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Eleven from Eleven

Friday 6 January 2012, 16:28

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

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At the end of 2011 I posted my ten worst movies of the year. Since then a lot of people have been asking me for my list of the best. I already revealed them on the 5 Live show but here they are again plus a difficult question - since I was forced to leave out Drive, one of my favourite movies of the year, which of my choices would you lose to make way for it?

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    Comment number 1.

    Why follow convention - just have a "Top Fourteen"?

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    Comment number 2.

    I would lose Melancholia. It was good, but not great. Not as good as Antichrist anyway.

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    Comment number 3.

    Easy, Kill List. Done. My top 10 films of 2011 are:

    1. The Artist
    2. A Separation
    3. Senna
    4. We Need to Talk about Kevin
    5. Hugo
    6. Midnight in Paris
    7. 13 Assassins
    8. The Skin I Live In
    9. Oranges and Sunshine
    10. Another Earth

    Honourable mentions: Melancholia, Drive, Moneyball, 50/50, The Tree of Life, Super 8, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Kill List, Source Code.

    I have not seen the likes of The Descendants, Take Shelter or Snowtown.

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    Comment number 4.

    You are absolutely right; how DARE you leave out Drive! By far the best film of 2011. A film that is both a great piece of cinematic art and an enjoyable guilty pleasure. A refreshing take on a tired storyline which succeeds in spades. Brilliant soundtrack, brilliant cinematography, brilliant art direction and a fantastic peformance by both Gosling and Mulligan.

    To answer you're question; which film do you omit to put Drive in your list. Very simple: Melancholia. By far one of the most pretentious films of 2011, and yet another cinematic con from Von Trier.

    Melancholia is in, but Drive isn't? Seriously man, what's wrong with you!

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    Comment number 5.

    Drop 'Hugo 3D' i saw that film solely on your recommendation, an hour in i was slumped back in my seat thinking "whats the running time? when is the film going to get a move on? why did Kermode think the 3D was so good?". And when the kids went to see 'Safety last' i thought "God i wish i was watching that film instead".

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    Comment number 6.

    How can Drive not be No.1?

    Was so great to see a film that made me remember why I love movies so much - the opening scene was like a breath of fresh air after so many under-whelming Hollywood movies (yes even Inception).

    I'm glad Drive gets left out of Oscar et al cos that's exactly the kind of company it needs to stay away from.

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    Comment number 7.

    Why on EARTH have you left out Take Shelter? You implored us to see how great Michael Shannon is as an actor (which he is), what a great film it is (which it is), and then callously left it out? I just caught a screening last night and am still thinking about it, was lying awake thinking about it when I got home.

    Shame on you, Dr K!

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    Comment number 8.

    I'd lose 'A Seperation'. It's very good, held up by the sheer weight of the story, but Drive is a better film. And a pedantic point about video blog - *couldn't care less, not could care less. There.

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    Comment number 9.

    i'd replace all of them with drive


    (except senna)

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    Comment number 10.

    The only one that I have seen on your list and would omit would be 'Senna'. It's great, for sure, a brilliantly engrossing portrait of an extraordinary career and yet it feels too rose-tinted in its view of the man, not critical enough of the qualities behind the talent and ambition such as his seemingly blind religious faith that made it somewhat unsatisfying as a character portrait.
    Also, where are 'The Tree of Life' and "Dragon Tattoo' ? ? ?
    'We Need to Talk about Kevin' is certainly one of the greatest films of the year, the only film I have been to see twice in the cinema since 'There Will Be Blood' and one of the most harrowing too.

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    Comment number 11.

    Kill List.
    It's alright for what it is, but I didn't find it that enthralling or chilling...
    When it ended I just thought "Meh, could've been worse"

    The question you should ask yourself though is which of the films you've chosen are you going to watch less times than Drive? If none then you're list is spot on, if not...

    Personally I feel that no matter how good a film is on a technical or performance level if there's a limit to how many times you revisit it then it should be shuffled down your personal rankings.

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    Comment number 12.

    Mark, for someone who so often engages in gramatical pedantry I'm surprised to hear you say 'could care less'. It's 'couldn't care less'.

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    Comment number 13.

    I'd leave Kermode out - he's no Claudia or Edith Bowman

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    Comment number 14.

    I would disagree with some but not all of your 11 but largely salute them. Drive I can accept missing your or my list. Yes it is beautifully shot and acted but for me I found it uncompromisingly cold and unrewarding.

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    Comment number 15.

    Thanks for doing this, so many people were asking for it (I'd already heard it). I suppose that's the trouble when you find yourself launched on a multimedia web portal thingy. Shouldn't some intern at the Beeb just cut and paste this stuff together so you don't have to keep track of what you said and where you said it? -- that's funding cuts for you. The techies are probably trying to virtualize you even as we speak, lucky for you they still can't get the hair right.

    When I listened back on the podcast, you also gave notable mentions to Weekend, Deep Blue Sea, Sarah's Key and Red State (if only to mention that KSmith still has something more interesting/better than Cop Out up his sleeve).

    I'm ashamed to say I only managed to see 4 of your top 11, so have little basis for judgement. I wouldn't lose Hugo, Senna or Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which were all stunning in various ways, so it would have to be We Need To Talk About Kevin, which I thought was interesting but it didn't grab me or get under my skin in any way, even though I could see it trying. And I really liked Ratcatcher, so it's not any antipathy towards Ramsey's work. Drive is one of the films I enjoyed most, so on that basis it's a no brainer as We Need to Talk About Kevin left me cold. On the other hand it's your list, so I don't see how my tastes come into it.... but, you did ask...

    I've never got into the whole ranking list thing, but it does help me compile a list of things to bump to the top of the never ending rental queue.

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    Comment number 16.

    @ 10 Even though Mark liked the Tree of life he said it was flawed and he didn't like Dragon Tattoo.

    I'd swap Melancholia (good, but not great and this is from a von Trier fan) or Hugo (which again was good, but not great). Drive is better than both those films. end of...

    My top 10:

    10. My Week with Marilyn - It was ok definitely better than some of the rubbish I've seen this year

    9. The Inbetweeners Movie - Had it's moments that made me laugh

    8. The Skin I Live in - It was a good story and Antonio Banderas was good.

    7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Even though the Swedish 1 is better I still did enjoy it and it did out do the swedish 1 in some aspects (visually and some of the narrative problems the swedish version had).

    6. True Grit - The Coens at their best, but the some years later ending could have been done without.

    5. The King's Speech - Great acting and great cinematography, but didn't deserve best film at the Oscars.

    4. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - Ever bit as funny and exciting as the original.

    3. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Went to see this 3 times, a first in many a year. It's just a brilliant cast and a brilliant story.

    2. Drive - One of the best film soundtracks I've ever heard and a brillaint visual style and great acting especially from Gosling

    1. Black Swan - I think when I first saw this it was always going to be my film of the year. Aronofsky doing what he does best: a Polanski-esque psychological thriller where a protagonist spirals down into insanity.

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    Comment number 17.

    I've only seen 1 of the films on the list and that was Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. As a fan of the TV series with Alec Guiness, I found this film good looking but cold and more than a little bit over rated.

    True Grit was very good (the only Coen Brothers film I can say I genuinely enjoyed).

    Best film of the year for me was The King's Speech which surprised me because a film about speech therapy could have been dull and boring and dry as dust.

    As always there are some guilty pleasure films (films that I should be ashamed of for liking but enjoyed all the same). These films include The Mechanic, Thor, Mission Impossible 4 (a big improvement on 3) and Sherlock Holmes 2 (and if you think those 'guilty pleasure' films are bad I will say that I love Stargate and the remake of Death Race).

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    Comment number 18.

    You were right to leave Drive out, Dr Kermode. Why? Because it was the most overrated film of the year. I'm not "trolling"! I'm seriously! It was the ultimate example of a heartless, soulless, vacuous, superficial piece of pseudo-art. That in and of itself isn't necessarily enough to condemn any film outright, but as Drive was boring and pretentious to boot, I think it qualifies as a 1-star floppo. I cannot believe how popular this film has been (with those few people that actually saw it).

    So bearing that in mind, I really like your Top 11, and would largely agree with your choices. Unfortunately I didn't manage to catch A Separation, Le Quattro Volte, or Benda Bilili, so I'll substitute those particular movies with 13 Assassins (action movie of the year by a long shot), Black Swan (engrossing baroque craziness) and Cave of Forgotten Dreams (the greatest documentary I've seen in a long time, Senna notwithstanding).

    However, I wasn't especially keen on Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, a spy film about spies behaving in a spy-like fashion while doing some spying (couldn't help myself), so I would remove that one and put Richard Ayoade's Submarine in its place. Now that I think of it, I also actively disliked We Need to Talk About Boredom, so I'll pie that title and replace it with Super 8 which, for its joyful and successful reveling in the cinematic tradition of sheer popular entertainment, I may well leave in first place. And finally: Tintin instead of Hugo. (I liked Hugo, but it's not Top 11 material)

    So actually, we don't really see eye to eye at all, Dr Kermode. But I still trust your opinion when you give scathing reviews, and that's the important thing. I saw very few bad films this year, and I have you to thank.

    So despite your preposterous championing of We Need to Talk About Kevin and Drive, praise be Mark Kermode!

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    Comment number 19.

    I know it's your number 1 but I wouldn't even consider 'We Need to Talk About Kevin' in the top 40 films I saw this year. An impossible mediocre adaptation that batters it's audience with relentless symbolism.

    Yes Lynne, I am aware that red is symbolic of blood and that it represents Kevin's acts and Eva's feelings of responsibly for her son OKAY?

    'Drive' completely deserves a spot in the top 10, as does the forgotten 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2' - a breathtaking, profoundly moving and mesmerising blockbuster which rounds off one of modern cinema's most ambitious franchises. 8 films in 10 years, all of which are good? That's practically impossible.

    My top 10 is as follows (and yes, I know two entries technically are released in the UK this year but I saw them at LFF):

    10. 'Tyrannosaur' - Kitchen-sink drama but at it's grubbiest, most unsanitary and best. Colman is incredible.

    9. 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' - Probably the surprise film of the year.

    8. 'Tinker Tailor Solider Spy' - Thrilling, brooding and magnetic filmmaking.

    7. 'Midnight in Paris' - Not just a great Allen film, this is a glorious and heart-warming affair that will be enjoyed again and again.

    6. 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2' - A gripping, earth-shattering and utterly absorbing spectacle.

    5. 'Drive' - Explosive in it's fits of rage, awesome in it's style and scale, and beautiful it it's portrayal; 'Drive' is a class-act.

    4. 'The Descendants' - A delicately crafted and gloriously executed example of how to make character cinema.

    3. 'Hugo' - One of Scorsese best-ever films and a film-fan's dream.

    2. 'Shame' - A graphic and undeniable film aided by breathtaking performances, assured direction and the most haunting score one in years

    1. 'The Artist' - A simply spellbinding, utterly joyous and truly heart-warming depiction of an era which saw the rise of the all-American cinema.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    I don't know why I wrote 'one' during the 'Shame' segment? My bad.


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Outspoken, opinionated and never lost for words, Mark is the UK's leading film critic.

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