It’s that time of year once again- the time to make new friends and enemies. Top 10 lists have the tendency to makes eyes roll and bring people’s blood to a boil either for leaving their favorite movie off the list or including a movie they hated. It never stops there though because omitting a pick is one thing, but placement is a whole separate issue because God forbid you love something a smidgen more or exponentially more than someone else. That being said, to each their own and below you can see my favorite movies of 2012 along with some honorable mentions.
As always, if you want to disagree with me even more then feel free to check out my Top 10 Horror movies of 2012 and new for this year just because I’m a glutton for punishment you can now check out my first ever 10 Best So-So Movies of 2012. Enjoy!
(10) Killing Them Softly - Kicking things off with one I don’t expect to cross over with the majority of lists you might see online is KILLING THEM SOFTLY. I believe I was clear in my indifference with the unflinching material in this film revolving around the state of the American economy which still sort of surprises me when I think about how I can still love it so much. The fact of the matter is that I still think the script is strong, just excessive in the economy talk, Brad Pitt is great and the sound design is pretty awesome as well. For me this one an extremely entertaining hitman flick that missed being just one slot higher only to the upcoming hitman flick with an even better performance from a well known actor.
(9) Killer Joe - Easing up the list we have a film not all that different from KILLING THEM SOFTLY, except that William Friedkin’s film doesn’t want to beat you over the head with economy issues and instead wants to make things real weird at the dinner table. KILLER JOE like the previous film features a killer that comes on scene and does his thing except I found Matthew McConaughey’s performance to be much more haunting, disturbing and uncomfortably hilarious. The brutality and weirdness of the final 30 minutes here isn’t as graphically disturbing as it is mentally troubling given the events that are going down. I am a movie fan that feeds on the art of performance and in terms of performers that carry their film’s KILLER JOE’s ensemble may just be the best among the list, it just falls lower on the list due to how often I think I would ever want to put myself through it again.
(8) Wreck-It Ralph - Changing pace from dark hitman thrillers to extremely light family film. I wrestled with two different animated movies to include on the list, but ultimately one I chose to include on a different list and settled on WRECK-IT RALPH to represent the animated features of 2012. Sure this isn’t quite up to par with that of the best Pixar releases, but I still found this to be a whole lot of fun. The voice actors are all cast perfectly, the animation is fantastic and there is a great balance of sweet and funny moments in the script. As a guy who falls for nostalgia on a regular basis there’s a lot in WRECK-IT RALPH that had me giggling and feeling like a kid again.
(7) Looper - If you aren’t on the Rian Johnson bandwagon, then there’s never been a better time to hop on. LOOPER is Johnson’s third effort and shows all the signs of a filmmaker with limitless creativity and a voice that I look forward to hearing from for many more years to come. This time travel drama/thriller wasn’t even what I was expecting going in and what it ended up being I loved maybe more than what I was expecting. The dual performances of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis are great and the awesome diner scene showcases that point. It may not be the balls to the wall actioner the trailer makes it out to be, but the action that’s there is a lot of fun and the script is one of the smartest of the year. If not for a few moments in the middle that it drifts off then LOOPER could have been battling for the top spot.
(6) Skyfall – It’s come to my attention just this year that I should really make time for a lot of the older Bond films. I’ve been meaning to, I just never really seem to have the time to fit them in between my regular TV and movie consumption. Thy being said I loved CASINO ROYALE and I chose not to mention the second film and loved SKYFALL even more of the more recent Daniel Craig lead films. Javier Bardem is genius as the villain here and the action scenes are fantastic. To some it may become tedious, but I had nothing but fun with this one.
(5) The Avengers - If I’m being perfectly honest, I really love THE AVENGERS, but I feel a little weird including it on a best of list this high. The truth of the matter is that not at any moment do I recognize this as hard hitting meaningful cinema, but instead this is nothing but a no holds barred fun blockbuster with few things for me to complain about. The special effects are great, the actors are great, it’s funny and there is no end to the excitement it gives me watching it. So while I feel a little guilty including it so high with all the emotionally resonant films out there this year, I also don’t due to how much fun I had with it.
(4) The Cabin in the Woods - If you read my Top 10 Horror list before this one, you may have been asking yourself why THE CABIN IN THE WOODS was missing from it. I generally do not like to repeat movies on separate lists so that is the short answer. I also like to include AT LEAST one horror to represent the best of the year and while there was another candidate, I felt that THE CABIN IN THE WOODS was the more obvious choice. This is a great send up to the slew of horror films we’ve seen over and over and over again that embodies then turns upside-down the conventions we are all too used to. If you can’t at the very least crack a smile in the last half hour of this film than I have no hope for your ability to enjoy much of anything.
(3) The Dark Knight Rises - Say what you will about THR DARK KNIGHT RISES, but each time I watch this movie I feel like I love it more. I too am not without my nitpicks and certain dumb elements of the film which is why I decided to not put it higher on the list let alone the top spot. I thought Tom Hardy was phenomenal as Bane, the score still gives me chills and in what might be the least agreed upon view of the film I thought every scene was filmed incredibly- that includes the fight scenes. The cinematography is just another gorgeous aspect of this film and I have no plans to file this away on the Blu-Ray shelf anytime soon.
(2) Argo - I went in a few weeks late on dishing out my love for ARGO, but I’m a firm believer in the “better late than never” statement. Ben Affleck, while not at his strongest on camera is brilliant behind it as this film is full of tense memorable scenes. I agree with those that feel the screenplay and most of the finale can feel incredibly manipulative for the sake of the plunging the audience into deeper terror more than it may have been in real life, but then again I have no issues being manipulated when it comes to my movie excursions.
(1) Django Unchained - I specifically wanted to get out to see DJANGO UNCHAINED before wrapping up my year end lists- not because I knew I would love it and would make the list, but because it was one film that I was extremely excited for that I wanted to see to at least consider for my list. Lucky for me, I love this film and as I stated in my review I have my reservations about the racial elements in the film, but rather than focus on them as a reason to not like I want to just focus on the things I loved. The script (minus excessive racist remarks) is hilarious and sharp, the performances are phenomenal, all the music choices worked for me and I thought the cinematography was great. It may not be as tightly edited as it could have been and falls short of being my outright favorite Tarantino film, but even a lesser Tarantino is enough to top my list.
Magic Mike, The Hunger Games, Silver Linings Playbook, Friends with Kids, 21 Jump Street, Goon
Worst Films of 2012 Roundup (In no particular order)
Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie
One for the Money
At this point you are probably asking yourself “How come this one particular movie isn’t on the list?” This would then be the time I eventually say maybe I didn’t feel the same way in the comments or you can browse the following list of movies from 2012 I haven’t had a chance to see yet. To give a little extra layer to these movies the titles in bold are films I really want to see and those not highlighted in bold are ones I may check out at some point, but I’m not tripping over myself to do so.
Life of Pi
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Zero Dark Thirty
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Written By: Luke (@CrummyLuke on Twitter)