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Added by Xanadon't on 30 Nov 2011 07:20
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My 2011 Favorites - by Xanadon't

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My Top Films of the Year



Arranged in rough order of preference. (a few "2010" films are present in accordance with their U.S. theatrical release dates and eligibility for the upcoming Academy Awards.)
People who added this item 2307 Average listal rating (1578 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.8
Drive (2011)
Extraordinary in its cinematic confidence and style. Visually, it's one of the best-looking films of the year, and it's one of the most compelling and mesmerizing pieces of pulpy-sexy-cool greatness ever. Drive simply IS what's exciting to me about cinema.

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People who added this item 1915 Average listal rating (1155 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.5
Hugo (2011)
The most elegant and visually masterful film of the year. Scorsese's love letter to cinema/masterpiece of film-making runs an extremely close second. It probably is the "best" or "most accomplished" film of the year, and falls only a railroad stitch shy of my favorite.
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People who added this item 1082 Average listal rating (660 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.6
Pedro Almodovar's latest (and perhaps darkest) soap-operatic examination of those silly things called humans and the emotions that afflict them. It's got all the visual flourishes and strange paths of interconnectedness between characters that one would expect from an Almodovar film. It's a movie that has banged around in my head a good deal since I watched it. I plan on watching it again to decide just where exactly I stand with it (and where it stands on my list).

*edit*
A darkly fascinating work of contemporary genius that evokes at once Gothic class and pulp delight. The second watch was even more compelling and rewarding than the first.
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People who added this item 202 Average listal rating (114 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.6
An almost unbearably observant and sensitive study of depression and addiction. I was practically knocked over by the sheer force of humanity pulsating from this film.
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People who added this item 650 Average listal rating (397 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.4
A Separation (2011)
One of the best screenplays to come around in recent years, and one that provides tremendous fascination within the story, while also providing ample room to wrestle with myriad Big Ideas. This is an important movie and one that truly excited me in the way it demonstrates the amount of social and political gravitas the film art-form is capable of providing.
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People who added this item 498 Average listal rating (293 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.6
13 Assassins (2010)
Takashi Miike's film didn't score high with me because of his name alone. I've downright hated the guy's work as much or more than I've enjoyed some of the rest. It's the sheer epic awesomeness that lands 13 Assassins on my list. It's a big, thrilling, bloody marvel of a film with plenty of classic touches. While it will never receive the same cult status as some of his other titles, I have no doubt that this one is his true masterpiece thus far.


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People who added this item 663 Average listal rating (395 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.2
Beginners (2010)
This quiet little movie struck all the right chords with me. It's in my mind the most complete, self-aware, authentic, and moving film of all the indie/art-house titles released this year.
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People who added this item 602 Average listal rating (420 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.6
Fun, exciting, smart, fresh, and all around great to look at. This impressive directorial debut film was one of the standout highlights of going to the movies in 2011. It's a remarkable genre effort and in my opinion a better movie than most of you think.
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People who added this item 675 Average listal rating (432 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.3
Young Adult (2011)
Directed by Jason Reitman, written by Diablo Cody, starring Charlize Theron, and filmed in my hometown. Really, was there ever any chance that I wouldn't like this film immensely?

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People who added this item 106 Average listal rating (49 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.2
Pariah (2011)
Intensely personal, without ever feeling self-consumed. A remarkable debut effort that handles moments of gritty reality with grace, dignity, and an authentic feel. Pariah deserves a much wider audience than it's ever likely to get.
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People who added this item 2898 Average listal rating (1876 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7
Thor (2011)
I left the theater elated that this movie did everything I ask of a summer blockbuster. Equal parts high drama, exciting action, and playful humor neatly bundled up in a good-looking movie that doesn't cram an obnoxious attitude about itself down our throats. And I thought a rewatch from my living room was just as entertaining. Now that's my kind of big, noisy movie!
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People who added this item 789 Average listal rating (417 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7
Worth seeing for Michelle William's performance alone. It's a movie about Marilyn, a movie about movies, and a movie about what it's like to fall helplessly under someone's spell. And all of this works inside a flawless looking period piece. It's simply, but gracefully told and while it's not Best Picture material by any means, I have a quiet, but sturdy affection for it.

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People who added this item 160 Average listal rating (83 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.4
Bullhead (2011)
One of the most compelling central characters of the year backed by a stunning and powerful performance. A fascinating and heart-wrenching study of masculinity, compulsion, and restraint.

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People who added this item 627 Average listal rating (368 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.3
Submarine (2010)
Effortlessly quirky, highly literate, and delightfully fresh. Director/Writer Richard Ayoade makes a big splash with this debut. He'll be one to keep an eye on.

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People who added this item 284 Average listal rating (173 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.2
Win Win (2011)
Director Thomas McCarthy (The Station Agent, The Visitor) wins again. This one is perhaps a touch less memorable than those previous credits, but there's still plenty going for this movie that once again expands notions of "family" and examines how unlikely connections can be made between unlikely people.
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People who added this item 288 Average listal rating (189 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.4
Understated doesn't begin to describe it, but that's what you're likely to get when you adapt a short story from a minimalist writer into a feature length film. But strong and quietly powerful performances from every major player had me absorbed the whole way through.
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People who added this item 429 Average listal rating (264 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7
Trust (2010)
This film quite obviously doesn't work for everyone, but I was as plainly and purely engrossed by it as I've been all year.

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People who added this item 2063 Average listal rating (1354 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.7
Woody Allen's latest effort manages to be magical, funny, and delightfully charming when it's at its best. Owen Wilson excels as a warmer, better-rounded stand-in for Allen's often-recurring neurotic self-performed lead character. It's not Allen's most insightful or thought-provoking work (though it makes a couple of its own interesting observations) but it's likely among his most whimsical, and for the most part that's not a bad thing here. This is a film I didn't take too kindly toward upon first viewing, but a second look has quieted a few frustrated expectations and allowed me to really enjoy it for its strengths.

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People who added this item 1447 Average listal rating (872 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8
The Artist (2011)
If the entire film was as interesting, dynamic, and purely delightful as its first 20 minutes this really would be every bit as deserving as its Best Picture frontrunner status would indicate. Unfortunately the film gets bogged down a bit by an almost painfully straight-forward approach that hits us over the head with repetition of theme and idea. It rights itself by the end and once again approaches something truly special, though in truth this is an extremely fluffy affair throughout, albeit an often elegant one. But it's many charms are hard to dismiss, the performances are excellent, and there is something to be said for novelty.
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People who added this item 1505 Average listal rating (935 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.7
50/50 (2011)
One of the most welcome surprises of the year. Very touching and comedic without feeling five shades of manipulative. I'm still not entirely sure how they did it.
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People who added this item 601 Average listal rating (391 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.4
Take Shelter (2011)
A powerful and harrowing allegory dealing with the demise of the American middle class. Strong performances all around, exceptional visuals and music.
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Cutting Room Floor



Other high points in the year that didn't quite make the grade. Arranged alphabetically.
People who added this item 1069 Average listal rating (582 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.5
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People who added this item 1173 Average listal rating (785 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.3

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People who added this item 61 Average listal rating (38 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.7
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People who added this item 693 Average listal rating (413 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.8
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People who added this item 147 Average listal rating (92 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.5
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People who added this item 751 Average listal rating (479 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.1
The Muppets (2011)
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People who added this item 522 Average listal rating (254 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.8
Restless (2011)
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People who added this item 1256 Average listal rating (768 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.3
Shame (2011)
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People who added this item 243 Average listal rating (158 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.5
Stake Land (2010)


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People who added this item 1318 Average listal rating (892 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.6
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Didn't like as much as I was supposed to...

I understand (though disagree with) the arguments for some of them. But I still don't understand why Moneyball is so "great".
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Probably won't watch if I live to be one hundred



Well, 2011 is behind us which of course means another year in film has come to a close. I don't think it's been a terribly good year for movies, but it's come a long way since the rather dismal first half. While there are still a number of movies out there that I haven't yet viewed, they'd pretty much have to all shoot bulls-eyes before I begin considering 2011 in film much more than "middle of the road".

Even so, there are a couple very special movies that arrived this year, and a number of very good ones too.

Also worth noting is that this list exposes some of the relativity/silliness that goes into the way I assign star-ratings, so you may notice for example that here and there a 9/10 film appears higher up on the list than a 10/10. Sometimes it's simply because one movie has "stuck with me" better than another. Sometimes it's for different reasons. But it is what it is, and this is how it all shakes out for me.

Oh, and I'm allowing for 20 titles on my list but I'm still a few "worthy" titles short. Somehow or another none of the honorable mentions feel quite right. Hopefully I'll have no problem rounding out the rest once I've caught up with the unseen movies.

*See Also:
Top Ten Worst Films of 2011

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Yearly Favorites Collection - Xanadon't (33 lists)
list by Xanadon't
Published 4 years, 4 months ago



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Comments

Posted: 4 years, 11 months ago at Jan 2 12:38
Drive, The Skin I Live In, Take Shelter were great!
Great list!

(ps. A Dangerous Method wasn't that good.)
Posted: 4 years, 11 months ago at Jan 2 12:44
Thanks man! Glad you enjoyed all 3 of those films too. They're all challenging films in different ways, and exactly the kind I'm excited to see people appreciate.

And yes, I've heard from a couple of credible sources that A Dangerous Method was a bit of a letdown. But I have such a high opinion of Cronenberg that I'll reserve judgement for now.
Posted: 4 years, 11 months ago at Jan 2 14:56
I couldn't be happier that you discovered Almodovar this year and that you've responded so well to his movies. :) As expected, this list is a terrific summation of the year. Really look forward to your thoughts on the unwatched contenders and on what's in store for us in 2012. Oh, and I'm supposed to FINALLY get a chance to watch Young Adult tomorrow - can't wait.
Posted: 4 years, 11 months ago at Jan 2 20:03
I need to check out the movies on your list that I haven't seen yet, like Drive. Otherwise, great list buddy!
Posted: 4 years, 11 months ago at Jan 2 21:53
@MihaM- Do your best to see Hugo before it leaves theaters. It deserves to be seen on the big screen. And even shed the extra buck of two for 3D. I hate 3D as a rule, but this is the one exception. Marilyn obviously doesn't stand to lose as much if you don't catch it in the theater. (But of course the theater is my favorite place to watch anything.)
Posted: 4 years, 11 months ago at Jan 2 21:56
@lotr23- I couldn't be happier that you discovered Almodovar this year and that you've responded so well to his movies. :)

My feelings exactly!

And thanks so much for the kind compliment. I'm still pondering a "Year in Review" type list, but don't know if that I'll get the time. I don't expect to you (or most anyone, really) to be quite so enamored with Young Adult as I was, but I'm excited you're getting to see it and will be interested to see how it plays for you.
Posted: 4 years, 11 months ago at Jan 2 22:00
@phillydude- there really should be a rule against entering the theater after the movie starts

Agreed. I'd pay an extra buck for a "no crying infants guarantee" as well.

Still have to catch up with those damn dirty apes.

Posted: 4 years, 11 months ago at Jan 2 22:01
@Orlok- Thanks! I'd wager that you'll enjoy Drive quite a bit once you see it.
Posted: 4 years, 11 months ago at Jan 2 23:59
Thank you for providing me with a road map to the films I missed out on in 2011. Now I know what to watch as it becomes available, since I didn't even watch 10 new movies. Definitely need to take 13 Assassins for a spin soon since it's in my IQ. And we're agreed on The Descendants.

I'd pay an extra buck for a "no crying infants guarantee" as well.

Which is one of several reasons we frequent the Drafthouse. They have a no-kids-under-6 policy for all shows other than their Tuesday "Baby Day" screenings. And they also won't let anyone under 18 in without adults, which means no crowd of teens annoying everyone. I really need to hit up a movie soon....

Love the way this list looks too, by the way. :)
Posted: 4 years, 11 months ago at Jan 3 0:12
Yet another person who has named Drive as the best film of 2011! haha
Still get my vote, though :)
Posted: 4 years, 11 months ago at Jan 3 6:41
@the giraffe- Ha, well happy to be of service and thank you! And a "no teenage mallrat" type policy sounds awesome!

@SJMJ91- Hmm, well I didn't know there so many people out there of like minds, but I say that's great!
Posted: 4 years, 11 months ago at Jan 9 15:58
Great list! Terri was extraordinary. I finally got to watch it recently was highly recommend it to a lot my friends.
Posted: 4 years, 10 months ago at Jan 15 2:29
Drive and Hugo are tops on my Netflix list for 2012!
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Posted: 4 years, 9 months ago at Feb 22 13:12
Nice list, Drive was obviously a hit. Maybe you can check mine, i can assure you there are some movies you can consider "Possible Game-Changers"
http://www.listal.com/list/best-movies-of-2011-spgiammy
Posted: 4 years, 9 months ago at Feb 27 19:01
It would appear that we agree on some films, while there are certainly some I've yet to see! Can't wait for Hugo!

Added you here: http://www.listal.com/list/2011-films-top-10
Posted: 4 years, 4 months ago at Jul 23 13:19
War Horse was not that great. Unrealistic and kinda overblown with emotions. Would not recommend seeing it. I do agree on Tree of Life, I just found it boring and tedious, despite Brad Pitt being one of my very favorite actors. I was also very disappointed with the girl with the dragon tattoo. It didn't have the oomph a movie like that needed.
Posted: 4 years, 3 months ago at Aug 31 19:15
tree of life was a hot mess, we need to talk about Kevin was pretty bad, but the book was awesome.
good list, i had forgoten some of these titles already. i had no desire to watch girl with the dragon tattoo, and now i most definitly won't, ever...
Posted: 3 years, 11 months ago at Jan 9 12:58
I'm probably the only person which didn't like Hugo :D

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