Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Top 10 Movies of 2011

Every year my comedian and film critic friend Gariana Abeyta (that's her on the left, squinting through a rifle scope taking aim at a coyote. Or an agent. Same thing) does her Top 10 Movies list. Let us know what you think of the list and direct all hostile comments to Gariana. And all compliments directly to me. Her best picture Oscar goes to The Artist.

This may shock you, but 2011 was an excellent year for films. Let me rephrase that, an excellent year for “smaller” films. Foreign and art house fare flourished while Hollywood struggled like Justin Bieber’s siblings trying to get their parents’ attention. You had to dig deep and get dirty this year, frequenting shady and neglected venues where story and substance still reign. But don’t worry, the juggernaut that is the 2012 Hollywood line-up includes, The Avengers, Brave, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit, Prometheus, Django Unchained, The Hunger Games, and World War Z. By the time they’re done with you, you’re going to feel like you were an extra in Shame.

 Let me address one thing really quickly, you won’t be seeing The Descendants on this list. I’m calling shenanigans on that shit! I’ll suspend disbelief as far as you need me to when watching a film. I believed a man could fly; I believed a monkey from Skull Island could trample New York and climb the Empire State building. I watched Braveheart and believed that Mel Gibson was a good person. I will, however, only go so far: nobody would cheat on George Clooney. Nobody. You lost me at frame one, Alexander Payne.

These aren’t in any particular order and as always Suzy, thank you for having me back.

1. Bullhead – Every single one of us is given obstacles in life and not every one of us is given the tools to overcome those obstacles. For me that’s what Bullhead was about at its core. An absolutely jaw dropping performance from Matthias Schoenaerts also didn’t hurt. I’ve never seen anybody pull off being so terrifying and vulnerable at the same time. He also gained 50 pounds for the role. Which means you will also be able to find show times for Bullhead by Googling, “things Hollywood has never asked an actress to do.” Belgium’s 2011 nomination for best foreign film and you shouldn’t miss it.

2. Hugo - Let me start by telling you what Hugo isn’t, a children’s film, as a woefully bad advertising campaign would lead you to believe. Martin Scorsese sat down and wrote a love letter to his first true love… cinema. About halfway through the movie you realize that it’s a gorgeous missive not only to cinema, but also to one of it’s greatest pioneers, George Melies. Bonus points for the casting of Sacha Baron Cohen.

3. Terri – If I told you that Terri was about a High School kid that easily weighs 250 pounds, has zero friends and wears pajamas everywhere, would you still go? You’re a freaking weirdo. I love you.

4. A Separation – When I saw A Separation the old people behind me wouldn’t stop talking about bathroom tiles. What does this have to do with the film? Nothing. They sure were passionate about tile though. I imagined the guy with the bushiest mustache trying to talk everybody into going to Home Depot after the film for some senior citizen hip dysplasia rattling funzies. A Separation will win the Oscar™ for Best Foreign Film. 

5. Drive – Besides the fact that Albert Brooks was flat out robbed of an Oscar™ nomination I just realized that I have not one, but two films on my list that has a guy beating another guy to death with a hammer! You wanna hang out? No seriously, we should hang out.

 6. Midnight In Paris – The only thing Woody Allen does better than making films is making family gatherings awkward. Because let’s be honest, if he decides to make your family gathering awkward it’s going to be like watching the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel being painted.

 7. Rise of the Planet of the Apes – I’m a huge fan of the original Planet of the Apes. So much so that I was vehemently against this prequel. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. It not only honored the original, it made it better. I loved this movie.

 8. Attack the Block - If Attack The Block was a horse then Hollywood, in their infinite wisdom, would have shot it. Little did they realize they would have been killing Seabiscuit. It not only has no stars, but all of the actors are first timers who are teenagers or younger. If you add that it’s a low budget special effects film with a first time director you can watch the eyes of Hollywood agents gloss over in the same way they do when they find out someone is forty. How great is Attack The Block? It’s so good that it’s actually possible to close your eyes and pretend Joe Cornish had nothing to do with Tintin.  

 9. I Saw The Devil - What if you discovered that you were capable of far worse than the serial killer rapist who murdered someone you love? What if you had the potential to make his best efforts look like adolescent fumbling in the dark?

 10. The Artist -

Tout aussi honoré films comprennent:
Equally honored films include:

War Horse, Another Earth, Marwencol, Rango, Rubber, Moneyball, Shame, Hanna, 13 Assassins, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, The Tree of Life.

P.S. You can follow Suzy on twitter at @hotcomestodie and you can find me @garianaabeyta, unless you don’t like laughing, then you should follow @osamabinladen



  1. Yay! I almost wrote you 2 or 3 times to find out if there was going to be a list this year. But then I thought that might be rude or tacky because maybe something happened I didn't know about, like one of you took up hot fire pokers whenever the other was around, so I shouldn't bring up a sore subject.

    Yay for the movie list!

  2. Wow. You just changed our afternoon plans. Auggie is home sick and they're showing Hugo at the town cinema .


    Thank you.

  3. The only one I've seen is Midnight In Paris. I loved it. I want to be an expat in Paris during the '20s. I want to drink with Scott and Zelda. I thought the guy who played Hemingway was hilarious. I look forward to seeing the others and of course no one would leave George Clooney.


  4. You're a freaking weirdo and I love you too.

    (That cracked me up.)

  5. Anonymous8:21 PM

    HOLLYWOOD..nobody is looking forward to the EARTHQUAKE that's coming and it's going to be so much worse than any TSUNAMI or TORNADO.
    TEXAS can feel it shake.
    And so can EDWARD MEESE and DASSAULT as far away as NICE.
    SO FAR.
    SO FAR.
    SO FAR.
    But it's those rings of PEARLS that got a 100% DOOMME.

  6. Kjax - We always do it around Oscar time! It gives me time to catch anything I may have missed.

    The Empress - Go! Spring for 3D it's totally worth it.

    Janie - A true sister! Was that just ridiculous!

    Ann - Hugs!

    Suzy has the best fans ever!

  7. It's lovely to have a guide as to which ones to be sure to catch on DVD, since the smaller films never stick around for long.

    I thought Bryan Cranston was also AMAZING in Drive.

  8. Anonymous3:08 PM

    Finally, a film critic I do not want to shoot and whose opinion I shall seek out in future.
    I worked for Film Comment Magazine for years as an illustrator and with the exception of a few writers, was bored out of my mind.
    Who needs ambien when you can pick up a copy of that self serving tribute to the critics themselves, not the film. I suppose when the editors, who should be editing, are also writing for said magazine and being paid by the word, one can expect five pages of thesaurus words before one's mind grows numb.
    I am not being paid by the word here, my point is, thank you for a concise and entertaining synopsis of film 2012.
    I am now going to view the films on your list I have not yet seen, you have that power, may the film industry bow before it.
    X David