2011: The Year in Review (Part II)

Today we continue seeing how well I did with my January predictions. To recap:

In January, I laid out the 2011 Release Calendar, previewing all the movies (as they were scheduled at the time) and writing what I thought I’d think of them. I thought it would be interesting to see how right (or wrong) I was. I’m cross-checking what I said with January with what I wrote in my reviews for the films as I saw them (in those Movie Year in Review articles). Today, we’re doing May through August.

You can see the January reviews here (should you want to. Read the rest of the intro before you click): The 2011 Release Calendar (May & June) and The 2011 Release Calendar (July & August).

Here are all my Year in Review articles: The Movie Year in Review (So Far) — the first third, January through April. The Movie Year in Review (2/3 of the Way Through) — May through August. And The Movie Year in Review (The Final Third) — September through December.

I wrote the films up as I saw them, so the reviews could be on any one of the three. But I quoted parts of what I said in January and the reviews (the pertinent sections) here. The links are so you can double check if you don’t believe me. It’ll be just like yesterday: what I said in January, what I actually thought, a final review, and how close I felt I was in guessing. Now, let’s get reviewing…

May

Jumping the Broom

What I said about it back in January:

“Uh oh, a second urban comedy that isn’t a Tyler Perry movie. We’re movin’ on up, aren’t we? Amen.”

“I think this takes the place of the Spanish movie this year. Usually there’s one non-Tyler Perry black movie and one Spanish-oriented film. There doesn’t seem to be that Spanish family movie…the one where they gather for the holidays and shit. You know what I mean.”

“Yeah, not seeing this. 2 stars. I like to assume the best with these things.”

What I actually thought about it:

Guess what? Didn’t see it.

How close was I?: I know me well.

Something Borrowed

What I said about it back in January:

“From the title alone, and what I can extrapolate from it, this sounds like it could be on Unforgivable watch.”

“Yeah, this won’t be good. I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt and say 2 stars. But this can really be awful. All the pieces are there.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Unforgivable. Will save the review until January. If by chance it slips off the Unforgivables list, I’ll still provide a review bashing this piece of shit.”

1 star.

Final Review:

Who didn’t see this one coming?

1 star.

How close was I?: Can’t blame a guy for trying to be optimistic. I said it won’t be good. I count this as a win.

Thor

What I said about it back in January:

“This one is bound to either be the best of the bunch, or the worst by far.”

“Who here gives a fuck about Thor? Anyone?”

“Anthony Hopkins is in this, and he gets to overact, and Natalie Portman is the love interest. So,those two should make this worthwhile. Right?”

3 stars. This Marvel shit is starting to tire. I’m really not looking forward to all these superhero movies. I know there are two more coming.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I’ve cooled off considerably on this film. It was enjoyable, but not particularly great.”

“This one is average at best for me in terms of superhero movies. Fun though. Worth one watch.”

3.5 stars.

Final Review:

Not sure how to call this. I remember enjoying it as I watched, but, all these months later, I keep wanting to say 3 stars. So, let’s call it somewhere between 3-3.5 stars.

How close was I?: Close enough. Was a bit off on the “best, or worst by far” thing. Captain America, and Green Lantern by far took that prize. Still, the rating was almost on point.

The Beaver

What I said about it back in January:

(This was actually on my “Rest of 2011” article, since it didn’t have a release date at the time. I didn’t post ratings for them because they weren’t guaranteed to have dates.)

“I believe in you, Mel! Like your father doesn’t believe in the Holocaust.”

“This is a movie I was excited for from when they announced it — back in 2009.”

“This looks like a really good movie. Let’s hope that tentative April release date holds up.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This film did not surprise me at all. Which, in this case, isn’t a bad thing.”

“Mel gives a tremendous performance here. The film is actually really strong. It has its flaws…but it’s still a very strong and interesting original film.”

“If you can find objectiveness here, I highly recommend this one.”

3.5 stars.

Final Review:

I stand by that earlier review. Mel was great, and the film was good, but not quite there to being a great film.

So — 3.5 stars it is.

How close was I?: Can’t really include this one. I never gave a definitive guess back in January.

Last Night

What I said about it back in January:

(They dumped this in like two theaters and released it on VOD the same day.)

It was on my Rest of 2011 article.

“I really know nothing about this movie except that it stars Keira Knightley. That’s really all I need to know about it.” “It should be a small drama that’s pretty good. I think. I don’t know.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This was a nice adult drama.”

“Very low key, very much about the characters and performances. I liked it.”

“It’s a nice little intimate movie.

3 stars.

Final Review:

Yeah, 3 stars. I’m actually more interested in the other point I brought up while watching it, which was this (I’m gonna edit it slightly to make it less about this particular movie, because I meant it more to mean stuff in general like this):

“Films like this, how exactly are we supposed to take them? Because they’re both realistic and “movie-d.” Everything is done very realistically, yet (what happens in the film) would never happen in real life. So, as I watch this, I’m thrust into the realism of the situation, because that’s how they’re playing it, and I do, “But there’s clearly a plot here.” And yet, if I watch it as a “movie,” I’m constantly thinking, “But nothing’s really happening.” Is it just me? I want to be totally immersed in the situation, but I’m seeing the strings at work. And if I’m watching it as a nice manipulation of the strings, I’m thinking, “But you’re letting them wander too much amongst themselves.”

I am actually curious if this is just a phenomenon that I encounter. (It’s possible that it’s just a symptom of writer’s brain. I’ll admit that. Still fascinating, nonetheless.)

How close was I?: N/A

Bridesmaids

What I said about it back in January:

“Uh oh…is this another Back-Up Plan? The release date is right. The title sounds like it. Are we on another unforgivable watch? Let’s find out…”

“Probably not. It’s an Apatow-produced movie starring Kristen Wiig and Rose Byrne. They should be able to make this worthwhile, right? Then again…”

“One would think this could be good. What, with John Hamm in it and all. But, there’s a possibility this sucks hard cock.”

“Let’s call it 2 stars. Tepid unforgivable watch, but I don’t see anything major coming out of this.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I heard such great things about this movie. Then I saw it.”

“It wasn’t bad. It just, wasn’t that funny.”

“I didn’t laugh at anything that was in it. That’s what made me feel so let down. I was expecting this hysterical movie, and I’m watching, sitting on my hands, waiting for something funny to happen.”

“It was passable, just, not as good as I was led to believe.”

3 stars.

Final Review:

That about covers it. I went in tepid, everyone loved it, I moved my expectations, and it ended up not meeting them. Lesson learned, don’t listen when people unanimously praise a film like this.

I’m still happy for it making all the money, but I was not pleased with the end result (and that is about 70% because of everyone else). Without everyone, it might have been one of those films where I was like, “Meh, it was okay.”

3 stars.

How close was I?: Wrong. And yet not wrong. Because in actuality, my early review expected this to not suck, but not be that great either. That’s exactly what I thought about it. It just happened to get rated one star higher than I predicted. So I was wrong, but not way wrong.

Priest

What I said about it back in January:

“Another Paul Bettany action movie. He’s working his way down from Legion. First he’s an angel, now he’s just a priest.”

“So, this sounds awesome. I mean, it’ll probably be mediocre but watchable, in that Legion kind of way, but still, I’ll see it.”

3 stars. I doubt this will go any higher or lower.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Mindless action. Not as good as Legion. Short.”

Legion was a solid 3-star film and enjoyable as a complete Terminator ripoff. This film just wasn’t as good. But it was 87 minutes, which made it bearable.”

2.5 stars. Any longer, I’m certain the rating would have been a lot lower.”

Final Review:

That says it all. Wasn’t good, but it was short, so that made it bearable.

2.5 stars.

How close was I?: Considering I didn’t do half-stars back in January, this was dead on.

Everything Must Go

What I said about it back in January:

(It was on my Rest of 2011 list.)

“This is another one of those dramedies that Will Ferrell likes to do once in a while to make people think he cares. He doesn’t. He prefers doing those stupid comedies that got old back in 2005.”

“This script was ranked very highly on the Black List. I’m guessing it didn’t turn out as well as they hoped. Or, it did, and that’s the reason why it hasn’t been picked up by anyone yet.”

“Something tells me Ferrell is badly miscast here, and that in better hands, this script could have been really good…This is assuming already that it doesn’t work. I still want to see it. Maybe it does work.”

What I actually thought about it:

Solid little film. Interesting in its own way. I wasn’t totally into it, but it was definitely worth watching. I enjoyed it. 3 stars. Maybe closer to 3.5. Somewhere in there.

3 stars.

Final review:

Yeah, it was decent. Not amazing.

3 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

What I said about it back in January:

“Well, let’s just come out and say it … we all wanted this to happen.”

“I don’t care what this is about, I don’t care how good or bad it is, I know I will enjoy this movie. That’s all there is to it.”

4 stars.

What I actually thought about it:

I gave it 4.5 stars and said: “This is really a 4-star film for me. The extra half-star was because I had so much fun in the theater at midnight.”

“It’s clearly not a great film at all, but the heart of these movies has always been Johnny Depp, and as long as he’s enjoyable, and there’s a lot of adventure, and everything is fun, and it feels remotely interesting, I’m gonna give the movies 4 stars.”

Final Review:

That pretty much said it all. I’m always gonna give them 4 stars.

How close was I?: Dead on. That half-star was for theater experience. That shit don’t count in the ratings.

Midnight in Paris

What I said about it back in January:

(It was on my “Rest of 2011” article, no rating.)

“I don’t really care what this one is about. You can call them comedies or dramas, usually they’re neither. People just exist and do things, and we don’t really care that much.”

“A Woody Allen movie is proof the world is still spinning, so as long as he’s putting them out, they’re worth looking out for.”

What I actually thought about it:

“A Woody Allen film I liked? Can this be?”

“It can. I really enjoyed this film. The first 15 minutes were rough, but once the fantasy took hold, I was hooked. I really enjoyed this.”

“Owen Wilson…is actually what this movie needed. His optimism works for this. It makes it seem a lot less Woody Allen.”

4 stars.”

Final Review:

It really was delightful. This quickly became one of my favorite Woody Allen movies of all time. Admittedly, though, that wasn’t a very tall list to climb. But I really enjoyed this one. I like the simplicity of it, the fantasy element — big fan.

4 stars.

How close was I?: N/A. But for the record, let’s just call it a very pleasant surprise.

The Hangover Part II

What I said about it back in January:

“Normally I’d say this has to be good. Well, that was before Due Date. Now, I think this will suck.”

“You can’t capture lightning in a bottle twice. I don’t think it will work. I think this will have all the bad habits that Due Date had. And I think they’re going to fall into the traps that most comedy sequels have – trying to repeat the success.”

“I guarantee you that Mike Tyson shows up as himself again and Ken Jeong reprises his role. That’s not the recipe for making this a good movie.”

“Bringing back the Dan Band will make me happy.”

“But still…I can’t anticipate good things because, I’ll be let down. We all will. I see it coming.”

3 stars. Let the movie decide its own fate.”

What I actually thought about it:

3 stars.

“Don’t be fooled by the rating, this will be on my Unforgivables list come January.”

“While the film was watchable and I got through it without despising it, outside of those 90 minutes or however long it was, that’s when I despise this movie. It should not exist. This is literally the first movie done exactly again, without all the stuff that made it fun and funny the first time.”

“The fact that it exists is what’s wrong.”

Final Review:

Same as I said up there. The film itself was something you could get through, but it’s still Unforgivable, because it’s lazy filmmaking that’s just a money grab based on the success of the first one. I also refuse to let this stand at 3 stars.

2.5 stars. 3 stars implies an even keel, not bad, not good, just generic and watchable or entertaining but I didn’t really care all that much. This one — I have major problems, so I dock it that half-star.

Fuck this movie.

How close was I?: I’m fucking good. Exact on all counts.

Kung Fu Panda 2

What I said about it back in January:

“Yeah, the first one was cute, but that’s about it. The second one is either going to expand on shit, and be really cool, or it’s going to suck huge balls. It’s Dreamworks, so I’m going to expect the latter.”

“Let’s call it 3 stars. I really don’t care about this at all. Dreamworks fails at sequels, every time.”

What I actually thought about it:

For some reason, I didn’t write it up in either article. That’s strange. But in my personal record-keeping, I see that I rated the film 3 stars.

Final Review:

It was a 3 star movie. It just wasn’t that interesting to me at all. The first one at least had the whole optimism thing going for it — this one was just action-heavy. It looked nice, but I didn’t really care about it. DreamWorks really does fail at sequels every time.

How close was I?: Exact.

The Tree of Life

What I said about it back in January:

“I can count this as one of the most “highly anticipated” on my list for this year.”

“It has a lot to live up to, but, judging from the trailer, this is going to be incredible.”

5 stars… Okay, it’ll probably be 4, but you need to take a shot somewhere, right? This could be top ten if it’s as amazing as it seems.”

What I actually thought about it:

“What a gorgeous movie. It’s just beautiful. Definitely one of Malick’s best.”

“Really strong, really gorgeous. I loved this one a lot. This man is a national treasure.”

4.5 stars.

Final Review:

I put it at 4.5 stars just because it’s slow and meditative, and isn’t exactly a film I’m gonna sit down and watch a bunch. You know? But it was gorgeous, and it was great.

4.5 stars.

How close was I?: I did give it a 5 on Netflix, so since I didn’t do half-stars back in January (which I really should do this year), I’m calling this about right. Plus I did say, “okay, this will probably be a 4, but you have to take a shot somewhere,” so that puts it right around where it was. Fuck you, I’m taking it.

JUNE

X-Men: First Class

What I said about it back in January:

“I’m going to assume that this will not be as good as the other X-Men movies. Simply because of no Hugh Jackman.”

“It all really comes down to one thing – how they handle it.”

3 stars. I’m thinking this can be a 4, though. I’ll keep my expectations low, let the movie win me over.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I enjoyed it. I had fun. It’s X-Men. I love X-Men. So of course I’m going to consider this a 4-star movie as long as they have mutants.”

“But, really — this wasn’t my kind of X-Men movie at all. If they didn’t show the amount of respect that they did for the first set of films (loved those cameos and references), I probably would have given this three stars.”

“I didn’t care about this story. None of that was even remotely interesting. I didn’t care that it was set in the 60s. And I didn’t care about almost any of the mutants in the film.”

“Not to mention the horribly, horribly, shockingly racist moment when Kevin Bacon shows up during that scene and talks about them all being “slaves,” and then they cut right to a giant close-up of the only black guy in the movie! Are you kidding me?)”

“I will say though, it was a pretty good film. I did enjoy watching it. So that’s why I only dropped it to 3.5 stars instead of 3. It felt like a 3½ star movie.”

Final Review:

This was a 3.5 star film. I was right not to go 4 stars back in January. I enjoyed it, but my heart is stil with those first two films (not so much the Brett  Ratner one). It did, however, give me some hope for the next one.

How close was I?: A lot closer than I expected. Nearly exactly. I’m proud of myself for this one.

Beginners

What I said about it back in January:

“Uh oh, adult drama in the middle of the year. This can only mean one thing – limited release.”

“This is a movie that will get respectful reviews, and be seen by no one.”

3 stars. Respectful, even though I’ll probably never see it.”

What I actually thought about it:

“It was okay. Didn’t love it, didn’t hate it.”

“Got through it okay. Not sure what all the fuss was about. But, it was fine.”

3 stars.

How close was I?: Exact. I am respectful toward it.

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Knowing me, even if it was on the release calendar, I’d probably have skipped it and assumed it was a limited release.

What I actually thought about it:

I didn’t see it.

How close was I?: Dead on, considering I ignored it all the way through.

Super 8

What I said about it back in January:

“Oh no, a J.J. Abrams movie without a story synopsis and a mysterious trailer!! Oh no!!”

“Fuck Cloverfield. That made me immediately assume this movie will not be good.”

“I expect this to be a big budget movie with no personality at all.”

“If somehow, this ends up being a nice movie about kids and the things that take place within their imagination, and has all the joy and wonder of a Spielberg film, then I’ll be legit excited. Otherwise, I’ll expect the same old J.J., and temper my expectations.”

3 stars. Room to grow. For now, assume the worst. I’ve seen what else he put out.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I’m more in love with the idea of this film than I am with the actual film. It was entertaining and all, but, I hate monster films.”

“The whole “trying to emulate Spielberg” hook they threw out there — this wasn’t even remotely that. When did anyone ever curse in an Amblin film? Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the kids making the film bit and all, but it wasn’t that interesting. It was passably enjoying.”

“While it works as a technical exercise…it’s really only a 3 star movie for me.”

Final Review:

Exactly that. It’s a 3 star movie. Any character it could have had went out the window when it tried to be Spielberg, and then it became a monster movie — something I hate. It was passably entertaining at best, but a rally good movie this was not.

How close was I?: Dead on. I knew this wasn’t going to be that great.

The Art of Getting By

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Probably had no idea it was even coming out.

What I actually thought about it:

Skipped it. Didn’t seem very interesting to me, and I never got around to seeing it.

Green Lantern

What I said about it back in January:

“This one looks awful.”

“I like Ryan Reynolds, but I don’t know how much I like the idea of him in this movie.”

“I’m sure this will be competent. I may even like it. At this point, I’m not looking forward to it, so, 3 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This movie blew! Holy shit, I can’t believe it was that bad. How could they fuck up this badly?”

“There was CGI in the place of a plot. There was no story, and whatever there was of a story was standard, boring, origin story bullshit we’ve seen in every other superhero movie.”

“This was fucking terrible. It’s going to be Unforgivable just because they had the gaul to expect people would go to see something without a story just because it was a superhero movie and thought they could skate by with just adding more special effects when things didn’t make sense.”

2 stars.

Final Review:

This sucked really badly. Like, really badly.

2 stars.

I almost want to give it less, but it was technically competent. (I guess…)

How close was I?: I didn’t realize just how bad it would be. This was worse than even I thought it could be. That’s saying something.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

What I said about it back in January:

“Man, does Jim Carrey need this movie to succeed. Big time. He has not had a hit in seven years. Which basically makes him dead in this industry.”

“Carla Gugino’s in it. I like her. The director leaves much to be desired, though.”

3 stars. I’ll see it. But I’ll probably end up indifferent toward it, or at best think, “Meh, it wasn’t bad.””

What I actually thought about it:

“This was pretty harmless. It’s for kids. You can’t expect much. It was fine. I got to see a bunch of CGI penguins and a generic story. It wasn’t terrible.”

“Totally harmless 3 stars, and not for anyone over the age of like, ten. Don’t mistake kids film for bad film.”

Final Review:

Meh. It wasn’t that bad.

3 stars.

How close was I?: Pretty exact. I didn’t fall into the trap of thinking this was gonna be bad.

Bad Teacher

What I said about it back in January:

“4 star…Unforgivable. This movie has a huge range of where it can land.”

“The synopsis sounds good. This could be a Bad Santa with a teacher (aside from the drunk), like, swearing at children and shit. However, the teacher is being played by Cameron Diaz. See where that whole range thing comes in?”

3 stars. I have to stay middle of the road on this, just because I have no idea where it’ll end up. I have my eye on this one though. I hope it turns out well.”

What I actually thought about it:

“She wasn’t bad enough.”

“This is not Bad Santa. Not even close. It was fine, though. It had its moments. Almost none of which were Cameron Diaz’s doing.”

“Solid 3 stars. Other than the fact that it was watchable, this wasn’t particularly great. Just okay. All it really did was remind me how shitty comedies are nowadays.”

Final Review:

That’s about right. Watchable, but not particularly great.

3 stars.

How close was I?: Exact again.

Cars 2

What I said about it back in January:

“This movie is creepy…Cars watching other cars? It scares me.”

“The first movie was by far the worst Pixar movie. So, let’s assume that they’ve learned from their mistakes and can make this movie better than that one.”

4 stars. The last one was a 3, but let’s say this hits 4, because Pixar knows what they’re doing.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Well, it was definitely an upgrade from the first one.”

“Kind of fun. But still not a particularly great film. Not by Pixar standards.”

“The real flaw of the films is the bland-as-hell lead character. What can you do with him?”

“Still, it was fine. I’ll probably never watch this again, but, the one time, it was a solid 3½.”

3.5 stars.

Final Review:

3.5 stars.

Definitely better than the first one, but not quite 4 stars. It’s still kind of creepy.

How close was I?: Close, but not quite. Then again, without awarding half stars, maybe I was pretty close. I’ll leave it for others to decide. I certainly wasn’t far off.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

What I said about it back in January:

“Easily one of my top five most anticipated movies of 2011. This will be the first 3D movie I see in theaters since Avatar. Why? Because Bay has earned it…The man will make this worthwhile.”

4 stars. The last one was like a 3. The first one was like a 5. Let’s play the odds. Evens. 4 is an even number.”

What I actually thought about it:

“It’s a 4-star movie in terms of experience. The plot is for shit, the film will probably be hard as hell to watch after the fact.”

“The theater experience for a Bay film always bumps it up an extra star. And the fact that the 3D here was so stunning (the best since Avatar), really bumps this up to a 5-star movie, in the right environment.”

“If you’re watching this in 3D, in an IMAX (or even regular) theater, it’s a 5-star film. In 2D, in a theater, it’s a 4-star film. On DVD — 3 stars.”

Final Review:

I’d say that’s about right. I’m gonna round this out and just say 4 stars. Because I really enjoyed myself. Even at home, I could probably consider this a 4-star movie and the middle of the three.

4 stars.

How close was I?: Right on.

JULY

Larry Crowne

What I said about it back in January:

“Hanks knows how to make money.”

“It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. The fact that he is writing and starring, and that his co-writer is only good at picking out stereotypes in character and making it seem novel to the more stupid of the population (i.e. most people), I’d expect this to not actually be a good movie.”

“But, Hanks is likeable and rarely makes an out and out bad movie.”

“This should be a matter of what gives.”

3 stars. Let the movie decide if it’s made for money or quality. Or both. I can accept both.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This film will be Unforgivable. The reason is because it’s just a lazy film. There was no effort put into this whatsoever.”

“There’s absolutely nothing of substance to this movie at all. Not one thing. You watch this and all you’re left with is the definition of hubris.”

“This movie embarrasses me.”

2 stars.

Final Review:

It probably will be Unforgivable. It was pretty bad.

2 stars. Hanks redeems anything from a 1, but this still blew.

How close was I?: Surprisingly close. I left it at a generic 3 and said “let the movie decide .” It decided.

Monte Carlo

What I said about it back in January:

“We got an Unforgivable watch here.”

“I’m just hoping all three of these characters end up like that bitch from Taken – or any of the ones whose father wasn’t Liam Neeson.”

1 star. Possible, and almost definitely to be shortlisted, Unforgivable.”

What I actually thought about it:

I basically just said it sucked and gave it 1.5 stars.

I’m just gonna post this again, because I thought it was hilarious (this is from January):

“This movie is about “three young girls” – have to specify the word young, don’t you? The fact that all three of the stars are under the age of 25 isn’t enough – who, “use their savings” – what savings? Is this another movie where they’re all rich for no reason other than it’s convenient? – for a “dream trip to Paris which turns out to big a big disaster.” – for them, or for the audience? – “When they decide to break from their lousy tour” – did they really plan a trip to Paris and then do tourist shit? Stupid Americans. – and “sneak into the lobby of a 5-star hotel” – wait, wait, wait, wait…so many questions from those 8-9 hyphenated words. First – why is it required to sneak into the lobby of a 5-star hotel? Is this like a Dunston Checks In kind of hotel? It must be – everyone is a huge stereotype who is really into their job and takes shit like that seriously. Now, two – why are they nowhere near a 5-star hotel? I ask this because, even if the movie does treat them like real people…you know, living in middle class homes, saving up shit tons of money, bargaining with mom and dad that you’re doing this instead of that car you wanted, and staying in a hostel during the trip (though I’d wager this movie has them staying in a hi-lariously cheap hotel where they have to share a bathroom with a fat man who takes up all the shower room and takes really loud shits in the morning)…even if the movie has them doing this, these three look like they’re fucking rich! They’re all going to be wearing designer clothes! How about you cunts sell the shit off your backs in exchange for a habitable room! Anyway, while sneaking into the hotel – “one of the girls is mistaken for a spoiled British heiress” – I hate it when that happens. I almost mistook all three of them for spoiled American cum guzzlers – and “before they get the chance to reveal their true identities” – naturally. This is always how it works. “We were gonna reveal our identities, but you see, what had happened was…” – “the girls are wrapped in a whirlwind of paparazzi, private planes, couture gowns, storybook romances and living the glamorous life of Monte Carlo – oh sweet Jesus, she has a penis. No, not the actresses…well, who knows…but oh dear god, this is going to suck. What makes it even worse is that the main guy from Glee is one of the love interests. He’s playing, surprise surprise, a football player. Shows you his range, doesn’t it? Gas range. This one goes up to 1.1.’

Final Review:

This one actually goes up to 1.5 stars.

How close was I?: Pretty exact. Not sure if it’ll be Unforgivable, but it’s down there.

Horrible Bosses

What I said about it back in January:

“Here’s a movie that I can’t see being good.”

“Why? Because it’s Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston.”

“The only thing that intrigues me about this are the fact that the bosses are played by Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx. I would assume.” (Note: I assumed wrong.)

“From the director of that masterpiece Four Christmases.”

2 stars. Those bosses earn two. Everyone else earned -3. If this movie cannot earn 2 stars, with those supporting characters, it is exponentially more likely to be Unforgivable.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I expected this to be terrible. I got something that wasn’t that bad. I didn’t love it, but I also didn’t hate it, and that’s probably the biggest compliment I can ever pay this movie.”

“And, dare I say it — I didn’t hate Aniston in this movie. I know, I’m as surprised as you are. But she wasn’t a vapid cunt in this movie. Who knew?”

“Anyway, the film is totally passable. The people with bad taste will really like it, but, it’s passable.”

Final Review:

3 stars.

Still don’t like it, though. It wasn’t that funny. America is stupid.

How close was I?: Moderately surprised. It wasn’t pleasant, but it was slightly less bad than I thought it would be. Still not worth the amount of money it made, though.

Zookeeper

What I said about it back in January:

“So, here’s the unofficial sequel to Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Let’s hope he gets fucking mauled.”

“This is gonna have to fight real fucking hard to not make an Unforgivables list.”

“Oh, dear god, the apocalypse is upon us.”

-1 star.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I won’t ruin it now, but — I went on a pretty nice-sized rant on this film via a Facebook message to some friends. That alone means there’s a good chance this film might be Unforgivable. And if it isn’t, for some reason, it’ll definitely be used as an example of what happens when a film is Unforgivable. Either way, remember my rating for this one. You’ll be able to read a full review of my thoughts on this come January. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.”

1 star.

Final Review: I physically can’t give something -1 star. So we’ll have to just give it 1 star. How close was I?: Oh, you’ll see in about a week.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

What I said about it back in January:

“I just want to remind everyone that this happened.”

“Also, remember when Dobby got knifed? That was fucking funny, wasn’t it?”

“I mean, objectively, a house elf got prison shanked. That’s fucking hysterical.”

“Let’s not sugar coat this. I want to see it, you want to see it, we’re all going to see it. Ice cream.”

“I just hope it turns out better than the last one did.”

5 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

5 stars.

“You kind of have to give it 5. I give all the films of this franchise 5 stars. They might not be 5-star films, but I love them all, so, that’s what they get.”

“How can it not be a 5-star film? Just for what was accomplished with the series. These movies are films I grew up with. They’re embedded in my DNA. I will watch these movies for the rest of my life. I will enjoy them for the rest of my life. And that’s something you can’t rate.”

Final Review:

5 stars.

I said what needed to be said up there.

How close was I?: Exact. How could I not be?

Winnie the Pooh

What I said about it back in January:

“Add this to my list of most anticipated movies of 2011.”

“This is the best news to come out of Disney since they went back to 2D. This movie has a legit shot of hitting all points in the Disney Movie Venn Diagram. That’s a rubric I came up with to base the quality of Disney movies.”

(Note: The points on the Disney Venn Diagram are: “Hand-drawn animation, good movie, not that racist.” All Disney films fit somewhere within that diagram.)

5 stars. Go Disney. More of this.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Not everyone’s gonna like this movie, but it is a 5 star film.”

“It’s 70 minutes, and it’s just gorgeous. It’s a stunningly beautiful film. Hand-drawn animation needs to come back in a big, bad way.”

“It’s just so innocent. It’s so simple that it’s just beautiful. This is a film for five-year olds. And if you’re not in tune with your inner five-year old, you’ll hate this movie. And for that, I’m sorry. For the rest of us, you know this is a 5 star movie.”

Final Review:

It’s a 5 star movie. I loved every second of it.

How close was I?: Right on again. Good thing for that, considering what I guessed.

Captain America: The First Avenger

What I said about it back in January:

“Oh boy, another superhero.”

“When is enough enough? There is no way all of these can succeed.”

“I will say, though, that of all the superhero movies, this is the one that intrigues me the most. Probably because this is the most realistic of the bunch.”

“The reason I’m digging this is because it’s a period piece, set in 1942, and Red Skull is actually Hitler’s head of advanced weaponry. When Hitler is involved in a superhero movie, I’m all in.”

4 stars. I’m saying this is the best superhero movie of the summer.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This is definitely the second best Marvel movie ever made, behind the first Iron Man.”

“It’s a solid 4 star movie. It just works all around.”

Final Review:

I’ve cooled on this.

It’s 3.5 stars. But still entertaining.

How close was I?: Pretty fucking close.

Friends with Benefits

What I said about it back in January:

I just showed the trailer for this next to the trailer for No Strings Attached and said: “Which one you wanna see? 4 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Oh, god, I loved this movie. I fell in love with this movie in the first six minutes. Six minutes in, once Mila Kunis got on that conveyor belt, I was sold. I gave it my full allegiance, made it known, and dared the film to fuck me over and suck. And the rest of the film did not disappoint. At all.”

4 stars.”

Final Review:

I really liked this a lot. I won’t overthink it, just give it the 4 stars I know it is.

How close was I?: Exact.

Another Earth

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. I didn’t know anything about it.

What I actually thought about it:

“This is, hands down, one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. Wow. Just, wow.”

“The premise is amazing, and then the film brilliantly plays down the entire thing and focuses on this wonderful little story that manages to elicit such strong emotions.”

“Everything about this film is just terrific.”

“I really hope this makes my Top Ten list this year.”

4.5 stars.

Final Review:

Loved this. So much.

4.5 stars.

I don’t have to recommend the big great films of the year, but I feel compelled to recommend the smaller ones. This is one of the smaller ones, and is a film you definitely should see. I originally called it this year’s Animal Kingdom (small film that’s powerful), but in terms of execution, it’s more like this year’s Winter’s Bone. Just terrific. See this.

How close was I?: N/A

Cowboys & Aliens

What I said about it back in January:

“Who said the best concepts are high-concept? Though technically this is high-concept. This is how Hollywood works. Snakes on a Plane was considered high-concept. Maybe this is why creativity is lacking in storytelling.”

“Basically, aliens show up, cowboys fight them. This is all we know. Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, and — some other people. Who cares, really? I’ll see it.”

“I’ll call it 4 stars. But, this really has a chance to go down to 3. Why? Because I don’t trust this film. Something tells me it might not work with Favreau. I want to know the first Iron Man wasn’t a fluke. #2 didn’t really do anything to help his case. I like westerns. I hate aliens. So, let’s hope the western wins out.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I thought this was foolproof. Cowboys. Aliens. Fun, summer movie. How did they fuck this up?”

“This film wasn’t bad. It was just — mediocre.”

“I liked the beginning, making it very western. But, the problem is, that part sucked. It was about as generic a western scenario as you can get. Then the aliens showed up, and any interest I had in the film went right away.”

“There were large portions of this movie where I was just like, “Explosions, explosions,” and stopped paying attention. And then, a few minutes later, when I checked back in, the explosions were still happening!”

“How could a film be so mediocre? That’s the worst thing you can do with material like this.”

“I’m so disappointed in this one. Huge missed opportunity.”

3 stars.

Final Review:

This sucked. Mostly because we assumed it would be interesting. And it wasn’t. Therefore, based on expectations, it sucked. Otherwise, it was generic and boring.

3 stars. Tepid 3.

How close was I?: Scarily close. Seriously, read that January review again.

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

What I said about it back in January:

“I hate Steve Carell. Do not like him. Do not find him funny, don’t think he’s all that entertaining to watch… chances are, I will find this movie unbearable because of him.”

“This will suck. Or, at least be marginally intolerable.”

2 stars. Why not 3? Because this last line of the synopsis. “And despite Cal’s makeover, the one thing that can’t be made over is his heart, which seems to keep leading him back to where he began.” Hang on while I go find a rope.”

What I actually thought about it:

Well, you can read my review of it here.

2 stars.

Final Review:

Still don’t like it.

2 stars.

How close was I?: You tell me.

The Smurfs

What I said about it back in January:

“La, la, la, la, la, la — who thought up this abortion?”

“I guess this could be entertaining if it’s not a fish out of water comedy with Alvin and the Chipmunk situations.”

“Don’t tempt me with Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays, I won’t give in.”

2 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I have to say — this wasn’t that bad.”

“I had my worries, in the first five minutes or so. But once Hank Azaria showed up as Gargamel, it evened out. It’s kiddie, but it was not the abortion that Alvin and the Chipmunks was. I at least didn’t want to slit my wrists here. It’s enjoyable.”

“I don’t have a problem with this one at all. It knew what it wanted to be and was exactly that.”

3 stars.

Final Review:

It’s probably a 3 star movie, even though my vague recollection of it is probably 2.5 stars. But it was harmless, so we’ll go 3.

How close was I?: Close, but it did end up being slightly better than I expected. That doesn’t make it good, but it does make my prediction slightly incorrect.

Attack the Block

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing. Had know idea about this one at all.

What I actually thought about it:

“I heard a lot of great things about this one.”

“I enjoyed it. It’s an enjoyable little film. Didn’t love it, but enjoyed it.”

“I’m just not one of those “nerd cinema” people…I enjoy watching the movies, but they’re just not my kind of thing.”

3 stars.”

Final Review:

Pretty much what I said up there. Enjoyed it, but not really my thing.

3 stars.

How close was I?: Didn’t know about it, so no guess was made. N/A

The Guard

What I said about it back in January:

Didn’t. I could have sworn I knew about this one back then. Maybe I found out about it when it went to Sundance. That’s what it was. I found out about it too late to put it on.

What I actually thought about it:

“Didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. I expected a lot more out of it. I got decent. That’s all this is — decent.”

3 stars.”

Final Review:

Decent.

3 stars.

How close was I?: Didn’t know about it, so I didn’t guess. N/A

AUGUST

The Change-Up

What I said about it back in January:

“Ah, the body swap comedy. A staple for the ages. Those ages being 13-17.”

“When’s the last time one of these movies was any good?”

2 stars. Assume the worst.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I owe a big apology to this film. I thought this would be teetering on Unforgivable for certain. I was dead wrong on this.”

“Ultimately, the film does have a heart. And that’s what helped it win me over.”

“I laughed…where Ryan Reynolds as Bateman tells his six year old daughter she should go and shank another girl (“Do you know what a shiv is?”) — you bring in the words shank and shiv, especially in the presence of a child, I’m there.”

“For the majority of the film, I was thinking, “Okay, 2 ½ stars.” But then, as it all came to a head in the last twenty minutes, I really did find a lot of respect for the film.”

3 stars.

Final Review:

It was definitely better than I thought it would be. That review feels too positive, though. It wasn’t that good. The feel teeters between 2.5-3 stars. Depends on what day you catch me.

Today is a 2.5 day.

How close was I?: My January review was a lot less doom and gloom than I thought. So while I apologized for thinking it would be Unforgivable — I didn’t say that I thought this would be Unforgivable. It was still better than I thought it would be, so I wasn’t right with this.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

What I said about it back in January:

“This is a Planet of the Apes prequel. I know. I don’t get it either.”

“Let’s assume this is an easy paycheck and it won’t be horrendous. Let’s also assume it won’t be very good until it proves it is. I saw that Tim Burton version.”

2 stars. Just to be stiff. It’ll probably be a 3.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This is a weak 4 stars, but still 4 stars. I was very surprised with this one. I thought it was gonna suck.”

“Once we met Caesar and started following him, the film got much more interesting. The fact that he was the real focus of the film is really what made it work.”

“Kudos to the studio, too, for having the balls of having the ape be the focal point of the film, and for having him talk in sign language with subtitles.”

“What will really prove this to be a 4-star film is the sequel to this and how they further this story. If they spend the next movie solely with the apes (leading to the eventual story that is the Heston version), this could be a special franchise for the next decade.”

4 stars.

Final Review:

This film really surprised me. It was a 4 star movie.

How close was I?: Totally wrong. In the best possibly way. This film wildly exceeded my expectations, and turned out to be the better surprises of the year.

The Whistleblower

What I said about it back in January:

(It was on my “Rest of 2011” list. No rating.)

“Rachel Weisz. That’s it. She makes a movie, I watch that movie. I like her.”

“I’m guessing it won’t make waves, but I’m guessing something will be worth seeing in this one. Probably Rachel Weisz.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Solid little film.”

“One of those films that you think might be Oscar caliber that just isn’t. So you get a solid little film that’s not quite there. Like The Conspirator.”

“This is a good movie, I enjoyed it quite a bit.”

3.5 stars.

Final Review:

Really enjoyed it.

3.5 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

The Help

What I said about it back in January:

“This is about black maids working for white people.”

“The three stories (naturally, this is Hollywood) intertwine and revolve around how white people in Mississippi need “the help.” And it’s about racial lines and shit, but I think the south needing “the help” pretty much covered it. This is why I like puns. They take care of two races with one Stone.” (Note: Oh I loved that pun.)

3 stars. I like Emma Stone.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This wasn’t a bad movie. Nor was it a particularly great movie. This is one of those movies you watch, get through, and then are done with.”

3 stars.

Final Review:

Harmless 3 stars, but people are really overrating this one. It better not get nominated for Oscars.

How close was I?: Dead on again.

Final Destination 5

What I said about it back in January:

“Clear end of the summer movie. I don’t give a fuck. I haven’t given a fuck for four films now. Just end this shit and get it out of my theaters.”

2 stars. Fuck you. Use a goddamn GPS and find out where you’re going already.”

What I actually thought about it:

Didn’t see it. Come on, now.

How close was I?: I didn’t give a fuck, like I thought I wouldn’t.

30 Minutes or Less

What I said about it back in January:

“Sounds like fun.”

4 stars.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I had high expectations for this back in January, and low expectations when it came out.”

“I expected this to be shitty. I got generic.”

“It’s just not memorable. You watch this and don’t remember anything about it. Plus, it’s really offensive. Like, some of the jokes in it are just unnecessarily mean for no reason.”

“The mixture of action and comedy didn’t seem to work for me at all. It was short though, so that’s what led to me giving it 3 stars and not 2.5. Still though, not that great.”

Final Review:

Not that great, but salvaged (barely) by the short run-time.

Not sure what to do here. It’s a 2.5 star movie, but I said 3 stars, and I don’t want to change it to seem — oh, wait, I was wrong anyway. Fuck that.

2.5 stars. I didn’t like this one that much at all.

How close was I?: Off. I thought it would be better than it was. The only reason this passed as 3 stars was because it was so short. Otherwise I’d have been a whole lot wronger on this one.

Conan the Barbarian

What I said about it back in January:

“The rare breed of the sword and sorcery film (is there any other kind?). The remake of the Arnold Schwarzenegger film from the 80s. I, for one, cannot wait.”

“Conan will destroy shit. It will be glorious.”

4 stars. Probably more like 3, but I’m assuming this case scenario will be met: +1 for Conan uttering the immortal line (when asked “What is best in life?”), “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!” That is good.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Well, that was just bad. It just wasn’t very good.”

“This is like that Clash of the Titans remake (another abortion), only, it makes less sense.”

“Don’t even bother with it. Ever.”

2 stars.

Final Review:

This sucked.

2 stars.

How close was I?: Holy shit. Could I be more wrong? I take full responsibility or that one. I assumed camp. I overlooked a potential Titans scenario. My fault entirely.

Fright Night

What I said about it back in January:

“So, this is a movie. I’m guessing it won’t be as campy as the 80s one.”

3 stars. Lack of camp is not a good thing. This is the summer.”

What I actually thought about it:

“This movie just kind of — is. It doesn’t really have the charm of the first one. They play it very dark and suspenseful. Which, is a choice. I don’t particularly feel either way about it. This film is just kind of there, for me. I got through it, I watched it. That’s about it. Not bad, not good. Just a regular day at the movies, really.”

2.5 stars.

Final Review:

Yeah, 2.5 stars.

Watchable, not great. Meh.

How close was I?: I guess close. Rating was right in the area (no half-stars awarded, so 2.5 out of a 3 guess seems good to me), and I just assumed general indifference. I got that.

One Day

What I said about it back in January:

I didn’t. It didn’t have a release date, apparently.

What I actually thought about it:

“Yeah, this film was just — there, for me.”

“I never got engaged by anything that happened. I was mostly just bored.”

“Not much happened, these people did things, and Anne Hathaway had a British accent. It wasn’t for me at all.”

2.5 stars.

Final Review:

Yeah, that’s about it. It wasn’t for me, I was never engaged.

2.5 stars.

How close was I?: N/A

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World

What I said about it back in January:

3 stars. Why not? Though this is obviously a 2. But why not? Let’s assume it’ll suck normally and not majorly.”

What I actually thought about it:

“Does this even require a review? It’s a throwaway kids movie. These films were always meant to be nothing more than fun movies for kids.”

“It’s short and its fun, and its for children under ten. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.”

2.5 stars.

Final Review:

2.5 stars.

Generic member of the franchise. It couldn’t really have been anything else.

How close was I?: I’d say that was about as exact as one can get.

Colombiana

What I said about it back in January:

2 stars. +1 if she has a scar on her head from the guy who killed her parents. +1 again if that guy is Ralph Fiennes.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I’ll actually be watching this movie as this article goes up. So, shortly after, I’ll probably come back and tweak this. Though, I can be reasonably sure that two stars is what I’ll give it, and that I’ll think this movie is standard boring September action movie bullshit. It’s just kind of there, there’s nothing interesting or intriguing about it, and it’s a movie that 15 year olds will be watching on Netflix in a year because they have no taste whatsoever, especially in groups. But, like I said, I’ll let you know for sure within an hour of when this goes up. (Note: I was almost right. It is standard September action movie bullshit, but it wasn’t as boring as I expected. It was actually kinda watchable. So, 2.5. Meh. You can get through it.)”

2.5 stars.

Final Review:

2.5 stars. Generic.

How close was I?:Pretty exact.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

What I said about it back in January:

I didn’t.

What I actually thought about it:

Didn’t see it.

How close was I?: Was never gonna see this even if I knew about it.

Our Idiot Brother

What I said about it back in January:

(It was on my “Rest of 2011” list. No rating.)

“It’s about an idealist who barges into the lives of his three sisters. That’s Paul Rudd, with that stoner/Unibomber beard. His sisters are three of the following women: Zooey Deschanel, Elizabeth Banks, Rashida Jones, Emily Mortimer, Janet Montgomery. Either way, all of these women are in this movie. That alone makes me want to see it.”

What I actually thought about it:

“I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this film.”

“From the start, I thought, ‘quirky independent comedy’ (apparently all independent movies must be quirky nowadays), 3 stars, 4 star cast.”

“But I just really enjoyed it.”

“It felt like a 4 star movie to me.”

4 stars.

Final Review:

I still liked it as a 4 star movie. Most people will see it as a 3, I think. But I think it’s like a 3.6 or a 3.7. And I gave it a 4. Because I enjoyed it. So there.

How close was I?: N/A

The Debt

What I said about it back in January:

I didn’t. I don’t know why. Maybe because it was supposed to come out end of December last year and then didn’t, and I wasn’t sure if it was going to, or was gonna get dumped in January, or what. They pushed it to September, which tells you something of the quality.

What I actually thought about it:

“This was boring. I expected as much, when this got pushed from December. It was in Oscar territory, then got dumped in shitty September. The dead zone.”

“This was boring as shit. There’s nothing worth seeing here, not even the actors, which is strange, considering the cast.”

“Nothing interesting about it whatsoever.”

2 stars.”

Final Review:

Yup. Pretty boring.

2 stars.

How close was I?: N/A. But spiritually, I knew I wouldn’t like this.

– – – – – –

And tomorrow, we round this out with Part III. Here’s a link to Part I from yesterday: 2011: The Year in Review (Part I)

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