I have to admit that I love doing year-end lists. However, just a quick glance at my picks for 2012 will probably cause some of you to question my taste in films. It’s understandable. But while I did see quite a few of this year’s releases (well, as usual I skipped anything with the R rated banner out of personal preference), it was tough to pick 10 films that I loved. Among the semi-anticipated that was disappointing were films like The Bourne Legacy and Moonrise Kingdom, while movies like Les Mis or anything Twilight are being more avoided than anything.
With that said, there are at least two movies that could have potential to make this list that I just never got around to seeing: Jack Reacher and Wreck-It Ralph. I could see the latter especially making the list somewhere, but I still haven’t seen them by the time this goes to post.
OK, here are my personal top picks of 2012:
10. TIE: Wrath of the Titans / Dark Shadows – This wasn’t one of those years where I had a hard time deciding which 10 movies were going to make my list because I loved so many; it’s one of those years where I’m not sure I really loved 10 films to list. Here are two critically panned by decent popcorn movies that I found at the very least entertaining and I feel they go hand-in-hand in the sense that they’re easily rewatchable fluff. Wrath of the Titans was considerably better than its predecessor remake, but it’s still mostly just an effects-heavy no-brainer. Meanwhile, Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows did take me by surprise. It’s, again, not a fantastic movie, but I found it amusing and to be a great Halloween season flick that I can see rewatching in future Octobers…
9. The Amazing Spider-Man – I scoffed at the rebooting of Spider-Man, but I was pleasantly surprised with this movie’s outcome. I saw it in the theater once in 2D and wished to see it again before judging its placement in the year-end list, but I still thought it was worth including among the top of this year.
8. Men in Black 3 – I’m a sucker for the 1997 original. While the 2002 sequel was a complete mess and the third film surely isn’t perfect, it was a step above the first sequel and a lot of fun to revisit this franchise. I firmly believe it still can’t touch the original, but it’s definitely one I’ll enjoy revisiting again — and while it hurt to have Tommy Lee Jones’ presence diminished further this time, Josh Brolin was a great addition to the cast.
7. People Like Us – This one totally took me by surprise. Like Spidey, I’ve only watched it once so I’m not sure how it’ll hold up, but I was really drawn in by this family drama. The performances from Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks were great and I really liked the surprising musical angle of the story.
6. Brave – Here is another complete surprise. I hated the trailers for Pixar’s latest effort and I think it hurt the box office performance of the film — that, and it’s pretty dark for little kids. However, this unique Pixar original tale is fun and memorable. It also was considerably better than Ice Age 4 and Madagascar 3 (although the latter may be better with succeeding viewings).
5. The Dark Knight Rises – This one would actually be at least in third place on this list, but the more I watch it, the more some little things about it seem to bother me. Still, the third and final Christopher Nolan-directed Batman adventure may be my favorite of the three films (while I believe The Dark Knight is still the BEST of the three films). I loved the underdog story and the redemptive quality of Bruce’s story. Still, some things were sloppily executed and may have looked better on paper than when it was filmed for the big screen…
4. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – Here’s a quirky comedy/drama that is far better than its goofy title suggests. Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt are a delight in this. Check it out if you haven’t yet — or if you haven’t even heard of it!
3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – With all the drama over how the frame rate looks, I chickened out and checked it out in 2D (although, admittedly, we did try to get into the IMAX 3D showing before it was sold out… we then chose 2D over regular 3D… but I digress). I love the Lord of the Rings trilogy of films and I’ve been anticipating Peter Jackson’s return to the series since this book was first talked about being made into a movie. While Jackson may be biting off more than he can chew by making a standard sized novel into three full-length films (while the LOTR movies were a movie-per-book), I can already see with this film how he’s making this series a setup for his other movies. It may not be as good as LOTR, but it’s great to return to this fantasy world.
2. Skyfall – I’m a sucker for James Bond movies. I erroneously loved the Pierce Brosnan movies in the 90s because it was all I knew of Bond and I was an action-movie-loving teenager. But along with Casino Royale in 2006 has dawned a new, more mature age of James Bond with Daniel Craig in the role. And while the world has had to wait four years for a new adventure, Skyfall was well worth the wait. Although I’m attached to Casino Royale as my favorite Bond film, Skyfall definitely comes close! Heck, if it weren’t for the number one film on this list, this would definitely have been my top pick of 2012.
1. Marvel’s The Avengers – Let’s see… with a role call that includes Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, HawkEye and of course the villainous Loki–and with skilled filmmaker/writer Joss Whedon behind the lens–it’s tough to imagine any other movie at the top of my list. The Avengers holds up with repeat viewings and I can definitely say it’s one of the most satisfying superhero films to date. I can’t wait to see what Marvel cooks up next in this series…
Here’s to a new year of movies in 2013! Perhaps, next, I’ll present a rundown next of my most anticipated movies of this coming year…