2011 Movie Roundup: 1-21

I figured it was about time to put my giant "what I watched for the first time this year" list to good use. Namely, subject it to my readers. Friends, I watched 129 movies this year, and, in case you're asking, it's about on par for my viewing from the last two years. Additionally, this is a good excuse to post about all those movies I meant to post about, but was too busy, unemployed, depressed, or lazy to write about. Let's go:

1. Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)-- Engaging pseudo-documentary/experiment/performance art. Good story, Banksy is still mysterious, all is right in the world.

2. Donnie Darko (2001)-- Many people tell me this is one of their favorite movies. I might say the same thing if I was 15. Delighted by the use of Tears for Fears songs.

3. Beautiful Girls (1996)-- This film encapsulates my theory about Natalie Portman: she's the perfect blank canvas for people to project onto. Here, she represents the potential for new love. Bless Timothy Hutton for making this seem sweet and not creepy.

4. Lucas (1986)-- Made-for-TV level quality about being a dork in high school starring Corey Haim. Winona Ryder shows up.

5. Latter Days (2003)-- Endearing indie romance about a closeted Mormon missionary and the gay neighbor that takes a bet to seduce him. Cheesy.

6. Heat (1995)-- I remember thinking this was good. Hot shots like Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and Val Kilmer are in it (does Val Kilmer belong on that list? Sure. I'm going with it), but a couple of my favorite actresses, Amy Brenneman and Ashley Judd, are in this, too.

7. Blue Valentine (2010)-- Good performances, but I almost died of Too Much Hipster when Grizzly Bear's music played as the soundtrack.

8. Baby Doll (1956)-- The creative ways sexuality is portrayed in this movie blow me away. Also, can we talk about how I find Eli Wallach kind of attractive after this movie? Maybe we shouldn't talk about it.

9. Kiss Them for Me (1957)-- This came in this Cary Grant movie set my mom got from Costco. I'm afraid to watch any of the other ones in this set*, it is that bad. This was also my first introduction to Jayne Mansfield. TERRIFYING.

10. Red (2010)-- Inoffensive.

11. Amazing Grace-- A little too biopic-y for my taste, but Romola Garai and Benedict Cumberbatch make for endearing supporting characters.

12. Reservoir Dogs (1992)-- Solid film.

13. Pulp Fiction (1994)-- I still don't get what the deal was with the non-linear narrative--like, does it emphasize the chaos/randomness of the events or is Tarantino just messing with timelines because this is a movie and that's what you can do with movies?--but definitely intriguing.

14. Ghost World (2001)-- Watched this because my grad school buddy said we were exactly like Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson in this movie. This is true. Too bad the story falls apart at the end.

15. sex, lies, and videotape (1989)-- My sister has recently expressed her dislike of James Spader, saying that he's "creepy"**. Sure, he's kind of a creep, but a strangely alluring one. In Steven Soderbergh's first big hit, he's an emotionally damaged and introverted creep, and who doesn't love that?

16. Big Night (1996)-- I LOVE STANLEY TUCCI, even in this "an actor directed this movie and it's obvious" film. Great scenes of silent acting (even by gawky Marc Anthony) and also, Isabella Rossellini.

17. Ocean’s Twelve (2004)-- Yet another random gift, this time from a roommate who gave me a couple random-ass movies for Christmas. Apparently, there was a reason I didn't see this movie before then. It seems to just slog along until the finish. Not even the James Spader-like, creepy/alluring Vincent Cassel could save this.

18. Dogtooth (2009)-- Um, kind of the perfect weird movie. Quirky, but with a dark, dark underbelly. In fact, it's kind of terrifying, but it's too fascinating to look away.

19. The Virgin Suicides (1999)-- One of my favorites that I saw this year. The tone is nostalgic, sad, macabre, and sometimes humorous. To me, it is perfect--I even loved the narration. It adapts the source material well, and I have never seen Heart's music put to better use.

20. Made in Heaven (1987)-- This is one of those meant-to-be-together movies. They are the worst in the romantic story genre because it neither focuses on the exciting falling-in-love part or the mature difficulties-in-a-relationship part but instead makes us look at two boring people with no chemistry for two hours. Timothy Hutton and Kelly McGillis meet in the pre-existence heaven and then have to find each other on earth or something? I wasn't paying very much attention.

21. Jane Eyre (2011)-- Well done adaptation. Captures the horror and some of the humor of the novel.

*Of course An Affair to Remember and The Bishop's Wife are quality sappy pics. It's the other ones I'm worried about.

**And Ancient Aliens, and even James Spader as an ancient astronaut theorist. I know, I don't get it either.

1 comment:

  1. I'll admit I haven't seen most of these, but I love your blurbs. Val Kilmer from Top Gun does belong on the list of hot shots, but Val Kilmer from Willow or Batman Forever or the Present does not. I love Amazing Grace, but that's mostly because Ioan and I share a birthday. And Ocean's 12 is a travesty. It's one of those movies I watch every five years thinking, "This has to be good, right?" And then I remember that it's not. Like "A Cinderella Story" or "Just Like Heaven" or "No Reservations." Also, there are a shocking number of unwatchable Cary Grant movies. Weird.