The Six Best Movies Of 2012
Much to my surprise, 2012 was a pretty great year for films. Don’t get me wrong, there were some terrible films as well, but there are always terrible films. What surprised me is just how many films I truly enjoyed. And the best part was just how wildly eclectic those films were. The great films are by no means delegated to the drama categories at all. We had a few real horror gems, some drama, and a couple incredibly memorable action films as well. While I didn’t laugh enough at 2012’s batch of movies, I can say that these five films seemed to rise miles above all the others that came out this year. Also, please note, I have incredibly f*cked up tastes, so do not expect this list to look like any other ‘best of’ lists you may be seeing around the web right now. But trust me, if you have not seen these films, you need to.
Cabin in the Woods
I think I made my adoration of this film quite evident when I did a full pitch for a TV show over at Unreality, with original creature designs by me as well. This film was the most amazing love letter I have ever seen to the horror genre (outside Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon). Also, for how many times I have come across threads are trolls who say that Cabin in the Woods is not a horror film, this needs to be said. First and foremost, what would you call it? We have werewolves, zombies, serial killers, and unicorns goring people. I mean, even looking at that pic right there, it is plain to see it is horror. While it may not be horrifying in the normal sense of the word, and perhaps for that reason alone people want to strip the horror title, but in a movie where Cthulhu is a bad guy, it is safe to say it is a horror film. An awesome, hilarious, self-aware horror film.
And an absolutely amazing one at that. Funny, silly, and over-the-top, it was the most fun I have had with a horror film in a long time. Here’s hoping I can get that show or comic snatched up in 2013. Eh, who am I kidding? I can dream, though, right?
I was shocked at how much I loved this film. I mean, at its heart, the concept of Liam Neeson fighting wolves with shattered nips (tiny alcohol bottles, not his nipples) is stellar, but the film almost seemed like it could have been cheesy. I mean, a Jedi fighting wolves with broken glass glued to his hands sounds like a script I would have written at nine years old. Thing is, the film is so expertly executed on all levels, that is just pulls you in right away. Though The Raid: Redemption almost edged this one out, The Grey, for me, was the seminal action movie of 2012.
From the scope of the plane crash at the beginning, to the final, snowy showdown (which, in a twist I thought was brilliant, we don’t actually get to see) the film just felt bleak and hopeless and unforgiving, which is exactly what it needed to be for it to work on all the levels it did. Here’s hoping Hollywood doesn’t cash in on it by having a sequel where Neeson has his own wolf pack. Actually, the sounds kind of cool. Shit.
Under African Skies
Did I just blow your mind? A film on a “best of” movies list that you’ve not only never seen, but never heard of? I need you to trust me on this one.
Under African Skies is a documentary about the true story behind Paul Simon’s immortal and beautiful, Graceland album. Paul wanted the album to sound and feel genuinely African, as he was hugely inspired by the sound of Ladysmith Black Mambazo at the time, and actually ended up enlisting them to help with the album. And for people who have been fans of the record for as long as I have (twenty-five years) you need to understand just how important and challenging a record Graceland was to make. I actually sat down with a good friend to watch this On Demand, and we sat there in silent awe, completely unaware of just how tumultuous the story behind this seminal album was.
For those unaware of just how perfect this album is, or just how difficult Paul Simon’s journey was getting this album made, you owe it to yourself, to your ears, and to your heart, to see this film. You will only walk away from it loving Graceland and Paul Simon that much more.
Beyond The Black Rainbow
I may have had one of my most perfectly beautiful and transcending film experiences of the year with Beyond The Black Rainbow, as documented here.
I have realized, in hindsight, that even talking about the film to people who have not seen it is to greatly undermine that true beauty of the film, which is allowing each individual viewer to find their own interpretation of what they just saw. But the most glaring fact is that not enough of you saw this film. The irony is that everyone who I have recommended the film to has taken the time to actually thank me for introducing it to them.
Is it surreal? Maybe more so than any other film of our generation, yes. Is it stunning? Yes, everyone is talking about Skyfall is the most “visually lush” film of the year, and I feel like isn’t accurate at all. This film trumps that film visually. Is it unsettling? Yes, wholly. But it is all those elements that work in tandem to create a movie experience unlike anything you have seen this year. Or ever,really. Panos Cosmatos, who directed this gem of a mindfuck, is one director I am truly excited about, and you should be, too.
Many epic superhero movies came out in 2012, and for me, most of them disappointed. Yet somehow, amid all the massive, epic, summer-superhero-blockbusters, one superhero movie came out in 2012 that was damn near perfect, and the material was completely original. Well, not completely. You see, my love for the movie Chronicle comes from the fact that, in my honest opinion, it is the closest we will ever come to an awesome Akira movie, even with the actual Akira movie being made. Chronicle was dark, twisted, and enthralling. And it was hard not to be impressed by Dane DeHand’s performance as the boy who turns bad once he acquires super powers. Pretty sure that is exactly how it would go down in real life if something like this happened.
So there it is, folks. The best superhero movie of the year, hands down, was Chronicle. Yup, I said it. Better than Batman and The Avengers. Read why I think so below.
The Dark Knight Rises: Hugely disappointing ending to an otherwise brilliant trilogy. Read my thoughts on the film here. Oh, and Anne Hathaway sucks at life.
The Avengers: I liked this film, but the huge Hulk mistake (he can suddenly, and inexplicably, control when he changes) was too massive for me to overlook.
Also, I know for a fact Beasts of the Southern Wild would have made my top five, had I gotten around to seeing it. I can tell that movie will deeply affect me, sadly, did not see it in time for this list.
Also, huge horror shout out to the movie Chained, by the wonderfully f*cked up Jennifer Lynch, daughter of David. Chained gets the final spot on this list for being an utterly engrossing and disturbing film that needs to be seen by all horror fans. Vincent D’ Onofrio gives one of the best bad guy performances I’ve ever seen in this movie, and he is a character you will not likely forget anytime soon.