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Brian’s Unquestionable TOP 10 Films of 2011

It’s that time again.  Another year has flown by and I’m still proverbially in the same place and physically in the same chair as I was last year.  My how things don’t always change like you want them to, but that’s the beauty of looking forward to next year and all the endless possibilities dreams, hopes and endeavors may bring you.  Here’s looking to 2012!  But before I “turn the page” (a nod to Bob Seger, not Metallica), it wouldn’t be right without first recapping my favorite movies of the year and cramming down your throat why I think the way I do.  Who’s right and who’s wrong when it comes to these?  Absolutely no one is.  We each have our own opinion, beliefs and value systems.  That’s what makes us individuals.  But when it’s your day to shine here on Why So Blu, your Top 10 list becomes as powerful as the almighty scriptures of the past.  So for today, December 22, 2012…this is the new law being enforced upon you around here.  Follow you will!

I need to make a quick little blurb of a statement before I begin.  Let the record show that I waited until seeing The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo before finalizing the below list.  I saw the new Sherlock, I suffered through the drab of the long Apple commercial, I mean Mission Impossible 4 and I nearly slept through 2 hours and 40 minutes of Dragon before conclusively arriving at the fact that this list was already complete a week ago.  LOL.  In defense of Dragon, I was excited for it…very much so.  But in retrospect, it’s nothing more than a frame-by-frame remake of the original Swedish film.  In my opinion, besides the fantastic James Bond-like beginning, Fincher did little to make this film his own.  That was disappointing.  So anyway…without further ado…here’s my “Top 10 Films of 2011”…otherwise known as the law today!

 

My Top 10…

10. The Hangover Part II – Here’s a film I recently just watched for the fourth time.  I’ll admit to not being the biggest fan of the film upon my first theatrical viewing, but subsequent ones have really warmed my heart.  Despite the repetitive plot as it relates to the first film, it’s hard not to fall for the lovable trio we have experienced so much with over the past two outings.  Again, the repetitive plot is what initially turned me off the first time, but if you can get past this and channel the energy of the mayhem that ensues throughout, then I really truly believe you can have fun with this.  I’m living proof of it.  And that’s why…I’m ecstatic that The Hangover Part II graces my Top 10 list of 2011.  It doesn’t touch the brilliance of the first film or awesomeness of a sequel like Empire Strikes Back, but it does one thing for me that very few things in life do…it makes me smile and laugh.  And for that reason alone, it’s worth its weight in gold (buy the Blu-ray here).  Here’s looking to their third and final outing in 2013!  Bring it!

 

9. Horrible Bosses – Come on!  How can you not like this one?  Just about everyone reading this list has had or currently holds a job.  And there’s no way you can tell me that you never had a “horrible boss,” can you?  I didn’t think so.  So with that being said, besides The Hangover sequel, this was the one comedy I was really looking forward to this year and despite a few flaws here and there, it delivered for me.  But I’m sorry… I STILL cannot feel sorry for the character being taken advantaged by Jennifer Aniston, but that’s just me.  However, I would wager that 99.9% of warm-blooded American males would agree with my aforementioned statement.  In fact, I know I could take that bet to the bank and cash it right now.  I’m that confident.  So there’s some good stuff in here, people.  Have you seen it yet?  If not, you owe it to yourself to pick it up here.  Check it out, yo!

 

8. Fright Night – Here’s one that I had zero expectations for and practically zero interest in ever wanting to see.  I’m not even sure if I turned a blind eye to the press screening or if there even was one, but whatevs…this was not one I wanted to check out.  Having never seen the original film, my decision to check this one out rested squarely upon fellow reviewer Aaron Neuwirth’s review here.  If he ranks a film high enough and the subject matter appeals to me, then I will give him the benefit of the doubt and check it out.  After all, that’s what friends are for, right?  His positive review ultimately helps the economy.  That’s an important aspect we the movie going public seldom think about.  We are all so wrapped up in instant gratification that we forget how important it is to support the movies we love during their theatrical presentations.  In the case of Fright Night, I just ate it up.  It had the right amount of teenage angst and quirkiness versus evil vampire lore to touch me where it counts.  I’m talking about my heart, folks.  Don’t get any wrong impressions.  This is a PG-13 rated post.

 

7. Colombiana – I wish I could rank this one higher, but alas…there are more deserving titles.  However, that’s not to undermine how much fun I had with this title.  I had a blast with it!  Like Fright Night above, I had absolutely no interest in EVER wanting to check this one out.  None whatsoever!  But it’s amazing what a Sunday afternoon of boredom makes someone do, coupled with a somewhat negative opinion of the film by reviewer Gregg Senko.  If he hates it, then generally I know I’m going to love it.  So what the heck!  I paid the price of admission and even got one of the strongest cups of coffee I have ever had and had a bombastically fun time with this title.  I’m not saying by any means that this is the best revenge title to ever grace the silver screen.  All I’m saying is that I had a good time with it and in my world and my laws I am governing here…that’s all that truly matters.  I have new found respect and love for the slender Zoe Saldana.  However, I do agree with Gregg.  The girl does need to eat just a little more.  If you want a fast paced, adrenaline-filled, over-the-top zany revenge film that probably takes itself a little too seriously, look no further than Colombiana.  And if you want to see Michael Vartan, then by golly…you’re in luck too!  Aaron Neuwirth’s in-depth review of the film can be found here.

 

6. X-Men: First Class – Wow!  I’m feeling like a broken record because I feel like I keep saying the same thing over and over in this list.  Continuing my streak of films that I had no intentions or desire to ever want to see is another one of those pesky X-Men films.  Let it be known that I’m not a fan of X-Men lore, nor am I a big fan of the previous four films, especially that abomination called Wolverine.  I did not see X-Men: First Class theatrically.  Instead, my first experience with it was in the privacy of my own home on the stupendous Blu-ray format.  I heard so much buzz about this film that I felt great joy overcome my strenuous body when the high expectations I had for the film were met on all levels.  For once…I agreed with Gregg Senko!  It’s the first time in my life where I was able to say I’m an X-Men fan and I couldn’t be happier that this gem is gracing my Top 10 list of 2011.  It deserves it.  I hope all Marvel films take a cue from this feature (I’m looking at you Avengers).  For more information, check out our movie review here and the Blu-ray review here.

 

5. Fast Five – I promise.  This is the last time I do this.  I swear.  I’m not a fan of the Fast and the Furious franchise.  The only film I truly admit to liking was the third one for some reason I cannot even comprehend to this day.  I hated the drudge of the fourth film.  Why I even went to check out Fast Five theatrically is still a mystery to me, but nevertheless I did.  And I was blown away!  Sure it’s over-the-top and non-sensical (I think I just invented this word), but this one had heart and a story I could follow.  It appealed to me.  It pulled on my heartstrings.  And that’s all it took to make this one of the finest films of 2011 on my Top 10 list as well as in my Blu-ray collection.  If you can have fun with movies and not over-analyze every little fault like how they could survive the death-defying plunge into the water during the opening train wreck scene, then I think it’s possible to really enjoy this one.  And for the first time in my life, I’m actually looking forward to the next entry in the franchise.  Yep.  You heard me right.  Rumor has it that both a sixth and a seventh installment will be filmed concurrently.  It’s a profitable franchise, yo!  Check out our full movie review here and Blu-ray review here.

 

4. Drive – My first real exposure to Drive was at Comic-Con this past July.  The clips they showed us sold me on it instantly.  I had no hesitation whatsoever as I tackled the press screening gleefully (that’s a word you may never see me use again).  And what a sight to see it was!  Ryan Gosling was the perfect choice in my opinion as the leading man here.  His performance, as well as the ancillary characters, was simply stellar.  The silence in this film is as “rad” as the soundtrack itself.  Yes, I said rad.  LOL.  I tell my one friend this all the time.  Sometimes you don’t need words.  Sometimes silence speaks louder than words.  Awkward and tension-filled moments thrive with beautifully orchestrated silence…when executed flawlessly of course.  And that’s where Drive’s brilliance shines.  Never mind the fact that a black Mustang GT like mine is given ample screen time with an adrenaline-fueled bang up car chase on the same level (IMO) as the classic Bullitt film, but instead it’s the use of non-verbal cues that propels this story into everyone’s Top 10 list (I hope) this year.  There’s a delicate balance of art film versus mainstream movie here and if I can speak from the heart (of course I can…it’s my rules) I think the production team captured each side of the coin beautifully.  This is one masterpiece that I hope does not get overlooked this coming awards season.  Check out our reviews here and here.

 

3. The Devil’s Double – Like Drive, my first exposure (this time theatrical) to The Devil’s Double was at Comic-Con this past July.  It was a long and exhaustive first day of the annual convention, but the evening climaxed with an exclusive press screening of this film.  I thought for sure I was going to fall asleep, but how the heck could I?  Dominic Cooper exceeded each and every one of my expectations in his dual role portrayal of Saddam’s son and lookalike body double.  You want to see an actor who deserves a nod this awards season?  Look no further than here.  The fact that Gregg Senko did not like it simply propels my loving feelings about this film even more.  I’m kidding Gregg.  Relax!  I have always been a big history buff when it comes to corrupt dictators and such, so this movie instantly struck an accord with me much like Three Kings did years ago.  I can’t stress enough how much I recommend a viewing of this if you have not already seen it.  For extra encouragement, much like the refreshing taste and pleasure of Double-Mint gum, check out our theatrical movie review here and the ever-popular dynamic Blu-ray review here.  Do it!

 

2. Insidious – What can I say about Insidious?  Wow!  I’m not even sure.  I was blown away by the sheer brilliance and subject matter of this film and quite honestly, I doubted anything would ever top it this year.  Of course, I was wrong since we are talking about Insidious in the number two spot, but you have to admit…I wasn’t that far off.  Insidious is brought to us by the brains (James Wan) behind the success of the Saw films, but that’s not how I found out about this gem.  I owe it all to fellow staff reviewer Gerard Iribe.  If not for him, I don’t think I would have known about this as intimately as I did before seeing it theatrically.  And how I loved both of the theatrical viewings/experiences I had of this film.  It’s always hilarious to see grown men shriek in terror.  LOL.  When you can do that as a filmmaker, you know you did something right.  With an unspeakable budget of under one million dollars, Insidious quickly went on to become one of the most profitable movies of the year proving once and for all big things can come in little packages.  Who needs a Hollywood big budget blockbuster when you have Insidious, the film solely responsible for making me a fan of Tiny Tim?  Check out Gerard’s Blu-ray review here and Aaron’s theatrical one here.

 

1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes – Alright.  I’m sorry.  I lied.  I said I was not going to do this anymore, but I forgot.  I never had any interest in this film.  ZERO!  It wasn’t until word of mouth about the trailer started to spread.  I heard how awesome it was.  I gave it a spin.  It wasn’t bad.  Then came Comic-Con 2011.  Lauren Winston and I were treated to exclusive footage shown to the Hall H crowd that magical Friday afternoon before Chillerama.  How could we look the other way?  We were both instantly hooked.  I was pumped more than ever for the August press screening, but you know what?  I still went into it with zero expectations despite my excitement.  During my first screening, I sat on the edge of my seat as I was taken on a holy diver of a CGI emotional rollercoaster much like I was in Cameron’s Avatar.  Like a beautiful woman, this film swept me off my feet.  I was instantly in love.  It was then I realized that despite my previous number one, Insidious, I had to dump her for this.  This movie pulls on your heartstrings and never ever lets go.  I mean what kind of human am I rooting on the apes to destroy mankind?  I know.  I’m a sick and love stricken human.  Hail Caesar!  You’re my number one.  Check out our theatrical movie reviews here and here and a most excellent Blu-ray recap here.

 

My Honorable Mention

Let the record indicate that there is one film this year that caught me off guard.  It gave me a little something I wasn’t expecting, but it just didn’t have enough punch to find a home amongst the titles populating my glorious Top 10 list.  However, it deserves mentioning.  And that ladies and gentlemen is why the following title earns the coveted Honorable Mention nod, according to the Holy Gospel of Brian.

LimitlessLimitless is one of these films that comes along and really catches you off guard.  When I first saw the theatrical trailer I was like this film has promise, but it looked stupid nonetheless.  Then came all the mostly positive reviews.  Then I heard how good the Blu-ray presentation was.  I had to see for myself.  I took a chance on it.  And I’m so glad I did!  If I could take one of these magical pills, you bet I would!  And that comes from a man who has never even touched a cigarette in his life.  Limitless is a magical tale that lifts you up and drops you down as you experience Bradley Cooper’s highs and lows while he is on the drug and off the drug.  Kudos to the artistic styles engaged throughout the film too.  If you have not checked this out yet, make sure you do after reading Aaron’s review here.

 

My Biggest Disappointments

This year I have not one, not two, but FOUR titles that fit into this category very nicely.  Actually, there are more, but for brevity sake, let’s stick with four.  LOL.  You ready for them?  No holds barred…

Captain America – Absolute Shite!   It feels like the Longest Act 1 in cinema history.  LOL.   I even gave this film two opportunities to win me over.   It failed both times.  What a bore.  I really have nothing good to say about this film.  The only part I liked was the do you fondue joke.  Other than that…YAWN!  My honest recommendation is to only watch this one when Nyquil doesn’t work.  You get what I’m dropping?  Move on.  Life is too short to waste on this.

 

Green Lantern – The first time I saw this one I didn’t think it was that bad, but everyone else was trashing it.  So I gave it a second spin when I had to review it not so long ago and yeah…I must have been on some kind of mind altering drug or something during my first theatrical viewing.   What the hell was I thinking?  I know. I wasn’t!  This movie had potential.  I’ll give it that.  However, for some reason, I think the production team was afraid to take this too intergalactic and unfortunately, that’s where the fun was to be had with this film…not on Earth.

 

Conan the Barbarian – Having never seen the two 1980 Arnold adventures, I was really looking forward to this modern day reinterpretation (a.k.a. a reboot) of the franchise.  The trailers looked bombad.  Gerard said it was awesome!  How could it not be?  Well this past weekend I found out the truth for myself while vacationing in Florida.  My friend and I gave this one a test drive.  If this movie has a plot, then my name is Moonblood White.  Garbage!  I feel ripped off having paid $2.99 for a digital copy.   Can I have my money back please?

 

The Human Centipede: Full Sequence – I urge you to stay away from this at all costs!  Despite how much I was looking forward to this one, there is absolutely no entertainment value to be had here.   ZERO. This is gratuitous violence and nothing else.   Want to know how it ends?   Here…let me help you save 90-minutes of your life that you will never get back again.   Highlight the white text within the following set of parentheses (it was all a GD dream).

 

So there you have it.  That’s it.  I wash my hands clean of 2011.  I look forward to reading all your comments of utter hate and stellar praise below.  Have at it!

Thanks!

Have a happy and safe New Year.  Don’t do anything stupid!

 

-BW

 

 

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

14 Responses to “Brian’s Unquestionable TOP 10 Films of 2011”


  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    If you needed to find a place to go to have a lot of 2011-themed fun for several hours, Brian’s top 10 list would be a fine place to start. Grab the popcorn, because it’s all about entertainment on this list (And Drive).

    And congrats to Brian White for being the one person anywhere who will have Columbiana on a top 10 list.

  2. Will Santana

    I still havent got around to watching The Devil’s Double, looks really good though.

  3. Matt Blu-Man

    This is a good list. I agreed w/ everything except Colombiana 😛

  4. Gregg

    ROFL at Aaron’s Colombiana comment. To Brian, totally agree on Green Lantern, Cap and Conan. All trash. Limitless was a whole lot better than I expected and I really ended up liking that film a lot. Drive should be retitled \How To Be a Bad Ass.\ No argument from me on your number 1 pick. Awesome flick. Your number 10…ummm.

  5. Lauren Winston

    Hmm. I’m not sure about the last 5. Maybe I should look at this years best flicks but as you know your #1 has sold me. I didn’t see Colombiana but I wish I did so I knew what you guys were talking about. No good? Hmm. trailer should me so I guess some marketer is doing their job right. Speaking of kick ass films that feature strong women. Anyone seen the trailer for Haywire due out in 2012? Looks badass. Now that is a film that I think will blow all our minds away. Oh and lastly, Drive should be higher only because it’s soundtrack was also amazing. Whatever happened to films with great soundtracks…guess that’s another site for you Brian. 🙂

  6. Aaron Neuwirth

    Agreed about Haywire. Even though January usually sucks for movies, I have faith in Steven Soderbergh and his fantastic cast.

    “Drive should be higher” – what an interesting thing to say 😉 to be continued…

  7. Keith G. Thomas

    I loved five through ten!! I have not seen the devil movie, but now Brian i must check it out! I really did notcare for Drive??? And funny as u may think, I actually liked the new Conan. Totally thinking I wouldn’t. I also did really enjoy the new Transformers

  8. Bob Ignizio

    Well, I’m sure you won’t be shocked that I disagree with about as many of your picks as I agree with. Personally I thought ‘Captain America’ was a top notch super hero flick that perfectly captured that character on film. Otherwise I’m with you on the disappointments. I also hated ‘Hangover II’ for it’s utter laziness and contempt for the audience, and ‘Horrible Bosses’ is a likely candidate for my worst of the year list (along with ‘Poltergeist 4’ aka ‘Insidious’).

    I am happy to see ‘Drive’ on there (in my opinion the best American film of the year), and while I don’t think it would make my top ten, ‘Devil’s Double’ was way better than I expected, and I really hope more people discover it on home video. I was also surprised at home much I enjoyed ‘Fast 5’, as I’m not really a big fan of the series. ‘Rise of the Apes’ was definitely one of the year’s pleasant surprises, and while I wasn’t as blown away by ‘X-Men First Class’ as a lot of people, it’s still a solidly entertaining popcorn movie. Will be posting my lists on the Cleveland Movie Blog January 2nd.

  9. Sean Ferguson

    I’ve only seen two of these movies so I can’t really comment on your choices.

  10. Aaron Neuwirth

    I agree with a lot of what Bob has said, although as much as we Why So Blu-ers like to go at each other about certain films, I’m sticking with Brian and Gerard when it comes to to Insidious – top notch horror. And while I didn’t love Horrible Bosses as much as they did, I certainly didn’t hate it.

  11. Gregg

    Bob I’m almost with you on Horrible Bosses. The movie had its laugh-out-loud moments but lacked a lot of substance most of the time. Insidious was decent, but once Darth Maul showed up, I was done. It had momentum, then made me laugh. Next up, Hellraiser with tauntauns.

    Keith, you don’t seem sure of yourself on Drive. Did you just ask yourself a statement?

  12. Keith G. Thomas

    Sorry gregg. You are right. No I did not really care for drive.i guess I just expected something else with that movie.Bob,i totally disagree with you about Horrible Bosses and Hangover two!! Those two movies were HILARIOUS!!!

  13. Bob Ignizio

    Gregg, that’s pretty much my feelings on ‘Insidious’ as well. The first 2/3 were solid, then it just went down the crapper in the final act. And Keith, I loved the first ‘Hangover’, which is why it was so to me watching them just rehash the original. I just felt like I was watching the same movie again, only this time the characters were less likeable.

  14. Brian White

    I felt the same way Bob when I watched Hangover 2. Then I was forced to watch it for a Blu-ray review and I found my hatred towards it lessening and after a few more watches I just felt comfortably numb with the gang again. I love those guys!
    I can’t say I agree with how you felt towards Horrible Bosses or cap though. I appreciate the nod to the old comics of Cap, but ultimately, the movie was a flop to me. Captain Letdown. Just served no purpose other than introduce us to the character in a very vague and generic way. No love from me there. LOL
    Otherwise…I agree with everything else you say Bob!