Last year I wrote a blog about all of
the movies I saw in the theater in 2010.
I’d always been
interested in the question “What is your favorite movie?” and
found my answer changing based on my tastes and my mood. This, of
course, is natural, but I also wondered how I would rank the movies
based solely on my gut reaction to it at the very moment I saw it, so
I started at the very start of the year, and listed each movie I saw
as I saw it. Each time I added a movie, I placed it within the list
based on where it ranked among the other movies at the time I saw it.
It was easy, because I didn’t have to evaluate each movie at the
same time. I was exceptionally pleased with how the list came out,
and I think it’s an interesting way to rank them.
I didn’t do it the same way this
year. I didn’t keep exact running track of them. Instead, I sort of
just kept a list, unranked, throughout the year, and decided to
evaluate them all at once by a new criteria.
“Would I want to see it again?”
I created several categories, and
started at the top, picking the movies that fit into the most
esteemed category (“Movies I’d want to own”). Once I’d
divvied them all out, I was able to then rank the more manageable
groups within their subsets.
I think it’s still a fairly
accurate portrayal of the movies I loved, liked, and disliked for the
year, and I’m keeping them in order… So basically you’re
getting my Best to Worst. Overall, I don’t think it was a
particularly strong year.
Let’s break it down…
“Movies I Want to
not your typical “dude” who wants action, action, and more
action. I’m definitely all about the story with many levels, and I
really feel like no movie this year did a better job of mixing great
acting, excellent writing, comedy, emotion, and people I liked doing
interesting and likable things. Joseph Gordon Levitt should be
considered for Best Actor this year, but he won’t be mainly because
the movie came out too soon, and is probably considered too light for
most voters (because what’s a movie about a young guy dying from
cancer if it’s not light?). My girl Anna Kendrick rocked it, again.
Seth Rogen proved he could act, and not just be awkward (like his
performance in The Green Hornet, for example). I cried at this movie,
and I’m not ashamed to admit it. It’s the only one this year that
really got me without me feeling a little manipulated (I’m looking
at you “We Bought a Zoo”). The Oscar talk has really gotten a
head of steam lately, and I rarely hear this mentioned, which is odd
since Rotten Tomatoes has this as the 2011 Winner of the Golden
Tomato award for Best User Reviewed movie. Everyone loved it.
The Descendants / Moneyball
Clooney and Pitt, at it again. Um… In completely separate
movies. Both feature very strong performances by these established
stars, and they’re getting the majority of the attention, but they
also featured great performances by other people, putting them over
the top. The Descendants features Shailene Woodley as Clooney’s
daughter, acting the shit out of a role that could easily be
one-note, AND a barely mentioned Judy Greer as “the other man’s
wife” being great in just 3 scenes. I loved her in that movie. In
Moneyball, our boy Jonah Hill, before he lost a crapload of weight,
playing a completely fictional person in a movie about a true story.
Kinda weird, I know, but he was really good. And that movie was about
baseball, so I had to give it extra points. Of all the movies on the
list, theTofu Muchacha would have cared the least about this
Moneyball…. One last note about The Descendants… Is it now
Clooney’s secondary mission to play the leading man opposite pretty
brunette girls who garner Oscar talk for Best Supporting Actress?
Harry Potter 7 part 2. –
You know what’s weird? I didn’t
have part 1 on last year’s list at all. That was, I think, a
mistake, or maybe I was just planning to count the whole thing as one
movie and saved it for this year. Yeah… that’s what it was…
Anyway, it’s very difficult to rate this movie by itself. All of
the years of buildup to it sort of give it too much context for me to
be completely honest about it. I could likely write a whole blog
about just this movie series. It’s great, it got better as it went
along, and I was totally happy with the on-screen realization of one
of my all time favorite books. It didn’t pack the emotional wallop
that the books did, but how could it? Still great, and I’m excited
to see the kids start showing up in other movies. Radcliffe in The
Woman in Black should be good.
Girl with the Dragon
I was about halfway through the book when I
went to see the movie. I couldn’t wait anymore. I’m super glad I
was impatient. I really liked it. Rooney Mara played Lisbeth Salander
as the total badass I picture when I read the book, and literally
every scene she was in was so arresting that I was almost hypnotized
by her. There were definitely some down points in it… I find the
actual mystery they’re investigating to be a bit of a non-starter,
but that’s more an issue with the source material. I found the
performances, across the board, to be excellent. Daniel Craig was
believable as “not Bond”, Christopher Plummer was crazy good, and
I loved all of the assorted Vanger family members. The Soundtrack was
also excellent. Like… really excellent.
There are a bunch of movies in the
next two categories, and for the most part they could have, upon
further evaluation, been swapped around and I wouldn’t have
questioned myself too much… However, so much of this experiment is
about “Gut Reaction” at the time of viewing that I couldn’t do
too much fiddling with them. I simply separated them between
categories at where I felt was the best place.
Netflix on a
Saturday Night (Reasonably Good Movies, worthy of a date night)
Bridesmaids / Crazy Stupid Love
Do you know that people are talking
about both of these movies in terms of OSCARS? That’s so strange,
you know, because I see these movies as essentially the same kind of
flick, and for the most part just really fun and fluffy. Of course,
both of these movies are elevated by good writing and pretty strong
performances (Wiig and McCarthy in Bridesmaids and Gosling and
Carrell in Crazy Stupid Love). In the end, I came close to placing
these movies in the upper category, but for whatever reason (as
opposed to the ones above) neither of them stuck with me long after I
left the theater. I think the TM liked them both a great deal,
though, so that counts for something.
We Bought A Zoo
I really liked this movie, except for
the dead wife/mommy storyline. I feel like, even though it was based
on a true story, this part was overly manipulative. Especially the
business at the end. I really am a sucker for father/son bonding
movies, and I love animals, and I am one of the few unabashed Patrick
Fugit fans out there. Overall, it was a really good movie with a lot
of memorable stuff, but I couldn’t rate it higher because I
couldn’t help but feel like a bit of a puppet as I walked out.
Mission Impossible: Ghost
Protocol / Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows
Okay… So… These movies were super
fun. I enjoyed both of them while I watched (especially Mission
Impossible), and they were both pretty stunning to look at. So… why
not in the DVD category? They suffered from the same disease…. The
central conceit/ mystery was a little too convoluted for me. I left
thinking that something didn’t sit right. I don’t generally have
a hard time following espionage plots, but the one in Sherlock Holmes
was almost impossible. I did have a hard time believing that
Moriarty, with his vast intellect, would be so consumed with
something so pedestrian as war racketeering. And in MI… how many
times is “Global Nuclear War” going to be the goal of someone in
a big spy movie? How is this a reasonable goal? Anarchy is
interesting, sort of, but the odds of death are far too high for the
villain to truly want to blow everything up.
Super 8 / The Muppets
had a tough time with these two. On the surface, they’re both
really strong movies that also happen to sort of prey on my own
nostalgia (partly for kind of awesome filmmaking with kid stars and
partly for Muppets… you can guess which was which.). I think both
would be higher had I felt more personal connection with The Muppets
(I liked them, I think, but I was never the huge Muppets fan that
some kids were) or with late 70s nostalgia. I was born in 1980. I
have a feeling if some of the key situations in Super 8 had had the
ring of MY childhood, I’d feel more strongly about it. In both
cases, they were enjoyable, but not indelible.
* Side note… I
never put together the central concept of the Muppets until recently
that the difference between Muppets and puppets is that puppets are
known to be toys with hands up their asses / strings on their arms,
while Muppets are regarded by all humans as completely normal and
fitting within the human world. Weird, huh?
I do know a few things for sure:
Chris Evans has never been as good as this.
2) The effects were awesome.
3) Elrond played the bad guy
4) The action sequences were tight.
5) The period feel of it was cool for a
super hero movie.
6) The main love interest, played by
Hayley Atwell, is smoking hot.
All of these things are points in
the favor of Captain America. Just one problem: For the life of me I
can’t really remember the plot of this movie. I mean. I remember
the Captain American origin portion, but lord… that whole Elrond
part was crazy and I don’t remember it. I think it involved Truman
The Big Year
This movie came and went without much
comment. It was largely disliked by critics. But you know… I liked
it. It wasn’t anything brilliant, and it wasn’t breaking new
ground, exactly, but it was a very likeable movie, about a quirky
subject (bird watching… which itself is a term disliked by that
community), featuring several big name, likeable stars who do largely
likeable things. It’s a pleasant movie that I would watch again if
it were on cable, and if I see it on Netflix on a Saturday night with
the Tofu Muchacha, I’m going to push for it… because otherwise
lord knows what nonsense I’ll end up watching.
NetFlix on a
Thursday Afternoon (maybe part of a movie marathon, or while we’re
spending a lazy day at home)
A decent movie with an utterly
terrifying premise. Kate Winslett dying early on doesn’t win it any
points. Ultimately, it doesn’t really do anything different than
several other movies with the same concept. One funny note… I’ve
never witnessed more obsessive hand-washing than I did in the men’s
restroom after seeing this movie. I mean, dudes were going to town.
Horrible Bosses / Our Idiot
Movies featuring guys I find funny and
for the most part are funny, but definitely aren’t ground breaking
at all. Horrible Bosses would have been way better had it gone much
further with the bad behavior of the bosses. I kind of feel like they
did it with the Kevin Spacey character, but the other two were bad
but didn’t really warrant the crazy level of hatred. They were
definitely bad, manipulative people, but MURDER material? I’m not
sure. Our Idiot Brother was largely predictable, but had some funny
scenes. Especially the ones featuring the hippie boyfriend of Paul
Rudd’s ex. That dude brought this one up at least a category.
Thor / X-Men First Class
The mediocre super-hero movies of this
year’s batch. They both had cool things (most of the Thor/ Asgard
stuff , and Fassbender). They both also had some fairly glaring flaws
(most of the Earth stuff in Thor, and the horrible, over-the-top
acting of Kevin Bacon in X-Men). Origin stories are interesting
sometimes, and sometimes they feel like setup. These two flicks wound
up more on the “felt like setup” side. Thor was the most
obviously “engineered for The Avengers” of all of the
pre-avengers movies. X-Men seemed to want to establish a new group of
actors to play younger versions of these characters, because
presumably Famke Janssen, Hugh Jackman, James Marsden are all too
fucking old at this point, or have realized they have better things
to do. If that’s the case with X-Men, I give it a pass, because I
like the new cast. Unfortunately, I fear that Jennifer Lawrence may
have something better to do now (what with being the lead in The
Hunger Games and all).
30 Minutes or Less
Okay… I loved 50 percent of this
movie. The Jessie Eisenberg /Aziz Ansari portion of this movie
cracked me up. I think Ansari is one of the funniest people working
today. He’s fucking hilarious right now. He’s got this delivery
where he points out obvious things with incredulity that makes me
laugh every time. Eisenberg’s character was also funny, and a
pretty interesting change from The Social Network. I mean… he was
equally unlikeable in his own way, but I enjoyed his performance
And then we have Danny McBride and Nick
I’m sorry, but I have to say it…
I’m tired of Danny McBride’s “Danny McBride” bit. I like
Eastbound and Down well enough, but isn’t that character a little
overdone at this point? Swardson too. You can’t really call it
“acting” at this point, can you? It’s just this weird character
he does where he’s full of crazy, perv bravado…. Oh… and he’s
an inept moron. When he did it in Tropic Thunder, it was fresh and
hilarious. 3 years later, he needs to come up with a new bit, and
I’ll be honest and say that he personally reduced the score and
grade of this movie.
The Hangover Part 2
I love the first movie. This was not
markedly different in either way, except that now it’s not as fresh
or as interesting. Funny? Yes. Even remotely satisfying? No.
NetFlix at 3 AM (You
know… that time of night where you’re just awake and you see
something and are all “Why the hell not?”. I would watch these at
work rather than a rerun of American Pickers. Probably. These are not
particularly good movies.)
I miss Eddie Murphy being funny like
this. His presence was literally the only interesting thing about
this movie (aside from a 30 second scene between him and the girl
from Precious which was in the trailer). Other than this, there’s
barely anything to make me remember it at all. Eddie Murphy still has
it in him somewhere. That is all.
Man… There were a lot of beheadings
in this movie.
Normally, I’d say this was a good thing, and
it certainly wasn’t a BAD thing, but damn…This could have been a
totally badass movie. It wasn’t. It was merely watchable. I would
have liked to see Peter Jackson make this exact movie with his own
script and effects team. It could have been fucking awesome. Oh…
and Mickey Rourke is almost certainly completely insane at this
point. I’m pretty positive.
Maybe Good, but Just the Once. (Can you say artsy fartsy?)… oh…
in no particular order.
Okay, okay… I
know like every art snob and his/her brother is totally having a
boner about this movie, and it was… you know… kinda good. That’s…
that’s about all I can say about it. Gosling was good, I suppose.
Albert Brooks is apparently already clearing space on his mantle. It
has Brian Cranston, who is awesome. It has Carey Mulligan, who is
also awesome. It has all the makings of an awesome movie, except for
being an awesome movie. It was fine, but you know… I never have to
see it again.
Midnight in Paris
I’ve never been one to totally get
Woody Allen. I mean… the dialogue or whatever, and you could argue
that Allen is the greatest Traveloguest of all time. He’s written
more love letters to New York than anyone, and now he’s on to the
European Capitals (First with Vickie Christina Barcelona). It’s an
entertaining watch, but has far too many annoying characters for me
to want to see it again. Poor Rachel McAdams, one of my all time
favorites, was made to be such a horrid shrew, I had to watch The
Wedding Crashers to wash my brain of her performance. She was so
one-dimensionally written that I wanted to stop watching. It’s not
like Owen Wilson’s lead character was much more likeable or
sympathetic. He wasn’t. People have loved this movie. It’s one of
the best rated Woody Allen movies in 30 years, and my thoughts? Meh.
It’s pretty. It needed more Adrian Brody (and you know that’s not
a good thing to think).
My Week with Marilyn
single, amazing performance that saves this movie from being almost
entirely unlikeable. Michelle Williams was worth seeing essentially
become Marilyn Monroe, but even with her crazy good portrayal, she
didn’t really succeed in making Marilyn a sympathetic character.
Eddie Redmayne may have changed his name from Colin to “Gawker”
and everyone would have gone along. I did like Judi Dench, but then…
doesn’t that basically go without saying at this point? I’m glad
I saw the movie for Williams’ performance, but now I have, and it
can go away.
The Ides of March
completely unlikeable people doing things I don’t care about.
Regardless of what my occasional blog may indicate, I’m not all
that interested in politics. I’m also not a fan of stories about
adultery and political intrigue. I saw this movie because it was
filmed in Cincinnati, and I was curious to see the local things they
used. Of course, they edited locations strangely, and it distracted
me. Clooney did a decent job, I assume, but it’s not my kind of
flick. It also featured my least favorite of Ryan Gosling’s 3 roles
this year, and the best performance I can recall of Evan Rachel Wood,
not that that says much.
Should Have Waited
for NetFlix (I would have preferred to be able to pause it to take a
break and evaluate the number of movies I see).
I remember finding this to be a
perfectly fine RomCom. That’s about all. Hugely wasted talent with
Krasinski (who basically picks one bad movie after another) and
Ginnifer Goodwin. The TM told me at the time that it’s a book in a
series of books, and that the 2nd one features the utterly
detestable character played by Kate Hudson. For the life of me, I
can’t figure out how anyone could tolerate 5 more minutes of her.
She’s one of the worst characters I can think of, and I saw Rachel
McAdams in Midnight in Paris.
Water for Elephants
I read the book and really liked it. I
have to admit that I hoped for more. It was a disappointment for
reasons I can’t fully articulate, so I won’t. It just wasn’t a
fun watch. It also featured the worst single moment of viewing of the
year, when the elephant was beaten. Bad.
If I told you that I saw an “intrigue”
movie featuring Jason Statham, Robert DeNiro, and Clive Owen, you
probably would have been excited, right? Well… I sure as hell was.
And then I saw it, and I thought… Huh… That was boring as all
hell. I don’t care what happens with these people at all. And it
also featured Yvonne Strahovski from Chuck. A good actress who also
happens to be a badass in action scenes, and also happens to be very
attractive…and she’s a total non factor.
Movies I wish I
could Forget (and possibly already have).
First the movies that I totally
forgot I saw until I started putting together this list:
Punch/ Hall Pass/ The Green Hornet-
I guess these movies happened. I recall
a guy pooping in a golf bunker. I recall a girl dressing up like a
doll. I recall an Asian man making coffee, and Christoph Waltz being
a bad guy. That’s about it.
I remember thinking at the time
that Sucker Punch could have been cool if it had made any logical
sense at all.
I remember thinking at the time that
The Green Hornet would have been better had it featured bad language,
nudity, and violence… Which is weird, because Seth Rogen was
recently interviewed by Howard Stern, and he essentially admitted
that the movie sucked because it was PG13 and not R. I kind of
believe him. He’s for sure right about it sucking.
I THINK Hall Pass featured
the pooping golfer. I cannot be sure.
The Rum Diary-
We’ve all seen this movie, back when
it was called Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I never have any
interest in seeing Johnny Depp play a drunk ever again. (more on that
later). This was a movie about drugs, sex, and Puerto Rico that also
happened to be completely boring. Amber Heard is in this movie and
it’s still completely boring. It’s just a boring fucking movie
that was unnecessary.
Just Go With It
completely ridiculous movie whose end could have been predicted in
the first 2 minutes. Also, it’s one of those maddening movies where
if the main character had simply just told the truth in the first 5
minutes of the misunderstanding, everything would have been fine.
Instead they go through INSANE lengths to keep a lie going for
absolutely no reason.
Brooklyn Decker – “Why do
you have a wedding ring in your pocket? Are you married, you
Adam Sandler – “No, I’m not married. I
was engaged once, and she broke my heart. I carry this ring around
with me all the time. Sometimes, and I’m not proud of this, I show
it to girls to get sympathy. Not my proudest moment, but at least I
didn’t do that with you, right?”
Brooklyn Decker –
“Wow… that’s super sad and kinda pathetic. Whatever, I’m over
it. Let’s bone again, and then why don’t you get rid of that
ring... And then let’s get married.”
Adam Sandler – “Done”
Puss in Boots
than the fairly entertaining concept that while it’s an
anthropomorphic cat, he still acts like a cat sometimes (blatantly
stolen from Dug’s squirrel obsession in ‘Up’), not interesting.
Not funny. Not engaging. Just a stupid movie that is nothing more
than a cash grab. And Humpty Dumpty was really weird.
I toyed with putting this in the last
category along with the other 3 worst movies I saw this year. I know
it’s a strange choice, because Charlize Theron is good. Patton
Oswalt is good. Patrick Wilson is good. All three of them are good.
Jason Reitman is good (I think… though come to think of it, I also
disliked the almost universally loved Juno). In any case, it’s
difficult for a hoard of good actors to make a really detestable
film, but they somehow managed to do it, while still putting in
decemt performances. Especially Oswalt, who kicks total ass. For
whatever reason, though, I couldn’t wait for this movie to end. I
HATED the main character. (Like… you’re supposed to think she’s
a bad person. I just couldn’t stand her). I didn’t understand why
anyone tolerated her nonsense. I thought, for a brief moment at the
end that the movie might be slightly redeemed. But no. I know that is
part of the supposed charm of it… that she’s so unapologetically
awful. But I feel like for that to work really, the character has to
have some sort of likeable thing going on underneath where you don’t
completely despise her. Fail. I don’t feel bad for her. I just hate
It’s the performance of Oswalt alone that prevents me
from placing it in the last group…
Movies that Actively Made me Want to Fight Someone. They were just
so my relationship with the Twilight movies and books is well
chronicled on this blog. I’ve compared it negatively to just about
everything. Most recently to the far superior Hunger Games trilogy,
that…so help me… better live up to my expectations in movie form.
Anyway, there’s something truly detestable about these people
taking an excruciatingly weird, awkward, gross book like “Breaking
Dawn” and dividing it into two equally excruciating, awkward,
weird, gross movies. Like Puss in Boots, it’s a totally blantant
cash grab, and it’s taking advantage of teens everywhere (and me,
who will undoubtedly see the last one in the theater too). This
wasn’t a good movie. It was downright dull. NOTHING happened. If a
person watched just this one movie, and didn’t understand the whole
vampire/werewolf bit, they’d think it was some sort of elaborate
“Sex=Pregnancy=Death” thing. Because that’s all that happened.
They got married. Sexed it up (violently) for a bit, she gets
immediately knocked up, and then the fetus tries to eat her from the
inside. Nice huh? Good teen fun. Fuck these movies where nothing
happens, and we’re expected to love it and salivate for more.
There’s not even a satisfying Werewolf/vampire battle, or even one
of the godforsaken teen love triangles. The choices have all already
been made. Even the horrid Rosalie character gets the shaft when all
of the “depth” from books is totally erased and barely eluded to.
The Green Lantern-
Easily my biggest disappointment of the
year. I LOVE the Green Lantern story. Hal Jordan, test pilot, is
bequeathed a magic ring that helps him guard the universe. His powers
are only limited by his creativity and imagination (and the color
yellow, idiotically enough). So many places to go with it. So many
options. But no… It was just a bad, cheesy movie with laughable
special effects and no imagination. Bad acting. Bad writing. Stupid
villain. (Paralax, what?!!). Ryan Reynolds personal gift is snark,
and they took that all away. Blake Lively is… terrible. What can I
say? She’s the worst. It was tough to sit through. It was like they
took an awesome superhero idea and spent a shitload of money on it,
and instead of giving it to capable people like Christopher Nolan or
Sam Mendes or Peter Jackson, they give it to a monkey with some
crayons. It was just awful. Totally upsetting. Totally
I was especially disappointed with the lack of
imagination used for the powers. When given the choice of creating
anything with his mind, he made like… 14 guns, a car, and a wave.
Seriously? That’s the best he could come up with? He’s the savior
of the galaxy? Bullshit.
And here it
is folks… my WORST MOVIE OF 2011.
of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
What total fucking
nonsense this movie was. You know why it was the worst movie of the
year? Because it was the biggest waste ever. First… I think it was
so bad that it has almost sullied how I feel about the first movie. I
barely regard the 2nd and 3rd movies, since
they were sort of obligatory sequels with good things and bad things,
but mostly guilty of pushing a little too hard when the first one was
Well, this one pushed so hard it nearly took
the good will the first one built up, and shoved it off a cliff. The
first movie is easily in my Top 10 movies of all time list. (I should
do that one soon. That’s so tough).
1-For the first time, Johnny Depp
looked bored playing Jack Sparrow. I’m not saying he was steller in
2 and 3, but he at least seemed to be having a good time.
2-The plot was crazy, and also really
3- Enormous wastes of Ian McShane as Blackbeard
and Geoffrey Rush. I’m not saying that these guys deserve meatier
material, but seriously. McShane played the greatest anti-hero in the
history of television. I think he can handle a little more substance.
Geoffrey Rush has a fucking OSCAR. He already played Barbossa to
perfection a few times. Why was this one so stale?
biggest reason it’s the worst is because it took something so
awesome, and with so much great background, had infinite time, money,
and scope to really get it right, and failed miserably. It was
boring. It wasn’t funny. The action scenes were SOOO BAD. When you
compare the fights in this one with the sword fight between Orlando
Bloom and Depp in Curse of the Black Pearl, you’ll see what I mean.
There was no rhythm. There was no heart to any of it.
this is ultimately my biggest pet peeve with big budget movies that
are highly anticipated. In that group, I’ll include movies like The
Green Lantern, all of the Twilights, this most recent Pirates, and
the last Indiana Jones movie….
These movies are guaranteed to make
a shitload of money. There’s no question that the 4th
Indiana Jones flick was going to crush it at the box office. So…
with that in mind, and no real need to rush something out, why not
come up with something really fucking good. There’s no way that
George Lucas and Spielberg thought that shit was any good. And it
hurt the legacy. Same with Pirates here. You’re telling me that
they couldn’t wait another 6 months to find the perfect script, and
maybe get a good fight director, and maybe get Johnny Depp in the
groove? I call BS. The thing is… they made a crapload of money, but
they seriously hurt the legacy of the movies. Maybe they just don’t
This is why I’m fine with Ghostbusters 3 never
seeing the light of day. If it’s not good, don’t push it.
leave it at that. I think a five thousand word blog is quite enough,
(Stay tuned for Part 2 later in the
week where I give out my Muchacho Awards. Yes, I’m really taking
this “Blog More” resolution seriously.)