How Do You Judge a Year in Movies?

The ever-insightful Andrew O’Hehir has already called 2011 “Hollywood’s no good, very bad year,” in response to the lowest domestic box office take in three years, and that’s definitely one way to judge how things are going. Beyond the business side, an area that fans are probably less interested in, there’s the idea of quality – the concept of whether movies lived up to their hype and their expectations.

Every year, we do a list of the most anticipated movies coming in the following 365 days (our 2012 edition should be live soon), and every year, I like to return to that list to see how the flicks fared. It’s a small way of testing whether our dreams came true or they flopped. The Most Anticipated of 2011 included successes like Source Code, Hanna, and Harry Potter 8. It also included disappointments like Green Lantern and Sucker Punch, and movies that didn’t even end up coming out (I’m looking at you, Cabin in the Woods).

I’ve been (probably rightfully) criticized for essentially condemning entire decades, but if you’re like me, you can’t resist the urge to figure out if the collective pile of 300+ movies that come out in a year, taken as a singular entity, came out above the water mark or below it. Most of the time, it’s a feeling. Whether I can register an intense amount of impressive moments and movies. Whether I was surprised or brought to my feet. And whether the steaming pile’s odor is overcome by the wonder and awe that was created by the truly talented.It also has to do with the amount of Sour Punch Kids I’m able to eat.

But the real question is how you do it. Would you call 2011 a good year for film? And what criteria do you use to come to the conclusion? Beyond the good, bad and ugly, what will you remember most about it and how will that affect how you view 2011 in the future?

A veteran of writing about movies for nearly a decade, Scott Beggs has been the Managing Editor of Film School Rejects since 2009. Despite speculation, he is not actually Walter Mathau's grandson. See? He can't even spell his name right.

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