At the end of each year, I post my top 5 movies of the year. 2011 was – in my opinion – a down year for good movies. Mind you, I’m not one to get excited about “blockbusters,” so my list is a bit obscure. Of the top 10 grossing films of 2011, I only saw one: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (#9), and I was a bit disappointed. I didn’t see Harry Potter, Transformers, Twilight, Pirates of the Caribbean, and other top movies. I’m just not interested in them. There is a theater in town that always plays one artsy/independent film along with the blockbusters. This is where I often find myself. I love a film that develops characters and explores the ups and downs of humanity in a realistic way. Some call these types of movies “slow.” I call them “riveting!” So with this in mind, I offer you my top 5 movies of 2011.
5. The Descendants
George Clooney is hot. At least that’s what many women think. In this movie, he plays a hapless, passive father who is trying to hold his family together amidst a tragedy. He’s not very hot in this film, but his acting is superb. The movie is labeled a comedy but the themes it explores are deep and sometimes very serious. Funny and emotionally moving.
4. X-Men: First Class
This is my one guilty pleasure movie. Not realistic. Not really a movie where characters are explored and developed (although some of that does exist here). But this was a very good movie that gives the background to all the prior X-Men movies. Ironically, I haven’t even seen all of them! Special effects are great. Story is good. Movie is fun.
3. Win Win
I love Paul Giamatti. He’s one of my favorite actors, and he stars in this simple yet profound film about a man whose career is washed up who meets a boy whose life is a mess. The acting is excellent; the story is engaging; and the message about the importance of family and parental love comes through loud and clear.
2. The Beaver
This movie cost $21 million to make and earned less than $1 million in the U.S. When it comes to box office ranking, it was #209. A box office flop – probably because it stars Mel Gibson (not a very popular man these days) and is about a man who communicates with his family and friends using a handheld beaver puppet. However…this is a powerful story about living with someone who is mentally ill and the power of family. Mel Gibson shows that despite his off-screen woes, he is a superb actor. I found the film to be profound, powerful, and moving.
I love baseball, and I was already familiar with the story of Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s, but this was much more than a baseball flick. The smart story and excellent acting made for a movie that was incredibly interesting and engaging from beginning to end. I had to convince Michelle (a nominal at best professional sports fan) to see it with me, and even she said that it proved to be one of her favorite films of the year. It probably didn’t hurt for her that Brad Pitt was the star, but regardless…this film is excellent.
MOST DISAPPOINTING FILM OF 2011: The Debt
Wow, does the trailer make this film look good. I was hooked after watching it and anxiously awaited it’s arrival in theaters. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought the casting of the main male characters when they were older did not match up with how they looked when they were younger. As a matter of fact, I felt like they should have flipped the older characters which would have made more sense. Because of this, I was confused and had a hard time following the film at the end. And speaking of the end, how can such a smart film end in such a gruesome, unrealistic way? I’ll not ruin the ending for you, but I felt like the movie (which hailed itself as a smart film) ended in a ridiculous fashion. Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed at the end.
My 2010 Top Films
My 2009 Top Films