The Top Ten Best Movies of 2011

Frankly, 2011 was not a great year for movies. There were a lot of good movies, but few great movies. Spielberg released two movies, but neither were among his best. Scorsese made a kid’s movie, which, despite popular opinion, is not an Oscar-caliber film. The comic book adaptations were entertaining but not mind blowing. The various sequels lived up to their predecessors, but nothing more.

Still, there were a few that stood out from the rest. Few if any on this list were amazing, but they are the best that 2011 had to offer. With that motivating introduction, here are the best movies of 2011:

No. 10. Into the Abyss

Into the Abyss paints a picture of a horrendous crime, its lasting effect and the impact the resulting execution has on the various people involved. It never takes sides, an incredibly challenging task given filmmaker Werner Herzog’s anti-death penalty stance and the story at hand.

Into the Abyss isn’t Werner Herzog’s best documentary, but it is one of the best movies of 2011.

No. 9. Beginners

Your mom’s dead. I’m gay and have a young male lover. Oh, and I have cancer. Not exactly what you expect or want to hear from your 75-year-old father. Ewan McGregor stars as Oliver, a man who faces these scenarios and more in Beginners, an extremely good romantic drama that also stars Christopher Plummer and Melanie Laurent.

Written and directed by Mike Mills (Thumbsucker), Beginners is a superbly acted and crafted drama that, while sad and times, brings a smile to your face.

No. 8. Moneyball

Moneyball only has one flaw, and that’s that it made me [momentarily] root for the Oakland Athletics. As a lifelong Seattle Mariners fan, I remember quite vividly going on vacation in August and returning to learn that the Mariners had imploded and the A’s were coasting on a 20-game winning streak. It was not a good memory.

Moneyball is an energetic, highly engaging and entertaining drama grounded by a strong performance by Brad Pitt and excellent screenplay by Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian.

No. 7. Another Earth

In Another Earth, a planet appears in the heavens, identical in every way. The same oceans. Continents. Cities. The night the shocking discovery is revealed, an inebriated 17-year-old girl named Rhoda (Brit Marling) stares up at the sky, trying to see the other planet. She kills a family and is sent to prison.

Another Earth is a rare breed of film, a legitimate sci-fi picture that stays far away from aliens and explosions while remaining equally accessible to mainstream audiences.

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By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Action Movies, Documentaries, Drama Movies, Fantasy Movies, Movie Musicals, Romance Movies, Science Fiction Movies, Sports Movies, Thriller Movies, Top 10 Movie Lists
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