Jonathan Nettles’ Top 11 of 2011

December 31, 2011

Top 11 of 2011
11. Moneyball –
Moneyball is a tale that will make you happy. Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, and the misfit team make you believe in the romanticism of the underdog story. You will root for this team to win. You will cry when they don’t but you will leave the theater feeling victorious. I gave Moneyball 9 stars out of 11. It’s got it all, great acting, a great story, and it’s just a fun movie.

10. Anonymous –
What I really like about the film is that it shoots straight. It doesn’t go into a lot of mystery and delve into areas that don’t need to be bothered with, it just tells a story with some really good performances and well-crafted direction. It was entertaining from start to finish with nothing lacking in between and when the end comes along, you realize that you’ve been watching a work that could easily have been ripped from one of Shakespeare’s own stories. I gave Anonymous ten stars out of eleven.

9. The Smurfs –
The Smurfs is a smurftastic, smurftabulous…it’s just smurfin’ awesome! I laughed so hard in the theater. A few times I was the loudest but usually I just blended in with the mix of laughter from kids and adults. I’ve said before that making kids and adults laugh is the key to a great animated movie and that’s exactly what The Smurfs does. It makes you laugh…a lot. It’s the most fun I’ve had in a theater all summer long.

Yes, it was the good. I took my fiancé and two boys to see it. Our 10-year old gave it seven stars out of eleven, his little brother, age 7, gave it eleven stars, their Mom gave it seven stars, and I gave it ten. It equals out to average of about nine stars but I’m giving it ten just because I can.

8. The Muppets –
The Muppet Show was a variety show. It featured guest hosts, musical numbers sketches, comedy bits, etc. It was a family oriented Saturday Night Live. When they jumped to big screen, they stayed with the musical formula but lost some of the magic of their goofy jokes. The Muppets is a nice return to the original form. The musical numbers are entertaining and brief, the jokes translate well across the ages (although not always at the same time). I think that adults will like it more than kids simply because of the nostalgia factor.

I gave The Muppets 10 stars out of 11. I wish The Muppet Show was on every week.

7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 –
It’s a great ending to a fun franchise that has not only captured imaginations and made dollars upon dollars but will continue through the books and the films to entertain generations for many to come.

I gave it 10 stars.

6. Super 8 –
I didn’t get to write an official review but it was one of the most fun I had in the theater all summer long. The new Spielberg, J.J. Abrams was at his best with a scary monster and a group of kids that you couldn’t help but like. It had everything that you’d want in a monster movie.

I gave Super 8 10 stars.

5. Warrior –
Warrior was such a good movie that the trailer made me angry. I’ve preached about it before but I think the studio shot a trailer and ended up with a film. That’s how much is given away by the trailer. I’m not posting a link to it here because you will enjoy it that much more if you don’t see it. Nevertheless, it is a fun, pulse-pounding, in-your-face, stand up and cheer kind of film that belongs in the best of sports movies. It has all the clichés of the sports film genre but it gets them in a submission hold until they tap out. I gave Warrior 10 stars out of 11 because of its high energy, underdog vs. the favorite story and because I thought it was just that good.

4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo –
Brutal, disturbing, suspenseful. Captivating; all words that can be used to describe the film. There were several scenes that are uncomfortable and very difficult to watch. What makes them acceptable and tolerable is that they are a motivation that drives the character. As brutal and tough as it was to sit through those moments, it paid off by adding depth to the character Isbeth. She’s a tough, smart, relentless young woman that still has a touch of delicateness. Mara Rooney will no doubt leave many surprised at her ability to handle the material so well.

IF you can get beyond the brutal violence, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a great mystery film from a great director with great actors and a great story.

I gave it 10 stars out of 11.

3. Hugo –
I can describe Hugo in one word, “Perfect”. It had a charming story, likeable characters, and a wonderful feeling of discovery. For those of you who know film history, the film becomes extra special as we learn more about the toy makers past, we learn more about the origins of film. It’s an extra touch of wonder that one of the greatest directors of our time would make a film that would partially tell the story of the origins of what every great filmmaker does today. Have I piqued your curiosity yet? This is hard for me to do without giving too much away.

I gave Hugo ten stars out of eleven.

2. The King’s Speech –
This is a just a great film all the way around. I felt so much joy watching this movie. It sounds boring but it was so much fun to watch the relationship between Berty (George VI’s family nickname) and Lionel develop from reluctance to pure friendship and mutual respect for each other. Colin Firth makes you feel his character’s pain as you go on this journey with him. I actually found myself rooting for him. I wanted him to win. When his character was struggling to say his words I found myself tensing up and trying to help him say the words from my seat. Every time he speaks, you just know the breakthrough is right around the corner but the film is not just about his speech. It’s about his fear to be in the spotlight, his impediment has control over him and it has kept him in check his entire life. It’s the manifestation of his fear of being the King of England. Just as a disabled person could easily choose to let their inabilities as an excuse in life, he has done the same. It is only when it is no longer an option and the morale of a nation falls on his shoulder does he take it seriously that he needs to work through his stammer.

I gave The King’s Speech 11 stars.

1. The Fighter –
I cannot express how much I liked this movie. I am so excited that I have gotten to see two great films in the last two weeks (see last week’s review of “The King’s Speech”) “the Fighter is nominated for several Academy Awards and deserves every single nomination. The movie starts by introducing you to the character of Dicky Eklund whose claim to fame is that he fought “Sugar” Ray Leonard and knocked him down. Since then his boxing career has not exactly worked out and he has become a crack head. An HBO documentary crew has come to film his comeback story and his training of little brother Micky Ward, at least that’s the story he tells everyone. The crew is actually there for a documentary on drug abuse in America and to tell the story of his downfall. He continues to let his brother down but his knowledge of boxing and ability to understand and motivate Micky keep them dependant on each other and along with Micky’s possessive manager/Mother they put their own needs ahead of what’s in Micky’s best interests. Eventually, it comes to a head when Dicky has a run in with the law and is put in jail. That’s the first half (and arguably the better half) of the film. It’s focus is primarily on the problems and character of Dicky Eklund, once he’s thrown in jail, the film shifts gears back to the story of the main character Micky who realizes that his family may not have his best interests in mind and signs with a different manager one the condition that his brother stay away once he’s out of prison. As with any, happy-ending boxing story you can guess that eventually they all come back together and fight for the title. There are lots of laughs in the movies and many moments that make you want to stand up and cheer.

I really liked this movie; it had great characters, a great underdog story, and perfect acting.

I gave The Fighter 11 stars out of 11.

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