‘Definitive’ meaning my (or, in future entries, my fellow bloggers’) opinion as someone who’s done something well short of a good job of keeping up with new culture this year. My methodology is as follows:
Step 1: Try to remember what movies/music/whatever I saw this year.
Step 2: Rank-order the top five using an inconsistent set of totally subjective criteria.
Step 3: Decide that I’m a total idiot and “update” the post either introducing something I forgot, or reordering what’s there and calling myself an idiot in all-caps (this is more a forecast of what’s likely to happen than a formal part of any procedure.)
But enough blabbing. Movies!
- Melancholia (for its ambition, complexity — if you’re one of those assholes who dismisses Trier for his lack of subtlety, fuck you with a rake — wit, beauty and power; for being like a late 19th century masterpiece, while feeling totally current)
- Tree of Life (*yawn*, I know, but to toss you a reason anyway — for bringing me so fully back into the being of just-pre to early-pubescent boy that the main character felt like a peer so much that I was shocked to see the actor in another context — some awards-show shot — and realize that he really is just a little boy.)
- Umshini Wam [link is to the full short] (for being totally out there stylistically, creating a crazy world, and generating a huge amount of affection for these two as-preciously-charismatic-as-the-are-flawed characters all in the space of like 14 minutes)
- Another Year (for nailing the theme introduced somewhat cartoonishly in Happy-Go-Lucky — how to morally, honestly and humanely navigate being a privileged and happy person in an unjust, fucked-up world; and for reminding me that there is a good kind of didactic.) [Note: imdb tells me this was released in November of 2010, but it didn't come to Toronto until 2011, so that's how I'm counting it]
- Attack the Block (for helping me not hate the mixed-race gang of likely poor teens who mugged me on Halloween, and for being exhilarating as hell and hilarious and for introducing an awesome, energetic dialect — the cool/weird dialect of Umshini Wam may have been a factor in my affection for that as well)
Honorable mentions: Meek’s Cutoff, Super 8, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Hanna.
Notable movies I haven’t seen yet but plan to and may revise my list on the basis of: The Artist, Certified Copy, Hugo, the Muppets, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, War Horse, Girl With a Dragon Tattoo, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Tintin.
So that’s that… for now.