Top Ten Thursday: Best Movies of 2011

Sure we are a music blog, but we figured one more day deviating from the formula wouldn’t be so bad, so here are our favorite movies of 2011, since we like those too. Movies are a little harder to decide on since we are unable to see many of the best movies since most of the best movies come out during the holiday season to limited audiences. There was also movies each of us enjoyed but the rest of us didn’t get a chance to see like Hanna, Warrior, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and Moneyball, so these movies either missed everything all together or landed on our just missed lists.

10.   Fright Night

Fright Night Movie Poster

The most thoroughly entertaining movie of the year even in a year where vampires are no doubt getting a little old. This is also Colin Farrell’s finest performance beside The New World, Phone Booth, and playing Bull’s Eye in Daredevil. Yes, that’s sarcasm.

Best Quote: “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, and… that doesn’t leave much. Well… basically, Sushi and mini golf.”

9.       Super 8

Super 8 Movie Poster

As much as people talked non-stop about Hugo recapturing the magic of movies, I thought no movie did that better than Super 8, J.J. Abrams Spielbergian ode to E.T., The Goonies, and any other classic 80’s blockbuster. Kyle Chandler no doubt delivers a great performance as Deputy Sheriff Lamb but it’s the kids that steal the show in this monster movie. Clear eyes. Full heart. Can’t lose.

Best Quote: “Your obsession with fireworks, and I’m saying this as a friend, concerns me, and my mother.”

8.       The Ides of March

The Ides of March Movie Poster

The ensemble cast is spectacular in this unsettling political thriller, and Clooney kills his fourth film as a director, his first great film since the highly underrated Good Night and Good Luck. The Ides of March is an interesting commentary on our corrupted political world and we especially love the ending.

Best Quote: “You can lie, you can cheat, you can start a war, you can bankrupt the country, but you can’t f*** the interns. They get you for that.”

7.       The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Movie Poster

The American adaptation of the first book of the highly successful Stieg Larsson trilogy is executed brilliantly in a tense, graphic, and unrelenting thriller. Rooney Mara has probably earned herself an Oscar for her performance as central character Lisbeth Salander, and it would also be nice to see director David Fincher get some love too after getting snubbed for The Social Network and Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and not even getting nominated for Fight Club and Zodiac.

Best Quote: “Rape, torture, fire, animals, religion. Am I missing anything?”

6.       50/50

50/50 Movie Poster

A comedy about cancer. For being a comedy, this is a raw display of what its like to have cancer and the full range of emotions felt, which makes extra sense considering the script was written by Will Reiser, who as a cancer survivor, wrote the script around his own personal experiences. But even through the darkness, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, and others provide the comic relief to make the film a special brand of dramedy.

Best Quote: “50/50. If you were a casino game, you would have the best odds.”

5.       Attack The Block

Attack the Block Movie Poster

The British ghetto Super 8. But where Super 8 is a more slow-paced adventure that lets your imagination run wild, Attack The Block is a fast-paced non-stop action ride with crazy glow-in-the-dark toothed, pitch black aliens and some tough-as-nails hoodlum kids. This is probably the most fun I had watching a movie this year.

Best Quote: “I just wanna go home, lock my door and play FIFA.”

4.       Midnight In Paris

Midnight In Paris Movie Poster

Midnight In Paris is Woody Allen’s finest film in years. Owen Wilson plays the Woody Allen role notably, scoffing at quasi-intellectuals and romanticizing about the past. Seeing legendary writers and painters brought to life is also extremely amusing, from Dali talking non-stop about “Rhinoceruss” and Hemingway looking to pick a fight at anyone that looks at him the least bit funny.

Best Quote: “You always take the side of the help. That’s why Daddy says you’re a communist.”

3.       The Descendants

The Descendants Movie Poster

Director Alexander Payne (Sideways, Election) delivers his most heartfelt and human film to date in The Descendants. The usually unflappable George Clooney is shown in especially vulnerable light but remains humorous through tough circumstances.

Best Quote: “What is it that makes the women in my life destroy themselves?”

2.       Drive

Drive Movie Poster

An action movie of a different color. This highly stylized, highly violent nod to 80’s action movies features premiere performances from TV’s best (Christina Hendricks aka Joan of Mad Men, Ron Perlman aka Clay on Sons of Anarchy, Bryan Cranston aka Walter White from Breaking Bad) who support a signature performance from 2011 “It” man Ryan Gosling, who released three highly successful movies in Drive, Ides of March, and Crazy, Stupid, Love. This movie has tons of memorable scenes backed by an excellent 80’s electronic soundtrack.

Best Quote: “How about this – shut your mouth or I’ll kick your teeth down your throat and I’ll shut it for you.”

1.      The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life Movie Poster

Terrence Malick’s magnum opus asks much of life’s biggest questions on the meaning of life, death, and the nature of God. Many times, movies like these can come across as lofty, overambitious, and a really just a big mess, but Malick tackles the subjects like a work of poetry, balancing the incredible symbolism with mind-blowing cinematography. And that’s not even to mention a career-defining role for Pitt.

Best Quote: “Father. Mother. Always you wrestle inside me.”


 Just Missed:

Austin: Warrior

Warrior Movie Poster

Warrior pretty much sticks to your stereotypical sports formula, but does it so exceptionally well that it makes it absolutely worthwhile. One unusual tidbit about Warrior is the two main brothers played by Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton are only in one scene together beside the final fight at the end.

Best Quote: “I’ll tell you what: you do that to someone on the street and they’d lock you up and throw away the key! Break out the yellow tape, Sam. Tommy’s walking away from the cage like he’s leaving a crime scene.”

Wes: Moneyball

Moneyball Movie Poster

Did I say it was a good year for Ryan Gosling? Ya, Brad Pitt didn’t have such a bad year either. Moneyball is one of the smartest, most well-written sports movie in ages which takes this uplifting true sports story to new heights, but without losing out on excellent character insight into the mind of Billy Bean.

Best Quote: “How can you not get romantic about baseball?”

Todd: The Muppets

The Muppets Movie Poster

Stacked with all your favorite Muppets songs and puppets as well tons of excellent cameos from variety of great stars (Jim Parsons, Zach Galifianakis, Feist), but LxL’s own Todd Reynolds is really the old cat in the bag in this Muppets classic, appearing several times in the climactic scenes of the film.

Best Quote: “Am I a Muppet, or am I a man? If I’m a man, I’m a Muppet of a man.”

So there is the list. Let us know what we unforgivably missed, or got right, but still feel free to just rip on us in general.

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Author: Wes

Hoosier. Writer. Music Buff. Media Man. Tourist. Polar Bear.

8 thoughts on “Top Ten Thursday: Best Movies of 2011”

  1. I know this blog is very hipster, but you guys really outdid yourselves haha. I gotta agree with Mr. Burns on the Tree of Life. And I’m sure it’s ill advised to suggest a comics adaptation to make the top 10 but X-Men: First Class has to be a top 10 for this past year. It hit on all levels, especially amazing performances from Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy that set up the complex relationship between Professor X and Magneto. And Kevin Bacon was one of the best villians I’ve ever seen maybe second to Heath Ledger as Joker. Sorry I had to get the comic book geek opinion out there for this list, but other than that I think its a good list. (Haven’t seen Midnight in Paris or Descendants because I just don’t care about staying up on indie movies in my old age)

    1. I thought X-Men was pretty much awful, and I liked a couple of the other super hero movies this summer (Thor, Captain America to an extent). Really the two leads were the only bright spots for me. Plot was bland, other characters weren’t interesting, special effects looked cheap. Have you even seen Tree of Life Jordan? It’s definitely not for everyone, but if you like thought-provoking movies, its as good as it gets. And its not like Midnight in Paris and Descendants are all that Indie. Both have big name actors and are directed by big name directors.

      1. Big names really don’t have a lot to do with a movie being indie. It’s more about the studio that produces the movie and the release of the movie that makes it an indie. I guess thought provoking is great from a movie (Donnie Darko is one of my all time top 20), but not gonna be my #1, but it ain’t my blog so I will stop talking haha. But like I said I thought the list was solid as far as the ones I had seen on it being included. (Btw just recently watched Thor again after I wrote my X-men comment and I will say its pretty great, the characters and everything. It might be better than X-Men haha)

  2. Sorry I’m a little slow Wesley. I forgot to check the “Notify me of follow-up comments box via email.” Doh!

    I watched Tree of Life on a plane, by myself; which is maybe the most isolated environment I could have possibly viewed the film. I was focused and attentive throughout the entire thing, which was the problem; because it was boring as hayl. I’m all for thought provoking movies, and I have an intense sexual man-crush on Brad Pitt but I COULD NOT get over the 25 minute shots of the solar system. Just….why??? Is this the directors idea of being artsy fartsy? The story was moving and the acting was great but The Tree of Life continually tried to be something that it wasn’t.

    Thang was poops!

    Call me crazy but I loved Lincoln Lawyer.
    MI4:Ghost Protes was pretty narst.
    Super 8’s trailer was 74x better than the movie.
    Just watched Fright Night. I liked it but I’m pretty surprised it made your list; because I liked it.
    Moneyball was worthy of the list for sure.

    On a serious note, I read me some LxL every morning. I’m loving the iPad friendly, flip-through format addition you guys have made recently. Siiiiick. I’ve picked up some gems along the way so keep doin what you guys are doin. Watching Attack the Block tonight. Love you

    1. Thanks for the love. I do realize Tree of Life ain’t for everyone, but I thought it was pretty brilliant, also you are probably better watching that movie on a big screen rather than an 8 inch screen on a plane surrounded by crying babies.

      Moneyball was 4 on my list. The other two haven’t seen it though. Haven’t seen MI:4 but want to. Haven’t seen Lincoln Lawyer but don’t really care too. I absolutely love movies like Fright Night, Zombieland, and Dawn of the Dead that are just pure entertainment.

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