It was not a great year for movies, in my humble opinion.  But like they say in the most obnoxious Bud commercials yet:  here we go.

The Top Ten Movies I Saw in 2011

The Trip – Two prominent English comics eat and impersonate their way through the Lake District in a film that is barely a film at all but manages to be both hysterically funny and oddly touching.

Submarine – Young Oliver gets laid. A coming of age film that will make you forget that you ever saw one of those before. Memo to Woody Allen: This is how to write funny.

Bullhead (Rundskop) – Cattle  doping and simmering French-Flemish violence create a brutal backdrop to a horrifying and unforgettable tale of revenge.

A Separation – Educated, secular Iranian couple war over the soul and approval of their daughter as they approach divorce. Could have been filmed in Shaker Heights without changing a word of dialogue.

Another Earth – Overlooked gem that address the question of whether we can ever undo—on this earth or another—the damage that we do to each other.

Take Shelter – Another neglected small masterpiece about a construction worker with premonitions of impending disaster.

Drive – Great performances by Ryan Gosling, Albert Brooks and supporting cast in a stylized tale  whose roots run from Jean-Pierre Melville to Walter Hill to Nicholas Refn. (I watched Refn’s earlier Danish-language Pusher Trilogy this year, too, and found the three films astounding.)

Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene – Girl escapes cult and Manson-like leader but cannot shake the fear of being stalked. Gripping, real.

We Need to Talk About Kevin – So your son is a serial killer? In a just world, Meryl Streep would be Tilda Swinton’s maid.

Cedar Rapids – An old-fashioned comedy that makes you laugh without resorting to gross out.


6 thoughts on “My Annual Off-Topic Oscar Prognostigation Post”
  1. Thanks, Michelle. I remember the scene, of course, and remember reading something about Scott’s piece at the time. But, I forgot to mention. Just like I forgot to mention Miss Bala as a movie that deserved some recognition.

  2. Since you like ‘Another Earth’ and since this is a contemporary classical music community… you might find it interesting that the composer who composed the gorgeous music for the musical saw scene in this movie, is actually a contemporary music composer! His name is Scott Munson. You can see the musical saw scene from ‘Another Earth’ on his website and also hear his contemporary music, such as this piece performed at Symphony Space in NYC (which received a great review in the New York Times):

  3. Point taken, Jay. Maybe I’ve seen too many movies. I didn’t much like Hugo or Warhorse, hated Tree of Life (La Quattro Volte achieved the same idea better at 1/1000 of the cost), saw the earlier Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy series with Alex Guinness as George Smiley which is an impossible bar, even for as fine an actor as Gary Oldman. Thanks for mentioning The Skin I Live In and Certified Copy (What a delight to watch Juliette Binoche be the most stunning woman on the planet in three different languages.) I also loved a Norwegian film called Happy, Happy and a Japanese film called Caterpillar. Didn’t see Meek’s Cutoff yet but is on my list.

  4. How is 2011 not a good year for movies??
    Tree of Life
    A Separation
    Martha Marcy May Marlene
    The Skin I Live In
    Meek’s Cutoff
    Another Earth
    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
    Certified Copy….

    You may not like them all [I don’t] but they’re all at least interesting, often good and sometimes great. I think it’s the best year in film since 2007.

  5. Jerry,

    Don’t you know this is a CONTEMPORARY MUSIC WEBSITE!…

    …I’m kidding, this is great. My father has hosted an Oscar party every year since 1975, wherein the guests (and members of the host-family) are required to fill out a ballot for every major category. His children happily (read: involuntarily) would tally the guests’ votes and mark them on a large board and keep track of how closely we matched the vagaries of the Academy’s decisions. Alas, my father’s enthusiasm for movies didn’t quite catch with me, but I love where you’re coming from.

    I agree with you, by the way, that Rooney Mara deserves a lot of credit for her performance in “The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo”. I haven’t seen any of the other movies, but I thought she was great. I know people are discounting her a little bit because the actress in the original Swedish films was also so good, but I was really impressed with her.

    Those are my two cents! You know, because this is an internet site with comments that you’re gonna get it when you’re predictions are wrong!!!

    All the best,


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