PopcornBiz 2011 Movie Awards

Now that the dust has begun to settle, we have our own awards to hand out to the best and worst films of 2011.

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Now that the dust has begun to settle, we have our own movie awards we'd like to hand out to the best (and worst) of 2011... so far.
"Winnie the Pooh" – Best Film Abandoned by the Studio & Subsequently Seen by No One. Gorgeous hand-drawn animation, timeless characters with toy tie-ins, inventive storytelling, fantastic soundtrack, narration by John Cleese… and yet Disney did nothing to support it, nobody knew about it and it made a measly $26 million. Criminal.
"Tree of Life" – Most Divisive Film. A feast for the eyes, brilliant performances from Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain and Hunter McCracken, a thoughtful meditation on the struggle between man and God... but Terrence Malick's film also featured dinosaurs and a seemingly lost Sean Penn. Won best picture at Cannes but was reviled by many.
Evan Glodell, "Bellflower" – One-Hit Wonder. Few movies knocked us out like "Bellflower." Glodell wrote, directed and starred in this story of a guy preparing for the apocalypse who falls in love with a girl who shows him just how badly he can feel. It was explosive but so deeply personal we have a hard time believing he can do it again.
"Arthur" – Worst Remake. Greta Gerwig's performance was the only thing that made this film watchable, as Russell Brand's new take on the story completely de-fanged the humor, leaving Helen Mirren with not enough to do and making an already feel-good ending saccharinely sweet.
"Fright Night" – Best Remake. We rolled our eyes when we heard this was happening, that Craig Gilliespie was directing and that Colin Farrell was starring, and yet it's an incredibly fun old-fashioned vampire movie with great turns by Farrell, Anton Yelchin and David Tennant. Still not sure why it bombed.
"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" – Worst Sequel. No movie used more money, resources, technology and talent to produce such a joyless, tired, boring piece of entertainment, a sting made greater still by an ending that all but promised that there was another film coming. No wonder it took in more than a billion dollars.
"Fast Five" – Best Sequel. Show of hands—be honest—who thought for one minute that director Justin Lin could take that cast and script and spin them into one of the year's most purely, brainlessly entertaining films? Simply awesome.
"X-Men: First Class" – Best Reboot. Since "X3" was terrible and "Wolverine" was improbably worse, it was with a heavy heart that we approached this one, but great performances from Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon and James McAvoy propelled this Cold War thriller.
"Green Lantern" – Worst Franchise Launch. After his work in "Buried," it appeared that Ryan Reynolds was ready to make the leap, and GL has long been one of the best-loved second-tier characters in the DC universe — but this film, directed by Martin Campbell, was the worst piece of storytelling we endured this year.
"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" – Best Franchise Launch. OK, we'll admit that this selection is wildly speculative, both because there's been no official talk of sequels (though star Gary Oldman is open to it) and because we haven't even seen the damn thing yet. But my God! That cast! The director! The trailer! C'mon!
Kevin James in "Zookeeper" – Actor Most Egregiously Outkicking His Coverage. Hollywood has long paired fat unattractive men with über-hot women, but James took it to a whole new level, first being married to Winona Ryder in "The Dilemma," then getting dumped by Leslie Bibb only to get picked up by Rosario Dawson in "Zookeeper." Wow—just wow.
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Woody Allen – Comeback of the Year. Argue all you want about the quality of Allen's more recent work, but there is no question that with "Midnight in Paris," in which a struggling writer is transported back to the Paris of Hemingway, he returned to a level he hadn't seen since the early '90s.
Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts – Worst Fall From Grace. Ten or even 20 years ago, a romcom starring Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks would've been a massive hit and probably spawned a sequel. In 2011, it tanked, making roughly half what "Charlie Wilson's War" did. Is it possible time has passed these two by?
John Boyega – Rookie of the Year, Male. You probably haven’t heard of him, but you will. He's the breakout star of "Attack the Block" and has already signed on to star in the HBO series that plans to do with Mike Tyson's life story what "Entourage" did with Mark Wahlberg's.
Elizabeth Olsen – Rookie of the Year, Female. The younger sister of the Olsen twins gave one of the best performances at this year's Sundance, playing a cult escapee trying to reclaim her life in "Martha Marcy May Marlene." She can act, she's gorgeous and she's seen what the Hollywood machine can do to people — she'll be around for a while.
"Hanna" – Most Pleasant Surprise. Reading about this film, one couldn’t help but think "The Professional" + "The Bourne Identity" — which of course set the bar impossibly high. But this thriller, starring Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett, met the challenge.
"Friends With Benefits" – Biggest Disappointment. There were a lot worse films in 2011, but director Will Gluck had rocked our world in 2010 with "Easy A," and Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake seemed like a can’t-miss screen couple. But between "No Strings Attached" beating it to the punch and a flat script, "FWB" failed to deliver the goods.
Michael Pena – Best Actor in Need of a Starring Role. He appeared in six films this year, doing comedy in the likes of "Tower Heist," drama in "Everything Must Go" and a dark blend of the two in "The Good Doctor." Would it be so hard to make a film with a star this talented?
Anna Kendrick – Best Actress in Need of a Starring Role. From "Twilight" to "Up in the Air" to "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" to "50/50," Kendrick never gets outclassed on screen; she has the talent to stand up to Clooney and Gordon-Levitt. And she's just the right level of hot to make guys want her (and think they’ve got a shot) without making girls hate her.
Adam Sandler – Overstayed His Welcome, Male. Remember when he was an amusing doofus on "SNL?" Or when he made sophomoric comedies that made you laugh in spite of yourself? And he'd throw in the odd "Punch Drunk Love?" No more — now Sandler just cranks out dreck. Worse still, he gets really talented people to appear in his films.
Katherine Heigl – Overstayed Her Welcome, Female. "27 Dresses," "The Ugly Truth," "Life as We Know It," "Killers"… We almost went with Kate Hudson, but at least she's got "Almost Famous" to her credit and seems to possess a healthy sense of self-awareness.
Ryan Reynolds – Worst Year, Male. We've sifted through the ashes of "Green Lantern," but let's not forget the wretched "The Change-Up," in which Reynolds and Jason Bateman switched bodies. It was sexist, sought laughs in babies playing with knives… Reynolds no doubt envisioned a very different 2011.
Olivia Wilde – Worst Year, Female. Not to be outdone by her "Change-Up" co-star, Wilde started the year with the totally underwhelming "Cowboys & Aliens" and followed with the awful "Change-Up." Both films no doubt were part of her plan for global domination; instead she should be wondering if Jennifer Morrison's agent is taking clients.
Jessica Chastain – Actress of the Year. She was luminescent as the mother/God figure in "Tree of Life," gritty and tough in "The Debt," Midwestern rugged and heartfelt in "Take Shelter" and sexy white trash in "The Help," roles that showed she can transform herself physically as well as emotionally. Honorable mention for Michelle Williams.
Ryan Gosling – Actor of the Year. The dude played a ladies' man in a romcom ("Crazy Stupid Love"), a getaway driver in a crime drama ("Drive") and a media consultant in a political thriller ("Ides of March"), crushing all three roles. Sky's the limit for this guy. Honorable mention for Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt and Anton Yelchin.
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