TOP TEN MOVIES OF 2012
2012 is coming to a close and it’s time, once again, for my annual Top Ten Movies of the Year!
If you want to catch up on past lists, here they are:
With that out of the way, let’s get on to 2012. Coming up with just ten best movies of the year was extremely difficult. This was one of my favorite years for movies in recent memory. I could have easily have done a top fifteen but I wanted to keep with tradition and limit it to just ten.
Starting off, here are the movies that I enjoyed but just not enough to make it into the top ten. Seriously, this year’s list was a hard one to narrow down and these movies are still totally worth your time:
Honorable Mentions: Excision, The Woman in Black, Argo, The Bay, Sinister, Chronicle, Grave Encounters 2
But with all my praise, 2012 wasn’t totally without its failures. Here were my least favorite movies of the year:
Biggest Disappointments: The Divide, Paranormal Activity 4, The Expendables 2, ATM
Alright, let’s move on to the ten best movies of 2012!
10: THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS
Rza and Eli Roth made a gore kung-fu flick! In the tradition of the best grindhouse movies, it’s bloody, filled with nudity, and has a kick-ass soundtrack. The plot barely makes sense. There’s a guy whose body is made of metal and there’s another guy who has iron fists and then there’s some seven clan rivalry…really it’s Rza and Eli Roth, you should already have a good idea what you’re in for.
9: THE RAID: REDEMPTION
As one of the movie posters says, “One minute of romance, one hundred minutes of non-stop carnage.” The movie follows twenty cops launching a raid on a thirty story building filled with gang members and drug addicts. After they get found out, everyone in the building tries to kill the cops before they can arrest a drug lord on the top level. It’s ridiculously over the top in it’s brutality and violence and never gets bogged down by things like plot or characters. Just how action movies should be.
8: INDIE GAME: THE MOVIE
The best art documentary of the year. The movie follows three independent game developers and their trials and joys over trying to create a video game. These are not people doing this as a hobby, they are artists that have invested everything they have into their creative goals. It’s unflinching and brutal in its honesty over how hard it is to make your dreams come true.
Part slasher, part teen drama, part meta-pop culture comedy, and completely insane, DETENTION never found its proper audience. If you’re looking for a straight forward genre flick, you’re going to be very disappointed. But if you’re looking for a experimental mash-up that features a time traveling alien bear (you’re on Bizarro Central so I assume you are), this is the movie for you.
I love found footage movies, or I should say I love the concept of found footage. Sadly, most filmmakers use the style to tell lazy stories and save money. V/H/S is not like that at all. Five filmmakers turn in found footage shorts that are all totally different and effective. It’s worth watching just for the haunted apartment story told completely through Skype conversations.
All the directors use the found footage to their maximum advantage and create stories that are shocking, claustrophobic, and vicious. Easily the scariest movie of the year.
5: THE CABIN IN THE WOODS
The horror movie that everyone was talking about this year, and rightfully so. Josh Whedon took every horror cliché out there and turned them upside. The end result was wickedly original and fun to watch. I can’t really talk about the movie outside of saying that it’s one of the most original horror films in decades. If you’ve seen it, you know why. If you haven’t seen it, what’s wrong with you?
4: THE AVENGERS/THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
If only my eight-year-old self knew that this summer I’d be seeing big budget battles between Batman and Bane and The Avengers and Loki…
While both superhero movies, both of these films take dramatic different approaches to the concept. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is philosophical and dark, while THE AVENGERS is all bright colors and huge set-pieces. The reason I grouped them together on this list was because I liked them for the same reasons—they are both comic book movies that took their source material seriously. If you enjoyed either one of these movies, you should check out the comics they are based on.
You all already know what these movies are about so you don’t need a trailer—check out this instead:
3: IT’S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY
Don Hertzfeldt is best known for his surreal and violent short animated films like BILLY’S BALLOON, LILY AND JIM, and the cult favorite REJECTED. With his past few films his ditched the madcap humor and has opted instead for deeply personal pieces about lose and depression.
IT’S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY is the third film in his trilogy that started with EVERYTHING WILL BE OK and I AM SO PROUD OF YOU (note: it is necessary to watch all three films in order). The three films form the story of a young man coming to terms with an early onset mental illness that has affected many previous generations of his family. It’s soul crushing and stunningly beautiful.
2: FATHER’S DAY
Troma Studios is responsible for many of my all-time favorite movies. While you can normally expect Lloyd Kaufman to deliver a killer movie, the films that Troma distributes normally either pure genius or utter dog-shit. And they’ve put out a lot more shit than anything else.
Enter FATHER’S DAY, the first feature from the filmmaking collective, ASTRON-6. A hilarious gore-comedy about a supernatural serial killer who rapes and kills fathers. The movie is inventive and constantly pulling the rug out from beneath the viewer.
The brain-blasting third act makes this movie so completely brilliant and it has my favorite ending of any movie this year. I wish I could rant about how awesome this is but it would spoil too much. Just go watch it yourself.
1: GOD BLESS AMERICA
While it had its festival premier at the very end of 2011, it didn’t get any kind of distribution until 2012, so fuck it. I’m counting it (just like last year’s number one, TROLL HUNTER).
After finding out that he has inoperable brain cancer, Frank, and his teenage side-kick, goes on a cross-country killing spree to make America a better place.
GOD BLESS AMERICA is a gloriously nihilistic revenge fantasy on modern culture. It is for every person who hates religious fundamentalists, vapid entertainers, and the political right and the left. It’s dark, violent, funny, and fiercely smart.
No film better captures the current cultural divide in America. It’s a more modern FALLING DOWN but without any moral ambiguity. The film never questions the main characters’ actions. It gloriously embraces their psychotic tendencies while making an argument that America would be a better place if some people were dead.
Those are my ten favorite movies of 2012. Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments. But there is still just one more thing:
MOVIE COMING OUT IN 2013 THAT I’M MOST EXCITED FOR:
Giant Monsters + Giant Robots + Guillermo del Toro = Nerdgasm