Stevennix2001's Top Ten Movies of 2011
Now, that my Oscar predictions are finally out of the way, I guess it's time to publish my top ten best films of 2011 hub. To be honest, I normally don't like publishing these types of lists, as I often find it's unfair to other films that I didn't simply have time to see, so it wouldn't be right if I excluded a movie simply because I never got a chance to see it. However, after seeing other film critics publishing their lists, I figured it couldn't hurt.
Take in mind, I didn't see every film of last year, so if I miss a film that you feel deserves to be on this list more than the ones mentioned, it's either because I didn't see the movie you think is more deserving, or I probably just didn't like it as much as you did.
During the top ten countdown, I'll be briefly explaining why I choose them to be in the list, while featuring videos for each perspective film mentioned. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy reading.
10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Although there was a lot of films that could have easily over taken the final "Harry Potter" film here, but I felt it wouldn't be right to have a top ten list without naming the final movie in a franchise that's arguably considered one of the great film franchises of all time.
I remember when the first movie was released, I didn't care for it at all, and deemed it a commercialized piece of crap that wasn't worth my time. The second movie did nothing to change my mind, as I saw it as a narrative rip off of the first film that I already didn't care for to begin with. However, when it got to "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban", I actually started to like the series, as I liked seeing a more darker "Harry Potter" story arc.
Of course, I did feel the series took a step back with "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire", but it's one of those rare movies that has kind of grown on me the more that I watch it; unlike the first two "Harry Potter" films. From there, I've been fully invested into the "Harry Potter" film franchise since.
Although I won't go on record to say it's my favorite film series of all time, but it's definitely one of the best ones out there. Sure, some people may dismiss this franchise as nothing more than over hyped movie series, but it's actually quite an interesting story. Like most great fantasy/science fiction franchises, they normally work the best when you have a strong character driven story arc to carry it, and the "Harry Potter" franchise handles that easily. Not only does it produce a strong coming of age type story, but it presents arguably the greatest epic climax ever produced in a fantasy film franchise.
Say what you want about this series, but there's no arguing against the results here, as "Harry Potter" deserves to be ranked as one of the greatest movie series of all time. And, it's final film is nothing short than an epic masterpiece at it's finest. It not only meets the hype, but it surpasses the hype in every fathomable way. It's funny how I started off hating this franchise, but in the end, I came to find myself becoming a fan of it over time. Gee, isn't life funny sometimes?
In an era where great sports films are starting to become extinct, "Moneyball" comes along to prove that isn't the case. On the surface, you'd think this film would end up becoming another over the top sports film cliche where a GM takes a rag tag team of misfit players into the playoffs, after losing some of his key players. Then in spite of all odds, he manages to put a winning team together. Again, if you just look at the surface of the film, then you'd probably get the impression that it's another sports movie that relies on stereotypes and cliches, but you'd be wrong to assume such a thing.
No, "Moneyball" is smarter than that, and it's arguably one of the deepest sports films ever written. Unlike most movies involving baseball, this film chooses to go over more of the strategic and financial side of the game; where it shows that sometimes what we see in the movies isn't always what actually happens on the field. In the end, "Moneyball" is definitely one of the films of last year. And although Brad Pitt still suffers from playing Brad Pitt in his role as Billy Beane, you have to admit he carries himself rather well, and gives possibly the best performance of his career in this one.
8. The Conspirator
Although some people may not like this movie because it deals with a highly volatile subject matter, but if you look past the basis of this movie, then you might find yourself intrigued by arguably one of the best biographical dramas ever made. The movie revolves around the trial of Mary Surrat, who some might remember as the woman that was convicted of allegedly conspiring with John Wilkes Boothe, for the Lincoln assassination.
I should warn many readers that the film sends sort of anti-establishment message through it's film, as it portrays a side of the American legal system that's hellbent on revenge more so than actual justice itself; with logic or feasible evidence be damned. In some ways, this might put off a lot of people, but I tend to think of it as creative and bold.
Granted, you don't have to necessarily agree with the film on how it portrays Mary Surrat, but you can at least appreciate it's message it tries to invoke. It's a very powerful, and daring film to say the least. I've been meaning to write a review on it for quite sometime, as I even bought the DVD fairly recently. However, if you haven't seen the movie by now, then I'd highly recommend it, as it was definitely one of the most under rated movies of last year. Unfortunately, I doubt seriously most people will like this movie, due to it's controversial topic, but it's definitely worth watching.
7. Chico & Rita
Arguably the greatest animated love story ever told. Not only does "Chico & Rita" defy all expectations, but it surpasses them ten fold. The movie pays homage to various references to early years of Hollywood, while also referencing pop culture influences of Jazz and Latin ballad in our society. It's a beautiful love story that was not only very well told, but it's arguably one of the deepest out there.
Sure, some might dismiss this movie because it's a cartoon, but you'd be wrong to assume such a thing. Granted, "Chico & Rita" is an animated feature film, but that doesn't mean it's for kids, as there's a sex scene in this movie for Pete's sake. No, this is an adult cartoon that tries to tell a deeply heartfelt love story about a young pianist named Chico who shares an "On again" and "Off again" type relationship with a girl named Rita, as it pulls on the emotional strings of it's audience.
In an era of CGI animated features, it's hard to find ones that truly hit the nail on being unique, great, innovative and commercial friendly to approach mainstream audiences, but "Rango" seems to pull it off with ease. Not only does the film manage to present an engagingly deep and innovative story arc, but it also manages to still stay simplistic enough to appeal to mainstream audiences in the United States; which is not an easy feat by any imagination.
Plus, you have to almost love how this film pays such homage to the classic western genre of film; which like silent movies, it seems to becoming a lost art these days. Sure, there's been a few westerns that have come out in recent years, but nothing to really spectacular to where it'll lead one to believe that it might be coming back. No, like "The Artist" did for silent movies, "Rango" seems to pay homage to the once great western genre, while still presenting us with a deep enough story to stand on it's own merit. Truly, a great film if there ever was one.
5. Young Adult
To be honest, I was really surprised to see how ignored this film was last year. Not only was it one of the funniest films that I've ever seen, but it presents a unique story about a woman coming to realize that she really has a lot of growing up to do. It's a great dramatic comedy that I think anyone would love to see, but it's a shame that it suffers from being such an obscure film though. However, I think if this film had been better advertised, then it would've garnered more support by Oscar voters this year.
Having said all that though, it's still a very well thought out film. Unlike most movies that tend to rely on bland stereotypes and recycled jokes, this movie bases it's humor on everyday occurrences of the characters themselves, and never treats them as a cheap plot device. No, in this movie, they're treated as real people, with a great deal of depth to their persona.
4. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Although I try to like all genre of movies the same, a part of me will always have a soft spot for science fiction and fantasy films; hence it should be no secret that one of my favorite film franchises happens to be the "Planet of the Apes" series. When I first heard about this movie, I was very skeptical about it because of how badly the last movie was, but I gave this movie a chance, and I'm glad that I did.
Not only was "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" arguably the greatest prequel ever made, but it presented a deeply complex, yet simplistic story that captivated your attention from the very beginning, while never letting it go. It's a great character driven movie, and the special effects are nothing short of evolutionary. No pun intended.
Plus, where's the love for Andy Serkis? He was great in this movie, and he deserved an Oscar nomination for "Best Actor." Seriously, where's the love people?
To be honest, I really don't like family films sometimes. Sure, I do try to enjoy every genre of film equally, but most family films tend to border on the line of being fairly decent to tragically mediocre. However, "Hugo" seems to be a rare exception. Unlike most family fantasy type films, this movie doesn't try to talk down to you, as you watch it, nor does it present a story that relies solely on visuals. No, this movie presents us with an amazingly deep character driven story arc that not only pays homage to cinema's golden years, but it also presents us an epic fantasy story that makes this film almost like a modern day "Wizard of Oz" for a new generation.
If you haven't seen this movie yet, then I would definitely recommend it. The visuals are amazing, and I loved how Martin Scorsese shows how truly versatile he is with this movie, as it's obvious he put a lot of work into this masterpiece.
2. The Tree of Life
To be honest, I'm not sure if there is an easy way to describe this movie. Granted, the movie is presented in a rather abstract manner, but we have to remember that it was meant to be portrayed that way. Unlike most film directors that tend to follow the traditional narratives of telling a story, Terrence Malick boldly tries to present us with something truly unique and interesting.
The film was a piece of art in itself, and definitely deserved more praise by the Oscars than it was given. Granted, I can understand how some people wouldn't like this film, as the story isn't exactly easy to comprehend in itself. However, what I love most about this movie is that it challenges you as a viewer change your perception of what constitutes as a good movie, while introducing various philosophical questions about life concerning spirituality, nature and religion. It's truly a great and powerful film that's worth seeing, and if you haven't seen it by now, then you're definitely missing out.
All I can say is if you keep an open mind, and really think about the philosophical symbolism behind the story itself, then you might find yourself engrossed into one of the best films of 2011.
1. The Artist
Although I don't watch as many silent films as I would like to, but I have yet to find one that I don't like, as majority of the ones that I've seen ranged from being very good to great films. Plus, it's always served as a very big fascination to me see where the origins of cinema came from, as I often find myself appreciating silent films the more that I learn about the history of films in general.
Needless to say, "The Artist" is a rather interesting film, and I liked how it was the only other film that dealt with the transition that many actors went through when films converted to talkies. Many people sometimes forget that many actors lost their jobs, as not everyone had a good voice to make the transition. Although this film has gotten various comparisons to Gene Kelly's classic musical, "Singin' in the Rain", where it too talked about the transition from silent films to talkies. However, I'd sorely disagree though. Granted, they both touch upon the same subject matter, but I think both films approached it in different ways.
"Singin' in the Rain" dealt with the transition in a more positive aspect, and showcased the possibility of talkies as innovative. Whereas "The Artist", it seems to deal more with the aspect of how some actors simply couldn't, or refused, to make the transition. And even though the film did end on a redeeming note, the middle part of the movie was hardly upbeat as "Singin' in the Rain." But, I like how both films dealt with showing Hollywood's transition, as both seemed like very engaging movies to watch.
Although I doubt seriously "The Artist" will lead to having more Hollywood studios invest into bringing back silent movies, but it's nice to see that the art of silent film making hasn't gone away completely.