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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Five Best: 2011 Movie Moments Part 1

Scene from "Attack the Block"
courtesy of
When the end of the year comes, we always look back on the films of the year with either damning hatred or kind memories. This week, we'll take a look at part one of our movie moments from some of the best films of 2011. These are the scenes that defined the year in films, whether funny, scary, dramatic, or silly. These aren't ranked in any way - they are in alphabetical order and will run for three weeks. Here's part 1 - part 2 next week and part 3 the week after.

50/50 - Adam's Breakdown

A comedy/drama packed full of heart, director Jonathan Levine and screenwriter Will Reiser collaborate to tell the true story of Reiser's battle with cancer with 50/50. Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), diagnosed with spinal cancer, moves through life going from his friends to his family to his therapist, looking for answers and comfort in any way. Preparing for his upcoming surgery, he decides to go for a drive (which he said he'd never do) and breaks down. A beautiful scene that puts the film's serious topic in perspective, despite the comedic tone of the story.
The Artist - Valetin's Nightmare

In the frontrunner for Best Picture, silent film star Valentin (Jean Dujardin) sits on the eve of the movement into sound. He's been the top of the industry for years, but this drastic change in his business threatens to leave him behind. One night, he has a terrible dream where all the mundane sounds around him are exaggerated, while he is the only thing with a mute existence. A scene filled with laughs, but also a devastating sense of despair as Valentin can feel himself being drowned out by the "talkies."
Bridesmaids - Dress Fitting Gone Wrong

In a film where director Paul Feig pushed the envelope by using an all-female cast to deliver all the dirty jokes, he goes for the jugular. After Annie (Kristen Wiig) schedules a pre-fitting meal at a dirty southwestern restaurant, the women come down with a bit of food poisoning at the dress shop. This results in the most heinously hilarious bathroom (and more) scene, quite possibly in movie history. Impossible not to gag and laugh at the same time.
Drive - The Elevator Scene

An thrill ride that becomes a graphically violent heist/revenge film, director Nicholas Winding Refn wasn't short of shot design. Possibly the most beautifully shot scene all year, The Driver (Ryan Gosling) rides the elevator with his love interest Irene (Carey Mulligan), while a hired gun waits for the right time to strike. Shot in slow-motion, The Driver slowly embraces Irene, as he plans his preemptive retaliation. On a dime, it turns from a gorgeous kiss into a brutal beat down that Refn should be rewarded for, somehow.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 - The Final Showdown

It would have been impossible to avoid it. You can't argue that the finale of what has become the biggest film series ever conceived had to be included. When the series started, it was more geared toward children tan anything. It slowly grew more adult and more complicated, and Deathly Hallows Part 2 served as a closing number for the ages. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) faces off against Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) in a battle not easily forgotten. I won't spoil it, but it's certainly epic.

And that's just part one. We have two more parts coming in the following weeks. So before you get up in arms about what I missed, remember in what order the letters in the alphabet are. Imagine where else I could go with this list...

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