Several years back I realized that I had trouble diferentiating between the movies I liked and the movies I loved from the early part of the year. Roger Ebert has always suggested that this was true of the Academy and why the Oscars have such "short attention span." He recommended a midyear ballot to go along with the end-of-the-year ballot combining both to create the nominations list.
For me, I decided a top 5 usually works. I wait until July 15, since the first few weeks of January are generally a wash for new releases, and so 7/15 is a little closer to the mid-point. This year, although I had many "nominees" for the top 5, I found it very easy to pick the top 5.
I have thirteen "nominees" for my top 5 this year— just two at the top, i.e. "must see" (Exit and Youth). This years nominees (films I'd seen by 7/15 that made my "must see" and "recommended" categories) include: Alice in Wonderland, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Get Him to the Greek, The Ghost Writer, How to Train Your Dragon, Iron Man 2, Kick-Ass, MacGruber, A Prophet, The Runaways, Toy Story 3, Valentine's Day, and Youth in Revolt.
Exit Through the Gift Shop
The Ghost Writer
Youth in Revolt