As I note every year, unlike most “Best of” lists, mine is less about the films released in 2011 and more about my specific choices of movie-watching in 2011. Theoretically, in this way you could have an awesome, endless list if you stuck purely to known favorites and classics, but of course, I like to watch bad movies, too (I don’t tend to list them among the best films of the year, though.)
2011 was pretty lame. Of the new films that I saw theatrically, no one single film really rose above the others. There were several “good” films of the films I saw, but nothing great.
The sing-along The Wizard of Oz (1939), on the other hand…is a great movie.
From the home entertainment side of things, there were a couple of great discoveries. Both Gaspar Noé’s Enter the Void (2009) and Yorgos Lanthimos’ Dogtooth (2009) probably made “Best of” lists for film critics last year, but I didn’t see them until 2011. Enter the Void is a trippin’-dicular psychedelic mind-blow of a film, shot in the first person perspective from someone on drugs and then from beyond the grave. It’s audacious and wild and really quite something to see. And harrowing. Lanthimos’ Dogtooth is a strange Greek comedy/drana that has a very David Lynch-ian sensibility. It’s about a family that lives in an isolated compound but is further isolated by the parents having taught the children that the entire outside world was dangerous. They’ve completely re-defined the adult children’s sense of reality and it’s a strange, dark, and interesting thing.
I watched a larger percentage of all films I saw with my kids this year, revisiting some old favorites like Fantasia (1940), Harvey (1950), The Bad Seed (1956), Poltergeist (1982), and Raising Arizona (1987). We also discovered a couple other classics like The War of the Worlds (1953) and Village of the Damned (1960), which I myself had never seen before.
Not a banner year. Here’s to a better 2012.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) dir. David Fincher
The Skin I Live In (2011) dir. Pedro Almodóvar
Drive (2011) dir. Nicolas Winding Refn
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) dir. Rupert Wyatt
Super 8 (2011) dir. J.J. Abrams
Source Code (2011) dir. Duncan Jones
The Wizard of Oz (1939) dir. Victor Fleming
Hanna (2011) dir. Joe Wright
Enter the Void (2009) dir. Gaspar Noé
Dogtooth (2009) dir. Yorgos Lanthimos
Battle Royale (2000) dir. Kinji Fukasaku
Raising Arizona (1987) dir. Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Poltergeist (1982) dir. Tobe Hooper
Village of the Damned (1960) dir. Wolf Rilla
The Bad Seed (1956) dir. Mervyn LeRoy
The War of the Worlds (1953) dir. Byron Haskin
Harvey (1950) dir. Henry Koster
The Thief of Bagdad (1940) directors Michael Powell, Ludwig Berger, Tim Whelan
Fantasia (1940) dir. various
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) dir. Michael Curtiz, William Keighley