I’ve always rejected comments like ‘hey, but isn’t …. (insert a year), like, a really low point for music/films/literature? Like, awful year’. I’ve always considered that a dubious sort of remark – often too lazy and just plain baseless. Made by people who either missed too much or never really got to the right stuff.
This time, though, I do feel terribly underwhelmed. It isn’t that I haven’t watched a lot (I have) or that my expectations were too high (my expectations have become timid little things). And it isn’t even that 2011 was overloaded with bad films – no, quite on the contrary, it was chockfull of good stuff. In fact, that is precisely the problem: too many good films, not enough truly inspired ones. Great moments – yes, lots of them, but moments don’t make it. Unless, of course, you are talking about Double Nickels On The Dime by The Minutemen.
It’s interesting that animated films are a good indication of a year’s overall quality. To counter the inventive greatness of Toy Story 3 Pixar makes us sit through the dull and perfectly unremarkable Cars 2. After the well-recognized but adventurous spirit of How To Train Your Dragon you now deal with the cheap, brain-dead thrills of Kung-Fu Panda 2. Sylvian Chomet’s Illusioniste was breathtakingly beautiful and smart – A Cat In Paris is just all right. Well, yes, Rango was somewhat better than the others, but that’s a relative achievement.
Still, there’s no question that 2011 does merit a best-of-year list. And now that I’m looking through these 12 entries, I realise they are so full of new sensations it is still well worth it in the end.