Here it is, the last of our end of the year lists. And no, it does not pertain to music. We know we are a music blog, but we do also have a strong passion for the more visually exciting end of the entertainment industry as well. This was a bit of a difficult year for us to agree on, especially because we have not all seen the same movies, or for that matter, even all the movies we’d like to have seen. So in these instances, some were missed and some were snubbed. In any right, here was what we came up with for our favorites of 2012:
If you are like us, you are probably extremely sick of all the reboots, the remakes, the retools, the sequels, the threequels, and yes, even the prequels. Enough is enough right? Come up with an original storyline every once in a while. This is the attitude I carried into the theater with me while walking in to see Prometheus. Walking out, my mind was shaken. I had thought I was going into an Alien prequel, which in fact I did, yet it didn’t feel as such. Not at all. In fact it actually felt like a completely original and extremely cerebral plot line. Sure the ending quickly tacked on a quick segue into the Alien series (or possibly the next sequel to the prequel … those are things now too apparently), but stir the complex/thought provoking storyline together with an incredibly talented all-star cast, as well as the best visual effects bar-none I’ve ever seen and (as Carl Weathers might say) “baby, you got yoself a stew goin’!” Props to Ridley for taking his original creation and making yet another original creation out of it.
Most Memorable Quote: “Big things have small beginnings.”
9. Life of Pi
Life of Pi was the most visually stunning film to be released in 2012 this side of Prometheus. Ang Lee may seem like mostly a hack lately, but under his steady direction, Life of Pi was brought to the big screen as an undeniable success. The CGI animals were great, the human actors well-cast, and the story itself is positively timeless. Welcome back Ang.
Most Memorable Quote: “With one word, my name went from an elegant French swimming pool to a stinking Indian latrine – I was pissing everywhere.”
To be completely honest, Lincoln was not what I had hoped. But then again, what more could I have hoped for? The acting was perfect. The photography was brilliant, most scenes looked like a painting from history. There was even a very appropriate amount of comical relief in the midst of one of the most serious issues our nation has ever struggled with (thank God for James Spader). Still, the movie was titled Lincoln so I suppose I just wanted a little more OF Lincoln. Then I realized, that’s all America ever really wanted in the first place … more of this incredible leader. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case in either situation, but the bodies of work we were given in both instances I think proves better than we can ever even fully grasp. An incredible man, and an incredible story.
Most Memorable Quote: “The most liberating constitutional amendment in history, passed by corruption, aided and abetted by the purest man in America.”
7. Dark Knight Rises
So here you can “ditto” my introduction to Prometheus. The thing that drastically separates the two, is that Batman is a children’s superhero. Now it’s no secret that Christopher Nolan has elevated superhero movies to being much more than that of an action thriller spectacle. He demands a little intelligence from his crowd, and has taken what had turned into a Joel Schumacher broadwayesque, glitz and glamour, all-singing, all-dancing crap of the superhero cinema world and turned it into something of substance. Something of timely importance with some thought and a message behind it. He also gave actors a reason to pursue what the inside of a hero truly is. And even more so, what it takes to be a villain. I may be biased because Batman has been my favorite superhero since age 3, but I couldn’t ask for a better way to see the Dark Knight portrayed. As for Tom Hardy, trying to follow in the infamous Ledger’s mind-boggling performance can be no easy task, especially for a bland villain such as Bane. However, he stepped up to the challenge and literally crushed it. Bonus points for being one of the coolest villain voices since Darth Vadar.
Most Memorable Quote: “We take Gotham from the corrupt! The rich! The oppressors of generations who have kept you down with myths of opportunity, and we give it back to you… the people.”
6. The Master
After There Will Be Blood, Paul Thomas Anderson, who in my opinion has proved to be “the master” of his craft in this day and age, was given one of the hardest tasks for a creative artist to accomplish: Topping your greatest achievement. Personally, I don’t think he did that with The Master, but he did a damn fine job trying. It takes a muscle to create a movie such as this with today’s cookie-cutter expectation of hook, act I, act II, climax, and resolution story lines. Not only that, but with this movie he was taking on one of the most sneakily acquainted associations to Hollywood. Scientology. But Paul Thomas Anderson has proved unconventional methods work in the past, and he has only done it yet again with The Master. There is more to this movie than perfect aesthetics, a chillingly perfect score, and two of the greatest acting performances of the year in my opinion (i.e. Joaquin Phoenix and Phillip Seymour Hoffman). There is dying desire to explore and understand truth, emotions, and even basic human instinct. And above all the desire to know who, or maybe what, really is “the master”.
Most Memorable Quote: “If you figure out a way to live without a master, any master, be sure to let the rest of us know, for you would be the first in the history of the world.”
5. Silver Linings Playbook
David O’Russell has mastered the dysfunctional family film with The Fighter’s mix of sports film and addiction drama and Silver Linings Playbook’s mixture of romantic comedy and mental illness. It doesn’t hurt that Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are mesmerizing, and Robert De Niro is the best he has been in a long, long time.
Most Memorable Quote: “You’re not a standup guy today, Pat!”
4. Zero Dark Thirty
There are a few movies I’ve seen in my life where, no matter how much I like the film, after seeing it, I question whether I ever want to see it again. Again not that I didn’t enjoy it, but because it was so emotionally tolling or stressful to watch. This was one of those movies. I’ve never really thought anything of Kathryn Bigelow. I think she is a below average director that makes cheesy, boring movies. However with Zero Dark Thirty, she was given a task that she literally could not fail. This story is so intensely gripping that at some points that I literally had to tell my body to begin breathing on its own again … and I knew the ending. Aside from accepting the job, Kathryn’s next best move was her casting decisions. I felt like every person on screen was actually portraying themselves. Which for Jessica Chastain, had to be incredibly tolling.
Most Memorable Quote: “I’m the motherf**ker who found this place!”
Ben Affleck proves once again he is worth a damn, in the director’s chair and on stage in this gripping political thriller based on a seemingly ridiculous true story. Affleck captures the weight and suspense with a smoothly cut mix of real and filmed shots of the hostage situation blended with an entertaining and brilliant cast makes for one of the most enjoyable films of the year.
Most Memorable Quote: “So you want to come to Hollywood, act like a big shot … without actually doing anything? … You’ll fit right in!”
For your money, you simply cannot not be more entertained than the 165 minutes you will spend watching Django Unchained. To be fair, I would be supremely entertained just watching 165 minutes of Christoph Waltz speaking, but that’s a whole different article. Django may not be Tarantino’s “best work yet” as he declared in the final words of Inglorious Basterds, but it isn’t far from it. This movie also has probably sparked me having more controversial arguments in the past mere weeks since its release than I’ve ever had with any movie, ever. But I consider this to be a good thing. All lead and supporting actors performances were totally on point, all of them superb, and the action and the humor never cease. Will Smith turned down the roll of Django to keep his family friendly image alive, which is a shame, but we can’t be too upset because Jamie Foxx pulled out the performance of his life.
Most Memorable Quote: “The D is silent, hillbilly!”
1. Beasts of Southern Wild
The most stirring movie I have seen in years. This movie rocked me to my core. Movies like this come around once a decade, and I only hope to God this one doesn’t go unnoticed by the masses. Filmed on a shoe-string budget, Benh Zeitlin and his crew at Court 13 set out on a mission to tell a tale of hope, love, and life in a poverty-stricken disaster zone located outside New Orleans. They succeeded, and accomplished so much more. The camera is raw and real and perfect. The actors, the same. In fact none were actually even considered actors before this movie, but that just goes to show you how overrated hiring actual actors can be. It’s all about the casting, and Behn casted this movie impeccably well. Quvenzhané Wallis may be the best child actor to come into the existence of cinema. Perhaps the most chilling aspect of the film is the fact that this six year old girl, despite having absolutely nothing, and never seeing anything outside of “the Bathtub”, seems to understand the importance of people loving one another and working together above everything else. Yet still we as Americans can look at this film and think “third world country” … when the fact is that this is Louisiana.
Most Memorable Quote: “The whole universe depends on everything fitting together just right. If one piece busts, even the smallest piece, the whole universe will get busted … I see that I am a little piece of a big, big universe, and that makes it right.”
The “just missed out list” list:
I have only viewed Ted once, but it was the cause of the loudest laughing theatre I’ve heard since Wedding Crashers. The premise is simple, but well executed, and the solid cast all bought into it. And sure, Ted himself may have the voice of Peter Griffin, but after a short adjustment it doesn’t detract. I’m not sure yet whether Ted is a repeatably watchable classic, but for right now in my mind it is comedic perfection.
Most Memorable Quote: “No matter how big a splash you make in this world whether you’re Corey Feldman, Frankie Muniz, Justin Bieber or a talking teddy bear, eventually, nobody gives a shit.”
Wes: Les Miserables
Wes tried to decide between two very different movies in sci-fi thriller Looper and redemptive musical Les Miserables, but ended up deciding on Les Miserables because of the strength of Anne Hathaway’s performance, he believes was the single best supporting role of the year.
Most Memorable Quote: “Master of the house, do de do de dooo” … obviously
Todd: Moonrise Kingdom
If I’m being honest, I’ve always found Wes Anderson to be slightly overrated. He tells similar stories, using his same niche actors, niche set design, niche wardrobe, niche camera style, and niche melodramatic style in every movie he’s ever made. His movies all basically boil down to the same similar constructs, and it’s not that they aren’t good, but you can’t just copy yourself your whole career. Well without changing formula, he managed to still hit his stride with this one. Every niche moment Wes has ever used in a movie seemed to be on point in Moonrise Kingdom. Every line, every song, every angle of every shot, every color, every actor, to each actress, even down to his stereotypical grandiose slow motion moment … everything was the best its ever been. While not his most comedic, I’d say it’s his most heartfelt film to date. Although I am still convinced it’s just a lose adaptation of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with a happier ending.
Most Memorable Quote: …
Sundance: “I can’t swim!”
Butch: (rolls over laughing) “Are you nuts?! The fall will prolly kill ya!”
… Think about it.