Welcome Back to Part 2 of Tableau Your Mind’s look back at 2011. Be sure to check out Part 1 of our coverage HERE, and feel free to disagree with anything we write. You’ll be wrong, but sometimes it’s just nice to disagree. Like the other day, when one of our guest bloggers had a disagreement with some lutefisk that he had just eaten. Anyway, on to the recap!
Most Surprisingly Good Continuations of a Film Franchise:
Fast Five and Mission Impossible 4
Neither of these movies had any reason to be good. Sure, the Mission Impossible franchise has been pretty solid (MI2 had some problems, but MI3 was a great return to form), but no fourth film should be as good as this one actually is. It’s a super fun romp, Tom Cruise is back in top form (and not super annoying), and Simon Pegg is pretty great.
You can read my review of Fast Five HERE. Unlike MI4, a few of the previous Fast & Furious movies were terrible. This one was fun, good-stupid, and ballsy.
Least Plausible Reason for Adam Sandler’s Continued Success:
Despite the pretty mediocre Just Go With It, We’re going to go with Jack And Jill, which was so odious that it made us here at Tableau Your Mind dislike the nursery rhyme of the same name. Guest Blogger Jennifer Love Bacon disagrees vehemently.
Best Films, Quiet:
Beginners and Win Win
Both of these films feature the most outstanding casts of 2011. There isn’t much to either of the stories, but both tell micro-stories in a very compelling way.
You can check out Win Win’s Tableau coverage HERE.
Beginners, starring Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor, is a quiet examination of grief. McGregor’s Oliver deals with the loss of his newly-openly-gay father while starting a new relationship and pondering the entire history of the universe (but in a less tiresome way than Tree of Life). Mélanie Laurent is there to add some adorable sadness to the mix.
There will be a full review of this film shortly, but for now just realize that it is a wonderful film for the whole family, and it proves how relevant the Muppets are. The only real problem is the prevalence of non-Muppets Jason Segel and Amy Adams, and those problems are easy to forget!
Best Film, Action:
It's not perfect, but it is a hell-of-a-lot-of fun. Slick villains, surprising casting, a bit of Jeremy Renner, and a bit more tongue-in-cheek than one might expect from a high-budget action film about a Norse god. Check out our review HERE.
Best Film, Comedy:
So. Effing. Funny. It’s really kind of brilliant, and it works best when it feels like Wiig’s film, and it is worst when the Apatow influences sneak in (the vomit/diarrhea scene could go away and stay away). Check out our review HERE.
Best Justification for Woody Allen’s Continued Existence:
This movie is a great turn for Mr. Allen. It can be insufferably pretentious, but so is Woody Allen, and we wouldn’t expect any less. While we didn’t particularly warm to Owen Wilson’s performance, Rachel McAdams, Peter-Sarsgaard-lookalike Corey Stoll, Alison Pill, and Marion Cotillard are all great.
Even though tons of major characters die in the series finale of Alias, we’re still pulling for a movie. Here are some reasons why:
- J.J. Abrams really bombed with Super 8 (despite it being a cracker-jack film), and he’s had some trouble getting non-franchises off the ground.
- The increasing popularity of composer Michael Giacchino
- Jennifer Garner’s oddly tepid career. Arthur, anyone? No?
- With the cancellation of Brothers & Sisters, Alias alums Patricia Wettig, Ken Olin, and Ron Rifkin are probably free.
It seems like the perfect time to get back to basics, Christina Aguilera style, and make an Alias movie. Let’s just hope that it is Rambaldi-lite.
No Strings Attached
We hate to do this to Natalie Portman, but No Strings Attached was so, so bad. The direction was lazy, the sex scenes were awful (failing both at sexiness and funniness), and everything was trying so hard to be cutesy. It’s also completely devoid of a likeable character – it’s never clear why we’re supposed to root for Ashton Kutcher’s character. Is it because his dad is such a tool? It’s also strangely tame – NOT BAWDY ENOUGH!
There are a few nice moments (Kutcher giving Portman a mix CD for her mensies is kind of cute), but when the best thing about a movie is a one-joke prop, that movie is probably terrible. Look at Indiana Jones 4.
Winners of 2011
Britney Spears – The spark finally returned to Spears’ vacant, dead eyes, and with it her career took a surprising leap forward. She doesn’t seem completely stable, necessarily, but her life seems on the upswing. With her 20’s behind her, it looks like 2012 is going to be even better for this former Mouseketeer.
Ryan Gosling – Another Mouseketeer on this list, Gosling perhaps had the best year in all of human history. He was somehow able to recapture his fame from The Notebook and churn out a handful of movies that got people talking about him again. Though we here at Tableau think his finest work is in Half Nelson (2006) and that he didn’t seem particularly engaging in Crazy Stupid Love or Drive (sacrilege, we know), it still definitely seemed like his year. Plus, THIS happened.
Jessica Chastain – No actress was more omnipresent or luminous as Jessica Chastain this year, who not only saved Tree of Life from being an insufferable snooze-fest but also livened up The Help, kept toe-to-toe with Helen Mirren in The Debt, and was riveting as Michael Shannon’s confused wife in Take Shelter.
Herman Cain – Man, that guy was hilarious!
That Reporter who made fun of the Kardashians:
Losers of 2011
The Kardashians – Only because they haven’t Kevorkian-ed Bruce Jenner yet. Put that old lady out of her misery.
The Apocalypse – Maybe next year will be your year! Cross your Mayan fingers!
James Cameron – We get it, HMFIC James Cameron. Titanic changed everything. Now would you please stop talking about it?
Piers Morgan – in 2010, people were saying ‘It can’t be that hard to find a replacement for Larry King.’ How wrong they were. When Piers Morgan took over his seat (in Piers Morgan Tonight), he introduced his very own rules of interviewing: always be emotional, be overly petulant, and be surprisingly bad at asking questions. That’s the bad interviewer trifecta.
Charlie Sheen – Man, that guy went on quite the coked-out, colorful, overly-active, and depressing ride. He was like a human version of the It’s a Small World at Disney.
And, this year as in every year, Ashton Kutcher – It’s not just the creepy Nikon commercials or what he tweeted about Paterno that makes him such a scuzzball, it’s just his overall essence. He oozes douche.
Well, on that note, we end our year in review. We’ve left off a lot (Osama bin Laden, gay marriage, Katy Perry), but surely nobody is going to be talking about any of that stuff in the future. We only picked the really important things. Happy 2012, everyone!