The Best and Worst in Film 2011

daniel cohen looks at the highs and lows at the movies in 2011 …

With 2011 in the books, and my five best movies already determined, it’s time to get into specifics. Who had the best performances? What were some of the memorable moments? Who broke out this year? And most importantly, what was the absolute worst movie of 2011? Turn the projector on with me one last time as we explore the best and worst of 2011 in film …

Lead Actor: Ryan Gosling, Drive
This was a tough category. Leonardo DiCaprio in J. Edgar was great, as was George Clooney in The Descendants, and even Ryan Gosling against himself in The Ides Of March. But what Gosling does in Drive with very little dialogue is really something special. This was an extremely difficult role to play, and the film would have failed without him.
Read Pop-Break’s review of: J. Edgar, The Descendants and The Ides Of March

Lead Actress: Charlize Theron, Young Adult
Theron straddles the line between funny and depressing perfectly, and her monologue at the end keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Read Pop-Break’s Review of:Young Adult.

Supporting Actor: Tom Hardy, Warrior
Hardy is intense, scary, but most importantly, sympathetic.
Read Pop-Break’s Review of: Warrior

Supporting Actress: Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Her performance as the appropriately named Peppy is the most charismatic and likable of the year, and she doesn’t even have to talk.
Read Pop-Break’s Review of: The Artist

Best Director: Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive
I think the opening scene says it all.
Read Pop-Break’s Reviews of Drive: Positive and Negative

Best Comedy: Carnage
The Artist would win this, but I don’t feel that’s really a comedy. Carnage is hysterical in a ‘chuckle to yourself’ kind of way.
Read Pop-Break’s Review of: Carnage

Best Scene: The final fight in Warrior
It’s more than just a ‘who’s going to win’ kind of thing, it’s two characters trying to work out years of built up tension, but working them out in a nationally televised fight — now that’s some powerful shit.

Most Overrated Films of the Year: Hugo/War Horse
I think because these movies were directed by two legendary directors (Martin Scorsese for Hugo, Steven Spielberg for War Horse), they are getting more love than they deserve. These movies are BORING. There is very little substance to them. They look gorgeous. They feel epic. But there’s nothing there. Tell me who the interesting characters are in these movies? I don’t hate these films, but the praise they are getting is just way over done.
Read Pop-Break’s Reviews of: Hugo and War Horse

Most Underrated Film: Warrior
If this film made more at the box office, it would be getting award buzz.

Most Disappointing: Harry Potter And the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Even though this film would probably make my top 10 list, the last 15 minutes (not including the epilogue) are done so poorly that it de-rails not only this film, but almost the whole series. I’m sorry, but the climax to an eight-movie franchise is kind of important, and this was completely botched. What were they thinking!?
Read Pop-Break’s Review of: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2

Movie I Liked at First, but After Thinking About it, it Sucks: Fast Five
I gave this movie a positive review, but after thinking about it, it’s not very good.
Read Pop-Break’s Review of: Fast Five

Movie I Thought was Going to be the End of me, But it Turned Out to be Passable: Transformers: Dark Of The Moon
In no way am I saying this is a good movie, but when you walk into a film thinking Shang Tsung from Mortal Kombat is going to jump out before the film and yell ‘Your soul is mine,’ and it’s not that, you are relieved beyond belief.
Read Pop-Break’s Review of: Transformers: Dark Of The Moon

The Break-Out Star: Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
The God of Thunder has arrived.
Read Pop-Break’s Review of: Thor

The ‘What the Hell Happened’ Award: Ryan Reynolds
Green Lantern and The Change-Up … yikes. I like Ryan Reynolds, and I’m confident he’ll be okay.
Read Pop-Break’s Reviews of: Green Lantern and The Change-Up

Best Line: X-Men: First Class
“Go Fuck yourself.” — Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) to Charles/Professor X (James McAvoy) and Erik/Magneto (Michael Fassbender)
Read Pop-Break’s Review of: X-Men First Class

Best Trailer: The second Dark Knight Rises trailer
I think this trailer speaks for itself.

Two Guys I Want to See in a Movie Together: Aziz Ansari (30 Minutes Or Less) and Patton Oswalt (Young Adult)
Put these guys in a buddy comedy … hilarity will ensue.
Read Pop-Break’s Review of: 30 Minutes Or Less

Worst Movie of the Year: Battle: Los Angeles
I admit that I haven’t seen movies like Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star, or Jack And Jill, but I’m pretty sure this would still take my No. 1 spot. I detest this movie. I understand some films are just action fests with no character or story, but this takes it to a whole new level. Aside from being the most clichéd plot in the books (aliens attack, the end), not only do characters have no development, but they have so little personality, that I don’t even know who the characters are, with the exception of Aaron Eckhart. The shaky cam shakes the entire time that I can’t even comprehend who’s who, or what’s going on. This is a disgustingly made movie that thinks it’s so clever because it shakes the camera. If I ever see shaky cam again in a film, it will be too soon.
Read Pop-Break’s Review of: Battle: Los Angeles

Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.


  1. Excellent Post!

    I agree with the majority of choices you made. I just finished a similar post (in a sense) and I am now regretting not listing Drive as the film of the year. It finished in a close second but now I want to go and change it! I also gave Fast Five a positive review but I haven’t come to the realization that it sucks yet (haven’t watched it again). Hugo was SO boring, not much to the film, I’m glad i’m not alone in this because everyone seems to love the movie

    Also, I’m watching Warrior tonight (for the first time), so I am very excited for this last scene!