Top 20 Films of 2011

Well that was a neat year. 2011 was the year of blockbuster sequels and prequels that weren’t absolute failures (for the most part), and the year of genre bending. Matthew McConaughey actually acted this year, and Angelina Jolie decided to direct. 2011 is over, and you know what that means, right? Yeah! Oscar reject months! Sadly, January, February and March are the worst months of the cinematic calendar (no, this isn’t a real thing, I’m just trying to sound appealing), so what will we watch during these months of turmoil (especially in the supposed last year of humanity? For shame, Hollywood, eating up our time like that)? Well, you could always go back and watch the best films of the year. Or not, I mean, you could watch Fight Club on repeat and it wouldn’t phase me, but if you really wanted my opinion (which, why would you, this is the first post on a free blog), here is what I think is the best-of-2011.

OR you could push ctrl+f (command+f for Macs) and type in “reached the best film” to get to the number one because that’s all we care about, right? The winner. No second place or honorable mentions. For those who are as patient as Job, read away.

20. Crazy Stupid Love

Directed by: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Actors: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone
The title is incorrect. The movie isn’t crazy or stupid enough, or is the love crazy or stupid enough. But that’s the whole point. I’ve heard complaints about the misleading title and I think people missed the point. Love is a concept that has been misconstrued, for better and for worse. After realizing his wife wants to divorce him, Cal Weaver takes a stab at being a ladies man through the help of the definition-of-suave Jacob.  He’s not the only one with relationship difficulties. In fact, everyone around him is currently suffering with the same mindset; Love sucks. Most love movies suck, too. They’re unrealistic and cliche. While this film, with its shocking portrayal of the 6 degrees of separation (and that’s not just because Kevin Bacon’s in it) is unrealistic, it does its best to not be cliche by showing us a whole range of characters. It’s impossible to not find one to relate to, whether the characters are major or minor. Nothing too deep here. Just a talented cast doing their best with a script that cares about the intelligence of the audience. So let me get this straight. In a year that gave us horrible light comedies, we had one that jumped ahead of the pack and somehow is, surprisingly, re-watchable? From the guys that brought us the underrated I Love You Phillip Morris? I’ll take it!

19. Martha Marcy May Marlene

Directed by: Sean Durkin
Actors: Elizabeth Olsen, Sarah Paulson, John Hawkes, Hugh Dancy
For the sake of making this piece less hectic than the lead character’s mind, I will refer to the film as MMMM just to keep things short and to the point. MMMM is the psychological film of the year. You’ve grown up with the Olsen twins, but never the third sister, Elizabeth: The most talented of them all. This hidden gem takes on a demanding and risky role, and it never felt like it was for attention or to trump the success of her older sisters. I doubt she will be nominated for anything (save for the well deserved Critics Choice Award), and, although it’s well warranted, it doesn’t bother me. MMMM is the door to the rest of her fantastic career, and maybe it was a good thing she didn’t grow up being a child prodigy like her sisters as her greatest successes are still to come. There’s more to the film than this fantastic performance, of course, but it’s all too difficult to explain. What is the past and what is the present? What’s real and what’s fake? Will we ever know? Who knows. The goal of the movie is not to know, but rather to understand the reason being Martha’s impaired mind. Most of the scares are off camera and yet they are all the more damaging, just knowing Martha is trying to hide these memories but just barely fails to do so. Last year, Dogtooth took the crown for being the most twisted film while still being well made (I’m looking at you, Human Centipede), but MMMM may just be all the more scarier because of its minimalism and its knack for seeming all too possible. 

18. X-Men: First Class

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Actors: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon
2011 is the year that blockbuster reboots and sequels were, shockingly, fantastic. After X-Men Origins, I think no one wanted to ever see a movie with the X-Men in it for a very long time. First Class, when announced, seemed like a horrible idea, but the four writers of the film felt otherwise. The finished product is arguably the best marvel movie yet. It contains the usual Marvel humor without ever being cheesy, and the humor is only used as comic relief. This film certainly required it, being one of the heavier Marvel movies (about the Cuban Missile Crisis, nazis, and more). Okay, so the story is balanced, serious-yet-easy to watch, and starts everything over again. Now they needed a good cast, and did they ever pick one. Fassbender’s been on fire all year and his role as Erik was no different. Byrne, another actor who is on a roll, also gives a fine performance. Lawrence has just become a star with Winter’s Bone, and she continues her hard work here. Every actor can be applauded, in reality, including McAvoy and Bacon (the latter giving one of the best of the year). The action is always necessary and only to continue the story, but at the same time is a rush to watch. Essentialy, First Class is action packed for the casual movie viewers and deep enough for the more critical ones. Out of all the Marvel movies released this year to set up the hype for The Avengers movie, none of them set the bar as high for Marvel quite like this film did.

17. My Week with Marilyn

Directed by: Simon Curtis
Actors: Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh, Eddie Redmayne, Emma Watson, Judie Dench
Now this is a film that could have gone either way, and the early screenings shown to critics definitely showed this. The reaction was mixed, and all of the success was based on Williams’ outstanding performance. But to make a true biopic work, everything has to shine. The movie was fixed up a little bit, and apparently it shows what final touches can do. I have not seen the original screening, nor do I want to. Having seen the original and final versions of other films this year like Drive, you can definitely see a difference, though. But, like Marilyn and her disguise to hide who she really is, I will take this brushed up version for what it is. After all, it is a difficult story to tell. Biopics are never good when they are overly dramatic and without a balance, or when they are also too week. I wouldn’t call this film heavy, but it does have its dark moments where you start to see Marilyn Monroe as a starlet crying for help. The vintage colours on screen set the initial tone, and the wonderful cast seals the envelope. This is a film with both highs and lows that isn’t meant to be a Monroe for Dumbies, but anyone who is interested in seeing the life of a star on and off screen will find this fascinating. Thankfully it was only a week with her, because I don’t know how I, or the movie, would cope with the burden of how complicated her entire life must have been.

16. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Directed by: David Fincher
Actors: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Stellan Skarsgard Christopher Plummer
Even though this is a book adaptation and not a film one, obvious comparisons to the Swedish film made two years ago (and released in North America last year) are going to be made. Personally, I thought this was going to be a massive disappointment, as I found the Swedish version to be a refreshing film. Fincher knew he needed to grab our attentions, and thus released promo videos (which ended up being the explosive opening credits) that promised rock n’ roll. Much like the project that ruined Mikael Blomkvist’s career, the opening is blown out of proportion, and only Fincher could make it work. The Swedish film was very gritty but beautifully edited and shot, while Fincher’s rendition is very slick but messily edited, with a haunting score that makes the sounds of the city intimidating (perhaps the case for a humiliated Blomkvist or a reclusive Salander). What makes this film its own creature and not an attempt to bring the same movie to American audiences is Fincher’s own love for the murder genre. He has stayed true to the book in many ways while trying to piece everything together and make it solely a crime film and not the first of a series, which, hey, actually works. Mara’s performance will obviously be compared to Rapace’s, as both had to endure one of the toughest roles of the past few years. With a captivating take of this heroine, like Rapace, Mara will now have a huge career ahead of her.

15. Melancholia

Directed by: Lars von Trier
Actors: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Keifer Sutherland
I love how deceiving the trailer is. It intertwines moments of surreality with reality and you’d expect the movie to be as such: A beautiful look at the end of the world. It is not. The artistically genius opening gets all of the phantasmal scenes out of the way as a dream-like prelude to the film: Von Trier’s way of changing the apocalypse into reality (and making our wonders of our fate merely dismal). Unlike many end-of-the-world films, this one has people that actually accept the end with open arms (and even some that could not care less). Instead of invoking only fear, Melancholia adds pessimism and optimism through one person: Justine: A woman whose world has already ended. Is she a good main character morally? Not even close, but neither is her sister Claire. But this movie isn’t about picking and choosing. It’s about acceptance with all the troubles life may bring, may it be with the problems themselves or with each other. The music of Richard Wagner works like a caring mother trying to hide the harsh truths of the situation, but we still know what will happen. It’s just much easier to deal with this way, and as blunt as this film is, it’s also probably the most positive movie about the end of everything.

14. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Directed by: David Yates
Actors: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes
So this is the end of a long, magical series. Much like the conclusion to Toy Story last year, I have grown up with the characters in this series. I was Harry’s age when he was first sent off to Hogwarts. To be perfectly honest, I used to be a terrible reader and had only read two of the books when the movie series started to be released. I can’t accurately say if the movies were a good adaptation of the books, but what I can say is that the series ended off with a bang. The characters, storyline and themes all matured as the series went on, so anyone that does not want to see this final installment (or part 1) because this is a “children’s film” is very much mistaken. While it is probably best to watch every movie from the start before reaching the best of them all, if you must skip to the last film, at least watch Deathly Hallows Part 1 as well so you can get the full picture, but even doing just this I wouldn’t recommend. See, what makes the final movie so grande is the years of build up, the way the final moments intertwine with all the other parts of the story, and a wonderful conclusion to a series that could have gone miserably off the rails. Yates, who arguably directed the best movies in the series, made sure that all that was relevant in the final book was included, so, splitting the story into two films, he ensures us that the final film is as big of a climax as it could have been, and I doubt any Harry Potter fans were disappointed.

13. Attack the Block

Directed by: Joe Cornish
Actors: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail, Jumayne Hunter
It’s not uncommon to find movies that blend comedy with horror and action, but not many have the courage to do it the way Cornish did. Cornish, best known for The Adam and Joe Show, is a comedian at heart, but his directorial debut shows that, perhaps, maybe he didn’t want to make a comedy to begin with (but, naturally, letting his spirit take control of the screenplay resulted in cleverly humorous moments). Other film blends intend to solely take its audience on emotional rides, but not Attack The Block. An alien finds its way to a London ghetto and a fearless gang, led by Moses, attacks the alien and parade it around like a trophy. That is, until larger, more ferocious aliens come pouring onto the city. Then the gang must exchange their bark for a legitimate bite. The message of never-ending violence and chain reactions affecting more lives than you think is so large for such a short comedy, but Cornish makes it work effortlessly. Moses, played by talented newcomer Boyega, gets his nickname for his ability to lead, and the parallels he faces as being both a bad and a good leader are unmissable. The film starts off at lightning speed and it never slows down, but really, would such an abrupt situation in real life take its time? I didn’t think so, and neither did Moses’s gang.

12. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Directed by: Thomas Alfredson
Actors: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Tom Hardy
The title of the movie sounds like a game, a bit like eeny, meeny, miny, mo, and that’s essentially how this movie starts off. George Smiley, an intelligence officer, begins his mission to find an informant completely in the dark as he was just forced into retirement following an operation gone wrong. He is asked to come back and find out who the “mole” is. This wordplay game of cat-and-mouse is so dialogue driven that you won’t expect its most shocking moments, both plot wise and visually. Much like last year’s The King’s Speech, this film is clouded with dark sets that paint a pessimistic England so the actors, led by some of Britain’s finest actors (old and new), don’t have to spell it out for us. In fact, almost everything was downplayed to support a more realistic approach, and that made our thinking a lot easier. It really works like a play-along game but it never acts childish about it. We figure it out along with Smiley and we never beat him to it. We still need him to guide us, however. I’ve heard complaints about the lack of action and how much talking there is, but this movie didn’t require action. What’s more memorable anyways, a “fancy” explosion or gun fight, or recalling all of the lies and plays-on-wording used right before our very eyes when we least expected it?

11. Jane Eyre

Directed by: Cary Joji Fukunaga 
Actors: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Judie Dench, Jamie Bell
Jane Eyre became an instant classic when it was first written by Charlotte Brontë as it was a rarity. Not many stories dealt with so many themes and social concerns, as well as having a flare of psychological anxieties, while being romantic. There have been many adaptations, not just film, of this chilling story, including a horror rendition and a ballet. Joji Fukunaga’s film fulfills the difficult task of being relevant, and surprisingly fresh. He expanded on the mental traumas Jane Eyre faced by creating both scenes of claustrophobic proportions and scenes that seem too open. The walls are full of bizarre tapestry, the lighting is bright and colourful when it shouldn’t be, and the shadows work their way as burdensome. Wasikowska is one of the many actors that, this year especially, have proven their rightful place as this generation’s best newcomers. Her reclusive nature and signs of emotional weakness but strong intelligence work so well with the themes of stockholm syndrome and wanted isolation, as her lack of self worth and confidence is always present. Then we have Fassbender who takes on a role ala Jeremy Irons (without the signature voice). He’s despicable and he very well knows it. He just cannot help it because it’s all he knows, and he shields himself with a false sense of true pride so he can’t hurt anyone else. Jane Eyre is a character that is both so wanted and also so despised, and only the best talent, both on camera and off, was needed to pull this off well. Mission accomplished.

10. Rango

Directed by: Gore Verbin ski
Actors: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Stephen Root
In all honesty, how easy is it to trust Nickelodeon studios? Their shows are fantastic (for the most part) don’t get me wrong, and I grew up watching all of their great cartoons. In fact, their studios have released great movies… Just not lately. Or in general. Basically, they’re hit or miss, and most of their hits had to do with their own cartoons. Gore Verbinski is also hit or miss. So how did Rango end up being the best creation of both worlds? A chameleon that calls himself Rango, whose real name we will never know, is a fantastic character concept for this movie. It supports anonymity in the wild west, a multi layered protagonist, and a comic shift between jokes for kids and adults. The movie is versatile with its imaginative visuals and slapstick stabs that will excite younger viewers, with a deep plot of corruption and mature jokes for the older audiences. Verbinski had his actors actually act out every scene with set up sets, and this fantastic approach to directing shows with the total commitment and fun shown by every single voice actor, big name or unknown. It’s a fantastic homage to the greatest Western movies, and a light charming movie for those not fans of the genre. Nickelodeon studios and Verbinski have always had a chance to strike gold again after some duds, but the odds of them winning at the same time made this film one of this years biggest surprises. 

9. 50/50

Directed by: Jonathan Levine
Actors: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick
If you have just survived cancer and you haven’t had a breakthrough in Hollywood, what do you do? Look at it with optimism. That’s what Will Reiser did when he wrote 50/50, a light comedy about a heavy subject. Rogen, having been there for Reiser in real life, plays, literally, himself, but does a great job at it. Gordon-Levitt takes on the difficult role of being the humbly-strong lead named Adam who is unsure of his future and not too happy about his past either. Until he finds courage, it is Rogen’s character that gets him to seize the day. That’s why Rogen works in so many movies. Even if he’s always playing a clown, he somehow gets us to just follow him and forget everything else. Gordon-Levitt, however, was committed, and the character he plays feels so personal because he made it that way by adding his own take on battling cancer (parts like the head shaving scene were improvised). The jokes are never rude about the sensitive subject, and they never tread on awkward moments. It’s a basic story of survival told through Adam’s memories of joy made possible by a best friend, and the memories of trouble that only made him stronger. It’s quick, to the point, and encouraging.

8. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Directed by: Rupert Wyatt
Actors: Andy Serkis, James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Tom Felton
Here’s another mainstream prequel that seemed like a cash grab on paper but ended up being a top notch film. We all know the twist ending to the original Planet of the Apes film, whether we’ve seen it or not. With all of the rubbish floating around about 2012, the apocalypse, and the sudden rise of zombie stories, this prequel is almost too relevant to our time (and now the entire story). There could have been some quick excuse to loosely tie this film with the original to throw in more action sequences, but the story was actually put together so well. In fact, the brilliance of the plot carries on to even when the credits are rolling (a moment of optimism and also pessimism), not giving me a second to put my eyes back in my head. It’s almost fascinating how this prediction of the end of humanity came from the simple process of trying to fix it. A supposed cure ended up being our demise. Is this a political statement, a statement about animal rights, or just a cynical look at humanity? You’ll have time to think about that. In the mean time, how can you think of anything else other than Serkis’s groundbreaking performance as Caesar? Like apes took over the world, cgi is slowly finding its way as necessary in the film world, and Serkis not only welcomes this new technology with open arms, he’s turning it into a true art form. 

7. Tree of Life

Directed by: Terrence Malick
Actors: Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken, Sean Penn
Ahh yes. Every year there is a movie that tests the patience of the audience. This year, barren director Terrence Malick finally released Tree of Life: One two-hour-plus metaphor. Did it test the patience of its viewers? Did it ever. There were many that walked out near the start of the film, but they missed out on one of the best visual experiences in any movie, as proven by its Palme d’Or win. With that bold statement, I will try my best to explain. The plot is hard to describe  and should not be described. It’s basically a self reflection, but if I had to explain the story to the best of my abilities it would be thus: The spark of creationism, spirit versus the harsh realities, and various perspectives of a family whose beliefs clash. Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain have the perfect chemistry to showcase not only love but also rage. The angelic, haunting score runs through the entire film and pieces all of the abstract visuals together, making this surreal world one cohesive unit. Will you fully understand it? Probably not, but that’s not the point. The film is open to interpretation at times and actually encourages us to get lost in our thoughts. One thing’s for certain: It’s unlike any film you’ve seen. Just give this film the Oscar for cinematography already!

6. The Descendants

Directed by: Alexander Payne
Actors: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Beau Bridges, Judy Greer
Director Payne’s last name is an ironic homonym for what his movies are about; The suffering of common man. His movies don’t force you to laugh at the misfortunes that we face, but in the end we laugh hysterically, whether it’s at a lonely old man or a snobbish wine taster. This time we laugh at Matt King, a man who is anything but in control. After his wife is permanently comatose due to a boating accident, Matt must become the father for his daughters that he never truly was. He wasn’t a low life or a horrible parent. He just was never really close, and now he is floundering to be both a provider and a care giver. I always thought Clooney was a bit overrated as an actor, because, for the most part, he either played a threatening leader (mostly connected with politics) or a smug cool guy, but I closed my mouth once Up in the Air came around. For some reason, I didn’t think it to be a one-time thing, and I was right. He soars above anything he’s ever done before as Matt, because he targets the role of someone we all know, whether it be ourselves, our own parents, or friends. He is lost and unsure of what to do or how to react, and let’s admit that it’s rare to see Clooney at a loss for words. This dramedy is timeless because, just like many unfortunate events in real life, you experience it the first time through with mostly dread and fear of what’s to come, but end up laughing and cheering the second time. Or you could laugh the first time through, and that’s okay. Payne laughs at how cynical we can be, and I guess that’s what brings us all together with his films.

5. Moneyball

Directed by: Bennett Miller
Actors: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman
It’s time to state the obvious intro to a piece about a good baseball film: I am not a baseball fan. Now that that’s out of the way, and the entry of Moneyball being the obvious statement that you don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy it, let’s talk about why this film is so successful. Aaron Sorkin (who co-wrote the screenplay with Steven Zaillian) adores numbers and equations. Looking at his award winning script for The Social Network and then at Moneyball, equations are written on walls and boards and then framed as if they were idols. Many movies about business and statistics lose people, but Sorkin’s absolute passion helps make the script just as exciting as he sees it. Then we have Zaillian, who needs no introduction after writing the screenplay for Awakenings, American Gangster and the masterful Schindler’s List (and thankfully we have a gifted director like Bennett Miller to translate Sorkin’s passions and Zaillian’s spirit). Brad Pitt gives the performance of his career as he perfectly captures the role of a man who is powerful but also self doubting (but he goes along with his insane ideas anyways). Jonah Hill was an unlikely pick, but as the movie taught us, unlikely picks can work, and Jonah Hill proved that he has more up his sleeve than just being loud and crass. Moneyball doesn’t follow sports film gimmicks, it’s a refreshing take on the genre, and it plays more like a question of character than a question of winning. Best sports movie of the year? Nope. It’s the best sports movie of many years.

4. Hugo

Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Actors: Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsly, Chloe Grace Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen
Once Scorsese won the best director award after many years of being snubbed, he decided to truly branch out and try things he has never tried before, and his first two projects were a psychological thriller and a curious modern fairy tale. The former stars his main squeeze, Leonardo DiCaprio, and the latter does not. The former uses a lot of elements from his older films, and the latter does not. So, how did Shutter Island end up being just okay and Hugo brilliant? This is Scorsese’s most heartfelt production to date. This family film tells the story of the orphaned Hugo Cabret who is fixated on putting an automaton back together, as he lives all alone in a train station in Paris. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Where this adaptation of Brian Selznick’s superb novel takes you is through the unexpected. Projecting gorgeous cinematography and shining with outstanding performances from all, oh was it ever-so-wrong of us to doubt Scorcese’s capabilities with a film of this nature. Hugo is Scorsese’s realization that not only does he love film making and the history of cinema, but he can make himself right at home as a legend with other filmmaking greats.

3. We Need to Talk About Kevin

Directed by: Lynne Ramsay
Actors: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller
The titular book, written by Lionel Shriver, never wanted to talk about Kevin but instead what Kevin did. Whenever crimes are committed or teens act disorderly, parents always blame the usual “causes”, like music, video games, friends, drugs, and et cetera. Shriver’s book and Ramsay’s jaw dropping film are here to explain that sometimes, there just isn’t a blamable reason. Blue Valentine, last year, was the film that used colour the best, and this year this film takes the prize. Seamus McGarvey’s attention to detail and colours is outstanding and hard to forget, like the paint spilled on Kevin’s mother’s house. His mother, Eva, chips away at the paint spilled while going through the past in her mind. She chips away in order to erase it. Her present haunts her as, like the paint on her house, she will always be reminded of the past, even when she wishes not to remember. Swinton’s nail biting performance as Eva is one of the year’s best. She is dramatic when she has to be, and determined at all the right moments. She doesn’t turn the film into a sob-fest but instead one about trying to move forward. I’ve tried to make this review not contain any blatant spoilers. The trailer for the film tries to achieve the same goal. Whether you know about Kevin or not, the film will always have something that will catch you off guard. This film may not be easy to watch because of how risky the subject matter is, but, if there had to be a film about this, there probably won’t be a better one than We Need to Talk About Kevin.

2. The Artist

Directed by: Michel Hazanavicius
Actors: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Uggie
Apparently the silent film genre doesn’t have to be dead. We as a society, especially with forms of media and art, are so quick to detach ourselves from our past achievements in favor of going forward. Hazanavicius, known for his spy comedy OSS 117 series, was laughed at yet again (only this time not in his favor) when he said he wanted to make the first major silent film in a very long time. No one’s laughing at him now. The Artist is a fantastic tribute to the silent films of the past with some of the best acting talent of today. Dujardin is a perfect candidate for the lead role because he speaks so much with just expressions and body language. His dog (who, in real life, is actually famous enough to have a campaign backing him to win awards for this film. I’m not kidding) shares a close bonding with him through his success and his downfall as the world around him watches from high above. With the score of the year, the talking is replaced with both joyful spirited jams and sad woeful melodies (and no film needed such a great score better than this one), proving that music truly is as necessary as any other element. The plot is basic and not complicated in the slightest, but does a film that beat the odds in so many ways need to be complicated? It wasn’t just a successful silent film for movie buffs, it’s a silent film for everyone, and how many directors can say they achieved that since the start of sound films?

1. Drive

Directed by: Nicolas Winding Refn
Actors: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks
So we’ve reached the best film of the year (in my opinion), the European-cinematic tribute Drive. I know many who loved this film like I did, and many who were disappointed. The trailer promised Fast and Furious action, insane stunts and tension. What they got was a new wave ride film. I can understand why people would be disappointed. However, those who went in looking for what Drive had to offer were not disappointed. This film starts off with one of the best opening scenes in years, where you learn all of the rules of the game that the driver plays by. This is when you know the movie is about him and not what happens to him. Gosling delivers his best work yet as the time bomb recluse without a name. You can just see his anger sizzle off his jacket like steam, but he rarely screams. He rarely yells. He just is anger and power kept pressurized in a jar. 
Music plays the entire film as if you had the radio on while driving somewhere and the wide, long visuals were the shocking scenes you drove past. It’s a short film, too, so it’s like that golden drive where you go really far but it feels so quick. Like driving, movies can be best delivered when short and sweet. Drive doesn’t take a lot of time to put the driver in many situations so you can “get to know who he is”. Drive respects your intelligence and is a rare movie that can pull off just getting right to the point. I guess I should take that cue to wrap this up. Drive is electrifying, suave, terrifying, enchanting. It’s an emotional roller coaster and a visual voyage. It is an audio dive into the cultures of yesterday. It is an introduction to thinking outside of the Hollywood box. It was a risky film about a risky subject and risky people, and it definitely paid off. Even those who were disappointed, can you honestly tell me there wasn’t a moment of that film that stuck with you for days? I don’t think Winding Refn wanted to make a film that would cater to the mainstream, but instead one that would be unforgettable, and his achievement is easily the best film of the year.

Woah you made it this far? Jeez, that’s embarrassing. Well, thank you for reading all of these thousands of words (literally, there’s about 5700 words here. A word for every bald eagle left on Earth if you will). If you have your own lists or think my list is good/garbage, why don’t you post it here? Well, we all have our own opinions anyways, so in the end, who cares? I guess I do.

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2 Responses to Top 20 Films of 2011

  1. Merz. says:

    A truly brilliant blog. Very witty and incredibly captivating! Looking forward to future blogs.

  2. Natasha D. says:

    Loooooove your blog. Really well written and honest. I’m excited to read more about your reviews on upcoming movies. Great job!

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