Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!

Friday Five: Five Favorite Films of 2011

With the year coming to a close, I wanted to look back at my five favorite movies of 2011. I should note that this is not an exhaustive list. There were several movies that came out this year which I haven’t had a chance to see yet. I am sure there are other movies out there that are better than those I list below, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were ones that I will eventually see that would make me adjust this list. As of this writing, below are the movies I have personally enjoyed the most listed in no particular order.

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Thor
I saw this film back in October, and it has surprisingly stayed with me. I can’t quite pin on why I enjoyed it so much, but I did. I suppose much of it has to do with the fact that it isn’t a traditional superhero movie in the sense that Thor has a lot of higher concepts at play. And, amazingly, these higher concepts work. They would have failed in a lesser film (I’m looking at you Green Lantern). It isn’t a perfect film, but it hit me the right way at the right time.

The Muppets
Easily the best family movie in a very long time. It is funny on two levels, one that kids will enjoy, and another that adults will immediately pick-up (but isn’t “dirty humor”). The film carefully plays on the older audience’s nostalgia, but doesn’t depend on it. I also appreciate that it’s a family movie that doesn’t need to resort to 3D animation in order to be relevant the way Disney/Pixar and Dreamworks needs to be. On top of everything, the film is very surreal with an an underlying subversive tone.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II
I was blown away by this movie. If you don’t like Harry Potter, then chances are you won’t like this movie. However, between the strong performances, the epic nature of the story, the tight pacing and editing, and the fluidity of the narrative, this is one summer blockbuster that is almost in a league of its own. You can read my full-on review here.

Super 8
JJ Abrams and Steven Spielberg co-opt Steven Spielberg. A nice, somewhat original film that attempts to bring back the charm of those late 70s/early 80s films, and largely succeeds. Though slow at times, contrived and forced at others, and perhaps one too many characters for its own good, the film makes up for it by having fantastic performances from its young cast. Add in a wonderfully executed father/son relationship, and you have gleefully watchable film.

Fast Five
Easily the best action flick of the year. Honestly, the car stunts (especially at the end) are insane. Granted, they are completely ridiculous, but entirely watchable. This film knows exactly what its doing and doesn’t pretend to be anything anything else.

Honorable Mention:   A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas
Yes, I know I am cheating by having a 6th entry, but the third entry in this series is truly hilarious. I am a big fan of surreal humor, and I feel that comedy films rarely delve into that. The Harold and Kumar films, on the other hand, embrace surrealism, and this film continues with that tradition. This movie gets extra points for being in 3D, yet intentionally abusing it at the same time.

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6 responses to “Friday Five: Five Favorite Films of 2011

  1. CultureCast-Z December 31, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    I liked Super 8 but not enough to put it into my top 5. I thought Thor was actually kinda dumb, have zero interest in anything Muppets-related, and will probably never see the final few Harry Potter films. My top 5 is incoming shortly…

    • CultureCast-Z December 31, 2011 at 1:01 pm

      Actually I really only have a top four, because I have yet to see a *ton* of movies in 2011. Here they are:

      Fast Five

      War Horse

      Bridesmaids

      Rise of the Planet of the Apes

      • CultureCast-N December 31, 2011 at 10:56 pm

        Well, as I mentioned, this is a top 5 of what I saw. A few of those I put in there begrudgingly to round out a 5, because there were movies I’ve enjoyed, but ultimately forgettable.

        Super 8 (future podcast?) is a film I have hardened on quite a bit since seeing it, but, then again, when you consider the competition.

        I know lots of people didn’t care for Thor, and it is not a perfect movie by any means, but I think I just happened to be in the perfect mindset for it when I sat down to watch it. Out of all the superhero-related movies this year, it was easily the most enjoyable. For me, being enjoyable can go a long way for me.

        That final Harry Potter movie was surprisingly good. Like, really good. And you know I’m not a Harry Potter fan. I recommend it. The sad part is the preceding movie is the worst in the series, and you can’t have one without the other.

        No interest in seeing the Muppets, yet you watch My Little Pony? Something is amiss. lol.

  2. CultureCast-Z January 1, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Haven’t seen any of the new MLP episodes, but point taken. I’ll defend that show for being much smarter than typical moronic kids entertainment. Despite the internet explosion, it’s a quality show. I’ve never had much affinity for the muppets. Just plain don’t care for ’em.

    I’ve really hardened on Super 8 as well. I’d love to do a podcast on it. I liked it a lot when I first saw it, and still appreciate a lot about it. But looking back, man some of it is pretty damn dumb.

    I wont’ see the final few Potter films because I can’t stand David Yates as a director. I hate his color palettes and I hate the overly serious tone he brings to the films (though I recognize this is necessary for the final few movies). I’m also just so burned out on Potter. I’m just glad the movies are done. At this point, I honestly care more about Twilight than Potter, believe it or not (then again, Twilight hate is so 2009).

    I’m not pleased with my top five … err top four … either. I was either fairly disappointed with some of the movies I saw this year (Hangover 2, Transformers 3) or just didn’t think they were as good as they could or should have been (Super 8).

  3. CultureCast-K January 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Nick, I don’t agree with any of your movies. Super 8 was very good but not even 5/5 material. I have only seen Super 8 and Harry Potter and none of the others grabbed my attention to even merit a DVD rent. I’ll get back to you about some of the truly best films of 2011.

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