At the beginning of the year, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to see as many movies in 2011 as I would like, so when I was considering my yearly quest to see as many movies as possible which I hadn’t seen before, I set my goal low for the Drive for 66.

I blew that away before August was over.

So I set a new goal of 85 movies, which was at least 11 films too low based on my rate of seeing movies, but I did it anyway, and I had passed that before November started. I didn’t set a new goal, but it would be cool to surpass the number I set last year, which was 95.

Here are my reviews and superlative-candidates for the films I saw in December:

95. Everything Must Go

Will Ferrell movies are usually hit-or-miss for me, as I don’t always enjoy some of his absurdist humor much the same way I feel about Jim Carrey. As with Carrey, I like to see what Ferrell can do in movies which are a lot heavier on the drama and lighter on the comedy, which is what drove me to see Everything Must Go. Ferrell does a great job in this film of depicting a relapsed alcoholic dealing with his wife leaving him and looking forward. I didn’t like all the plot choices, as I really felt like they were going the extra mile to make us dislike some of the side characters, some of whom we never end up meeting. This is definitely not a “don’t miss” film, but if you want to see Ferrell display his acting talents on the opposite end of the spectrum from what you’ve seen in films like Step Brothers and Anchorman, give it a watch. It probably won’t be the highlight of your movie-watching-month, but I’m guessing you won’t feel like you wasted an evening. If you absolutely hate EVERYTHING MUST GO and you wish you had just watched one of the aforementioned absurdist Ferrell flicks, let me know and I’ll add you to the list of people with whom I’ll never watch a movie.

96. Super

The concept for SUPER really appealed to me, with Rainn Wilson portraying a guy who’s looking to fight crime as a masked vigilante similar to last year’s KICK-ASS. I hadn’t heard great things about the film so I went in with lowered expectations, and that was fortunate, because this wasn’t a great movie. I’m not sure if I would call it an enjoyable movie, but I would watch it again. The film is very violent. At times it’s one of the most graphically violent films I’ve seen in the past two years, including a moment when Wilson splits open someone’s head with a pipe-wrench and considerable detail is depicted. The film also includes a number of absurd moments where the concept itself was potentially groan-worthy, and the way the scene was presented made it worse. For those of you who have seen the movie or will see the movie, I’m specifically referencing the scene where the idea for Wilson to fight crime is “implanted” in his brain.

97. Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Here’s a movie that seems like it would be a chick flick which guys will probably enjoy. Steve Carrel isn’t in a comedic role here, but he does a great job as the sympathetic-but-not-sad-sack male lead. Ryan Gosling plays a guy’s guy who’s one of my favorite characters of the year. Emma Stone is around for some eye candy, for those of you who find her attractive.  All-in-all this isn’t going to be one of the best movies I’ve seen in 2011, but it was one of the more enjoyable ones. I’m guessing that it won’t be in my Top 100 when I go about finding a place for it on my all-time list, but I wouldn’t be totally shocked if it is. For guys who have kids, I’d recommend checking it out. Guys under the age of 19 might not enjoy it, but everyone else will probably enjoy it, and it’s definitely a movie you can watch with a female significant other.

98. Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Disclaimer: I can’t stress enough that this is not in the same teenager-targeting realm as Twilight or Harry Potter, and anyone who expects it to be like that would be shocked by the intensity of this film and the mature nature of its themes. I love David Fincher movies, I loved this book series and I’d recommend this film (and the books) to anyone who doesn’t shy away from intense themes. It’s not a comfortable movie, but it’s extremely well crafted and executed. Anyone who clamors on about how the American version of this film was unnecessary due to the Swedish Noomi Rapace version fails to acknowledge that mainstream audiences won’t appreciate the complex plot if they have to follow along with the subtitles. I watched the Swedish version after having read the books and I still had trouble figuring out the different characters. Also, no offense to Ms Rapace, but she’s nowhere near as nice to look at as Rooney Mara. My suggestion: watch the David Fincher American version of the film after reading the book, and then if you get some time, check out the Swedish version (currently available on Netflix Instant).

99. Green Lantern

I aw so many superhero movies in 2011 that I felt like I should check out Ryan Reynolds attempt at joining the Justice League, no matter how maligned it was. Some of the CGI used in this film was decent, namely the devices created by the rings of the Green Lantern Corps. Some of the other CGI, however, was just poorly done. This includes a lot of the scenery when some of the characters are flying through Oa, the Green Lantern planet, and the CGI costume “worn” by Reynolds. Some of the acting was also a problem, which seems to be the case any time Tim Robbins plays an eccentric character like he did in City Of Ember. Ryan Reynolds was a great choice for the superhero lead role, and I don’t have any of the same issues that critics previously expressed with the chemistry between Reynolds and Blake Lively. If you saw Thor or Captain America and even partially enjoyed them, you may as well check out Green Lantern.

100. Nightmare Before Christmas

A few times in the past decade I’ve considered watching this cult favorite, but the rest of those times happened to fall during the wrong part of the year. As this movie mixes part Halloween and part Christmas, it didn’t make sense to watch it in April or July, and now that the timing worked out for when it came to mind, I finally watched it. The concept was interesting, but I didn’t care much for the execution. I don’t feel strongly either way about claymation, but I don’t typically enjoy musicals, which this essentially was.  Some people enjoy this film enough to make it part of their yearly traditions for either (or both) of the holidays involved, but this will probably be the last time I sit down with the intention of watching this film. Maybe someday I’ll watch it with my son, but it’s not on my long-term to-do list.

Potential Nominees

Best Picture – Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Best Actress – Rooney Mara (Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)

Best Supporting Actor – Ryan Gosling (Crazy, Stupid, Love.)

Awards and Year-End/Quest-End Wrap-Up in separate article


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