2011 in Film: Top 25 Movies (25-11)

By Jordan Magrath


Part 1: Introduction/Themes of 2011 (Dec. 28)

Part 2: “Best Of” Awards (Jan. 3)

Part 3: Top 25 Movies (Today)

Part 4: Oscar Predictions/Thoughts (Mid-February)

Part 5: Oscar Coverage/Future (Late-February)

Once again, I’ve failed to see a significant number of films.  However, I have seen 56 films from this past year, so consider this the Top 25 of what I’ve seen.

Click here for a list of all 56 films I saw.

Enjoy, and let me know what you think in the comments section.  I broke the post into 2 different segments so that it wouldn’t run so long.  Click the link at the bottom for the rest of the films.

25) “The Tree of Life”

A lot of critics have this film near the top of their lists, but I couldn’t get past some of the weaker parts of the film.  However, I think the film does a great job of telling a spiritual journey, even if I didn’t love the journey all too much.

24) “I Melt With You”

Don’t be fooled by its 14% Tomatometer.  I loved this movie, and thought it was the closest I’ve been to “Requiem for a Dream,” even if the latter is a much better film.  “I Melt With You” still is a shocking, drug-filled, and loud adventure into the lives of four college friends.

23) “Melancholia”

In a year of apocalypse movies, this has to be one of the better ones.  Broken into two different parts (one part being significantly more boring), Lars von Trier does a great job of showing just how scary and frustrating depression can be.  Kirsten Dunst has a great performance to solidify the film’s greatness.

22) “The Descendants”

This has become a bit of a whipping boy because of the Awards buzz it is receiving.  The film has a lot, from acting to drama to setting.  I don’t think it was amazing enough to be a Best Picture, but definitely worth checking out.

21) “Midnight in Paris”

Woody Allen directs a story that is literarily nostalgic, while being both funny and dramatic, too.  Owen Wilson may not be the greatest choice for the lead part, at first glance, but he didn’t take away from a film that is superbly written and acted.

20) “Bridesmaids”

This one wins “Best Comedy” of the year, when put into the framework of “most laugh out loud” moments.  Kristen Wiig starred and help write this hilarious tale of friendship and love.

19) “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”

Visuals alone make this film a contender.  The story isn’t anything groundbreaking, but when you put that aside and just enjoy it, this film oozes with awesomeness.

18) “Hesher”

I was surprised this film didn’t connect better with critics, especially after watching it all the way through.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the crazy foul-mouthed friend of a boy going through a depressing time.  Sound weird?  It is.

17) “Win Win”

Definitely one of the best dramas, and a contender for “Most Overlooked” of the year.  This movie, like all the rest of McCarthy’s movies, shows how important character and dialogue are.  It’s not overly funny or sentimental, but it is dramatic and a good story at the least.

16) “Moneyball”

“Moneyball” has the rare ability to be about sports but connect with non-Sports audiences.  If anything, it shows off the talent of Aaron Sorkin (co-writer) if last year’s “The Social Network” didn’t already.

15) “Margin Call”

Awards: Best Ensemble

Although it lacks a main character, “Margin Call” is a very relevant movie with the greatest ensemble of the year.  From the well known names to the unknown, everybody (yes, everybody) does a great job.  It is also smartly written, even if I didn’t understand all the financial jargon.

14) “X-Men: First Class”

After the success of the “X-Men” Franchise, it was a matter of time before they tried to correct the mistakes of the 3rd installment.  This prequel was arguably the best of all, which is saying a lot.  The story was almost seamless, but more importantly it made all us superhero nerds realize why we loved the predecessors.

13) “Beautiful Boy”

I’m oddly fascinated by tragedy, making the premise of “Beautiful Boy” tough to pass up.  When their son goes on an unspeakable killing spree, the parents are left looking back on their lives, trying to figure out what they could have or should have done.  It’s highly dramatic and pretty tough to watch, which also makes it one of the better films of the year.  This would be a contender for “Most Overlooked” as well.

12) “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”

Having one of the best trailers of the year, I was supremely excited for this film.  Unfortunately, I felt like the film had an overly dense script that made it hard to understand.  The story, though, makes up for any other downfalls, as does the awesome cast.  Pay close attention the whole time you watch it.

11) “Another Earth”

With what seems like an overly sci-fi premise, “Another Earth” is really the strange tale of love and loss.  This small-budget hit doesn’t touch science, but instead focuses on human nature, which seems like a movie more suited for me.


For the rest of the Top 25, follow the link to the Top 10.

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