Looking Back at 2010, Looking Ahead to 2011

01-Feb-11 12:00 PM by
Filed under Films; 3 comments.

Although 2011 is now a full calendar month old, a friend reminded me that it's not too late to be reflective. And since I'm always curious to see how my moviegoing habits stack up against past years, I figure it's not too late to see how 2010 stacked up and predict what'll draw me to the theater in 2011.

First, let's see how many movies I've historically seen in public venues:

Movie trends 1995 - 2010

Now let's take my granularity to an unprecedented level by looking at exactly which months were most popular:

2010 movie outings timeline

The myth of the summer blockbuster season doesn't hold much weight here, seeing as how it drew me to the theaters no more than the holidays did. In fact, many of the holidays films I saw could've easily stood up to the summer competition: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, TRON Legacy, and Voyage of the Dawn Treader. (The fourth "holiday" movie was a screening of Bicycle Dreams, a documentary that's been around for awhile.)

The best movie I saw last year was Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, which was as much a video game as it was a movie; shame the enthusiasm of Comic-Con fans was not enough to make it a profitable film. The worst movie of the year was Predators, which was more akin to psychological horror films like Cube than it was an actual Predator movie.

The most surprising movie was How to Train Your Dragon — it wasn't a kids movie but was instead an ideal fantasy (and even anti-war) film. And the most disappointing film was Inception — actually a decent movie, but nowhere near deserving of the universal praise it received.

Will 2011 be much better? There isn't much on the docket that's caught my interest. Films I'm likely to see include:

Apollo 18 (Mar 4)
When I saw the trailer for the next Transformers movie — but before I realized it was a Transformers movie — I thought a secret, historical NASA mission a great concept. I was delighted to discover it's an actual movie, without giant robots.
Thor (May 6)
I don't know the Marvel superhero, and the trailer looked iffy, but it's part of the universe that includes Iron Man and the Hulk, so it can't be that bad.
Kung Fu Panda 2 (May 27)
The first film was surprisingly funny with broad appeal. I have high hopes for the second.
Green Lantern (June 17)
I'm still disappointed they didn't choose Nathan Fillion for the lead role, but Green Lantern is still one of my favorite DC superheroes.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (July 15)
The first half of this conclusion was possibly the first Harry Potter movie to be better than the book, thanks to its condensing of a hundred pages of camping.
Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22)
See Thor.
Cowboys & Aliens (July 29)
The last time a movie featured James Bond and Indiana Jones, it was The Last Crusade. So this graphic novel adaptation should be awesome. Right?
The Muppets (Nov 23)
You're never too old for Kermit and the gang.

Movies I'd see if I could convince a child to accompany me:

Winnie the Pooh (July 15)
Both innocent humor and traditional animation are rarities these days.
The Smurfs (August 3)
I actually am not a fan of adapting cartoons to live action, but I have a morbid curiosity about this one. Hank Azaria as Gargamel has to be worth something, at least.

Movies I will definitely not be seeing:

Your Highness (Apr 8)
A fantasy comedy is a great concept, but the dialogue in this one sounds asinine.
X-Men: First Class (June 3)
I've never seen a Matthew Vaughn-directed film, but I've also never seen a good X-Men movie that wasn't directed by Bryan Singer — X-Men Origins: Wolverine was awful.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (July 1)
I didn't see the second film in the Transformers trilogy, but I did see the first one twice (both with and without RiffTrax), and it was horrible both times. Pass.
Final Destination (August 26)
No longer called 5nal Destination (perhaps due to its resemblance to a porn title?), this film is part of a series that started off strong and quickly lost momentum.
Footloose (Oct 14)
It has a good cast (Dennis Quaid, Andie MacDowell, and Julianne Hough), but I'm just not sure a remake is necessary.
Puss in Boots (Nov 4)
A spin-off of Shrek, another series than ran too long.
Happy Feet 2 (Nov 18)
The first film was cute but couldn't tell if it wanted to be an action, comedy, musical, or social commentary.
Rise of the Apes (Nov 23)
Planet der Awful!
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked (Dec 16)
See Smurfs.
Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol (Dec 16)
This franchise is actually pretty strong, but I like it enough to warrant a rental only.
Sherlock Holmes 2 (Dec 16)
I love Robert Downey Jr. but didn't see the first Sherlock Holmes.

What's on your must-see list for 2011?

3 Responses to “Looking Back at 2010, Looking Ahead to 2011”

  1. Mike Maginnis adds:

    I was going to comment on these, but my ramblings ended up being longer than your original post. :)

    A great read though, Ken. Thanks!

  2. peterw adds:

    I was going to comment on these, but my ramblings ended up being longer than your original post.

    I don't see a problem with that, Mike!

  3. GeneD adds:

    Thanks for these lists! Until I get my own blog back in order — thanks in advance for the help — this is the best place to go over recent and upcoming movies.

    My favorites of the past year were the animated fantasies The Secret of Kells and How to Train Your Dragon and the noir espionage The American. I also enjoyed live-action fantasy adaptations Harry Potter [7] and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and The Chronicles of Narnia [3]: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, as well as belated cyberpunk sequel Tron Legacy, which we screened together.

    I agree that blockbuster science fiction flicks such as Avatar and Inception were visually impressive but didn't live up to the hype, and I skipped many of 2010's more popular movies. I might catch up on some via cable TV or rental disc, such as Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Toy Story 3, and True Grit. I'm OK with skipping others, like Alice in Wonderland, Jonah Hex, and The Last Airbender, entirely, even if I like the source material.

    I'm not a huge fan of weak horror remakes like The Wolf Man or the continuing glut of computer-animated comedies such as Shrek Forever After, Despicable Me, Megamind, and Tangled. The recent 2-D French film The Illusionist was more my speed. Nor did most retro ensemble action movies — The A-Team, The Expendables, The Losers, and Red — have much appeal for me.

    In 2011, I hope to screen superhero movies including Thor, Green Lantern, and Captain America: the First Avenger, and I have to admit that Disney/Marvel is continuing its live-action lead on Warner Bros/DC. Of course, for every carefully made Thor, there's a fiercely retconned X-Men: First Class or Spider-Man "reimagining" (don't even get me started about the musical). I skipped Green Hornet after lackluster reviews.

    I know you're not interested in the swashbuckling Pirates of the Caribbean [4]: On Stranger Tides, which has to be better than its predecessor, or the hyperstylized Sucker Punch, but maybe we can watch the steampunky Cowboys and Aliens together. Your Highness, another cross-genre flick (fantasy/comedy in this case) could be good stupid fun, and even as a longtime Holmesian, I plan to check out Sherlock Holmes 2.

    I'm definitely interested in The Muppets and Kung-Fu Panda 2, but you'll be on your own for Smurfs (I'm probably too old to have fond memories of the latter). The sword-and-sorcery subgenre keeps hanging on, so I may see Sinbad: the Fifth Voyage and Conan. After investing many hours in the Harry Potter franchise, I'll of course want to see how it ends in The Deathly Hallows, Part 2.

    I'll also skip the latest Transformers, Final Destination, and Mission: Impossible remakes/sequels, but there are a few more obscure movies I'd like to catch, including The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec, Arthur Christmas, and The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn. Happy viewing!