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2012 has been a banner year for movies. Being less than two weeks away from the Oscar Nomination announcement, I can’t think of a year in recent memory with this many films that could easily take the top prize. Here is my list of the top films of 2012. Fair warning: I haven’t seen every film that had buzz this year (including the much talked about Zero Dark Thirty and Django Unchained). Had I seen everything, this list could be very different, but I didn’t. So here are the Top 10 Films (that I saw) for the year 2012.
10. Moonrise Kingdom – A late entry on the list, seeing as I just saw it yesterday so it might have a bias because I’ve seen it so recently, but I don’t think so. The movie is about young love and the lengths two young people will go to in order to be together. The story itself is heartwarming and downright funny at times. So many little things were happening in the background of the main action, I feel like I need to watch it again just to pick up on more of these things. The ensemble cast is great and boasts the talents of Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, and Bruce Willis.
9. Silver Linings Playbook – Another fantastic indie film, Silver Linings Playbook proves that Robert DeNiro can still act, Bradley Cooper can act at all, and that Jennifer Lawrence is the future of Hollywood. The film touches on the difficulty of dealing with mental illness and importance of the identification and correct treatment for these conditions.
8. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – I so desperately wanted this film to be higher on the list. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a huge fan of the original Lord of the Rings trilogy so I have been anticipating this movie for almost a decade. Unfortunately, the movie is quite slow and takes forever to really get going, but once it does, the film soars. The film truly is an amazing job well done by everyone on the film for really bringing the world that Tolkien to life (again).
7. The Avengers – The film didn’t smash box office records for nothing. Marvel did a great job of bringing these characters together from their separate films to form one coherent story. As we move into Phase Two of Marvel films, I can’t wait to see where else they take this franchise, under the watchful eye of Joss Whedon
6. The Dark Knight Rises – I enjoyed this film so much I saw it three (!!) times in theaters. It really was the perfect conclusion (maybe?) of Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. The only things that brought it down for me was that it harkened back to Batman Begins more than The Dark Knight, which I consider to be a much stronger film, and the use of a villian that I didn’t particularly care about (Bane).
5. Life of Pi – I wish that I could have seen this in 3D as director Ang Lee intended. Visually, this film is one of the most beautiful films ever created. It is amazing to see just how far computer animation has come. I wonder how many people who saw the film thought that the tiger was real, not an animation. An amazing tale of survival, based on a book that no one ever thought was filmable.
4. Les Miserables – The only thing keeping this film out of my top three is my feelings toward the movie’s source material. I find the musical Les Miserables to be long, repetitive, and at times, slow. Such is the adaptation. The movie is a faithful adaptation of the show. Performances of these songs have never been so emotional. The practice of recording the songs live used on this film will revolutionize the ways that musicals will be made in the years to come.
3. Skyfall – Who would have ever thought Bond could be like this? One of the few movies I ever saw that as soon as it was over, I was ready to get back in line and see it again. No only was there edge of your seat action that would expect from a Bond film, but riveting, emotional performances by the entire cast. Never has there been so much character development in a Bond film. I can only hope that the franchise stays on the path that Sam Mendes has put it on.
2. Lincoln – Ask me in a day, or even in an hour, and this film could be my number one for the year. Daniel Day-Lewis reminds us again why he is the greatest actor of his generation. Spielberg reminds us that he still knows how to make real historical dramas (sorry, no disrespect War Horse). Every little detail was superb on this film, so much so that I’m predicting major wins for it at the Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor (Tommy Lee Jones), as well as an assortment of technical awards.
1. Argo – No film hit me as emotionally this year as Argo, the incredible true story of the escape of six Americans from Iran during the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Who would have ever thought ten years ago when Ben Affleck was putting out garbage like Gigli that he would ever be able to bounce back and make one of the best pictures of the year (and star in it as well). Hopefully a sign of more to come from him in the future.
And there you have it. Feel free to disagree in the comments if you wish.