Ever been jonesing for an orange?
And somebody hands you an apple?
You might like apples, but you really had your heart set on an orange. So what does that have to do with the most-anticipated movies of 2011? Well, you might be interested in superhero movies, while your mom couldn't care less. Her ears might perk up if she hears "Jane Eyre." You're thinking: Isn't Jane Eyre the Green Lantern's girlfriend?
So to be fair, we thought it might be a good idea to highlight the most anticipated movies from each genre this year, so that no one feels left out.
Now if your specific genre is only animated characters that are blue? That might be a problem and perhaps it's time to let go of the Smurfs and rejoin the human race (btw, their movie opens on Aug. 3, OK?).
It might also be difficult to categorize some of your potential favorites. Where in the world do you put "Cowboys & Aliens"? It's mostly a Western, but since those are endangered species these days, we'll put it in the science-fiction section.
You'll also notice we don't list a lot of dramas. That's because most of the good ones usually don't spring up until the latter part of the year, and those lists just aren't available yet. But for you Bronte fans, no need to get your corsets in a bunch. "Jane Eyre" is right around the corner on March 11.
All right. So let's get started with one of the biggest box office genres each year ...
FAST FIVE (April 29) Hot-wheel buddies Vin Diesel and Paul Walker run out of friends in North America, so they take their high-flying circus to Brazil. There, they must not only stay one step ahead of the drug lords, but also an elite U.S. team of federal agents led by goatee-wearin' Dwayne Johnson. The rest of the gang returns, mainly because they have a bunch of unpaid parking tickets in Los Angeles to pay for.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES (May 20) As much as I enjoy watching Capt. Jack Sparrow prance around the beaches and byways of the Old World, the last two pirate adventures weren't nearly as good as the first. This time, Jackie boy is seeking the Fountain of Youth with his old pal Barbossa, whilst Blackbeard and an old flame try to beat him to it. There arrrgh also mermaids and zombies! Conspicuously absent are Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom. Let's see if they'll be missed.
SHERLOCK HOLMES 2 (Dec. 16) Work is currently underway on the Holmes sequel. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law are returning, but it seems Rachel McAdams will have only a cameo. "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" star Noomi Rapace is the female lead, while "Mad Men's" Jared Harris will play the villain Moriarty. The script is still under wraps, or should we say, cloak and dagger?
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: THE GHOST PROTOCOL (Dec. 16) Tom Cruise is back as agent Ethan Hunt, but there's talk (unconfirmed) that he'll turn over the reins of the franchise to co-star Jeremy Renner ("The Hurt Locker," "The Town) after this one. J.J. Abrams returns as a producer, but not as director. That assignment has been given to Brad Bird, the acclaimed animator who created "The Incredibles," "Ratatouille" and "The Iron Giant." This will be Brad's first live-action film, but come on, he's used to working with animated characters a la Tom.
NATIONAL TREASURE 3 (Dec. 25) Nic Cage's film-of-the-month club continues in full swing as he returns as artifact hunter Benjamin Franklin Gates. His sidekick (Justin Bartha), just wrapping up "The Hangover 2" filming, is rejoining the cast. Little is known, but Cage has hinted that he wants this film to have a more international flavor -- OK, fine, we'll call it "International Treasure." Happy?
HALL PASS (Feb. 25) No comedy klatch would be complete without a Farrelly brothers movie. Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis are given a week off from their marriages by their wives to check out that "greener grass" they believe they've been missing. Sadly, their gaming skills are dated and pathetic, but their motivation is high and equally pathetic. Watch the boys make absolute fools of themselves, while the women snicker from the sidelines.
PAUL (March 18) Just think of it as "E.T." meets "Shaun of the Dead," minus the zombies. Two idiot Brits travel to Area 51 and catch more than a glimpse of an alien -- named Paul. He's trying to get back to his mother ship. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost will try to help him. A lot of other nutty people will get in the way. This looks hilarious, but I still haven't completely forgiven Seth Rogen (voice of Paul) for single-handedly raising a leg on "The Green Hornet."
PEEP WORLD (March 25) If you enjoyed the dysfunctional family of "The Royal Tenenbaums," perhaps you'll get a kick out of this group of siblings featuring "Dexter's" Michael C. Hall, "The Office's" Rainn Wilson, and Sarah Silverman dealing with a tell-all book by their younger brother. The best-selling expose profiles the many family miscues, and the others aren't happy about it. Well, it looks funny.
BRIDESMAIDS (May 13) This seems to be the female response to the boys-in-the-treehouse raunch riot "The Hangover." Kristen Wiig co-writes and stars as the maid of honor chosen for best friend Maya Rudolph's upcoming wedding. Unfortunately, Kristen will have to put up with the demands of the other bridesmaids in order to survive. They are not the nicest bunch, but they sure look zany. Give 'em heck, ladies!
THE HANGOVER 2 (May 26) After the disaster of their Las Vegas bachelor party, Phil, Stu, Alan and Doug take a trip to Thailand for Stu's upcoming nuptials. What can go wrong in Bangkok? Stu plans a simple, safe and sedate pre-wedding brunch for him and his pals. Word is, Liam Neeson shows up as a tattoo artist, former President Bill Clinton offers a honk and wave, and Stu hooks up with a Thai ladyboy. You thought the first one was naughty? Be afraid -- unless you're not.
RED RIDING HOOD (March 11) This is definitely not your great grandmother's cautionary tale. It looks a lot like your teenage daughter's werewolf-loving adventure/romance, which pits Amanda Seyfried and the village bad boys against a determined priest who specializes in taking out shift-shaping lobos on the prowl. In other words, it's a typical Saturday night at the mall.
SUCKER PUNCH (March 25) A young woman is sent to prison, but is taught to cope by freeing her mind. In the hands of writer/director Zack Snyder ("300," "Watchmen"), this becomes, in his own words, like Alice in Wonderland with machine guns. A largely-female cast dominates this action-fantasy, which is filled with eye-popping special effects -- including, most likely, some actual eye popping.
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 2 (July 15) After 10 years of dancing around Lord Voldemort cinematically, Harry Potter and his pals will finally confront Cranky Mr. No Nose once and for all. It's been a long time coming -- and movie fans will both miss these characters and be glad for some resolution. Here's one resolution J.K. Rowling is glad for -- the world of Harry Potter is worth an estimated $24 billion. Not bad for a snot-nosed kid with a magic wand.
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN -- PART 1 (Nov. 18) Taking a page from Potter, series creator Stephenie Meyers thought the final book should be made into two movies (the second part is due out in November 2012), because there's so much material to cover. Really? I've been waiting for pouty Bella to decide on either Team Edward or Team Jacob. She's made her call. Now let's get married and have a hybrid baby. Yes, life with vampires and werewolves CAN be just that simple -- I beg you.
BATTLE: LOS ANGELES (March 11) I'm still trying to get the bad taste out of my mouth from the last time the blue-light-special aliens invaded Southern California in "Skyline." What a little steamer that was, eh? This promises to be better. It won't have to go far.
SUPER 8 (June 10) Moving Day at the super-secret Air Force base we affectionately call Area 51 is never really a walk in the park. So, when the military tries to shut down a section of the facility and transport "the items" from the desert stronghold to Ohio, it's not going to go well -- unless you're J.J. Abrams, who is making quite a name for himself by making alien stuff go boom.
TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON (July 1) Director Michael Bay says this movie will be darker, more emotional and have greater character development. What? We are still talking about "Transformers," right? Megan Fox is out. Jason Statham's model/girlfriend Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is in. Shia LaBeouf returns, along with all of his shiny metallic friends -- so who knows what to expect on this third go-round?
COWBOYS & ALIENS (July 29) Well now, here's something you don't see every day: a bunch of Wild West cowboys taking on an alien race from outer space. It's 1873, in the territory of Arizona. A stranger (Daniel Craig) comes to the desert town of Absolution with no memory and an out-of-this-world shackle on his wrist. The town's most influential citizen (Harrison Ford) doesn't like the stranger, until he sees what he can do against those alien invaders. Then, they practically become BFFs.
SCREAM 4 (April 15) What's YOUR favorite scary movie? An inquiring "Ghostface" really wants to know. After years away, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), now a self-help author, returns to Woodsboro as the last stop on her book tour. Big mistake, because someone else has returned, too, and the bloody mess starts all over again. Thankfully, Sheriff Dewey and Gale are still around for the required comic breaks betwixt the mayhem. Can't wait!
DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK (no firm date) No one scares the crap out of me like filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. Just thinking about "The Devil's Backbone" and "Pan's Labyrinth" sends chills down my spineless spine. Now he's put Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce and cute little Bailee Madison inside an old mansion with a closed-off basement that hasn't been open for a hundred years -- and, coincidentally, not since the original owner disappeared. No one does freaky monsters like del Toro.
FRIGHT NIGHT (Aug. 19) I loved the 1985 original with Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale and Roddy McDowall. Remember? It's about the kid who lives next door to a vampire, and he enlists the help of an aging "Fright Night" TV host to try to save his girlfriend (Amanda Bearse). Great stuff. Anton Yelchin (the new "Star Trek's" Chekov) is the scared Charley, while Colin Farrell plays Jerry the smooth bloodsucker. My only advice to the remakers? Don't screw this up!
THOR (May 6) This one has me a bit worried. The trailer looks "Clash of the Titans" bad. The lead actor looks stiff as a board, the director is Shakespeare-loving Kenneth Branagh, and Anthony Hopkins looks like he's wearing the same outfit from "Beowulf." If worst comes to worst, Thor can just stand in the background of the Marvel Comics' "Avengers" movie and look Nordic.
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (June 3) Before there were capital-lettered X-Men, there were lower-cased x-boys. Mutants were kind of a new thing. Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr were best pals at 1960s Oxford University. They probably even wore each other's letter sweaters. So why the big rift years later, pitting Magneto's Brotherhood against Professor X's X-Men? I bet they'll tell us, while hurling cars at each other.
GREEN LANTERN (June 17) DC Comics is saying "Hey don't forget about us. We've got Superman, Batman and a little sumpin' sumpin' called the Green Lantern!" Plus, they've hired a guy with an actual personality to play him -- Ryan Reynolds. And please don't confuse this with Seth Rogen's "The Green Hornet." I'm still not speaking to that dude -- seriously!
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (July 22) From his beginnings during WWII, frail, little Steve Rogers was transformed into the ultimate fighting machine, trained to take on the Nazis in general and Red Skull in specific. This has an old-school feel with a fresh coat of paint, paving the way for the rest of the Avengers like Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and Spider-Man to join forces in 2012. I'm guessing it will do well.
WHAT'S YOUR NUMBER? (April 23) It's called going to the top of the batting order. It's a baseball term, but used in relationships, it means going back to the beginning (one's starting lineup) to see if maybe one missed something the first time around. So Anna Faris revisits the last 20 guys she seriously dated, to see if true love is among them. I'm gonna go with no, but I bet it's that cute best friend who's been trying to help her through the entire movie. Any takers?
SOMETHING BORROWED (May 6) "Big Love's" Ginnifer Goodwin and cute little Kate Hudson play best friends who appear to be in love with the same guy. Awkward. Kate is engaged to the man, so she obviously has first dibs, but Ginnifer has secretly fallen in love with him. Not sure if it's reciprocated, but I'm pretty sure the claws will be out at some point.
FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS (July 22) Did we not just see this movie in "No Strings Attached"? Replace Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman with Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. Bam! -- same movie. I'm sure cuteness will run rampant, they'll get to act and talk dirty (oh, my!) and they'll find true love amidst all the casualness. Just once, I'd like to see them run toward each other for the big finale and get hit by a bus. Now that would be different.
JACK AND JILL (no firm date) It's official. Adam Sandler has finally lost his mind. Details are sketchy, but I think he plays both Jack and Jill in this story about a twin sister who goes to Los Angeles to visit her brother and then won't leave. I assume Adam Sandler will be made up to look like a woman. And you thought Dustin Hoffman as "Tootsie" was scary.
RANGO (March 4) Yes, that's the voice of Johnny Depp, and yes, he does, indeed, play a lizard -- well, a chameleon to be exact. He stumbles into a Western town called Dirt, eliminates a big bad bird of prey quite by accident, but everyone thinks he must be cool. So he adapts and they believe in him. This looks strangely adorable in a Hunter S. Thompson meets The Muppets sort of way (and FYI, the new "Muppets" movie opens on Nov. 23).
KUNG FU PANDA 2 (May 27) How do you milk a panda for all he's worth? Very carefully. DreamWorks has made a habit of running its potential franchises into the ground. See "Shrek." I can't imagine it being any different here. However, I quite enjoyed the first movie, so let's hope the studio has learned from its mistakes. Otherwise, it's panda soup for everyone!
CARS 2 (June 24) Pixar has had quite a run over the past few years, but I must admit, I didn't think "Cars" was among its best. So, I'm a little nervous about this sequel. It teams Mater and Lightning McQueen again, but this time, they leave the friendly confines of Radiator Springs and head to Europe for the World Grand Prix. Expect some British imports to liven things up a bit, but will it be enough to keep Pixar's winning streak alive?
ARTHUR CHRISTMAS (Nov. 23) We don't know much about the workings of Santa Claus, but that's apparently by design. All that North Pole business -- very hush-hush. But what if Santa had a nerdy kid named Arthur? And what if that kid had to step up to save dear old dad's reputation and make Christmas happen for millions of girls and boys? I'd say, in the hands of Aardman Animations (the makers of "Wallace & Gromit"), it could be worth a look-see.
Steve Salles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.