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Tuesday
Jan032012

Best of Year Pt 3: Nathaniel's Top Ten List

Best of Year Pt 1: Thirty-two flavors and then some. 2011 Treasures, guilty and otherwise.
Best of Year Pt 2: Tree of Life, Midnight in Paris, Young Adult, Pariah, The HousemaidShame.

NATHANIEL'S TOP TEN OF 2011

And so we reach the top ten list about which I endured my usual personal angst until I finally gave up the flip flopping, the future hindsight worrying and all the old ways and accepted the new sabremetrics of the game since I had accidentally shoved 11 films in. I ran out of time outs and it was either hit publish or forfeit my chance to play this beloved listing game.

MONEYBALL (Bennett Miller)
Columbia Pictures. September 23rd.
Who knew that a film about sports strategies and mathematic calculations -- two things I personally find enormously difficult to understand and care about even less -- could be so stirring?  Thank the typically sharp writing of Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian, the assured unfussy direction from Bennett Miller who really knows his way around these sharply focused biographies (see also Capote) and an intensely pleasurable star turn from a perfectly cast Brad Pitt as a former golden boy trying to up his own game before his time runs out.
[Review]

CERTIFIED COPY (Abbas Kiarostami)
IFC. March 11th.
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, than so to is the worth of any piece of art, whether it's a bonafide original or a copy. The worth of Kiarostami's dizzying intellectual game of a movie will vary greatly from viewer to viewer depending on whether they think the movie transcends its intellectual exercize. It's worth may even vary from screening to screening. For example, the first time I saw it I was riveted by the dialogue and Binoche's face though I thought it outstayed its welcome but the second time I was slightly annoyed with its archly comic tonal shift late in the film but also more impressed with its visual intricacies. Certified Copy spends a day in Tuscany with a weary antique shop owner (the exquisite Juliette Binoche as "She" --her character is never named) and an author by the name of James Miller (opera star William Schimmel). They are ostensibly strangers and their conversation about originals and copies (the subject of Miller's book) gives way to an increasingly complicated sense that the two of them are either play-acting at being lovers or are actually estranged spouses whose current union is a disappointingly inferior fascimile of its original form.

MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE (Sean Durkin)
Fox Searchlight. October 21st

Martha Marcy May Marlene

With Lizzie, John Hawkes, Durkin's Team
A Perfectly Titled Time Machine
Martha Marcy May Marlene

Incantation. Puzzle. Dream.

[Review, Interview, Comic Strip]

BRIDESMAIDS (Paul Feig) Universal. May 13th
MELANCHOLIA (Lars von Trier) Magnolia. November 11th 
You're invited to a wedding. Don't start throwing rice yet. They're meant to be happy events but god do they try the patience. Especially when the bride or maid of honor is enormously depressed -- apocalyptically depressed even!

Brides, drivers and romantic troubles after the jump...

I was amused and annoyed recently when Dan Kois at the New York Times paired these two movies in a write up beating me to the punch as I'd already planned to do so. Only to then suggest that they were incomparable?! I object. I've been comparing them constantly for months in conversations with myself.

They're both maddening films on occassion, at least 20 minutes too long and either artless in presentation while entertaining (Bridesmaids) or only artful in presentation while refusing to entertain (Melancholia). Bridesmaids is shapeless but for the memorable shapes of its hard-working women. Melancholia frontloads with all of its best sequences and images and then spins its wheels in repetition and fussy inconsequential details that go nowhere just as oblivion should be hurtling towards us. ("Auntie Steelbreaker"?, the whole ad campaign storyline...though I love that the models in the ad look like a pile of dead people.) And yet... And yet...

Together they define 2011 better than any other picture for me. I have struggled quite a lot in the past and particularly this year with depression. Fused together, I think of these two films as the most insightful movie ever made about the condition. Bridesmaid's "Annie" is lost in her own self pitying rut and to the movies immense credit the jokes are spun organically from this pain rather than shoving it to the side for easier less-character specific laughs. "Help me. I'm pooooor" and that great sequence when Melissa McCarthy literalizes Annie's self-abuse for her as just two examples. Meanwhile that comic imp Lars von Trier literalizes the size of depression (it always feels gargantuan, unstoppable) until its planet-sized and then calls it for what it is. Depression can be rough on those in the orbit of the suffering. Self destruction isn't enough for Justine; she's taking the whole world down with her. Von Trier may be a true genius but he's never been a subtle one.

 

POETRY (Lee Chang dong)
Kino International. February 11th.
I fear that I won't be able to do this beautifully judged work justice in a year end report for I saw it well over a year ago. Maybe it belongs at #9, maybe at #4? Sadly, it's the only film in the top ten list that I haven't seen twice. Yet for all the spotty details of my memory --  thankfully not as spotty as Mjia's (LAFCA Best Actress Winner Yun Jung-Hee) in the early stages of Alzheimers --  I distinctly remember the feelings it gave off. I felt so much admiration and worry for this old confused woman venturing into unfamiliar territory, fully aware that her curiousity about life could be both a blessing and curse. Poetry begins, as so many movies do, with the discovery of a dead body, in this case a young girl is found floating in the water, but Chang-dong's movie is so filled with humanism that it's more concerned with the girl who once lived than her remains. Seek out the movie. Then read my full review.

WEEKEND (Andrew Haigh)
Sundance Selects. September 23rd
The first electric moments in romance, whether lusty or laced with spiritual recognition of another person, are a tricky thing to capture on film. You need the perfect chemistry of sympatico actors, sensitive direction that knows when to investigate a small detail and when to back away, and screenwriting that can sharply delineate characters without shoving them into generic shorthand corners of Type of Boy and Type of Girl That Go Together or in this case Type of Boy and Type of Boy. The thrill of discovery between moviegoer and movie can be a bit like that, too. It's an elusive increasingly rare thrill in a movie culture that's big on hype and short on timely supply (who can discover anything for themselves when movie culture moves with furious speed while distribution is still 1990s slow?) I saw this modest but perfectly realized gem, both sexy and smart, moving but unsentimental, long before everyone knew it to be awesome and was pleased to be on the jury that gave it what I believe was its second "Best Film" prize. (SXSW was first). It's only grown in my estimation with repeat viewings and time. Neither Russell nor Glenn (superbly played by Tom Cullen and Chris New) expect all that much from the relationship when they meet but sometimes you get far more than you counted on. Movies are like that, too.
[Interview]

BEGINNERS (Mike Mills)
Focus Features. June 3rd.
When I think of Beginners, as I often do, I think of Arthur the dog. In several beautifully acted scenes Oliver (Ewan McGregor) educates Arthur on matters of history, behavior, and domestic arrangements. Arthur needs no schooling on loneliness, though Oliver lectures him on that too, as they're both clearly grieving for daddy Hal (future Oscar winner Christopher Plummer). Arthur perks up in sync with Oliver when Anna (Melanie Laurent) arrives and all you ever want is for everyone to connect and heal in this memorably idiosyncratic, generous meditation on living through loneliness and loving again.  "I hope this feeling lasts." [Interview

DRIVE (Nicolas Winding Refn)
Film District. September 16th. 
For a movie that's both exquisitely controlled by its director (hitting the gas pedal on his career) and super controlling both visually and verbally ("you don't need to know the route"), Drive feels oddly ready to be steered by any viewer willing to reach for the keys. Doesn't it already feel like it totally belongs to audiences, a communal vehicle to take where you will in mashups, fan art and pop culture referencing. My favorite thing about it today (this changes at least weekly) is the way it keeps pleading with you to accept the authenticity of its protagonist  "a real human being... and a real hero" even though the Driver is no more tangible than a shadow by film's end.
[Review]

THE ARTIST (Michel Hazanavicius)
Weinstein Co. November 23rd.
This crowd-pleasing Hollywood throwback (via France) is clever counterprogramming for a noisy movie culture with too little to say. The Artist wisely keeps its mouth shut as it dances through excessively familiar classic tropes on the way to an exuberant finale that sends you back into the speaking world recharged. Even silent, it's as witty as many verbally dextrous comedies. Better yet it fully embraces its desperate showman's neurosis. It's practically Garland & Rooney-like in its eagerness to put on a show. If it's not mugging away to keep you smiling, it's tugging on your leg eagerly to save you from gloom. When it's not dazzling you with beauty, it's busy building elaborate joke structures just to heighten already perfect punchlines. If The Artist were weaker pastiche it could leave you with only melancholy longing for a lost artform but this film rarely settles. Hazanavicius Old Hollywood tribute is too nimble to stay locked in nostalgic regret. In that blissful redemptive finale, it opens its doors wide to the giddy rush of the next great movie form.
[Review

A SEPARATION (Asghar Farhadi)
Sony Pictures Classics. December 30th. 
I've already begun to worry that A Separation is going to ruin a whole slew of future movies for me. To watch it, to slowly realize how much it's doing is to awaken to the realization that 90% of the movies you enjoy are only functioning well on one or two levels... if that. A Separation is the film embodiment of an overachieving multi-tasker. The year's most wrenching marital drama also happens to be the decade's best legal thriller. Meanwhile it's not so casually outdoing a whole multitude of recent pictures suggesting the interconnectedness of everything. And while it's doing all of those things, any one of which would be enough of an achievement to heartily recommend it, it's painting a richly evocative portrait of modern day Iran. I don't think it's much of a stretch to suggest, though I've noticed precious few people choosing to, that this specific picture tells a fairly universal truth about our modern world -- make that worlds -- in which the secular and the religious physically co-exist but seem to be living on entirely different planets. Though A Separation is a handful of great movies at once, it never forgets that it began as one, a simple tough story about a crumbling marriage. Farhadi brings it all back home with the most perfectly intuitive resolution imaginable for a movie that never once loses sight of the ripple effect. 
[Review

Feel free to talk back or share your own lists in the comments. How many of these have you seen and do you feel similarly about them?

And while we're on this topic check out the first completed page of the Film Bitch Awards:
Picture, Director and Screenplays are up!

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Reader Comments (57)

Great list! And your thoughtful comparison of MELANCHOLIA and BRIDEMAIDS was much more interesting than my totally facile one. (Although in the end I concluded they are comparable; after all, one's on my Top 10 list and one isn't.)

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKois

I expected either Drive and Weekend to be your top 2 placements; expected Moneyball to be in your top 5; thrilled about the Double Feature for Bridesmaids/Melancholia; and made me want to watch A Separation even more.

LOVED that you told us up front your movie-preference order; it was painful last year waiting for you to sort out the top 5 until your medal awards. Hope you do the same for the acting categories and just tell us up front who your top 5 or 10 are in order of preference.

Anyway, THANKS, Nathaniel!!

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

I can't wait for "A Separation" to finally make it to my city. I know you've (rightly) complained about the inadequate platforming companies often use for acclaimed foreign films, hoping for trophies which might never come, but in this case, it has only enhanced my excitement...and hopefully the trophies will come in this case as well -- assuming it's as good as it seems to be.

Of course, thanks for the whole list and for another great year at TFE.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJason

I had not realised you were such a big fan of Bridesmaids although I'm pleased that you admit to its shapelessness (which sort of does it in for me, that middle section just sort of sits there although I will admit it makes it more realistic as a movie about Annie who is sort of shapeless). I love how your top ten moves between prestige, and art-house and blockbuster with ease and actually makes me rethink my position on them (Miller's direction in Moneyball for example).

PS. You love Beginners, talk about Mary Page Keller PLEASE? That performance continues to stick with me and the only person I remember giving her any significant ink was Nick Davis.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew K.

*more insightful comment to come later, but for now*
YES YES YES YES YES on your number one!

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

Wow Nate! You've been working ;) Love this List. Love Bridesmaids and Melancholia. Weekend, Certified Copy and Poetry aren't available where I live. I stayed away from Moneyball thinking it was about Baseball and I wouldn't like it but it will be out on DVD next week (I think) and I will check it out now that I know it's more then that ;)

The Artist and A Seperation aren't here either. (Iowa)
Could've seen Martha Marcy but didn't. Wish I did.
Saw Beginners on DVD.

I was AMAZED that I was able to see Drive in a main theatre in Iowa. So happy whoever is in charge opened that wide - I was so excited to see it just a few months after Cannes after knowing how good it was from the buzz there :D

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLola

This is an excellent list -- but I really disliked Martha Marcy May Marlene, except for Elizabeth Olsen's performance.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGabriel Oak

I'm starting to feel like the only person on the planet that didn't like Bridesmaid's. If it weren't for Melissa McCarthy, I wouldn't watched more than 20 minutes of it.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterK

Top-notch, insightful insight as usual Nathaniel. More than any other film writer I read, I always learn why you love the movies you do even when I disagree. Here's to hoping 2012 brings resolutions closer to that of Bridesmaids than those of Melancholia :)

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDean

I love love love number 7. Yes. I completely agree with you on what you said about depression, having suffered in the past myself. Melancholia resonated a little more for me, but Bridesmaids was just as good in its portrayal of it.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

Girl, when you get your Photoshopping Mojo going, nobody can touch you.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNick Davis

One of the best movies I saw in 2011 was Once Upon a Time in Anatolia but it's only being released this month in the US.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGabriel Oak

Gabriel -- i have that screener but now that it's opening for real it's a 2012 movie for me.

January 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I have to admit your list was a little different than I was expecting! Surprised to see both Melancholia and Bridesmaids on there. I thought for sure The Artist was going to be number 1, and that Poetry would be a bit higher. But lovely write-ups Nathaniel.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSeeking Amy

That's the best case I've yet heard for Bridesmaids' virtues. I was pretty much ready to write it off for good, but I might need to give it a second viewing now. Shit! And by that, I mean well done!

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

Wow an unexpected and fabulous no. 1! (Possibly a great no.2 as well, I'm still dying to see it)

I didn't enjoy Moneyball as much as the rest of the world did (I evidently just don't *get* Brad Pitt and never will). But I'm a fan of the rest of the films you mention in degrees varying from "it annoys me but, months later, I can't stop thinking about it" (MMMM) to "i want my ashes melded into the negative" (Certified Copy).

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergoran

Love love love the mentions of Certified Copy, Weekend, and The Artist. Still haven't had a chance to see A Separation though; been dying to. Watched CC again on InstantWatch again, and I while I still loved Binoche, I found a whole new appreciation for the film. It's really quite a marvel, but for whatever reason I missed sooooo much when I saw it in theaters.

Anyways, my current (but certainly not finished) top 10 of 2011:
1. Take Shelter
2. The Tree of Life
3. Drive
4. Shame
5. Certified Copy
6. The Artist
7. Weekend
8. Beginners
9. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
10. Martha Marcy May Marlene

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjbaker475

Nate, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is one of those films that I walked out of thinking, I've just seen a classic. It's mesmerizing. I got to see it on the huge screen at Alice Tully Hull. Loved every slow-moving minute.

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGabriel Oak

Our tastes line up fairly well this year. My list:

1. The Tree of Life
2. Drive
3. A Separation
4. Beginners
5. Weekend
6. The Artist
7. Shame
8. Martha Marcy May Marlene
9. Moneyball
10. Jane Eyre

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Great list, Nathaniel. I loved most of your write-ups-- even though I didn't particularly like or love a couple of films in your list, the write-up made me appreciate them more.

One thing about Moneyball-- I hear all the time that this is so interesting for a movie about math. I'm not surprised considering the only math that was actually there was Jonah Hill playing silently with his computer or calculator or whatever it was and then saying "Yes, we can buy him" or "No, we can't." I actually wish the math had been more integrated into the film, as odd as it sounds.

Most of all, I love your write-up for A Separation. I'll add one other merit: I don't think I've ever seen a film so accurately capture how much doubt, revision, and self-convincing goes into complex situations like the one at the center of the film. What a spectacular film.

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

LOVE. Pleeaasse don't take this the wrong way, but I sometimes forgot what a terribly lovely writer you are, simply because you aren't in the business of constantly writing straight-up reviews. I think I often get caught up in all the fun of TFE, and it slips my mind how fine a wordsmith is piloting it. There are so many great insights in these blurbs, and such great care put into them. Bravo, my friend. :-)

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKurtis O

Great list and great write-ups. It doesn't really take much to see the connection between "Bridesmaids" and "Melancholia", but while I think von Trier's film is the better one, I found myself feeling aching pain for Kristen Wiig's character in the former on second viewing. Even moreso than when I first watched it.

Very much looking forward to "A Separation" being released here... whenever that is.

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

Your take on "Certified Copy" makes me feel really secure about my own love for it. Sometimes I wonder if I'm overestimating its artistry by projecting too much of my own feelings (which is ironically the point of the film), so it's good to have you and Nick both on its side (which is not that often lately) when I have to defend the film with a hater (which happens very often lately).

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjoy

A couple things to thrill over:

1) Drive in the Top Three. Absolutely, one of the few films I saw more than once in the theater...and both times were within eight hours.

2) The Artist in the Top Three. Because even if I only loved it instead of being *in* love with it, it deserves so much praise, and this backlash is silly. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

3) In Director, a nomination for Lee Chang-dong. Honestly, when I think of the most incredible aspect of the film, his direction is Number One, then Yun Jung-hee, then the editing. A movie that only grows in estimation with further reflection.

Another superb list, though it does remind me that even though I live in LA and live in walking distance from five movie theaters, I still have no idea where to find A Separation. Good God, SPC!

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWalter L. Hollmann

it has been about a year that i have watched a separation( in iran) and i'v fal in love with it...by now i have watched it more than 20 times!
here my best of 2011
best pic a separaton 2.weekend 3.the artist
best director asghar farhadi
best actor ryan gosling drive and ides of march
best actress meryl streep the iron lady
best supp actor chirstopher plummer beginners
best supp actress sareh bayat a separation
best original screenplay a separation
best adapted screenplay the descendants

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commentera

Wow. Great list. I think I see a lot of movies, but this makes me realize how much I haven't seen. I still need to see half the movies on this list including A Separation which I am so excited about. My three favorites this year were Beginners, Weekend and Drive (in that order for now), but as I haven't seen your 1 and 2 yet, I won't even feel like I can make a true 2011 top ten until, like, halfway through 2012. I choose to see that as a blessing, rather than a curse, in the sense that I have a lot of great movie watching ahead of me.

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertimothy

Great write-ups, especially of Bridesmaids/Melancholia and A Separation. And there's a 6/10 overlap with my list at the moment, or even 7/10, if I'd count Beginners as a 2011 film. Haven't seen Poetry or Weekend yet, and even though Moneyball is well-made, I didn't much care for it, as I had expected. I hope you see Alps and Sleeping Beauty, should they ever come to NY...

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJan

The positives of Bridemaids (fun jokes, strong characterization of Annie) are not enough to outweighs its negatives (formula, length). I am convinced you don't "actually" like it enough to be top 10 considering you (rightfully) don't have it even as a semifinalist for screenplay or director :).

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkin

Great list. Some has not opened in where I live yet (İstanbul / Turkey) but I cannot help but agree to what I have seen in your list. Beginners has been a pleasant surprise for me, too :)
As for your number 1 choice, I cannot be more excited for it and the upcoming awards season awaiting the movie. A great, electrifying movie, that stays with you months after you see it, the best closing scene in a long time and great, GREAT acting. I know it hurts the chances of "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia", best Turkish movie I have ever seen, especially with the Oscar, but I guess the moviegoers will benefit in the end. Both great movies!!! I hope to see "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia" in your 2012 list; since it is an instant classic, shot with a great sense of cinema. It definitely will be in mine for 2011. Please do not let my biased heart (I am no nationalist myself, but geographical proximity kind of skews things) affect you, but it plays great in big screen, even when I count out the "Lost in Translation" affect. A well spent 146 minutes in the movies.
Sorry for jumping ahead to "Best of 2012" list! I am pretty excited with the 3 piece "Best of..." of this year. You definitely gave us a lot to chew on until the Film Bitch Awards.
Your best of is probably the one I take most seriously.
May you live long and prosper!

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersedart

I clearly need to see Poetry then. Ditto Certified Copy. Just haven't had the time for either but now I must MAKE time.

A Separation as your number one! Should've seen that coming with all the raves you've given it. Just dying to see it myself.

So glad to see people remembering Beginners fondly. I basically fell in love with that movie, despite my reservations.

And though I didn't immediately respond to MMMM, it definitely lingers doesn't it? Hadn't seen the comic before but LOAHV.

Fantastic write-ups on most of these (esp Bridescholia) and I forgot to mention that I adore your new header theme of the stoic character back medium shot. :D

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEric

Kin -- Every time I don't include a movie that's obviously hilarious and imminently rewatchable in my top ten i live to regret it. I am still ashamed of myself for not having MEAN GIRLS in my top ten of 2004. Because what is more rewatchjable than Mean Girls?

plus Bridesmaids is my single favorite moviegoing memory of the year (I saw it with six friends on a vacation for the birthday of my best single girlfriend and we had a blast)

January 4, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Arthur the Dog for Best Actor. Cosmo and his trainer Matilda de Cagny totally made Beginners.

Also, seeing you rank Poetry in your Top 10 makes me feel better about my "I didn't see Poetry yet" disclaimer on my Top 10.

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Great list and great write-ups, Nathaniel - I especially appreciate your paragraphs about Bridesmaids/Melancholia, as one of my thoughts after the first half of Melancholia was that it was kind of like the cosmic inverse of Bridesmaids. And as always, your writing sets a higher standard for film blogs. It has been my great pleaure to start actively following this site in 2011.

And just because, my top ten so far (haven't seen Beginners, Certified Copy, Poetry, MMMM, Like Crazy, or A Dangerous Method, and haven't been able to see so many others due to stupid release schedules, but the time is now, so...) in order: The Tree of Life, Weekend, The Artist, Bridesmaids, Mission: Impossible, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Melancholia, Harry Potter, Rango, and The Help.

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Well, this is enough for me to see Poetry before I finalize my Top 10 list, but I'm bummed that I won't be able to see A Separation before I do (darn release schedule). As always, it's a joy to read through these, even if a couple I don't necessarily agree with.

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Our tastes line up quite a bit. A Separation is my number 1 as well and I have Weekend in that exact same placement, and would do the same for Poetry if I hadn't seen it in 2010 at NYFF. I disagree about Melancholia but you would disagree with me too about We Need To Talk About Kevin so I guess those balance each other out. :)

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack

Wonderful choices, Nathaniel!

Here is my list thus far:

The Tree of Life
Shame
Drive
The Artist
A Separation
Tomboy
Poetry
Jane Eyre
Beginners
Bridesmaids

Honorable mentions?
Tyrannosaur
A Dangerous Method
Martha Marcy May Marlene
We need to talk about Kevin
Albert Nobbs

Am I the only one on earth who deeply loves Albert Nobbs?

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterferdi

I agree with almost al of your choices, but Bridesmaids does not get any love from me... or the 5 people I watched it with.... Love these types of movies, but no laughs from us!

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrick

I loathed melancholia apart from kiki d and beginners part of pummers perf is that only he lightens laurents and mcgregor naval gazing,b o r i n g!!!.
Bridesmaids was the hangover with girls,i hate to see women portayed that way,it was full of cliched hollywood unreal characters in totally unbelievable situations,i don't know any woman who behaves in this way.

Why no mention all 2011 fo sarah paulson in mmmm,no one seems to speak about her,i thought she was best out of the 3 leads.

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMARK

Terrific list!

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLev Lewis

Cool list. Very Nathaniel. You've sort of become the grand champion of film bloggers when it comes to year-in-review coverage. When will we see the actors/crafts/etc?

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCasey Fiore

I'm dying to see WEEKEND and YOUNG ADULT. Hope they will open soon in Italy.

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterferdi

How embarrassed am I to have to admit I haven't seen a single one of these? Very (I plead poverty.) I was pleased to notice however that in addition to Certified Copy, Netflix has weekend on instant view.

Your year-end lists are always a pleasure to read, Nat, in part because you acknowledge both the pleasures and the flaws of any film.

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

Casey -- thank you. as fast as i can get it done but it ain't easy. I always plan TOO MUCH. and then i have all the other things i gotta do. I wish November through February were twice as long for me and the same length for everyone else so that i could just be wowing daily :)

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

janice -- well some of them just came out, too. grrrrrr. so i always assume these list are more for rental ideas since distribution is so F'ed up.

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

Nathaniel, I love Mean Girls too. I think I watch it at least once a month whenever I'm at my girlfriend's place (it's her favorite movie). So, realizing that you love the movie so much, I would like to know what is your take on Lindsay Lohan's performance. I think she's fantastic in it and worthy of awards that year. What do you think?

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

BVR -- at the time i was HORRIFIED publicly that she was not nominated at the Golden Globes so i think she's great in it, too. Of course that only made the next few horrific years harder for me. So much talent down the drain.

January 4, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Love me some Film Bitch awards!

THRILLED TO SEE… “Weekend” made the Best Picture cutoff, lots of “Separation” love, “Skin I Live In” and “Jane Eyre” in adapted (though “Moneyball” trounces them both).

SAD TO SEE… no “Tree of Life” in Top 10, no Malick, no “Kevin” in adapted, no “Tuesdays, After Christmas” in original screenplay (although that’s still a killer lineup you got there)

Awesome write-ups and absolutely loved your “Bridesmaids”/”Melancholia” piece plus what amazing Photoshop work.

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRyanSt

My Top 10 of 2011:

01. THE TREE OF LIFE
02. WEEKEND
03. A SEPARATION
04. THE ARTIST
05. BEGINNERS
06. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN
07. MONEYBALL
08. MELANCHOLIA
09. BRIDESMAIDS
10. THE REEF

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRyanSt

Question, Nathaniel- did Miss Bala ever open for a limited run here in the States? I see one listed on IMDB, but don't think it ever made it to NYC. Does it count 2011 or 2012 for you?

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Lovely list and refreshingly free of the eminently overrated HUGO and DESCENDANTS

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark W.E.
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