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OMGN's Best Summer Flicks of 2011

The OMGN staff discusses the best and worst popcorn flicks of 2011

If there's one thing we like as much as video games, it's movies too. Since the name change to include movies in the title, the OMGN staff has narrowed down the best movies we've seen this summer — as well as the worst, the ones that surprised us the most, and everything in between.

OMGN's Best Summer Flicks of 2011


Best Action

Kyle: For me, X-Men: First Class is, hands down, the best action flick I've seen. From Hellfire Club's first attack on the young members of the first class, to the final assault between Xavier's students, the Hellfire Club, and American and Russian soldiers, the actions scenes were incredibly well edited and fun. I have to say director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Kick-Ass) has a knack for sweet-looking action scenes. Captain America was a very, very close second, but this wins in the end.

Charles: Green Lantern

Ryan: Even though there were better comic films this year, I'll go with Thor. I got a kick out of some of the fights, and I also enjoyed some of the comedy. Chris Hensworth did a fantastic job in getting me interested in a comic book character I wasn't into before heading to the theater.

Robert: X-Men: First Class. The characters were believable (as far as mutants with superpowers can be), and the action wasn't over-the-top. The story fit together well, and the action sequences were well paced. Very enjoyable.

Ed: Captain America — Yet another lead up to The Avengers, Captain America was so much better than I could have expected. Because Nazis weren't evil enough, we get to watch Chris Evans beat up Hyrda soldiers, the Nazis' Nazis. Hugo Weaving's performance as The Red Skull was equally impressive. It doesn't take much to make a decent action flick, and somehow, everything released before Captain America this summer just couldn't pull it off.


Best Comedy

Kyle: A quirky little flick called Submarine managed to come out of nowhere and make me laugh at not only the absurdity of the characters and situations but the touching look at those awkward teen romances we all go through.

Ryan: I didn't really see many comedies, so I'm going with The Hangover: Part II by default. While it wasn't as good as the original, there were several laugh-out-loud moments throughout, and this movie definitely pushed the envelope more than the first one did. Poor Stu...

Robert: Horrible Bosses. This one took me by surprise in much the same way The Hangover (not part II) did last summer. The movie didn't resort to gimmicks to get laughs.

Ed: Hobo With A Shotgun — Just watch it. Just watch it. It's ultra violent, ridiculous, and hysterical. Words can't describe. It was a limited release back in May and can now be viewed on Netflix. Rutger Hauer must have needed a paycheck. Just watch it.


Best Drama/Suspense

Kyle: Super 8 did it for me. A slick combination of '80s adventure flicks (The Goonies, Monster Squad) combined with some excellent effects and a great sense of mystery, danger, and bewilderment seen through the eyes of a child, when adventure and imagination are at its peak.

Charles: Green Lantern

Ryan: Even though it is technically not a drama movie, Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows Part II had me on the edge of my seat for its climactic conclusion. From beginning to end, you could feel the tension build all the way to the final battle between Harry and Lord Voldemort.

Robert: Super 8, if you can call it a suspense. Much like X-Men, it was very well-paced and built the suspense through the end.

Ed: The Tree of Life — Terrance Malick is a polarizing director. Most people don't know what to expect when walking into one of his movies and are confused by his non-linear style of editing and storytelling. If you can get past that, The Tree of Life was a beautiful and haunting look at a family's struggles to understand themselves and one another in the wake of tragedy.


Best Animated

Kyle: Seems like I'm the only one here who saw something animated! Laugh if you will, but Winnie the Pooh was a great movie to watch with younger children. Beautiful 2-D animation combined with a light-hearted story free from the vulgarity, obnoxious 3-D, and obsessive pop culture references that seem to pass for children's movies nowadays.

Ed: You can skip me on this. Cars 2 was crap, and I didn't watch Winnie the Pooh. That was pretty much it this summer.


Biggest Surprise

Kyle: Fright Night. As a fan of the original but never holding it in high regard, I had little hopes for this one, but in the end I walked away very impressed and surprised. Each of the actors gave great performances with David Tennant (Dr. Who) stealing the show. A great mix of tension, laughs, and all around likeable characters. It very much felt like a product of the '80s, but considering the great genre films that came at the time, that's not a bad thing.

Charles: That you could take a classic character like Captain America and make such a horrible movie.

Ryan: I have to go with X-Men: First Class. This movie came out of nowhere and was a breath of fresh air for comic book action movies. While it didn't push special effects any further than the previous X-Men films, it stood out with a great story and fresh faces filling the shoes of those classic superheroes/villains.

Robert: Super 8. I thought this movie was fantastic. It brought me back to '80s-style movies with its feel of discovery and adventure. And for once, we've got a movie in which kids can star and seem like adults, rather than stupid little kids.

Ed: Thor — All the previews made this look like it was going to be a stinker. All the buzz made it sound like it was going to suck. I was really expecting Thor to be a massive disappointment and actually walked in talking about how I was expecting to be let down. And I wasn't. I was really entertained, which says quite a bit, given that I'm a curmudgeon who dislikes everything and is prone to angry rants.


Commendation for Technical Achievement

Kyle: Rise of the Planet of the Apes had excellent CGI, Winnie the Pooh had great 2-D animation, but overall The Tree of Life wins cinematography hands down. If you've ever seen any of Terrance Malick's previous work (Badlands, The Thin Red Line) you'll know what to expect. Sweeping visions of a small Texas town, the galaxy, and the dawn of time make for an unforgettable experience. Love it or hate it, you'll have an unforgettable experience.

Charles: Nothing stood out except for the overuse of CGI in all of the superhero movies.

Ryan: This is a tough one, but since I can't think of anything offhand that really stood out, I'll go with Captain America, which I thought was one of the best movies of the year. I was really intrigued by how they made Chris Evans look as small as he did, before he became the Captain. They made it work, and it looked good. Thumbs up soldier!

Robert: Super 8. Again, the movie felt a lot like E.T. — magical and full of wonder. The presentation of this movie, in total, was excellent.

Ed: Transformers: Dark of the Moon — Despite how terrible and stupid the previous Transformers titles were, this one ... Well, it was also terrible and stupid. The fact is, Michael Bay is a crappy director who is responsible for a slew of weak action films that entertain idiots. Also, The Rock. That was pretty OK. Despite his track record, however, he managed to make a really watchable film in Transformers 3. By watchable, of course, I mean really impressive-looking to the point of distracting us from Shia Labeouf's inability to act. Michael Bay took the time to make the 3-D that Hollywood is forcing down the throats of moviegoers look like it was worth it, instead of just slugging it in there to make a quick buck (see Clash of the Titans).


Best Overall

Kyle: X-Men: First Class. Hands down the most fun experience I had at the theater this year. Upon a second at-home viewing, it was just as enjoyable.

Charles: Green Lantern — Best of a bad lot.

Ryan: X-Men: First Class. I had low expectations for this movie after I saw the first trailer, but when I finally went to the theater, I was blown away. The relatively unknown cast did a fantastic job in their respective roles, especially James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, who filled the shoes of two film legends perfectly as the younger versions of Charles Xavier and Magneto. This is easily one of the best comic book movies ever made, and my choice for the best movie in what was one of the best film summers in a long time.

Robert: Super 8. This movie really blew me away as I have a soft spot for '80s movies. Very well done. Generally movies that completely surprise me and blow me away tend to be my favorites.

Ed: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 — Really, everything about this movie stood out. It was well-directed, well-acted and kept me on the edge of my seat. Even having read the novels, knowing what was going to happen, I still was gripping my seat with anticipation. Everything about it was done well, and its opening week take at the box office (as well as numerous opening weekend box office records shattered) reflected this.


Biggest Disappointment

Kyle: Transformers: Dark of the Moon. I should have expected that, with a Michael Bay movie, I was going to get three hours (yes, it is nearly three hours long) of nonstop explosions. Granted, this isn't always a bad thing, and in this case, it proved to be too little too late. Two hours of uninteresting and generally unlikeable human characters participate in what appears to be a bad teen comedy about finding a job (while having a Victoria's Secret model girlfriend). Throw in a final hour that is so overblown and bombastic it's nearly impossible to process all at once and instead leaves you shell-shocked at a loss for words. It's better than the second one, but then again so was well ... almost everything. (On a positive note, though, the 3-D was really well done and made for a great IMAX experience.)

Charles: Tie: Thor and Captain America

Ryan: My biggest disappointment has to be Cowboys & Aliens. I was hyped to see this a year ago when the first trailer was released, but when I left the theater, I was disappointed. Don't get me wrong — it wasn't the worst movie I've seen all year (that would be be Sucker Punch), but it wasn't what I was expecting. Parts of it felt very cheesy.

Robert: Thor. The second-to-last "prep" movie before The Avengers just underwhelmed nearly everywhere. It felt like a slog. The romance wasn't explained at all; it just happened with virtually no dialogue. Action sequences weren't impressive either.

Tyrone: I've only seen three-and-a-half films this summer, yet I can suggest that Green Lantern was the biggest disappointment.

Ed: Cowboys and Aliens — When I saw the preview for this, I thought it was going to be the best movie ever made. I told people this. Not in a serious manner, of course, but its ridiculous factor was off the charts, and frankly, I couldn't see how a movie with Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig (with a director like Jon Favreau) could miss. It missed. It was an awesome western — until the aliens showed up. It wasn't terrible, but it was such a prime example of wasted potential.


So there you go, OMGN's best (and worst) of the summer. Agree? Disagree? Let us know!



RGoodman4483 - Sep. 12, 2011 at 11:05:42am

I really need to see Super 8 still.

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