The Best Films of 2012

2012 has come and gone. While I felt 2011 was just an okay year for film, this year had many great surprises and quiet a bit of upsets. I went in with high hopes for several films, only to be let down.

Tom Hooper side-eyes Quentin Tarantino

Also, this year will be a little different for the list. While I used to rank every film I’ve seen, I’m only going to list the films that were OKAY (Liked enough to admit it), GOOD (my top 13-25) and the BEST (top 12 films in 2012). The films that ended up in the MEH category and the bottom 12 films will not be listed on this site, but can be requested if you know how to reach me personally. I don’t want those listed publicly as you never know who you’ll work with in the future. :)

So without further ado, here is the list of the better to best films of 2012. As always, disagree, agree, whatever… comment on this post and let’s discuss further. You’ll notice some heavy hitters missing from this list so you can assume I either didn’t like them or didn’t catch them.

OKAY (alphabetical order):

21 Jump Street
The Ambassador
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Bernie
Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Celeste and Jesse Forever
The Central Park Five
Chronicle
The Dark Knight Rises
Detention
End of Watch
Flight
Footnote
Frankenweenie
Goon
The Grey
The Impossible
In Darkness
The Innkeepers
Jack Reacher
Jeff, Who Lives at Home
Juan of the Dead
Kumare
Last Days Here
Lincoln
Marley
Michael
Moonrise Kingdom
ParaNorman
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Pina 3D
Promised Land
The Queen of Versailles
A Royal Affair
Robot & Frank
Save the Date
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Seven Psychopaths
Side by Side
Silent House
Skyfall
Smashed
Teddy Bear
Undefeated
West of Memphis

GOOD:

25. Turn Me On, Dammit!
24. Sound of Noise
23. Sleepwalk with Me
22. The Sessions
21. Headhunters
20. Sound of my Voice
19. Searching for Sugar Man
18. Klown
17. Safety Not Guaranteed
16. Ruby Sparks
15. Jiro Dreams of Sushi
14. Cloud Atlas
13. Wreck-It-Ralph

BEST OF 2012:

12. Kill List
11. Compliance
10. Pitch Perfect
09. Life of Pi
08. The Raid: Redemption
07. Silver Linings Playbook
06. The Cabin in the Woods
05. Argo
04. Bullhead
03. Amour
02. Zero Dark Thirty
01. Holy Motors

There it is. Have at it. Tear it apart. Question my tastes all you want, especially by putting Pitch Perfect in my top 10, but that was one of the most enjoyable movie-going experiences of the year.

The Films of 2011

So here I am once again with my yearly list of films that were released theatrically within the calendar year. No, not all these films were watched on the big screen, but instead a mixture of the theater, DVD and streaming was employed. While I thought my viewing habits would have fallen off in the last 12 months, there was actually a slight uptick.

Overall, I think 2011 was a mediocre year. Yeah, there was some great films out there, but there was also a lot of middle ground. The top and bottom ten films were easier to figure out. Those that are in the 26-95 spots, it was a little more difficult for me to figure out what should or shouldn’t go above one another. So if I were to do this a week from now, some stuff might shift up or down. But I’m pretty secure in my top and bottom 10. Semi-sure with the top and bottom 25.

I should quit babbling and get to the list. Here it goes:

121: Red Riding Hood – This Twilight-like version of the Red Riding Hood tale had more laughs for me than anything else. The dialogue was horrible, the acting was horrible and I just couldn’t wait for this to end. If I was there alone I’m 110% certain I would have walked out of this. At least seeing The Room for the millionth time afterwards quickly washed the memory of this movie away until I made the yearly list.
120: Sleeping Beauty – Boring. Pretentious. Not even Emily Browning getting naked could save this flick.
119: Green Lantern – The worst of the super hero films in a long time. The origin story took too long to setup, and once it was going, it felt like a long muddled montage for the second act. Ryan Reynolds, you’re better than this.
118: Kaboom – Gregg Araki is really hit or miss with me. While I loved Mysterious Skin, this film was more on par with Doom Generation… and that’s not a good thing. Well, at least for me.
117: The Dilemma – Was I supposed to laugh? I didn’t. And thankfully Vince was given his contractually obligated speech in the movie…
116: Melancholia – This isn’t a spoiler because you find out in the first five minutes, but a planet is crashing towards Earth that has been hidden behind the sun for many years. The opening five minutes are beautiful before it segues into a boring mess of people being depressed for the next two hours. I just wish Melancholia would have crashed into Earth at the end of the opening credit sequence and saved me from the painstakingly slow two hours.
115: Hall Pass – Hey Farrelly Brothers, what happened to you guys being funny? I need more films like the first three you had out of the gate.
114: Sucker Punch – Emily Browning’s second appearance on the bottom 10. I would go into what I hated about this film, but it would spoil the ending for those who haven’t been subjected to this. This is what Hollywood gets wrong about the Comic Con crowd…
113: Sympathy for Delicious – Mark Ruffalo, please stick to acting. The melodrama in this was just too much.
112: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – See #113 regarding the melodrama note. Such awards-bait that fails on every level.
111: Archie’s Final Project
110: Happythankyoumoreplease
109: Sarah’s Key
108: Scream 4
107: Go For It
106: Restless
105: Hobo with a Shotgun
104: The Roommate
103: Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer
102: Arthur
101: Your Highness
100: The Ledge
99: Beastly
98: Prom
97: The Hangover 2
96: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
95: Just Go With It
94: Good Neighbors
93: Trust
92: The Sitter
91: The Right
90: Thor
89: Beautiful Boy
88: The Change Up
87: Paul
86: Trollhunter
85: Everything Must Go
84: 30 Minutes or Less
83: Green Hornet
82: A Good Old Fashioned Orgy
81: No Strings Attached
80: Pom Wonder Presents: The Greatest Movie Every Sold
79: Machine Gun Preacher
78: Anonymous
77: Paranormal Activity 3
76: Unknown
75: Battle: Los Angeles
74: Super
73: Bad Teacher
72: A Little Help
71: Transformers: Dark side of the Moon
70: Lincoln Lawyer
69: Make Believe
68: A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas 3D
67: Our Idiot Brother
66: Hesher
65: Friends with Benefits
64: The Myth of the American Sleepover
63: Albert Nobbs
62: Captain America: The First Avenger
61: A Horrible Way to Die
60: Limitless
59: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
58: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules
57: Take Me Home Tonight
56: The Last Circus
55: The Help
54: Shame
53: Contagion
52: Pearl Jam Twenty
51: Barney’s Version
50: Horrible Bosses
49: Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop
48: Hugo – I’m sure I’ll get hate for having this so low on the list. It was beautifully shot and I get the message of this being a love letter to cinema… but it was uneven, long, boring, and had two separate and incomplete stories. Had this been directed by any other person this film would NOT be getting the love that is being heaped upon it.
47: Insidious – Had the opportunity to be a top 25 film had it not taken a nose dive tonally in the second half.
46: Another Earth
45: Super 8
44: Exporting Raymond
43: Carnage
42: Red State
41: Young Adult
40: Rango
39: Senna
38: My Week with Marilyn
37: The Beaver
36: Cedar Rapids
35: Tabloid
34: Crazy, Stupid, Love
33: Incendies
32: Beginners
31: Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times
30: Corman’s World
29: War Horse
28: Hanna
27: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
26: Rampart
25: The Muppets
24: The Woman – This was probably the most uncomfortable experience I’ve ever had in a film. I just wanted to yell at the dogs to shut the hell up… but the end. Oh my. Didn’t see it coming… Had this film not given me such a strong reaction it might not of ended up so high on the list.
23: Margin Call
22: Source Code
21: Tucker and Dale Vs Evil
20: Bellflower – Had a chance to be a top 10 film…
19: Finding Joe
18: 13 Assassins
17: Midnight in Paris
16: I Saw the Devil
15: Bridesmaids
14: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
13: Submarine
12: Like Crazy
11: The Tree of Life
10: Moneyball – Maybe I’m influenced by being a lifelong A’s fan… but I still dug this underdog story and have added the book to my must-read list.
9: Rise of the Planet of the Apes – A quick side note, the only Apes film I’ve seen before this was the debacle that was made by Tim Burton. But I loved this film. The best of what tentpoles need to be to keep Hollywood afloat.
8: 50/50 – A great script by Will Reiser who personally went through his own battle with cancer. Somehow this one missed the mark and never found an audience, but hopefully it will end up on more top 10 lists and eventually find an audience. It is a perfect blend of comedy and drama without going into the melodrama that the subject matter could easily bring forth.
7: The Artist – The better love letter to cinema than Hugo.
6: A Separation – I’m calling it now, this should easily win the best Foreign Language Oscar this year. Thankfully this was the last film I watched in 2011 and was glad it could make my list.
5: The Descendants – I’m a life long fan of Payne (and Clooney). Hopefully he doesn’t take as long to make his next film like he did with this after Sideways.
4: Warrior – A film that was botched in its marketing. A griping family drama with two of the best performances of the year: Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte…
3: Attack the Block – Easily the most fun I had at the theaters this year. But the pacing, the action, the non-stereotypical look of the aliens. A total package that also didn’t find an audience here in the states.
2: We need to Talk about Kevin – Tough subject matter that is anchored by award winning performances from Swinton and Ezra Miller. While some might not like it, as a filmmaking standpoint, Lynne Ramsey should be nominated for a directing Oscar.
1: Drive – Tonally all over the place. Violent. Slow. But dammit, it works for me. From the opening chase scene in downtown LA, the slow romance and the out-of-nowhere violence… This film was a fun ride and one of the few films I could watch over again.

Well there you have it. What films did you like/hate? What places was I way off the mark on? Write comments as I’d love to discuss this further…

Here’s hoping 2012 is an even better year of film.

The films of 2009

Well another year of film has come to a close and I’ve sat and ranked out all the films I’ve seen in the calendar year that were released in at least 1 theater.  Looking back at some past lists, would I rank them differently?  Youbetcha, but the older lists are exactly what I felt at the time of the original posting on Myspace/Livejournal/etc.

This year was the first time I’ve actually had a decrease in the overall number of films seen, but still averaging over 2 films a week is a decent amount (which some might say is even excessive.)

So this is all open to debate.  Not sure why I ranked something so high or low, leave a comment.  Call me an idiot or give me praise, I don’t care.  This list has been set in stone for a couple days now and the only thing I have changed was my original bottom 15 ranking of Avatar.  Yes I hated the film, but I hated it because of the story, but the visual was amazing.  I’m sure a lot of the love it is receiving now will change once people see it on the small screen without all the glitz and glamour.  But I moved it higher on the list because it is such a visual masterpiece, which isn’t that what film is all about… “Show it don’t say it.”

So here is the list:

  1. (500) Days of Summer
  2. The Hurt Locker
  3. Inglorious Basterds
  4. Up
  5. The Hangover
  6. Moon
  7. Anvil! The Story of Anvil
  8. Zombieland
  9. Sin Nombre
  10. Disctrict 9
  11. Up in the Air
  12. Paranormal Activity
  13. The Messenger
  14. Crazy Heart
  15. Star Trek
  16. The Lovely Bones
  17. I Love You, Man
  18. Tyson
  19. A Serious Man
  20. The Informant!
  21. Grace
  22. Drag Me to Hell
  23. World’s Greatest Dad
  24. Julie and Julia
  25. Whatever Works
  26. Taken
  27. Precious
  28. The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans
  29. Monsters Vs. Aliens
  30. Black Dynamite
  31. Michael Jackson’s: This is It
  32. Friday the 13th
  33. Extract
  34. Coraline
  35. Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince
  36. Food, Inc.
  37. Sherlock Holmes
  38. Adventureland
  39. Brothers
  40. Fired Up
  41. Thirst
  42. The Proposal
  43. The Young Victoria
  44. Sugar
  45. Notorious
  46. The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard
  47. State of Play
  48. 17 Again
  49. The Slammin’ Salmon
  50. Fanboys
  51. Sunshine Cleaning
  52. Public Enemies
  53. Gigantic
  54. The Uninvited
  55. Management
  56. The Invention of Lying
  57. Shrink
  58. Duplicity
  59. Pirate Radio
  60. The Great Buck Howard
  61. I Love You, Beth Cooper
  62. The Haunting in Connecticut
  63. Dance Flick
  64. The Marc Pease Experience
  65. Miss March
  66. Where The Wild Things Are
  67. The Road
  68. Hotel for Dogs
  69. Race to Witch Mountain
  70. He’s Just Not That Into You
  71. G-Force
  72. Humpday
  73. Obsessed
  74. Knowing
  75. Funny People
  76. Avatar
  77. Bruno
  78. The Brothers Bloom
  79. The Canyon
  80. Skills Like This
  81. Observe and Report
  82. Terminator Salvation
  83. Jennifer’s Body
  84. The Unborn
  85. It’s Complicated
  86. Paper Heart
  87. Confessions of a Shopaholic
  88. The International
  89. Donkey Punch
  90. New in Town
  91. Halloween 2
  92. Away we Go
  93. Bride Wars
  94. Crank: High Voltage
  95. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
  96. Spread
  97. Transylmania
  98. 2012
  99. The Ugly Truth
  100. The Fourth Kind
  101. The Girlfriend Experience
  102. The Blind Side
  103. Land of the Lost
  104. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li
  105. Push
  106. Year One
  107. My Bloody Valentine 3D
  108. Watchmen
  109. The Last House on the Left
  110. G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra
  111. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
  112. Paul Blart: Mall Cop

1. (500) Days of Summer

2. The Hurt Locker

3. Inglorious Basterds

4. Up

5. The Hangover

6. Moon

7. Anvil! The Story of Anvil

8. Zombieland

9. Sin Nombre

10. Disctrict 9

11. Up in the Air

12. Paranormal Activity

13. The Messenger

14. Crazy Heart

15. Star Trek

16. The Lovely Bones

17. I Love You, Man

18. Tyson

19. A Serious Man

20. The Informant!

21. Grace

22. Drag Me to Hell

23. World’s Greatest Dad

24. Julie and Julia

25. Whatever Works

26. Taken

27. Precious

28. The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans

29. Monsters Vs. Aliens

30. Black Dynamite

31. Michael Jackson’s: This is It

32. Friday the 13th

33. Extract

34. Coraline

35. Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince

36. Food, Inc.

37. Sherlock Holmes

38. Adventureland

39. Brothers

40. Fired Up

41. Thirst

42. The Proposal

43. The Young Victoria

44. Sugar

45. Notorious

46. The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard

47. State of Play

48. 17 Again

49. The Slammin’ Salmon

50. Fanboys

51. Sunshine Cleaning

52. Public Enemies

53. Gigantic

54. The Uninvited

55. Management

56. The Invention of Lying

57. Shrink

58. Duplicity

59. Pirate Radio

60. The Great Buck Howard

61. I Love You, Beth Cooper

62. The Haunting in Connecticut

63. Dance Flick

64. The Marc Pease Experience

65. Miss March

66. Where The Wild Things Are

67. The Road

68. Hotel for Dogs

69. Race to Witch Mountain

70. He’s Just Not That Into You

71. G-Force

72. Humpday

73. Obsessed

74. Knowing

75. Funny People

76. Avatar

77. Bruno

78. The Brothers Bloom

79. The Canyon

80. Skills Like This

81. Observe and Report

82. Terminator Salvation

83. Jennifer’s Body

84. The Unborn

85. It’s Complicated

86. Paper Heart

87. Confessions of a Shopaholic

88. The International

89. Donkey Punch

90. New in Town

91. Halloween 2

92. Away we Go

93. Bride Wars

94. Crank: High Voltage

95. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

96. Spread

97. Transylmania

98. 2012

99. The Ugly Truth

100. The Fourth Kind

101. The Girlfriend Experience

102. The Blind Side

103. Land of the Lost

104. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li

105. Push

106. Year One

107. My Bloody Valentine 3D

108. Watchmen

109. The Last House on the Left

110. G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra

111. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

112. Paul Blart: Mall Cop