All The Year’s Best

All the year’s best are coming out now: Best books, best movies, best… whatever. And I admit, I’m one who’s always on the look-out for such lists. Hundreds of books and movies in a year reduced to a list of 10, definitely makes one convenient Christmas shopping list.

Here are some of the best book lists:

Publishers Weekly Top 10 Books of 2011

NPR 10 Best Novels of 2011

New York Times 10 Best Books of 2011

Best Fiction 2011 from “The World’s Toughest Book Critics”

The Globe 100 Best Books of 2011 shopping list

Books of the Year 2011 The Telegraph

A list of indispensable books from Harvard Gazette, not your usual best-sellers

And here’s a one-stop shopping lists for The Top 10 Everything of 2011 from TIME Magazine.


Movies? Year’s best lists are everywhere. Of course, all lead to the ultimate finale of the Award Season: The Oscars. But for Christmas shopping suggestions, here are several lists, albeit some of the current releases may not have come out in DVD or Blu-ray yet:

American Film Institute’s Best Films 2011

Critics Awards for 2011 Best Films

Roger Ebert’s Best Films of 2011

NYT Stephen Holden Best Films 2011

NYT A. O. Scott’s & Manohla Dargis’s lists

Metacritic’s Best Films 2011

Toronto Film Critics’ Picks

Time-Out London

And more lists are coming out even as I type.

But of course, the most important to readers/movie viewers is whether they agree or not, whether what the critics say happen to be their own favorites. If not, there’s really not much relevance to all these lists, is there? No? I’d like to hear from you… Do you read movie reviews first before heading out to the theatre? Do you depend more on film critics or ‘user-reviewers’? Herein lies another subtle (or not so subtle) battle between the critics vs. the reader/movie watcher, and… alright, the blogger.

So, from one POV, here’s Arti’s year-end tally. Yes, I happen to have written down, if I remembered to do so, all the movie titles I’ve watched this year. There are about 90 that I’ve got down, not including those I previewed for a film festival.

If I’m to choose the best film of this year from all that I’ve watched, I’ll have to say The Tree Of Life by Terrence Malick. It’s a film by far the most unique, cinematically gratifying, cerebral, transcendent, and a showcase of excellent talents. I hope the young actor Hunter McCracken can get some recognition for his sensitive and intelligent performance.

Other titles I should mention for my list of best 2011 films include The Artist, Midnight In Paris, Drive, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, My Week With Marilyn, and The Descendants. I’m still waiting for the screening in our city of some titles which I highly anticipate, including A Dangerous Method, Carnage, Take Shelter, Tomboy, and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and We Need to Talk About Kevin.

And for older films I’ve seen this year, some I rewatched, others are my catch-up on acclaimed titles I’ve missed in the past. I’ve a few favorites (in no particular order):

Animal Kingdom, My Life As A Dog, Truly, Madly, Deeply, Autumn Sonata, Play It Again Sam, Interiors, Marvin’s Room, Shine, Badlands, Days of Heaven, Fargo, The Makioka Sisters, Radio Days, Anne Hall, Manhattan, Match Point, Pickpocket, Howards End, The Third Man.

As a slow reader, much slower than my movie-watching speed, the ratio of film to book for me this year is about 2:1. My picks for my favorite reads this year (not all published in 2011), and in no particular order:

Then Again by Diane Keaton, The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes, Blue Nights by Joan Didion, Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann, The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway, The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh, True Grit by Charles Portis, Howards End by E. M. Forster, The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, Diary of a Country Priest by Georges Bernanos.


What about you? What are your year’s best in books and movies?