Regardless of the year released, these were the best movies I saw in 2011. I’ve recently made a concerted effort to catch up on many classics, so 2011 was likely the best movie year of my life.
10. CONVERSATIONS WITH OTHER WOMEN (2005) — A better movie overall than many of the “honorable mentions” below? Probably not. But the performances by Eckhart and Bonham Carter are damned near life-affirming.
9. DRIVE (2011) — The epitome of “cool.”
8. PELADA (2010) — This documentary about “pick up” soccer was, unexpectedly, the most emotionally moving film I saw in 2011.
7. LE TROU (1960) — The cinematic equivalent of the odd pleasure of peeling sunburned skin. A cousin of RIFIFI.
6. THE AMERICAN (2010) — It wasn’t until my second viewing that this really hit me. I can’t imagine any other actor doing what Clooney achieved here; and it’s perfection.
5. DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954) — This script, especially the dialogue, is pure joy. I’m glad it’s kind of stagey.
4. NIGHT AND THE CITY (1950) — This thing hasn’t aged at all. Jules Dassin was far ahead of his time.
3. HARAKIRI (1962) — Alternatively both thoughtful and furious.
2. RIFIFI (1955) — The best Michael Mann films have this movie to thank.
1. ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968) — What stood out for me, aside from it being perfect, was Henry Fonda as Frank — dude’s terrifying.
Honorable Mentions: The Long Goodbye, Fandango, Point Blank (2011), Suburbia (1983), The Sword of Doom, Le Deuxieme Souffle, Grand Illusion, The Loved Ones, The Puffy Chair, The Driver, Papillon, Control, The Great Dictator, Rango, Julia, The Italian Job (1969), Beyond the Black Rainbow, You’re Next, The Whole Shootin’ Match, A Fish Called Wanda, The Bridge On the River Kwai, Anatomy of a Murder, Hanna, Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten, Martyrs, Sugar, In the Name of the Father, The Apartment, Deep Water, The Battle of Algiers, Tell No One, Moneyball, Bedevilled, Down by Law, Breaking Away, High Noon