Usually I’m a Redbox kind of girl, but this year I found myself at the movies quite a bit. (At least five times alone to see Ryan Gosling, but we’ll get to him later.) In no particular order, here are my favorite movies from this past year!
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Knowing that this was the final theatrical installment of such a phenomenal series made going to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 quite the event. (I totally rocked my Gryffindor scarf in the middle of July.) The action sequences (Oh that Neville Longbottom, what a BAMF! ), the heart-wrenching death of Snape, and possibly the most awkward hug captured on film between ol’ Voldy and Draco Malfoy made for quite the most excellent finale. I’m truly going to miss Harry, Ron, and Hermoine. Hats off to Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson for their wonderful portrayals of J.K. Rowling’s delightful characters!
If I had to pick my favorite movie of the year, it would more than likely be 50/50. Inspired by a true story, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Adam Lerner, who gets diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Along with Gordon-Levitt, the cast boasts Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, as well as Anjelica Huston, who deliver a humorous, yet heartbreaking look at dealing with one’s emotional and physical journey of coping with a life-threatening illness. And yes, I totally cried in the theater.
Please note that I did not solely base this pick on me being a blur in the background during Hatteberg’s (played by Chris Pratt) big hit. I actually have quite the affinity for sports movies. And although in everyday life I am most definitely #TeamAniston, Brad Pitt’s performance as the Oakland Athletics’ GM Billy Beane cannot be denied. Using statistical data to determine each player’s on base percentage, assistant GM Peter Brand (played by Jonah Hill) and Beane assemble a team that fits the given budget. You get a real sense of Beane’s passion for his team and his love of the game throughout Pitt’s performance. By the end of the film, you’ll find yourself asking the same question as Beane posed to Brand, “How can you not get romantic about baseball?”
The Ides of March/Blue Valentine/Crazy Stupid Love/Drive
Welcome to the Ryan Gosling Appreciation Party! I saw a lot of movies that starred Mr. Gosling this year. In fact, I saw The Ides of March twice, because I absolutely loved it and couldn’t help myself. That scene at the end between Gosling and George Clooney in the back of the restaurant kitchen is so intense! And okay, I realize that Blue Valentine technically came out in 2010, but it wasn’t released in the Bay Area until January 2011, so that’s why it’s included in my Gosling Appreciation Party. BTW, he was brilliant in that film. It’s still kind of a bummer that only Michelle Williams received recognition, when both of them did such an amazing job.
Crazy Stupid Love proved that romantic comedies can be legitimately funny and deal with real life issues, like divorce, growing up, and falling in love without being completely over-sensational about it. I liked seeing a film about different types of love. And everyone could do with this one piece of advice: “Be better than the Gap.”
Even though at points of the film, things got a little too bloody for me, the music fan in me really enjoyed Drive, due to the amazing synthed out, 80’s influenced score. Also, I could not get over the insanely intense opening getaway scene.
I am rooting for Leonardo DiCaprio to finally get his Oscar. His performance in the Clint Eastwood-directed J. Edgar was one of the most fascinating films I watched this year. Granted, we don’t really know the whole story with J. Edgar Hoover, but speculating for cinematic purposes made for an enthralling film. Armie Hammer’s perfomance as Clyde Tolson was completely moving. Whether or not Hoover and Tolson were romantically involved remains up in the air, but I enjoyed the cinematic dynamic between the two in the film. As I already stated, I really hope Leo gets his due, and I would love to see Hammer continue to receive recognition for his role.
These are my favorite movies of 2011, what were some of your favorite movies of the year?