2011 in Review: The Slackerwood Top Ten

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Tapas for The Skin I Live In

So this year, we at Slackerwood decided it would be fun to create an aggregated Top Ten Movies of 2011 list. Nearly all our regular contributors submitted lists, then I assigned points and tabulated the results and, well, here we are.

What I don't like about this aggregated list is that it doesn't reflect the amazing range of selections from our contributors this year. In several cases, you could look at two of the lists and find no movies in common. So along with the Top Ten list itself, I've added a few interesting statistics about the choices we made this year.

Individual lists aren't included here -- you can read all our 2011 in Review articles to find out exactly which movies our contributors liked. Also, I want to explain what "2011" means for the purpose of this list. I asked that contributors include either films that had a U.S. release in 2011, or that played a local film fest in 2011 but do not yet have U.S. distribution. This means our lists could include movies like Albert Nobbs, which played Austin Film Festival 2011 but won't open in Austin until later this month; as-yet-undistributed AFF selection You Hurt My Feelings; and Japanese film A Boy and His Samurai, a Fantastic Fest 2011 favorite that hasn't yet been released in America.

And now, the list:

1. The Artist
Every movie on our Top Ten list appeared on three contributors' lists except this silent movie, which appeared on four. Jenn Brown called it "an utterly charming homage to cinema that proves the old can be new again, and just how universal it can be." The Artist first screened in town during Austin Film Festival. (Jenn's review)

2. Hugo
The only film to top two of our contributors' lists, Mike Saulters said Martin Scorsese's latest "touched me on every level, with a stunning score by Howard Shore, unbelievable visuals and a heartwarming story brought to life by extraordinary actors. For reasons that will become clear when you see it, I will recognize Hugo as my favorite movie of this year and perhaps the last decade." (Mike's review)

3. Drive
"Fascinatingly paced, wonderfully acted and combined with a very cool soundtrack, this was an excellent piece of filmmaking all around. I loved the gritty look of the film, and the stoic nature of Ryan Gosling’s character easily makes him one of the better characters to watch on screen this year." That's what J.C. De Leon says. (Don's review)

4. The Skin I Live In
Debbie Cerda calls this "the most stylized and visually and emotionally impacting" of all Pedro Almodovar's movies. She says it's even better on a second viewing. The Spanish film was a secret screening at Fantastic Fest this year. (Debbie's review)

5. Midnight in Paris
This movie topped Rod Paddock's list, and he explains why: "With Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen manifested a world of creativity by mashing up a Twilight Zone episode with Raphael's 'The School of Athens'." (Debbie's review)

6. Martha Marcy May Marlene
Elizabeth Stoddard says, "With his debut full-length feature Martha Marcy May Marlene, director Sean Durkin has created a truly original work" and notes that actress Elizabeth Olsen "pulls off the title character in an understated performance." (Elizabeth's review)

7. Shame
"Shame is a deeply and broadly relevant story that begs us to confront the worst in ourselves -- and does so with such stunning power that it's one of this year's best films." Or so Don Clinchy tells us. (Don's review)

8. (tie) A Boy and His Samurai and Attack the Block
I reviewed both these movies, which were also both on my list. A Boy and His Samurai, from Japanese director Yoshihiro Nakamura, is "universally charming without being overly cloying or sentimental, and it's easy to see why this movie won the Audience Award at Fantastic Fest this year." (my review)
Attack the Block was one of the most popular movies at SXSW 2011, although I didn't catch it until its late-summer release, and was pleased it lived up to the fest buzz. I found Joe Cornish's aliens-in-urban-London flick "great summer escapist fare -- a solid action movie with intelligent scripting." (my review)

10. Take Shelter
Jenn says this movie from Austin filmmaker Jeff Nichols "works best with minimal expectations." The drama played Fantastic Fest 2011 and won the Austin Film Critics Association award for Best Austin Film of 2011. (Jenn's review)

Other movies that were #1 on individual lists
13 Assassins (Jette's review), Bullhead (Debbie's review), The Help (Elizabeth's review), Warrior (Mike's review)

Nearest miss: The one other movie that appeared on three contributors' lists
Where Soldiers Come From (Jette's review)

Near misses: Movies that appeared on two contributors' lists
Bullhead, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Melancholia, Moneyball, Rango, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Submarine, Tucker and Dale vs Evil, The Way, You Hurt My Feelings

Other Austin/Central Texas films that appeared on individual top-ten lists
Bernie (which had a benefit screening in Austin last year), Five Time Champion (SXSW 2011), Incendiary: The Willingham Case, Natural Selection (SXSW 2011), The Tree of Life

Slackerwood contributors who submitted lists
Jenn Brown, Debbie Cerda, Don Clinchy, J.C. De Leon, Jordan Gass-Poore', Jette Kernion, Rod Paddock, Mike Saulters, Elizabeth Stoddard

[Photo credit: "Alamo Drafthouse Tapas for The Skin I Live In" by Debbie Cerda for Slackerwood. All rights reserved.]