The Signal Choice Awards: What 2011 films made the cut?

We are in the midst of award season, so what better way to celebrate than to highlight the best movies of 2011? Even if these films don’t get nominated for an Academy Award, The Signal staff is giving them the recognition they deserve.

Movies like ‘Bridesmaids’ and other notable flicks are receiving praise throughout the industry during this award season. (AP Photo)

Always the bridesmaid…

By Kelly Johnson
News Editor

Although going to the theater has become a rare treat because of the prices, one movie this past year was one of the funniest movies I have seen in a while, and it was worth every penny — “Bridesmaids.”

Kristen Wiig, also known for her performances on “Saturday Night Live” and  her cameos in movies like “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” plays the maid of honor and is hilarious throughout the film with her awkward demeanor and crazy antics as she fights for the attention of the bride.

The scenarios and situations are refreshingly different, and there is an appropriate balance of seriousness and humor, but the funny parts will have you in tears and continue throughout the film.

And never the bride

By Jamie Primeau
Managing Editor

Finally: a female-centric movie that wasn’t automatically dismissed as just another chick flick.

In fact, “Bridesmaids” redefines the phrase “chick flick” — where instead of being sappy, tears fall from your eyes out of laughter.

The women characters were gross and imperfect, and audiences applauded instead of being appalled. Its storyline focusing on friendship adds heart to the humor.

Not only was Kristen Wiig hilarious, but she also was one of the writers — further proving this movie’s girl power. And as usual, producer Judd Apatow didn’t disappoint.

A “first class” finish

By Alex Wolfe
Sports Editor

I want to say “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” was my favorite, but I have to put that in second. “X-Men: First Class” takes first place.

“HP” was great, and definitely a fitting end to the series, but “X-Men” was phenomenal. Just when you think a movie series might be washed up, it tosses you a gem like that with an intriguing story that really ties up the loose ends from the rest of the movies.

Contagiously good

By Brendan McGrath
Features Editor

In “Contagion,” a highly contagious virus begins to wipe out large chunk of the world’s population.

This movie passed the tragedy of individual deaths and focuses on the crippling effect that an epidemic would have on our highly interdependent and fragile society.

“Contagion” is definitely worth seeing, as it gets its message across in a gripping and fast-paced manner.

A drive to “help”

By Julia Corbett
Arts & Entertainment Editor

As far as my “go-see-list” is concerned,  “The Help” was at the bottom. Only now do I realize it really shouldn’t have been.

“The Help” was easily one of the best movies I saw all year. The movie takes place in 1960s Mississippi, depicting segregation and the treatment of maids working for upper-crust families.

You get wrapped up in aspiring journalist/novelist Skeeter’s (Emma Stone) life as if it were your own, and you feel like you personally know Aibileen and Minny — Skeeter’s main maid interviewees. The movie is honest, touching and at times a bit gritty.

Going along with this gritty theme, “Drive” was also an exceptional 2011 film. Ryan Gosling gives nothing short of a phenomenal performance as his character’s love for a girl changes the course, quite literally, of his life.