The year is coming to a close, so it’s a time to reflect on the “best of” for 2011. I love movies, and I go to the theater often, but let’s be honest: This year wasn’t the greatest for Hollywood. There weren’t many movies that I absolutely loved nor were there many instant classics that I think people will watch and treasure 10 years (or 50 years) from now.
But with that said, there were some films that I really enjoyed this year — and not all of them were critics’ darlings. I appreciate a good heart-wrenching indie movie, but I also love a fantasy period piece or silly rom-com as much as the next girl, so my list is formed from what I truly enjoyed this year. These are movies I would watch again (and again), and enjoy each and every time.
10) Super 8: This was one of the few movies from this summer that stood out to me. In the manner of ET, I can see this kid-friendly flick having a lasting presence for years to come. It’s exciting, intriguing and heartfelt.
9) Like Crazy: I wanted to LOVE this movie, maybe because the trailer was so well done that I cried every time I saw it. Ultimately, it wasn’t as good as I had hoped, but it was still very insightful, stirring and captivating. It deserves to be on this list because it’s a well-made film, and it had a profound effect on me; I was really emotional while watching it, and even after we left the theater. I related to the storyline as I’m a young woman madly in love with my soulmate, and we’ve faced having to be apart (though luckily, not to the extent of the characters.) Prepare some tissues when you watch this one.
8) Footloose: I balk at remakes of classic films, and I wanted to hate this one. But guess what? I loved it. This is such a fun, feel-good movie with genuine laughs. It makes you want to get out of your seat and dance!
7) Drive: This moody film took me by surprise, and I enjoyed it for more than Ryan Gosling’s adorable face. It’s an exciting, modern crime flick with a killer ’80s-inspired soundtrack.
6) Martha Marcy May Marlene: I said this list was filled with movies I could watch again; I’m not sure I could stomach Martha Marcy May Marlene again, but that doesn’t mean this film isn’t great. It’s disturbing, chilling and sometimes cringe-worthy, but it’s also captivating and profoundly intriguing. Elizabeth Olsen, the breakout star, deserves an Oscar nod.
5) Bridesmaids: No explanation necessary. This comedy was a much-needed breath of fresh air during a season of decidedly dull and disappointing flicks.
4) The Help: I was hesitant about this movie, because I love the book; film adaptations rarely live up. Surprisingly, The Help was true to the novel, and it was charming and entertaining in its own right. It’s hard to infuse humor into a movie that handles such serious topics, but The Help managed to deliver laughs with heart and perspective. It’s not perfect, but I felt satisfied and entertained watching it; isn’t that really all that matters?
3) The Descendants: This Oscar-worthy film is likely to be on the top of many “best of” lists this year. It’s long, but worth the run time, and I enjoyed every minute. One gripe? It’s depressing. Very. I know not every movie is meant to be feel-good, but my favorites usually are.
2) Water for Elephants: This was definitely not the best reviewed film of the year, but who cares. I loved it! I love everything about it: The romance, the vintage circus setting, the period costumes, the animals, the story. I also appreciated that it was very true to the book, which is one of my favorites.
1) Midnight in Paris: This Woody Allen film is on the top of my list becomes it combines critical acclaim with feel-good fun. Humor, fantasy, costumes, romance, PARIS. It doesn’t get much better.
Honorable Mentions: Young Adult; Moneyball; Crazy, Stupid, Love; and Horrible Bosses.
There are still a bunch I need to see (The Ides of March! 50/50! The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo! Melancholia!), but for now, this is my list.
Which movies did you love (or loathe) this year?