News Column

2011 Movie Yearbook

Dec 29, 2011

Here is one last, highly irreverent look at the best and worst in film of 2011 -- and everything in between.

Most convincing proof 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." Magical doors!

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," "Tresspass").

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 3-D 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.

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 in most cities until 2012: The Iranian drama "A Separation."

Worst 2011 movie that won't open in most cities until 2012: "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close."

2012 movie we're anticipating the most: Ridley Scott's "Prometheus."


Source: Copyright The Miami Herald 2011

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