2011 In Review.

2011: In Review
Image from stardusttrailers.com.
It's that time again. Time to wrap up the year with a bundle of theater tickets and see which $12.50 I regretted spending the most. I've got to say, where last year felt mostly like a very steep roller coaster with some movies reaching high portions of epicness while others threw me under the bus, 2011 was a bit of a relief. Despite most of the crap 3D churned out, overall I'd say it was a pretty even keel year. Some good shit, some bad shit, end of story. Nothing that completely mindfucked me into oblivion, and I'd probably be hard pressed to call any of these movies "classics". Still, I feel like I got a lot of nice, feel good movies that I'll find myself watching over and over again in the years to come, which is really more than I could ask for. With that, drum roll please...

What's not to love?
BEST OF 2011:
Best movie of 2011.
So Hanna now seems miles away, having come out at the very start of the year, but I've got to say, despite all the great films that popped up over the course of 2011, still nothing could top this. Great action, great music, great acting, great, simple plot. Great little girl badass. I'm sold. It's really fucking hard to do better than Saoirse Ronan kicking the shit out of everyone who stands in her way.

*X-Men: First Class.
Best gay sex of 2011.
It's like Brokeback Mountain. But with funny hats. Wait. Still like Brokeback Mountain. Anyway, by far one of the best X-Men films out there (if not the). A fucking great origins story, which is especially refreshing after Wolverine did some shit so nonsensical that even he didn't want to remember it. Fassbender (who seems to have stolen this year out from under everyone's nose) and McAvoy did a brilliant job with their characters and with their bromance. Best of all? The script was airtight. It was just good, clean fun. And very, very gay.

Best cowboys of 2011.
Best aliens of 2011.
It was just a good movie. Straight up. Everything that it set out to do with a title like Cowboys & Aliens, it did. Somewhere along the line, someone figured out if you just give your movie an easy title like Hot Tub Time Machine, everyone knows what they're getting into and no one's disappointed. This was my Hot Tub Time Machine of the year. I got exactly what I wanted--Harrison Ford strutting atop his horse, aliens with terrifying stomach hands, and best of all, an excuse to dyke-it-out and wear chaps for Halloween.

Super 8.
Best anti-drug PSA of 2011.
Basically, it's the year of the kickass little people heroes. And no one does little people heroes quite like Steven Spielberg. I mean, J.J. Abrams. Sorry, who wrote this movie again? Tomatoes, tomahtoes. Either way, it was just a fun alien movie. Like Cowboys & Aliens but...you know. Nice aliens. I'll rephrase: nice aliens who don't share Olivia Wilde's brand of creepy face.

Best "I''m not crying, I've just got something in my eye" of 2011.
I've got a soft stop for Tom Hardy, I'm not gonna lie. And this movie just confirmed my instincts. If The Fighter hadn't sucked up everyone's interest in ring fighting for the next couple years, this one would've done it. It was rough and tumble, but with a good deal of heart. 

And by devil I mean her legs.
Best hammer of 2011.
Here's the thing. I wasn't half as crazy about Drive as most people were. I don't think it's particularly the movie of the century. But movie of the year? Yeah, I can give it that. Might not top everything that is badass in Hanna, but it's a good, solid film. Ryan Gosling certainly gave Michael Fassbender a run for his money this year as one or the other seemed to show up in every movie poster. 

Drive Angry.
Best devil of 2011.
I need to write up a review for this movie. Need to, need to, need to. But let's face it. This movie would've been good if it had just been William Fichtner disappearing and reappearing in random places, spouting caustic one-liners and performing deeds of massive badassitry. Oh wait--that is what this movie is? I'M THERE! And Amber Heard is a lesbian. So really. Really. There is nothing for me NOT to like. 

Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
Best "that was fun, let's do it again!" of 2011.
Was it as good as the Swedish version? Maybe not. But it had a lot going for it--acting wise, direction wise, script wise. Overall, a solid, good movie on it's own. Too bad it has a equally pretty sister. But who said anything about choosing when you can have them both?

BLEH OF 2011:
Let's start with the positives. There were a couple good surprises this year, and I always approve of a little mindfuckery. The movies that really caught me off guard with their awesome included Red State, which just happened to be even more brilliant than it promised. Then there was Thor, also known as the best other hammer of the year. Maybe not a great superhero movie, but hell, it was a great comedy. Someone clearly just stacked it in the wrong shelf. And for the most surprising surprise yet, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes? Awesome. Who knew? Not me.

Draco Malfoy playing...Draco Malfoy.

Next up, those movies that were just...you know. Good. Worth the watch. Contagion was good in a sort of "this is a good movie but takes itself too seriously for me to watch more than once" kind of way. 30 Minutes Or Less appealed to both the audience member in me who likes to watch things blow up and enjoys Danny McBrides's crazy tomfoolery. Horrible Bosses was amusing in it's own way, and that way was namely referred to as Jason Bateman's comic timing. I think Captain America: The First Avenger was good, but I was also pretty stoned at the time so it's really hard to say. And Sherlock Holmes had even more gay sex that X-Men, which is saying a lot, so even though the plot was shoddy I forgave it for the bromance.

Lastly, there were the movies that...were just okay. Movies that had good spots and bad spots, but to me were...just fun movies. To every one else, they seemed to have polarizing effect--you loved it or you hated it. Me? Eh. It wasn't total shit, but it wasn't movie of the year either. Those two movies for me were The Hangover Pt II and Sucker Punch. Love it or leave it. I'll leave both, but won't regret seeing them either.

WORST OF 2011:
And now for the best part. The most fun you'll have out of the theaters all year...

This is how an acting career dies.
Biggest dick slap in the face of 2011.
Sucked balls. Sucked major balls. I cannot even begin to tell you how many balls it sucked. Spoiler alert: lots of them.

The Green Hornet.
Greenest movie of 2011.
A superhero movie. With cool gadgets. And Christoph Waltz. Sounds promising, right? Well, that's what I thought too. Until I saw it. And it was like someone had taken a large, green, 3D crap on the screen. Yeah. Not so much fun.

Apollo 18.
Best comedy of 2011.
I'm going to own up to something. I snuck into this one, I caught the last half of it, and I'm fucking glad I didn't have to suffer through the first half. There was no bromance, nothing interesting about the two main characters, and no matter how many "legitimate" URLs you put at the end of your movie, I'm not going to believe moon rocks are out to get me.


Yet another year goes by in which I failed my Pokemon Master and could not catch them all. Here's the list of all the movies I missed out on this year...any worth checking out? Any I should avoid like the bubonic plague? Let me know!

Movies I legitimately meant to see: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (I will see this one, just not before midnight). Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (ditto). Shame. The Rum Diary. The Mechanic. The Guard. The Debt.

Movies I kind of hoped to see: Dream House. Immortals. Fright Night. Killer Elite. Colombiana. Rampart. Fast Five. Tower Heist. The Adjustment Bureau. Unknown. Conan the Barbarian.

Movies I went out of my way not to see: In Time. Limitless. Source Code. The Three Musketeers. Battle: LA. Season Of The Witch. The Lincoln Lawyer. Transformers: Dark Of The Moon.

That's all, folks! Hope everyone celebrates the New Year with champagne, car chases, and couple well timed fruit cart explosions. See you next year!


  1. Super 8 was my favorite of the year and you've named some awesome flicks. Just watched the extended version of Cowboys and Aliens - fun movie.
    Fast Five would be my second pick. Damn good movie.
    And did you see Drive? Awesome art house action film.

  2. Loved Hanna, X Men First Class, Contagion, and Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes.

    Thor and Super 8 were good, but not as great as I expected them to be.

    Cowboys & Aliens just didn't work for me. That was the one that took itself too seriously, not Contagion.

    Great post, though. ;)

  3. @ Alex--Super 8 was really awesome! A good favorite. I may have to check out the extended version, I haven't seen it yet! More Craig and Ford? I'm there.

    Fast Five is your second pick? I was going back and forth on that, but now I'm sold. I haven't been keeping up on the sequels, but that much just looked so damn fun...I'll have to check it out.

    And I did see Drive! It's up there in the Best Of. Great art house action film. No other way to describe it.

    @ Nebular--Good choices! All good movies. I had no expectations for Thor, so I enjoyed it for what it was.

    I can see that--Cowboys & Aliens could have used a little more humor. Still, the premise was ridiculous enough, I think it just ran with its campy feel.

    And thanks! I'm glad you appreciated it!

  4. Ooh I loved Hanna. It's in my top 20, though I have to see a few films before confirming its position.
    Fantastic post though :D

  5. Hanna was the best, but I only included movies I paid to see in the theater. I loved Transformers 3 but not on my best. Personal reasons why I loved it: shot in Chicago, got to see the filming and got to see my old job blown to smithereens by Decepticons. I imagined my hated boss peeing himself while cowering under the desk. It was sheer beauty. I hated Green Hornet, something you would scrape off your shoe.

    Happy New Year!! Have a rockin' good time tonight. Haywire,Haywire,Haywire...20 more days!

  6. all my good company for movies moved away or had babies, and there were many pix I didn't care whether I saw them on a big screen. It made my end of year list kinda funny.

    What I can definitely recommend as a rental is Attack the Block. I still haven't seen it, but the buzz was great, it's got Nick Frost, and it sounds like a great ride, whether watched sober or not.

    My first theater trip of 2012 should be awesome, as I'm heading to IFC while they're doing a studio ghibli marathon. It's only thru the 5th, I think, but I'm stoked for seeing spirited away and howl's moving castle on a proper screen!

  7. You've conjured up quite a diverse list here. I particularly love your inclusion of Drive, Super 8, X-Men: First Class and Warrior.

    Compiling a Best of List is always an interesting proposition. And often times, when we reflect nostalgically on the year that was, we discover that there are actually LESS films we truly love.

    Nice job capping off a solid year in film :)

  8. Great list! Priest was one of the worst movies 2011! God, that sucked...But Hanna and X-Men: First Class were excellent.

    Haywire! It will rock!

  9. @ Nikhat--Hanna is a great one! I saw it and knew all the other movies of the year would have to try very hard to top it. Thanks!

    @ Melissa--Good call! Though I shell out for movies so rarely, my list would be short. And those are good reasons to like Transformers! Probably the best reason I've heard yet. If you can find therapy in it, go for it! Green Hornet was definitely worth a good shoe scraping, though.

    Happy new years to you too, homie! Haywire, Haywire, Haywire...

    @ Thaddeus--Damn babies! It's never fun to have to hunt down movie buddies. I just solved the problem by listing all the movies I saw this year, theaters or otherwise.

    I've heard good things about Attack The Block too! I'm going to have to check that one out. And dude, that's going to be epic! I'm marathons are always the bomb. I have to check out the IFC more, they always show great things and I catch the tail end.

  10. @ Matthew--Thanks, homie! Definitely all movies I enjoyed. And that's true! Though, frankly, I'm happy with a year filled with movies I LIKED instead of a couple movies I loved and a lot of movies I hated. So I don't harbor ill will against the year that was 2011.

    And thanks again! I'll be on my way to stalk your list now.

    @ Ty--Thanks! I will always enjoy roasting Priest. It sucked major balls. It was almost worth seeing it just to complain about it. But not really.


  11. Your welcome! Priest had the chance to be entertaining but it completely blew it with the awful script and PG-13 non-gore.

    Also besides HAYWIRE (16 days away) are you excited for Safe with Statham? The trailer makes it look pretty badass!


    I am now. Jason Statham can do very little wrong.

  13. Can't agree more.

    Statham usually delivers the goods! Safe is going to rock and rule at the same time!

  14. Russ recommends: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Guard and The Adjustment Bureau from your list that you want to see. See The Guard if you don't see anything else from last year! Battle LA wasn't a pish as I thought it was going to be, but don't go out of your way to see it.

    Great list though. I haven't done a retrospective yet, but since all the cool kids are doing them, maybe I will!

  15. @ Ty--Really! That was a much needed shot of badassitry. I can't wait!

    @ Russ--THank you for the recommendations! Definitely appreciated. I'm trying to see Tinker Tailor this weekend, and I've got The Guard on my computer, just waiting to be watched.

    You should definitely do one! Feel the peer pressure.

  16. Awesome list! So happy to see love for HANNA, one of my favorites of the year too! I also thought DRIVE ANGRY was a lot of fun and look forward to your post about it!

    Not going to lie though, FIRST CLASS was one of the worst of the year for me. Such a disappointment. But I agree, Fassbender was excellent in it and he is definitely banging Professor X.

  17. Thanks!! Hanna was a badass movie. End of story. Definitely my favorite of the year. Drive Angry was a hell of a lot of fun and under appreciated for it--mainly by me. I'm going to have to get cracking on that review!

    That's too bad about First Class! I probably enjoyed it because...I didn't have anything in stake for it. Except to see Fassbender and McAvoy roll around in the hay. I haven't read the comics and I'm not married to the series, so I thought it was a heck of a lot of fun. Still, I know how disappointing those things can be when you've got a stake in it.

  18. I have "Hannah", and will probably get to it in a few days. And I've gotten "Cowboys & Aliens" for at least a month, but somehow I always find something else I'd rather watch. To cut it short, I have quite a few 2011 flicks I still need to see.

    That said, I find many titles on your list I approve of. Particularly "Warrior". It would've been my film of the year if it hadn't been for one little indie gem called "Bellflower". Also, loved "Sucker Punch". And there is "Drive", a bit over-rated in my opinion - as in, it's a great film, but not THAT great.

    Somebody here mentioned "Fast Five" - you have to watch that! Seriously. To me, it was by far the best action film of 2011. The film's got zero brains, but fuck me if wasn't the most entertaining flick this year (I'm kind of ashamed to admit this, but I've seen it 4 times... and it's just as good after repeated viewings).

  19. If you watch no other film from 2011, I recommend checking out Hanna. It's just all around a great movie. Nuff said. Cowboys & Aliens is exactly what it sounds like--good, campy fun.

    Warrior was great! I haven't seen Bellflower, but if it's your best of the year I might have to check it out. You liked Sucker Punch? Orly? Kidding, homie, I STILL have to watch the extended edition. But once I do get on that...you will be the first to know. I also thought Drive was overrated...good movie, but a little overrated.

    I didn't realize there was so much Fast Five love! I'll definitely get on that. I haven't actually seen the last couple in the series, but I get in the impression that doesn't really matter. I like movies with zero brains and a lot of action. It sounds right up my alley--I'll check it out! Thanks!

  20. "You liked Sucker Punch? Orly?"
    Haha, yeah. Who would've guessed, right?

    With "Fast Five" you can't go wrong, but "Bellflower"... it's unquestionable the film's incredibly well made, considering it's the filmmakers' debut, and shot on a budget of $17500.

    But the reason I personally found it so awesome is because it deals with things that are very, very relevant to me at this point in time. Since it's the same shit I'm struggling with, I could completely relate to it.

  21. Now that I actually looked up Bellflower...I've been meaning to see that one! I remember catching the trailer, thinking it looked awesome, and then forgetting about it completely. So I'm definitely going to have to check that one out.

    I know what you mean--movies that hit a personal chord will definitely stick with you. Between Bellflower and Fast Five, I've got a lot to check out.


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