Big surprise: movies about movies shot to the top of the list of films I loved in 2011. Movies about art, writing, and Paris also earned a place in my Top 10, along with the usual assortment of strange bedfellows—Werner Herzog, Almodóvar, Harry Potter. Aside from those films still playing in town (like The Artist, Hugo, and My Week With Marilyn, which you should run out and see on a big screen right this minute), this list should give you some eclectic ideas for your post-holiday Netflix queue.
One caveat: there are usually one or two embarrassing lapses in my annual Top 10 list, due to the deadline necessity of compiling my list before I've seen all the heavy hitters. So, for the record, at presstime I have not yet seen Shame, The Iron Lady, or Albert Nobbs.
Okay, I know the suspense is killing you, so here's the scoop: Midnight In Paris is my favorite movie of the year (that's Owen Wilson's character being abducted into the 1920s by Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald in a vintage Peugeot roadster). Here's the rest of my list.
In retrospect, I would have added The Descendants to my list of Runners-Up, had I had more room.
And just to dole out debit where it's due, what's my candidate for worst Film of 2011? Melancholia.
In Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier's deeply lugubrious allegorical drama, the end of the world can't happen soon enough for these listless, unexplored, largely unlikeable characters. The overall atmosphere of disdain for humanity, a very slight storyline and a fatally slow narrative make this possibly the most aggravating Von Trier film yet.
I don't care how deep and profound other people think it is. If it works for them, fine. But I call it spinach, and I say the hell with it.