The Top 10 Films of 2011 That You Never Heard Of

by Bill Gibron

28 December 2011


5 - 1

#5: Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (dir. Eli Craig)

The redneck. It’s a cliché that’s been carefully conceived and crafted since the wooded areas of the Deep South were discovered to be full of rapists, killers, and psychopaths. Forever undone by James Dickey’s Deliverance (and John Boorman’s big screen adaptation) the supposedly stupider, more sinister members of the closet Confederacy are now a genre given. Perhaps this explains why this twisted take on the type is so magical. Nothing is as it seems, or should be, and that’s a down and out in Dixie truth.

#4: The Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol (dir. Aramis Sartorio)

At first, this appears to be nothing more than a novel horror comedy created by someone with one foot in the indie scene and another smack dab in the middle of X-rated raunch. Indeed, the director’s adventures in smut form the foundation of this hilarious, sometimes hideous production, a very clever combination of the camcorder DIY spirit that drives both post-modern moviemaking and present day pornography. There is real talent involved here, people with a passion for what they do, be it with goofiness, gore or a little bump and grinding. A real treat.

#3: The Woman (dir. Lucky McKee)

When you hear the set up, you cringe slightly. Father finds half-naked feral girl in the woods and strings her up in the basement. Ick.  As far as your encoded proclivities dictate, this villain will be vanquished, but only after traversing a narrative that will offer up sick, seedy schlock inside a more or less misogynist mindset. Indeed this film does follow a plotline of least resistance. But then it all goes bugnuts insane, approaching the material in such a unique and unhinged manner that the results become something of a weird work of art.

#2: Frankie in Blunderland (dir. Caleb Emerson)

Rambling, incoherent, magnificent, and ready to be embraced by a cult of completely insane film fans, this movie is a miracle. It’s like watching the splatter punk stream of consciousness flow from a perplexed peyote casualty and knowing, without fully comprehending, that the bizzaro-world brazenness makes sense…to someone…somewhere. Filmmaker Caleb Emerson clearly wants to take on the antiquated adventures of a certain Victorian girl via crazy gluing them to the body art and Brand X inertness of the post-modern indie scene. Then he makes it weird…really weird.

#1: Ratline (dir. Eric Stanze)

Eric Stanze has crafted a masterpiece, a strange amalgamation of old Nazi experimentation and modern crime spree that argues for his ability to make the illogical and the impossible come magically to life. As he has throughout his entire career, this viable visionary uses his gifts behind the lens to take on challenging ideas and approaches with ease. He has the chops to walk right into Hollywood today and command any level of production, from a large scale work of epic scope to a small, two person character study. He - and his film - are just that good.

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