharks for one making them insanely unrealistic but worse, they decided to add this horrible torture porn aspect to the antagonists which made zero sense and just further ruined the movie. Absolutely terrible.
Apollo 18 – I feel bad naming this the worst movie of 2011 since I was scared at one sequence and that’s why I saw the movie. It was just too slow and long and awful overall. Terrible stuff really.
As usual there were some very good movies that simply didn’t make the list but I don’t want to have them forgotten or anything so here are some perfectly decent movies that were each special in their own way:
Crazy, Stupid, Love – What was supposed to be a romantic comedy ended up, for me, being more of a romantic drama thanks to some great performances by Ryan Gosling and others. Totally decent movie in the end, a nice surprise.
Insidious - Not a great movie or anything but I do like getting scared and this had that in spades. Even breaking with some of the ‘rules’ of scary movies by terrifying me during moments that are traditionally “safe” such as a nice daytime scene in a sunlit-house. Also it’s nice to see Darth Maul back in action.
Super 8 – A great attempt to make a modern-day Goonies. This film definitely succeeded at capturing some on-screen movie magic. The train crash alone is worth the price of admission but just having a gang of kids trying to manage through a massive crisis is fun to watch. I don’t like where the movie ends up going so I don’t think it will remain as a memorable movie but it has its moments.
Top 10 movies of 2011
And now the top 10 movies of 2011 based on my super biased point of view...
10. Crazy, Stupid, Love
I was really surprised at how effective it works as a drama with some laughs here in there as a light comedy. I hope I will stop mixing up Ryan Gosling with Ryan Reynolds because the former is truly outstanding in this (as he is in other films). Julianne Moore lives up to her incredible performances of the past.
I was especially impressed with Moore in that her role is slightly similar to the one she plays in THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT except she plays this one so differently somehow that you don't get the two characters mixed up at all.
I feel bad saying that Carrell is mis-cast in this because his performance is fine. But for the first half of the movie, he wasn't coming off to me as Cal Weaver at all but a married Michael Scott. He eventually gains believability as the movie plays on but it was a sore point with me for a good part of the movie.
Overall it's a very sweet movie even though it gets a little silly and slapstick-almost at the climax (that's what she said.. DANG! see what I mean?).
Anyway, overall it's recommended. I think it's being played up too much for the comedy in it and not getting enough credit for the really strong dramatic content.
9. The Ides of March
This is probably a little generous ranking for this movie but the acting is so good and Evan Rachel Wood is so solid that I have to give it a really strong review. What a huge cast too.
It's too bad Aaron Sorkin was busy making Moneyball (as perfect as it was) to work on this because it would have been great with him on board too. Who am I kidding though, it was pretty great even without him.
So yeah, my only knock would be the script but other than that, this is a great movie.
8. X-Men: First Class
I thought this was pretty good! Lots of fun and keeps it up until the last act where I felt it lost a little steam. One missing element is the humour which is much more present in the other X-Men movies. There is like one or two good jokes in the entire flick (which I would love to talk about here but it would be a big spoiler so I won't).
Certainly a much better creation movie than that Wolverine:Origins one which was AWFUL. This at least pushes the ball forward, but isn't as strong a superhero movie as, say, Iron Man.
In terms of casting, I found both Magneto and Mystique to brilliantly cast but I was surprisingly let down a bit by Professor X. Patrick Stewart leaves big shoes to fill, though.
Still not as strong as X-Men 2 but a great entry nonetheless in the franchise. It's hard to make an X-Men movie that doesn't feature Logan but I found Magneto filled that gap nicely.
7. Attack the Block
It came so unexpected and even though it takes a while to warm up to you, it becomes super affecting. I loved it. Don't let the worst movie poster in history fool you.
It's pretty much a better version of Super 8 but it makes social commentary as well. The lack of traditional heroes is probably the only thing going against it since some people will just never be able to accept thugs as protagonists, but the very end shot is just total bliss. It's hard not to leave the movie smiling and feeling all warm and fuzzy.
Terrific one-liners as well. This is how Cloverfield should have been executed. Much like Super 8, it’s just more fun watching a bunch of kids deal with disaster than a bunch of idiot teenagers or something.
6. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
It is an excellent movie and for sure a must-see. It is great to be reminded that you can make a popcorn flick that is actually fantastic.
Far and away the best Mission Impossible so far, this one has it all. Tom Cruise is actually quite likeable and this is the first movie I've ever enjoyed Simon Pegg in as well. I actually hope to see more of this Cruise, the movie-star one, in the future.
Surprisingly emotional ending as well, was not expecting that. Wow.
It's POSSIBLY destined for greatness but I doubt it. I'd say it's an excellent movie and a must-see but I don't think you HAVE to see it in 3-D which I think has been overhyped.
Lots of imagination in this movie which I think will make for a great family viewing. It's funny in a way that this has been categorized as "fantasy" because it's BARELY fantasy. It feels so real that you don't really ever think that any of this couldn't happen in the modern world. Perhaps that's the biggest accomplishment of all in this movie, total success at suspension of disbelief.
Certainly one of 2011's best films. Again, the 3D in this film (in my opinion) has been grossly overrated. I sincerely hope that we do away with that entire 3D thing and soon.
Don't want to end on that note though, this is a brilliant film through and through. Very enjoyable all around.
And now for the best of the best. I found all four of these movies to be extraordinary in different ways. I would quickly rewatch any one of them given the opportunity. I highly recommend seeing any of them should you have an opportunity to rent them.
I want to say it would be like Tarantino redoing Ghost Dog but that simply doesn't do this justice because there is SO much more here. Ryan Gosling is becoming uncomfortably attractive and I'm really enjoying seeing him in movies. He's perfect in this as is Mulligan who is just adorably awesome as well.
Albert Brooks super spooked-me given that it's the voice of Nemo saying and doing all these insane things. What a bummer he got no Oscar nomination.
Also, it has the most tense car chase scenes I've seen in a long time and it didn't even use much in the way of quick edits. Wow. There are some superb moments of pure tension both on and off the road.
I think it's hilarious that some woman sued because it was neither Fast nor Furious. Hence, why I'm giving this an outstanding mention as one of the year’s best. It's brilliant.
I loved this movie. My suspension of disbelief was so deep that at one point after a missed fly-ball catch between two fielders, I let out a loud, "UGH!" thinking I was actually watching a live and important baseball game.
Sorkin delivers a knock-out script once again giving Jonah Hill some nice depth other than simply being some comic relief (earning him an Oscar nomination which I think is nuts).
Brad Pitt is perfect in this as well. I was glad I knew nothing of the actual story going in since it added a ton to the suspense and excitement.
One of the best of the year.
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 2
Amazing film. I didn't even see Part I and totally loved this movie. Really exciting action sequences almost to the level of Return of the King.
Did not see it in 3D and was glad i missed out. There is one roller-coaster-like action sequence that would surely be good in 3D but nothing else I think.
This installment is even better than Prisoner of Azkaban, and that was my favourite Potter film by far.
Special effects are top drawer as well. Never breaking suspension of disbelief.
Lots of people said they needed tissues in this film. I didn't shed a tear in this one and I’m usually a sucker for getting misty-eyed in movies. Not to say it isn't dramatic or anything but I didn't see this as a Toy Story 3-type of tear-jerker.
Emma Watson's performance is especially good in this one. No one seems to ever try stealing the stage and there are some big gun actors brought in on this one as well.
I'm glad I gave up the Twilight series long ago for this one. Perfect way to end the series and a terrific stand-alone movie in its own right.
1. The Artist
Unquestionably destined for greatness, this was my favourite movie of the year. A masterpiece, go see it now. Will make you love movies once again. Take a chance and see it. It's completely brilliant.
I wrote the above paragraph before not only the Oscar broadcast but before nominations were mentioned so I promise I’m not being influenced by the result of it winning Best Picture or Jean Dujardin winning Best Actor. Both are very deserved. I absolutely adored this film and am at a loss for words as to how to describe what it was exactly that I loved so much. It’s just a great experience. I hope you get to see it.
When I look back at the top four, I’m glad that 2011 produced such strong movies but in years past the entire top ten used to floor me in terms of quality and memories. I hope that 2012 provides us with a stronger line-up (so far I’ve only seen The Woman in Black so things had better pick up quick).
Thanks for reading!