Top 10 of 2011 – Adelaide’s Picks
I saw that everyone else was doing a top 10 for 2011 and wanted in on the fun, but then I realized I didn’t actually see all that many new movies in the theater last year. It turns out that I’ll see anything for a review, but when it comes to viewing for my own pleasure, I tend to stick to older movies or weird stuff. So, I’ve decided to create a top ten new-to-me list. These are movies that I saw during 2011 that I had never seen before that, for one reason or another, impressed the hell out of me. While I did have fun compiling this list, I need to keep better track of what I’m watching from now on. There was a lot of “What the hell did I watch last year?” going on. (I have started a spreadsheet for 2012.) What were your new-to-you favorites last year?
10. Another Woman (1988)
In a year where the current Woody Allen movie felt more like a pastiche of one of his films rather than the real thing (Midnight in Paris, I am looking at you), I went back to his older films and discovered a gem I had never seen before. Marion Post (Gena Rowlands) is a philosophy professor who rents a small apartment where she can work on her latest book undistracted. She is able to hear the conversations of the psychiatrist next door through a vent and ends up reevaluating her own life, realizing that she is actually a pretty unpleasant person. I feared this was going to be one of Allen’s emotional train wreck films like September (ick), but was drawn in pretty quickly. As I get older—I’m 43—I’ve started thinking about my own life and the mistakes I’ve made and the things I would still like to do. This is an engrossing film about a woman’s journey of self-discovery that is not mired in sex or despair. It’s not one of Allen’s best films, but it is a really good one.
9. Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (2010)
I was not really looking forward to watching what looked to be a testosterone-fueled love letter to fascism. Turns out it was awesome. Captain Nascimiento must not only deal with the drug cartels that have taken over Rio, but with the corrupt cops that move in after the cartels have been pushed out. This film is so good because it mixes blood pressure-elevating action with the attempt to deal somewhat even-handedly with a complex issue. While Nascimiento would just like to kill everyone, he is tempered by his nemesis, human rights activist Fraga. I responded to this movie so much because it shows how complicated the cartel and police corruption issues in Rio are and that there is no easy answer of what needs to be done. It is hyper-violent, but I am an adult and can close my eyes when needed.
8. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010)
This movie is awesome. Two rednecky-looking dudes (Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine) head to their “vacation” cabin in the West Virginia woods to rest, relax, and fix the place up a little. A group of college students is also camping in the same area. Due to a rather gory accidental death, the college students assume the rednecks are deep woods, Ed Gein-style serial killers. The rednecks want to know why the college students keep killing themselves out in the woods. Hilarity based on miscommunication abounds! This movie is funny, gory, and a little bit scary. There is also some romance thrown in for good measure. It’s a lot of fun and my vote for the best Canadian movie ever.