The Films of 2011

So here I am once again with my yearly list of films that were released theatrically within the calendar year. No, not all these films were watched on the big screen, but instead a mixture of the theater, DVD and streaming was employed. While I thought my viewing habits would have fallen off in the last 12 months, there was actually a slight uptick.

Overall, I think 2011 was a mediocre year. Yeah, there was some great films out there, but there was also a lot of middle ground. The top and bottom ten films were easier to figure out. Those that are in the 26-95 spots, it was a little more difficult for me to figure out what should or shouldn’t go above one another. So if I were to do this a week from now, some stuff might shift up or down. But I’m pretty secure in my top and bottom 10. Semi-sure with the top and bottom 25.

I should quit babbling and get to the list. Here it goes:

121: Red Riding Hood – This Twilight-like version of the Red Riding Hood tale had more laughs for me than anything else. The dialogue was horrible, the acting was horrible and I just couldn’t wait for this to end. If I was there alone I’m 110% certain I would have walked out of this. At least seeing The Room for the millionth time afterwards quickly washed the memory of this movie away until I made the yearly list.
120: Sleeping Beauty – Boring. Pretentious. Not even Emily Browning getting naked could save this flick.
119: Green Lantern – The worst of the super hero films in a long time. The origin story took too long to setup, and once it was going, it felt like a long muddled montage for the second act. Ryan Reynolds, you’re better than this.
118: Kaboom – Gregg Araki is really hit or miss with me. While I loved Mysterious Skin, this film was more on par with Doom Generation… and that’s not a good thing. Well, at least for me.
117: The Dilemma – Was I supposed to laugh? I didn’t. And thankfully Vince was given his contractually obligated speech in the movie…
116: Melancholia – This isn’t a spoiler because you find out in the first five minutes, but a planet is crashing towards Earth that has been hidden behind the sun for many years. The opening five minutes are beautiful before it segues into a boring mess of people being depressed for the next two hours. I just wish Melancholia would have crashed into Earth at the end of the opening credit sequence and saved me from the painstakingly slow two hours.
115: Hall Pass – Hey Farrelly Brothers, what happened to you guys being funny? I need more films like the first three you had out of the gate.
114: Sucker Punch – Emily Browning’s second appearance on the bottom 10. I would go into what I hated about this film, but it would spoil the ending for those who haven’t been subjected to this. This is what Hollywood gets wrong about the Comic Con crowd…
113: Sympathy for Delicious – Mark Ruffalo, please stick to acting. The melodrama in this was just too much.
112: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – See #113 regarding the melodrama note. Such awards-bait that fails on every level.
111: Archie’s Final Project
110: Happythankyoumoreplease
109: Sarah’s Key
108: Scream 4
107: Go For It
106: Restless
105: Hobo with a Shotgun
104: The Roommate
103: Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer
102: Arthur
101: Your Highness
100: The Ledge
99: Beastly
98: Prom
97: The Hangover 2
96: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
95: Just Go With It
94: Good Neighbors
93: Trust
92: The Sitter
91: The Right
90: Thor
89: Beautiful Boy
88: The Change Up
87: Paul
86: Trollhunter
85: Everything Must Go
84: 30 Minutes or Less
83: Green Hornet
82: A Good Old Fashioned Orgy
81: No Strings Attached
80: Pom Wonder Presents: The Greatest Movie Every Sold
79: Machine Gun Preacher
78: Anonymous
77: Paranormal Activity 3
76: Unknown
75: Battle: Los Angeles
74: Super
73: Bad Teacher
72: A Little Help
71: Transformers: Dark side of the Moon
70: Lincoln Lawyer
69: Make Believe
68: A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas 3D
67: Our Idiot Brother
66: Hesher
65: Friends with Benefits
64: The Myth of the American Sleepover
63: Albert Nobbs
62: Captain America: The First Avenger
61: A Horrible Way to Die
60: Limitless
59: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
58: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules
57: Take Me Home Tonight
56: The Last Circus
55: The Help
54: Shame
53: Contagion
52: Pearl Jam Twenty
51: Barney’s Version
50: Horrible Bosses
49: Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop
48: Hugo – I’m sure I’ll get hate for having this so low on the list. It was beautifully shot and I get the message of this being a love letter to cinema… but it was uneven, long, boring, and had two separate and incomplete stories. Had this been directed by any other person this film would NOT be getting the love that is being heaped upon it.
47: Insidious – Had the opportunity to be a top 25 film had it not taken a nose dive tonally in the second half.
46: Another Earth
45: Super 8
44: Exporting Raymond
43: Carnage
42: Red State
41: Young Adult
40: Rango
39: Senna
38: My Week with Marilyn
37: The Beaver
36: Cedar Rapids
35: Tabloid
34: Crazy, Stupid, Love
33: Incendies
32: Beginners
31: Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times
30: Corman’s World
29: War Horse
28: Hanna
27: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
26: Rampart
25: The Muppets
24: The Woman – This was probably the most uncomfortable experience I’ve ever had in a film. I just wanted to yell at the dogs to shut the hell up… but the end. Oh my. Didn’t see it coming… Had this film not given me such a strong reaction it might not of ended up so high on the list.
23: Margin Call
22: Source Code
21: Tucker and Dale Vs Evil
20: Bellflower – Had a chance to be a top 10 film…
19: Finding Joe
18: 13 Assassins
17: Midnight in Paris
16: I Saw the Devil
15: Bridesmaids
14: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
13: Submarine
12: Like Crazy
11: The Tree of Life
10: Moneyball – Maybe I’m influenced by being a lifelong A’s fan… but I still dug this underdog story and have added the book to my must-read list.
9: Rise of the Planet of the Apes – A quick side note, the only Apes film I’ve seen before this was the debacle that was made by Tim Burton. But I loved this film. The best of what tentpoles need to be to keep Hollywood afloat.
8: 50/50 – A great script by Will Reiser who personally went through his own battle with cancer. Somehow this one missed the mark and never found an audience, but hopefully it will end up on more top 10 lists and eventually find an audience. It is a perfect blend of comedy and drama without going into the melodrama that the subject matter could easily bring forth.
7: The Artist – The better love letter to cinema than Hugo.
6: A Separation – I’m calling it now, this should easily win the best Foreign Language Oscar this year. Thankfully this was the last film I watched in 2011 and was glad it could make my list.
5: The Descendants – I’m a life long fan of Payne (and Clooney). Hopefully he doesn’t take as long to make his next film like he did with this after Sideways.
4: Warrior – A film that was botched in its marketing. A griping family drama with two of the best performances of the year: Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte…
3: Attack the Block – Easily the most fun I had at the theaters this year. But the pacing, the action, the non-stereotypical look of the aliens. A total package that also didn’t find an audience here in the states.
2: We need to Talk about Kevin – Tough subject matter that is anchored by award winning performances from Swinton and Ezra Miller. While some might not like it, as a filmmaking standpoint, Lynne Ramsey should be nominated for a directing Oscar.
1: Drive – Tonally all over the place. Violent. Slow. But dammit, it works for me. From the opening chase scene in downtown LA, the slow romance and the out-of-nowhere violence… This film was a fun ride and one of the few films I could watch over again.

Well there you have it. What films did you like/hate? What places was I way off the mark on? Write comments as I’d love to discuss this further…

Here’s hoping 2012 is an even better year of film.


  1. Vincent
    Jan 3, 2012

    Love the list
    The only two I disagree with is The Descendants and Insidious
    The Descendants #1 and Insidious top 15

    Did u see Take Shelter or Martha Marcy May Marlene

    • Zac
      Jan 3, 2012

      Insidious had a chance, but it really blew it once the story shifted from a haunted house to a haunted body movie. The two helpers who came in made the film a joke and really ruined it for me.

      Didn’t see Take Shelter or MMMM… everything seen was on the list. I do want to see both before the awards though…

      • Dan Dollar
        Mar 9, 2012

        take shelter was my number two, moody and suspenseful for me – highly recommend it

        • Zac
          Mar 9, 2012

          This is still on my “must see” list. I’ve just been too slammed with current films to get deeper into my queue or head on down to the redbox. I’ve heard great things about Michael Shannon’s performance.

  2. Grant
    Feb 2, 2012

    I was completely engaged, engrossed and entertained by Hugo, while I thought The Artist was underwhelming and uninspired. I’d rather watch an actual silent film or Singing in the Rain, which the Artist’s plot seems derived from. Otherwise, good choices! I haven’t seen nearly the number of films you have though. Glad you had Drive and Warrior so high.

    Did you see Margaret?

  3. Luke
    Oct 19, 2012

    Good choices. Drive! Oh my god. What an amazing film. The visuals, the soundtrack, the violence. All comes together to make a beautiful and fun film.

    I can’t believe I still haven’t seen ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin.’

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