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.

The films of 2010

Here it is, my list of the films watched and ranked from the year.  Side-by-side, 2010 brought in almost the same amount of films, along with the overall quality of filmmaking.  I figure this is the last year of the side effects of the WGA strike from a few years back.  So here’s 2011 to being a better year on both the big blockbuster and indie fronts.

Instead of just making the list like year’s past, I will throw in an occasional tidbit on what I thought of the film.  As always, throw comments at the list or also post your top/bottom 10s to see how we compare.

The List:

114.  Jonah Hex – What can I say.  I hated this film and you could tell that they reshot a huge amount of what was originally written.  At a whopping running time of 70 minutes, this felt like it was going on two hours by the time the credits rolled.
113.  My Soul to Take – Interesting idea, non-existent 3D, filled with nothing but plot holes and subplots that didn’t matter in the end.
112.  Little Fockers – I saw this in Fresno, CA on Christmas Eve, so you can’t blame the lack of laughs on the “superior coast” sensibilities.  How many times can people laugh at the “focker” joke?  I think we learned two films was more than enough.
111.  Splice – Started off interesting, albeit boring.  Coming into the third act everything just became too damn ridiculous for its own good.  I’ve never heard people laugh so hard at a “horror” movie as the last ten minutes brought upon the audience I’ve seen this with.  Hell, everyone even groaned at the final scene.
110.  Devil – The only plus side about this film was the short run time.
109.  The A-Team – I loved this show as a kid, but the movie couldn’t even be saved by the crazy helicopter on a parachute set piece.
108.  Piranha 3D – 3D boobs, what isn’t there to love?  Oh yeah, the script.
107.  Standing Ovation – I forced myself to watch this flick since my company is developing some movies/TV dealing with dancing and singing.  At least I learned what not to do in this predictable and over the top tween film.
106.  Somewhere – Sophia… please stop.  Just FYI, the script for this film is under 50 pages and it shows.
105.  I’m Still Here – Joaquin, please see my note to Sophia above. Kthxbai.
104.  When in Rome – The worst of all RomComs released this year (That I saw)
103.  Clash of the Titans
102.  Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
101.  The Wolfman
100.  The Losers
99.   Predators – Hmmm, couldn’t see that twist coming in the end #sarcasm.
98.   The American – I love the Director and all the work he’s done in music videos over the years.  Too bad this film was boring, slow and just gave me no reason to care.  Though at least it looked beautiful.
97.   The Killer Inside Me
96.   The Bounty Hunter
95.   Paranormal Activity 2 – I loved the first.  Something about the experience of being at a midnight show before it was released with all the buzz, it hit home.  This prequel was filled with laughs and none of the originality factor of the first.
94.   Tooth Fairy
93.   Legion
92.   Nightmare on Elm Street – When I heard they were remaking this I wanted to shit on this movie without even seeing it.  Once they mentioned Jackie Earl Haley as Krueger I was on board. Where did it all go wrong?  I don’t know.
91.   Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief
90.   Day Breakers
89.   Tron Legacy – The only saving grace of this film was the soundtrack and sound mix.
88.   Robin Hood – Why did they scrap the amazing Notingham script for this turd?
87.   Green Zone
86.   Charlie St. Cloud
85.   The Crazies
84.   Letters to Juliet
83.   Alice in Wonderland – How the hell did this film surpass $1B worldwide?  Oh wait, Johnny Depp acting all crazy… but that doesn’t make a good film.  C’mon people!
82.   Due Date – With the love of The Hangover I had high hopes.  With Downey’s character as such an asshole, it was hard to go along on the road trip even with the amazing Galifinakis.
81.   Machete
80.   Dinner for Schmucks
79.   Dear John
78.   Cop Out – Saw this at a test screening and originally would have been higher on the list.  Took a second viewing on DVD since it was drubbed so badly by the critics.  Not sure why they changed most the opening act, but it set this film on the wrong path and never won  me back.
77.   Valentine’s Day
76.   The Jonses
75.   Shutter Island – From the opening scene I guessed the ending.  Whoops!
74.   BitchSlap – Fun, but not a lot of substance
73.   From Paris with Love
72.   Human Centipede – I wanted a lot more from this film.  The idea had me sold, but it wasn’t anywhere near the gross-out film I was expecting.  Actually it was tame in my eyes except one small scene in the back yard.
71.   Grown Ups
70.   Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
69.   American Grindhouse
68.   Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 – Cut 15 to 25 minutes from this film and it could have ended up in the top half of the list.
67.   Chloe
66.   Killers – Besides the horrible casting, the third act of this film killed it for me.
65.   Ramona and Beezus
64.   Iron Man 2 – Loved the original but this sequel filled with one-liners lost a lot of the appeal in the original
63.   Saint John of Las Vegas
62.   Harry Brown
61.   Greenberg
60.   The Book of Eli
59.   Salt
58.   Let Me In
57.   Youth in Revolt
56.   Barry Munday
55.   Defendor
54.   Knight and Day
53.   City Island
52.   Jackass 3D
51.   The Ghost Writer
50.   The Expendables
49.   8: The Mormon Proposition
48.   Date Night
47.   Babies
46.   The Other Guys
45.   Red
44.   The Good, The Bad and the Weird
43.   MacGruber
42.   Fair Game
41.   Megamind
40.   The Switch
39.   Get Him to the Greek
38.   Please Give
37.   The Last Exorcism – This could have easily been a top 25 contender or higher had it not been ruined by the last 5 minutes of the film.  The Pastor and the girl should rise quickly in Hollywood from this film, but not sure anyone cared enough about it.
36.   It’s Kind of a Funny Story
35.   Diary of a Wimpy Kid
34.   Frozen
33.   Waking Sleeping Beauty – A great look at the Disney’s animation department during the low and high times of the 80s and 90s
32.   The Runaways
31.   Catfish – Saw this film after someone ruined the ending for me.  The trailers were misleading, but go in and know NOTHING about this film, you may just enjoy it.
30.   Karate Kid
29.   Winnebago Man – One of the earliest viral videos of the YouTube generation.  I wanted more of an exploration of what people go through when they become a joke in this ever connected generation.
28.   She’s Out of My League
27.   Cyrus
26.   The Fighter – Had this been Bale’s story, or even the mother’s, it could have easily been a top 10.  But I’ve seen this movie 6 times before when it was called Rocky 1 – 6.
25.   Going the Distance – Even if this was a little lopsided in its direction, I found the situations and chemistry of the leads in a story that hit too close to home.
24.   Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
23.   Buried – One film, one actor on screen, one location, one cellphone and one interesting premise for a movie.  The constant rising tension kept me hooked from beginning to end.
22.   True Grit – Coens… where did you go wrong?  There was no emotion in the dialogue or in the delivery.  Be glad Deakins beautiful cinematography allowed you to end up this high on the list.
21.   Despicable Me – I didn’t want to see this from the trailers but was surprised at the heart this film had.
20.   Tangled – Disney is back with their old school style Fairy Tales for girls.  Everything about this flick worked.
19.   I Love You, Phillip Morris – This is another one that could have been a top ten contender, but I was left feeling like most of the second act was a long montage.  It’s a shame that Carrey isn’t receiving the accolades this awards season.
18.   The Town – Ben Affleck, kudos sir.  Kudos.  A fun heist movie from beginning to about 10 minutes before the end.
17.   Hot Tub Time Machine – Hilarious throwback to the 80s.  This is the film I’ve probably seen the most times that has been released this year.  It’s a shame that many missed this when it was out, but hopefully it will find a home on DVD.
16.   Un Prophet
15.   Never Let Me Go – This film was an early release and is being looked over for this awards season.  Though the film is bleak, there are many amazing performances in the flick.
14.   Best Worst Movie – I had never seen Troll 2 before seeing this documentary.  Now both films are regulars in my comedy arsenal.
13.   How to Train Your Dragon – Everything is perfect in this film except the voice casting.  Dreamworks has never been as good as Pixar in this department, but their storytelling capabilities are growing with every picture they release.
12.   Winter’s Bone – This is a small film and a great noir set in the Ozarks.
11.   The Kids are All Right – I wrestled with putting this and what ended up in my number ten spot for too long.  The film is a great modern family yarn and the performances are all top notch.

10.  Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World – The movie equivalent of a video game.  The style that Edgar Wright followed was straight out of the comic book and Cera was born to play the lead role.

9.    Black Swan – Even if the dialogue can be cheesy at times, the themes of perfection in art rang true throughout the film.

8.    Exit Through the Gift Shop – The best documentary of the year that I actually had the time to watch.  This was perfectly crafted and I would even begin to believe this was less of a documentary as it was another art piece by Bansky.

7.    Easy A – Anyone who knows me can attest to my love of teen comedies.  It’s been far too long since something has come along that has kept me entertained as Easy A has.  if you’re a fan of John Hughes I would recommend you check this film out.

6.    Kick-Ass – Okay, maybe I’m a little biased as I was a fan of the comic books.  Nicolas Cage had his best performance in years and Hit Girl was put on the map by this flick.  Even though the film didn’t do well at the B.O., I hope that Kick Ass 2 can’t be that far behind.

5.    Toy Story 3 – A perfect end to the trilogy.  Hell, I’ll admit it here, at one moment I was close to tears and thought this film could end in the worst way, but Pixar has another homerun on their slate.

4.    127 Hours – The beauty of the desert, Franco’s perfect performance of a man trapped and alone and Danny Boyle’s amazing directing style made this film rise easily to the top.  I thought Franco was an easy lock for the best actor win until I saw my #2 pick.

3.    Social Network – I read this script when it hit the #2 spot on the 2009 Black List.  The script is amazing and Fincher’s directing is flawless.  On top of it all, the score from Reznor and Ross fit the frantic style of this modern tale.

2.    King’s Speech – By far the best performance of the year comes from Colin Firth as King George VI.  The third best performance of the year (behind Franco in 127 Hours) was by Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue.

1.    Inception – If we’re talking film, this is easily hands-down the best film of the year.  From the creation of the multiple levels of the dreams, to the score, to the many hidden clues of what was really going on, to the amazing fight in the hallway, and even to the end.  This film was great and hit on several levels for me.  I’ve seen it twice since it has been on DVD and looked for the many hidden clues.  In the end, there are many deeper levels and I can see why so many people are confused or thrown off by the ending.  Hell, a lot of these people are the same ones who thought everything on the island of LOST was all purgatory.  If you want to discuss the ending and what you think it might all mean, message me on FB or send me an email.

Well that’s it for another year.  Sorry it came a little late, but as always this list is tougher to do every year.

Also, I love hearing about any films I may have missed.