The 2011 FMR MAJOR Awards: Nominees for Most Surprising Movie

The Yin to disappointment’s Yang. The pleasant surprise.

These are the movies that you really weren’t looking forward to at all. If they were on your radar at all, they weren’t a very prominent blip… So, you go in with no expectations, and before you know it, you’re thinking. Hey, this is really good.

By the time you leave, you’re ready to spread the “Word of Mouth”.

Click through to see the 5 nominees for the 2011 FMR MAJOR Award for “Most Surprising”!


“Bridesmaids” No one saw this coming. Kristen Wiig and crew put together a female cast and jumped right into the male dominated world of raunchy comedy. It caught on like wildfire, grossing almost $300 million worldwide and becoming Judd Apatow’s most successful movie production to date. The awards have begun to pour in, Wiig and the movie both scored Golden Globe noms, and McCarthy is up for a SAG Award.


“The Help” The help was a mid August release. It didn’t open at number one, but it took the top spot in its second week of release. Word of mouth propelled this movie to a great “hold”. I don’t think anyone could have expected a Disney studios movie starring Emma Roberts to have this kind of serious heft to it (I know I didn’t). But the awards have started rolling in for this one as well, and look for even more recognition come Oscar time. _____________________________________________________________________

“Moneyball” As a baseball fan, I knew that “Moneyball” had its work cut out to begin with. You mean to tell me they’re going to tell the story of how a small market team fielded a competitive club in spite of economic competition from the big market franchises? And people are going to WATCH it? And they got BRAD PITT to be in it? I was skeptical from square one. But I’ll be damned if they didn’t “knock it out of the park” excuse my pun. Great flick.


“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” – The movie that defied everyone’s non-existent expectations to become one of the surprise hits of 2011. I actually thought the trailer for this was excellent (with the falling leaves, etc) but I was like nah, the movie can’t be good, it’s just a good marketing campaign. But great special effects, a great performance by Andy Serkis and a decent enough story has set us all up for a new round of Planet of the Apes movies.


“Warrior” An MMA movie about two brothers who wind up fighting for the title didn’t exactly appeal to me. I’m fine with the MMA part, but the whole “brothers pitted against each other in the ring” sounded like dreck. Little did I know that the movie would be anchored by great acting, have awesome fight sequences, and a strong enough emotional core to overcome the plethora of fight movie clichés it throws at you. This movie totally caught me with my guard down.


So there you have it folks! The five nominees for “Most Surprising” of 2011!

Each of them in their own way snuck up on us, and we didn’t realize how much we were going to like them until they came out. So what do you think? Which movie surprised you the most this year? I’m hoping to get your input so we can talk movies, this thing isn’t an election I can take it into consideration as we go!

33 thoughts on “The 2011 FMR MAJOR Awards: Nominees for Most Surprising Movie

    • Strong words, considering your “niche” 😀

      WOW! I was like, well ok then, where do you have him ranked, and you have him at #10 in supporting actor. Interesting…. Wow.

      He doesnt stand a chance. Just saying. I mean, it was cool and all, but its gonna be a while before the academy goes mo cap.

  1. Sorry still trying to catch on, so this is an award show but it’s not an election? So we’re Not supposed to vote?
    There isint going to be an Oscar afterevent where I get to wear my bridesmaids dress to a glamorous party in support of my movie?
    No consensus tallying? Oh alas! No Charlee Sheen Duh, winning..Ok man, it’s your blog..whateva……:)
    Well ok I havent seen all the others but thought the bridesmaids was really fun and
    light and is an interesting contrast to the sex and the city francise..even though I think satc has some really great points too. The cake throwing meltdown scene was really over the top funny and a little sad and definitely unexpected.

  2. Rise and Warrior were definitely surprises. The only thing that surprised me about Moneyball was how boring it was. Not that it was bad, but I expected more. I also did not like Bridesmaids and would also call it a disappointment. I did enjoy The Help, but would not consider it a surprise.

    • Ok. So RoPoTA YES. Warrior YES All the rest NOs. Got it. LOL

      Hey man, Moneyball is getting raves. Expect award noms. I liked it. And you know, the more it’s had time to settle with me the more I think highly of it. Its actually one of the few movies I’ve seen this year that I can say that,

      Comedy is fickle. Wish you liked it more, but I know how that goes.

      You werent surprised by The Help though? I didnt expect that calibre of movie. at all…

  3. Darn, I figured I would at least have something to say about this but I haven’t seen any of them lol!

    Actually, Warrior is the only one of these that I was looking forward to at the beginning of the year, so I guess they really were surprises! I now hope to see The Help and Planet of the Apes. I’m still unsure about the other two, though…

    Looking forward to the rest!

    • Well, consider these all recommended then. They’re all good in their own ways.

      Warrior wound up excellent. Like really very surprising. I wouldnt hesitate to give Moneyball and Bridesmaids a shot if they cross your path, Matt, they’re both top notch!

  4. Good picks! Personally, I would have Midnight in Paris. Given that Woody Allen had made so many mediocre movies in a row before it, it was a great surprise to get a delightful movie like Midnight in Paris.

    Rise of the Planet of the Apes was also a wonderful surprise. The trailers were pretty average and didn’t really get me to be hyped for the movie.

    • Mmm. Still havent seen “Midnight” need to squeeze it in this week to see if it’s as good as everyone says and if Allen deserves director of the year consideration. I have been hearing really good things though….

  5. I agree with Moneyball. It was a good movie. Although, Brad Pitt was great, I think Jonah Hill showed a different side in this movie. In my eyes, he was the real star in this movie. He wasn’t his usual “quick tongue/slacker trying to get laid” persona. I’m kinda interested to see if skinny Hill is better than fat Hill. We will see.

    If I had to pick one movie (and I might get crap for it) is Larry Crowne. Hold on to those tomatoes! I was quite surprised by that movie. To see Hanks and Roberts play such different characters was interesting. I liked it, but I know many didn’t. Okay, now I’m ready for the tomatoes. Just one request…not in the face.

    • LOL @ the skinny Hill comment. He was great in Moneyball. “The Sitter” not so much. Not his fault though really.

      Wow, Larry Crowne, huh? Crowne fell into a gap in my plan here. Didnt want to see it when it hit (probably other flicks came out that weekend that were better) And now its probably not good enough to make a best of list, nor bad enough to make a worst of list, so I havent caught up with it. Surprising though. Havent heard a lot of good things… when I finally do catch up with it, I’ll go in a little more open minded. Hows that?

  6. Great list. Out of those I’d probably go for Apes. My hopes were low and while I love a bit of Franco and Lithgow, I wasn’t expecting much.

    For me the most surprising is probably TrollHunter. I had no expectations whatsoever. I didn’t really know what I was in for other than a crazy Norwegian film.

    • Well…. hmm.

      I hadnt even heard of Troll Hunter until I heard it was really good, I guess. These others I all had a chance to kind of draw my own picture in my own mind about how they would be.

      It was good though. Definitely.

  7. I’d have to give mine to Planet of the Apes, since expectations were not high after FOX’s latest attempt to revive the series. but it was really quite good.

    Moneyball was surprising on a wider audience level, but from just looking at the trailers and knowing that both Pitt, who usually chooses great projects, and Sorkin, and excellent writer, were behind it, it didn’t surprise me at all that it would be good.

    Bridesmaids surprised me in how bad it was after hearing how many people liked it for some reason,

    • You know what’s the most surprising thing to me about Bridesmaids? The backlash. LOL. So its really a funny cycle:

      No one expects anything from it
      They see it, are surprised by it, tell everyone its awesome
      People get outrageous expectations for it
      They see it, are disappointed, tell everyone it sucks.

      LOL… not picking on you at all Ian, just marvelling at “The Circle of Life” thing this movie has going on for it.

      Good point on Moneyball. It did have a lot of talent behind it. I mean, Hill and Phillip Seymour Hoffman too. It still managed to catch me off guard, though.

  8. The Help was the most surprising movie on this list. You read my review, so you know what I’m talking about. How Hollywood didn’t fuck this one up was a miracle.

    • Yeah, that’s definitely an element, and then like… it had Emma Stone as the lead, and it came out with such little fanfare… it just didnt appear on my radar at all. I didnt even see it in the theatre…

  9. Agree, Agree, Agree, Agree!!

    I wanted Warrior, especially, to be on this list! Man I was surprised by that. Also, Midnight in Paris truly surprised me, since no one ruined the film for me prior to watching it. Woody Allen did fantastic with that one!

    and, while it may not be a surprising movie, I was surprised with how I actually liked the remake “Arthur.” I’m not a Russell Brand fan, but I was surprised…I actually rather enjoyed that film!

    • I’m going to be powering through Midnight in Paris tonight to make sure it gets a last minute consideration…

      Ooouuuhfff on the “Arthur” though. I’M surprised you liked it too!! LOL!!

  10. Bridesmaid is an all time favorite for me, granted I’ve only seen about 2% of the new movies out there. I never go to the movies, but went three times to see Bridesmaid. Loved watching the guy’s loathing faces as they shuffled into the theatre to see another “chick flick” with their significant other only to find those same faces wet with tears from laughing so much.

    • Yeah, Steph! Bridesmaids gets some love!

      Kind of surprised that most people have been kind of kicking it around. I think thats what happens when a movie winds up so super successful, you know? It kind of falls victim to its own success a bit.

      But yeah, this movie was a total shocker for a lot of people, definitely. Thanks for the support on this one! 😀

  11. Being a sports movie fan, I saw the gem Moneyball and enjoyed it very much. Yes the cast was strong and the script solid, but it’s such a good story of true value vs hype value that goes on in everything. The distillation of such a high level game down to a new meaningful measure of future success being onbase percentage to determine wins. It makes one think about other more metrics for any other game’s success. Additionally, it’s like an onion in that many layers exist. Moneyball is a winner and a thinker. There’s the story about pursuing value over money; the fact that it’s topical as the first base coach in real life was part of the 2011 World Series, ‘Wash’ was the Rangers coach; & that metrics alone can’t lead teams to wins as Pitt’s character’s horsetrading and personal dealings with staff together with an astute stat analyst in Hill’s character resulted in success. So much to like about the film, the man calling the shots , the cast, and the script both screen and novel.

    • I was shocked that they were able to get all of that into a viewable film, let alone a great movie.

      I mean, baseball economics? The value of OBP? These are things I just didnt see as a workable movie concept. Plus… the team didnt go all the way! And everyone (well I presume everyone) going to see it knew!

      But you were right. Great script, great cast, and a really surprising personal slant… made the movie really really surprisingly good. 😀

      Nice share!

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