The 2011 FMR MAJOR Awards Winner for Most Surprising Movie

Alright everyone, here we go!

The Most Surprising Movie of 2011!

This is the category honoring that great class of movie. The pleasant surprise. You go in with low or no expectations… and BOOM. You wind up enjoying the movie quite a bit. This is the movie which, in my opinion, exceeded our expectations the most…

The nominees are: “Bridesmaids”, “The Help”, “Moneyball”, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, and “Warrior”.


The way that Hollywood churns out craptastic reheatings of old, “name” properties… With all their sequels and reimaginings and reboots and remakes… How could anyone expect anything of this movie? The last time this franchise was served up to us (Tim Burton’s version, 2001) we got burnt. Why should we have expected anything else here?

It was also a CGI powered film. I think, still, at this point, we don’t fully trust movies that rely on CGI so heavily. Too many times they turn out subpar, preventing us from completely investing in them.

But a funny thing happened on the way to being disappointed by this movie.


If the MAJOR Awards had a category for “Best Character”, Caesar would have been a shoo-in for a nomination and a front runner to win. The CGI/Mo-Cap creation (played by Andy Serkis of Gollum fame) was the best written character in the film. And the best acted. He was also, surprisingly, the star.

I think that that was one clever twist that the film’s marketing left out. Going into the movie with nothing to go by but the trailer, one would assume that the Apes were the villains and the humans were fighting them off. Well, the humans were fighting them off all right, but they weren’t the villains. By portraying the humans in the story as comically cruel, and creating an engrossing tale around Caesar’s rise to power, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” got you to cheer for the monkeys.

And cheer we did.

Each of the other movies were surprising, certainly. No one anticipated the runaway hit “Bridesmaids” would become, no one expected “The Help” to be such a high calibre film, and certainly no expected “Moneyball” to be a movie that would potentially draw Oscar attention. I don’t even think anyone knew about “Warrior”, LOL.

But none of them were as surprising as “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”. The Most Surprising Movie of 2011.

What do you think? Did I make the right call? Psyched to see Caesar take the Golden Banana? Or were you rooting for one of the other contenders? Sound off!! 😀

26 thoughts on “The 2011 FMR MAJOR Awards Winner for Most Surprising Movie

  1. Saw it. Loved it. Caesar’s “No” was every bit as powerful as Heston’s voice in the original and that puts in legendary territory.

  2. I was surprised at how unfunny Bridesmaids was and how boring Moneyball was 😛

    That said, good choice with Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I really dug that movie and it was a big surprise.

  3. As I didn’t expect anything from ROTPOTA, I am happy viewers were pleasantly surprised with this character Caesar and the film. Nothing beats Heston in the original for me though: “Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape! ” (except maybe the homage paid to POTA in Spaceballs – hilarious!)

    Bridesmaids was good (not great for me), and I liked the cop role and Melissa Mcarthy as the surprises. In Moneyball, Brad Pitt and cast delivered big time though I did have high expectations at the outset which were exceeded for me as a sports movie fan.

    • Hmm. Yeah, on Moneyball, I didn’t really. I mean, I thought it might be good, but I didn’t expect top ten level good. Guess I should have known better.

      And yes, in no way is this post supposed to imply I prefer this version to the original. LOL. At all. Still easily a top twenty end of a movie of all time, even 40 years later!

  4. Just saw this tonight for the first time. Very good movie, and Serkis is phenomenal. Are there major flaws in this movie? Yes. Certainly… there isn’t one fully human character in it. Caesar is as close as you come. I felt especially bad for Freida Pinto, who looks great but is as one dimensional as it’s possible to be and still cast a shadow. Also the villainous Tom Felton was particularly flat as the evil zoo guard.

    None-the-less, I have to agree with this winning the “biggest surprise” category, because despite all it’s flaws, it still worked beginning to end, and was a fun flick… and of course the main attraction being Andy Serkis, who is worth the price of admission (or academy screener) all by himself.

    (I’ll be watching Moneyball next though, so I may change my postmortem vote. 😉

    • I’m not digging back through all my own shit here to look it up LOL… jesus, this Fogarty guy is a $@#&in’ windbag, huh?

      But I know I’m on the record on one of these posts calling the non-Caesar elements of the film comical. Seriously, if the camera isnt on an ape or John Lithgow in this movie, you’re watching something laughable.

      Pinto escaped worst actress wrath (here) because her part is WOEFULLY underwritten. I honestly think they were ready to shoot and someone said, uh, guys? We dont have any WOMEN in this movie. LOL

      Glad youre seeing Moneyball man! Its a good one. I think its going to surprise you with the way it plays its hand!!

  5. Dammit… I HAVE to agree with you & I didn’t want to. My husband put the dvd in & I put my headphones on hoping to drown it out with music. My father used to force me to watch the TV show with him & it gave me nightmares. So, I declared, I was having none of it. But my eyes betrayed me, they kept getting dragged to the screen while I tried to find online chatting buddies to distract me, ‘cept the one I chose had seen the movie. Damn Caesar (& damn my best friend Dara for saying she actually liked the movie) made me like him, I ended up removing the headset & caved, simply caved & Caesar even made me cry (damn him)! Good choice, just don’t tell my hubby I ACTUALLY liked it, cause when he asked, I said: “ah, it was okay…” 😉

    • I know, agreeing with me sucks, huh? … oh wait, ok, your Dad. Gotcha.

      LOL 😀

      Well, I dont know what to say. I liked the 70s stuff, I used to watch all those movies to death.

      But hey, this WAS a good effort. I think they put all of their energy in to Caesar, and it paid off. I’m looking forward to the sequel now. I think it’s going to be a good franchise.

      I promise not to make you admit you LIKE movies you’re posturing against often. 😀

  6. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a great surprise indeed. I certainly didn’t expect much after the mediocre trailers so it was great to get such a good movie!

    I would also mention Horrible Bosses which was pretty damn hilarious IMO and didn’t look like much before it was released.

    • I thought Horrible Bosses was really funny too. But I thought it looked really good going in…

      And I liked the trailers here a lot too. I loved the shots they chose… the apes in the trees making the leaves fall, all the apes in the company building looking down around the staircase… I thought it was a really good trailer. But, the funny thing is, I refused to believe there was a really good movie behind it. I thought someone had just banged out a great trailer for a mediocre film….

      I didnt want to get my hopes up I guess.

  7. So you’ve commented a couple times that if it’s not Caesar or John Lithgow’s character, Rise is pretty comical. So is the take-away here that Rise is worth it just for Caesar?

    • Yes. If you haven’t seen it. Absolutely.

      But there’s a reason it didnt crack my top ten… there’s a LOT of flaws in this flick. And a couple of cases of really really bad acting mixed in.

      But overall, they put the story of Caesar up front, and its worth it. That and the set piece on the bridge are worth it alone. 😀

  8. ok. I agree with your case for Rise.

    Good call. I really can’t say anymore to that. You summed it up nicely. All the nominees surprised, but Rise did the most and in the best way.


    • Thanks. Did I miss something? You’re not a “Rise” hater are you Spider? Sounds like you might have wanted to see one of these others win.

      Warrior, perhaps? I know you liked that too. Warrior would have probably fared better if I had seen it in the theatre. Unfortunately, I didn’t. So, after it was already out on home video, the buzz was in full effect. You know?

      • haha. No. I’m not a “rise” hater! It was one of my Top 2 films of the summer!

        However, the uselessness of Frieda Pinto in the film disappointed me, along with a couple scenes (just a couple) with botched cgi.

        I really wasn’t expecting Nolte’s performance in Warrior, nor was I expecting all of the characters to be…um, as well-rounded as they were. But the story was ultimately a bit predictable.

        haha. that’s all. So, with the terms of this category “Most Surprising”…since Midnight in Paris isn’t on this list, I MUST agree on “RISE”! 😀

  9. While I really enjoyed Rise and loved Caesar and agree with everything you said, I’m not sure I was as surprised by it’s quality as everyone else seems to be. I think deep inside I had some expectations for it, which were met.

    Also, while I thought Caesar was great and Serkis did a fantastic job, I’m not falling over myself to give the character and actor praise. Maybe I’m dead inside, but it didn’t bowl me over.

    Still trying to figure out what film surprised me most last year…

    • “Maybe I’m dead inside, but it didn’t bowl me over.”

      Yesssss… your lack of love for “Rise” reveals you to be a soulless shell of a person Jaina.

      LOL 😀

      I dont know, I was pretty psyched about it, but I’m not ready to go crazy defending it or anything. I thought it was really good, but I guess I’m not that in love with it that I want to champion it…

      I had expectations too. Expectations of getting ripped off. LOL

  10. Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Warrior were my two most surprising films of the year. Also, I was surprised how much I enjoyed Rango, and Captain America. Never did I expect them to be as good as they were. Also, I was not a fan of Bridesmaids, which was also a big surprise, but in the other direction.

    • Yeah, you’ve got some company there Andy, a couple of people have said that.

      Rango WAS surprising in a lot of ways… it almost made my top ten. The thing about it for me was, I was psyched up for it. I had high expectattions… so even though it would up very unique and made some really really surprising choices, I went in HOPING it was going to be awesome.

      I dont think I had that with these. The closest was maybe Moneyball, where I though it “Might be good” LOL

  11. I would vote for this even though I haven’t seen it. The fact that an Apes film can do as well as Rise did in today’s multiplexes is pretty staggering. I wonder if a lot of that success can be attributed to Serkis; he is, after all, kind of amazing.

    • Yeah… a lot of it can.

      Its worth a look see when it starts making its way to your home tv. Not going to be one of my all time faves or anything (It DIDNT make the top ten) but it was good. For sure.

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