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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The 2011 RyMickey Awards - Best Picture

And so the 2011 RyMickey Awards are coming to an end.  Sure, it's nearly July 2012, but it's better late than never.  2011 was a solid year over all.  Better than I probably gave it credit for initially.  I ended up with quite a lot of films that I enjoyed and making up these awards helped me to realize that.

133 movies boiled down to a Top 30 are listed below.  Links to my original reviews are also provided as well as info as to whether the film is available to instantly watch on Netflix.

Best Picture of 2011

Honorable Mentions
#30 - Warrior
#29 - Beginners
#28 - Last Night (currently streaming on Netflix)
#26 - The Help
#23 - Tyrannosaur (currently streaming on Netflix)
#22 - Red State (currently streaming on Netflix)
#21 - Moneyball

And the Top 20...

(currently streaming on Netflix)
I'm typically not a fan of westerns, but after True Grit placed #16 on last year's list and this film ekes out a spot on this year's Top 20, I have to think that maybe it's a genre that I can take in small doses.  This film will definitely not be for everyone.  It moves very slowly, but I found it fascinating -- almost a real-life horror story about the tremendous perils that faced the American pioneers exploring the western landscape.

#19 - X-Men: First Class
The best X-Men film to date.  The cool 1960s retro vibe coupled with some genuinely exciting action sequences and nice acting from the ensemble make this worth checking out.

#18 - Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
I was shocked that the story behind Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol was as straightforward as it was...and I mean that in a good way.  This franchise can be way too convoluted for its own good (the whole spy genre can be that way, quite frankly).  However, this one sticks to a singular storyline that proves to be quite intriguing.  Add some great action sequences to the mix and some solid acting across the board and director Brad Bird's live-action debut is a winner.

#17 - The Artist
This Academy Award Best Picture winner is charming and its loving homage to silent cinema is the reason it won that coveted award (although there is another film that pays similar homage higher up on my list that deserved the award, in my opinion).  With a lovely lead performance, it's tough not to have a smile on your face while watching.

#16 - Young Adult
This flick is ballsy.  It's not often that a major film studio releases a movie in which the main character is utterly detestable and fails to "change" and "become a better person" by film's end.  Young Adult does just that.  A great performance from RyMickey Award Best Actress winner Charlize Theron, a witty script by Diablo Cody, and a director in Jason Reitman who likely knew that a lack of redemption would probably turn off the American public but still went with it anyway combine to give us something unique.

#15 - Trust
(currently streaming on Netflix)
Who knew that Friends star David Schwimmer had the directorial chops in him to helm a movie as emotionally gut-wrenching as Trust?  Admittedly, the film veers onto a shaky course towards the end thanks to Clive Owen's character's actions, but the movie is still a gripping look at the aftermath of sexual abuse and how it affects an entire family.

#14 - Winnie the Pooh
I have never been a devoted fan of the Winnie the Pooh characters.  I could take them or leave them...they were never really a piece of my childhood.  But something about this absolutely lovely animated film won me over.  Cute songs, a simple story, and an overall sense of good ole nostalgia for bygone days...take 62 minutes out of your day and watch.

#13 - Rise of the Planet of the Apes
One of the best action flicks of recent years.  Some really nifty special effects and a solid story made this one a summer popcorn flick to remember.

#12 - Martha Marcy May Marlene
An eerie psychological drama with a great debut performance from Elizabeth Olsen as a gal pulled into a cult whose true motives are much more devious than one could imagine.

#11 - Win Win
It's a shame they decided to throw in a few scattered F-bomb here to garner an R-rating, because Win Win is the kind of mature family movie that everyone can sit around together and enjoy.  A simple story about a wayward kid who finds hope with a family that decides to care for him, Win Win doesn't do anything special or over-the-top, but it's a nice tale that's worth checking out.

And the Top Ten Films of 2011...
can be found after the jump...click read more below to see my picks...

#10 - Beautiful Boy
This is a rough one that's tough to sit through at times because of the grief-stricken emotions on display, but Beautiful Boy is riveting.  Supported by two fantastic performances from Maria Bello and Michael Sheen, the film looks at the aftermath of a mass school shooting/suicide and the aftereffects of such an event on the parents of the murderer.  Gripping stuff.

#9 - Bridesmaids
Comedies are tough for me to love...I think a huge part of that comes from the fact that they're a genre that I often find myself skipping in theaters and watching at home and, of all genres (except maybe horror), the communal experience of watching a comedy is often what makes it work.  Bridesmaids had me laughing out loud in the comfort of my own home and that's an admirable feat.  The lewd humor meshes perfectly with the rather heartfelt tale that unfolds between this group of six ladies and, despite the movie going on a bit too long -- the Judd Apatow Syndrome that is so prevalent in laughers today -- it's pretty darn hilarious throughout.

#8 - Contagion
This is the highest-ranking film on my Best Movies of 2011 list that failed to get any other award recognition from me this season.  Despite its lack of recognition in other categories, this ensemble "real-life" horror story had me on the edge of my seat from the opening moments.  Like many other films on this list, it isn't perfect -- the Jude Law "environmental blogger" character brings the film to a halt sometimes -- but it's still a roller coaster ride nonetheless.

#7 - A Separation
Once A Separation lands on dvd, I highly recommend checking this family drama out.  Don't let the Iranian subtitles scare you.  Despite a rather simplistic start -- a couple wants a divorce which Iranian law won't allow -- things twist and turn in ways that are genuinely believable with characters facing some of the most real moral dilemmas I've seen depicted on film in quite some time.

#6 - 50/50
This movie made me cry.  I've said that before and I'm not ashamed to admit it.  Since it touched me enough to do that, I can't help but think it deserves a place on this list.  But add to that some great performances and a script that deftly merges comedy and drama and you've got more than enough reasons to rent this one.

#5 - Shame
Much like 2010's top film Blue Valentine, Shame is utterly depressing...to the point where I can fully understand people thinking it isn't enjoyable to watch.  I get that.  But with an amazing performance from RyMickey's Best Actor of 2011 Michael Fassbender and Best Director runner-up Steve McQueen's decision to allow his camera to linger uncomfortably in scenes, I found this a cinematic winner.  

#4 - Crazy, Stupid, Love.
I know that Crazy, Stupid, Love is riddled with romantic comedy clichés, but like the modern-day classic Love, Actually, it's just too difficult not to fall in love with the characters and stories depicted onscreen.  Goshdarnit, I liked it.

#3 - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Everyone laughed when this got nominated for a Best Picture Oscar last year, saying it was completely undeserved since it felt "emotionally manipulative" to them.  In rebuttal, I must ask are not all movies manipulating us to feel something emotionally?  Are not all directors trying to get us to "feel" a certain way when watching a movie?  Criticizing a movie for "being manipulative" as so many critics did with this one is just wrong, in my opinion.  What you've got here is an emotional story about a horrific day in our country's history and it's one of the best films centered around 9/11 that has been created so far.

#2 - Hugo
As a lover of cinema, how could I not love Hugo?  I knew a little bit about acclaimed silent film director George Mélies prior to watching this, but the way this tale weaves his true life story with the journeys of an orphaned boy living in turn-of-the-century Paris was rather ingenious.  Beautifully shot and wonderfully directed by Martin Scorsese, I can only hope that the acclaimed director maybe has another "family-style" film up his sleeve because his first foray into the genre was fantastic.

#1 - The Muppets
Joy.  That one word describes my feelings about The Muppets.  I truly love this film and thank Jason Segel for persevering in his quest to have it made in such a way that it honors all the Muppet movies, tv shows, and specials that have come before it.  It may not be the best written or best directed or best acted film of the year.  But the fact that this movie made me feel this euphoric happiness throughout and transported me back to my carefree childhood days (even if only for 110 minutes) makes this the Best Film of 2011.

Previous RyMickey Award Winners


  1. 1. Hugo
    2. 50/50
    3. The Guard (Yep, you hate it because you're awful)
    4. The Muppets
    5. The Artist
    6. Now that I don't work at a movie theater, the years are melding together so I'm not sure which movies are in what year.

    I really don't understand the love for Bridesmaids.

  2. I think Bridesmaids succeeds (and made it on this list as well as several others) nearly solely on the basis that the six actresses are top notch. There are certainly problems with the film as there are in most Apatow-generation comedies -- let's not even discuss the idiotic Kristen Wiig roommate scenes...so awful -- but the good outweighed the bad. Wiig and Rose Byrne are really good in this. I've also said this before and I know it probably sounds corny, but the movie does have "heart" (as most Apatow era comedies have, but this one is much stronger in that department). I think it also helped me that I had expectations of HATING this when I watched it.

    And the less said about The Guard the better. ;-)

  3. I don't know. It was just there. I got out of boot camp after it was released so there was no hype for me. And I watched it expecting nothing and felt pretty much nothing.