Friday, January 31, 2014
The Favorite Films Of My Lifetime: 2012
The world may not have ended in 2012, but this is where my Liftetime series comes to its end. This may not have been my most popular series judging by numbers, but it was the most fun and interactive one I think I've ever had. I wanna thank so much, those of you who have participated in sharing your own lists whether it be in the comments, FB or Twitter. And thanks for your input in other places as well. I hope you were able to discern that I was doing Favorite and not "Best" here and encouraging you to throw up your own Favorites as well. The purpose of this wasn't to be "my word is law", I was hoping for a more communal offering with this.
And once again, I'm changing it up. 2012 was the first year where I believe I somehow publicly posted a list of Top Films Of 2012. I've found that list (which really wasn't complete as there were a few films I wasn't able to see before we ticked over into 2013). It was a Top 12 of 2012 list. So we're gonna go back and redo my Top 12 and see how it stacks up. Except this time, its just alphabetical, I'm not going to frustrate myself any further dwindling this down and then have to pick an order. Also, at the bottom, a tease for...holy shit...a REAL retrospective series coming up (feels like its been forever!). Anyway, thanks again and enjoy/hate my final list!
Here's the Academy's picks last year
WINNER - Argo
Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Life Of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Here's my Top 12 of 2012 i posted a year ago
Cabin In The Woods
The Sound Of My Voice
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
The Raid: Redemption
And now zoom forward a little over a year...in alphabetical order. And no, its not on here, but I really do like Argo...not one of those that hate every Best Picture winner.
What seemed like a crazy and overambitious idea back in 2008 turned out to be one of the greatest events and superhero movies in history. The opening to the film is a little rough, but not soon after, it gets it together and never lets loose again. This is a big movie that constantly delivers. Its got great action sequences, character beats and plenty of crowd pleasing moments. And the best thing, it wasn't just being "a sucker for Marvel movies" making it great, it truly was a great movie.
The Cabin In The Woods
I freaking love this movie. This is also the movie I garnered a lot of shit for when I posted my list in 2012. And what I discovered...most of these detractors did not understand what the film was. No, its not the scariest horror movie you've ever seen. But if you've watched many horror films, you should probably take note that its one of the smartest. Also one that's deconstructing the formulaic films you've subjected yourself to over the years. And watching and leaving the theater one awesome Saturday morning, I cannot tell you how much fun and excitement myself, my sister and my friend Cullen (the infamous Cullen of A Touch Of Cras) had sitting in a theater watching this movie. We laughed and cheered. It was terrific.
This is one I had not seen before making my list the first time. And if I had, it would have been toward the top. This is a majestic film that really gets your mind going and trying to find this running theme in the movie. Its also beautifully directed by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer. The film is a spectacle in scope to look out, its performed with a high integrity and its got a story you just sort of lose yourself in. And I found that most every storyline in this film is just as engaging as the one you just swapped from. There's some really fun makeup work and costuming. I wish I had the time to watch and study this one more often (its almost 3 hours long), but its one I've found myself coming back to and WANTING to go back to as often as I can.
I don't know why the F&$* this wasn't on my original list. So I'm gonna slap my 2012 self for being a pompous asshole. This film is fantastic and a wonderful addition to the Western genre. Its already one of my all time favorite Westerns. Its got some terrific action and shootouts that would make Sam Peckinpah cheer with excitement. There's grand performances abound and some incredibly great humor. The KKK mask discussion scene had me rolling. Quentin Tarantino, you did a fabulous job here sir. I apologize to you and Aaron Neuwirth for not having this gem on my damn 2012 list. Its because I'm stupid, that's why.
Some people crack me up. There are those that walk into a time travel or sci fi movie that's getting some praise and instantly want and try to tear it down, searching for plot holes and trying to nit pick at problems so as to say "SEE this little minute detail is false or doesn't compute with me, therefore the ENTIRE movie is terrible!" I feel bad for those people. The time travel...its just a device with which to tell the STORY. And in Looper they even tell you not to worry so much about dumb bullshit and people STILL do. Also, this film sets up its own world and rules and indeed plays by them...so there should be no problems. Anyway, this is a terrific little film and features the last good performance I'd seen from one of my all time favorites, Bruce Willis. Look up some of the "problems" and hate for Looper, you'll get yourself a good laugh.
Look, Puff, another Wes Anderson film. And another Bruce Willis one at that. Dude had a good year before tanking in 2013. This was sort of a return to form for Anderson after Darjeerling Limited. And this is an adorable and beautifully told story of young love. This one broke my own rules of making these lists as I don't own it. So, why does it get a pass? I don't own it because I'm holding out hope for that inevitable Criterion Collection edition of the film, that's why. So, yeah, if there wasn't that prospect, it'd be in my Blu-ray collection.
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
This was my Spectacular Now pick of 2012. I completely fell for this coming of age tale. Maybe its because it took place during a time where I grew up...i dunno. I really enjoyed and understood all of the teen characters in this movie in a time where I'm old and some times find difficulty seeing the compassion or liking teen characters and dealing with their bullshit. Its got a fun cast of young kids on the rise and some that have already put in some great work over the years. I probably would have passed this movie up too, had I not seen some praise for it from some surprising places that "perked" my curiosity.
The Raid: Redemption
If you've not seen this movie, go out and rent/buy it this weekend. This is one of, if not THE BEST modern action movie you'll find. It has big stakes, heightened intensity, great choreography and nail biting-heart racing sequences for its entire duration. The film feels so craft and so damn original. I CANNOT WAIT for its sequel. I know Dredd (which came out after) was similar in plot, but it didn't even hold to the magnificent work done on The Raid. If anything, Dredd looked like what Hollywood would have done if they had remade The Raid. Make it a bit more popcorn and remove all the rawness that made The Raid resonate so well and be extremely effective. Dredd is pretty good, but The Raid is GREATNESS.
This little meta movie was a pleasant surprise. Its got a brilliant little script followed by some great performances. Scott Mendelson was on the money saying "One of the best films of 2012" and that Christopher Walken gave one of his career best performances. Also giving a grand performance was Colin Farrell whom I think has long gone underappreciated for the work he does. This is a really fun, unique film that will rise from the ashes in the years to come as one of the best "missed" films of 2012.
The 2nd time I viewed Skyfall, my initial issues I had the with the film slowly withered away and I enjoyed it much much more. And I've come to love this film as much as it shows its love to Bond with tributes in subtle easter egg ways unlike Die Another Day with its on the nose "did ya get that???" type approach. This is the most beautifully filmed Bond movie ever and plays more in the fold of a traditional James Bond movie that many of the previous had. I still this Casino is an overall better film, but Skyfall isn't far behind. I also enjoyed a very nontraditional finale for a Bond film and I do think the film should get more praise for it than jokes ("Bond meets Home Alone!"). This film hit a lot of the right notes in complete stride. Yes, it follows a mold set with The Dark Knight, but Bond has ALWAYS ribbed from something else. And why not take from something that WAS great. It made for a fun time and pretty awesome villain. I dig Skyfall a lot, and while I'm a fan of directors changing hands with Bond, if Mendes returning means Deakins is back behind the lens, then I'm extremely happy.
The Sound Of My Voice
I wasn't a fan of Another Earth, but I loved this one. Brit Marling made a film that I loved and will always go back to. Its an interesting little mystery full of suspense and wonder. Sucks, that aside from movie people, nobody really saw it and probably still haven't. Brit definitely caught my interest as a creator and performer and right now I'll watch everything she's working on for right now (even after I found The East to be pretty disappointing). Go check this one out folks, its really cool. I don't really wanna talk more about it because I think its best not to know a whole lot when going into this one.
Zero Dark Thirty
When I posted my 2009 list, a few of my friends with military backgrounds were quick to reply with their disdain for The Hurt Locker. So, I'm now left to wonder what their thoughts are on this one. Please note fellas, I've not been in the military. With my background I'm judging this purely on cinematic merits. So please forgive me if I'm not privy to noticing some inaccuracies that don't effect my film viewing enjoyment. Yes this is based on true events, but I still judge it as entertainment and as a film first and foremost. Since I live in Indiana, I had to wait til January to finally check this movie out, so it didn't make my 2012 list. I truly thought this was a very captivating experience. It had intrigue, suspense and a nail biter ending for a film whose events I knew the outcome of. That's a pretty awesome achievement Kathryn Bigelow pulled off here (just like the recent Captain Phillips did as well). The final action sequence of the movie was my favorite in a military film since Full Metal Jacket's end sequence. It was brilliantly shot and cut. And lets not forget great performance from the motherfucker that acted in this Jessica Chastain.
So...the list didn't deviate that much...but hey we're really only a little over a year removed from 2012. I hope you've enjoyed this series and maybe I'll try something like it again in the future. But now...wow, its time to get back to franchise retrospectives. Feels like eons since we did one. And it feels even longer since we did one that's connected to something new coming to theaters. And about that next one...
I'll buy that next retrospective for a dollar!