Sitting here Monday morning with one eye on The Gay Divorcee on the TV—winner of the Best Song for 1934, back when the category made sense — the first thing that struck me about the previous night’s Oscar show was that the whole thing just plain needs rethinking. It probably won’t happen. After all, this is something put on by people who think Billy Crystal with a suspiciously too black beaver pelt glued to his head and looking one face-lift away from Joan Rivers is pretty edgy stuff. Still, it needs rethinking all the same.
Here at last is the anxiously awaited (you were waiting anxiously, weren’t you?) honest-to-Lubitsch complete, in-depth, in detail, in all its debatable glory full list of the best and worse the movies of 2011 offered. At least, it’s such a list as things looked to Justin Souther and me. You may have seen our lists in the print edition a little while back. This expands on (and in one case at least alters) those earlier ones. Sit back and let’s see who we can please and who we can annoy this year.
As it happens Halloween falls on a Monday this year and while that’s a pretty crummy day for Halloween to permit itself the luxury of occuring for most people, it actually works out rather nicely for me. You see, to the degree that I have a day off—and let’s face it, this is generally a seven-day-a-week gig—Monday is that day. At least, I’m not writing reviews and I don’t have to go anywhere, so I can spend this Halloween in the company of my favorite horror movies. Sometimes I’ve been known to take the coward’s way out and just turn on TCM on Halloween, but I’m not that keen on their line-up this year, so I’ve come up with with nine choices of my own (that seems the largest number I might realistically get watched). And being that horror is one of my favorite genres, all this meant was a trip over to the shelves.
I know there are those who actually believe that 2011 has been a good year for movies. I can’t agree with that—nor it seems can most people. But there’s always the chance that I’ve been forgetting something. With that in mind, I went over all the new films I’ve seen that impressed me enough to get the full five stars. This came up to five titles: The Illusionist, 13 Assassins, Incendies, Midnight in Paris and Point Blank. It’s a point of debate as to whether The Illusionist can technically be counted as 2011, since it opened in limited release in 2010—and since I saw it in 2010. Incendies, on the other hand, counts, since it only opened enough to qualify for Oscar consideration in 2010. So I’ll discount The Illusionist, but keep Incendies as a possible “Best of” contender.