Our Top Ten Favorite Movies of 2011

Another year has come and (almost) gone, which makes it the perfect time to look back on the last 12 months… and if you’re a movie geek like me, that means putting together the best movies of the year list!  So here’s my countdown of my Top Ten favorite movies of the year… let’s see where YOUR favorites end up!

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10.) The Adventures of TinTin

Steve Spielberg and Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) team up for their first animated adventure– based on the classic French comic book by the legendary cartoonist Herge, and the result is one of the most exciting, family-friendly adventure films of the past decade! The Adventures of Tintin is fun and light, without ever being too cute… this movie is a return to the classic, two-fisted adventure the whole family can enjoy– in every way the fourth Indiana Jones movie wished it could be!

9.) Attack the Block

You may not have heard of Attack The Block, but that’s okay– it’s available now on DVD and Blu Ray, so you can (and should!) check it out anytime! An amazingly fun and endlessly entertaining action movie, ATB follows the story of some south London hoodlums who step up to become heroes to defend their home against menacing alien invaders! Filled with great characters, very unique alien monsters, an excellent sense of style and lots of love for 80’s action films, ATB is a modern movie with big ideas and tons of great movie moments, cut from the same cloth as classics like The Goonies and The Warriors!

8.) The Descendants

George Clooney’s starring role as a devastated soon-to-be widower in Hawaii was unexpectedly funny and very heartfelt, especially considering the hefty source material. Clooney’s Matt King may have been the best (and certainly the most reserved) role the actor has ever performed, and the movie is brought to new heights by great supporting roles for Matthew Lillard, a heartbreaking and hilarious Judy Greer, and Shailene Woodley as Matt’s rebellious daughter Alexandra.

7.) Hugo

Hugo featured a lot of “first’s” for legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese– this was both his first time making a family movie, and the first time he filmed a 3D picture! Fortunately for him (and us), he proved his skills as a director translate wonderfully to both! Hugo is not only a touching story the whole family can love together, it is Scorsese’s brilliant love letter to film, taking us on a journey through the early days of movies and reminding us of just how thrilling this medium can be!

6.) Captain America: First Avenger

There were quite a few super hero movies in 2011, but for my money none of them could compare to Captain America: The First Avenger! It was a bold move to set this entire film in WWII, but it pays off in a great way as we see the origin of sickly but good-hearted Steve Rogers, a man desperate to serve his country, as he is transformed from a weakling to the ultimate soldier, facing off against the Red Skull (an incredible Hugo Weaving) and his Hydra army– a threat more evil than the Nazis!

Captain America featured great action, memorable characters and it gave us the final piece of the puzzle leading into next Summer’s The Avengers— and if that movie ends up being half this good, there will be lots of happy comic book fans next year!

5.) Moneyball

Brad Pitt’s true-life story of Oakland A’s Billy Beane is a smart story, and in many ways the anti-baseball movie… Rather than focus on heart like many baseball classics, Beane relied purely on statistical data to turn the entire world of professional baseball on its ear. The number-crunching is balanced by an amazing turn from Chris Pratt (Parks and recreation) as the game-loving rookie catcher, and the result is a story that balances the science and passion that is all a part of modern pro baseball, penned here quite brilliantly by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, The West Wing).

4.) The Muppets

As a child of the 80’s, I’ve obviously always loved The Muppets, but the best I could muster for the new Muppets movie– the first under the reigns of funnyman Jason Segel– was cautious optimism. The last few Muppets big screen adventures left lots to be desired, and it seemed like the lovable critters’ time in the spotlight may have come and gone. But a smart (and smart-assed) script co-written by Segel took this real-life story of the Muppets being past their prime and crafted the year’s best family film– lighthearted, silly and witty, The Muppets is a real treat to fans old and new, and it’s clearly a love letter from Segel to his little felt heroes.

The Muppets may not be the instant classic that their first big screen adventure was in the 80’s, but it’s light years better than I could have hoped for.

3.) Bridesmaids

The “little movie that could” this Summer, Bridesmaids is the hilarious comedy written by and starring Kristen Wiig and featuring fellow SNL alum Maya Moore as the bride-to-be.  What looked like it may be the latest run-of-the-mill “chick flick” comedy ended up being one of the smartest, most original movies of the year, filled with great characters that prove there is room for real women in comedy, and not cartoonish caricatures, like in so many bridal comedies of the past.

2.) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two

Director David Yates brought one of the longest-running (and overall best) film franchises to its finale with the final Harry Potter movie, and any doubts were quickly put to rest as Yates clearly stuck the landing with all the finesse and quality you’d come to expect from this series. We bid a tearful goodbye to Harry, Ron, Hermione and their wizarding world, but when the epic finale is as good as this, Harry Potter’s world is clearly one worth revisiting again and again, for years to come!

1.) Drive

Ryan Gosling’s starring role, known only as The Driver, leads an incredible cast in this taught, stylish thriller that is so good, so clever and so endlessly entertaining it gets the number one spot on 2011’s best movies. The trailers really don’t give this movie justice– there’s so much more going on in this story than the action (which, admittedly, is awesome), revolving around a Hollywood stuntman who finds out he has a contract on his head after a heist gone wrong. With a impossibly strong supporting cast, some stunning cinematography and one of the most surprisingly effective romances of the year, there’s really no other way to say it– Drive is just too cool.

Check out MORE of 965 TIC’s Best of 2011— Click the link below!!

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