2011 has been a yo-ho-hum year in American film. As for the rest of the world, they seemed to like the slop that has exited the backend of the Hollywood meat grinder. Case in point – the horrible fourth installment of The Pirates of the Caribbean. While it managed to rack in $240 million domestically, the rest of the world ponied up an additional $800 million and counting for that piece of garbage. I lost interest about an hour in and the only reason I held on that long was to see the great Ian McShane as Blackbeard make an appearance. If this was the first installment of the series, it never would have made it past film one.
Anyway, there were some bright spots this year and I’d like to highlight 3 films of 7 different genres in a seven part installment I so cleverly would like to title a3MovieList – Best of 2011.
Today, the Romantic Comedy. The Chick Flick. The “You made me sit through Immortals so now you are going to sit through What’s Your Number?” movies that my girlfriend roped me into seeing. In order of Release Date:
Bridesmaids – Scene Stealing Everywhere
If you haven’t seen it, go do it now. Now the only reason to watch the film again and again is for Melissa McCarthy’s brilliantly funny performance. She is the wind in the sails, the throttle of the engine, the heat filament of the Mr. Coffee. Don’t get me wrong, Kristin Whig and the rest of the Bridesmaids still provide plenty of laughs. Whig’s chocolate fountain freak-out is still a great scene, and Wendi McLendon-Covey is on point although underused as the film progresses. But without McCarthy’s Megan dropping one-liners and shootin’ priceless looks throughout this film, there is no reason for multiple viewings.
Friends With Benefits – Well sExecuted RomCom – full review here.
One thing I wanted to stress here is how well the secondary characters were in this film. I really appreciated the fact that Justin Timberlake’s family was so well crafted. They could have easily been used for cheap laughs. Instead they helped craft Timberlake’s character much better than any exposition or Q&A from Mila Kunis. (That’s smoking-hot Mila Kunis by the way.) There was just the right amount of balance. It could have just as easily gone the other way and been too schmaltzy. The same rings true for Kunis’ mother, played to the tee by Patricia Clarkson. This will make a great home streaming rental and provide plenty of eye candy for both sexes of any orientation.
Crazy, Stupid, Love – Rich, Despite Cliches
Spoilers: Cliches abound in this one. From the big speech ending where everyone forced to listen gives a big round of applause as if they really do care about what this loser kid and his Dad learned while they were out living their own shitty lives to the soap-opera everyone is connected-to-each-other-somehow syndrome. However, when you stack your cast with really good actors you become less bothered by the inevitable conclusions and consequences that normally flow down the romantic comedy river. Also, why does Marisa Tomei become hotter and funnier as she gets older? If you are among the conspiracy theorists that think she wasn’t really voted an Oscar for My Cousin Vinny, then all the under-the-radar performances she’s given over the past 20 years since then should convince you she’s fucking great!
*Be sure to leave your favorites of 2011 below in the comments.