So! Another countdown. This time I’ll be taking a look at my personal top 10 movies of 2012. Now I have to preface this by stating, for the sake of preserving any shreds of journalistic credibility, that firstly, I like action movies. They’re my favorite (followed by horror and sci-fi/fantasy). So if Lincoln or, I don’t know, Magic Mike don’t appear in my list, it’s just because 19th century politics and/or dancing men don’t necessarily appeal to me–that doesn’t mean they aren’t great films (they may or may not be, idfk). Secondly, there are still quite a few 2012 movies I haven’t seen yet that I’d really like to, some of which could potentially make me severely reconsider my 10 favorite. You can find the list of movies I’ve yet to see at the bottom of this article, below the honorable mentions. So if your favorite movie isn’t in this list, fret not! I may not have gotten the chance to see it yet. Enough of this already. Let’s get to it.
10. 21 Jump Street
March 16, 2012
Once in awhile, a comedy comes out that is just so much fun to watch that you’re likely to remember it for decades to come. Maybe it’s my aging, or maybe it’s Hollywood, but comedies like those are becoming increasingly hard to come by. Not since 2007’s Walk Hard have I enjoyed a comedy to the aforementioned extent. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum make a great pair for the circumstances in which they’re placed. Going back to high school to investigate a new drug going around may not sound like the most captivating plot outline but it manages to be a rollicking good time. I never watched the original TV run with Johnny Depp, but you don’t have to to fall in love with this movie.
June 22, 2012
Okay, it’s a Pixar movie. It’s going to be in my top 10 any year. So suck it Cars 2 haters. And while this movie may not quite live up to Wall-E or Toy Story 3, it’s a welcomed addition to Pixar’s anthology and is likely in the upper half of their film’s quality tiers. Anyway, so an Irish princess doesn’t wanna get married and just wanted to explore and shoot things with her arrow. But her parents won’t have it! So she gets involved with some shady witch business and her mom gets turned into a bear and her dad HATES BEARS. Simple enough. Now, the snare is that what seems to be a typical youth rebellious movie with a “do what you want!” message really turns out to be a heartwarming mother-daughter understanding/coming of age tale. Merida realizes her mom isn’t a total cunt and her mom realizes that marriage doesn’t need to be her top priority. It’s cute. I tear up. The end.
8. The Cabin in the Woods
April 13, 2012
Horror, comedy and wit have never blended together better than in this movie. Other contestants Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland are close, but neither capture the ridiculous ironies or satire the horror film industry quite as well as The Cabin in the Woods. It’s set up from the beginning, intentionally, to be the blandest flavor of American horror in the world: the jock, the stoner, the slut, the nerd, the good girl go on a woodlands excursion to an empty cabin and bad things happen. Now, the movie is so great because it is self-aware, literally, as the scares and spooks are all arbitrated by a group of scientists who are implied to symbolize the horror industry. Every year, countries churn out the same shit with minute differences. Why? Why are there so many repetitive themes in horror? This movie is the answer: there is a dormant god sleeping in the Earth that requires sacrifices to remain as such. If we fail, the world ends. The tongue-in-cheek never ends with this movie. It’s fucking fantastic.
7. The Dark Knight Rises
July 20, 2012
What. Stop. Hold the phone. WHY ISN’T THIS MOVIE NUMBER ONE. WHY ISN’T IT EVEN IN THE TOP FUCKING FIVE. I can see my journalistic credibility circling the drain! But okay, here’s my thing. Every movie in my top 10 is a 9 or 10/10 movie. First, the Batman franchise has never been my absolute favorite, at least opposed to many other superhero names. Second, it almost lived up to my expectations, but not quite. The problem with The Dark Knight Rises is not within the movie itself, it’s just that its 2008 predecessor set an impossible bar for it to live up to. That said, it was a fantastic conclusion to the trilogy. It was a fantastic movie. Dark, mature, clever, epic, tragic. But Bane just doesn’t have the bite, the horror and the sheer insanity that the Joker had. Anyway, there’s a lot I’d like to say on the two, but the point is that in spite of the expectation level, this movie is still approaching perfect. And since the late Heath Ledger had no way of reprising his role, I couldn’t see the trilogy concluding in any better fashion.
6. The Hunger Games
March 23, 2012
Oh God I’m just digging my own grave aren’t I. Yes, coming in at number six is the teen choice of the year, The Hunger Games. Despite some mushy undertones and inevitable fangirlism, and despite some plot points that borderline plagiarism, I harbor no animosity toward the franchise and in fact find it to be a very enjoyable and entertaining ride. My girl J-Lawr makes a groundbreaking performance and fits the role of her character perfectly. Really, she’s amazing. I dislike Josh Hutcherson but begrudgingly find his role as Peeta to be quite fitting as well. Katniss’ idgaf attitude is, I think, exactly what Hollywood needs in a world of damsels in distress and meaty action heroes. She’s not like, an S&M gear, glorified badass like Alice from Resident Evil or Selene from Underworld. She’s more subtle and down-to-earth, more relatable as a person, and I think that is important, and a nice change of pace. The pacing is great, the characters stand out and it keeps you on your feet! It’s a really good story, so if you’ve been hesitant to check it out because of the fandom or some other reason, give it a try. You’d be surprised.
5. The Amazing Spider-Man
July 3, 2012
I will always have a soft spot for the Tobey Maguire trilogy, and to this day I stand by Spider-Man 3 as a great movie (STFU). But the series was due for a reset after a five year absence, and I think this movie turned out, well, for lack of a better word, AMAZING. Setting the nostalgia of 2002’s Spider-Man aside, this reboot is just as good as its original. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone were perfect choices for their respective roles, and I applauded director Marc Webb’s conscious efforts to stay true to the source material. I don’t have a whole lot to say on the movie, it was just so much fun. The technological capabilities for web-slinging action in 2012 noticeably outshine those a decade earlier. There’s more action, more swinging and more opportunities for things to fly into your 3D goggle-wearing face. This is a classic superhero movie, through and through. Oh, and for those criticizing it for its focus on Peter and Gwen’s relationship, can it. It’s cute. 😡
4. Django Unchained
December 25, 2012
Has Quentin Tarantino ever not delivered? My latest outing to the movie theater was to see this beautiful bloodbath, and it was savory. Well, what did you think would happen if you gave a freed former-slave a gun and paid him to kill white people? Tarantino’s ability to satirize and play with sensitive historical events has never been so sharp and hilarious, not to mention badass. Now this movie runs a little long, but it’s hard to fault the man for needing the time for his characters to say what they need to say. DiCaprio, Foxx, Jackson and Waltz all shine throughout the entire movie, my personal favorite being Christoph Waltz’ blunt, quick-witted bounty hunter who shamelessly kills to make ends meet. And the on-screen gore is as edgy as ever. The mandingo fighting scene in which Calvin Candie and a client place bets on two slaves’ fight to the death, forcing one to kill the other on the parlor floor for entertainment, is particularly disturbing, and that’s coming from a pair of very desensitized eyes. Regardless, I recognize that Tarantino finds it necessary as an artist to push buttons, and I applaud him for having the guts to do it.
3. Wreck-It Ralph
November 2, 2012
Animated movies about toys, cars, monsters, bugs, rats, robots, fairy tales, the Irish, fish, old men, penguins, animals, animals, animals, ANIMALS AND FUCKING ANIMALS have all been done! A big-name animation production targeted at video game culture was long overdue, and we were blessed with Wreck-It Ralph, an imaginative, unique and captivating story about a bad guy who wants to be a good guy. Incorporated in this joyride are every video game cliche known to man, racing games, arcade games, fighting games, shooting games, Sonic the fucking Hedgehog, jokes that both kids and adults will enjoy and plenty of “in-jokes” catering to lifestyle gamers like myself. On top of that, John C. Reilly. Still not convinced? Howz about this: Wreck-It Ralph is my favorite animated movie OF ALL TIME tied with Toy Story. It’s just something I’ve always wanted since my childhood. It made me feel the same sense of nostalgia I would have had it come out in the 90’s. It’s not just the fanservice and pop culture references, either. It’s really a touching story. I TEARED UP. I never thought I would become so emotionally attached to a glitch! Vanellope is absolutely adorable. Really, every character is radiating life and personality, and beyond the game culture it’s one of the most fun, touching animated films ever conceived.
2. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
December 14, 2012
I would first like to squash any disputes regarding Peter Jackson’s artistic merit being squandered by drawing out a 270 page fairytale into a 9-hour aesthetically pleasing horse race. Comments stating that J.R.R. Tolkien would be rolling over in his grave, or that this movie doesn’t capture the magic of the original LOTR trilogy, I just don’t see them. I agree to the extent that the book would have fit more nicely into two films, but after actually watching it, any doubts or concerns have been diminished and I am happily reliving the same excitement I enjoyed after coming out of my first viewing of The Fellowship of the Ring as a nine-year-old. There is so much magic in Middle Earth, so much lore and intrigue, so much to love, so much to wonder, question, fear. There’s just so much. I’m almost hoping that in some alternate universe, every book in the LOTR trilogy had gotten 3 movies each for me to indulge my senses. Martin Freeman as Bilbo was a great choice, and Bilbo as a character is an even more likeable protagonist than was the self-loathing Frodo. Sure, there’s no Aragorn, Legolas, Boromir, but this is the dwarves’ time to shine. Give ’em some credit. Anyway idgaf I love this movie bitches. #fangirling
1. The Avengers
May 4, 2012
I know, real original right. The Avengers is my favorite movie of 2012. Well, think about it. How could it not be? It was born with the intent of being the best action superhero movie ever created. At least four years in the making, Marvel had been rigging its superhero releases since 2008’s Iron Man with easter eggs alluding to its existence. The hype never died. Every movie since–The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Iron Man 2, Captain America–all just made us thirstier and thirstier for the conception of this film. Just to see how it’d all come together. This film gave comic culture a facelift. Since Spider-Man set a new trend for comic book adaptations at the turn of the millennium, comic culture has been slowly expanding beyond its niche fanbase and seeping into the mainstream. But The Avengers? Completely blew it out of the niche-infested water. Comics are officially the stuff of the cool kids. If you don’t like Tony Stark, you must be a nerdy loser. So that last bit was hyperbole, but really, this movie’s cultural impact was huge. And not only that, but it’s entirely warranted. The movie kicks ass from start to finish. Girls get googly-eyed over the star cast of dapper gentlemen, including but not limited to Robert Downey Jr, Jeremy Renner and… Tom Hiddleston? (I’m not judging you, Tumblr audience!) The plot is real shit, a huge invasion of aliens the likes of which Earth has never seen! The ass-kickery is so ass-kicking that the two-and-a-half hour movie seems all too short! Somehow! If you’re a comic fan, this is the movie that will define your life. If you’re not, then you are now. The Avengers sets a new bar for superhero movies. Hot guys, galaxy-scale crises and Scarlett Johansson are now standard issue. The scariest thing about it all is that if the Thanos cameo in the after-credits scene is any indicator, the sequel might raise the bar even higher. Way to go 2012.
Almost made the cut! But not quite! In no particular order.
Resident Evil: Retribution
Snow White & the Huntsmen
Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Other Movies I Saw
This is the rest of the lot. I’ve ordered them in order from best to worst. Added just for the sake of inclusion.
Paranormal Activity 4
The Woman in Black
That’s My Boy
2012 Films I’ve Yet to See (That I Would Like To)
Aw, didn’t get your favorite movie on my list? Maybe I haven’t seen it yet. Check out this huge ass list.
Silver Linings Playbook
Naruto 6: Road to Ninja
Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo
One Piece Film: Z
Men in Black 3
The Tall Man
House at the End of the Street
Silent Hill: Revelation
The Man with the Iron Fists
Thanks for reading!