For whatever reason, and for better or for worse, Videogum doesn’t traditionally spend a lot of time talking about the things that it genuinely LIKES. It’s a weakness, and we recognize it, and we’re so sorry. (This has been going on for awhile now though, like, you know, since day one, so it probably won’t change, either. Oh well.) In reading the site one might even get the impression that we don’t like anything, which is not true! At all! We love so much stuff. It’s crazy how much stuff we love. Because at the end of the day, after all of the jokes about garbage monsters and liars and eye crimes and what have you, we still hold onto the belief that the world can be a wonderful place full of joy and wonder. I mean, that’s not even remotely true for the 80 percent of the world’s population that is starving and has no access to clean drinking water. But for those of us who are white and middle class and spend all our time on the Internet talking about what matters–movies and TV and vlogs–this place is GREAT! So, white people with Twitter accounts, let’s take a break for complaining and spend a little time CELEBRATING!

Brought to you by Wellbutrin.

Here are OUR favorite movies of 2011:


Beginners
We cannot state enough how good Beginners is. It’s just such a soft and charming and wonderful movie. Is it perfect? No! But few things are. (For example, his relationship with his girlfriend is very cute and everything, but it’s pretty unjustified. The thing is, though, that’s almost always the case in movies about people falling in love. They meet at a party and now they’re in love. It’s fine. Don’t worry about. Besides, she’s fucking BEAUTIFUL, so WE GET IT.) There were so many ways in which this movie harkened back to the indie films of the ’90s that it should have been annoying and felt dated, but somehow it didn’t. It worked. It was as if Mike Mills just pulled all the best parts from that era, because there were some good parts, and only used those. (Haha. It is as if he did that. There is no way to know whether or not that is exactly what he did.) Also, Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer were very good in it, but can we talk about the MOM for a second? Good mom. Love that mom. Love this movie.


Drive
What is there even left to say? The cinematic Tumblr darling of 2011 was great. We would like to see it again soon. We do think it got a little bit too MUCH credit, insofar as the Internet was acting like this was some kind of touchstone film that was more innovative than it was, when really it was a crazy good soundtrack, a very handsome cast, and a dark and brooding plotline that was about as thin as something that is very thin. It was really an exercise in aesthetics more than anything else, but that’s fine, because this thing had TERRIFIC AESTHETICS. We’re just saying that it’s not the next Pulp Fiction or whatever. It had nothing to say, and it didn’t make any structural or cinematographic breakthroughs. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t just the most fun to watch and that we aren’t still listening to “Real Hero” on a regular basis.


The Tree Of Life
This movie is very “controversial,” if that is what it means when some people hate a thing and other people like it. Does anyone love it? We doubt it. It’s not exactly lovable. And, OK, the part where they’re running through the heaven desert and going through doorways is a bit senior art school thesis project corny. But the movie was genuinely beautiful. Someone disparagingly commented in the Gummys thread that it was like watching a screensaver, which is not as cutting as that person would probably like it to be, because you can get pretty deeply entranced by a good screensaver. But also, that’s just nonsense. The long codas of space and time combined with the time-jumping scenes of a rural childhood were totally engrossing, like watching a visual poem, and it’s fine to criticize the movie for making a simplistic idea about time and mortality that most children eventually stumble over into an all-encompassing epic, but the fact of the matter is that just because the idea is simple doesn’t mean it isn’t basically the most important idea and something we all think about all the time, and someone very talented was very ambitious in their attempt to wrestle that to the ground, so how can you get mad about it? Do what you want, we’re just saying.


Margaret
Full disclosure: we haven’t actually seen Margaret. What are you going to do? Take away our Critic’s License? We never bothered showing up for the test. Kenneth Lonergan’s first film, You Can Count On Me, is one of our (well, Gabe’s, Kelly hates it) favorite movies of all time. OF ALL TIME! Margaret is his long-awaited follow up that got tangled in disputes with the studios and what have you. Based on the things we have read, it is an imperfect movie, obviously, but it’s also very good in a lot of important ways. We will eventually make our own decisions about it, and we understand if you don’t like us anymore for including a movie we haven’t seen on our Best of the Year list, but sometimes it is nice to just be excited about seeing a thing, and no movie is more perfect and enjoyable and well crafted than the movie you haven’t actually seen yet. FOUR STARS A++.


Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
This is just a great spy movie. Filled with great actors. You should see it. The End.


Another Earth
We had a few problems with Another Earth. At points it was overly cheesy, a lot of the major moments felt kind of emotionally manipulative, and there was that part where she washed the woman’s sweater and it was like, COME ON, why would she ever have washed that? But it was easy to pick out the problems we had with this movie because the parts that we didn’t have problems with WERE SO GOOD! We think lots of people may have had trouble with the science-fiction-without-even-the-suggestion-of-scientific-reasoning aspect of Another Earth, but that was what we liked most about this movie. It was like an incredibly beautiful Twilight Zone episode. No time was wasted explaining how this other Earth came into existence, or why its existence didn’t mess with the tides or WHATEVER, because honestly who cares, and instead the movie focused only on how the discovery of the second Earth effected life and relationships– specifically, the lives and relationship of John and Rhoda — on our Earth. It allowed the creative aspect of science fiction and the emotional aspect of a drama to come together and produce a gorgeous sci-dra that everyone should see immediately. Also, Britt Marling is beautiful and gives an incredibly beautiful soft&strong performance and boy is she beautiful. See this if you haven’t! Right now!


Martha Marcy May Marlene
Elizabeth Olsen, like Britt Marling in Another Earth, was a great surprise in Martha Marcy May Marlene. The two movies are similar in that they each rest almost completely on the shoulders of a (for the most part) unknown actress, and each actress delivers a strong, quiet performance that makes a movie that could have easily gone one way or the other, go way in the direction of being VERY good. Good job, you guys! You’re both beautiful! Really, cults are so fascinating that just the hint of one would have peaked our interest enough. Really again, if there were a TV channel that was 100% documentaries and movies about cults that would probably be the only TV channel we’d even bother watching because holy crap they are the best. And the worst! Oh, just the worst. (But also, THE BEST!) Anyway — this movie. Even though there was less time spent on the cult aspect than some of us would’ve like, the way it switched back and forth between the cult days and the post-cult days was always jarring and done very well. And remember when the new girl in the cult commented about how it was so strange that all the babies they had in the cult were boys, and Elizabeth Olsen said that the people in the cult “always have boys”? Ahhhh!! Oh, that was so good. So many hints and even crazier things than what we’re able to see, which are some VERY crazy things. What a creepshow! Cults!


Bill Cunningham New York

An adorable, heartbreaking, and heartMAKING look into the life of BIll Cunningham, fashion photographer for the New York Times. This one is available to watch instantly on Netflix. Please do that! You won’t be sorry. It’s a documentary and Bill Cunningham rides a bicycle and he is so kind and charming and and you will love it, we promise. That’s all. Are you watching it yet? Put it on.


Bridesmaids

It’s a difficult thing that Bridesmaids got the kind of attention that it did this year, because we kind of feel like now to say that you are a fan of the movie Bridesmaids, you’re really saying that you’re a fan of what the movie Bridesmaids proved about woman’s role in comedy, or something along those lines. Like, you’re championing this movie because it is a great movie, yes, but MORE because of what it represents in the bigger picture for all of womankind. Which is a fine enough thing, if that is what you want to say about it. But that isn’t really what we want to say about it. Mostly we want to say that it was a great comedy that we really enjoyed. We thought women were funny before (let alone these particular women whose JOB it is to be very funny) and we still think they are funny now. And we hope that Bridesmaids paves the way for more women-y comedies to come out and not be talked about because they’ve opened up some huge discussion about the role of women in comedy, but because they are very funny comedies. It is THE NINETIES after all.


Midnight In Paris
Because Woody Allen movies have never been our favorite, we didn’t go into this movie thinking we would have any strong feelings about it either way. Even while watching the movie, before the REAL action began, we couldn’t stop thinking about how all the actors seemed like they thought they were in a play, and how they all seemed like they were spending the other characters’ lines practicing in their own heads for the next like THEY were going to say, if that makes any sense — and that was distracting. But then Owen Wilson got in the cab to the past for the second time and we finally understood why everybody was so crazy about this movie this year! Because it is wonderful and charming and SUPER WEIRD! And while we sometimes find the discussion about the destructive nature of nostalgia to be done to death and incredibly self-satisfied, the movie’s take on the topic felt honest, playful, and never really over-the-top. Even while they were hitting you right over the head with it, which they were pretty much the whole time. Maybe it’s because Marion Cotillard is so pretty? Who knows. But, this movie was really a beautiful delight. You couldn’t even tell Owen Wilson was playing Woody Allen because as it turns out Owen Wilson is ALWAYS playing Woody Allen! Who knew! Just a joy ride from when Owen got into the cab the second time until the end. Can’t wait to see it again.

Endnote: Due to our busy schedules keeping up with the latest trampoline gossip and breaking fart news, we don’t actually have time to watch ALL of the movies, so we are sure that there are some really great ones that would have made this list if we’d only seen them, but we didn’t. Life is funny that way. LOL.

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Comments (144)
  1. Did anyone see that new Mission Impossible movie? It was so awesome that, if you see it in IMAX, you automatically reach OT-IV!

  2. I think I am the only person who will champion the case of 50/50 for a spot on the Best of the Year list and that is my lonely cross to bear, but I really do like this particular list. All of these movies are so good and I hope everyone goes to see all of them.

    • That cross looks heavy son. Let me carry it with you. #TeamCancerComedies

    • I will challenge you on that one, although my problems with that movie are largely personal. I got a babysitter and took the wife to see a movie for our anniversary, the first time we’d actually been able to go out like that in months. We asked for tickets to In Time, but they gave us tickets to see 50/50. Neither one of us really knew anything about what that movie was about, but In Time wasn’t starting again for an hour and a half, so we decided just to stick it out and watch 50/50. Did you know that movie is about a dude with cancer? It’s true! Did you ALSO know that it’s a terrible movie to watch on a date with your wife when it’s almost the 2-year anniversary of her mother dying from cancer? Also true!

      So okay, not really the movie’s fault, but I’m going to have to disqualify it from any award nominations anyway, because apparently the dude survived, and the movie was autobiographical, which means that it can’t be graded objectively, because what sort of dickwad is going to write a review that essentially says “Your story about the time you beat cancer sucks!”?

      • Hi facetaco,

        I am sorry that I down voted you. I reacted hastily in my wanting to defend the movie, but after reading your reasoning again, I wish I could up vote you.

        And I am sorry to hear about your wife’s mom. I’m sure this was not an easy movie for her to watch.

        I do hope it wins awards because I was afraid that the movie would be laughing AT cancer, and that just isn’t funny, but I always felt like the comedy and drama were fairly balanced, and it was a very different approach to such a serious topic.

        • I upvoted YOU, so it balances out. Probably.

          I actually do think I might have liked that movie, under the right circumstances. But that definitely was NOT the right circumstance. We DID complain and get free tickets to see something else, but we squandered those on Tower Heist, a masterpiece of surrealism, which takes place in a world where Chinese New Years comes before Thanksgiving and Ben Stiller is a criminal mastermind.

    • I was a fan of 50/50 too. The thing that really bugged me about that movie though was the Anna Kendrick character because a. This movie did not need a romantic subplot, and b. SHE WAS THE WORST THERAPIST EVER!

      Other than that I thought it was great and of course I was weeping like a woman by the end. #ohwaitiamawoman

    • 50/50 was my favorite movie of the year.

  3. I really liked Captain America. This is not an ironic comment. That movie’s just perfect.

  4. This time of year always serves as a stark reminder that I never go to the movies. I haven’t seen a single one of these, though I’d very much like to see Midnight in Paris. I definitely consider myself a Woody Allen fan, so I’m pretty excited that he came out with a movie this year that people actually seem to like.

    • I also liked that woody allen movie

    • Two things about Midnight in Paris (which I mostly liked):

      1) Rachel McAdams’ lazily hateable neocon fiancee character gives the whole plot such an easy out. She’s mean about the maid and screams ‘socialist’ at the drop of a hat, her father dully praises the Tea Party and disses the French. Snooze. It’s like the characters were written by Michael Moore. ZZzzzzzzzzzzzz.

      2) Mercifully, it’s one of the few recent Allen films to forego the suffocating narration. He actually shows us the story instead of telling it.

      • point 1, you’re wrong, I know people like that in reality and that was part of what I liked about this movie. You are wrong not to like it.

        point 2, you’re probably right on that front, guy. although I dont remember which movies recently had the narration. which ones are you talking about?

        • You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Vicky Christina Barcelona & Whatever Works (if you count Larry David Breaking the 4th wall as narration).

        • Steve, the problem is that they were written as cliches and provided no new insight. It was really lazy and showed a lack of empathy.

          And it removed any sort of tension in Owen Wilson leaving his fiancee. It was just like ‘oh, I guess we don’t have to worry about the moral or emotional repercussions of an annulled engagement because … um … she’s a conservative?’

          Great filmmaking upends expectations and the audience’s preconceptions/prejudices — it shouldn’t cheer them on in order to make them feel superior. The audience should be forced to empathize in ways it doesn’t in everyday life. That’s art.

          • We just watched it the other night and I agree. The fantasy sequences were really enjoyable, but the girlfriend, her parents and her friends were all written to be so over the top horrible people that how could you not wonder why he was with her in the first place? I would have at least tolerated it if the Wilson character just said that she was a great piece of ass, or that he was a masochist at heart. (Tangent – Dali, Bunuel, Man Ray – my favorite scene)

          • Jeb, No.

            But seriously what if instead they had Owen Wilson leave Rachel Mcadams for their adopted asian daughter, just kidding

          • Steve, well-argued as always.

      • I thought he was going for a more theater-like experience as far as the characters but with realistic production values. The whole movie was a love letter to the way art used to be made so I just assumed this was the case but what do I know, I’m just a millionaire crime-fighting playboy from the most corrupt city in the US.

  5. All of the above movies that I’ve seen are wonderful. Drive is definitely my #2 movie of the year, but the best movie I’ve seen in a long time is

    • I think that picture link is broken. Don’t worry, I got you covered.

      • Goddamn it Martin Lawrence, if you’re undercover as Big Momma, take off your FBI necklace. That’s just counterintelligence-101 right there.

      • I tried to think of a worse movie to respond with, but since I try to stay clear of these kinds of movies I really don’t know if anything could be worse based on posters alone. The only truly bad movie I saw this year was Zookeeper and I loved it because we made it into a drinking game. We drank every time something stupid happened, and did not make it to the end. Plus it was the second movie at the drive-in following Horrible Bosses so we were already in good spirits.

        My actual favorite movie was Take Shelter, for the record.

  6. I just wanted to go on the record as saying I loved “Tree of Life,” except for the Sean Penn parts and the end. But definitely loved the rest of it enough to cancel those out.

  7. Great list guys! I’m looking forward to seeing the ones I haven’t seen yet. Did you see Hugo? Hugo was really great!

  8. I had a similar realization while watching Midnight in Paris, but then I had another realization on top of that. I never really want to watch any Woody Allen movies, but somehow I think I’ve seen the majority of them. not only that I’m pretty sure I’ve loved or at least enjoyed most of them. I don’t know why* declaring him as one of my favorite directors is so hard for me but, by golly, I think I’m finally ready to do it. My Name is Chris and I reluctantly love Woody Allen.

    *Well, there was the whole thing where he married his step-daughter, but who’s counting?

  9. Can we take a moment to talk about Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close?

    Ho. Lee. Crap. For years I’ve labored under the delusion that “Life As We Know It” was the worst movie put to film, but like St. Paul on the road to Damascus, I was converted about 20 minutes in on ELAIC. This movie is terrible. On all levels. It’s a movie where the director wants everything to means something and yet means nothing.

    I don’t want to stray too far into TL:DR country. Let’s let this gif help illustrate my point.

    The alligator represents belabored 9/11 metaphor and the baby in the walker represents the audience.

    • “Life As We Know It” was released in October 2010, scarcely over a year ago. Even assuming you watched it on opening day, that’s still a far cry from the “years” that you are claiming. Frankly, there is only one explanation for this little slip-up, only one way you could have possibly seen that movie months before it was released to the public: Frank Lloyd Wrong is, in actuality, Katherine Heigl.

      • Sorry, we’ve gone beyond years. I meant that this competes for Worst Movie of All Time.

        Also, if you ever compare me to Katherine Heigl again, I’m going to fly to Grand Rapids and challenge you to the most blistering game of POGS you’ve ever played, son.

  10. “Midnight in Paris” was disappointing for me, since I usually really like Allen. This just felt like the kind of movie that tries to make the viewer feels smart because they “get it”. Here’s Hemingway acting like a caricature of Hemingway, here’s Dali acting like a caricature of Dali etc.

    “Carnage” and “Meloncholia” were my favorites this year, I was also pleasantly surprised by “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”.

  11. I almost forgot Source Code came out this year, but that was definitely a favorite. I am on Team Duncan Jones for sure.

    I think my favorite of the year was probably Melancholia, but I still have so many left to catch up on!

  12. I’ve only watched Bridesmaids on that list. I think that and Attack the Block are the only new-ish movies I watched this year. I think I have adult onset “can’t concentrate on a movie for more than 45 minutes” syndrome.

  13. Maybe it’s because I haven’t seen the majority of the movies listed (and am dubious that some of them actually exist), but I feel like 2011 was the worst year for movies since 2010. Actually, maybe that’s exactly it: I guess I need to watch these movies.

    Videogum: introducing me to the existence of Terry Richardson, Sasha Grey, the best movies of 2011, and much, much more.

    • I was pretty dubious about Another Earth existing. When someone described the movie for me, I thought they had just watched the trailer for Melancholia before going to bed or something, and then they dreamed that movie up. I was jealous though, because my dreams are boring and involve things like going to the grocery store.

    • fondue cheddar, what are you even talking about?! This year was epic! Just look at these gems:

      Season of the Witch, Country Strong, The Dilemma, No Strings Attached, Gnomeo & Juliet, Just Go With It, Drive Angry, Hall Pass, Beastly, Battle: Los Angeles, Mars Needs Moms, Sucker Punch, Arthur, Your Highness, Scream 4, Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family, Fast Five, Something Borrowed, The Beaver, Priest, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Green Lantern, Green Hornet, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Mr. Popper’s Smurfs, Bad Teacher, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Zookeeper, Cowboys & Aliens, The Change-Up, Final Destination 5, Shark Night 3D, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, Jack & Jill, Real Steel, Human Centipede 2, Footloose, The Thing, Johnny English Reborn, Paranormal Activity 3, The Three Musketeers, Puss in Boots, Tower Heist, Happy Feet 2, the list goes on!

      It’s almost exhausting thinking about all these quality, worthwhile films. You really missed out. Better clear out some space on your Netflix queue.

  14. I think Beginners is probably my No. 1 for the year. It was great! So great! I also really liked Contagion, but that is likely due to the fact that it is partially set in Minneapolis, so for once I had the joy of shouting “HEY! I ride that bus!” in the middle of a crowded theater.

    It’s the small joys, really.

    • Contagion’s filmed in Minneapolis?! Oh wow I gotta go see it now. I haven’t been this excited since I saw Joe Somebody in the theaters. My friend and I were the only ones in the theater, and we were there to see a scene that we were in (which was eventually cut from the movie). Truly a moment to forget in Mpls’ storied history of movie-films and such.

      • Full Disclosure: I doubt there was much actually filmed in Minneapolis, but they mention Lake and Lyndale, and there are shots of the U of M. It was enough for me.

        Still, it’s better than Jingle All the Way.

        • Oh man, Jingle All the Way. I saw an advanced screening of that movie when I was like 10. I thought: “Sinbad! Arnold! What’s not to love?!” Needless to say, it does not hold up.

    • Yeah, Beginners was really great. I saw it about a week ago. I think it’s the most successful Ewan McGregor has been at pulling off an American accent. It wrecked me in the best way possible. There were a lot of directorial choices in the that could’ve seemed pretentious but didn’t and instead were very well executed.

      I’m very glad that the Future was not on this list. That movie was not good.

      • I seem to be the only person who thought that not enough of the story was on the dad while too much was about the son and this fact made me not like the movie too much.

  15. I watched Warrior last night, you guys, and I really liked it. I can see either Nolte or Hardy (MAN-CRUSH!) getting some Oscar love for their performances. And the fight scenes, damn. OUR generation’s The Fighter.

  16. I’m 100% onboard with the speculative inclusion of Margaret. For making You Can Count On Me, Lonergan gets a free pass onto at least one top ten list. That movie kills me, every time.

  17. May I put in a vote for Ides of March. While it’s true that I saw maybe 3 new movies this year (and none of the above listed), Ides was really great and I think I would put it on a Best-of list even if it had competition.

  18. 2011 Movies I Wont’t Forget (for Very Different Reasons)

    Bellflower (just awesome)
    Super 8 (Goonies + Close Encounters + ET = mostly really nice!)
    Sucker Punch (someone finally out Frank Millered Frank Miller; the effect is weirdly hypnotic and fucking ridiculous; is there an Academy Award for Most WTF Film of the Year?)

  19. I feel very conflicted about the fact that Rex Reed is the one critic who hated Tree of Life as much as I did. You see, in the beginning there was a big bang, and then cellular life emerged and then the dinosaurs were wiped out and then human life evolved and then Rex Reed and I were in disharmony throughout most of our lives but then came together in peace and reconciliation on a windswept beach, and one of us may or may not have been a ghost or something.

    • The TREE OF LIFE is on the list? That movie was so unenjoyable for me that it made me angry. Someone loving that movie is as unfathomable to me as someone agreeing with Fox New’s assertion that the new Muppet movie has a liberal agenda by having the bad guy be an evil businessman.

      I’m just a lowly clown and understand my opinions shouldn’t carry any weight or have any merit, but I’ve said it and now I feel better. Please carry on.

      #Emperor’s New Clothes

  20. When the female lead/co-writer and co-writer/director of Another Earth were interviewed on Jeff Goldsmith’s screenwriting podcast, they mentioned that they did talk to scientists about the effects of gravity and such that another Earth so close to ours would have on each other, gravitational pull, earthquakes, tides, etc.

    They tried to keep it as scientifically plausible as possible, and even filmed scenes where Rhoda witnesses cherry blossoms slowly fall off a tree branch and just wind up hanging in the air for a bit, and stuff like that, but apparently it all looked really terrible because they had no budget, and it all wound up on the cutting room floor.

  21. Can we do a feature where we predict the worst movies of 2012? I predict that new bat-man movie will suck the most and none of you will agree with me. Look at that, we haven’t even started the new year yet and we’re already finished. NEXT!

    • Did you like the 60s show? The comic books? I don’t get why you have such strong feelings about them if you didn’t like the Burton movies either.

      • the adam west movie and tv show is fine, my strong feelings have to do with the fact that I am the only person alive who doesnt think that the chip nolan bat-man movies are “the best movies ever” etc. These movies are in fact actually worse than average movies.

        take for example the ubiquitous commercials for the first one the bat-man begins: you always saw ads for it with the monster truck bat-man mobile leaping off a building roof and landing on another building roof. but that is false advertising, in the movie, you never actually see this footage, you just see a very choppy editing job of the cop cars chasing the bat-man mobile and then you have to assume, based on the edits, that said vehicle went from one roof top to the other. The footage in the commercials does not appear in the movie.

        the fight scenes are no different. you have to assume that liam neeson kicked bat-man somewhere on his person based on the editing of the fight sequence but you dont actually see the action clearly like in more traditional kung fu or b-movie fight scenes. the choppy-ness of this editing is just awful.

        and the fake seriousness of it is this dishonest way of “elevating” this nonsense to looking like its more “deep” and heavy and artful when its just an action movie and a very bad action movie. I hate it.

        The End.

        • Batman Begins wasn’t the greatest, and the choppy fight scenes were annoying. But the Dark Knight has got to one of the best of the summer blockbuster action movies of all time (second on my list only to Jurassic Park). The sound editing and mixing in Dark Knight more than make up for the choppy visual editing, those periods of silence give me goose-bumps every time.

          • Liam Neeson’s end in Batman Begins was almost as good as Malkovich’s in Con Air.

            Almost.

            That being said, I thought it was enjoyable fluff. The second one, not so much except for Heath’s Joker.

      • Steve seems to have disdain for almost everything, and particularly loves to complain about Batman. He even hyphenates the name as “bat-man” as a sign of contempt and disrespect. He does that with our names too.

        • OR… is Steve The Joker?

        • actually I think the hyphenated version of the name is the correct and historic version

          also the old “you hate everything” default is particularly lazy even without simply scrolling up this same commentator thread to see a number of movies I have endorsed. once again kajus x chainsaw suffers a disastrous and humiliating FAIL in his commentating abilities. sleep tight.

          • Steve, while I am totally with you on choppy editing being the worst, and Batman Begins was very guilty of it, I’m going to argue your points because I’m bored and your examples are easy to disprove.

            Tv spots and trailers for films sometimes use footage ultimately left out of a movie. A lot of the Apatow films are like this, as they wind up using alternate takes in the finished film. It’s not false advertising if you ultimately got what you wanted (Batmobile jumping from rooftop to rooftop, Seth Rogan jokes, etc).

            As far as Batman’s mobile jumping from rooftop to rooftop, you absolutely see shots of that in the film– http://youtu.be/jZicrp_p4BE

            Check out 1:55, 2:19, and 2:29.

            Are these the shots you saw in the trailer or tv spot? Even if they are not, it doesn’t matter. The trailer advertised a jumping Batmobile, and there it is. And while the editing is far from the best, you can clearly tell where the Batmobile takes off and lands in each sequence.

            I cannot defend the fight sequences of Batman Begins. They were terribly hard to follow, poorly lit, and they took me out of the film (as did all the “jokes” inserted into the film as cop banter, homeless person banter, etc).

            And it’s always been Batman.

            Spider-Man is hyphenated. Maybe you were thinking of Spider-Man, Steve.

          • KajusX, your Batman historiography is most impressive. I believe we owe you all the scarves.

            BATMAN IS THE GREATEST! GO BATMAN! Except The Goddamned Batman, that was just silly.

          • @KX@C Not always.

            “I have a new character called the Bat-Man and I’ve made some crude, elementary sketches I’d like you to look at.” -Bob Kane

          • Kajus, nowhere in that manifesto you just posted do I see any apology from you for the lazy “you hate everything” default that so many people have taken in my life. I demand satisfaction.

          • Well now you’re digging into the conceptualization stage of the character before the he even appeared in print. Obviously the creators made changes as they developed the character, and they went with ‘The Batman.’ How are we as the audience supposed to gauge what his name is? We go by his first published, appearance.

            Plus, Bob Kane was a LIAR, and everything he said was suspect, just like Stan Lee.

          • Seriously, guys, this entire Batman debate will have me explode into a poof of excited glitter (that’s what happens to people when they explode, right?).

    • I agree with that one. I’m also dubious of that Avengers movie. Too many smirks in the trailer for that one to make me believe it’s anything more than handsome dudes looking smug.

      • It’s interesting how the Dark knight Rises is treading in the dangerous “too many villains for one movie” territory, while the Avengers is treading in the perilous “too many heroes smiling smugly in one movie” territory.

        I guess we’ll all just have to go see Ghost Rider 2.

      • A friend of mine saw an early screening of the Avengers and really liked it despite unfinished effects, etc. Of course, he gives a pass to a lot of movies that I don’t like, so I don’t know how much to trust him on this. Either way, I guess I’ll be seeing it.

    • Based on the trailer I saw the other day, John Carter is bound to be in the top (bottom?) 10.

    • Sure, they were all included in the previews for Mission Impossible 4

      Let’s see…
      The new Ghost Rider
      Wrath of the Titans
      Snow White and the Huntsman*
      Spy vs. Spy? (the one with Reese Witherspoon)

      *I wouldn’t actually mind seeing Snow White, but the idea that Kristen Stewart would surpass Charlize Theron in beauty is a ridiculous plot hole.

    • Tip of the hat to you, Steve, for the old-timey spelling of Batman.

  22. I just saw that Martha Marcy movie and I didn’t like it. It was pretty well done and all and I like the non-twin Olsen, but in the end that movie didn’t mean anything. It was a total shaggy dog story. My favorite movie this year has been Hanna which also may not add up to much, but it was gobs of fun.

    • I’m not sure what you mean by the film ‘meaning’ anything, but it was certainly about something, namely the lasting dissolution of self and all-encompassing paranoia associated with cultish microsocieties.

      The audience could never be sure exactly what was real and what wasn’t specifically because Martha couldn’t. I don’t know how that’s a shaggy dog story; the ambiguity was menacing. In a lot of ways it reminded me of John Sayles’ Limbo.

  23. My top 5 for 2011

    1. The Descendants
    2. Bridesmaids
    3. The Help
    4. Moneyball
    5. Water For Elephants

  24. I know I’ll get downvotes for this, but Shame was great! Very beautiful look at addiction. And if Fassbender is robbed of an Oscar nom, he is guaranteed an Oscar in the future.

  25. Anyone else see Tabloid? That’s my favorite from this year, probably because I’ll love any Errol Morris documentary.

  26. Go see Take Shelter you fucking fucks!

  27. Finally saw Attack The Block and it was fucking great. Might be my favorite movie this year, even over Drive.

  28. I don’t watch a lot of movies (Who has the time!?), but over Christmas break we went to see Tin-tin. It was a brave move though, since I am both a big fan of the comics and completely have lost faith in Hollywood’s ability to remake anything with even an ounce of decency or understanding of the source. But Tin-tin actually achieved that impossibility, in my mind. It was actually a lot of fun, and very well done. And the beauty of the visuals and the familiar Tin-tin art style, story pacing, mystery, and wild variation in settings were all intact and exciting to see in motion. I don’t know if it’s the best movie of the year, but it was everything someone could ask for in a Tin-tin movie.

    • Seconded. I saw it on Monday, and was amazed at how even though I had seen the cg-rendered characters in the trailers and bus ads and such, and heard over and over that they were recreating Herge’s art style except with 3-D motion capture models etc etc, I was still amazed when I saw just how close they got to doing exactly what they said they were doing. When haddock’s first mate showed up I was like, “HOLY SHIT! I’ve seen DRAWINGS of that guy! He looks just like them!” Even the anatomical exaggerations were on point with Herge’s drawing style, such as Haddock’s head being slightly larger than an actual real life person’s head. The only thing that was weird was getting used to these things initially, seeing as the motion capture made them feel VERY live-action, as did the rendering of everything.

      I’ve read that some critics are wary of the film’s increasingly frenetic, unrelenting pacing from one action set piece to another, and I can definitely see what they are saying (although I didn’t feel the action was unrelenting), but most importantly it wasn’t distracting from the story nor was it gratuitous. Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock just kept winding up in hairy situations, and they had to get out of them! It was a very fun ride, emphasis on ride, and I was happy and exhausted by the end.

  29. Wow. I have not seen even one movie mentioned anywhere in this thread. Apparently I didn’t see a single movie this year? How did that happen?

  30. PULP FICTION DIDN’T HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY EITHER YOU DRUNKEN FOOLS*. IT WAS A VERY NICE POP CULTURE MONTAGE BUT LET’S NOT MAKE PRETEND HERE, IT WAS NOT A SUBSTANTIAL EXPERIENCE.

    *MIGHT BE PROJECTING HERE

  31. Here my deal with Tree of Life. Here’s a movie you thought was beautiful and profound, yet you thought it was pretentious or you thought it was too long or you had a hard time getting through parts or you probably won’t watch it again. Why can’t a movie be great without all that other baggage attached to it?

    • added note: for good Terrence Malick, go back and watch Badlands and Days of Heaven. You’ll find two movies that are beautiful and profound but also entertaining all the way through.

    • Something can be simultaneously great and flawed. There is absolutely no conflict there. Perfection in art or life is a completely artificial (and philosophically unobtainable) concept — and frankly misses the point entirely.

      Art should reflect its imperfect makers.

  32. Young Adult > Most Movies

  33. Melancholia, anyone?

  34. Absolute YES to Melancholia, The Skin I Live In, Drive and … Moneyball. Only because I don’t give a shit about Brad Pitt OR baseball and really liked that movie. I think if I have to hear one more person champion Bridesmaids because it was (finally!) the comedy women have been waiting for!!! I’m gonna spew. Like, “oh yeah, even though she’s a whiney cunt who lost all flair and hilarity as soon as she opened her mouth, at least us gals have something to talk about in the bathroom puking up lunch and tweeting to DVF.” Seriously, reconsider what’s funny about that shit-flick, I think if it was a cast of dudes, everyone would have just said it’s another Hangover and we all saw how well Hangover 2 did.

  35. THE SKIN I LIVE IN WAS SO GOOD

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  37. I believe you’re referring to my comment about the Tree of Life, and actually I said that if I had been in the editing room I would have turned it into a 15 minute screensaver. Get my disparaging comment right when you’re disparaging my disparaging comment!

  38. Also JUST BECAUSE I CAN, favorite movies were Melancholia, Drive, Tinker Tailor and Bridesmaids. I hated Tree of Poop and Martha Marcy Mzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Haven’t seen Beginners or Attack the Block or Source Code but I still want to!

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