Scott and his wife Kat run the Married With Clickers podcast. They recently done a whole show dedicated to their favorite discoveries of 2011. That episode and the show in general are recommended listening. Enjoy!
(read Scott's list from 2010 too)
10. The Hunting Party
Oliver Reed in a western? I know; it does not seem like a good idea, right? Well, it works beautifully. Gene Hackman plays an angry, angry man with some powerful rifles. His wife has been kidnapped (she doesn’t seem to mind) and he does not want simply to rescue her. He wants to mutilate the men that did it. Pathos filled and brutal, the movie verges on the nihilistic.
9. The Reader
Like Hugh Jackman, I had not seen The Reader. It serves as proof that Kate Winslet can really do no wrong. She’s a very complex character here –hard to root for, but very compelling. A beautiful piece of filmmaking about an ugly time.
8. Battle Royale
It didn’t quite live up to my ridiculously high expectations, but it is a fun and exciting movie with a brilliant concept. The pacing is brisk and the tone is a strange mixture of high tension and black comedy. It is not surprising that it has built up such a strong following. I’m looking forward to reading the book, which Santa delivered this year.
7. The Long Goodbye
I read the book and then immediately watched the movie. Wow, are they different! Somehow, the combination of Chandler and Altman actually works. It may take a viewer a while to get into the groove of the film, but once you’re there, it is a fun ride. Very strong turns by both Elliott Gould and Sterling Hayden.
6. Gentleman Prefer Blondes
On paper, this is definitely not my type of movie. It’s a good thing I’m open-minded, as this movie charmed the cynic right out of me. Both leads are great and Russell’s sharp wit is on full display. Hell, even the songs were pretty good. This movie is a blast. (Netflix Instant Link)
This is a powerful and beautiful film. McQueen’s ability to tell this story in an objective fashion makes it even more haunting. He also makes incredible and daring decision in terms of camera movement. Sometimes it is sweeping, and other times it is dead still. The performances are strong throughout and the set design is absolutely brilliant, if at time revolting. I loved this film, but I am not sure that I will ever watch it again. (Netflix Instant Link)
4. The Woman in the Window
Yup, this is one from Film Noir 101 that I had never seen. God bless Turner Classic Movies and their relentless pursuit to get me up to speed on films from way back when. Edward G. Robinson is the classic (not-so-innocent) Innocent Man here as one night of flirting has got him into hot water. Fritz Lang sure knows how to manufacture suspense, and I writhed in my seat as the noose slowly tightened around Robinson’s neck. (Netflix Instant Link)
3. The Lives of Others
This movie is just so brilliant. The performances are absolutely amazing and the sense of claustrophobia and paranoia are palpable. I’m not at all surprised that it won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar that year as it is an amazing film, telling a big story through the study of intimate relationships.
2. The Lady From Shanghai
If there was ever such a thing as a good natured film noir this is it. From Orson Welles’ accent to the grand finale, this is (sometimes literally) an amusement park ride of a movie. It looks great today and has hardly dated at all. I will buy it the moment it gets a Blu Ray release.
1. Ride the High Country
I love westerns. I love Sam Peckinpah. I love Joel McCrea and I looooove Randolph Scott. All of that being said; I had never seen this movie. I picked up the DVD on the cheap, and it turned out to be a brilliant purchase. As a western, it sits at the very start of the evolution from traditional to revisionist, with a terrific blend of action and irony filled humor. Westerns often come down to the chemistry of the leads, and McCrea and Scott are absolutely fantastic. It moved immediately into my top 10 westerns of all-time.