Best Movies of 2011


We pick the best movies of the year. 2011 was a decent but not an outstanding year for movies. This was a year of huge CGI spectacles and low-budget gems. While nearly all movie critics pick the top 10 best movies of the year, we prefer to rank the year’s best according to their respective category.

Fast Five
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Director Brad Bird put the mission back into Mission: Impossible. Ghost Protocol proves that you don’t need over-the-top CGI to make an exciting action movie. However, it helps to dangle Tom Cruise outside of the tallest building in the world. Runner-up: Fast Five.

The Change-Up
Crazy, Stupid, Love
Hall Pass
Horrible Bosses
Midnight in Paris
Take Me Home Tonight
Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family

In a year of gross-out comedies, Woody Allen’s charming Midnight in Paris reminds us that the conventional adult comedy may be dying but it’s not dead. Runner-up: Bridesmaids.

The Help
The Ides of March
In the Land of Blood and Honey
J. Edgar
War Horse
Water for Elephants

The Help may have the best dramatic performances of the year but no drama captures the scope and overall historical importance of America’s troubled past like Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar. Runner-up: Hugo.

The Artist
The Descendants
We Bought a Zoo
Young Adult

You’d be hard pressed to find a more solid dramedy this year than 50/50. Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers a surprisingly honest portrayal of a new cancer patient working through the stages of grief. Runner-up: The Artist.

Fright Night
Paranormal Activity 3
Scream 4

Insidious is creepy, unsettling and nightmare inducing. What else can you ask for? Runner-up: Paranormal Activity 3.

The Adjustment Bureau
Attack the Block
Captain America: The First Avenger
I Am Number Four
Real Steel
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Source Code
Super 8
The Thing
X-Men: First Class

You don’t have to be a mutant to enjoy X-Men: First Class. This well-written prequel tells the story of Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr before they became sworn enemies and chess competitors. Runner-up: Super 8.

The Conspirator
The Debt
The Devil’s Double
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Lincoln Lawyer
Red State
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Director Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive is a gritty crime thriller that unsuspectingly draws in the viewer with each and every frame. Ryan Gosling’s performance is among the year’s best. Runner-up: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

The Adventures of Tintin
Cars 2
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss In Boots

The Adventures of Tintin, Steven Spielberg’s first animated movie, isn’t perfect but it’s definitely a breakthrough. Actor Andy Serkis is the king of CG-animated performance capture and Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop advances the technique. Runner-up: Rango.

Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop
Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel
Forks Over Knives
George Harrison: Living in the Material World
Page One: Inside The New York Times
POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

George Harrison was so much more than just a Beatle. Martin Scorsese’s intriguing documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World covers everything from Harrison’s musical influence on The Beatles’ later years to his involvement in the film industry. Runner-up: Tabloid.

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