First the worst:
Savages – 1/10 [prior post]. Savages earns the distinction of “Clearly the Worst” Movie of the Year. My version of a Razzie if you will.
Now that we have that out of the way, an explanation: 2012 was a breakout movie-watching year for me. I am listing here all movies that I can recall seeing in a theater during the 2012 calendar year. There may be a movie or two here that were actually released in 2011, but that I saw in 2012. I am also including a couple movies that I saw this year but which were 2012 releases. And I saw one or two 2012 releases via Apple TV this year, but I am not including them in this list. Notably then, off this list are Salmon Fishing in the Yemen [prior post] and Take This Waltz [prior post], though maybe I should include those as well. I doubt that seeing either of those in the theater would have boosted my opinion of them.
Hope that makes sense to everybody. This is not just a “Best of 2012” list but a listing of everything I’ve seen for 2012. If I watch any more 2012 movies in a theater, I’ll amend this list.
So, continuing on with the bad ones and getting progressively better:
The Grey – 1/10. This one deserves special mention on two counts. First off, as runner up to worst of the year. Secondly, as to why it is I am writing this blog. This movie was heralded by nationally known critic A.O. Scott as a “NYT Critics’ Pick”, stating “It’s a fine, tough little movie, technically assured and brutally efficient, with a simple story that ventures into some profound existential territory without making a big fuss about it.”
No it doesn’t. It’s a big stinky trash-heap of a movie. Awful. Like Jaws 3-D but with wolves. Except not even in 3-D. If it hadn’t taken itself so seriously it might have made a good B-movie farce. Moving onward:
Battleship – 2/10. Gets a little credit for some cool special effects.
Looper – 2/10. Good preview though
The Hunger Games – 3/10
Prometheus – 3/10
Silver Linings Playbook – 3/10 [prior post]
Lincoln – 3/10 [prior post]
Skyfall – 4/10 [prior post]
The Dark Knight Rises and its twin The Avengers – both 4/10
Melancholia – 5/10. Saw this in Tucson a year ago. A disappointing retreat by Lars von Trier, though with extraordinary elements.
The Master – 5/10. Worth seeing for Joaquin Phoenix’s acting, probably the best male acting performance of the year. A lot to recommend this one, but it didn’t come together as a complete picture. [prior post]
Barbara – 5/10 [prior post]
Arbitrage – 6/10
== ==== Now on to the good stuff! ==== ==
Beasts of the Southern Wild – 6/10. As time has gone by I have thought better and better of this movie. You’ll definitely see some things you never have before and never will again. [prior post]
Flight – 7/10 [prior post]
The Campaign – 7/10. Funny with lots of good-natured bad language.
Neighboring Sounds – 7/10 [prior post]
Safety Not Guaranteed – 8/10. Fun, intriguing, interesting little movie.
Moonrise Kingdom – 8/10. Wes Anderson returns to form.
Bernie – 8/10. Jack Black is excellent in this true story. An extraordinary tale, even more worthwhile if you are not familiar with what really happened, as unfortunately I was due to an NPR interview which gave away too much. Really one of the best of the year.
Rock of Ages and Les Misérables – this is a tie; both 8/10 [prior post]. Who would have thought that two musicals released in 2012 would be so good?
Argo – 8/10. Lincoln could learn a thing or two from this one on how to present a historical movie that works. [prior post]
The Cabin in the Woods – 8/10 [prior post]. A very effective sci-fi thriller that comes in at No. 3
Sound of My Voice – 9/10. I’ll be posting on this one and the related and also excellent Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011) at some point in the future. Released in April, for most of 2012 I thought it the best of the year and was developing a theory on 2012 in movies around the concept of an inverse relation of budget to quality, as this is about as low budget as a still professionally made film can get. It was knocked to No. 2 when I saw:
Django Unchained – 9/10 and Clearly the Best Movie of the Year. [prior post]
And that’s it. If I’ve left anything off I’ll update later. Your comments are welcome as always.