in Top Ten

Something changed me this afternoon. After feeling like I hadn’t seen “enough” movies from last year, like I wasn’t worthy of an opinion on the medium for 2011, I reread Colin’s top 10. And, having gotten past the weirdness that is Colin’s choice not to write about movies he likes, something stood out to me. He saw 32 movies last year. I saw 30. We had taken different paths, but we had gotten to basically the same destination. Now, sure, Colin saw a lot more critical darlings than I did, and I’m sure John blows both of us completely out of the water, but at least I got to have a little swim first.

10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

There were a lot of great sequels in 2011, and it was hard to choose the one that made my list. I had a lot of fun with Fast Five and I think Ghost Protocol might be the best Mission: Impossible yet, but I’m going with the wizards. Sure, it is a bit weak that they stretched the last movie into two movies, but I didn’t feel cheated by either of the Deathly Hallows experiences. In fact, the second part is possibly the best entry in the series, as it is not really bogged down by exposition at all. Like I said in my review, there probably won’t be something as huge as this series for a long time.

9. Hanna

I had a few really fun theater-going experiences in 2011, but I don’t think any of them top the zaniness of seeing Hanna in a totally empty theater with a few friends. That might color my impression of the movie, but it’s not like this list isn’t already entirely subjective. Saoirse Ronan turns in another great performance while Cate Blanchett plays an otherwise scary villain with a hilarious accent. A really cool action film with a neat Chemical Brothers score.

8. 13 Assassins

I think the last new samurai movie I saw was The Last Samurai, you know, the Tom Cruise movie. It just doesn’t seem like we get a lot of these kind of movies over here. I felt like Miike was definitely channeling Kurosawa in this brutal epic, I mean, even the title is obvious inspired by The Seven Samurai. I don’t know if you remember this about me, but I’m a pretty big Kurosawa fan. Plus, it was fun to annoy John when I disagreed with the subtitles.

7. 50/50

Finally, not an action movie, am I right? As someone who’s seen family members deal with cancer and terminal disease, I found 50/50 an extremely relatable and affecting movie. Seriously, it’s the drama half of this dramedy that stuck with me. Not that it wasn’t funny, it really was one of 2011’s funniest. They named a greyhound Skeletor! That’s awesome! I wish I had come up with that.

6. Hugo

Martin Scorsese makes his case for 3D movies. Except, not really. He more just makes a case for… movies. After seeing Hugo, I spent a little of time reflecting on what film means to me – wondering if I ever had as profound an experience in theaters as the characters in this movie had. I think seeing 2001 in Cinerama is as close as I’ve gotten. Anyway, never before have I found super creepy robot children so charming. Yes, not even in AI.

5. The Guard

I like the part when he says the racist thing so sincerely you can’t even tell wether he’s really smart or really dumb. I guess that’s most of the movie. There’s something funny of those people, with those accents, saying what they say. I think an f-bomb is funniest when dropped with an Irish accent is what I’m trying to say, I guess. And you know what, beyond all the humor is a pretty cool action movie too. How about that? No, state. Oregon, Idaho, Pacific Ocean.

4. Moneyball

I ended up seeing this in theaters twice within a 24-hour period. So I liked it? Yeah, I did. Everything from black Raul Ibanez to fat Jonah Hill. I think you could even make the case that this is the best of Brad Pitt’s performances last year. I wasn’t really worried about the writing of Moneyball, since I saw who did the screenplay, but I was concerned if the appeal would be limited to Oakland fans, or baseball nerds. No way that’s the case. You don’t have to understand all the technical details (I sure didn’t) to have a great time with this one (I sure did).

3. The Artist

This movie is a real punch in the balls for blind people. As if they didn’t already have things hard enough! Yet, somehow it overcomes its disabilities to provide an enchanting story in the most classic filmic form. I don’t know if you know this about me, but I’m a little embarrassed to admit 2011 was the year I saw Singin’ in the Rain for the first time. Having that frame of reference really helped, but honestly The Artist is fun for anyone who likes John Goodman and/or light reading.

2. Drive

Can you think of a cooler first sequence than the one that opens Drive? While you’re thinking about that, think about this: Albert Brooks, the lovable fish from Finding Nemo, played the scary bad guy. Remember him? That was the fish! Oh, and here’s a doozy: remember that other movie that came out in 2011, you know the one, Crazy, Stupid, Love? Remember the guy who told Steve Carell that wearing New Balance shoes isn’t cool? That’s the same guy who wore the jacket in Drive! That’s right, I’m blowing this thing wide open, baby.

1. The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life is an amazing movie. Any idiot who walked out of it and had the gall to demand a refund will surely live the rest of their sad life drenched in melancholia and shame. While Hugo may have reminded people of the transportive power of cinema, this film embodies it. It’s a challenging, flabbergasting experience that I’m sure will stand the test of time. In many years, I’ll tell people about how fortunate I was to see The Tree of Life in theaters on it’s first run. They won’t be impressed or really care, but I’ll tell them anyway.

  1. Oh yeah 13 Assassins, I forgot about that one. Watching that was pretty awesome if not apparently inaccurate regarding subtitles. I suppose I should say how many movies I saw as well as apparently that’s a thing were doing. If I count 13 Assassins the total is 47, not that much more than you guys.

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  • movies | Chantler 411 January 20, 2012

    […] Mildly Pleased | Sean's Top 10 Movies of 2011 I think the last new samurai movie I saw was The Last Samurai, you know, the Tom Cruise movie. It just doesn't seem like we get a lot of these kind of movies over here. I felt like Miike was definitely channeling Kurosawa in this brutal epic, … — Fri, 20 Jan 2012 22:40:40 -0800 […]