Top movies of 2011: Some thoughts

I’ve noted this before, but there was a period when I was in a movie theater every single weekend. I reviewed movies from 1978 to 1990 and saw almost everything that came to town.

More than a few years since then the majority of my movie-watching has been on home video. The demands of real life — particularly when nobody was paying me to review movies — meant I caught a lot of movies months later.

Accompanied by various enthusiastic family members and friends, I saw a lot more movies in the theater this year. I still haven’t seen the “Sherlock Holmes” sequel or “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” but I saw a lot of movies earlier in the year. Particularly the geeky, comic-booky ones.

I just ran across this list, on Box Office Mojo, of the top movie box office results of the year and thought I might make note of those movies that caught a few bucks from me this year.

1. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” $381 million. How could I not go see the final big-screen outing for Harry and company? Maybe not my favorite of the movies — I think “Prisoner of Azkaban” takes that honor — but a fitting end to the series.

2. “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” $352 million. Yeah, my attendance of this was kid-driven. But you know what? It was a pretty fun action movie. And who doesn’t like seeing Buzz Aldrin interacting with giant robots?

3. “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1,” $273 million. Haven’t seen it yet. Probably will on DVD. Not holding my breath.

4. “The Hangover Part II,” $254 million. I thought the first one was a hoot. Haven’t seen this yet. It just didn’t seem like a must-see-in-theaters to me. Obviously a few people disagreed.

5. “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” $241 million. I’ve never gotten these movies. Johnny Depp is fun in them but the stories are unfathomable. No ocean pun intended.

6. “Fast Five,” $209 million. Didn’t see it. I imagine I’ll watch it on TNT someday. Or the Speed channel.

7. “Cars 2,” $191 million. Another kid-driven movie and not as good as the original, but good, silly, fun. Can’t top other Pixar movies for heart, smarts and humor, however.

8. “Thor,” $181 million. If you told this Marvel Comics-loving kid back in the 1960s that someday somebody would make a multi-million-dollar blockbuster about Thor and that millions of people would go see it … well, I’d probably be so pathetically grateful that you knew who Thor was that I would have believed you.

9. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” $176 million. Maybe the biggest surprise of all the movies on this list that I saw. Who knew it would be so good?

10. “Captain America,” $176 million. One of my favorite comic book characters in one of my favorite comic book movies. And I totally geeked out over the “Avengers” preview at the end. (Spoiler!)

Jumping down the list, a few observations:

I’m kind of surprised that “Bridesmaids” didn’t place higher than 12 with $169 million. “This is like lava coming out of me.” I laughed a lot.

At 14, “X-Men First Class” also deserved to make more than $146 million. Almost as much of a surprise as “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” A good Marvel movie from someone other than Marvel? An even bigger surprise.

Speaking of comic book movies, “Green Lantern” was 22nd with $116 million. If I could, I’d get my money back and the movie would have made $10 less.

“The Green Hornet” ($98 million) made more money than “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” with $84 million? Are there more Seth Rogen fans than Steve Carell fans?

“Real Steel” ($84 million) and “The Muppets” ($80 million) should have made more.



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