Top 10 Movies of 2012
For the past 18 years of my life, I’ve created a yearly list of my favorite movies. This shouldn’t shock you, mostly because I am a white guy who wears glasses and drives a Prius. But my ritual also involves a bit of OCD that I battle, since I think if I don’t complete one, my mom will die. But I do also like writing about movies and why stop now? (bites fingers nervously, looks around). This list used to be confined to my parents’ fridge with a magnet, but now, thanks to the Internet, my parents divorced and sold that fridge. Wait, what?
Anyway, some things to get out of the way…
This is MY list. Not yours. Like how you have HPV and I don’t (that’s a stat, not arguable). If you want to make your own list, become as self-important as me, and write your own. I made some controversial decisions (I’m sure my #1 will infuriate you), and I’m fine with it. It’s jumped between 10-20 total movies, depending on the year’s selection pool. If you want to know my taste, you can follow me around for 6 months, or just look at last year’s list…
2011 - http://jensenkarp.tumblr.com/post/15202668206/my-top-10-movies-of-the-year
I wouldn’t call 2012 a “great year for film.” Mostly because I’m not a pompous asshole talking to his friend at Starbucks, using the words “year for film.” I loved my bottom 5, but I don’t even think the rest would’ve made last year’s list, or 2010. But I did see more movies this year than any past year I could remember. That probably means something, or just says that I’m old now and like seeing the “moving pictures,” while kids do dumb dances at clubs with one name and text each other pictures of dicks. I did miss some movies though, and those are listed below as well. So, here we go, my top 10 movies of 2012.
10. Flight – I didn’t know much about Flight going in, outside of it involving a plane crash and being Denzel’s first movie where he’s not on a train. What I found out fast is that the movie is an intense character study about addiction and the lies told in order to cover up the disease. Time hasn’t been kind to Flight, as it’s been completely forgotten during Awards season, but I hope somehow Denzel gets recognition for this movie because he’s PLANE awesome in it! *puts on sunglasses, drinks bleach, begins to write a suicide letter that apologizes for pun, dies mid-sentence, tombstone reads “He liked Flight”*
9. Sleepwalk With Me – Comedian Mike Birbiglia turned his one-man off-Broadway show and first book into a touching and hilarious true-to-life movie about his REM Sleep Behavior Disorder. I had never heard any of Mike’s stories on NPR, mostly because I’m addicted to Howard Stern and hearing Kay Slay’s homophobic rants on Shade 45, so all of this – and Birbiglia in general – was new to me. I was blown away by his ability to mix humor and all out depressive medical conditions, as it speaks directly to me. Cameos from some of your favorite comedians including Marc Maron, Wyatt Cenac, Jessi Klein and the voice of Hannibal Buress, help walk the line between reality and fiction, the same way Birbiglia unwillingly has walked that line in his life. This recently hit Netflix Instant, so expect to hear a lot more people talking about it soon like it’s new.
8. Les Misérables – I JUST learned how to type an accent into Word. JUST NOW. For this. I’m 33 years old. You’d think I’d have learned how to do that before this. How did it never come up? Did you guys all know how? I bet people who work at IKEA know how to type accents. They have to, or else they’d work at World Market. Anyway, Les Mis was good, especially since I was forced to go by my girlfriend. I had never read the book, saw the play, or heard the music before. I cried during the last scené. Fuck you, I JUST learned how to do the accent, I’m using it whenever I want. Also, Anne Hathaway has a wéird mouth.
7. The Master – Paul Thomas Anderson has a former #1 with “There Will Be Blood,” and since he tackled/kind of tackled Scientology in this movie, it caught my interest from the moment it was announced. This is another specific character study in essence, where we follow a returned Naval veteran, suffering from serious Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and completely lost in life, until he is taken in by a mysterious man and his slowly developing cult. The Master details the way manipulation occurs within religion, which I find interesting and although it lacks the intense, somewhat full circle storytelling I love most from Anderson (Boogie Nights vs. Magnolia), it’s my #7. HOLLYWOOD INSIDER INFO: if you look close, you’ll see Danny Masterson CGI’d into most of the cult meetings.
6. Beasts of the Southern Wild – The debut feature film from my new favorite director whose name I can’t pronounce, Benh Zeitlin, is wildly impressive. A young girl, named Hushpuppy, faces a flooded hometown and a tough love father, all in order to grow up and learn some hard life lessons. It cost under $2 million to make, which might be the most mind-blowing aspect, since the Waterworld stunt show at Universal Studios cost more to produce, and that looks like shit. Really beautiful story, locations and performances, so don’t miss this one.
5. Argo – Writer/director Affleck continues to make us forget we sort of hate actor Affleck. His third of 3 consecutive movies to be on my list, but the first without underground white rapper Slaine in it. Political and funny like Wolf Blitzer’s name, Argo also stars John Goodman & Alan Arkin acting like your dad and your dad’s best friend. In addition, you have Coach Taylor, Walter White & the Faruza Balk-ish girl that was on the HBO circus show – so it may have been casted by just yelling “Who do you think is awesome?” at random people. Remember when Ben Affleck got fake teeth to be in Armageddon? This is way more subtle and smart.
4. Silver Linings Playbook – Have you ever seen the pictures of Bradley Cooper when he played Elephant Man off-Broadway? No? Look here. So stupid, right? Anyway, I’ve never really been a fan of that dude. But David O. Russell is one of my absolute favorite writer/directors (with Flirting With Disaster, Three Kings, Huckabees and The Fighter all being list alumni), so I was ready to give this one a shot. The same reason some people hate this movie, is the reason I love it. People see it as schlock, or soft Awards bait, but I disagree. I see this movie as the perfect mix between I Heart Huckabees and The Fighter, able to create universal family-oriented subject matter (that yes, wins awards) and still place it in a quirky, off-kilter world. The universe that Russell creates is so odd and somewhat unexplainable (the “villain” is always at the main characters’ house, hanging out & having fun), that it’s almost like he made an alt-comedy Oscar winner. I’m excited to watch this again to fully dissect the David O. Russell signatures in a movie that at first might just seem sappy.
3. Looper – Sometimes my lists in the past have been very much dependent on the amount of fun I had in the theater, which is why this is in my bottom 5 and you are sort of snickering. Last year’s number 1, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” is a prime example of that edge. When I saw “Avatar,” I had zero fun. Like watch your family member get murdered type of experience for me. So it didn’t make the list. This year, I had a shit ton of fun seeing Looper, and that’s why it’s my #3. It felt fresh and new, and I guess with Rian Johnson’s other two movies (Brick & The Brothers Bloom) being past listees, this shouldn’t be too shocking. But it was the kind of Sci-fi I like, where you’re almost rewarded for paying attention. Johnson’s dystopic future was filled with small details that were fun to notice, kinda shitty make-up for JGL to look like Bruce Willis, and Asian actors everywhere, which was nice to see (I’m looking at you, Cloud Atlas). I’m eagerly awaiting Rian’s next movie and look forward to watching this again soon, since it just came out on Blu-ray and I also have OCD about buying DVDs/Blu-rays of the movies I like, as if it were 2002.
2. Django Unchained – Quentin Tarantino wore Wu-Wear to the NY Hurricane Sandy Tribute. You’ve read enough about this movie, and hopefully have seen it by now, so let’s just focus on his wardrobe for most of this. He dresses in suits or like an 8th grader in 1995. When he’s not reminding us he wrote & directed Reservoir Dogs with a skinny tie, he wears jeans that are baggy enough to paint your house in and Kangol hats like Sam Jackson gave him a pass. It’s remarkable that such good shit comes out of a man with such terrible taste. I LOVED this movie, and had a ton of fun seeing it on the big screen. If there was some way to remove that god-awful Tupac/James Brown mash-up he picked for one of the last scenes, I’m not sure I’d even have one gripe with it. WU-WEAR, people.
1. Moonrise Kingdom – And just like that, I lose all my credibility. Like when you found out that Billy Corgan dated Tila Tequila. It’s all bullshit, right? Well, fuck you. I loved this movie and I just don’t understand why people have to hate heartfelt shit now. If it has any sign of sincerity, we have to snark at it. And the love we all used to have for Wes Anderson seems to have disappeared all because Instagram made it possible for girls taking photos of their brunch to have a similar look? How dare it be somewhat twee! This movie was fun and kept me entertained for all 94 minutes, which is a perfect running time btw (I’m looking at you, Cloud Atlas). A Wes Anderson #1 is both to celebrate this movie, my favorite of the year, and also to tell you people to loosen the fuck up.
Honorable Mention (no particular order): The Grey, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, 21 Jump Street, Jeff Who Lives At Home, The Cabin in the Woods, The Avengers, Safety Not Guaranteed, Magic Mike, The Imposter, The Queen of Versailles (would’ve been my #11 if I weirdly picked top 11 movies of the year), ParaNorman, Arbitrage, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Frankenweenie, Holy Motors, Skyfall, Hitchock, Life of Pi, Zero Dark Thirty, Killer Joe, Pitch Perfect, Little Birds
I have not seen (which in turn might make my list shit): Lincoln, Seven Psychopaths, The Hobbit, Amour, Promised Land
Movie you loved, that I hated: Dark Knight Rises