The fall movie season can’t arrive soon enough. Reflecting upon this summer, the cinematic output was rather disappointing; Marvel Comics’ superhero blockbusters all satisfied (X-Men: First Class, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger), Green Lantern and Cowboys & Aliens sucked, The Hangover Part II sucked unbelievably, and J.J. Abrams’ much-ballyhooed Super 8 wasn’t the creative home run we’d foreseen.

A kick-ass, though obscure, British sci-fi flick (Attack The Block) and the superior rom-com Crazy, Stupid, Love aside, the summer only yielded two really pleasant surprises: the funnier-than-expected Bridesmaids and Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, a first-rate effects bonanza with heart that very few people clamored for from May through July but that shockingly owned August.

Needless to say, we hedged our bets a bit too much. Looking ahead at the next few months, though, it doesn’t seem likely that the same underwhelmed feelings will arise on New Year’s Eve. Jumping off next week, the stretch reaching from September to December welcomes Hollywood’s yearly cavalcade of big deal, Academy Award-seeking releases, and 2011’s slate is unquestionably special. On the horizon are new, highly anticipated projects from the likes of Leonardo Dicaprio, David Fincher, George Clooney, and Tom Cruise, in addition to the return of The Muppets and an independent sensation starring Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s kid sister.

It’s time to start getting excited, film aficionados, because we sure as hell are—take a look at our list of The 25 Most Anticipated Movies Of Fall 2011 to match our enthusiasm. Spoiler Alert: That new Twilight sequel didn’t make the cut. Smack yourselves if you’re surprised.

Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)