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10 Best Movies of 2011

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, December 13th, 2011


Okay, folks, let’s get this out before I change my mind again.

First, if this were a top 20, these would be the additional ten in some kind of order:
A Separation, Attack the Block, Black Death, Contagion, The Descendants, The Guard, Midnight in Paris, Our Idiot Brother, Redline, The Tree of Life. I love each of those movies and, at one point during the crafting of this top 10 list, they each had a spot on it.

But, alas, there can be only one. Or, there can be only ten. And these are the ten.

10 – Rubber

One of the most overused words in English is “surreal,” but Rubber’s deadpan True West surrealism tickles me on a very basic level. It’s like the best bits of every Hal Hartley movie exaggerated by 100 and put into one movie.

9 – X-Men: First Class

I watched this again the other day to make sure. Yeah, it’s really quite good – certainly the best Marvel movie ever.

8 – United Red Army

This Japanese film from 2008 finally got its New York theatrical run this year. This look at 60s/70s leftist groups puts you through the ringer, taking political fanaticism to its strange, inevitable conclusion.

7 – Take Shelter

One of the best descents into madness I’ve ever seen.

6 – Rango


5 – We Need To Talk About Kevin

It’s not just Tilda Swinton’s performance but Lynn Ramsay’s. This is total cinema, and more playful than her previous work. Is it wrong that I found some of this movie funny.

4 – Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Next time I curse a money-grubbing reboot I’ll think of this sharp and highly entertaining movie.

3 – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

If I think about this too much I might make this my number one. It is not only gorgeous to look at, but so rich in subtext that watching and trying to understand it makes you truly empathize with the lead character. Good the first time, brilliant the second and I’m itching for a third.

2 – Meek’s Cutoff

The landscape of Herzog, the interpersonal dynamics of Polanski.

1 – Of Gods and Men

My Catholic fetish and Francophilia are powerless against this gorgeous film. It’s not just the best of 2011, it’s on my list of best movies of all time.


  1. Really Jordan?
    X-Men First Class over Midnight in Paris?
    I’m confounded.

    Comment by Leila Nelson — December 13, 2011 @ 10:24 pm

  2. What, I should lie? There are some spots in MIP that just won’t hold up to repeat viewings….

    Comment by Jordan — December 13, 2011 @ 10:35 pm

  3. Jordan, just curious – what spots might those be? I must’ve missed them the four times I’ve seen MIP so far… ;-)

    Comment by Richard Gordon — December 13, 2011 @ 11:13 pm

  4. [...] Jordan Hoffman lists his 10 Best Movies of 2011 [...]

    Pingback by Page 2: Brave, Home Alone, Steven Spielberg, Frankenweenie, Star Wars, Community, Tintin, Back to the Future, Blade Runner, The Shining | Film Festival — December 23, 2011 @ 7:17 pm

  5. Rango is so nuts, it’s brilliant…..

    Comment by Dave K — December 27, 2011 @ 12:03 pm

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