My Favorite Movies of 2011:
1) The Artist- My favorite film in years. First to really pull me in and blow me away since “There Will Be Blood,” but couldn’t be more different from that one. So much fun to watch and already feels timeless.
2) Winnie the Pooh -probably more entertaining for adults than kids, so charming! Great music. Little life lessons we can all be reminded of
3) Albert Nobbs- I don’t know why no one saw it but me. Glenn Close and Janet McTeer were AMAZING!
4) Our Idiot Brother- Worst marking of the year. So not the summer fart-comedy it was made to look like. Intelligent, witty, and one of the most loveable characters on film in years (well, besides Winnie the Pooh)
5) The Help- I feel like I’m a little biased because I loved the book so much. And Viola Davis. And Jessica Chastain (though I just fell in love with her this year). All the acting was solid. Directing, screenplay, and score could have all popped a bit more. (Watch “Fried Green Tomatoes” for what it could have been). But still a sweet movie and so enjoyable to watch.
6) Weekend- The British “Before Sunrise.” Dealt with a lot of gay issues in a really raw, honest way that I really connected with.
7) My Week With Marilyn- This film is 90% Michelle Williams’ possession of layers of emotional depth of Marilyn Monroe, 8% interest in Monroe being a wack-a-doo, and 2% everything else. (And WORST film score in years- you have to work at paying attention to it cause it’s so blah, but if you do, you’ll want to blah)
8) Drive- I’m a sucker for the quiet, angst guy. I think it’s really hard to do a film around a lead character who rarely talks, especially to do it well. “East of Eden,” “Brokeback Mountain,” Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” This film isn’t in that league, but solid, just like Ryan Gossling’s pecs. Love the pacing and some unique departures from a typical action film into character study. Then when you least expect it, it takes a few more detours into some beautifully artistic movements. And Albert Brooks was the biggest Oscar snub of the year.
9) War Horse- I forgot what an experience a Speilburg film is. I watched and was like, oh yeah, this is what a movie is supposed to be. It just feels epic and polished. Then I was like, wow, it’s really polished. Then I was like, oh, it’s a bit too polished. Films have turned into more of a raw style that feels a bit more emotionally compelling, which makes this film already feels a bit dated like a lost film from 1985 that just happens to be in high def. But still, some really beautiful moments.
10) The Way – Martin Sheen and Emilio Estavez’s pet project about a spiritual pilgrimage in Spain. Not a terribly well-made film, but I loved the supporting cast and I cried like 10 times, so it did something right.

Honorable Mentions:
11) Bridesmaids
12) Take Shelter
13) A Better Life
14) Shame
15) The Muppets
16) The Descendants
17) Hugo
18) Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
19) Midnight in Paris
And the ones that just fell in the middle (yet still in order):
20) The Beginners
21) Jane Eyre
22) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2
23) Moneyball
24) Carnage
25) We Need to Talk About Kevin
26) Anonymous
27) Hanna
28) The Ides of March
29) The Conspirator
30) The Iron Lady
31) Buck
32) Win Win
33) Puss In Boots
34) 50/50
35) Rio
36) Meek’s Cutoff
37) African Cats
38) Melancholia
39) Crazy Stupid Love
40) Warrior
41) The Adventures Of Tin Tin
42) Paranormal Activity 3
43) Friends With Benefits
44) Water for Elephant
45) Tinker-Tailor-Soldier-Spy
46) Bill Cunningham New York
47) The Beaver
48) Rango
49) The Tree of Life
50) Bad Teacher
51) Gnomeo & Juliet
52) Horrible Bosses
53) Arthur Christmas
54) Mars Needs Moms
55) Cars 2
56) The Smurfs


Erik’s Top 75 Songs of All Time (excluding instrumental, Disney and showtunes:)

1. Like A Rolling Stone; Bob Dylan

2. Rain; Patty Griffin (share the love, Tammy)
3. Canadian Railroad Trilogy; Gordon Lightfoot

4. Older Chests; Damien Rice
5. Two Step; Dave Matthews Band

6. Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby; Counting Crows
7. Landslide; Stevie Nicks
8. Reasons Why; Nickle Creek
9. A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left; Andrew Bird
10. Sweet Dreams; Eurythmics (sorry, Lizzie)
11. I’m On Fire; Bruce Springstein
12. Only Living Boy in New York; Simon & Garfunkle
13. I Miss You; Blink 182 (Jeremy and my song- make fun if you will)
14. Tony; Patty Griffin (share the love, Deanne)

15. The Joker; Steve Miller Band
16. Ring of Fire; Johnny Cash

17. Is That All There Is?; Peggy Lee

18. Hallelujah; Jeff Buckley (though I think John Cale’s version is equally good- sorry Michael, Nick Cave didn’t make my list- likewise if you read this Ryan)
19. Take on Me; Ah-ha
20. KC; Matt Pond, PA
21. Fast Car; Tracy Chapman

22. Straw Hat and Old Dirty Hank; Barenaked Ladies
23. Daysleeper; REM (share the love, Drew)
24. Galileo; Indigo Girls
25. I Looked All Over Town; The Magnetic Fields
26. For What It’s Worth; Buffalo Springfield

27. Fever; Peggy Lee
28. Standing Outside a Broken Phonebooth with Money in My Hand; Primative Radio Gods

29. Strange Condition; Pete Yorn
30. Strange Fruit; Billy Holiday
31. Fake Pallindromes; Andrew Bird
32. Phantom Limb; The Shins

33. New Hampshire; Matt Pond, PA

34. Sampson; Regina Spektor

35. Sunday, Bloody Sunday; U2

36. When You’re On Top; The Wallflowers

37. Still Here; The Perishers

38. Rootless Tree; Damien Rice

39. Bleed to Love Her; Fleetwood Mac
40. God Says Nothing Back; The Wallflowers
41. Let There Be Light; The Perishers

42. Nobody’s Crying; Patty Griffin
43. Homecoming King; Guster

44. Loneily; Damien Rice

45. What Sarah Said; Death Cab for Cutie

46. Satelite; Dave Matthews Band

47. Long Black Veil; Johnny Cash

48. Early Morning Rain; Gordon Lightfoot

49. Smooth Criminal; Michael Jackson
50. Time After Time; Cyndi Lauper
51. Read My Mind; The Killers

52. Outbound Plane; Suzy Bogguss
53. Deep Water; Jewel (my college walls were covered in Jewel in ’97)
54. Summer of ’69; Bryan Adams
55. Amsterdam; Guster
56. O’ Valencia; The Decemberists

57. The Rowing Song; Patty Griffin

58. Lost Cause; Beck
59. Save Me; Aimee Mann

60. Eet; Regina Spektor
61. Orange Crush; REM
62. I Don’t Believe You; The Magnetic Fields
63. Spaceman; The Killers
64. New Slang; The Shins

65. Like A Prayer; Madonna

66. I’ve Changed; Josh Joplin Group

67. At Last; Ella Fitzgerald

68. Mary; Patty Griffin

69. Song For A Winter’s Night; Gordon Lightfoot (Sarah McLachlan’s is beautiful too)

70. Our Town; Iris Demint
71. Born to Run; Bruce Sprinstein
72. Different Drum; Linda Ronstadt
73. Morning Has Broken; Cat Stevens (though I really liked Ellen Greene’s version on ‘Pushing Daisies’ better)

74. Stray Cat Strut; Stray Cats

75. This is The Begining; Susy Bogguss and Chet Atkins