Rank Em (Summer 2011 Edition)

Today officially begins the Fall season on the calendar.  Leaves begin to change colors, major sports and television programs return and the cinemas of the world have movies that look subpar, especially after the dynamic summer movie season that wrapped up a little over a month ago.  In this entry I’m going to rank my 10 favorite films of Summer 2011.  Just about every weekend from May 6th to August 5th there was something to see.  There were a lot of highs, plenty of lows and less cash in mine and my fellow cohorts wallets.  Lets begin, shall we.

10.  Captain America: The First Avenger-  While I’m wasn’t very familiar with the character other than I had his action figure when I was five and he was a patriot, the character of Captain America is as good as Iron Man or any other recent Marvel comics films.  Although there were times I felt I was watching the G.I. Joe movie again as it related to the film’s imagery, the action and the plot were strong enough to satisfy any fan of the comic book.  Unfortunately this film was in 3D, as are many on this list, but this particular 3D felt like overkill.  I lifted my glasses up on several occasions to watch and there was literally no difference.  Here’s hoping future Marvel movies won’t follow suit with using 3D, but I highly doubt it. 

9.  Bridesmaids-  One of the funniest comedies in recent years.  Although people will stereotype this as a chick-flick, it’s the farthest thing from it.  It’s witty, full of crude humor and includes some of the funniest and likable female characters in recent memory.  Audiences male or female will enjoy this film equally and this could be a model to fix the overly sappy, slapstick filled, dull and absurd comedies that women flock to the theater to see.  Take that “Sex and the City.”

8.  Super 8-  A tribute to the Steven Spielberg classics between 1975 and 1982, Super 8 captures the magic and sense of wonder that once used to expand the imagination of audiences around the world.  Ironically there isn’t too much originality in it, but if you want to recapture magic and watch movies that make you look back with joy at your childhood, Super 8 will suffice. 

7.  Cowboys and Aliens-  Talk about having a great time at the movies.  Two hours of action, aliens, explosions, fights, and damn good actors should have been the recipe for a total blockbuster, but unfortunately it was lost in the summer shuffle.  Easily the most underrated film of the summer 2011 season, Cowboys and Aliens did wonders to refresh both the genres of western and sci-fi films to keep every party entertained.

6.  Thor-  After the recent successes of Iron Man and the buildup to the highly anticipated “Avengers” film, Thor originally looked to me like a huge detour filled with overly campy CGI and little excitement.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  The effects improved from the first trailer and the story was strong enough to keep everyone in the audience entertained for two hours.  Hell even the 3D was impressive.  Makes “The Avengers” even more highly anticipated.

5.  Horrible Bosses-  The funniest film since “The Hangover.”  An all star cast and witty, laugh out loud humor are woven throughout this film that will make the most skeptical of actors such as Jennifer Aniston and Colin Farrell laugh till it hurts.  When you hear the phrase “Jennifer Aniston comedy”, you immediately think drinking paint is a better alternative, but she truly shines as the highlight of the movie playing a character that is such a departure from anything she’s ever done.  Also, Kevin Spacey plays a crazed homicidal boss.  Enough said, go see it.

4.  Rise of the Planet of the Apes-  Complete and utter surprise.  Wow, what a film.  Besides the Tim Burton, Mark Wahlberg turd remake from ten years ago, I had never seen, nor had an interest in “Planet of the Apes: until now.  The effects are top notch, the story is tremendous and it will make any person not interested in the Apes franchise want to rediscover the films of the late 60s, early 70s.  I am very much looking forward to the continued rise of this franchise.  Pun intended.  This needs to be a trilogy.

3.  X-Men First Class-  Speaking of complete surprises, this is by far one of the best superhero movies EVER made.  I originally had no hope whatsoever for this film, due to the massive disappointment of it’s predecessor “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” but all the wrongs were made right.  Characters, story, the integration of history in the plot and action make this the most satisfying superhero movie since “The Dark Knight.”

2.  Transformers: Dark of the Moon-  I can hear your eyes rolling Chris.  The Transformers series wraps up (for now) with it’s most ambitious installment yet.  Any grievances about it’s predecessor sequel were corrected with a stronger story involving an altered historic event, less slapstick and absurd humor, a better looking and acting female love interest, and the best 3D ever utilized on screen.  The entire last hour of the film involves some of the most ambitious and unbelievable stunts ever captured on film with a simple geography that won’t confuse who’s fighting who.

1.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II-  Who can deny the power of the boy wizard?  One of the strongest installments from the best saga since “Star Wars” that leaves nothing but complete satisfaction and closure.  You feel the emotions of the characters the entire way through and loose yourself in the story.  The film that has the biggest worldwide opening of all time should certainly be included in the discussion for Best Picture next year at the Oscars.  You’ll want to see this again and again.  The true definition of phenomenon and blockbuster can all be found here.

There are four other films I saw this summer that either just missed the cut or I wasn’t impressed with so I’ll give a quick one word review for them here:

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Great

The Hangover Part II- Fair

Green Lantern- Poor

Red State- Good

That’s my wrap up for summer 2011.  The good, the bad, and the funny.   Depending on what I see this coming fall and winter there may very well be another installment of “Rank Em” in the next few months.  If not then you’ll just have to wait a year till the next installment for Summer 2012.  Bold prediction:  The Dark Knight Rises to the top.  Yup, another pun intended.  Until then, I’ll see you at the movies.