The Year In Film: 2011

Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal
-As we start to wind down the year in film articles, we find that the years we haven't discussed yet aren't really all that great, but still noteworthy. One year that I remember fondly due to how frequently I was in the theater is 2011. Now, despite being in the theater often, apparently the movies I remember seeing weren't the best. Some movies were good, others were subpar, but as always, 2011 had something for everyone. The year kicked off with a few big releases, including one that disappointed big time. The Green Hornet starring Seth Rogen didn't connect as well as the studios would have hoped, but that was expected IMO. Another film early in the year would be the Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman movie No Strings Attached, which was a moderate hit. However, the best movie released in January 2011 is a coming of age story that garnered a lot of attention and accolades in Pariah. Without giving too much away, the film speaks to a young woman and her own internal struggles and the things that come with that. I've always felt like this movie was one of the best of the year and it flows very well. However, as you can see, the first month of the year wasn't too exciting with movie releases.

The next month wasn't much better either. In February 2011, I remember how boring I felt the films were and despite going to see two of those films (The Adjustment Bureau and Unknown), I found myself disappointed in the quality of the films throughout the first two months. Another film that really drove home how lackluster this year was is Big Momma's House 3, which was the most unnecessary sequel ever. I mean really. Literally ever. No one asked for this and though I didn't see it in the theater, I remember renting it from Redbox later, curious to see if Martin could find that old magic. He could not. Not in this movie. It was a cringeworthy film and it solidified the fact that early on in the year, 2011 was full of misses. March was no different in reality, and truthfully, 2011 didn't start hitting its stride until April. I'll save that part of my discussion for the outro. Let's take a look at another opinion on 2011 in film and the movies enjoyed that year.

2011, although it has been just a few years, it seems like ages ago! Much like every year packed with releases, I think 2011 would be most known for the comedies. Although for me personally only a couple comedies stood out, it was an overall pretty good year for film. Fast Five was yet another installment in the Fast and Furious franchise which was released, Marvel released X-Men: First Class and Thor which of course were favorites and those that got a ton of acclaim at the award shows like The Help and Moneyball. While I enjoyed all those movies, here are the ones that stood out for me.

First up is Horrible Bosses. I can never express how much I enjoyed this movie. The story is pretty simple, three friends hate their bosses and plot to kill them. The cast was well chosen (of course Kevin Spacey is a douchebag boss who is a target), but the best chemistry comes from Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis. I would have never thought these three guys could be THIS funny for the entirety of a movie but they were and managed to complement everyone else. Overall the storyline was farfetched so there’s no semblance to reality but the humor was great and it was a fun movie to watch.

Next, I have to mention Rise of the Planet of the Apes. This was the first installment of what would become a trilogy, and this was a great starting point for what was to come. We met Caesar and his human “family” and we saw how he rose to the top and became the leader of the apes. We also get to see how the unethical use of pharmaceuticals can have a profound effect (albeit quite exaggerated). As far as the casting, James Franco was fantastic for the part and his chemistry with the female lead (Freido Pinto) and the actor who played his boss (David Oyelowo) was great. Of course, the film centres around Caesar, so his character development and his relationship with Will (James franco) are so well done that the audience experiences the emotions of sadness, joy and victory when they do. I also appreciated the details so much with the sign language the apes develop amongst themselves, the loyalty and bonds that are created and in showing the stress and anxiety that wild animals feel when caged. Again, this movie laid the foundation and started the story off to build on and while the following installments weren’t as good, they contributed to the overall story and that is a great thing.

My last choice is A Separation. I know I don’t talk much about foreign films or independent films but this one is a foreign independent and I loved it. This is a Iranian film that is centered around a “modern” day family; a husband, a wife and an 11 year old daughter. The man’s father has Alzheimer’s and for the sake of caring for him, the family’s plans of moving abroad are interrupted and eventually leads to divorce. As the family is being torn apart, the illness of a parent and a child stuck in the middle causes so much hardship and obstacles that we are taken on a whirlwind of events and emotions. This movie is so well acted, it’s so true to reality and it conveys the struggles and differences that men and women deal with in a country ruled by Islamic law and I find it incredibly important in the way it portrays Iranian culture and people in comparison to the way the western world media portrays it. I wasn’t surprised when this movie won a ton of awards and got raving reviews both by critics and audiences. Although it is in Farsi (Persian) and subtitled in English, it is most definitely worth watching. This is by far the best movie released in 2011 to me

Looking back the year had some very notable releases and although my list is short, 2011 provided films that were great and ones which would be deemed classics. 

Outro By @TrueGodImmortal 
-When 2011 hit the month of April, things began to take off a little bit on the quality side. It was far from perfect, but there was definitely an improvement in the quality of the films being released and the entertainment factor. Admittedly, two of the biggest box office hits on the year came in this month as the rebirth of the Fast and Furious franchise and the arrival of Thor came along in April. To me, my favorite Fast and Furious film is Fast Five and the viewing audience must agree, as it took the franchise to a new level with over 700 million dollars in worldwide earnings. Thor, of course, continued a successful run for the MCU and while this movie was met with mixed reviews, I thought it worked well. The last film in April that really entertained me more than I expected was Bridesmaids, a female led comedy that was actually hilarious. I haven't seen it in a few years, but the last time I watched it, I enjoyed it and the first time I watched it, I actually found it to be pretty damn funny.

May provided bigger films as well, though I wasn't the biggest fan of most of them. Still, Kung Fu Panda 2, the newest Pirates of The Caribbean (On Stranger Tides), The Hangover Part II, and the solid X-Men: First Class helped round out a decent month in 2011. June was a little better, as we saw the release of Horrible Bosses, Bad Teacher, the much debated Green Lantern, Cars 2, and the controversially discussed Transformers: Dark Side Of The Moon, all popular releases for the year. July might be the most entertaining month of the year, as Captain America: The First Avenger arrived, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 came, and Colombiana surprised audiences. I was a fan of all three movies despite not being a big fan of Harry Potter personally. August brought us The Change-Up, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, and the critically acclaimed film The Help (I refuse to watch this movie), while September gave us 50/50, but not much else.

As 2011 came to a close, we saw another dip in high profile releases and entertaining films, though October gave us Tower Heist, Puss In Boots, and if you're really into these franchises, Paranormal Activity 3 and Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1. I am not personally a fan of either franchise, so this did nothing for me, but they were at least popular films. November and December were collectively disappointing, as the only movie I remember enjoying was Happy Feet Two, and that was disappointing in comparison to the first. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, the random New Year's Eve, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and the newest Sherlock Holmes film were all popular, but quality wise they did nothing for me personally. When I look back overall on 2011, I see a few positives, but for the most part, the year wasn't that eventful or good quality wise. Plenty of movies made money, but in terms of quality, 2011 was just not a good year in film.



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