Another year is over, so it’s time for another year-end wrap-up! This is my fourth end of the year best-of article on this site! Holy god damn have I been doing this for a long time! EXCLAMATION MARKS!
So, without further stupidity, let’s get to my five favorite movies that I saw in 2011, which were also made in 2011. Yes, that is the thing we are going to do now.
This made-for-TV mystery surprised me by the very fact that I even watched it. Seriously, I have no idea why I did that. I’m glad I did, though, as it was actually a pretty enjoyable, realistic little mystery. A detective has to go to a small town where a kid has been murdered and find out who dun it. Simple, right?
Actually, yes, it was simple. Maybe I just didn’t see a lot of great movies this year, I dunno. What I do know is that I saw this right after I had gotten really into the old Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movies, and while it wasn’t as good as those, it still struck that same chord. I really need to get back into reading mystery novels, I think enough time has passed since I burned myself out reading everything Agatha Christie ever wrote in a row that I could do it again. On the other hand, it has only been like 15 years…
Which of my top five lists would be complete without a couple superhero movies in there, huh? This time, only a really good one and this semi-self-parody made it (thank god. I don’t want to ruin my credibility too much). The Green Hornet is about Seth Rogan and a Chinese guy who dress up in silly costumes and drive around in an awesome car in an effort to get rid of the crime in whichever crazy, fictional town they live in. Chicago or something.
This movie was an entertaining action flick with a pleasant overtone of comedy, and it really works. It’s mostly due to the buddy-cop-ness of Seth Rogen and Jay Chou, and just how well they developed those two characters. Also, I was just really impressed by how realistic of a depiction of two drunk guys who decided to be superheroes this movie turned out to be. Fuck you, Kick-Ass. You are awful at everything.
Yes, porn made it onto my top five list, and not just because this one review garnered me more traffic than anything else I’ve ever published online. Okay, that’s part of it. Really, though, it’s just a really entertaining movie. Scooby-Doo has gone missing, so the rest of the Mystery Machine gang has to search through an abandoned, haunted house for him. And have sex. They have to have lots of sex with each other, too. I don’t remember why that was such an essential element, though…
If you take this as a parody film without the sex in it, it actually does a great job of making fun of the tropes and characters of Scooby-Doo without taking those characters out of the scope of one of their normal adventures. I keep saying it, but I was really impressed by that. Also the sex was good. What? I’m not a eunuch.
I’m just as surprised as you that a remake/prequel of a movie franchise which burned itself out on awfulness decades ago was one of the best movies of the year, but there we have it. James Franco, in an effort to cure John Lithgow’s alzheimers, accidentally creates a super-smart chimpanzee. Also on accident, this chimp gets locked away in a monkey prison (which they apparently just had laying around), and he gets angry and starts a monkey revolution.
I liked it. It’s a solid (if repeated) sci-fi story that focused more on characters, and specifically the character of Caesar the chimp, who didn’t really talk. The ending is pretty bad, with the requisitely retarded CGI action sequence, and the CGI isn’t actually all that great, but it’s a very good story with a powerful main character. This is basically the best one can hope for from a science fiction movie in the year of our lord 2011.
My favorite movie in 2011 was actually Captain America, which I had serious reservations about before I saw it. As far as I’m concerned, it’s constructed in exactly the right way for a superhero movie to be, and if it doesn’t become the new standard for the genre (replacing Spider-Man), it’ll be a damn shame.
In WWII, a scrawny patriot wants to help his country and volunteers for an experimental program which will turn him into a “super-soldier”. As a superhuman commando, Cap takes on HYDRA, a splinter group from the Nazis led by the Red Skull, who are basically just Nazis with gas masks and laser guns.
The impressive thing about The First Avenger is that, again, it’s a character-driven story. The guy’s super powers are there, and are a big deal, but they actually have nothing to do with how Steve Rogers works as a person, and that’s the most interesting facet of the character. The action is popcorny and goofy, and Hugo Weaving hams it the hell up as the Red Skull, but it really just makes it a summer blockbuster action film with a heart. So yeah, if you haven’t seen it, you better fucking get on that shit right now.
Finally, I like mentioning the worst movie I saw this year made this year, and while it seemed like there was some pretty decent competition, it all came down to the most obvious choice:
Yes, The Smurfs. An unnecessary live-action remake of a terrible kid’s show from the 70’s, made with two specific goals in mind: To get people to watch it out of a misplaced sense of nostalgia, and to make 800 billion dollars in product placement advertising revenue. The movie itself, well, it could’ve been about anything at all, it doesn’t matter. These Smurfs and Gargamel (played by SUPERCRACK fiend Hank Azaria) go through a portal to the real world where they have wacky hijinks and accidentally help Neil Patrick Harris not get fired from his job he is terrible at.
This movie has everything wrong with movies in it. The clumsily-placed pop songs, the CGI dance number involving a bunch of cute things for no reason, famous people doing voices instead of actual voice actors, several B-plots that go nowhere and have no point, fart jokes, animal cruelty… it’s got the works. I fucking hate this movie, and I’d really like the people involved in making it to be punished severely for what they’ve done.
So that’s 2011, for me, in a nutshell. Superheroes, Smurfs, and Sex. Just… not a combination of all three at once, please. Oh god, I have to go throw up… Happy New Year!