Jordan’s Favorite Films of 2012
Wow. Let’s just start this off by saying 2012 has been quite the year in movies. Maybe it’s because this is the first year I’ve actively tried to see every single good movie. While this goal is ambitious (and almost impossible), I’m happy with the movies I have seen. As of this point in time, I’ve seen 96 movies, and this is my attempt to narrow it down to 10 of my favorite ones.
Also, given the timing of this article, I simply haven’t gotten around to some releases (the most notable being Django Unchained, Les Misérables, and Zero Dark Thirty)
Also, props to the first runner-up, Sleepwalk With Me, because I feel horrible about leaving it off this list. So, consider this my top 11 really.
Before we get going, I’d like to point out the word “favorite” in the title, because it eases the stress of convincing you the movie is the “best.” I don’t have a long complicated process of choosing my favorite movies. Instead, I look back and think of my first-time viewing experience (I only saw two of these movies more than once) and the emotional reaction I had. Another huge thing is the re-watchability factor. With the exception of one, I have a huge desire to see all these movies again.
Without further ado, here we go…in reverse order:
10.) Moonrise Kingdom – I was lucky enough to see Wes Anderson’s newest film at the 38th Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). Moonrise Kingdom is the epitome of Anderson’s filmography and has aspects of all his great films. With great standout performances and a cute little romance, it’s a fun little story to watch.
9.) Argo – There are certain movies that have an obvious outcome. Argo has the difficult task of trying to make it still suspenseful even though we know exactly what will happen. Ben Affleck, one of my favorite directors, succeeds in his most politically powerful film to date.
8.) Compliance – This is the one movie I won’t hurry out to watch again because it’s extremely gut-wrenching. Once described as a “bloodless horror movie,” Compliance is a haunting look at how far people will go when they are manipulated by “authority.” And, it’s unfortunately based on a very true story.
7.) Lincoln – It probably helps that Abraham Lincoln is my all-time favorite President, but Lincoln is still fantastic. I went into the theater thinking it would be a biopic of his whole life, but it’s instead a very short period of Lincoln’s life right around the abolition of slavery in the United States. The movie is 2.5+ hours of almost all dialogue, but it’s extremely compelling.
6.) Seven Psychopaths – Martin McDonagh’s newest movie is far-and-away the best comedy of 2012. Then, when you find out it’s a meta dark comedy about a man trying to write a screenplay about seven psychopaths and how his life intersects with these nut cases, it gets even funnier. Add in an awesome Sam Rockwell and always-fantastic Christopher Walken, and it’s a sure-fire hit.
5.) Skyfall – I wish I was more of a James Bond connoisseur, but the sad truth is I’ve only seen the newer ones (mostly). While I’ll admit the Pierce Brosnan Bonds aren’t super-good, I will defend Daniel Craig to the grave. Skyfall is probably my favorite Bond movie, and it’s one of this year’s best action films. It’s got awesome set-pieces, great cinematography, and one fantastic villain. Oh, and it’s very similar to my all-time favorite movie: The Dark Knight.
4.) Looper – Major props to Looper’s marketing campaign for completely ignoring the “bigger picture” of Looper’s plot because it made the movie completely unpredictable. Rian Johnson has created two good/great movies, but Looper outdoes both of them. The concept is extremely fresh (involving a time-travelling hitman), but the little kid (Noah Segan) steals the show.
3.) Beasts of the Southern Wild – This could be what I consider the “best” movie of 2012. Set in Post-Katrina New Orleans (in a place called “The Bathtub”), this movie is a magical coming-of-age fairy tale about a little girl named Hushpuppy. While that may sound like a fantasy movie, it’s a raw look at survival and life after tragedy, and I can’t think of a character I’ve rooted for more than poor little Hushpuppy.
2.) Life of Pi – Deemed the “next Avatar,” I was skeptical entering the theater. I’m not a huge fan of 3-D technology, but I bought into the hype right away. Thank goodness Ang Lee delivered a visual masterpiece (each open-water shot was breathtaking) with an equally breathtaking story. It’s very rare for a movie to be spiritual without sounding preachy, but Life of Pi proves it can happen!
1.) The Dark Knight Rises – This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who knows me. If you can put all feelings for The Dark Knight aside, Christopher Nolan’s final chapter in his Batman trilogy sums it all up perfectly. It truly is the “epic conclusion,” and Bane’s first fight scene with the Caped Crusader is my absolute favorite scene of 2012. As for cinematic experiences, The Dark Knight Rises trumps all other movies this year, and I have no issue calling it my favorite.
There you have it! While there were plenty of other films that deserve recognition, these 10 (or 11) deserve it the most in my opinion.
Now it is your turn though, as I urge you to hit the comments below for your top 10, or any thoughts you had on this year. Thanks for a great year everyone!
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