As we wrap up 2012, the “best of” lists are coming out in full swing. I am diligently working on mine (expect new posts for movies, video games and music in the near future), but I thought it would be fun to take a look at *last* year’s best films. I originally came up with a top ten in January, but there were more than a handful of films I had yet to see at that point. Now, one year later, I have seen pretty much every major picture from 2011 that caught my eye, and I can now provide a more accurate representation of my favorite films from last year. I have also expanded the list from 10 to 20, as 2011 turned out to be a pretty solid year of movies. For the sake of reference, here is a link to my original top 10 movies from 2011.
20) Cedar Rapids
My favorite comedy of the year, one that was unfortunately overlooked by most.
19) Margin Call
One of the best ensemble casts of the year. Absolutely worth watching just to see Kevin Spacey and Jeremy Irons butt heads.
18) The Descendants
A tad overrated, but George Clooney and Shailene Woodley make this immensely watchable.
17) Win Win
Can Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan be in every movie? Please?
Yeah, this remake was completely unnecessary, but David Fincher delivered the goods here. Rooney Mara deserves all the props she has received for her performance.
Politics suck. This film shows you why. Oh yeah, and it has Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, George Clooney AND Paul Giamatti.
14) A Separation
A startling look at the dissolution of marriage from an Iranian perspective. Its title works in multiple ways.
13) I Saw the Devil
Brutal, disgusting and unbelievably violent; in a nutshell, another badass Korean revenge thriller.
12) Attack the Block
Subtitles may be required for some of its English, but damn if this isn’t one hell of an entertaining flick.
11) We Need to Talk About Kevin
An especially difficult film considering recent tragic events, but it features a phenomenal performance from Tilda Swinton.
10) Young Adult
Jason Reitman can do no wrong in my book. Great stuff from Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt as well.
9) 13 Assassins
Takashi Miike’s samurai homage has one of the most unforgettable and epic battle scenes I have ever seen.
8) The Artist
Although not my personal favorite, I can get behind this as Best Picture. Endlessly charming.
This one is a real treat for film lovers. Brought a whole new sense of appreciation for the work of early director Georges Méliès.
A faithful adaptation of a terrific sports book, this is a baseball movie that can be appreciated even by non-fans.
5) The Skin I Live In
One of the most disturbing films in recent years with an unforgettable twist.
Not enough can be said about Michael Fassbender’s performance of a man who has hit rock bottom with his startling sex addiction.
3) Take Shelter
A thought-provoking look at mental illness with the best ending of any film from last year.
Still the biggest surprise of last year. A cancer film that manages to be both hilarious and heartbreaking.
Still my top choice after a full year. Gosling, Mulligan, Cranston. That soundtrack. Drive just oozes style.
So, what do you think? Do you agree with my choices? What was your personal favorite film from last year, now that we have a year’s perspective?