RANKING THE YEAR’S BEST: FROM OSCAR MOVIES TO BLOCKBUSTERS
Walk down memory lane… And let the movie nerd debate begin.
Let’s REWIND to the year 2011.
These are personal TOP 10s ranking Oscar-nominated movies right alongside popcorn-munching blockbusters, indie films, b-movies, and cult classics. You never know, you might even uncover a hidden gem or two.
2011 was the year that blockbuster sequels split their movies into two parts, like HARRY POTTER and TWILIGHT. The #1 movie at the box office in 2011 was HARRY POTTER & THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2 with $1.3 billion worldwide. While there were more than a handful of notable blockbusters; for me, it was the year of some huge indie / artsie surprises.
My TOP 10 is followed by HONORABLE MENTIONS and the Best of ART vs POPCORN.
Let’s dig in…
THE TOP 10
10. THE DESCENDANTS
Emotional character study about mortality and the legacy we leave behind. Well-written with impressive performances.
Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy blew up with this crossover smash hit comedy.
8. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN
A surprise hidden gem about a single mother looking back on how she raised her son (who is now involved in some sort of tragedy at high school). Stunning performances (from Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller) and brilliant direction.
7. MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE
Another indie darling that came out of nowhere, making a star out of Elizabeth Olsen. Incredible storytelling about brainwashing and deprogramming.
6. ANOTHER EARTH
This underrated hidden gem landed Brit Marling (THE O.A.) on the big screen with a big splash. Her understated sci-fi story is more focused on character than spectacle. Outstanding. Marling also wrote another intriguing head-scratcher this year, THE SOUND OF MY VOICE (listed in the Best of Art vs Popcorn below).
5. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
David Fincher adapts the Swedish film with Rooney Mara taking the lead and grabbing a lot of critical attention. Dark and unsettling, this complex mystery is incredibly dense yet satisfying. Layers of atmosphere coat every surface of this grimy revenge-based thriller.
4. RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
A CGI creation will grab your heart. There is action and adventure and spectacle, but the real surprise is how emotionally invested the story is.
3. THE RAID: REDEMPTION
The best action movie in years. Who cares about the subtitles… they don’t talk much. This is one the best martial arts films ever made. Cops clear a building one floor at a time, taking out bad guys. When the bullets run out, our hero relies on knives and pulse-pounding hand-to-hand combat. Mind-blowing martial arts choreography!
A somber, quiet, cinematic beauty meshes hard-boiled crime with artsie introspective character. Style and substance combine for the anti-FAST&FURIOUS.
1. THE TREE OF LIFE
One of Terrence Mallick’s best stars Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, and Sean Penn. There’s a reason all of Hollywood’s top talent begs to work with the legendary filmmaker: he creates living poems. Visual storytelling explores rich metaphors and complex themes. Reflective and hopeful, this tale examines the beginning of the universe, all the way up to what happens after life. From the cosmos, to us, to the micro-(and macro)-cosmos, and within; this film examines life. The emphasis on interpretive elements and internal monologues from characters may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but those that like to dig into cinema (as an art form) will absolutely relish Mallick’s elaborate masterpiece.
50/50 / MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL / MIDNIGHT IN PARIS / MONEYBALL / SOURCE CODE / SUPER 8 / TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY / WARRIOR / X-MEN: FIRST CLASS / YOU’RE NEXT
THE BEST OF ART VS POPCORN
30 MINUTES OR LESS / THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN / CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER / COLOMBIANA / CONTAGION / CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE / FAST FIVE / FRIGHT NIGHT / GOON / THE GREY / HANNA / HAYWIRE / HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN / THE IDES OF MARCH / IMMORTALS / KILLER JOE / LIMITLESS / MELANCHOLIA / MY WEEK WITH MARILYN / PAUL / REAL STEEL / SCREAM 4 / SHAME / SHARK NIGHT / SILENT HOUSE / THE SITTER / SOUL SURFER / THE SOUND OF MY VOICE / SUCKER PUNCH / TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT / TAKE SHELTER / THE THING / THOR / YOUR HIGHNESS / YOUNG ADULT
MY MUST-WATCH LIST
notable films i need to watch
THE ARTIST / THE BEAVER / THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL / EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE / HARRY POTTER & THE DEATHLY HOLLOWS: PART 2 / THE HELP / L’INTOUCHABLES / IN THE LAND OF BLOOD & HONEY / THE IRON LADY / JANE EYRE / THE LINCOLN LAWYER / RAMPART / RANGO / A SEPARATION / THE SKIN I LIVE IN / WAR HORSE / THE WAY
What do you think?
Stay tuned for Rewind & Rank: 1993.