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

Let us be DONE with these themes, at least for a bit, okay?

Movie Stars Playing Real Life People (My Week with Marilyn, J. Edgar, The Lady, The Iron Lady, The Devil’s Double)
We get it, you guys all want an Oscar. Well, nobody but Meryl Streep is going to get it for playing a real person. Stop it already! That old person make-up is never, ever a good look.

Economic Strife As Fantastical Plot Point (Tower Heist, In Time, Hobo with a Shotgun)
When it works, it works. (Props to the awesome Hobo with a Shotgun, in which homeless Rutger Hauer just wants to save enough money to buy a lawnmower, dammit.) And I’m not talking about the movies about the actual economic crisis. (Margin Call, you’re okay.) It’s the other vaguely economy-themed movies that are so very tired – the ones where a ridiculous heist in a tower hinges on incredibly impractical Ocean’s Eleven-style planning by bumbling amateurs, or where former pop stars live in a world where time is literally money.

Aliens (Paul, Attack the Block, Cowboys & Aliens, Super 8, Green Lantern, Transformers: The Dark of the Moon)
Look, I liked Paul, loved Attack the Block, and have always had a soft spot for aliens in movies. It’s just, especially given the huge studio flicks of 2011 that B-O-M-B-E-D (cough, Cowboys & Aliens & Green Lanterns), let’s give the interstellar visitors a rest, shall we?

Old-timey/backwards looking sentimentalism (The Artist, Tintin, War Horse, Captain America, The Help, Midnight in Paris, Young Adult, Tinker Tailor, The Muppets, Footloose, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, X-Men: First Class)
It’s not enough just to preach the evergreen position that remakes are evil and unnecessary, though 2011’s Footloose and The Thing certainly seemed so in ways. 2011 was rife with a backwards-looking sentimentalism, and that’s not to say these movies were all bad; it was a mixed bag, from meh (1960s-era X-Men: First Class) to great (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) to outright awards bait (War Horse, The Help, The Artist). But Woody Allen’s lovely Midnight in Paris said it all; the past is great and all, but how’s about living in the present?

The Continued Proliferation of Happy Madison Productions (Just Go With It, Zookeeper, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, Jack and Jill)
Speaking of the present and future, here’s a problem we need to reach across the aisles and nip together as a people. For all the savvy self-awareness he seemed to display in Judd Apatow’s Funny People, Adam Sandler (and his extended creative fraternity) has become George Simmons. How could you mock the feasibility of a Hollywood comedy about a man stuck in an infant’s body and then turn around and make Jack and Jill?? This aggression will not stand.

What did you love/hate in 2011? Comment away and auld lang syne!

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  • 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.