Juan’s Top 25 of 2011
15. War Horse (dir. Steven Spielberg)
An enormous cast of characters and some stunning direction and technical work from Spielberg make War Horse one of my must-watch films of the year. Sure, it’s sentimental, but who cares? Sometimes movies should be sentimental and this is one where it works just fine. There aren’t really any stand-out performances in it, but everyone contributes just the right amount of energy to this wonderful war film.
14. Young Adult (dir. Jason Reitman)
I never expected to ever say that I wholeheartedly loved one of Diablo Cody’s screenplays (let’s face it — Juno is just okay and Jennifer’s Body is the worst), but this one swept me off my feet. Theron’s performance as Mavis is outstanding and Patton Oswalt does just as terrifically. It really makes me wonder why they both haven’t been more hailed this year. Young Adult is one of the two best character studies of the year and probably my favorite Jason Reitman film of all time.
13. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (dir. David Fincher)
Everyone bitches and bitches about how this is a “remake” and blah blah fucking blah, but it’s a badass movie and Rooney Mara is awesome in it. David Fincher does a great job at working this adaptation into his own style — much like Zodiac — making it fit well within his filmography. Plus, Daniel Craig yelling “CAT” at the top of his lungs is the funniest one-word quote of the century.
12. The Adventures of Tintin (dir. Steven Spielberg)
Wowza! Who knew Spielberg had it in him to make what I consider the best animated film of the year?* Few people can really take the risk on adapting a series that’s mostly popular in Europe and attempt to bring it to the US, but it was a risk well-worth taking. The animation is truly riveting, the music is upbeat and entertaining, and the voice acting brings you into this wonderful world that Spielberg has created. Plus, the 3D is fucking awesome and you should all experience it in 3D at least once.
*I did because he can do anything, duh
11. Super 8 (dir. J.J. Abrams)
Forgive me for this line, but Super 8 was super great. Aside from some gratuitous lens flare (lol silly j.j.), almost everything about this movie was pure Spielberg and I loved it. As you can tell — from the fact that both of Spielberg’s films this year are in my top fifteen — I really love the man and it’s so interesting to see the way Abrams mixes his own work with the work of a man he appreciates so much. An alien, some kids running around, and good old-fashioned filmmaking always makes for a movie worth watching.