First, in the interest of full disclosure, you should know that I am not actually a full time movie critic and film journalist. No, I write these little articles for rootshed.com on a part-time basis The second thing you need to know is that this was a very busy year in 2012. I got married. I also write books and novels and I had several of those projects going on. As such, I did not get to see every single movie that came out in 2012.
So, that means that some of the big movies that you will hear the official critics put on their best of lists (Argo, Les Miserables, Silver Linings Playbook, etc., etc.) will not be on my list Sure, my lovely bride and I saw a lot of movies this year, but we fell quite short of seeing some of the big ones that are likely to get a bunch of awards this year. Sure, we may catch them on cable and DVD and OnDemand as 2013 rolls around, but you get the idea.
See, in many ways I am just like you. I don’t get invited to advanced screenings. I don’t have a press pass. I see the movies once they hit the local theaters, and I pay my way in just like you do and, just like you, I have a busy life outside of the movies which prevents me from seeing everything.
So, given all that, here are my favorite movies of 2012 – given the fact there are a lot of films I missed:
5. The Hunger Games – I went into this with my eyes all but rolling out of my head. I had been burned bad by being dragged to one of the Twilight films and it was one of the worst movie experiences I had ever had in a movie theater. How good could this movie based on another YA series of novels be? How about, good enough to make me leave the theater and read the books and love them. If 2012 accomplished nothing else, it was the year that actress Jennifer Lawrence became a huge talent and showed that talent to the world. The Hunger Games was exciting, heartbreaking, terrifying and thrilling and I cannot wait to see the second installment.
4. The Amazing Spider-Man – I know, I know, fan boys, you all want to line up and hate this movie. I am a Spider-Man fan from the time I was watching the Electric Company when I was not yet in pre-school. And while I greatly enjoyed the Sam Raimi films, I have to admit to thoroughly and completely enjoying this reboot. I liked Andrew Garfield better as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. I love Emma Stone in pretty much anything she is in, and she was the perfect Gwen Stacy. Even the villain the Lizard was interesting, although probably not as compelling as the Green Goblin. I loved Peter’s vulnerability and yet the hints at the superhero he will become. I even cheered during the potentially cheesy crane-operator scene at the end. My wife and I left the theater smiling and that is key to any superhero flick.
3. The Dark Knight Rises – This movie was marred by the tragedy in Colorado the weekend it came out and by the fact that the movie before it is a masterpiece of the superhero genre and had the most brilliant Heath Ledger performance ever. There are many who enjoy pointing out the plot holes and talking about how bad this movie was, but not me. Sure, the villain Bane may not be as compelling as the Joker, but that is as true in the comic books as the films because the Joker has been around longer and has become one of the greatest villains anywhere of any medium. Despite this, the movie is exciting, thrilling, epic in scope, well acted and a fitting end to the trilogy. Plus, it sets up the inevitable reboot and the fact that there will likely be a Batman character in the planned Justice League movie due out in a few years. Christopher Nolan did himself well by setting the standard for what superhero movies can be and what they should be and this was a fitting final chapter.
2. The Avengers – Joss Whedon stepped up to the plate and took the reigns and then managed to do what many thought would be impossible. He managed to take a number of superheroes who had their own movies and put them together in one movie and make them all interesting, funny, human and exciting. Sure, he used a lot of dramatic angles and other things that film snobs love to point out, but jeez, this was a huge thrill ride that also had plenty of humor and was just, well, excellent. Plus, he even managed to make the Incredible Hulk a viable and interesting character – something that had been tried twice before and failed. The plot was epic involving gods teaming up with aliens to try and take over the planet and that required the world’s greatest heroes to band together and save everyone. I am looking forward to the sequel.
1. Looper – The movie that restored my wife’s faith in movies was one of the best science fiction movies since Inception. It was a movie that tackled the potentially tricky and complex topic of time travel and managed to do it better than even James Cameron in his Terminator movies. How? By having the characters sit down in a diner and plainly state that if they sat down and tried to figure out all of the tricks of time travel, it would take up the rest of the movie and nothing would happen. Just brilliant. It was a movie that shocked, kept you on the edge of your seat, twisted and turned back on itself and was one of the most original concepts and ideas in sci-fi in ages. It was a movie that left me sitting in my seat, in the theater, stunned and then talking about, and thinking about, it for days, weeks, and months after. Of all of the movies I saw in 2012, barring the ones I have yet to see, of course, this was the one I probably enjoyed and would want to see again the most.