Juan’s Top 25 of 2011
2011 has been what I consider a damn fine year of filmmaking. After watching over 100 films that were released, it’s been tough to narrow down which ones were my favorites. Hell, everything from about 70 and up on my list is well-worth a watch (and even some below those). It’s always tough to pick and choose the top movies, but let me tell you, it’s quite an interesting mix. These choices are totally subjective and some of them are just because of my love for one or two people in the movie rather than the film as a whole.
For this, I’ll be listing my top 25 films of 2011 (as well as an honorable mention because clearly 25 just isn’t enough for me). Here goes nothing!
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Honorable Mention: Weekend (dir. Andrew Haigh)
Weekend is a great little film about two men getting to know each other. It’s much better than most films about homosexual relationships, but still has its flaws (much like real people do). Some stiff dialogue and gratuitous drug use bogged it down a bit for me and left it dragging at a few moments, but both of the actors do a fine job keeping you intrigued in their budding romance. It might not be for everyone, but Andrew Haigh definitely knew just how to pull at my heartstrings.
25. The Artist (dir. Michel Hazanavicius)
Although I have my reservations about The Artist, I am happy to say that it is still a very entertaining and rare film. How often does one receive a black-and-white silent film in this day and age? It’s fun, it sports great performances from both of its leads, and it has one of my two favorite dog actors in it. It’s no masterpiece, but it’s most definitely worth a watch and one can only hope to see more from everyone who worked on this.
24. Pina (dir. Wim Wenders)
Wow. Pina is one of three movies this year that I can fully stand by in terms of its 3D use (the others will be mentioned later). Not only does it benefit from the beautiful direction that Wim Wenders gives it, but the subject matter is one of extreme beauty as well. The magic of Pina Bausch’s choreography is truly captured in this German documentary, and regardless of your interest in dance, it’s easy to get lost in the performances that are showcased.
23. My Week With Marilyn (dir. Simon Curtis)
By no means is My Week With Marilyn a great movie. It’s an alright film that gets a little lost but features some great music, decent supporting performances, and one of my absolute favorite lead performances of the year. Michelle Williams is not only drop dead gorgeous, but she reminds audiences just how talented she is by portraying Marilyn Monroe in a way that no other woman has ever done. Plus, her voice is irresistible — especially while singing a few tunes in the film.
22. Winnie the Pooh (dir. Stephen J. Anderson & Don Hall)
One of my favorite animated films of the year. It’s a big nostalgia piece from Disney, but it’s short, wholesome, and has just the right energy to keep you smiling from start to finish. Winnie the Pooh is pretty much worth watching at any age, but kids will be able to jump into it just like Tigger and parents will find themselves tearing up at just how good-natured it really is. There was also a wonderful short about Nessie attached to it that made me cry in theaters — just saying.
21. Carnage (dir. Roman Polanski)
Roman fucking Polanski. I don’t think there will ever be a day that I don’t want to watch a movie directed by this man. Carnage has four great actors just bashing each other in a wildly hilarious and intense ride. It’s a short movie, but it’s probably one of the most underrated films of the year and something that everyone should check out.