It is that time once again where I thought it would be fun to put together a top ten list of my very favourite movies of the year.
Hopefully some of you fine readers will use the list as a Netflix guide on how to impress your partner most. There is no wrong way to use this list and I’m amazed at how many people tell me what great bathroom reading this makes when they print it off at work. That is fantastic and I will be sure to tell my high school English teachers that is how their hard work is being repaid in kind these days.
Let me say straight out that 2012 was a bad, bad year for movies. Although I did not see any truly terrible movies as I have in the past, I certainly did not see an abundance of great movies. In my opinion, only three truly great movies came out of this year which I think is low compared to standard years. Only one of those is close to being flawless whereas normally I would see several movies that I would consider flawless. So overall not a great year.
Worst Movies of 2012
An analyst who is always wrong is just as valuable as an analyst who is always right. With that in mind, on the off-chance that you think all of my top ten choices are truly terrible, I might as well tell you which movies I hated the most and should be avoided at all costs (since any reader who hates my top ten will probably love this slop).
- The Dictator – Although I thought it was overall passable, I cannot think of a worst direction for the brilliant Sacha Baron Cohen to go – into basic, basic comedy. The first half I would say in unwatchable.
- The Lorax – I have not seen a better movie to put someone to sleep in quite a while.
- The Bourne Legacy – Not only did they manage to make a really dumb movie, but they succeeded in ruining the canon of the previous trilogy. The Bourne guys are awesome because they are on performance-enhancing drugs?! I thought there was some sort of cool brain-washing training and that was it. How disappointing, even more than the Lance Armstrong reveal.
- Step Up Revolution – Yes, yes, I know I was asking for it.
And the worst movie of 2012…
- Total Recall – I know it is difficult to reboot a movie that people liked the first go-around but this was truly terrible. Between ruining Kate Beckingsale and having 30-minute action sequences, this was just a plain-out disaster.
Ok now let us get to the good stuff:
The problem with a top ten is that it is a finite list and many remarkable films simply do not make the list but deserve mention nonetheless so that they are not forgotten or appreciated.
- The Hobbit – Yikes, was this more disappointing than Prometheus? Nah. I’m happy to say that Prometheus was a better movie than Hobbit tho. People will be incensed I did not put this in the top ten but honestly, it was not even close.
- Men in Black III – I have to mention it because the surprise ending. Surprised that it made my cry. I hate these movies normally.
- Goon – Allison Pill makes the cutest movie chick of the year? Also I’m Canadian so I have to mention this one (apparently moms do not like this movie, be warned)
- Prometheus – Most disappointing movie of the year, but it’s still good.
- Premium Rush – Best villain of the year
- Dredd 3D – Best Popcorn flick of the year? Certainly the only 3D I liked all year.
- Katy Perry: Part of Me – This documentary really surprised me. Especially with the honesty of the Russell Brand stuff.
- Flight – Best airplane crash sequence I have ever seen on film. Terrifying. Also it’s nice to see Denzel Washington not playing Denzel Washington.
- Pitch Perfect – Chick flick recommended from my wife. Lots of fun. Good date night movie to win brownie points (if you are getting low on those)
- The Hunger Games – I really liked it and look forward to more from this franchise. I suspect the more we get into the love triangle, the more I will dislike it.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower – For such a tired theme of going over the high school experience, I was amazed with how fresh this movie was. 2012 was a year for Hogwarts alumni to test their acting magic in other movies. Radcliffe barely gets a passing mark for The Woman in Black but let me say that Emma Watson shines, and shines radiantly in Perks of Being a Wallflower. She will definitely not fall the way of Mark Hamill and I think she will go a long way as an actress. The movie is a ton of fun and well worth seeing. I’m mad I couldn’t find room for it on the top ten.
- Finding Nemo 3D – This is the first time a re-released movie makes it into one of my articles. It seems to be considered a 2012 movie in many respects and if I were to consider it officially as one, I would honestly put this as the best movie of the year. But it really just is a re-released version with some average 3D rendering. I still think it is very close to being a flawless movie and I loved seeing it again.
Lots of decent movies there. Let’s get to the cream of the crop and what I consider to be the best 10 movies of 2012…
The Dark Knight Rises
The Dark Knight is a hard act to follow and although this end to the trilogy isn't quite as strong as its predecessor, it certainly is a great movie and fully entertaining from start to finish.
I am amazed at how a masked villain can come out this strong, dramatically. After the 1st Spiderman movie, I was surprised to even see it attempted again, but it certainly works here. Much of the actor's performance is captured which is great.
I'm no fan of Anne Hathaway but she certainly shines as Catwoman.
Terrific flawless ending to the trilogy. I enjoyed it immensely. I am especially happy to find room for it in the top ten to avoid some degree of nerd rage.
Fantastic movie. I am glad that I am not as desensitized to violence as I was worried I had become. There were 2-3 scenes in the film that I found really unsettling. Tarantino did not pull any punches with this one. It makes Kill Bill almost seem cartoonish and for kids (in terms of violence).
Waltz is brilliant in a supporting role and I am now happy he won the Oscar (even though I had bet on Tommy Lee, dammit). He brought some much needed humanity to a bunch of really difficult scenes. I definitely wish there were more scenes like the humour-filled KKK one. That was just pure genius and MAN did we ever need to laugh once or twice to take the edge off.
I don't understand people that are saying this is a good popcorn flick. Avengers is a good popcorn flick. I had bought some Peanut Butter M&Ms to enjoy while watching this and could not get through them since I felt so sick from the insane violence.
This is another one not to rent with your mom.
Silver Linings Playbook
This film really took me by surprise. It starts off pretty slow and then once Bradley Cooper shows up for dinner wearing a football jersey, I was completely enraptured in the film (coincidentally, this is when Jennifer Lawrence enters the movie). I laughed hysterically several times and was thoroughly entertained.
The movie does slow down quite a bit half-way through but fear not, it picks up again. Jennifer Lawrence certainly deserves her Oscar although I was more impressed with Bradley Cooper's performance, probably because of much lower expectations (can you blame me?)
Beyond this and the reason why this will be memorable over time is that it could possibly be the best romantic-comedy I've ever seen (I never like this genre).
The Cabin in the Woods
Wow. What a great flick. I am so happy to be completely in the dark regarding the reveal. I don't know how I managed to avoid it all this time given that I was late to the party in seeing this one.
I was laughing, I was scared but best of all I was surprised time and time again. Tons of fun, very violent, this is great for everyone except your parents and your children. It is for you. My wife asks to rent a scary movie one night and I remember that she had not seen this, what a treat to see it with someone who had never seen it before. So many smiles.
What is with the hate for this movie?! Yeah, the villain is average but not only is it a huge improvement over the last Bond installment but Judi Dench is absolutely brilliant in this one. Adds a ton to the picture, delivering the best line of the movie, 'go ahead, eject me. see if I care.' All of her scenes are amazing.
One of the things I like best is that they make a case on how James Bond is not James Bourne. This is not a perfect field agent who aces every test and outperforms all others. James Bond is a rugged S.O.B. who just gets things done. Makes him more human and Daniel Craig portrays that angle very well.
The villain is ok, his best scene is his first with his slow walk telling that long story about the mice. I don't get the sense of evil from him as I have from past villains. I still think Casino Royale remains the best of the three Craig Bond movies but this was still really good.
Marvel's The Avengers
Thanks to a really strong script, this comic book movie really rises above most of the clutter we find in this genre. Look no further than how Bruce Banner was handled to see why this works where other comic book movies fail. You just FEEL it.
It is the first time I enjoyed the 3D aspect a bit too. It made some of the great set pieces really come to life.
There never seemed to be a shortage of moments that just made me smile or giggle either. Tremendously entertaining. From the subtle passage of a $10 bill to Stark's attempted phone call to Potts, the movie is FULL of beautiful little moments. If Avengers were a restaurant, I would come back for more time and time again. Judging by the success of the film, I would imagine we will see more, hopefully.
This is another one where I do not get the hate. Are people just naturally cynical? ‘’I don’t see what the big deal is’’ At the VERY least, this movie is a must-see.
Surprisingly good on several levels, I had more fun with this than I did with Inception which I cannot help but draw parallels. I think this works both as a thriller and a sci-fi but I think it is mostly just a really strong action movie.
This is twice this year that I've come to really enjoy Bruce Willis being very low-key (the other being the beautiful Moonrise Kingdom).
The top three movies of 2012 I would consider all of them to be great movies and I think they will all be memorable for years to come.
Zero Dark Thirty
The most suspenseful climax I have seen in a very, very long time in theatres. The entire movie, which chronicles the hunt for Bin Laden (from 2003 to 2011), is good but the whole last sequence that takes you through the actual operation is absolute cinematic genius. I think I bit my fingernails down to my elbow. Terrifyingly effective filmmaking. I'd recommend the movie hands-down simply based on that final act alone.
Not for the faint of heart what with far more scenes of torture than I was anticipating (and I had read there was some). The director has been on a real tear as of late between this and Hurt Locker. I cannot wait for her next movie.
What an absolutely amazing movie that unfortunately very few people will probably end up seeing. Such a shame.
I'm a fan of Wes Anderson and haven't really overly enjoyed any of his stuff since Tenenbaums and Rushmore but this is right back on top with his very best. Bill Murray is great as always as are all the mains and supports.
I just couldn't stop smiling during the entire last sequence and left the cinema feeling all warm and satisfied (like a fancy restaurant that NAILS the dessert).
So many fun scenes and I love how he has fun with framework. Like when a young actor has to enter an impossibly small tent and somehow deal with the cameraman sitting right in front of him, that's captured super awkwardly and it was hilarious.
I loved both young leads and hope to see them in many more films.
And my favourite movie of the year, now spoiled by the Oscars…
I really need to make an effort to get this article done before the Oscars and, if possible, even before the nominations. Unfortunately I do not get around to seeing everything that I want to see and if I had done that, I would have make this list without Django Unchained, Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty which I saw fairly recently.
Look, I loved Argo and I think it is unquestionably destined for greatness. Simply for the fact that it is the first Ben Affleck movie with a decent performance from him (low-key). I was just waiting for the classic Affleck-like blow up where he would over-deliver some line like, "IT'S MY JOB TO GET YOU OUT!" (just envision any random scene from Armaggedon or Pearl Harbour). But Affleck is fine in this as are all the supporting casts (especially the Hollywood duo of Goodman and Arkin).
This is the 3rd movie (along with Django and Zero Dark) where I was physically uncomfortable watching the movie. The entire last 45 minutes or so, my innards were all tight and I felt sick from the stress. Very effective suspense/thriller-type screenwriting. I'm grateful that there were a few good laughs to ease the tension throughout the film.
Terrific movie and this year's best. It has made me not necessarily wince the next time I see Affleck in a dramatic role. Still, I think his best talent is now clearly behind the camera and I hope he stops starring in his own movies. Although this result was better than if he had tried to pull a Stan Lee and show up as a mystery guest during a crucial scene. Can you imagine if the big stressful moment in the airport had Ben Affleck as the Iranian security guard with a big fat phony moustache? Holy crap that would have been hilarious but awful.
Well, that’s my wordy Best Movies of the year. I hope that in reading this, you came across some titles you have not seen and have made a mental note to see it. Or have recently received Total Recall as a gift and now know you can throw it out the window instead of subjecting yourself to it.
Thanks a ton for reading and see you next year.