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