Top 10 Movies of the Year

Posted on December 4, 2011

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12/9/10-December has arrived. We’ve started the hectic rush toward finals and more importantly, winter break is only one week away. Most of us hope that it could be closer. The world of movies has started the race to the Oscars.

Studios, directors and producers are working hard to have their movies be the best of the year and earn a spot in the echelon of movie fame. However, this year in movies has been somewhat disappointing. There were a few good films, but the rest were forgettable.

This year, franchises have ended and begun. Some films surprised, while others disappointed us. Below are what I consider to be the ten best films of the year. The ranking system for these awesome flicks is based on story quality, acting performance and critical acclaim.

10. Cyrus

This little independent film came out over the summer to rave reviews. The Duplass brothers utilize their talent to create a film that balances realistic emotional reactions and engaging humor. This is the most toned down performance I’ve seen John C. Reilly deliver, which was impressive. It’s nice to know he doesn’t have to play an idiot in a Will Ferrell movie in order to be considered a good actor. Jonah Hill plays a delightfully creepy 21 year old with abandonment issues. These two are the highlights of this independent film. This was one of the best movies this year that no one saw.

9. The Social Network

The story of Facebook is something we’ve all been curious about, so it was nice to see how this cultural phenomenon began. The Social Network has one of the best ensemble casts this year, and each actor delivers an incredible performance. Eisenberg, portraying Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, was an arrogant, anti-social genius, and he should gain an Oscar nomination for it. Even though the script was adapted from a novelization, the story was still engaging and should be remembered as one of the most memorable films of the year.

8. Kick-Ass

This movie was unbelievable. Between the profanity-spewing and limb-skewering actions of Hit-Girl, creative humor of Nicolas Cage as Big Daddy and impressive performances by Mark Strong (who seems to be the new type casted villain actor) and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kick-Ass offered an insanely hysterical look on superheroes actually appearing in the real-world. The excellent performances by the ensemble cast and exciting action scenes made this one of the best comic book movies of the year. It’s a shame that it had critical acclaim, but no financial success.

7. Iron Man 2

Robert Downey Jr. and company delivered another successful installment of the Iron Man franchise this year. Some people felt it was not as good as the first, but it still had the same exciting actions sequences, dazzling special effects and the noticeable cast chemistry that made the first Iron Man great. Iron Man 2 was one of the very few summer movies that made the season worth it. Despite the oncoming slew of Marvel movies like Thor and Captain America, Iron Man and Iron Man 2 will always be the ones that started it all.

6. Despicable Me

This was one of the best animated comedies of the year. The story of a supervillain with a heart of gold was a refreshing take on the animated film, where most of the stories seem to be re-hashed and adapted from certain sources. The movie had the perfect amount of humor that could touch both adults and kids. Despicable Me had the traditional animated movie cuteness without shoving it down your throat.

5. Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3 was one the best and most beloved movies this year. For an animated movie, it packed quite the emotional punch, which was a nice surprise. The prison break story was a nice tool to make the saga of the toys feel more refreshing. This might not be the last time we see Woody, Buzz and the gang, but it was a welcome return. Toy Story 3 was another franchise installment that made the summer movie season a little more tolerable.

4. Inception

Finally, an action movie that makes audiences think! The plot is complex, but what made this movie great was how it satisfied all types of fans. The acting was solid and special effects were innovative and mind-bending. Nolan proves he is one of the most creative minds in Hollywood.

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

The epic saga of Harry Potter has lasted for a decade, making it one of the most consistently successful and beloved franchises. The first part of the final movie was suitably dark and foreboding. Its purpose was to set up the non-stop action that occurs in the second half, but its main characters deliver fine performances as they realize how dire their situation has become. This upcoming summer will be sad since the epic adventures of “the boy who lived” will end, but Harry Potter has set itself up to be one of the best movies of the decade, and this installment was one of the best movies of the year.

2. Harry Brown

Harry Brown was another independent movie this year that was released in select theaters. I consider this to be one of the best crime movies of 2010. Michael Caine could challenge Christian Bale for his badass title. Despite being 60 years old, Caine shoots, stabs, kills and tortures people as if he were still young. Harry Brown is dark and depressing, but it works for the movie. It’s portrayal of crime is gritty and realistic. The British know how to make a crime film.

1. 127 Hours

What would you do to survive? Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours is a masterpiece. It is the best film of the year. James Franco delivers a powerful performance as Aron Ralston, the hiker who became trapped in the Utah desert under a boulder and fought for survival. The whole movie is an emotional ride. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It will make you happy to be alive.

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