Ranking a year’s strongest films in list form is, for all intents and purposes, a celebration, so why does it often feel disheartening, not joyous? OK, we’re being a bit melodramatic here, but it’s tough to ignore the fact that, following tradition, the majority of 2011’s preeminent movies either evaporated at the box office or barely registered as mere blips on the mainstream’s radar. In that sense, the following list is positive, filled with underrated, overlooked, and underperforming flicks that deserve eyes and ears, and, fingers crossed, will gain their rightful followings.

But it’s not all high-brow and art-house. The major studios didn’t completely drop the ball in 2011, with larger budgets and bigger names contributing to memorable films about revolutionary primates, heroic and conflicted mutants, and a Goth computer hacker with pierced nipples and a flair for solving crimes. So where do they all land on amongst the year’s finest? Get ready to hate, adulate, and debate as we count down The 25 Best Movies Of 2011.

Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)

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