Home > Film & stuff > My 10 Favorite Films of 2011, Plus a Special Guest’s Top 10!

My 10 Favorite Films of 2011, Plus a Special Guest’s Top 10!

Program from my screening of 'Shame' at LACMA

Well, the day you’ve all been waiting for has arrived. It took some time and I had to make some tough (not really) decisions, but I’ve finally settled on my ten favorite movies of 2011. Not until I actually sat down to compile the list did I realize how many movies this year impressed me…

A year is a long time, and it was fun to go back through and reminisce about all of the movies I saw. Oftentimes I didn’t even realize that a particular film had been released last year. It’s not like I empathized with Sophie and her choice (drama queen), but I really did have to leave off some excellent movies– which is good! No one wants to dig for films just to salvage a shoddy top ten list.

As an additional treat, my podcast co-host, Devin Marble, sent me his own list, so have fun comparing and analyzing our different personalities. And let him know what you think by dropping by his Twitter.

Oh, and a little group called the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided to steal my thunder and announce their nominees today of all days. The nerve…

So, finally, here are my ten favorite flicks of 2011:

  1. We Need to Talk About Kevin – Tough choice over Shame, but it’s just too damn terrifying to deny. Bravo, Swinton and Ramsay. As if I didn’t hate kids enough to begin with…
  2. Shame – Fassbender is remarkable, and the honest, unflinching approach by director Steve McQueen mesmerizes me. It’s a scary look at a real addiction that too many celebrities like to fake.
  3. The Skin I Live In – Gleefully twisted and frightening, Almodovar continues to be one of my favorite contemporary directors.
  4. A Dangerous MethodCold and clinical in all the right ways, Cronenberg directs another of the best films of his career in less than a decade.
  5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – A gorgeous remake and sickeningly engrossing. Fincher doesn’t get quite as dark as Seven, but I still love it.
  6. Young Adult – Uncomfortably funny (the best kind) and totally relatable. I feel like I know these characters, which may not be good for me…
  7. Midnight in ParisWoody crushes it again with a thoughtful and witty comedy. However, he’s been making films this good and even better his entire career without stopping, so don’t act like it’s a comeback.
  8. BeginnersOne of the most poignant films I’ve seen in recent memory, and in spite of the somewhat unimaginable plot, it rings completely true (which it is).
  9. Higher GroundAn intimate look at a woman with a crisis of faith that never preaches or condemns. I hope Vera Farmiga continues to direct.
  10. Rango – I haven’t enjoyed an animated movie this much since I was ten years old. Chinatown references and stunning animation make this endlessly watchable and hilarious.

And here are the few that barely missed the cut: Martha Marcy May Marlene, Win WinThe DescendantsMelancholia, 50/50, The Artist, Our Idiot Brother, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I could have sworn The Descendants would easily make it, but once I sat down and looked at my list, I just couldn’t figure out where it would fit in. Maybe I should have pulled a Tarantino and picked eleven. I’m sure I’ll have my regrets, but I’ll have to learn to live with them.

And these are Devin’s ten favorites:

  1. The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo 
  2. The Artist
  3. Hugo
  4. Super 8
  5. Warrior
  6. 50/50
  7. Win Win
  8. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  9. Muppets 
  10. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

There you have it, folks. Don’t be afraid to sound off in the comment section or at shortcomments@gmail.com if you think either of us made any egregious mistakes, or find me here on Twitter. And I love lists, so send your picks along and I’ll happily read them. Coming soon, I’ll give a little analysis of the Academy’s choices and I’ll probably descend into complaining about how gutless and boring they are. In the meantime, here are their nominees for Best Picture for you to mull over:

“The Artist,” Thomas Langmann, producer
“The Descendants,” Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, producers
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” Scott Rudin, producer
“The Help,” Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan, producers
“Hugo,” Graham King and Martin Scorsese, producers
“Midnight in Paris,” Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, producers
“Moneyball,” Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, producers
“The Tree of Life,” Nominees to be determined
“War Horse,” Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, producers

Disgusting. Mine are better. Stay tuned for my condemnation of all things Oscar. There are some massive snubs going on here and the Academy should be ashamed.

  1. Cindy Bowers
    February 2, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    I smiled when I saw the photo of your LACMA program. I have seen only one of the films you described in your “favorite” list. Your descriptions made me 1) want to watch a couple; 2) wish my uncomfortableness (if that’s a word) with creepy subjects and scenes took a back seat to sitting through a 2-hour fascinating/skin-flushing/jaw-dropping/lump-in-throat artful experience; and C) read more of what you write. Your mom

  1. February 13, 2013 at 7:47 am
  2. February 27, 2013 at 10:42 pm
  3. February 24, 2014 at 9:26 am

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