Over the course of 2011 we were subjected to some pretty traumatic experiences – the Kardashians, the earthquake in Japan, Snooki’s book and Instagram. There were also some highlights like recovering from the recession, the Ford Mustang GT, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, the end of Osama bin Laden and Harold Camping’s Rapture. Many people are saying that 2011 was a benchmark year with tons of important things going on, the kind of year where you sit back and say, “Yeah, I was there in 2011”.
But, movies are what we really care about, so if we’re truly going to measure the success of the past year and gauge our expectations for 2012, then we aught to take a moment to see just how well Hollywood managed to entertain us.
Best: I Am Number Four
Critics seem split over this one, but we thought it was pretty damn cool. Sure the super powers thing has been done plenty but, what hasn’t?
On the plus side, the creators did reach for originality with the morbid certainty of literally knowing when your number’s up. The acting was good and the ending battle scenes were just awesome – it goes in my win column.
Worst: Captain America
Hugo Weaving was as awesome as ever – that guy can simply do no wrong – but even he couldn’t be in every scene to save this bland, drawn out, dead-end story. With lackluster action scenes and the usual feel-good American ‘go team’ vibe, the film failed to deliver anything memorable or unique.
Thor wasn’t anything special by my standards either, but at least the characters felt like real people. If director Joe Johnston had made it into an ice musical with everyone fighting while forced to wear skates, it might have been noteworthy.
Best: X-Men – First Class
X-Men: Last Stand definitely needed something to save it from the mire of its critical reception. Like the final installment of the Matrix trilogy, Last Stand just frustrated viewers.
First Class succeeded in redeeming the series by presenting very real, flawed people struggling against very uncommon, nightmarish situations. Granted the pixie girl stripper and the Nightcrawler rip-off were just dumb ideas, but good acting and balanced CG saved the day.
Worst: Red Riding Hood
Gary Oldman clearly owed someone a favor when he agreed to do this film, but he must have haggled to get killed off as soon as possible. When a mysterious vampire falls in love with a human girl, the town is in for . . . oh wait wrong movie, or is it?
Two good looking lads with premature access to hair gel are pining over a mundane female character and someone is a supernatural creature. We watched it properly for 10 minutes and then peripherally for the rest.
Best: A Separation
Already rated in many places as one of the greatest movies of our time, the film hit the screen last year to rave reviews. Dealing with somewhat heavier subject matter, it portrays a married couple living in Iran who are forced to choose between their child’s future and the well being of a parent suffering from Alzheimers.
The acting was outstanding and the dialogues very compelling, leaving it a firm favorite of the past year.
Worst: Sucker Punch
We completely got Inception and we even partially understood what was really going on in Fight Club before Brad Pitt confronted Ed Norton with his pants down – but Sucker Punch literally made my brain begin to seep out of my nose within 20 minutes.
Basically it’s a story about a sexual fantasy that a 14 year old boy is having and at the end, you realize it was the director and he just wanted to share it with you – along with random disconnected images he remembered from that time he was hallucinating his eyeballs out thanks to acid spliced with jalapeno peppers.