As promised previously, this will be my first post in the coming weeks regarding the top movies that I saw in 2012. I saw close to 40 of the movies that came out during 2012, either in theaters or on video. There were some that I would have preferred to see in theaters versus video, and there were also some that I probably could have waited for video to watch. I can’t really address the “worst” movie of 2012 because I tend to avoid the movies that I think will be stupid or bad just based on the previews, but I think the movies that were most disappointing was The Man With the Iron Fists and The Bourne Legacy, each for their own reasons.
Without further ado, here are my Top 10 movies* in reverse order, with a brief reason why I liked them. If I have reviewed them elsewhere on the blog, I’ll try to link, and I still plan on going back to fill in the gaps of the ones that I have missed. Feel free to share in the comments what movies that I should see that I may have missed, and what you would rate as your favorite movie for the year that was 2012.
*Honorable mentions to Moonrise Kingdom, Flight, Ted, and Wreck-It Ralph, which would be 11-14 in some order if my list went that long.
10 (tie) – 21 Jump Street / Pitch Perfect
These movies tied as my favorite “comedies” of the year. While I saw some other movies that might have had funnier moments, these were surprisingly the best that I saw during the year. 21 Jump Street was surprising because of the comedic performance of Channing Tatum, which I definitely wasn’t expecting, and the strong performance of Jonah Hill. I was skeptical that “rebooting” an ’80s sitcom as a movie was going to work, but they managed to pull it off for the most part.
Pitch Perfect is probably on the list only because of its a capella elements, and I am a sucker for singing in movies — Les Miserables not withstanding. Combined with the lovely Anna Kendrick and a nice Mean Girls vibe, and you have a strong movie that I feel a lot of people might have missed out on. This will definitely show up as a mainstay in my DVD collection once I get settled again.
9 – Beasts of the Southern Wild
A movie that I regretfully missed in theaters, Beasts was a beautiful movie about love and family that could, in the absence of some bigger names, lead to a Best Director Oscar for Benh Zeitlin. Going in, I thought it was about a little girl in a bathtub, but it turns out that the Bathtub is a place where people live. Nine-year old Quvenzhané Wallis gives a performance well beyond her years and is strong competition for Best Actress against Jessica Chastain in my humble opinion.*
*To be fair, I have only watched two of the five nominated performances in this category, but I think it will ultimately come down to these two, unless Jennifer Lawrence mounts a late push for a movie that I didn’t care to see.
8 – Seven Psychopaths
As a movie that was seen on a whim
, Seven Psychopaths
was a surprisingly good movie. It might be because I like In Bruges
so much, but all the acting in this movie was well done. Sam Rockwell
, Colin Farrell
, and Christopher Walken
were all better than anything else I have seen them in recently. Worth a look if you like meta movies, which is easier to understand once you actually watch it.
7 – Cabin in the Woods
I resisted seeing this particular movie because it was advertised as one of those horror movies where kids go to a cabin and get terrorized. It is actually much more than that, and is one of the few movies of its kind that I can actually stand watching. One great thing about it is that there will not be a sequel, and you’ll have to watch the movie to find out why. Good stuff.
6 – The Dark Knight Rises
One of the two movies I saw multiple times in theaters
(number three below is the other), I am willing to look beyond the flaws of the movie and enjoy it for what it was: a thrilling conclusion to the Christopher Nolan Batman arch. Nolan has pretty much redefined how movies are “trailered,” and his upcoming producer turn for Man of Steel
has me pretty excited. Hopefully it is not something that ruins movies going forward, as you saw the same gritty feeling present in The Amazing Spider-Man
earlier this year. It’s an okay direction for movies to go in, but not every movie should be presented the same way.
5 – Looper
As the year went on, I was surprised that Looper
remained this high on the list, especially considering that I had a hard time remembering it when talking about it with friends. I was equally surprised that it was shut out for the Oscars, not even garnering a nomination in some of the “lesser” technical categories. Nevertheless, it was a movie that was unique in that it wasn’t a reboot of an existing franchise or an adaptation of some other work. It truly was an original movie from the mind of writer/director Rian Johnson
, which is refreshing in this day and age. In any other year, maybe it would have received some more respect, but it is still one of the best reviewed movies of 2012.
4 – Argo
I wrote about this in the review
, but Ben Affleck
has really turned himself into quite a director. While Gone Baby Gone
and The Town
were decent in their own right, Argo
was the movie that indicates that maybe Affleck knows what he is doing. He proved that we could write decent stuff back in 1997 with Good Will Hunting
, and since his movie career has started to wind down for whatever reason, it is nice to see him move to the “other side” of the camera, even if he does seem to make himself the start of every movie that he has directed. Though he won’t be helming the next Star Wars
movie, I am excited to see what he does next.
I am often unabashed for my love of all things Abraham Lincoln, and until I saw the last two movies on this list, Lincoln was definitely going to be my number one movie. This lower placement doesn’t mean that it wasn’t as good as it is; it is still probably the seminal film on the life of any president, and it only covers the last four months of his life. It is my hope that, should they ever make another movie of Lincoln’s life, Daniel Day-Lewis should play the 16th president forever. There is still a lot of Lincoln’s life that should be explored, and I think we have located the man that can do it.
2 – Django Unchained
I’ve been kind of slacking on writing a full review of this movie, so I’ll get to that in a couple of days. This was probably my favorite Quentin Tarantino movie since Pulp Fiction, pushing the Kill Bill saga down a peg. Jamie Foxx is great as the title character, and Christoph Waltz turns in another strong performance in a QT film. But the man that steals the show is Jules Winnfield himself Samuel L. Jackson. His performance as Stephen is understated but powerful, serving his master while selling out his race. The performance, and film, was probably “too racist” to garner him a nomination, but it was one of the best of the year.
1 – Zero Dark Thirty
I am not going to rehash what I have written previously about the movie, but nothing has been able to shake my opinion
of the movie. You may question the accuracy of how things are portrayed, or some of the issues that the film brings up about torture, but it was literally the only movie this year that had me on the edge of my seat throughout. This was despite knowing what the outcome ultimately was. A great piece of film that should be viewed for years to come to see how the “War on Terror” truly came to an end, and how dedication can end in the successful accomplishment of any goal in life.
These are my Top 10. I suggest you check them out when you get a chance.
Until next time…