Top movies of 2011


1. Review – Drive

Drive is something we rarely get to see. It’s a smart action movie. I can’t remember the last time I saw an action movie with a brain. Some action movies have attempted to be smart, but most of them have failed. It’s not easy to pull off. This movie does more than succeed. It excels. Before I saw Drive I thought it would just be a good heist movie. I didn’t have high expectations. I was blown away. After sitting through so many mindless action movies this past year, it was a revelation to see this one.

2. Moneyball

I am just going to come out and say that “Moneyball” is the best movie about baseball ever made, and one of the best sports movies ever made. Now I am not a big baseball fan. I have never seen a baseball game from beginning to end, I just find it boring to watch. I also hate it when people talk about fantasy-baseball stats. So when I heard that this movie was going to combine the two, I was expecting to be completely bored out of my mind while watching. I was pleasantly surprised, when the end credits rolled I was blown away at what I just saw. This movie took lots of risks, and they all paid off, this is a different kind of sports movie. It did something that another sports movie has never done for me. It has kept me interested in a sport I can’t stand in real life. This movie succeeds on so many levels delivering a sweet, emotional, funny, dramatic, and complex ride. It’s safe to say that “Moneyball hits it out of the park.

3Review – The Descendants

Alexander Payne has made yet another great movie. The Descendants is a great movie with know visible faults to it. What it does best is surprise you. Hearing about the plot it seemed like it was going to be a 30 minute soap opera TV show extended into an almost 2 hour movie. But it managed to be a very compelling movie. Payne’s last movie was the flawless Sideways, after he did that my bar was set very high for his movies. He did not let me down with this one in the least. This guy has just mastered human emotions. The Descendants is an emotional roller coaster, and it’s well worth the ride.

4. Young Adult

Young Adult is a movie that takes lots of risks, and doesn’t play out the way you would think. It also has a lead character that isn’t really likeable, and by the end we don’t like her anymore. Surprisingly it all works out amazingly. The performances from Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt are nothing below phenomenal. Reitman still hasn’t made a bad movie, and he re-tams with Diablo Cody for a script that embodies it’s characters completely. The dialog launches this movie into something special. I never thought you could have a character study with this kind of character, but this movie proved me wrong.

5. Review – Warrior

What plagues all fighting movies is predictability. You can usually always predict how they are going to end. Some unravel in away where, although you know what is going to happen, you get so caught up in everything going on that you don’t think about it. Well, this is one of those films. What the Warrior does really well is convey emotion. This is important in this type of movie. If there’s no emotion, then all the fights scenes would get boring quickly, no matter how well done they are. No emotion equals no caring for anything that happens. This movie takes time to develop its characters. The characters of both brothers, Tommy and Brendan, are developed separately in the first half of the movie. This movie is not perfect. It is flawed. But any problems I had with it were set aside and forgotten by the end. I would strongly recommend that you do not watch any trailers for this movie. That trailer pretty much showed the whole movie.

6. The Ides of March

As political thrillers go this is one of the best I have seen in a long time. It’s highley inteligent, great sotry, honest look into politics, creates drama without the use use of action, many thems explored. It doesn’t hurt that the acting is top motch either. Clooney is a well know Democrat, so I originally thought this would not be a good movie to watch if you are a Republican. But the movie doesn’t target or really even consider Republicans. The movie has two parts to it. The first part of the movie is basically just politics. The dialogue and plotting are first rate, and if you enjoy politics, then you will absolutely love the first part. It is everything that happens behind the scenes. The second act is the thriller part. There is a twist, and it changes the netire tone. It dels with both the politcal aspects, and the thriller aspects. All in all everything concideds to dielvier a politial thriller at it’s best.

7. 50/50

 Another reason 50/50 works so well, is that it never tries to force you into any particular emotion. This movie will make you laugh a lot, but it will also make you tear up at times. The comedy in the movie is in a way what a good comedy should be, they use smart jokes instead of your typical poop and fart jokes that I have been seeing at comedy films quite a lot recently. The drama is as it should be as well, it lets you feel the emotion without manipulating you.

8. Review – Take Shelter

Questions are raised and answers are left to our own opinions and interpretations. It’s a journey that causes us to look inside ourselves and discover how far we’d allow our minds to dissolve before losing trust. Sanity is put against insanity, both possessing unknown definitions. The nuanced study of psychological could have been taken a bit further though. Take Shelter is a marvelous and unique experience. It did so much right. Still, I have to say that I felt that there was something missing that could have pushed it over the edge. This, of course, would be that ending. If they would have done something unique with the ending then this movie would have been completely perfect. Still, even with that said, there’s still lots of great things. Every reaction to the characters is dealt with in a realistic way. The acting is top-notch, there is great suspense, very good script and direction, and great visuals and editing. After you finish seeing Take Shelter for the first time it will have the same effect on you as a tornado does – you will be blown away by the sheer power of it.

9. Midnight in Paris

While watching Midnight in Paris you get so involved in the story you forget your watching a movie. You just never want it to end. As soon as it was over I wanted to experience it again. Seen it three times and it still hasn’t gotten old. The characters are so well written and acted that they feel real. It’s enchanting, with a plot you should let unfold for yourself. It’s deep, meaningful, and funny. Paris looks really great as well. Woody really knows how to show off a city. Woody Allan has delivered one of his best movies, finally, he’s back.

10. Review – Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

MI4 was easily the biggest surprise of the year. Now, I’ll wrap up this mission. Awesome action. Great story. Excellent team chemistry. Good script. So much fun. This is the best “summer” movie I’ve seen in a very long time; and it was released in winter! I don’t know how that worked, but it did. If you are not entertained by Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol then entertaining you is, really and truly, an impossible mission.

Three Honarable Mentions in no particular order.

Review – The Debt

Finally, I got to see a spy movie that I’ve been waiting for. After seeing Spy Kids 4and Columbiana, I was dreading another spy movie. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, although a lot better than those two, was never engaging in any way. The Debt has pretty much everything. It has action done well. It has compelling characters. It deals with the psychological problems presented by a life of spying. It enthralled with interesting dialog that kept me glued to the screen and listening intently. It has great action and tension that kept me on the edge of my seat. This movie isn’t perfect and if you nitpick you can find flaws here and there. But this is perfect prescription if you’re longing for an intelligent and satisfying spy thriller. It’s the best movie in its genre to come along in a long while and well worth the viewing.

Arthur Christmas

While you can nitpick all you want at this, if you let yourself enjoy this you will find a great Christmas movie. This is that type of movie that will join the pile of Christmas movies that you will want to watch every year around the holiday’s. I’ve been waiting for another one to add and wasn’t expecting this to be the one. It’s sweet, has a good story, great animation, voice talent, script, direction, it all wraps up for a great treat!

Margin Call

This movie blows every other financial thriller in recent time out of the water (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps I’m looking at you). You know what, Margin Call is the best movie about finance ever made. It has outstanding performances, a great script, good directing, great human characters, it’s not dumb down, it’s interesting, it can be deep at times, and most importantly, it’s not boring. While not perfect, it is pretty darn close.

18 thoughts on “Top movies of 2011

  1. I would whole heartedly agree with #’s 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and part of 10 (The Descendants, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2). Great films all and worth of being in a Top 10. The remaining 3 weren’t bad, but they didn’t impress me. Especially when you have films like The Artist and The Muppets or A Separation which were my favorites from last year. Great list all the same. 🙂

  2. Nice list. It seems you have a fondness for independent films. From your list, I’ve seen #4 (Warrior–#3 on my list), #5 (Midnight in Paris–also #5 on my list), #10/1 (The Descendants–#4 on my list), and #10/3 (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2–#2 on my list). Try to see The Artist ASAP. It comes out to DVD in less than a month (still in theaters, but the clock is really ticking now), and it’s easy to say the experience you’ll get from watching it on DVD won’t be ANYTHING like sitting in the theaters and watching it. Your rating would probably change, too; seeing it in theaters, it feels like being in a 1920s theater–the movie’s that convincing. My best theatrical experience, and the last ten minutes really left me with a smile.

    • Well I will do my best to see it, everyone has spoken very highly about it. I also really want to see Super 8 (witch was on your list). Thanks for checking it out, and make sure to see Drive when you have the time. Yes, I am am a fan of independent films.

  3. There are quite a few movies I have not seen yet but I’m getting there especially Drive and Young Adult starring favorites of mine. The only film I probably will not see is Harry Potter but that is only because I have not seen all the rest of the films. Since I do not have time to watch films at home due to my busy travel schedule I have to find another way. I find myself in different cities practically every week thanks to Dish keeping me busy. Yet, I’ve found that I can catch up on movies easily by going to dishonline and surfing though thousands of on demand movies or even rent if I want. There are always so many great films thrown out there right after the Oscars, it is hard to keep up but I will be able to get my review in soon.

    • Drive and Young Adult are great movies you should check out when you can. Thanks for checking it out and feel free to come back to this blog for more.

  4. Just saw your updated list. I’m trying to get my parents to let me see Drive, but they seem to be ignoring me, possibly because it’s too freaking violent for a 14 year old. (Not putting it off or anything.) I can see how Young Adult could be good, but the trailer makes me wonder how it’s the best of the year. (Then again, trailers are failers.) Numbers six, seven, nine, and ten are all on my list. Not too sure about #11, even after hearing so many positive things about it. It just looks way too bizarre and disturbing. #s 12 and 14 I have to take a look at at some point. Did you see The Artist yet? I hope you haven’t yet, or you just haven’t had a spare moment to place it on your list, because if it’s not on your list, that would make me very, very sad. I think it comes out to DVD today, so I’ll have to use the Best Buy gift card I’ve been saving so that I can snatch it sometime within the next week. 😀 My family is making the pre-judgment that it’s boring because it’s silent (which is rarely true).

    • Drive is violent, try to see it if you get the chance. Maybe they will let you for your birthday or Christmas (no prop if you can’t though)The Young Adult trailer was not well put together. They make it seem way too funny for it’s own good (and silly). I wouldn’t blame you for not seeing Kevin, it is bizarre. I do think it’s great, but it is hard to watch. As for The Artist, I just got back from watching it. It was excellent. I like you have money saved to buy it. I want to see it both in theater and on DVD. Just for a comparison. I don’t know what I am going to bump off. Well, I know, I just don’t want too. I will either have to do it because The Artist deserves the spot. Or cheat and put a BONUS (that would make 16 movies). Man 2011 has been a great year for movies. In 2010 I had a hard time finding best of the year movies.

      • Yeah, me too. In 2010, my favorites were a bit of a tie between Inception, The King’s Speech, True Grit, and The Social Network, but if I were to make an actual list, I would have no clue as to where to go from there. Looking forward to your review for the Artist! I just got back from the Stooges, so my review should be up within an hour or two.

      • Merde!! (Pardon my French, but it’s actually quite relevant to what I’m about to say for a few reasons.) I just checked and tried to order The Artist from Best Buy, and apparently they changed the date–it doesn’t come to DVD till June 26th now!! Luckily, there is an available preorder for $19.99, so I will order this masterpiece tomorrow if I get the moment. If not, then I’ll do it o’er the weekend. ;( I was really planning on showing my family my favorite of the year this coming weekend…I know it’s not a war- or famine- or Holocaust-type tragedy, but I’m incredibly bummed.

      • Ah, darn. My parents won’t let me see Drive. 😦 I guess I can agree with them there just by looking at the MPAA rating. They don’t just say “violence” they say “strong, brutal, bloody violence”. I guess if they get that redundant it must be really violent…:(…

    • I do agree that it’s violent, but The Depart, Se7en, and The Passion of the Christ are just as violent. I know you have seen The Departed. I’ve never seen The Passion of the Christ. But from your review, and people I know, it seems really graphic. You are going to see Se7en as well, I think. I have seen Drive five times. The violence starts at the 40 min. mark. From then on there is violent action. Two of those scenes are pretty graphic though. In the end, if you can’t, don’t worry. You can see when you are 15 or 16 maybe.

      • Sorry, that doesn’t help my case much, haha. The Departed was ultra-violent–I saw a TV edit because there’s 230-something uses of “fuck”, and my parents were cleaning the house at the time; whenever they hear the word, they shout, “THAT LANGUAGE!!”

        Se7en wasn’t approved on my list for the summer. My father said it was an automatic “no” because he couldn’t sleep after it. :/ He used the same excuse for Alien and Halloween, so I don’t know what he was talking about, but I guess I’d have to see it. And it is a David Fincher movie.

        The Passion of the Christ, my mother, practically a “Jesus freak”, made me watch because she thought I didn’t understand what Holy Week was about. I asked her if I could watch The Last Temptation of Christ when we were discussing renting The Passion (Last Temptation is from Scorsese, one of my favorite directors, and it got much better reviews, so I thought why not), but she said it was “blasphemous”. Though probably far less violent than The Passion. These are some of the most violent films I’ve ever seen (I’m aware there’s certainly many, many more), so if Drive compares to them, I can’t see being permitted to watch it any time soon. Maybe when I’m your age (and I know we’re only a year apart, but it seems slightly more than that) or older. Surprised, I must say, by how late the violence starts.

  5. Great list! I’m a movie fan but my 2011 was woefully lacking in opportunity to see movies like I normally do. I’ve been compiling a list and I see quite a few I should add. Cheers!!

    • Thanks a lot. As 2011 started, it seemed like it was going to be a pretty bad year for movies. But as the year went on tons of great movies kept popping up, mainly indie ones. Harry Potter 7 part 2 and Mission Impossible are the only big blockbusters on my list. These are all great movies you should check out. Thanks again for the comment and the follow. I look forward to hearing from you again


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