The other good comedies of 2011: Cedar Rapids and My Idiot Brother. The stylish B schlock of Drive. The absurd, bombastic of Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method. The dancing and mannequin scenes of The Artist. Not a goddamn minute of the execrable Bridesmaids.
10. Martha Marcy May Marlene
The year of the small film. Elizabeth Olsen reminds me of early Scarlett Johansson. In the best way: va-va-voom! But also in the best way: her quiet, nervous beauty wrapped itself around this lil' thriller. But also in the worst way: Scarlett can't act, even if she used to be a genius at looking both vulnerable and otherworldly.
Thoroughly enjoyable and sweet. I barely remember any of it. There was a cute dog.
8. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
I found myself rolling my eyes and growing frustrated and bored through much of this. Magical realism in a Thai setting? Ugh. And then, after all that, a long, static finale of quotidian quiescence: utterly brilliant. And I was red-faced at my boredom and rolled eyes. The type of movie that kept returning to me.
7. The Trip
God, I laughed hard. Did I mention how hard I laughed?
Spoiler alert: the British miniseries is a mile better. See this first: deadpan, humorless, clinical and a great ride. Then see Alec Guiness blow it way.
A great year for movies involving planets moving towards earth. As big as Another Earth was small, and dazzlingly so. Hard to sit through, in the best way.
4. The Tree of Life
An infuriating failure of a film. Malick's worst by a mile. That dinosaur? Gag-worthy. But also bedazzling, confounding, breaking. Without doubt the most beautiful movie made this year: even more beautiful than the sight of Gwyneth's gagging death in Contagion.
Scorsese does family and charms my pants off. It's a little awkward leaving the theater full of children with no pants on.
I didn't hate Like Crazy. Until I saw this. An entire world of two people.
1. Another Earth
There are so many things in this movie that are disjointed, in need of editing, in need of an experienced hand for plotting. It's in every way a small, even little movie. An Atlantic literary science fiction short story. But if it's all those things, it's also so damn good it reminded me of how hard it was, after I had finished the short fiction piece in the waiting room of a doctor, how very hard it was to pretend to those waiting patients that my world hadn't been shaken. This movie left me silent, pondering.