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30 December 2011

So long 2011, hello New Year!

Beach440

As the late, great Groucho Marx might say if he were the year 2011:

Hello, I must be going.
I cannot stay,
I came to say
I must be going.
I'm glad I came
but just the same
I must be go-ing.

Before 2011 completely fades from memory, though, here's a look at my favorite films of the year.

Help220As strong as some of the late-year arrivals are, I'm still haunted by the searing emotional drama of "The Help."

So, life in the Deep South during the racially troubled 1960s from the maids' often-tragic point of view is my No. 1 of 2011.

"The Descendants," starring George Clooney as a conflicted father fighting to cope with two rebellious daughters and a wife clinging to life in a coma, is my No. 2, followed by (3) "Moneyball," (4) "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," (5) "Midnight in Paris," (6) "My Week with Marilyn," (7) "J. Edgar," (8) "The Iron Lady," (9) "Young Adult" and (10) "The Artist."

It's Critics' Choice Movie Awards time

I'm proud to say I'm a founding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, which was formed in 1995. This year's Critics' Choice Movie Awards will air live on VH1 from the Hollywood Palladium Thursday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. Central Time.

The show itself gets bigger and better every year, and 2012 will be no exception. "Hugo" director Martin Scorsese will be honored with the Critics' Choice Music+Film Award this year, and that's just the tip of the iceberg of the movie award show that's truly fast and loose and -- if history holds -- a precursor to the Academy Awards on Feb. 26.

All aboard the Movie Memories road trip! Sally220

On April 21, I'm hosting a Richland College-sponsored day bus trip to historic Waxahachie (just a short 45-minute ride from Dallas) to visit the sites where some memorable Oscar-winning films were shot. Films like "Places in the Heart," "Tender Mercies" and "The Trip to Bountiful," just to name a few.

We'll screen "Places in the Heart" starring Sally ("You like me ... ") Fields on the evening of April 20 at Richland. The next morning we'll board the bus for Waxahachie, where actor, film buff and Waxahachie Texas Theater proprietor Tim Eaton will guide us on a driving tour, then a short walking tour of key Waxahachie movie sites, including where Bonnie and Clyde allegedly left shotgun blast marks in the ceiling of the local bank during an actual robbery.

There are only so many seats available on the bus, so I urge you make your reservations as quickly as possible. Click this link for details.

And don't forget

It's not too soon to sign up for our big "Brown Bag Movie Nights" series that kicks off with "The Shawshank Redemption" on Feb. 24. We'll watch the entire movie, for a change. Before we roll the projector, I'll talk a little about why the film of the evening was chosen for the series. Afterward, I'll lead a discussion of what we've just seen.

(2011/2012 Image courtesy: sandpiperportaransas.com/Viola Davis photo from "The Help" courtesy: DreamWorks Pictures.)

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