My Favorite Movies of 2011

Sorry, no Fiction Friday this week. With everything that happened this week my head hasn't been in the right place for any kind of real attempt at writing fiction. Besides, I wanted to get this list in before we all hang up our new calendars tomorrow night. It's a list of all the movies that came out this year that I gave four, four and a half, or five stars to; special thanks to Flixster (even though I hate their new design) for making this an easy list to compile. I had initially planned to write a little bit about all of them, but once I realized there were thirteen movies that I gave four or more stars to, I decided to just list the four star ones and write a little about the four and a half star ones as, interestingly enough, there were no five star ones. Also, just as a preface, this isn't exactly a complete list as I haven't seen every movie that came out this year, although it certainly felt like it sometimes. Now, without any further ado, the list!

4 Stars
The Hangover Part II
The Muppets
Puss In Boots
Take Me Home Tonight
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
X-Men First Class

4.5 Stars
Captain America: The First Avenger

C'mon, tell me that's not an awesome poster!

In my opinion, easily the best Marvel movie since the first Iron Man. I had been skeptical of Chris Evans from the beginning, much as I was about Robert Downey Jr. initially, but I was proven wrong. Good story, terrific cast, Hugo Weaving awesomely chewing up all the scenery he could get his hands on, the brilliant USO segments, and the Avengers teaser at the end... this one had it all.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

He's practicing for the last scene in that remake of The Breakfast Club he's trying out for.

I was infinitely surprised by the fact that this turned out to be the smartest sci-fi movie I've seen in a long time. It asked ethical questions the way science fiction is supposed to, while being entertaining and thrilling. And enough cannot be said about Andy Serkis' talents when it comes to doing what he does. I'm not the least bit surprised there's a motion out there to get him an Academy Awards nomination for his performance; he was more entertaining and realistic as a chimp than a lot of actors can manage to be as, you know, humans.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

"Yeah, I nailed your sister. So what?"

Let's face it, RDJ is infinitely entertaining, and if Tony Stark is the role he was born to play, Holmes comes in at a close second. Much like the first movie, he carries the film on his shoulders, appearing in almost every scene in one way or another. His talent is elevated by his supporting cast, and his rapport with Jude Law is even more entertaining this time around. You just know there's going to be a third movie and I, for one, can't wait.

Super 8

I got nothin' for this one.

In what should come as a shock to absolutely no one, Spielberg and Abrams is a winning combination. A throwback to the days when movies inspired awe in people, this alien adventure was about humans more than aliens, heart and characters more than UFOs and special effects, although it did have quite a few awesome effects as well. For once, the kids in a sci-fi movie aren't annoying; they're actually likable characters and capable actors, turning in great performances; Kyle Chandler is, of course, fantastic as well as a father trying to hold it all together. Just a terrific movie all the way around.


Move along, nothing homoerotic to see here, folks.

Another movie that took me by surprise, I had no idea I'd love this movie as much as I did. In a lot of ways it was a throwback to the days of great 80's fight movies, taking the best parts of flicks like Lionheart and Rocky and then making them better. Hardy, Edgerton, and Nick Nolte put in a trifecta of brilliant performances in a movie that is equal parts action-packed and heartwarming. Anytime you get to the main event of a fight movie and you don't know who you want to win, the movie must be doing something right.

So there you have it, the movies that got the highest ratings from me this year. The question now is, which one is my favorite movie of the year? (Past winners of this award go to Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist in 2008, 500 Days of Summer in 2009, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World last year.) I think the title this year has to go to Super 8. It made me nostalgic for simpler days, when everything about movies was awe-inspiring; when I could just be amazed by what I was watching and not thinking about the script or the cinematography in my head. Simultaneously, it also made me hopeful for the future, that more movies like it could be made... all while keeping me entertained the whole way through!

Alright, criticize my picks, agree with them, or just tell me yours... go ahead, use the comment box, that's what it's there for!


  1. There is only one movie that I haven't watched on this list and that is "Take Me Home Tonight" which I've had for MONTHS just haven't had the motivation to watch it.Since you rate it so highly I might give it a watch this weekend. I agree with almost everything on the list. I would have swapped X-Men for Sherlock but that's the difference between an A and an A+ so no big deal. I'm still that one person in the world who doesn't like Super 8. I've watched it twice and I still don't see the big deal. I don't find it interesting or engaging at all.

    It does absolutely nothing for me because I don't care about the man and his kid and the dealing with the dead mom and the coming together of a family through tragedy. Normally I like and/or tolerate that kind of stuff it just doesn't click for me in this film. In general with anything Spielberg is involved with...stop making it so EVERYTHING turns out alright at least 2 of those kids should have been dead between the train crash, the alien attack and all of the tanks and bombs.
    SFX wise they must have spent all of the money on the train crash because that was part of the movie the alien not so much. It was like they melded the "Falling Skies" aliens with "ET". I expect more from JJ, unfortunately I've come to expect this from Spielberg. He's officially the Chris Claremont of film. Spielberg has plenty of laurels it's time to rest on them and stop ruining his legacy with crap films and TV.
    For me this film was the biggest disappointment since Indian Jones 4.

    And that's my two bis.

  2. Robert Downey Jr has been my favorite actor since Air America. So yeah, heck yeah, I agree with you that he was born to play Sherlock Holmes and Tony Stark.

    I enjoyed all the movies that you posted up there but I have to disagree with your rating of The Hangover 2. How can a movie with the same plot as the first movie get 4 stars? If you could explain that it would be great.

    I haven't seen Warrior yet but I'm watching it tonight after UFC 141. I except good things since I've been reading awesome reviews on it.

    Also, did you see MONEYBALL?????? That movie was the best movie of the year in 2011 with Oscar worthy performances from Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill.

  3. Chris, I knew Super 8 was going to bring you out of the woodwork on a rant lol I can't argue with you cuz it's all opinion and we just differ on this one... although I stand by my statement that since Marc agreed with you about Super 8, you must be wrong! As to X-Men, the continuity discrepancies plagued me a bit so it got penalized. And with Take Me Home Tonight, Nick completely disagreed with my assessment. Take that for what you will.

    Marc, you're just mad Hangover 2 was pretty much a running insult of Thailand. Yes, the plot was ridiculously similar. That does not, however, preclude it from being funny. And Moneyball was good, but it wasn't THAT good. It was dull at times and suffered from being based on real world events that had a fairly shitty ending lol


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