I try to keep my mind as open as possible during the year and as you start assembling a list like this you see there could be perceived slights. The fact of the matter is making this list was brutal. More than once I had to consider if I can stick to a previously made proclamation, more than once I jotted down additional titles to see if they could slide into the top 25.
Here’s a film that vaults onto this list after a personal recommendation. It’s a condemnation of trailers, a triumph of narrative and ensemble film acting. It’s a well-balanced tale of parallel narratives that hearkens back to Love Actually for me, however, has more varied and universal themes, and also some contemporary global commentary.
I wrote a lot about Goon after I first saw it, and it hurts even more to do so now seeing as how the NHL is well on its way to losing a full season for the second time in my adult life. It’s no coincidence that I write this with a teutonic team’s hat resting upon my head. Psychological baggage aside, this is a film that develops its characters, humor and story very well; and it celebrates, understands and embraces the sport its about better than most.
I love horror films so I typically will make a genre-related list to highlight those titles, but that won’t stop me from including genre titles here so Sinister takes this spot and is the first of a few that will appear on this list. It takes a popular current trope uses it better than most, expands upon it, builds suspense, a lot of character, has a fantastic score, occasional needed comic relief; and a hell of a lot of impact. It’s one of those movies that affected my real life, as I know have a flashlight app on my iPhone.
On my horror list I discuss my general feelings on Gothic horror, they are positive but it’s a hard subgenre to tackle because it’s so classical and commonplace. For this film to do what it does, as well as it does, in this day and age, is triumphant indeed.
16. In the Family
This is a film that has had quite an adventurous, long and winding release pattern. It is a film that actually appeared on Slant’s best of 2011 list and has flown under the radar for most. However, for many of those who happen upon it, it’s made quite an impact. I was fortunate not only to have it play near me, but also that I decided to go as I nearly didn’t. It is a well-told, interestingly constructed, dramatically rendered and universal telling of what could seem like a niche tale of custody battle between surviving family members and a same-sex domestic partner.