If it's crap ... We'll tell you
So yeah, I'm not one for guessing or hoping for the altogether meaningless Academy Award victories (although I do watch them for kicks), but sometimes I am one to care enough to post a list of the best films I saw that year. It's a better system anyway, since most of the films I loved didn't get shit in Oscar nominations.
I wish I could have seen more before making this, but fuck it.
So, without further adieu...
10. Captain America: The First Avenger (Joe Johnston)
Not the best superhero movie, but still good. Thor was decent as well, and that coupled with this has me in good spirits for The Avengers.
9. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (Todd Strauss-Schulson)
Didn't see all of the first one, never saw the second one (and maybe it'll stay that way), and this was pretty hilarious. Wish it could have came out closer to Christmas to retain that holiday spirit, but that's just me...
8. Hugo (Martin Scorsese)
Besides the dopes that were running the 3D projector in the theater that I saw this in, this was still enjoyable enough to please your inner cinephile. Scorsese even had the brains to improve the source material by fleshing out certain things (although the book is good on its own also).
7. Horrible Bosses (Seth Gordon)
Hands-down the funniest thing I saw all year, maybe even a long time. It's a Three Stooges movie for the modern age, and only time will tell if this ends up being better than the actual Three Stooges movie, which seems to be the way it's going right about now.
6. Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen)
I don't agree with most people's assessments of this as Allen's best film, and even then I will agree that it is damned entertaining. Glad I could see this in a theater with other Allen fans that I could laugh along with at the most subtle and clever of humor.
5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher)
I initially tried watching the 2009 adaptation of this story first, but didn't finish it because I was so giddy with excitement for what I thought would be the superior film. I'll still give the other film another chance, but as it stands, this is damn good. Hoping that the talented Rooney Mara will further shine in future films...
4. The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius)
The biggest thing that this film has going for it is that it is Charming with a capital "C". The way that it's filmed, the way the story unfolds, the musical score (sans the piece from Vertigo), the performances, everything. It's essentially cinematic fluff when you get down to it, nothing too deep, but the amount of charm that it has tips it off into being something special.
3. The Descendants (Alexander Payne)
Payne once again tells a story of fact-of-life infidelity and mid-life crisis, and once again does it masterfully. His skill of creating and sometimes meshing unfathomable sympathy and slight loathing for characters is of course present here, as well as some humor deriving from nothing but the authentic interactions between those characters. My least favorite of Payne's films (haven't seen Citizen Ruth), but is nevertheless great.
2. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick)
A divisive film to be sure, but those who don't enjoy it still have to give it credit for its ambitious scope and structure, which I'm sure has to evoke some sense of wonder for those people. Certainly the most "messy" film of Malick's minuscule career, this makes it to be his most thought-provoking, as well as the most powerful when it comes to cinematic experiences. And anyone who lazily labels it as "pretentious" simply isn't paying attention or thinking hard enough.
1. Drive (Nicolas Winding Refn)
Who knew that such a generic-sounding premise could be made into such an artful, unique and truly awesome film? I sure as hell didn't. Even with the good press that was rolling in, I still expected it to be less than what it was, and that in turn made it into more of a spectacle. Just on the atmosphere that Refn creates alone, what with the feel of the 80s-synth songs/musical score and the moody cinematography that are all just right in recalling the feeling of driving through the night, it makes such a small-scale story into something far greater. Add the ripeness of the various flavorful cinematic influences and you end up with a masterpiece, and surely the best film to come out of this decade thus far.
HONORABLE MENTION, which would have been on this list even though technically it came out the year before:
Super (James Gunn)