Happy New Year — and Good Riddance to the Five Worst Movie Trends of 2011

Not to be terribly negative at the start of the new year – because any year that gifted us the Fassboner had to be a pretty good year, amirite? – but there were a handful of recurring trends in the movies of 2011 that could stand a rest as we charge ahead through 2012. First let’s list the good ones, the motifs in otherwise disparate films, from a wide range of filmmakers indie and studio-backed, new and established, that were actually kind of awesome to marinate in this past year. (Goslingmania comin' atcha!)


Cars that go vroom (Drive, Fast Five, Drive Angry, Senna, Cars 2, Bellflower)
2011 was a great year for gearheads – hell, Fast Five pretty much made the year, and it came out way back in April. Even if you can’t tell a tire iron from a lugnut, the cars of 2011 were pretty damn exciting to watch; look no further than the quivering mass of mechanical muscle that is the Mother Medusa from Bellflower for the single sexiest car-that-might-as-well-be-a-character of the year.

Emo manly men (Drive, Warrior, Fast Five, Shame)
Few things brought me as much joy in 2011 as the sight of hot, often burly grown men weeping, or at least near tears. Or, at least, you know, feeling stuff. And preferably shirtless. Sometimes with a partner of the same sex. The grand prixe of 2011 in this category goes to Warrior’s Tom Hardy, who hulked OUT and tapped his inner feral child, all hurt and lonely and in glorious, glorious pain.

Planet Terror (Another Earth, Melancholia, Tree of Life, Apollo 18)
Galactic dramarama, man. It never feels quite like the world is coming to an end like it does when the world is literally coming to an end. And alternately, as in Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life, the cosmos and the wonderment that is creation itself can be so terrifyingly awe-inspiring when you sit down and think about it… and think about it… and think about it. Unless you’re watching some alien attack bullshit on the moon. Forget that noise.

All Things Ryan Gosling (Drive, Ides of March, Crazy, Stupid, Love., “Hey Girl,” NYC Street Fight)
What can I say? He’s the coolest motherfucker in the world. He breaks up stranger danger street brawls, for goodness sake. He takes Eva Mendes to Disneyland! And to think, it all started down on the soundstages of The Mickey Mouse Club

Relationships, They’re Hard and Stuff (Bellflower, Young Adult, A Separation, Like Crazy, One Day, Crazy, Stupid, Love.)
Sure, we’ll never see an end to movies about relationships. I mean, duh. But in 2011 we got a surprising batch of tales about love, falling in love, and the crazy batshit insane things we do for it. Forget the craptastic rom-coms and bad studio “relationship” comedies of the year (The Change-Up, Something Borrowed, anything starring Sarah Jessica Parker or Katherine Heigl -- and especially New Year’s Eve, which starred both Sarah Jessica Parker and Katherine Heigl). And let the two near-identically named Facebook generation rom-coms of the year (Friends with Benefits, No Strings Attached) pass. They meant you no harm. Now go straight to the smaller films that dropped the sometimes blissful, often painful real talk about romance, and cry a good cry: Like Crazy, Bellflower, A Separation, Young Adult. Hell, even The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has something to say about crushing on your coworkers.

Honorable mentions: Animal heroes (Buck, Project Nim, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Rango), ass-kicking heroines (Colombiana, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hanna, Sucker Punch), problem children (We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, Beautiful Boy)

Now for the worst movie trends of 2011...

Pages: 1 2


  • HV says:

    I understand what you're saying about the backwards looking awards-bait films, but I'd take ten that resemble The Artist over one of Spielberg's calculated, bloated "epic" tearjerkers.

  • Kudos for recognizing the Happy Madison scourge of 2011. THose commercials alone for "Bucky Larson" were a hate-crime.

    And to add to the economic strife category you could toss in "Arthur". The studio realized they released a billionaire comedy during a recession so they had to make nods by having him find work, and tossing money from his ATM at the struggling gentry.

  • Speak for yourself, Jen. Some of us actually go to the movies to be, what's the word? Oh, right... ENTERTAINED!

    I'll gladly take Jack and Jill over your overhyped, boring and pretensious Drive any day of the week, and twice on Sund....

    I can't keep up the joke. As much as I wanted to beat that comment that takes you to task for mocking the horrendous output from Happy Madison of late by pointing out that movies' sole purpose is to entertain the masses, I honestly can't keep up the gag.

  • JC says:

    Really... One Day is included in Best movie trends? Really?! No way. This must have been a massive oversight on behalf of the Moveline team. There's no way you guys meant to include the atrocity that was One Day.

  • I do love the way you have framed this particular difficulty plus it really does offer us some fodder for consideration. However, coming from just what I have personally seen, I basically trust as the reviews pack on that folks stay on point and don’t start on a soap box regarding some other news of the day. Still, thank you for this superb point and even though I do not necessarily go along with the idea in totality, I respect the perspective.