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Best Films Seen Each Year

I’m not sure which critic it was who first said that they liked to give a list of the best films that they saw for the first time in a given year that were not new.  Needless to say, I love that idea and continue to do so every year.  Not being a professional critic, I don’t have the money to spend on films I think are going to be bad, and often not on films that I think will be good, not to mention, films that are deserving a mention should be mentioned even if you don’t catch them the year that they premiered, so here, without further ado, are the best films I saw in 2011 (I generally list any films that I deemed a 10 or a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10, in some semblance of a ranking, usually done at the last minute), followed by a list of the worst films I saw in 2011.  All films were viewed in their original aspect ratio, and all foreign films were viewed in the original language with English subtitles unless otherwise specified.

I saw very few films whatsoever in 2012 because of my job and living situations.

Best films seen in 2011:

1. The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart (Leonard Horn, 1970) 10/10

2. a double tour (Claude Chabrol, 1959) 10/10

3. Les MicMacs à Tire-Larigot (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2009) 10/10

4. Der Große Verhau/The Big Mess (Alexander Kluge, 1971) 10/10

5. I’m Not There. (Todd Haynes, 2007) 10/10

6. Smultronstället /Wild Strawberries (Ingmar Begman, 1957) 10/10

7. Stranger Than Paradise (Jim Jarmusch, 1984) 10/10

8. Moses und Aron (Reto Nickler, Claus Viller, 2006) 10/10 [opera on video]

9. Absolute Wilson (Katharina Otto-Bernstein, 2006) 10/10 [documentary]

10. Please Give (Nicole Holofcener, 2009) 10/10

11. Thumbsucker (Mike Mills, 2005) 10/10

12. The Outside Chance of Maximilian Glick  (Allan A. Goldstein, 1988) 10/10

13. Inside Job (Charles Ferguson, 2010) 10/10 [documentary]

14. CQ (Roman Coppola, 2001) 9/10

15. Dracula’s Daughter (Lambert Hillyer, 1936) 9/10

16. Merrily We Go to Hell (Dorothy Arzner, 1932) 9/10

17. Persée (Marshall Pynkoski, Marc Stone, 2004) 9/10 [opera on video]

18. Up (Pete Docter, 2009) 9/10

19. Alice in Wonderland (Tim Burton, 2010) 9/10

20. Gui ma zhi duo xing/All the Wrong Clues… (…for the Right Solution) (Tsui Hark, 1981) 9/10

21. La Mitad del Cielo/Half of Heaven (Manuel Gutierrez Aragon, 1986) [cropped] 9/10

22. Le Scaphandre et le Papillon/The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Julian Schnabel, 2007) 9/10

23. Search for Beauty (Erle C. Kenton, 1934) 9/10

24. Hauru no Uguku Shiro/Howl’s Moving Castle (Hayao Miyazaki, 2004) 9/10

25. Slacker (Richard Linklater, 1990) 9/10

26. Children of Invention (Tze Chun, 2009) 9/10

27. Pilgrimage (John Ford, 1933) 9/10

28. Legend of the Magic Arch (Derrik F. Woodbury, 1995) 9/10

29. Der Fliegende Holländer (Ilkka Bäckman, Aarno Cornvall, 1989) 9/10 [opera on video]

30. The Damned/These Are the Damned (Joseph Losey, 1963) 9/10

31. The Fall of the Louse of Usher:  A Gothic Tale for the 21st Century (Ken Russell, 2002) 9/10

Best short films:

The Angry Video Game Nerd:  R.O.B. the Robot (James Rolfe, 2011) 9/10

The Angry Video Game Nerd:  Nintendo World Championships (James Rolfe, 2011) 9/10

Feminist Frequency:  Tropes vs. Women – The Straw Feminist (Anita Sarkeesian, 2011) 9/10

Worst films:

7. Film Geek (James Westby, 2005) 5/10

6. Man-Thing (Brett Leonard, 2005) 4/10

5. The Auteur (James Westby, 2004) 4/10 [short]

4. Cat in the Cage (Tony Zarin Dast, 1978) 4/10

3. Two Tales of the Occult:  Fright House and Abadon (Len Anthony, 1989) 6/10: 4/10 for Fright House and 7/10 for Abadon

2. The Yellow Brick Road and Beyond (Troy Szebin, 2009) 3/10

1. Film Geek:  Behind the Magic (2007) 1/10 [short]

Best films seen in 2010:

1, Brand Upon the Brain! A Remembrance in 12 Chapters (Guy Maddin, 2006) 10/10

2. The Game (David Fincher, 1997) 10/10

3. Les Enfants Terribles (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1950) 10/10

4. Privilege (Peter Watkins, 1967) 10/10

5. House (Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1977) 10/10

6. Uzumaki/Spiral (Higuchinsky, 2000) 10/10

7. History Lessons (Barbara Hammer, 2000) 10/10

8. Ivan Groznyy Skaz Vmroy:  Boyarskyy Zagovor/Ivan The Terrible Part II:  The Boyar’s Plot (Sergei Eisenstein, 1945/1958) 10/10

9. Ivan Groznyy/Ivan the Terrible (Sergei Eisenstein, 1944) 10/10

10. Archangel (Guy Maddin, 1990) 10/10

11. Twin Peaks:  Fire Walk with Me (David Lynch, 1992) 10/10

12. Le Gai Savoir/The Joy of Learning (Jean-Luc Godard, 1969) 10/10

13. The Masque of the Red Death (Roger Corman, 1964) 10/10

14. Une Femme Mariée:  Suite de fragments d’un film tourné en 1964 (Jean-Luc Godard, 1964) 10/10

15. Choking Man (Steve Barron, 2008) 10/10

16. Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman, 2008) 10/10

17. The Fall (Tarsem, 2006) 10/10

18.  Johnny Suede (Tom DiCillo, 1991) 9/10

19. Repo!  The Genetic Opera (Darren Lynn Bousman, 2008) 9/10

20. Made in U.S.A (Jean-Luc Godard, 1966)

21. Rembrandt (Alexander Korda, 1936)

22. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (Joss Whedon, 2008) 9/10

23. Vampyr  (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1932) 9/10

24. Novem (Brad Kimmel, 2005) 9/10

25. Kill the Poor (Alan Taylor, 2003) 9/10

26. The Minotaur (Stephen Langridge, Jonathan Haswell, 2008) 9/10

27. The Haunted Palace (Roger Corman, 1963) 9/10

28. L’Enfer d’Henri-Georges Clouzot/Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno  (Serge Bromberg amd Ruxandra Medrea, 2009) 9/10

29. Lucía y el Sexo/Sex and Lucía [R-rated] (Julio Medem, 2001) 9/10

30. Naked Blood:  Megyaku (Hisayasu Sato, 1995) 9/10

31. Rachel Getting Married (Jonathan Demme, 2008) 9/10

32. South Pacific [extended road show cut] (Joshua Logan, 1958) 9/10

33. Man on the Moon (Milos Forman, 1999) 9/10

34. Australia (Baz Luhrmann, 2008) 9/10

35. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (David Yates, 2009) 9/10

36. The Notorious Bettie Page (Mary Harron, 2005) 9/10

37. Stage Fright (Alfred Hitchcock, 1950) 9/10

38. Off the Charts:  The Song-Poem Story (Jamie Meltzer, 2003) 9/10

Best shorts:

Ubu and the Procession (William Kentridge, 1999) 10/10

Idiot with a Tripod (Jamie Stuart, 2010) 10/10

A Slice of Lynch (Charles de Lauzirika, 2007) 10/10

Welcome to McKinley High:  A Thorough and Informative Introduction (2009) 10/10

Superdyke (Barbara Hammer, 1974) 9/10

Footsteps (Guy Maddin, 2008) 9/10

Menses (Barbara Hammer, 1974) 9/10

Worst I saw in 2010:

7. Revenge of the Radioactive Reporter (Craig Pryce, 1989) 4/10

6. Board James:  Hero Quest (James Rolfe, 2010) 4/10 [short]

5. How to Read Music:  Keyboard Version (Harry Ratner, 1985) 4/10 [short]

4. Up the Academy (Robert Downey, 1980) 4/10

3. The Iowa Mountain Tour, Live! (Jamie Meltzer, 2003) 3/10 [short]

2. (Tie): [shorts]

Jane Lynch:  A to Glee (2009) 3/10

Meet Jane Lynch (2009) 3/10

5 Things You Really Didn’t Know About Jayma (2009) 3/10

7 Things You Really Didn’t Know About Cory (2009) 3/10

6 Things You Really Didn’t Know About Amber (2009) 3/10

7 Things You Really Didn’t Know About Chris (2009) 3/10

1. America Sings (Al Footnick, 198?) 3/10 [short]

2009:

Rated 10/10:

1. Johnny Got His Gun (Dalton Trumbo, 1971)

2. The Loved One (Tony Richardson, 1965)
3. The Death of Klinghoffer (Penny Woolcock, 2003)

4. Burn After Reading (Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, 2008)
5. No Country for Old Men (Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, 2007)

6. Play Time (Jacques Tati, 1967)

7. Penelope (Mark Palansky, 2006)

8. Gin chap hak mooi gwai/Protégé de la Rose Noire (Chun-Chun Wong, Donnie Yen, 2004

9. Teeth (Mitchell Lichtenstein, 2007) 10/10

10. Touch the Sound:  A Sound Journey with Evelyn Glennie (Thomas Riedelscheimer, 2004)
11. Dark Water (Walter Salles, 2005)

12. Home Room (Paul F. Ryan, 2002)

13. Capitalism:  A Love Story (Michael Moore, 2009)

14. Dogville (Lars von Trier, 2003)

15. Shizukanaru ketto/The Quiet Duel (Akira Kurosawa, 1949)

16. The Darjeeling Limited (Wes Anderson, 2007) 10/10
17. College (James W. Horne, [Buster Keaton], 1927)
18. Revelations:  Paradise Lost 2 (Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky, 1999)

Rated 9/10:

19. Trafic (Jacques Tati, 1971)

20. Iron Jawed Angels (Katja von Garnier, 2004)

21. Yōkai Hyaku Monogatari/One Hundred Ghost Stories/100 Monsters (Kimiyoshi Yasuda, 1968)

22. Satyagraha (Hugo Käch, 1983)

23. The Wrong Box (Bryan Forbes, 1966)

24. Die Teufel von Loudun/The Devils of Loudun (Konrad Swinarski, Joachim Hess, 1969)

25. The Paper Chase (James Bridges, 1973)

26. Bananas (Woody Allen, 1971)

27. The Cabinet of Caligari (Robert Kay, 1962)

28. Drag Me to Hell (Sam Raimi, 2009)

29. Piedras Verdes/Green Stones/Mystic Stones (Ángel Flores Torres, 2001)

30. Marjoe (Howard Smith, Sarah Kernochan, 1972)

31. La vocation suspendue/The Suspended Vocation  (Raul Ruiz, 1978)

32. The Missouri Breaks (Arthur Penn, 1976)

33. I Capture the Castle (Tim Fywell, 2003)

34. The Other Boleyn Girl (Justin Chadwick, 2008)

35. Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed/The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Lotte Reiniger, 1926)

36. L’Hypothèse du tableau volé/The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting (Raul Ruiz, 1979)

37. The Astronaut Farmer (Michael Polish, 2006)

38. Kao/Face (Junji Sakamoto, 2000)

39. They Shoot Movies, Don’t They? …the making of Mirage (Frank Gallagher, 2000)

Great television series:

Twin Peaks

Pushing Daisies

Worth mentioning:

Carnival of Fools/Death Wish Club (John Carr, 1983) 8/10

Koi… Mil Gaya/I’ve… Found Someone (Rakesh Roshan, 2003) 8/10

SpaceDisco One (Damon Packard, 2007) 8/10

The Nomi Song (Andrew Horn, 2004) 8/10

Clive Barker’s Nightbreed (Clive Barker, 1990) 8/10

La Sorella di Satana/She Beast (Mike Reeves, 1966) 8/10

Winter Lily (Roshell Bissett, 1998) 8/10

Notable Disappointments (films I was expecting to be a lot better):

The Squid and the Whale  (Noah Baumbach, 2005) 7/10

The Wackness (Jonathan Levine, 2008) 7/10

Elizabeth:  The Golden Age (Shekhar Kapur, 2007) 7/10

The PianoTuner of EarthQuakes (The Quay Brothers, 2005) 6/10

Stardust (Matthew Vaughn, 2007) 6/10

Journey to the Seventh Planet (Sid Pink, 1962) 6/10

Luisa Miller (Jacques LaSalle, François Postaire, 1988) 6/10

The Kirlian Witness (Jonathan Sarno, 1979) 6/10

Murder by Television (Clifford Sandforth, 1935) 5/10

Bad:

DumbLand (David Lynch, 2002) 1/10

El Tesoro de las cuatro coronas/Treasure of the Four Crowns (Ferdinandino Baldi, 1982) 4/10 [flat, cropped, English version]

Monster (Kenneth G. Hartford, 1979) 4/10

2008 list:

Notre Musique (Jean-Luc Godard, 2004)

The Science of Sleep (Michel Gondry, 2006)

Stachka/Strike (Sergei Eisenstein, 1924)

Across the Universe (Julie Taymor, 2007)

M (Fritz Lang, 1931)

Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder, 1951)

Chun tian hua hua tong xue hui/McDull, the Alumni (Leung Chun ‘Samson’ Chiu, 2006)
Katakuri-ke no kôfuku/The Happiness of the Katakuris (Takashi Miike, 2001)

Wisconsin Death Trip (James Marsh, 1999)

Cowards Bend the Knee or The Blue Hands (Guy Maddin, 2003)

My Dinner with Andre (Louis Malle, 1981)

Neil Gaiman Live at the Aladdin October 24, 2000 (2001)

Chappaqua (Conrad Rooks, 1966)

Punishment Park (Peter Watkins, 1971) 10/10

Tanner ’88 (Robert Altman, 1988)

David and Lisa (Frank Perry, 1962)

Jikoku/Hell (Nobuo Nakagawa, 1960)

Tanner on Tanner (Robert Altman, 2004)

The Tales of Hoffman (Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, 1951)

El Laberinto del Fauno/Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

Cat People (Jacques Tourneur, 1943) /The Curse of the Cat People (Gunther V. Fritsch, Robert Wise, 1944)

A Perfect Couple (Robert Altman, 1979)

Meng ying tong nian/Electric Shadows (Jiang Xiao, 2004)

Mirrormask (Dave McKean, 2005)

Lady in the Water (M. Night Shyamalan, 2006)

C.S.A.:  The Confederate States of America (Kevin Wilmott, 2004)

Unfaithfully Yours (Preston Sturges, 1948)

In America (Jim Sheridan, 2002)

Alice’s Restaurant (Arthur Penn, 1969)

Yin ji kau/Rouge (Stanley Kwan, 1987)

Thieves Like Us (Robert Altman, 1974)

Picnic at Hanging Rock (Peter Weir, 1975)

The N Word (Todd Larkins Williams, 2004)

Die Zauberflöte/The Magic Flute (Peter Ustinov, Joachim Hess, 1971)

Jeuk ngau jai foo dik Jung Kwai/The Blue Jean Monster aka Monster Wore Jeans (Ivan Lai Kai Ming, 1991)

The Old Dark House (James Whale, 1932)

Skyscraper Souls (Edgar Selwyn, 1932)

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (Russ Meyer, 1970)

Hélas pour Moi/Oh Woe Is Me (Jean-Luc Godard, 1993)

Martha (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974)

Koyangi rul put’ak hae/Take Care of My Cat (Jae-Eun Jeong, 2001)

Hilfe! Hilfe! Die Globolinks:  Eine Oper für Kinder und Solche, die Kinder Lieben/Help! Help! The Globolinks:  An Opera for Children and Those Who Like Children (Gian Carlo Menotti, Joachim Hess, 1968)

Dokfa nai meuman/Mysterious Object at Noon (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2000)

La Voie Lactée/The Milky Way (Luís Buñuel, 1969)

Fidelio (Joachim Hess, 1968)

The Invisible Man (James Whale, 1933)

The Clock (Vincente Minnelli, 1945)

Charade (Stanley Donen, 1966)

Grey Gardens (David Maysles, Albert Maysles, Ellen Hovde, Muffie Meyer, Susan Froemke, 1975)

Die Hochzeit des Figaro/The Marriage of Figaro (Joachim Hess, 1967)

Die 3 groschen-oper/The 3 Penny Opera (G.W. Pabst, 1931)

Sidewalks of New York (Jules White, Zion Myers, 1931)

Terrore nello spazio/Planet of the Vampires (Mario Bava, 1965)

Fassbinder in Hollywood (Robert Fischer, 2002)

The Life of Emile Zola (William Dieterle, 1937)

Il Trittico (Sylvano Bussotti, Brian Large, 1983)

The Invisible Man Returns (Joe May, 1940)

El Esqueleto de la Señora Morales/The Skeleton of Mrs. Morales (Rogelio A. González, 1960)

Gongpo taeksi/Ghost Taxi/Terror Taxi (Seung-jun Heo, 2000)
Viy (Konstantin Yershov, Georgi Kropachov, 1967)

Prêt-à-Porter/Ready to Wear (Robert Altman, 1994)

Cavalleria Rusticana (Franco Zeffirelli, 1982)

Best (first) seen this year:

1. La Chinoise
2. The Stunt Man
3. Sleepwalkers
4. Lightning Over Water
5. Asylum
6. Jackpot
7. Sicko
8. Titicut Follies
9. Sedmikrasky
10. Asphalt
11. The Trip
12. The Screwfly Solution
13. Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?

14. Sunnyside Up
15. Bai fa mo nu zhuan
16. Sweetie
17. A Wedding
18. A Prairie Home Companion
19. Détective
20. Martin
21. Women in Love
22. House by the River
23. Psych-Out
24. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
25. Art School Confidential
26. Homecoming
27. Ruby
28. When Strangers Appear
29. The Lathe of Heaven
30. Godspell: A Musical Based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew
31. The Jazz Singer
32. Son of Frankenstein
33. Tales of Terror

34. That Cold Day in the Park
35. Shaun of the Dead
36. Pit and the Pendulum

37. The Devil-Doll
38. Grimm
39. Hangmen Also Die!
40. Grim Prairie Tales: Hit the Trail… To Terror
41. Zhui ji 8 yue 15

42. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
43. The Comedy of Terrors
44. No Tomorrow
45. Gas! -Or- It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It.
46. Salome’s Last Dance
47. This Film Is Not Yet Rated
48. Schussangst
49. Dear Wendy
50. The Wild Angels
51. Idiocracy
52. Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride
53. The Gingerbread Man
54. Design for Living
55. The Bat Whispers [65 mm version]
56. The Libertine
57. Cannibal! The Musical
58. It Happened Here Again
59. Winstanley
60. The Ghost of Frankenstein
61. The Cat and the Canary
62. Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told
63. La Noche del Terror Ciego
64. The Lair of the White Worm
65. The Door
66. Blast
67. When the Line Goes Through
68. The System
69. Mark of the Vampire
70. Ji Ji
71. The Sci-fi Boys
72. Topkapi
73. The Amazing Mr. Blunden
74. Over the Edge
75. Sunday in the Park with George
76. The Raven
77. Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell
78. The Dead Don’t Die
79. Mata Hari

2006 list:

1. Passion (Jean-Luc Godard, 1982)
2. Mahler (Ken Russell, 1974)
3. Les Carabiniers (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963)
4. The Crowd (King Vidor, 1929)
5. Tout Va Bien (Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin, 1972)
6. Tarnation (Jonathan Caouette, 2004)
7. Masculin Féminin: 15 Faits Précis (Jean-Luc Godard, 1966)
8. Northfork (Michael Polish, 2002)
9. Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary (Guy Maddin, 2002)
10. Valerie a Týden Divů/Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (Jaromil Jireš, 1970)
11. Laviamoci il Cervello: RoGoPaG (Roberto ROsollini, Jean-Luc GOdard, Pier Paolo PAsolini, Ugo Gregoretti, 1962)
12. Down by Law (Jim Jarmusch, 1986)
13. Prénom: Carmen/First Name: Carmen (Jean-Luc Godard, 1983)
14. Undermind (Nevil Dwek, 2003)
15. The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum at Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade (Peter Brook, 1967)
16. City Girl (F.W. Murnau, 1929)
17. 2 ou 3 Choses que Je Sais d’Elle/2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (Jean-Luc Godard, 1966)
18. Vivre Sa Vie: Filme en Douze Tableaux/My Life to Live (Jean-Luc Godard, 1962)
19. Stardust Memories (Woody Allen, 1980)
20. Éloge d’Amour/In Praise of Love (Jean-Luc Godard, 2003)
21. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Harold Prince, Terry Hughes, 1982)
22. Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (F.W. Murnau, 1931)
23. Seven Chances (Buster Keaton, 1925)
24. The Wrong Man (Alfred Hitchcock, 1956)
25. California Split (Robert Altman, 1974) [royalty-edited for DVD]
26. Playing by Heart (Willard Carroll, 1998)
27. Wrong Is Right (Richard Brooks, 1982)
28. I ♥ Huckabees (David O. Russell, 2004)
29. The Big Clock (John Farrow, 1948)
30. The Senator Was Indiscreet (George S. Kaufman, 1947)
31. Platée (Laurent Pelly, Don Kent, 2002)
32. Le Petit Soldat (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960)
33. Onibaba (Kaneto Shindo, 1964)
34. Pennies from Heaven (Herbert Ross, 1981)
35. Das Rheingold (Otto Schenk, Brian Large, 1990)
36. Bartleby (Jonathan Parker, 2001)
37. Giulietta degli Spiriti/Juliet of the Spirits (Federico Fellini, 1965)
38. Nora Inu/Stray Dog (Akira Kurosawa, 1949)
39. Short Cuts (Robert Altman, 1993)

Great shorts:

Nowa Ksizka/New Book (Zbig Rybczynski, 1975) 10/10

Tango (Zbig Rybczynski, 1980)

Not I (1973) 10/10
Robert Ashley [4 American Composers] (Peter Greenaway, 1983) 10/10

Worst

10. Avia Vampire Hunter (Leon Hunter, 2006) 5/10

9. Jail Bait (Edward D. Wood, Jr., 1954) 4.5/10

8. Besökarna/The Visitors (Joakim Ersgård, 1988) [English dubbed] 4/10

7. Night of the Ghouls (Edward D. Wood, Jr., 1959) 4/10

6. Team America: World Police (Trey Parker, 2004) 4/10

5. The Fantastic Four (Oley Sassone, 1994) 3/10

4. The Star Wars Holiday Special (Steve Binder, 1978) 2/10

3. Quest for the Egg Salad (Chris Seaver, 2001) 2/10

2. Mr. T’s Be Somebody… or Be Somebody’s Fool! (Jeff Margolis, 1984) 2/10

1. The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made (Brandon Christopher, 2004) 1/10

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