Film Threat: Top 10 Movies of 2011

Film Threat compiled top ten movie lists from its writers. Here are my picks:

10. Crazy, Stupid, Love.
If you haven’t seen this romantic comedy, you may be surprised to see it on this list. Believe me, I’m as surprised as you are that I was actually tickled and moved by this genre-transcendent film. Before this movie, I thought Ryan Gosling was just another pretty boy actor with zero substance. But if you’ve seen “Blue Valentine” or “Half Nelson” (I had yet to), you already know that I was dead wrong. Baby Goose gives an incredibly nuanced performance as the professional-caliber lothario who teaches Steve Carell how to be a cold-hearted snake before falling ass-over-elbow for the beguiling Emma Stone. I gave it just three stars in my review upon its release. But it stuck with me throughout the year and I now think I sold it a little short. Today, I bequeath it an extra star!

9. Fright Night (2011)
I’m generally anti-remake. What’s the point, when there’s a perfectly good movie by the same name that already exists? But I couldn’t deny the fun of “Fright Night”. Colin Farrel is very much in his element here as the douchebag vamp who cons a Las Vegas suburb into being his dinner.

8. Conan O’Brian Can’t Stop
It’s the “Don’t Look Back” of comedian documentaries, revealing Coco as a neurotic, bitter and astonishingly talented man.

7. American Animal
Sometimes, a film about people having an ongoing conversation ends up being as engaging and multi-faceted as a real conversation. I was pondering this one long after it was over.

6. Being Elmo: A Puppeteers Journey
You don’t have to dig Elmo (or have a kid who does) to enjoy the story of Kevin Clash, the man behind the furry red monster who loves everyone. But it probably helps.

5. Bellflower
I don’t know if this film succeeded in putting Evan Glodell on the map. But he sure deserves all the hype surrounding his triple threat performance as writer, director and star of this story about a relationship gone nuclear.

4. The Thief of Bagdad: Re-Imagined By Shadoe Stevens, Featuring the Music of E.L.O.

The title barely scratches the surface of how awesome Shadoe Stevens’ pet project ended up. He spent years searching for the perfect soundtrack to appropriately honor and elevate the magic of his favorite film of the silent era. He finally found it in the music of the Electric Light Orchestra, resulting in an eerily harmonious marriage that takes you on an adventure of the senses. {Cough, cough, cough.}

3. Kill List
“Kill List” sneaks up on you from behind and bludgeons you in the brains (in the best possible way).

2. Drive
This movie is ultraviolent, effortlessly cool and sexy as hell. Ryan motherfucking Gosling. I wanted to see it again immediately after it ended.

1. The Future
Every once in a while, I go into a film knowing it’s about to become one of my all-time favorites. Miranda July’s oddball storytelling is just my bag, plain and simple. From the opening monologue delivered in the shaky, high-pitched voice of a terminally ill cat, I fell in love with “The Future” and immediately planned the rest of our lives together. Like her first, equally perfect feature film, “The Future” is about the lengths people go to feel connected and the weird things that fear drives them to do. It’s hilarious, existential, uncomfortable, heart wrenching and completely devoid of pretension. I hope they figure out how to keep heads alive in jars, a la “Futurama” because Miranda July’s brain is incredible.

Read the rest of the lists at Film Threat.

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