*Note this an old post from another website I write for. I’ve since seen End Of Watch and I’d bump Life Of Pi off the list and replace it with End Of Watch*
I find it incredibly daunting to make a Top 10 list. Who am I to say what the “best” films of the year were? I mean, I enjoyed Project X so … a “Best Of” list is completely subjective to your taste and your taste only. So, this list is my Top 10 Favorite Films of 2012 because we won’t agree on what movies were the best, but you can yell at me for including Les Miserable on my favorites list without getting mad that I called it the best. 2012 was an exceptional year for film because it brought back excitement to cinema. 2011 was a solid year for film as well, but it wasn’t exciting. I think that excitement is well documented in how diverse my Top 10 list is. Let the games begin! (I went there)
Honorable Mentions: 21 Jump Street, Celeste & Jesse Forever, Safety Not Guaranteed, The Dark Knight Rises, Cloud Atlas and Cabin In The Woods, The Grey, Pitch Perfect and Skyfall.
10. The Avengers
How else to kick off this list than with the biggest movie of the year? It was a tough choice between this or Cloud Atlas but considering I paid to watch The Avengers x5 in theatres, it earned its spot. The Avengers isn’t perfect, obviously, but it succeeded in making superhero movies fun again for the first time in forever. If you didn’t lose yourself over “Hulk smash”, I can’t help you.
9. The Master
If you listen closely you can hear no one talking about The Master anymore. When early buzz about award season had begun, everyone had money on The Master. After coming out of TIFF with praise and breaking box office records during its opening weekend, it seemed like this film was unstoppable. Then the general audiences saw the movie and were confused, disappointed and confused. Then Joaquin said he didn’t want an Oscar and, at this point, that wish seems to have been granted. I find it hard to ignore a film that is as exceptionally well made as this one and has some of the year’s best performances (Adams, Phoenix and Hoffman are all equally brilliant).
I’ve been going back and forth trying to decide whether I enjoyed ParaNorman or Wreck-It Ralph more. Ultimately, while I loved Wreck-It Ralph, I found that ParaNorman affected me more. ParaNorman is stunningly animated film and a load of fun, but more than that, there is something fresh and exciting about it that was lacking from the other animated films this year. Also, I just feel like this film was personally made for me. Thanks everyone involved!
7. Silver Linings Playbook
Silver Linings was the Blackberry People’s Choice Winner at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. It was the last film I saw at the festival and once the credits had rolled I was sure I wouldn’t have seen a better film this year. I was wrong, obviously, but that doesn’t take away from how much I enjoyed the film. There isn’t much that’s original about Silver Linings but what it lacks in originality it more than makes up for with it’s giant heart and exceptional performances. Maybe I like this movie so much because not only is it the first time DeNiro has memorably shown up to work in years but also because Bradley Cooper says “look at me, I can act” and he does so with an exclamation mark. Also: I cried. I cried hard.
6. Life Of Pi
Who would’ve thought that a film I never wanted to see because I didn’t enjoy the book would end up being in my Top 10? Life Of Pi is not only a visually stunning film, but it’s one of the most entertaining pictures I’ve seen all year and it never loses its strong narrative. Also: I cried. I cried hard.
5. Perks Of Being A Wallflower
I had completely written off the film adaptation of Perks when I had read the names of the actors who’d been cast. Paul Rudd wasn’t my Mr. Anderson. Emma Watson wasn’t my Sam and Logan Lerman was definitely not my Charlie. Then the trailer was released and I still couldn’t invest an ounce of myself in this seemingly careless adaptation of one of my favorite books. I had missed one small, very important detail: author of the book, Stephen Chbosky, had written and directed the film adaptation. That’s all I needed. Perks of Being A Wallflower is the film John Hughes would’ve made. It’s the film you need to see. It’s a film I really loved.
Hollywood loves a comeback, and you have that in Ben Affleck. But can we even call it a comeback anymore? Can he just be a fantastic director now? Argo is one of the few films this year that is, arguably, almost perfect. It is incredibly well paced, acted and directed and I’m waiting for the spin-off with Alan Arkin and John Goodman being amazing for 2 hours.
3. Les Miserables
Well, we’ve come to that point on my list. Les Miserables is one of the more divisive films of the year. Either you loved it or absolutely loathed it and there really isn’t any in between and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’ve never seen any iteration of Les Mis so I can’t tell you if it’s the truest or best film adaptation of the beloved musical. As a film, Les Miserable is, at times, a messy, overcooked turkey. But… it’s also an ambitious, beautiful, captivating epic film that took my breath away. It’s filled with two of the year’s best performances (Jackman, Hathaway) and for what’s basically a 3-hour song (very little dialogue… you’ve been warned) I ended up loving it.
2. Django Unchained
The D is silent, you hillbilly. Movies seemed longer than ever in 2012, right? Some of them seemed like they were never going to end (Hey, Lincoln!) and others completely justified their running time. Django is a bloody, dark, twisted, hilarious callback to the Westerns of yore, Tarantino style. Christoph Waltz is magnetic and Jamie Foxx gives a subtlety captivating performance. Also: is there a better soundtrack for a film this year? No.
When I was making this list I was wondering what would be my personal #1 for the year. Moonrise Kingdom is the film that kept coming to mind every time I thought about it. Moonrise Kingdom is the kind of Wes Anderson film I love where it’s quirky enough without being completely polarizing. Moonrise Kingdom has so much heart and joy that you can’t help but smile the entire time. At its core, the film is a story about teenage love getting torn apart, done in a hilarious, sweet manner and who can’t relate to that? It has Anderson’s signature style written all over it but this time it felt like he’s matured. It’s a film I can’t stop thinking about it and has stuck with me ever since I saw it.