Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Slackers' Top 10 of 2011!


Well, since the Oscars have now passed, and we're finally done with the awards season, it feels like the perfect time to touch on each of our favorites from 2011 before fully diving into 2012. Each of us have a couple notable films that unfortunately we haven't gotten to yet, but we're happy to share our thoughts up to this point at least.

As any of you who have ever ranked movies before know, lists are always changing. We'll present our ranked favorites from the previous year, but know that opinions change over time, and even the effect a movie can have on a person can change over the years too. So while these can be used as great guidelines, don't, by any means, take these as set-in-stone lists. They're our favorites at the moment.

So, without wasting any more of your time, we'll dive right into them after the break - the films that each of us found the best from 2011!

Alex Schopp -
(Notable 'Haven't-Seens': "Shame", "We Need to Talk About Kevin", "'Margaret", "Melancholia")

     1. Moneyball

A perfect mix of my two loves - baseball and movies. Great story, great acting, great music score (my favorite of the year).
     2. X-Men: First Class
Cared about these characters way more than I thought I could. Fassbender made this movie.
     3. Warrior
Again, great characters. So emotional and honest.
     4. 50/50
A serious emotional drama with plenty of light-hearted comedy.
     5. Take Shelter
I was so impressed by how much I rooted for this guy.
     6. Midnight in Paris
My favorite Woody Allen movie to date. Loved the themes in this one. Great concept.
     7. Win Win
Really good character drama. I continue to love Paul Giamatti in everything he's in.
     8. Contagion
One of the three best music scores of the year for me. Really drove the movie. Plus I enjoy the apocalyptic genre. "Outbreak" but with how the world would really respond.
     9. Drive
The third movie featuring one of my favorite scores of the year. Such a subtle movie with subtle characters. I actually barely cared about this movie the first time I saw it.
     10. Young Adult
Such dark characters. Depressing stories all around. You feel bad for Theron's character, but you also really hate her. Very good writing; a tone I was unfamiliar with before this film.

Ben Foutch -
The following list is not ranked. Having seen most of the 2011 releases only once, I couldn't accurately rank them in a favorite order. So the following ten films are just the releases from 2011 that I care about the most. Also, it should be noted that I haven't seen as many as my fellow bloggers.

     1. Midnight in Paris

Beautiful, funny, touching and insightful.
     2. X-Men: First Class
I guess FOX doesn't completely hate X-Men fans.
     3. The Ides of March
I felt stressed just watching this.
     4. Shame
Powerful performances and an overall deep look into the life of an addict.
     5. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Where's the cheese? I sure can't find any.
     6. 50/50
A movie about cancer that wasn't completely depressing.
     7. Limitless
Fun thriller that doesn't take itself too seriously.
     8. Captain America: The First Avenger
Perfect popcorn flick.
     9. Drive
I couldn't stop thinking about this for a few days.
     10. Sucker Punch
Visually stunning with philosophical undertones.

Derek Clem -
(Notable 'Haven't-Seens': "A Better Life", "Coriolanus", "'Margaret", "Like Crazy")

Also, I didn't give any reasonings for any of these because it is my hope that you watch these films and come to your own conclusions as to why I ranked them as I did.

     1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

     2. X-Men: First Class

     3. Young Adult

     4. Drive

     5. Midnight in Paris

     6. Hugo

     7. Attack the Block

     8. Melancholia

     9. Take Shelter

     10. Fast 5



Nathan Hinds -
(Notable 'Haven't-Seens': "The Muppets", "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", "Melancholia")

     1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

There was never any doubt that this was going to be at the top of my list. I almost didn’t want to put this on my list because it doesn’t feel right to have something be second to it - that might imply that some other film could’ve beaten it.
     2. X-Men: First Class
This was by far the best superhero movie of the year, but not only that, it was just a great movie in general. Eric’s story was so tragic, yet fascinating. I really wish that role would’ve gotten some award play, because it was such a deep role.
     3. Warrior
For something that, for me anyway, looked so cheesy on paper, these filmmakers really pulled off something quite amazing.
     4. Fast 5
This is the best pure action movie to come out in years. It has everything you can ask for: nonstop, pulse-pounding action, a nice revenge story, a heavyweight showdown between two action superstars, and then that awesome team up for the greater good.
     5. Limitless
I thought it was a very smart movie. They avoided bone headed plot holes that you would normally see in movies where they try to pass off ideas like this. Bradley Cooper proved that he can carry a film by himself and I can’t wait to see future projects of his.
     6. Attack the Block
When I watched this, I found it to be a much more fast-paced, funny, and all-around more enjoyable version of "Super 8". Plus it had a surprising amount of heart in it. And the ending gave me chills.
     7. Win Win
My favorite dramedy of the year. Paul Giamatti is one of my favorite actors for these types of roles. He plays such a likeable character in this movie; I wanted everything to work out for him.
     8. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
I went to see this in IMAX and it was so incredible! The skyscraper scene in IMAX was one of the best things I’ve ever seen. I’m not afraid of heights but that was one hell of a tense scene.
     9. 50/50
This movie had me all over the place emotionally. It had me laughing hysterically at some points, but then the seriousness of this movie hits you like a ton of bricks at the end. If you didn’t tear up right before he goes into his surgery, there is something wrong with you.
     10. Drive
I feel like outside of movie critics and hardcore movie buffs, this film didn’t get a lot of love. It’s not nonstop action, but it doesn’t need to be. It's subtlety and reserve is what makes the limited action so much more intense. Plus this movie has the best soundtrack of the year.

Andy Schopp -

     1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Too much heart and hope and humanity all coming from a single source. Caesar is the perfect hero.
     2. X-Men: First Class
The scene on the beach makes me cry every second I think about it. The friendship...the blame. Too much!
     3. Hugo
If I had to describe what movie magic meant I would simply show this movie and not say a word.
     4. War Horse
When an animal shows more human characteristics than humans it breaks my heart in a good way. The same way Superman breaks my heart as he lifts a kryptonite continent off of earth (I know he isn't an animal).
     5. Super 8
Best child actors of all time? Uhhh yes.
     6. Melancholia
......I had to make sure my soul was still intact after this. The execution of this movie was pefect.
     7. Take Shelter
This was a documentary about a real family that simply didn't know they were being filmed...or at least it felt that way.
     8. Midnight in Paris
We all suffer from this. But to learn that we all belong where we are is a truth only a few will ever find.
     9. Another Earth
It's so intense while being so subtle. If I have problems with this movie even I'm unaware of them.
     10. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Perfectly cast in all characters. It was intense and violent while being a great great thriller that had you questioning even if you knew the answer.

And there you have it. Each of our top 10 films of 2011! A lot of numbers to try and analyze here, but we'll try to break it down a little to give you a better idea of how things looked as a whole. The first thing that stands out to me is that of all five lists, only two of them had the same number one film ("Rise of the Planet of the Apes"). Otherwise, the rest of us all had different number one selections. This surprised me a little, and I was happy to see that variety!

Otherwise, moving down to the number two position, we find much less difference. Not only was "X-Men: First Class" the only film to show up on everyone's top 10, it showed up in the number two spot on EVERY LIST. So while it wasn't quite enough this year, I was happy for its incredibly strong showing.

We had two films that showed up on four of the five lists: "Midnight in Paris" and "Drive". "Midnight in Paris" was generally ranked higher, with an average ranking of '5'; while "Drive" came in with an average ranking of '8'.

The other films that made multiple appearances on the lists were: "Rise of the Planet of the Apes", "Take Shelter", and "50/50", all with three occurrences. And "Warrior", "Win Win", "Young Adult", "Limitless", "Hugo", "Melancholia", "Fast 5", and "Attack the Block" all with two.

Obviously the all-around quality with all of these lists is very high. We all highly encourage you to check out as many of these films as possible, as we see them as some of the best work of the last year.

As always, happy watching! And please let us know below what you thought the best movies of 2011 were.