To see a 'resolution list' of films I plan to watch in 2011, click here (no, they're not all classics - I'm being honest and realistic).
Otherwise, let the SPECTACULAR begin!!
The Five Best Films I Saw This Year (Academy Award eligible):
5. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World - To quote the immortal Information Society, "Pure Energy." I wanted to love this as much as the 20something fanboys out there, but it just missed being that magic movie for me by thismuch. Still, a hell of a show put on by Edgar Wright and cast.
4. Please Give - You know how rock stars start off poor and whining about the trials and tribulations of life only to make it big and have their third album be about how tough it is to be rich and famous? Well, this movie is kinda like those third albums, in that it's about a family of well-to-do New Yorkers whining here and there about how tough their life is. And yet, they're endearing, and really, really trying to be better people. Moreover, it's just a well-written, funny, expertly acted movie about, by and for adults.
3. City Island - There's no way this flick should be this high on this list. It's a pretty formulaic rom-com featuring a quirky family of archetypes. But it was just so damn charming and I had such a great time watching it. More below.
2. The Social Network - These next two are a cut above the rest, and it was difficult to separate them. It might be a highly unoriginal choice, but David Fincher returned to form with an expertly crafted story that holds a blazing fast script and a(n even more) star-making turn from Jesse Eisenberg as its trump cards. The Social Network may not be the most epic or original of all Best Picture winners (and it will win Best Picture), but it's like a star ballplayer that, while he may not hit the most home runs or steal the most bases, excels at all aspects of the game and has no glaring weakness whatsoever.
1. Inception - The most loved and (probably) hated movie of the year. Loved by those looking for a summer blockbuster that brings more to the table than explosions and rippling abs, hated by those who saw it after that first wave of us who fell in love with it and touted it as a masterpiece. In ten years, perhaps both sets of opinions (and those in between) will come to a happy medium once the dust has settled, but consider me still smitten with Nolan's inventive mind bender...that just happened to include the coolest action set piece of the year.
The Five Films That Barely Missed "The Five Best Films I Saw This Year" List:
5. Exit Through the Gift Shop
4. Toy Story 3
2. Winter's Bone
1. 127 Hours
Just missed: Animal Kingdom, How to Train Your Dragon
The Top Five Films I Didn't Get Around to Seeing This Year (I'm Guessing):
5. The Illusionist
4. Rabbit Hole
3. The King's Speech
2. The Fighter
1. True Grit
The Five Worst Films I Saw This Year
5. The White Ribbon
4. Due Date
3. The Book of Eli
2. Dinner for Schmucks
1. The Losers
10. Danielle Catanzariti, Hey Hey, It's Esther Blueberger - Quite possibly a star-making turn for the star of this seriously underseen Aussie coming-of-age flick. If you like Rushmore, well, this isn't as good, but it's still good, as is the girl with the hard-to-spell-and-pronounce last name.
9. Crispin Glover, Hot Tub Time Machine - By all accounts that I've heard, Glover himself is a bit of a loony tune. But give the man some credit. With all those Back to the Future royalties, he probably never needs to work again, but he took some time out of his godknows-how-busy-it-is schedule to poke fun at himself just a wee bit, and damn near stole the show.
8. Robert DeNiro, Machete - I've given DeNiro a lot of shit for his cover-your-eyes resume these last 15 years or so, but I have to hand it to him here. Hamming it up to the hilt to play a corrupt Texas senator, I had just about as much fun watching him as he must have had playing the role.
7. Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom - In a just world, she would receive a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination. We do not live in a just world. Guy Pearce and Joel Edgerton (both criminally underused) brought me in - Weaver (and Ben Mendelsohn and the rest of the cast I didn't recognize) kept me transfixed.
6. Jemaine Clement, Dinner for Schmucks - In a bad movie, Flight of the Conchords star Clement nearly made it worth it, playing a character that only he could play. Arrogant, artistic, outrageous...Clementine (okay, that was cheesy, but I couldn't resist. If only he had been featured more.
5. The cast of City Island - I was going to just put Steven Strait on here. I had no idea whilst watching City that the mysterious hunky guy was played by the same guy who starred in the Roland Emmerich shitfest 10,000 B.C. Yet he was far from the only great one on screen. Andy Garcia was in top form as the macho patriarch hiding his passion from his family. Ezra Miller was hilarious as the son with a somewhat strange fetish. Emily Mortimer did her charming Brit thing. And Julianna Marguiles was tough and sexy as the repressed matriarch.
4. James Franco's prosthetic arm, 127 Hours - Hell, it owned the screen.
3. Sam Rockwell, Conviction - Sure, Conviction might not add up to more than a Lifetime Movie of the Week or Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation. Okay, it's better than that, but it's awfully boilerplate and terribly formulaic. But there's nothing rote about Rockwell's performance as Kenny Waters, an angry, charismatic, depressed, and funny real person who lived a tragic life. Rockwell covered all bases and put on an all-around awesome show.
2. Thierry Guetta, Exit Through the Gift Shop - "But it's a documentary!," you might be saying. "He's a real person!"
I don't care if Guetta (and Exit) are 100% on the level or not, Mr. Brainwash is one hell of a character.
1. Nic Cage, Kick-Ass - I can't think of a better guy to channel Adam West. Perhaps Cage, too, will charm audiences by voicing a side character on an animated sitcom some 30 years from now. We can dream, can't we?
(Sidenote: could he possibly look more out-of-place in the upcoming Season of the Witch? I groan every time the commercial comes on; his monotone just doesn't suit the content...)
And Five That Have or Will Win Some:
5. Catherine Keener, Please Give - Does Keener ever not deliver?
4. Natalie Portman, Black Swan - We all knew Portman could act, but - finally - in Black Swan, she really Acts with a capital A. No surprise coming from Darren Aronofsky - his leading actors seem to always come out shining.
(Sidenote: I'd like to formally start the anti-Kunis-getting-a-nomination campaign right now. Don't get me wrong, I like Kunis a lot and she was fine here. But that's just it - she was just *fine.* At no point did I think that her role couldn't have been played by a number of actresses, even if she was pretty damn funny in the bar scene. And she's barely in it! She pops in and out of the movie like a groundhog, for mere seconds at a time. I'd much rather see the attention she's getting go to Barbara Hershey, or better yet, Winona Ryder (poor thing - always forced to get ugly for a role).
3. Armie Hammer, The Social Network - One could argue whether Hammer's performance was delivered more by him or by the visual masters behind the scenes of The Social Network. But then I would just utter that one line (you know which one) and no one would have a case in which to argue any more.
2. John Hawkes, Winter's Bone - Speaking of campaigns, I'm starting one to get Hawkes known as the modern-day Dennis Hopper. That's neither here nor there, though. In Bone, Hawkes is the "scariest guy that looks 150 lbs. soaking wet" that you've ever seen, and looks to have earned every scar on his body. At the same time, I'd kill to have his loyalty behind me.
1. Pete Postlethwaite, The Town - The best three minutes of acting this year were on display every time Postlethwaite took to the screen in Ben Affleck's heist flick. A pity he wasn't more used; an even bigger one that he died today (an event that had no bearing on his place here). Kobayashi will be missed.
The Five Films I Was Most Looking Forward to Last Year at This Time and the Results
5. The Expendables - Never saw it. Didn't help that it looked dumber and dumber with each new commercial.
4. Hot Tub Time Machine - Delivered on its promise and its title. Dumb fun, but pretty well-written, R-rated dumb fun.
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Here's what I said about this last year at this time: "True, I was let down by the sixth installment, but that hasn't dampened my excitement for the two-part finale all that much." Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice? See below...
2. Inception - Why wasn't this number one on my Most Anticipated last year?
1. Machete - Almost delivered on its promise, though it definitely delivered on the title. Robert Rodriguez decided to take a bit too much of the fun away in favor of a heavy-handed immigration angle that somewhat bogged down the film. Still, it was a good time, and I'll be there for a sequel. Some great one-liners and audacious action (intestines, anyone?). And Danny Trejo still fucking rules, even if he don't text.
The Five Films I'm Most Looking Forward to for 2011
5. The Descendants - Alexander Payne's latest. That alone is enough for me to perk my ears; having George Clooney star is the icing on the cake.
4. Contagion - As I stated in the "Films I Will Watch in 2011" post, "Damon, Winslet, Fishburne, Law, Paltrow, Soderbergh = I'm in."
3. Paul - Likewise, Simon Pegg + Nick Frost + Greg Mottola = sounds like fun. Hate the title, though.
2. The Hangover Part II - Yes, this is virtually guaranteed to be a major disappointment. I don't care - I'm willing to give Philips and the gang the benefit of the doubt, even if Due Date kinda sucked.
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II - Hmm, let's copy and paste a bit, shall we? "True, I was let down by the
Finally, Mrs. Fletch's Top 10
2. The Social Network
3. How to Train Your Dragon
4. City Island
5. 127 Hours
7. Animal Kingdom
8. Hey Hey, It's Esther Blueberger
9. Winter's Bone
10. Exit Through the Gift Shop