We all have our own rules or qualifications for a year end list and mine are pretty simple, a film must have had a limited release in New York and Los Angeles for consideration. This qualification leaves out films that only had runs at film festivals or foreign titles that have yet to find U.S. distribution within the calendar year of 2011.
There are a few titles I did miss seeing in 2011 that I will probably regret. Films that have either dawned a number of other lists of people I respect or just films I wanted to see but didn't get a chance. That list includes: A Separation, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, My Week with Marilyn, We Bought a Zoo, Carnage, The Future, A Dangerous Method, Melancholia, and Certified Copy.
One big trend I noticed to my Top 10 is the human element or realism. The movies I connect most with have real, raw human emotions on display and this year like no other each and every title has some prevailing human element that shined through the story. Another big arc I noticed was fatherhood or a protector role. Knowing you have the well being of others in your hands and the emotions that responsibility can stir is powerful and a number of films in my Top 10 shined executing that. One last trend I noticed was love or romance. Generally, I am not a big romance fan, but this year I saw a number of romantic tales told in a way that really won me over. Alright enough set up, let's get to it!
Honorable Mentions: 50/50, Warrior, Ceremony, Project Nim, and Attack the Block
2011. It surely was a movie I was aware of but not something I was really itching to see. I knew the story from when it happened, mainly because an Los Angeles Angels fan and the Oakland Athletics are a rival team to my Halos, so of course I know about Billy Beane and his moneyball scheme up in Oakland. If you watch MLB there's no way you don't know who he is, he changed the face of the game but Moneyball isn't entirely about baseball. It has a much larger profound message within it that really crept over me and left me in awe. I fell in love with Moneyball and the resolve Billy Beane displayed amidst his failures. It is a feel good movie. Now that said, the film will alienate audiences with all the baseball nuts and bolts. It is a technical baseball movie on the surface that is drenched in baseball, but if you can get past all that, you just might find the revelation like I did.
9. I Saw the Devil
8. The Last Circus
7. Take Shelter
6. The Skin I Live In
5. Meek's Cutoff
2. The Descendants
1. The Myth of the American Sleepover
So that's my definitive Top 10 of 2011, I'm sure there are titles you don't agree with and that is okay, just as long as you are seeing movies and supporting the medium that deserves your patronage. Until next time...