I am not an awards show kind of girl. My bestie? She loves the glamour and the glitz and the major star power doing the red carpet mambo. Me, I get bored to tears by that sort of thing. And yet, somehow, I managed to watch, not one, but three awards shows in their entirety this season. Ellen hooked me into the Golden Globes with her interview with Ricky Gervais, with his gleeful promises of controversy. And although he didn’t live up to his promise, it was fairly entertaining with some amazeballs dresses and fiine looking gentlemen. Ahem, Ewan McGregor.
Then I watched the Independent Spirit Awards, hosted by Seth Rogan throwing down the F bomb left and right and dissing Chris Brown ftw. Indie adoraballs, is what I call him. And I realized those peeps were far closer to what I would consider to be my peeps and I left the evening satisfied and with a long list of movies to rent.
The following night I watched the Oscars and was less than impressed. People looked lovely although there were few true standouts. Some of the speeches ruled, Octavia, Meryl, Mr. Plummer and the Artist guy. Billy Crystal looks old and a little puffy and half laughed at all his own jokes. It was an hour longer than it should have been and several of the nominees were unworthy of such acclaim. All in all, a bust.
But it did get me thinking about the movies that I loved and found deserving from last year. Here are the top ten that I loved in 2011.
10. Captain America -
I’m just a comic book nerd at heart. This was another movie that showed you how all the crazy shit that goes down in comics could actually happen in real life(the ultimate example of this being The Dark Knight). Clearly the whole skinless Nazi on a giant flying ship thing is a bit far from reality, but I’m talking more of the guy juiced on super steroids that kicks ass with mere strength, a shield made from vibranium and adamantium and a whole lotta heart. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t all that real, except to me and my fellow nerds. But it was wholly engaging, satisfying and entertaining. And it is awesomesocks to see more and more big budget, well made comic book movies come to life.
9. Crazy Stupid Love -
I’ll admit I was sold on the hype early on. Ellen raved about this movie months before it was released and there is hella little that Ellen and I have beef about. I’m sold on all the major players, save Ryan Gosling. I’m like the only chick alive who thinks the Notebook was a big, ole boring ass pile of doody. And really I didn’t even know the guy’s name. It was only after seeing CSL and Drive that I remembered him from Lars and the Real Girl and Half Nelson. Ok, now I’m feeling ALL the major players.
And the movie had heart. It was funny and charming and sweet and silly, just like rom coms should be. Used to be. And it was thoroughly enjoyed by me. Even my in-laws liked it. And I didn’t hear any complaints that RG was half naked and looking photoshopped. I certainly was not the one to lodge any.
8. X-Men First Class -
Again the geek heart sang with all the lovely bits of nerditry in this movie. But non-geeks could certainly enjoy this origin story as well. And did, if the box office and reviews have anything to say about it. The cast was stellar, the effects dope and anyone who survived middle school can relate to mutant culture. Highly recommend.
7. Win Win -
I forced my husband to go to this movie. To his credit, it wasn’t a very forceful force. And he freaking loved it. And rightly so. Because it was a funny little charmer. With heart. And some bite. Which in my book is a close second to the quirky whimsy. Paul Giamatti is onr of those fantastic actors that make you draw every anxiety ridden breath right along with them and makes you silent fist pump when he comes through in the end.
6. The Help -
I read the book a while back and enjoyed it. I put it down and didn’t think of it again until I was inundated by the blogland talk about the movie being racist. During that time, I did a lot of research and reading and wracked my poor, tired brain for recollections of the particulars in the book. I found there to be a ton of compelling and well spoken words written in belief that the movie was perpetuating the myth of the white savior and was an affront to Black Americans who have the marks of this so very recent history imprinted upon their DNA.
I decided not to see the movie as I didn’t want to support something that would knowingly hurt any person. Then I decided to see the film with my best friend. And all those worries and concerns and white guilt feelings were washed away. I am still sorry that anyone took offense and/or felt the sting of a freshly opened wound, but, in my opinion, this movie was in no way racist or intending in any way to laud the actions of white over black. What I got from The Help was empowerment, triumph of spirit and women lifting each other up with their words and their actions. And we need a whole hell of a lot more of all of those things in Hollywood and in day to day life.
5. The Descendants -
What can I say that hasn’t already been said about this movie? George was subtle and nuanced and lovely. As usual. I think people forget that he is a gifted actor because we are blinded by his megawatt smile, slick attire and modest head tilt. The daughters, particularly Shailene Woodley, were amazeballs. Nick Krause broke up the tension with outrageous humor. And Hawaii, the ever-present co-star, permeated the movie without appearing heavy handed or like a caricature of itself. Every little bit of it was lovely and genuine and worthy of the Oscar nod. Go see it while you still can.
There has been little to no contention. This was a satisfying, albeit bittersweet, ending to the beloved series. As someone who has read none of the books and didn’t jump onto the bandwagon until the Prisoner of Azkaban, I may not be well qualified to judge. But as the devoted fan that I became, and as the hopeless romantic that I truly am in regard to those I love in film or on the page, I was grateful to see the characters cared for in the way that they were sent off. Also? In regards to Snape, I motherfucking told you so. Ahem. Rent the entire series if you have a free weekend. Pure magic.
3. Bridesmaids -
All of America loved this movie. Because it was freaking hilarious, yo. But also because it proved, yet again, that women can be both freaking hilarious and as raunchy as we want to be. Funny as shit, and shit and girl power. Can you say sequel?
2. Drive -
I still have no idea what I was watching when I saw this movie. All I know is that I totally loved it. They pretty much had me from neon pink, 80′s scrawl and the pulsating beat over the opening credits. I gained a true respect and admiration for Ryan Gosling and his balls out choices this summer and a re-found respect for Albert Brooks. I like my career criminals old, Jewish and meaner than a honey badger on meth. See this movie if you want your mind blown and your freak freaked. And then buy the soundtrack because, wowsa.
1. Beginners -
I may have talked about this movie a time or two. So you probably should just check those words out or I may get flagged on some list for talking excessively about Ewan McGregor and Beginners. Which actually sounds pretty freaking awesome so flag away.
Suffice it to say, Beginners wins my best movie of 2011 and Ewan, Christopher Plummer and Mélanie Laurent were my best actor, supporting actor and best actress. I don’t want to have to tell you again – SEE IT.