2011 Movie Yearbook
The highs and lows of the movies of 2011 - and everything in between.
Here’s one last, highly irreverent look back at the year in movies:
Most convincing evidence you can stick dinosaurs into any movie: The Tree of Life.
Best opening credits: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Karen O cover Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song while David Fincher provides some appropriately sinister imagery. Bang your head.
Best end credits: Super 8. The short film nestled inside the credits was better than the preceding movie.
Funniest comedy: Bridesmaids.
Funniest comedy about a subject no one would normally think funny: 50/50, the true story of a young man’s battle with cancer.
Funniest comedy that had a terrible trailer: Bad Teacher.
Funniest comedy most likely to please your AP English teacher: Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.
Least funny comedy that had a promising trailer: Horrible Bosses.
Worst comedy: Jack and Jill.
Best comic-book movie: X-Men: First Class.
Worst comic-book movie: Green Lantern.
Squarest comic-book movie: Captain America: The First Avenger.
Most surprisingly entertaining yet still ridiculous comic-book movie: Thor.
Best sequel: A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.
Worst sequel: Cars 2. No, The Hangover Part II. No, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. No, wait, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. No, wait …
Most superfluous sequel: Scream 4. If you’re not going to kill off any of the returning major characters, then why bother?
Best comeback: The Muppets.
Worst comeback: The Smurfs.
Best remake: Straw Dogs.
Most tolerable remake: Footloose.
Most passable remake that sounded like a decent idea but turned out to be pointless: Fright Night.
Worst remake: Arthur.
Worst remake disguised as a prequel: The Thing.
Most disappointing execution of an intriguing premise: Mel Gibson as a man who speaks only through a hand puppet in The Beaver.
Most convincing argument never to shake other people’s hands again, ever: Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion.
Best sports movie: Moneyball.
Best sports movie for people who couldn’t care less about sports: Moneyball.
Best shameless Rocky rip-off: Warrior.
Best entrance: In Margin Call, the CEO (Jeremy Irons) of an investment firm on the brink of disaster arrives via helicopter in the middle of the night — a vampire who feeds by chewing the scenery.
Best performance by an animal (tie): Uggie from The Artist and Cosmo from Beginners, both proving Jack Russells may be the smartest dogs of all.
Most wildly overlong scene we’re really glad they didn’t trim down: The airplane ride in Bridesmaids.
Best plot twist conveyed by a single word of dialogue: The Skin I Live In. Wait, he said WHAT?
Best birth scene: The baby arrives in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part I. Vampire fangs come in pretty handy when you can’t find any surgical scissors.
Best opening scene: The astonishing eight-minute prologue to Melancholia — postcards from the apocalypse.
Best closing scene: Martha Marcy May Marlene. Terror, interrupted.
Best closing dialogue: A husband and wife in Take Shelter. “See?” “OK.”
Best children’s movie: Kung Fu Panda 2.
Worst children’s movie: Arthur Christmas.
Best children’s movie that was too long and slow for kids: Hugo.
Best big budget use of a formula that never gets old: Aliens invade in Battle: Los Angeles.
Best low budget use of a formula that never gets old: Aliens invade in Attack the Block.
Worst use of a formula that never gets old: Aliens invade in The Darkest Hour.
Dullest history lesson: Robert Redford’s The Conspirator managed to make the Lincoln assassination boring.
Dumbest conspiracy theory: Roland Emmerich’s preposterous Shakespeare-bashing in Anonymous.
Best reason to dread the holidays: New Year’s Eve.
Best car chase played out as a game of chess: Drive.
Best car chase played out at 800 miles per hour: Fast Five.
Strongest evidence the French can make action movies just as good as Hollywood: Point Blank.
Strongest evidence the French should not make action movies: The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch.
Best reason to demand a moratorium on romantic comedies: Something Borrowed.
Best reason to demand more romantic comedies: Crazy Stupid Love
Best boy-girl couple: Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Best boy-boy couple: Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows.
Best girl-girl couple: Nikohl Boosheri and Sarah Kazemy in Circumstance, the Iranian drama about two teenage girls in love.
Best kickass septuagenarian: Maggie Smith throwing down on the Dark Lord in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.
Biggest sell-out: Former indie-film darling David Gordon Green, who directed two of the year’s worst comedies (Your Highness and The Sitter).
Best example of Hollywood creativity: The near-identical plots of No Strings Attached and Friends with Benefits.
Best gross-out gag: An emergency in a bridal shop in Bridesmaids.
Best reason never to eat chocolate pie again: Octavia Spencer’s special dessert in The Help.
Most irredeemable bitch: Charlize Theron’s bitter prom queen, now grown-up and miserable, in Young Adult.
Biggest jump-scare: A man sets a glass on a table in The Artist.
Most unfairly reviled movie: Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch.
Best perfectly adequate TV movie that somehow made it into theaters: The Lincoln Lawyer.
Most ingenious premise: The Skin I Live In.
Most ridiculous premise: The Adjustment Bureau.
Most squandered premise: Source Code. Because Groundhog Day did it a lot better.
Best example of a really bad idea that probably sounded good on paper: Cowboys & Aliens.
Best reason to root for the wolf: Red Riding Hood.
Most ridiculously overpraised movie: David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method.
Most convincing proof the clock is ticking down on Taylor Lautner’s 15 minutes of fame: Abduction.
Biggest whore: Nicolas Cage (Season of the Witch, Drive Angry, Trespass).
Biggest whore who at least seemed to be having fun while collecting his paycheck: Jack and Jill’s Al Pacino.
Best homage to 1980s-era Spielberg movies: Super 8.
Worst homage to 1980s-era Spielberg movies: Paul.
Best movie Spielberg directed this year: War Horse.
Best premise in search of a worthy plot: The sci-fi thriller In Time.
Best special effect: Making Eddie Murphy again in Tower Heist.
Worst special effect: The telepathic wolves in Breaking Dawn: Part 1.
Coolest special effect: The repeated point-of-view shots of a camera hurtling through the streets of New York in Limitless.
Most impressive special effect where you couldn’t spot the CGI: Tom Cruise dangling from the side of the Burj Khalifa in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
Most impressive special effect that didn’t rely on any CGI whatsoever: Michael Fassbender in Shame.
Best action sequence in a good movie: The chase through Morocco, done in one take with no cuts, in The Adventures of Tintin.
Best action sequence in a bad movie: A skyscraper breaks in half, sending people sliding down the side of the building while giant robots attack, in Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
Best 10-minute action sequence disguised as a movie: The battle atop the Golden Gate Bridge at the end of Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Best ridiculously prolonged action sequence: The last 40 minutes of 13 Assassins, a bloody ballet of outrageous mayhem.
Most enjoyably preposterous action sequence: In The Green Hornet, Seth Rogen and Jay Chou drive their 1965 Chrysler into an elevator and through the offices of a newspaper, even after the car has been cut in half.
Best fight scene: Three men try to murder each other inside a speeding taxicab in I Saw the Devil.
Most compelling movie where almost nothing happened: Meek’s Cutoff.
Best example of showing the youngsters how it’s done: Werner Herzog (Cave of Forgotten Dreams), Martin Scorsese (Hugo) and Steven Spielberg (The Adventures of Tintin) made their first 3D movies. More, please.
Best noble intention that backfired: Kevin Smith made a big stink about releasing his horror movie Red State to theaters without relying on the media or studio distribution. The film wound up being seen primarily on pay-per-view and DVD.
Best Miami homegirl made good: Bestselling young adult author Alexandra Flinn had one of her novels, Beastly, adapted into a Hollywood film.
Best Miami homeboy made bad: Former 2012 Oscar telecast producer Brett Ratner, torpedoing what promised to be an entertaining Academy Awards show with a blitz of idiotic behavior.
Freshest film festival: The Borscht Film Festival, comprised of movies made by Miamians in collaboration with visiting artists, is one of the wildest, most imaginative cultural events of the year.
Best local trend: The continuing success of the Coral Gables Art Cinema, the Miami Beach Cinematheque, the O Cinema, the Bill Cosford Cinema and the Tower Theatre put Miami back on the national art-film map in a big way.
Actor of the year: Brad Pitt (Moneyball, The Tree of Life).
Actress of the year: Jessica Chastain (Take Shelter, The Tree of Life, The Help, The Debt, Coriolanus).
Best 2011 movie no one saw: Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret, an extraordinary portrait of an adolescent girl (played by Anna Paquin) whose life is changed by a bus accident. The movie sat on a shelf for six years, then was dumped into a handful of theaters by distributor Fox Searchlight. For shame.
Best 2011 movie that won’t open here until 2012: The Iranian drama A Separation (opens Jan. 27).
Worst 2011 movie that won’t open here until 2012: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
2012 movie I’m anticipating the most: Ridley Scott’s Prometheus.