2011’s Movies Hit a Home Run

3 Jan

If you haven’t noticed, I see a lot of movies.

As I sit down to write this blog post, this year alone, of the ones that are considered 2011 releases, I’ve seen 50. Last year I saw 60, so I’m a little off my game, I guess.

But there are still a few movies that have yet to open in Boston that I’m sure I’ll see, and that’ll push the number higher.

And yes, I know it’s now a couple days into 2012. That’s alright. Again, we’re talking 2011 releases, the ones that are eligible for Oscars and all the other awards, no matter when they’re in my local theaters.

Okay, enough excuse-making.

2011 was a pretty good year for the movies. Looking back on all the ones I’ve seen, there were a good number of them that I gave high marks to (i.e., a B+ or better).

So what follows are my 10 favorite movies of the year.

1. Moneyball
An inside-baseball movie with a high-wattage star turn from Brad Pitt, who gives it the full Redford.

2. Hugo
Martin Scorsese’s latest only looks like a children’s movie. In fact, it’s a 3D tribute to the earliest filmmakers.

3. Martha Marcy May Marlene
A heartbreaking, creepy, intimate, and intense film about a young woman who escapes from a cult but can’t truly feel free.

4. Crazy Stupid Love
A romantic dramedy about how complicated love can be, featuring a sensitive performance by Steve Carell.

5. Super 8
J.J. Abrams’ homage to his childhood idol. It’s the kind of movie (almost exactly) that Steven Spielberg used to make.

6. The Descendants
Alexander Payne + George Clooney = A bittersweet story about a husband who learns things aren’t as perfect as they seem.

7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
An imperfect but very cool adaptation of the worldwide best-seller, featuring a kickass performance by Rooney Mara in the title role.

8. Page One
Journalism is alive and well at the media desk at The New York Times, thanks to some dedicated, memorable reporters.

9. Midnight in Paris
Woody Allen’s best film in years celebrates nostalgia and Paris, and nostalgia in Paris.

10. Win Win
An underseen gem featuring some great characters, well written by Thomas McCarthy and memorably played by a cast led by Paul Giamatti.

And the worst/most overrated films of the year?

Well, thankfully, I see a bomb coming and I stay away — for the most part.

That said, after 50 movies, there were bound to be a few that were torture to sit through or just underwhelmed me, despite popular acclaim.

I don’t have 10 of them, but here, in no particular order, are my least favorite films of the year.

Larry Crowne
Tom Hanks directs himself and Julia Roberts in a painful romantic “comedy.”

Bridesmaids
I think I’m the only person who found this film totally overrated. Don’t hate me for it.

Cowboys & Aliens
A sci-fi action film where the creators intentionally left out the humor. Big mistake.

The Muppets
Not the movie I was hoping for. The tone was off, the songs were largely forgettable, and Kermit wasn’t the guy I remember.

Drive
I just didn’t get this one. A cool performance by Ryan Gosling in a film that doesn’t know what it wants to be.

What were your favorites and least favorites? I’d love to know. Leave a comment below.

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