Al Looks Back at the Films of 2011

So, way back in early days of 2011, I thought long and hard about the upcoming year in film and made some rash judgments based on very little information. Now that I’m twelve months older and twelve months wiser, I thought it might be fun to go back and take a look at just how accurate my wild, flailing guesses turned out to be.  Of course, I didn’t actually see everything I talked about and I’m not all that proud to admit to paying for some of what I did see. Nevertheless, lets take a look and see how my instincts measured up…

1) The Green Hornet
I Said: “Oh, this is going to suck so hard . . . Let’s hope it’s secretly brilliant and poorly marketed, Dogma-style.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? Yes.

I honestly held out hope for The Green Hornet and, in truth, it wasn’t quite as awful as I had dreaded, but the action was mostly boring, the comedy was mostly unfunny, and the little moments that worked couldn’t make up for the large sections that didn’t.  This was a waste of a movie.

2) Red State
I Said: “I’m excited about this one.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? No way!

I had really high expectations going into Red State and still walked away seriously impressed. You’ve never seen a Kevin Smith movie like this.  He pulled out some big guns with Michael Parks, Melissa Leo, and John Goodman and he made them go boom in style.

3) Justin Beiber: Never Say Never
I Said: “How can anyone not want to relive the inspiring true story of how one boy’s never-say-die attitude helped him achieve his lifelong dream of being discovered on Youtube and handed gajillions of dollars?”
Did I See It? No.
Did I Regret It? No.

I’m actually still semi-interested in checking this out (call it morbid curiosity), but I’m not so interested that I would spend the time it would require to do so.

4) Battle: Los Angeles
I Said: “I think this looks fun! If nothing else, it’s got a badass trailer. I suppose it *could* just be another Skyline, but I have hope it’ll be something more.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? Yes.

This was one of the biggest disappointments of the year for me. I got pretty ramped up about Battle: LA but it just wound up being loud, dumb, and derivative.

5) Paul
I Said: “I’m excited for this. It’s like the love child of E.T. and Encino Man!”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? Nuh-uh.

Paul was a big, geeky, geek-ridden, geekfest that delivered in just about ever possible way. I was let down by the handling of Kristin Wiig’s character, but this was otherwise one of the funniest movies I saw all year.

6) Sucker Punch
I Said: “They’re hyping it up as ‘Alice in Wonderland with machine guns,’ but all they really had to do was tell me it was directed by Zack Snyder and I’d be onboard.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? Yes, but only a little.

Sucker Punch got a lot of hate when it came out, so I gave it a pass in the theater.  When I did finally see it, I could definitely understand why people disliked it but I still don’t get all the vitriol. It’s repetitive, sure, but nothing as awful as all that.

7) Hobo with a Shotgun
I Said: “I suppose I’m in as long as it stays true to the source material. By which I mean Rutger Hauer dressed like a homeless person, shooting crooked cops and pedophiles with a shotgun.”
Did I See It? No.
Did I Regret It? Yes.

Funny story: I rented this from Blockbuster and kept it so long that they finally just sold it to me. It’s still sitting in my “To Watch” pile.

8 ) Scream 4
I Said: “I may check it out on Cheap Movie Tuesday, but I won’t be heartbroken if I miss this in theaters.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret it? Nope.

This was a far better movie than it should have been. It still doesn’t hold a candle to the original, but I really liked seeing all the characters together again and had a lot of fun with it. Long live Wes Craven!

9) Thor
I Said: “Is it possible to feel both pumped and hesitant at the same time?”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? No!

Aside from the crappy 3D conversion that turned the first twenty minutes into a big brown blur, I totally dug this flick. It was funny, cool, and entertaining from start to finish.

10) Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
I Said: “I’ll probably be there opening weekend…”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? Yes.

I am a big fan of Curse of the Black Pearl & At Worlds End, but On Stranger Tides just stunk. Ian McShane was wasted and the film was way, way, way too long. $1 billion worldwide means there will almost certainly be a Pirates 5, but it’ll need to be a big step up to get back in my good graces.

11) The Hangover: Part II
I Said: “The first Hangover was absolutely hysterical and I doubt a sequel is going to recapture the magic.”
Did I See It? Nope.
Did I Regret It? Nope.

Maybe I’ll watch it for free one night when I have no other movies to watch or books to read and the Internet goes down. And I’m really, really, REALLY bored.

12) X-Men: First Class
I Said:
“I’m interested if for no other reason than I had no idea it was being made until a few weeks ago.”
Did I See It? Yup.
Did I Regret It? No way!

First Class was head-and-shoulders above the other comic book movies this year. It was fun, interesting, and willing to cut loose a little. I may even like it better than X-2.

13) Super 8
I Said:
“I suppose I don’t know enough about it to make a real judgment, but everything I’ve seen so far is leaving me cold.”
Did I See It? No.
Did I Regret It? Very much.

I’ve really wanted to see Super 8 and just haven’t had the opportunity. I still actually don’t know much about it, but nearly everything I’ve heard about it since it’s release has made me think I’ll love it.

14) Green Lantern
I Said: “Eh.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? Eh.

I didn’t hate Green Lantern like I feared I would, but I didn’t love it either. I think the movie could have succeeded if they spent a little more time on the characters, so I’m curious to see the Extended Cut DVD.

15) Rise of the Planet of the Apes
I Said: “A new Planet of the Apes movie? Starring James Franco and Andy Serkis? A little random, but I’d buy that for a dollar.”
Did I See It? Oh yeah.
Did I Regret It? Not remotely.

This was my favorite movie of the year for a long time. It delivered on every level and left me totally satisfied. I can’t wait for the sequel.

16) Transformers: Dark of the Moon
I Said: “If you’re going to see a Transformers movie, it may as well be on the big screen.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? Nope.

Everyone is hating on Dark of the Moon like they did for TF 1 & 2 before it, but I cannot deny the calling of my heart (or whatever): I enjoyed this every loud, dumb second of this movie. It’s probably too long for it’s own good and the PG-13 rating is a joke, but I think people need to lighten up and enjoy some fightin’ robots.

17) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II
I Said: “Out of everything on this list, I think Deathly Hallows Part II is my only definite must-see of 2011. There’s no way I’m missing it.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? No.

I was there at 12:01 opening night, like I knew I would be. At the end of the day, though, HP7.2 was not spectacular, but merely good.

18) Captain America: The First Avenger
I Said: “I hope, hope, hope this is good. I really do. Captain America is probably my all-time favorite superhero and absolutely nothing about this film has me excited.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? No.

Despite all my worrying about Cap, they delivered a fun, cool film that got me revved for The Avengers. It never quite approached takeoff speed, but was a solid summer flick nonetheless.

19) Cowboys And Aliens
I Said:  “My only fear is that all the early hype is going to wind up disappointing a lot of people. It’s a funny concept, but it could lose steam when it’s stretched out over ninety minutes.”
Did I See It? Yup.
Did I Regret It? Nope.

I think I was right to keep my expectations low. A lot of people were expecting to be blown away or gasping for laughter by Cowboys and Aliens but that’s not the film they made. It’s entertaining summer fluff. I watched it, I liked it, and then I moved on.

20) Conan the Barbarian
I Said: “A new Conan the Barbarian? Sure, why not.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? Sorta.

Well, the new Conan wasn’t good (y’know, at all) but I didn’t necessarily dislike it. It just didn’t quite feel worth my time and money.  Jason Momoa, as much as I loved him in Game of Thrones, doesn’t lend the same iconic look or feel that Arnold gave the role and the plot isn’t strong enough to overcome that. Plus, Rose McGowan looks completely absurd, but that’s really neither here nor there.  I wouldn’t turn away a second one, though. I’m sure they’ll get it right some day.

21) Final Destination 5
I Said:
“Five entries into the franchise, I’m not sure I’m still willing to pay movie theater prices”
Did I See It? Nope.
Did I Regret It? Nope.

Missed this and barely noticed. I’ll probably check it out eventually, but, honestly? Whatever.

22) Piranha 3DD
I Said:
“There’s no way I’m letting this one get under my radar.”
Did I See It? No. *grumble*
Did I Regret It? Yes.

I’m really irritated I missed this, but, you know, I don’t even really remember this coming out. **checks the internet** Hey! It never came out! Apparently it was pulled so they could work on it some more and it’s now been slated for an unspecified 2012 release. It’s a good thing when this happens to a movie, right?

23) Footloose
I Said:
“Eh, I still think I’ll pass.”
Did I See It? No.
Did I Regret It? A little, actually.

My interest was pretty negligible for this, but then I saw it was by the guy who did Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan. Confused and intrigued, I decided that I wanted to check it out only to discover that it was gone. Ah well.

24) The Thing
I Said:
“I saw the filmmaker’s panel on this at Comicon and thought the sneak preview they showed looked pretty badass. I’ll be in line for this.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? Nah.

So, was this great? No. Did I really enjoy it? Oh yeah. The filmmakers were a little too afraid to let nothing happen, but the creatures were cool and I think it’s an interesting puzzle piece to lock into the 1982 film.

25) Puss in Boots
I Said: “Have they sucked all the life out of Shrek yet? They have? Okay, folks, time to start gnawing the corpses of the supporting characters!”
Did I See It? Nope.
Did I Regret It? Nope.

And nothing of value was lost.

26) Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1
I Said: “I’m also really excited for this, mostly because I’m given to understand that it involves our heroine vomiting up blood and Edward chewing through his wife’s umbilical cord. What can I say? I like the simple things in life.”
Did I See It? No.
Did I Regret It? No.

So, apparently there’s a lot more to this movie than vampire birth scenes. So I guess I dodged that bullet.

27) The Muppets
I Said: “Did I say the Harry Potter was my only must-see movie this year? Scratch that.”
Did I See It? No. *sigh*
Did I Regret It? Totally.

I made three separate attempts to see this movie and they all went flooey. It’s still in theaters near my house, but I’ve all but given up hope of seeing The Muppets anytime soon. A major letdown for me.

28) Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol
I Said:
“I’m just not sure how many more chances this franchise gets.”
Did I See It? Not Yet.
Did I Regret It? Yes!

I’m completely thrilled that the new Mission: Impossible apparently oozes cool, but I haven’t had the chance to sit down and watch it yet. I’m definitely looking forward to it, though.

29) Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
I Said: “Well, I haven’t seen the first Sherlock Holmes movie so getting excited about this one is hard.”
Did I See It? Nope.
Did I Regret It? Sorta.

I did see the first Sherlock Holmes shortly after Heather & I published our 2011 article and enjoyed it immensely. The buzz on A Game of Shadows has been middling, though, so I won’t lose sleep over not catching this one.

30) The Adventures of Tintin
I Said: “This movie has crazy amounts of Hollywood muscle behind it, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why they think it needs to be made.”
Did I See It? No.
Did I Regret It? Not really.

So, by all accounts this is a decent movie that marketing fumbled pretty badly. I’m sure I’ll see it eventually, but if they haven’t managed to raise an iota of interest from me in twelve months, I can’t believe anything will make me want to run out and watch it at this point. I’m sure the DVD will be just fine.

So, truth be told, I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself. Here’s how I did:

My Totals

Movies on the List that I Watched: 18/30, 60%

Movies I Regretted Seeing: 5/18, 28%

Movies I Regretted Missing: 6/11, 55%

I saw a fair number of the movies I wrote about and enjoyed most of what I saw. I did regret missing a lot of what I skipped, but I’m sure I’ll get to them eventually. Anyway, the new year looks like it has got some really interesting stuff planned, so I turn to toward January with my face forward, my chin up, my arms wide, and my tongue waggling ridiculously. Viva 2012!

Other stuff I saw and enjoyed in 2011: Attack the Block, Hanna, Cedar Rapids, 30 Minutes or Less, The Debt, The Devil’s Double, Tower Heist, The Captains, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night


    • I had always heard the phrase “like watching somebody else playing a video game” but never felt the need to use it myself until Battle: LA. It was a big, big disappointment for me.

      Glad you liked the article!

  1. I only saw a few of these, not having copious moolah for movie tickets (although I just got Captain America from Netflix, and am watching it tonight – woo!), so here are my thoughts:

    Green Hornet: Agreed. I actually think it could have been a fairly decent movie if they’d gotten Seth Rogen to NOT play the hero as an egotistical jackass who was jealous of his sidekick. Oh well, he DID go through a bit of character evolution by the end, so if they ever do make a sequel I suppose it could be decent.

    Thor: A great flick! Wrote a review of it. Good.

    PotC4: I dunno, I didn’t think it was that bad. It was far from a masterpiece, and Jack Sparrow is a little iffy as a main protagonist – he works better with a typically heroic straight man to play off – but I enjoyed myself well enough, and Johnny Depp is still great in the role.

    XMFC: It wasn’t bad. It’s one of those movies where everyone is going ‘yow, that’s good!’, and I’m going ‘well… I don’t DISAGREE with you, but…’

    Cowboys and Aliens: Personally, I really liked this. Yeah, it was nothing spectacular, but I certainly enjoyed it, and it’s on my Netflix list for a rewatch.

    The Muppets: Man, you should totally check out the Muppets. They’re full of Muppety goodness.

    The Adventures of Tintin: Dude, see this movie. See it right now. It’s great – not perfect, but overall great. Admittedly, I’m a huge huge fan of the character, so I may have my rose-colored glasses on, but even so, this movie is one of the funnest things Spielberg has put out in a long time, and dips into the spirit of pure adventure that produced the Indy films. Why did it need to be made? IT’S TINTIN. TINTIN IS AWESOME. SEE IT.

    • People keep saying that, but, even after months of the multi-million dollar ad campaign, I still have yet to feel even the tiniest shred of interest in the film. I’ll check it out eventually, but I won’t go out of my way.

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