The Ten Best Films of 2011

It’s a lot of work. Sifting through, rearranging, re-watching, re-considering. The final tally this year was 52 films. Professional critics see many, many more…but I’m grateful to not have to sit through most of the garbage. I utilize many tools of research to steer me away from the crap. And, thankfully, not much research is needed at all to avoid detritus like, “Jack and Jill” or “Zookeeper”…it’s pretty apparent. There are directors I never miss (Cronenberg, Malick, Scorsese, Almodovar, Spielberg), and some that are always at least worth a shot (Allen, Herzog, von Trier, Payne, Soderbergh). There is always a healthy mix of foreign films, documentaries, sequels, remakes, blockbusters and indies. Usually a few animated too…none of which were among the elite this year. As months go by after the list is tabulated, I’ll often second guess myself as to whether something should have placed higher or lower. Plus, I’ll frequently end up viewing something in February or March that I wished I had seen in time for the final 10. But there’s no cheating…once the list is published–that’s it. If I let myself change things, certainly my very first Ten Best from 1986 would have had “Blue Velvet” as #1 and not #5. One last thing…yes, I have seen all 9 Best Picture nominees. Only 2 made the list this year, 2 received honorable mention…and the rest failed to make the cut. It’s the question I’m asked most every year. So, here it is, without further ado…the 26th annual Ten Best films of the year…

1)The Tree of Life


3)Certified Copy

4)Midnight in Paris


6)Margin Call

7)Jane Eyre

8)13 Assassins

9)The Skin I Live In

10)A Dangerous Method

  Honorable Mention

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Meek’s Cutoff

The Artist

Source Code


Of Gods and Men

Cave of Forgotten Dreams

The Worst of the Year(a tie)

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (as bad as expected)

The Iron Lady (even worse than expected)

Dishonorable Mention

Cars 2 (what were they thinking?)

J. Edgar (the male version of  “Iron Lady”)


2 comments on “The Ten Best Films of 2011

  1. Great list. I loved The Tree of Life. It’s probably the most beautiful film I’ve seen. This has given me hope for Margin Call, which I haven’t seen yet. I also need to catch up on Melancholia and The Skin I Live In. My favorite of 2011 can be see here: http://wp.me/pLc7Q-hQ

  2. Thank you, Joshua. I see we share appreciation for a number of the same 2011 releases. I’m not as big of an advocate of “Hugo” and “Warrior” as others have been, but I appreciate the opposing view. “The Muppets” is an audacious choice! Maybe I will watch that with my kids. I will be peeking at your insights in the future. ML

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