Metacritic Users Pick the Best of 2011

  • Comments: ↓ 15 user comments
  • Publish Date: January 9, 2012

The results of our second annual user poll are in ...

For the second consecutive year, we asked our users to vote for their favorite movies, videogames, TV shows, albums, and songs of the year. And, over the past month, 1,879 of you did just that. We asked users to list their five favorites of 2011 in each category, and then assigned a value of 5 points to each first-place vote, 4 points for second place, and so on down to 1 point for each fifth-place vote. The leading point-getters in each category are listed below.

For the first time, we also asked users to name the "most overrated" release of the year in each category, and those "winners" are also listed below.

Movies

It remains to be seen whether Nicholas Winding Refn's Drive will get any love from Academy voters, though the violent drama is doing fairly well on the awards circuit, and has appeared with regularity on critic top 10 lists. Metacritic users, however, see it as the clear #1 film of the year. Drive was named on 41% of all user ballots cast, and earned over 900 points more than the year's runner-up movie, critic favorite The Tree of Life.

Metacritic users actually agreed with professional critics on many of the year's best films; each group's consensus list of their 10 highest-ranked films shared six titles. Users preferred crowd pleases like the final Harry Potter installment, Midnight in Paris, Bridesmaids, and 50/50 more than critics did, while the professionals showed a greater preference for artier fare like Certified Copy, Take Shelter, The Artist, and the year's best-reviewed film, A Separation. (Admittedly, most of our users probably have not had a chance to even see the latter film; it opened just over a week ago and has yet to reach most cities.) The only two films in the users' consensus top 20 that rarely showed up on critic top 10 lists this year were X-Men: First Class and Source Code.

Best Movie of 2011 as Voted by Metacritic Users
Movie Points  
1 Drive 79 2,418 bar
2 The Tree of Life 85 1,511 bar
3 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 87 1,210 bar
4 Hugo 83 900 bar
5 Midnight in Paris 81 750 bar
6 Moneyball 87 745 bar
7 The Descendants 84 589 bar
8 Melancholia 81 575 bar
9 Bridesmaids 75 555 bar
10 50/50 72 544 bar
11 Super 8 72 531 bar
12 The Artist 89 495 bar
13 Rise of the Planet of the Apes 68 481 bar
14 X-Men: First Class 65 479 bar
15 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy 85 374 bar
16 The Muppets 75 329 bar
17 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 71 325 bar
18 The Help 62 278 bar
19 Source Code 74 262 bar
20 Warrior 71 260 bar
There were far fewer votes cast for the "most overrated" film of the year then there were for the year's best films, but two films appear in the top five in both lists (with the divisive Tree of Life unsurprisingly at the top). Note that for this and the other "overrated" categories, we asked users to list one title (rather than rank five titles in order), so the tallies below are simply the number of times each film was named by users.
Most Overrated Movie of 2011 as Voted by Metacritic Users
Movie Mentions  
1 The Tree of Life 85 136 bar
2 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 45 93 bar
3 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 87 70 bar
4 Bridesmaids 75 60 bar
5 The Artist 89 45 bar

Games

While Batman: Arkham City narrowly edged out The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim by a fraction of a point to take the official title of Metacritic's Game of the Year for 2011, our users preferred Skyrim, and by a wide margin. The latter was named on just over half of the ballots cast for games, while 43% of users listed Arkham City as one of their five favorites.

The latest installment in the Call of Duty franchise, meanwhile, fared relatively poorly with our users, barely cracking the top 10 in the best games list and scoring the most votes for the year's most overrated game.

Best Videogame of 2011 as Voted by Metacritic Users
Game * Platforms Points  
1 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 94 360 PC PS3 2,143 bar
2 Batman: Arkham City 94 360 PC PS3 1,588 bar
3 Portal 2 95 360 PC PS3 1,351 bar
4 Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception 92 PS3 1,095 bar
5 Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword 93 Wii 782 bar
6 Battlefield 3 86 360 PC PS3 426 bar
7 Deus Ex: Human Revolution 89 360 PC PS3 332 bar
8 Dark Souls 89 360 PS3 301 bar
9 L.A. Noire 87 360 PC PS3 290 bar
10 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 82 360 PC PS3 Wii 280 bar
11 Gears of War 3 91 360 277 bar
12 FIFA Soccer 12 85 360 PC PS3 Wii 191 bar
13 Minecraft 94 PC 182 bar
14 Saints Row: The Third 84 360 PC PS3 181 bar
15 Dead Space 2 89 360 PC PS3 156 bar
16 Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings 88 PC 154 bar
17 Assassin's Creed: Revelations 81 360 PC PS3 149 bar
18 Bastion 87 360 PC 139 bar
19 Super Mario 3D Land 90 3DS 131 bar
20 Rayman Origins 89 360 PS3 Wii 102 bar

* If a game has been released on more than one platform, the Metascores displayed are averages of the individual scores

Most Overrated Game of 2011 as Voted by Metacritic Users
Game Mentions  
1 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 300 bar
2 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 144 bar
3 Battlefield 3 50 bar
4 The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword 24 bar
5 Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception 23 bar

TV shows

The Metacritic community has spoken, and 2011's top television show was ... Community, though by the tiniest of margins. The NBC comedy—currently on hiatus, though it will return at some point this season—edged out critical favorite Breaking Bad by just two points even though each collected over 3,400 total points. Community, however, appeared on 859 (46%) of all ballots cast in the TV category, while Breaking Bad was named on 822 (44%) of the ballots submitted.

How did the users' overall list compare to the preferences of professional TV critics in their year-end top 10 lists? Critics rated the PBS period drama Downton Abbey, CBS' The Good Wife, and the departed Friday Night Lights more more highly than our users did. Metacritic users, meanwhile, seemed to like Showtime's Dexter and AMC's The Walking Dead more than the professionals. As a group, however, users seemed to share many favorite programs with the critics.

Best Television Show of 2011 as Voted by Metacritic Users
Show Points  
1 Community (NBC) 3,478 bar
2 Breaking Bad (AMC) 3,476 bar
3 Parks and Recreation (NBC) 1,816 bar
4 Game of Thrones (HBO) 1,529 bar
5 Homeland (Showtime) 1,186 bar
6 The Walking Dead (AMC) 1,018 bar
7 Louie (FX) 898 bar
8 Boardwalk Empire (HBO) 799 bar
9 Modern Family (ABC) 774 bar
10 Dexter (Showtime) 518 bar
11 Justified (FX) 440 bar
12 American Horror Story (FX) 394 bar
13 Fringe (Fox) 322 bar
14 How I Met Your Mother (CBS) 313 bar
15 It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX) 300 bar
16 30 Rock (NBC) 293 bar
17 The Big Bang Theory (CBS) 275 bar
18 Downton Abbey (PBS) 248 bar
19 Sons of Anarchy (FX) 223 bar
20 New Girl (Fox) 215 bar
While Metacritic users are certainly not alone among TV viewers in feeling disappointed by the past season of Glee, we suspect that the same fans who elevated Community to #1 above were at least partially responsible for The Big Bang Theory's #2 finish among the year's most overrated programs (the two shows shared a timeslot last year).
Most Overrated TV Show of 2011 as Voted by Metacritic Users
Show Mentions  
1 Glee (Fox) 113 bar
2 The Big Bang Theory (CBS) 102 bar
3 Modern Family (ABC) 65 bar
4 The Walking Dead (AMC) 62 bar
5 Breaking Bad (AMC) 42 bar

Music

This year, PJ Harvey's Let England Shake has dominated the music critics' top 10 lists for album of the year, while Tom Waits finished 2011 with the highest-scoring album of the year, Bad As Me. The latter album, however, failed to crack our users' consensus top 20, while PJ Harvey's disc finished third in voting. Metacritic users, it seems, preferred Bon Iver's self-titled release, by an almost two-to-one margin over the next leading point-earner, Adele's massive hit 21.

In addition to the Tom Waits album, other critic favorites that were absent from the users' top 20 included Black Up by Shabazz Palaces, David Comes to Life by Fucked Up, and Smoke Ring for My Halo by Kurt Vile. Metacritic users, meanwhile, seemed to like Radiohead's The King of Limbs and The Black Keys' El Camino more than critics did. However, seven of the users' top 10 picks were also in the critics' consensus top 10.

Fans of NBC's Community made themselves felt in our album voting as well, nearly pushing Camp by Childish Gambino (the recording name of Community star Donald Glover) into the top 20; with 262 points, it just missed, finishing at #21.

Best Album of 2011 as Voted by Metacritic Users
Album/Artist Listen Points  
1 Bon Iver 86
by Bon Iver
Spotify 1,371 bar
2 21 76
by Adele
  744 bar
3 Let England Shake 86
by PJ Harvey
Spotify 733 bar
4 Helplessness Blues 85
by Fleet Foxes
Spotify 694 bar
5 El Camino 83
by The Black Keys
  509 bar
6 Watch the Throne 76
by Jay-Z & Kanye West
Spotify 505 bar
7 Hurry Up, We're Dreaming 76
by M83
Spotify 504 bar
8 Strange Mercy 85
by St Vincent
Spotify 452 bar
9 The King of Limbs 80
by Radiohead
  445 bar
10 House of Balloons 87
by The Weeknd
Soundcloud 379 bar
11 w h o k i l l 86
by tUnE-yArDs
Spotify 369 bar
12 Kaputt 84
by Destroyer
Spotify 366 bar
13 Ceremonials 77
by Florence + The Machine
Spotify 364 bar
14 Take Care 80
by Drake
Spotify 334 bar
15 undun 88
by The Roots
Spotify 324 bar
16 James Blake 81
by James Blake
Spotify 311 bar
17 Father, Son, Holy Ghost 79
by Girls
Spotify 303 bar
18 Born This Way 71
by Lady Gaga
Spotify 296 bar
19 Wasting Light 78
by Foo Fighters
Spotify 292 bar
20 The Whole Love 83
by Wilco
Spotify 278 bar
Most Overrated Album of 2011 as Voted by Metacritic Users
Album/Artist Mentions  
1 21 76 by Adele 124 bar
2 Bon Iver 86 by Bon Iver 84 bar
3 Born This Way 71 by Lady Gaga 70 bar
4 Watch the Throne 76 by Jay-Z and Kanye West 61 bar
5 Let England Shake 86 by PJ Harvey 43 bar

Yes, despite finishing #2 in points for the best album of 2011, Adele's 21 also topped the list of the year's most overrated albums. Adele is laughing all the way to the bank, though; 21 was the year's best-selling album by a huge margin. She's also the only artist to place two separate songs in our list of the 10 best tracks of 2011, as voted by Metacritic users. One of those songs, "Rolling in the Deep," actually predates 2011 by a month, but since it also appears on her 2011 album, we'll allow it.

Lana Del Rey's "Video Games" (certainly an appropriate enough song to appear on a Metacritic chart) isn't on any album, yet—it comes from her major label debut Born to Die, out later this month—making it the only non-album track to crack our top 10. And the overall #1 song among Metacritic users may seem like a bit of a surprise, since the French electronica outfit M83 is probably the most obscure band to place a song in our top 10. But "Midnight City" has already drawn acclaim around the web, topping lists of the year's best songs at several leading music publications (including Pitchfork and PopMatters).

Best Song of 2011 as Voted by Metacritic Users
Song/Artist Listen Watch Points  
1 "Midnight City" by M83
from the album Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
Spotify Video 572 bar
2 "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele
from the album 21
Spotify Video 540 bar
3 "Holocene" by Bon Iver
from the album Bon Iver
Spotify   362 bar
4 "Someone Like You" by Adele
from the album 21
  Video 315 bar
5 "Video Games" by Lana Del Rey
from the single "Video Games"
Spotify Video 206 bar
6 "Ni**as in Paris" by Jay-Z and Kanye West
from the album Watch the Throne
Spotify   199 bar
7 "Lonely Boy" by The Black Keys
from the album El Camino
  Video 181 bar
8 "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People
from the album Torches
Spotify   169 bar
9 "Lotus Flower" by Radiohead
from the album The King of Limbs
  Video 159 bar
10 "Helplessness Blues" by Fleet Foxes
from the album Helplessness Blues
Spotify   157 bar

How did you do?

What do you think of the consensus picks of your fellow users? Let us know in the discussion section below, and don't forget to visit our Best of 2011 section for all of our year-end coverage.

Comments (15)

  • spazzinmekon  

    i only did the music poll, and the critics results as well as overrated section were pretty predictable. i'm glad other think "strange mercy" was good since i believe that's the best album of 2011, and i knew "21" was going to be the most overrated. doesn't mean it wasn't a good record, but definitely not "amazing" as other have called it.

  • 89iajo  

    HOW IS SKYWARD SWORD OVERRATED!! Otherwise good list, but was The Muppets really that good? It's not like I don't like them, I'm just wondering.

  • Mewtwo465  

    Turned out to be fair enough.

  • evergreenOldboy  

    I find It funny that of all of the highest voted albums of the year are also voted the most overrated 5 of the top 6. That is except the Black Keys. I guess they win ... jk but they are my favorites for sure

  • Canway  

    I know it didn't really get a lot of press, but Boss was really good. Better that some on the list, at least.

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