Is one of the most hated movies of the year really in my Top 10??

I have to admit I was a little disappointed by this year’s crop of films. There was nothing that truly wowed me, that I HAD to recommend to my friends. There should be 2 or 3 movies a year where as soon as they’re over, you call your friends and say, “You have to see this now!”  That’s not to say it hasn’t been an interesting year in film.  We had a lot of stories, starting with the trilogy-closing Dark Knight Rises.  I think Nolan’s penchant for extending his stories out past traditional run-times really hurt him on this one.  The film clearly felt 45 minutes too long.  Skyfall was adequate, but hardly recommend-worthy. The Hobbit is more a talking-piece than a film (it’s impossible to see that film in 48fps and not want to discuss the technology afterwards). I wish I liked Family Guy more as “Ted” appeared to be the breakout shocker of the year. “Safe House” was also pretty good for what was a safe (no pun intended) script. It also became the second-highest grossing movie of the year that came from a (true) spec script, at 126 million (Snow White And the Huntsman was number 1 at 155 million). No spec script films made it into the top 10. :)  Let’s try and change that in 2013, guys.

The Bourne Legacy lost its mojo with the exit of Matt Damon. Argo was decent, but carried with it a strange seriousness that was always at odds with its outlandish true story. I’m still not sure why Judd Apatow made a movie based around the two most annoying characters from Knocked Up.  But I was surprised to find that I actually liked the comedy crop of 2012.  The Campaign, That’s My Boy, and The Dictator were all funny. None of the three were good enough to make my top 10, but they all made me laugh pretty consistently. It’s another reminder that you never know with comedies. I didn’t like the scripts for The Campaign or That’s My Boy, but the comedic mastery of those actors totally saved the projects (Will Ferrell is hilarious in The Campaign).

A few movies that I didn’t get to see but wanted to were Wreck-It Ralph, Cloud Atlas, and End Of Watch. I haaaated the End Of Watch script but everyone who sees it tells me it’s great. I hope it is. I’m always fascinated by bad scripts that become good movies. So I’ll be seeing that one soon. Oh, and there was one other movie I forgot to put on my Worst Of 2012 List yesterday: “The Watch!” What the heck was up with that movie??? Four guys sit around for 90 minutes.  That’s the movie! That was one of the strangest viewing experiences I’ve ever had. Literally NOTHING happens. Anyway, enough of the trashing. It’s time to celebrate cinema. Here are my Top 10 films of 2012.

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10) The Avengers/The Hunger Games – As much as I love good writing, I also enjoy seeing what happens when Hollywood goes all in on a movie. I love to see where they put their money. I love to see the latest advancement in special effects. I love to be taken somewhere I’ve never been before. Plopping down in that seat and turning off my brain off for two hours is a welcome relief from all the analyzing I have to do. Does that mean these movies were great? Hell no. If any of you said, “Yeah, but Carson, Plot Point A from Avengers is terrible and Decision C from Hunger Games is stupid,” I probably wouldn’t argue with you. But that doesn’t matter as much when you have Hulk smashing. Or Iron Man and Thor fighting (despite the fact that there’s no reason for them to!). And you know, I LIKED the setup for Hunger Games. Do I wish it would’ve been rated R so that we REALLY saw what happens when kids fight each other to the death?  Sure, but of course that movie will never be made. For a PG-13 treatment of the idea, however, I thought they did a pretty good job. These movies were vaporware. I’ll never see them again. But for the 2 hours I sat there and watched them in the theater? They were fun!

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9) Prometheus – I almost didn’t include this one just because of how much shit I’d get in the comments section for it.  But then I put my big boy pants on and buckled up because I LIKED this movie.  And no one’s going to convince me that I didn’t!  I still believe a lot of the blowback has to do with franchise expectations and a killer trailer that promised a classic. I went into this with no expectations and didn’t see that trailer. So I wasn’t burdened by these things. And what I got was a compelling interplanetary mystery. A group of scientists head to a remote planet to inspect what could be the origins of mankind.  Shit goes wrong.  Sounds cool to me! The thing is, it’s hard to present a contained story like this where monsters/baddies aren’t chasing our characters around.  Without them, the story can feel a little slow.  You could make the argument that not much “happened” in Prometheus (if you weren’t into the mystery) until the third act.  But I was into the mystery.  I  wanted to find out who these big bald white dudes were.  So I was down til the final frame. I loved the production design. I loved the way the film was shot. I thought the acting was top notch. I loved the surprises in the plot. This movie was fun, and not even close to how bad you guys think it is.  You wanna see what TRUE bad looks like?  Watch this video.  You’ll have a new found appreciation for Prometheus.

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8) Jiro Dreams Of Sushi – It may appear as if I’m trying to gain some geek street cred after celebrating one of movie geeks’ most hated films of the year. I mean, Jiro Dreams of Sushi is the most film snob of choices: A foreign documentary with subtitles! But I loved this movie and let me tell you why. It’s about the best Sushi Chef in the world. His restaurant received the elusive 3-star Michelin award. For those who don’t know what that means, it means that food critics believe the restaurant is good enough JUST TO FLY INTO THE COUNTRY FOR. But what I really like about this movie was that you could just as easily apply the lessons learned to screenwriting. Just like screenwriting, creating sushi is a craft. It looks simple. Just add rice and a piece of raw fish (just words on a page). But it takes thousands of hours to perfect that craft (sound familiar?). Jiro is so meticulous that when he’s serving a party, he actually makes the sushi pieces for the women a little smaller than the ones for the men, so that they all finish at the same time. You will never look at sushi (and maybe screenwriting) the same way again after watching this film, which you can find on Netflix streaming.

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7) Chronicle – I love when writers take ideas and evolve them. The found footage thing was reaching its breaking point in the horror genre. So to move it over to high school kids discovering a mysterious glowing object and developing super powers was kind of genius. The movie’s not perfect (no film on this list is, unfortunately) and they probably overplay the amount of abuse its main character had to go through (the scenes with daddy beating hero were ridiculously over-the-top), but you also have to commend the film for wrapping its story around an anti-hero, something you don’t see in many mainstream movies not named “Pirates Of The Caribbean” these days. And I don’t know, seeing it all go down via hand-held video gave it a realistic feel the movie never would’ve accomplished had it been shot traditionally. The effects were good too!  Chronicle was a nice surprise.

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6) The Grey – It’s impossible for me to disassociate this viewing experience from my original reading experience. For those who don’t know, I went gaga over this script when I first read it. And I was constantly getting updated on the movie as it went through various stages of development/production. To see it come to screen felt a little bit surreal. The big difference, I felt, between the film and the script, was that the film felt a little more hopeless, a little more depressing. I don’t know why, but I felt hopeful while reading the screenplay. Maybe in the way Ottway challenged those wolves. How he always knew what to do. And, of course, when he finally takes the Alpha on in the end (which wasn’t shown in the movie). I wish the movie would’ve embodied more of that hope. Despite that, the script nailed everything else that made the script great. You felt for Ottway. Neeson delivered those amazing voice overs perfectly (and his performance overall was awesome). The plane crash was great. The conflict between the characters was great. The conflict between the humans and wolves was great. There were a few slow spots, but overall, I really liked this one.  Still think he should’ve fought that wolf though!

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5) Moonrise Kingdom – Wes Anderson is back! He found his mojo! Life Aquatic and Darjeeling Limited were okay, but they felt like he was treading water. Moonrise proves that Anderson is best when he’s dealing with the awkwardness of youth. This is the way a love story should be told, dipped in messiness and rolled in weirdness. I LOVED the performances of the two leads, Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward. I loved that Anderson wasn’t afraid to push the envelope with their love, going places you’re not going to see in any Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants sequels. I do wish Anderson would continue to evolve the look of his films. It’d be nice to see an occasional frame without everybody centered in it and staring at the camera, but hey, that’s his voice. And it worked nicely for Moonrise.

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4) Zero Dark 30 – It’s dark. It’s serious. It’s a lot of un-botoxed people in rooms having important conversations. But it’s also good! I have to give it to Boal and Bigelow. They gave us a tension-filled thriller with an amazing climax. Do I wish the thing were shorter? Of course. Do I wish Jessica Chastain would’ve smiled once during the movie? Sure. I think if that character would’ve been more charismatic, more interesting – if we had known more about her, this film could’ve been a classic. The wall they put between us and her really hurt the film because she’s our connection to this story.  We needed to get inside of her (that sounded wrong).  But outside of that, this really did feel like how it would be behind the scenes in the hunt for Bin Laden. And it’s also another endorsement for the Goal-oriented screenplay. Make the goal big enough, and you’ll have us wrapped around your finger til the very end!

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3) Silver Linings Playbook – Again, it’s the same advice I just gave you with Moonrise. If you’re going to write a love story, give us something different. We’ve seen the normal stuff a billion times over. You’re going to bore us to pieces if you do it again. Playbook has a main character who just got out of the nuthouse, a romantic interest who just lost her husband, fucked every guy at her work, and who is ALSO crazy, and the two enter a dance competition together, of all things. It’s just so bizarre. But it also works! — Was interesting to see that the big change from the draft I read was the betting stuff with the dad. That wasn’t in the script. My guess is that with Robert De Niro playing the father, they needed to beef up his role. Hence the change. It’s a great screenwriting lesson actually. Write every character as if you’re trying to snag a big actor. You’ll find yourself looking for unique interesting things to do with the character you never would’ve thought of had you been writing somebody “normal.” This is easily the best date movie of the year.

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2) Django Unchained – It’s funny walking into a film and knowing you’re going to love it.  I mean this script was PHE-NOM-E-NAL.  But then how is Django Unchained only number 2 on my list?  Wasn’t this a Gangbusters shoe-in for number 1?  Well, here’s the thing.  I’m not a huge Jaime Foxx fan, and I’m kinda surprised Quentin cast him. I thought he was going to pull a Pulp Fiction or Inglorious Basterds and pluck somebody out of obscurity we’d never heard of, or at least someone we hadn’t heard of for a long time. Foxx was the safest casting choice Tarantino’s made in a major role in his entire career. I was hoping I’d be wrong and Foxx would nail it, but I’m not sure he did.  He was good, just not great.  But outside of that, I thought DiCaprio was awesome. I love Waltz in anything, and he was great here. I loved Sam Jackson, who was a perfect villain. And all the scenes played out just as amazingly as they did on the page. Oh, and let’s not forget the only part of Tarantino’s scripts you don’t get in the script – the soundtrack! Once again, Tarantino proves he’s a master in this area. This is one of the only films I saw this year that I’ll be seeing again. Awesome stuff!

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1) Life Of Pi – They say the movies that leave the biggest impression on you are the ones that burrow deep down inside your soul and challenge you to face things you’re either afraid of or never considered before. I’m not the most religious person in the world, but faith and religion do fascinate me. (spoiler) Life Of Pi finishes with an amazing question: “Which story do you believe?” I don’t want to spoil it by going any deeper than that, because the twist ending is what sets this film apart, but it’s a cool challenge the movie sets forth.  The main character says he has a story that’ll make you believe in God. And Ang Lee did a pitch-perfect job of bringing that story to life.  I thought this book was un-adaptable. And he found a way to make it even better! This is the only movie I’ve seen since Avatar that I’d recommend seeing in 3-D. There are these amazing shots both under and above water that have you double-checking your glasses to see if you’re really in the theater. The sinking ship with our main character treading water while watching hopelessly in the foreground has to be the best shot I saw in 2012. The acting from Old Pi is phenomenal. You want to talk about deserving an Oscar – Irrfan Khan puts everybody this year to shame.  Even the kid who played Pi, who I was the most worried about, did great. This is a visual masterpiece with a heartwrenching friendship between a boy and a tiger with an ending that’ll make you question everything you know.  The best film of 2012 for me!

Get down with the requisite Prometheus bashing, then tell me what your  favorite movies of the year were!  And stay tuned for Friday as I unleash my top 10 favorite amateur scripts of the year! 

  • Poe_Serling

    BOO!

    Don’t worry… Halloween is still 10 months away. Being a horror/supernatural guy, I
    figured it was the perfect time to hang my Freddy Krueger fedora onto the 2012 Top
    Ten Hat Rack.

    Here’s my Top Ten Prime Cuts in the Thrills and Chills Category:

    10) Paranormal Activity 4 – I know, I know… I can hear Carson and other SS followers
    groaning in the b.g., but I still enjoyed it. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I appreciated how the filmmakers are expanding the story’s universe beyond the haunted house genre.

    9) Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – Another round of collective groans from the faceless masses. Hey, sometimes you like what you like and there’s no explaining it. Super silly premise, over-the-top action, stoic Abe, etc. – all key ingredients for a guilty pleasure.

    8) The Pact – Even though it went straight to DVD, it’s worth the dollar plus change at the local Redbox. If you’re a fan of the TV-movie Bad Ronald from the ‘70s, this one gives that premise a terrifying new spin.

    8) The Raven – Here horror maestro Poe solves grisly murders based on his own writings… need I say more. Still angry at myself for not coming up with this idea and writing the script.

    7) Intruders – The Clive Owen starrer. Introduced audiences to the entity called Hollow Face. Well done film… took me in a direction that I wasn’t expecting.

    6) Red Lights – Toplined by Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro. More paranormal activity, but a dead serious treatment of the subject…and thought provoking to boot.

    5) Silent House – A fine performance from Elizabeth Olsen (younger sister of the infamous Olsen Twins). Although I had a hunch about the final twist from the opening scenes, the 80 minute pic still zipped by as the filmmakers kept ratcheting up the tension.

    4) Cabin in the Woods – Delayed over two years by MGM’s bankruptcy, its release was still worth the wait. Another pretty silly film that had a helluva good time poking fun at all the classic horror tropes.

    3) Sinister – The Ethan Hawke scarefest. This one was downright creepy and unnerving. The demon ‘thing’ in the film still gives me the goosebumps.

    Drumroll, please…

    My top two horror films were released on the same weekend. Was this poor timing
    by the studios or an eerie coincidence?

    2) The Woman in Black – I’m a HUGE fan of the novel by Susan Hill. I felt that the film version nailed the overall essence of the book, especially in regard to the isolated nature and fear
    associated with the Eel Marsh House.

    1) The Innkeepers – With the Yankee Pedlar Inn about to close its doors for good, a couple of offbeat employees try to unravel the hotel’s haunted past.

    A home run from director Ti West. Working on a relatively low budget, West has crafted
    a distinctive, realistic, atmospheric gem of a ghost tale.

    A must-see in my book!

    ***Warning: The film is a slooow build for sure, but I savored every moment of it from
    the opening shot to the hair-raising climax.

    • ThomasBrownen

      You liked The Raven? Huh. I liked the concept, but was majorly disappointed by the film’s execution. I remember thinking that the last half hour felt forced and random. I even came close to talking back to the movie, which is a distinction that I only give to the worst movies I see.

      • Poe_Serling

        Hey Thomas-

        I definitely get what you’re saying… and I totally agree it’s far from being a great or even a very good film by a country mile.

        But here’s the thing… every year you hear through the Hollywood development grapevine of someone trying to tackle a Poe project and nothing ever comes of it. So, for me, I was just sorta happy that a EAP film finally got off the page and onto the screen.

    • http://simplyscripts.com/ Steex

      Hate to be this guy, but I disagree with every one of these films, with the exception of Sinister and Cabin.

      I was bored out of my mind with The Innkeepers. I understand what West was going for. But the burn was so slow and agonizing, I found myself wishing I had aloe handy. Unfortunately, my burn is still healing.

      • Poe_Serling

        Hey Steex-

        Yeah, The Innkeepers seems to be pretty much divided into two distinct camps: love it or hate it… and as you pointed out a slow burn film like this probably doesn’t hold much appeal to a good deal of cinephiles in a warp speed world. :-)

    • ElliotMaguire

      Sinister would be number one in horror for me, not for acting scripting…I don’t remember any if that, I wad too busy shitting myself at the time. really got under my skin.

      The Raven, Cabin in the Woods, Woman in Black, agree with you on those, really enjoyed them. But I found Red Lights to be infuriatingly boring, a bitter disappointment after Buried.

      • Poe_Serling

        Hey Elliot-

        When it comes to Sinister, you’re preaching to the choir… that film was unsettling with a capital U.

        To be honest, I found the Super 8 movie stuff in the pic to be a bit gratuitious. I’m more an old school horror guy – show me less and let me fill in the terrifying blanks.

        • ElliotMaguire

          There was a lot of it I agree. But every time it cut to Super 8, the amazingly twisted Christopher Young score kicked into overdrive. That is what a demon would sound like.

          • Poe_Serling

            You’re absolutely right – the soundtrack was topnotch.

    • JakeMLB

      The Woman In Black would probably be on my list of worst horrors for 2012. Go figure. Boring, simple and forgettable is probably how I’d describe it.

      As a low budget competitor in a similar genre, The Awakening (2011) was leagues ahead in my book.

      Aside from that, I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of Red Lights. Sounds great!

      • Poe_Serling

        Hey Jake-

        Like I mentioned above, I’m a diehard fan of the Susan Hll novel, so when the film hit the theaters it was the cherry on top of my ‘Woman in Black’ sundae.

        And as for The Awakening… I’ve been counting down the days to its DVD release at the end of January… somehow I missed it when it was in limited release around here.
        Plus, the flick Kill List is another holdover from 2012 that I’m dying to see.

        Upcoming 2013 films that have caught my eye: 7500, The Conjuring, Dark Skies, Insidious 2, and more to be added at a later date.

        • JakeMLB

          Yeah it seems a lot of the film’s fans were fans of the novel. I hadn’t read it so I had trouble settling into the story.

          Kill List looks great and I’ve been dying to see it too! The trailer for 7500 looks pretty fun and Leslie Bibb is certainly a charmer. Reminds me of Incident on 459 (Chris Spaling) though this looks a bit more interesting.

          • Poe_Serling

            If I remember correctly, there was a lot of buzz around the Sparling script. Who knows — maybe ghosts/demons flying coach is the next big trend. ;-)

            Back in the ’70s, a couple of TV-movies tackled the subject with varying degrees of success: The Ghost of Flight 401 and The Horror at 37,000 Feet.

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      Great list !

      My Top 5 horror movies :

      1 – Sinister
      2 – Cabin in the woods
      3 – The Innkeepers
      4 – The Raven
      5 – Insensible

      And my overall Top 10 :

      Beasts of the Southern Wild
      Killer Joe
      The Grey
      Take Shelter
      Kill List
      Cogan
      Bullhead
      Lawless
      Perfect Sense
      Chronicle

      • Poe_Serling

        Hmmm, Insensible… I found a listing for it under the title: Painless.

        ‘Set in Catalonia, Painless weaves two stories: in one, starting during the Spanish Civil War and running through to the ’60s, an asylum attempts to rehabilitate children who feel no pain, by teaching them physical suffering. In the second, in the present time, a brilliant neurosurgeon who needs a bone marrow transplant, discovers this dark past when he searches for his biological parents.’
        It sounds intense…. I’ll have to keep track of it on my cinematic radar.

        • Marija ZombiGirl

          Yes, that’s it and very worth the view (except for a weak third act). Sorry, forgot to change the title after copy-pasting from my Word file :-)

    • Jarrett_H

      Quite a few on this list I haven’t seen yet, including The Innkeepers. Adding that one to my Netflix queue ASAP.

      I also loved Cabin in the Woods. Unable to wrap my mind around the hate, but I loved it so much I’m pretty biased. Also enjoyed The Woman in Black, but didn’t read the book. I’ll have to check that out.

      • Poe_Serling

        Hey Jarrett-

        If you get a chance to check out The Innkeepers in the near future, make sure you let me know if you give it a thumbs up or down.

        The film’s director Ti West just finished shooting his latest chiller entitled The Sacracment. Eli ‘Cabin Fever’ Roth is one of the producers. The plot: under wraps for now.
        -and-

        Susan Hill’s novel The Woman in Black is a first-rate ghost story in the classic Gothic tradition. Plus, it differs enough from the film version (including the ending) that it won’t spoil the overall reading experience for you.
        And, oh, one other thing – the book tops out at 130+ pages, which makes for a fast read.

        • Jarrett_H

          I actually decided to watch it right after my post. Wow, definitely enjoyed it. Though I can see how it’s not for everybody because it does move pretty slow.

          The hotel alone is almost like its own character. My first Ti West movie(not counting Cabin Fever 2, which I guess he disowned? lol). Thought it was great, can’t wait to see his next offering.

          • Poe_Serling

            Holy ghostbusters!

            Jarrett, you’re a man of action — what a great attribute.

            I’m delighted that you enjoyed The Innkeepers. When you have another hour and a half to kill, you might want to check out Ti West’s breakthrough film The House of the Devil.

            Here a coed struggling to pay her rent ends up taking the wrong part-time job. This one is a nod to old school horror from the ’70s and ’80s. More in the vein of Rosemary’s Baby, To the Devil a Daughter, Race with the Devil, and so forth.

            This is another slow burn from West, and it definitely falls under Hitchcock’s defintion of suspense: It’s the anticipation, not the happening, that’s the fun.

  • Michael

    I would add The Impossible.

  • Sagan Shahmehri

    Oh god, Moonrise Kingdom? I started watching that and had to stop because I got so sick of Wes Anderson’s ridiculous direction, the lead actors’ confusingly bad performances, and the downright silly dialogue. To me this felt like someone just went, “I have an idea, let’s write/shoot/act it like it’s a home movie and call it art!” I’m guessing that someone was Wes Anderson.

    (This is all opinion, of course; and keep in mind that this is my first Wes Anderson movie.)

    • Brainiac138

      What exactly was ridiculous about Anderson’s direction? I thought it was very confident for the kind of fable-like story of Moonrise Kingdom.

      • Sagan Shahmehri

        To me, it came across as a) aesthetically displeasing b) out of place alongside the (admittedly clever) idea of having the story (sort of) parallel the fantasy stories that Suzy reads, and c) like it was meant to be amateur-ish and look like a home video, in what was actually a high-value production.

    • New_E

      I gave up on Wes Anderson after the DARJEELING LIMITED. Every movie of his I watch I get deja vu and I don’t like quirkiness for quirkiness’s sake (and yet I like David O. Russell, the Coen Bros, Spike Jonze & Michel Gondry) – okay, I don’t like Wes Anderson’s brand of quirkiness.

      Wes Anderson and Sofia Coppola. Cannot deal with their films in general. So pretentious, hipsterish, and overrated.

      Speaking of quirkiness, didn’t Carson say he didn’t like quirkiness for quirkiness’s sake either on one of his Thursday articles?

      E

      • WhizViz

        That’s a good description of Moonrise Kingdom — quirkiness for quirkiness sake. I sat through this entire film because I wanted to give Wes Anderson a chance — but it was a waste of time. The story moved at a snails pace and if it wasn’t for the quirkiness, there would be nothing to keep your attention.

        There needs to be an overrated list, with this at the top. I couldn’t believe how high its rotten tomatoes score is — maybe critics turned it into a drinking game and took a shot every time someone squinted into the camera.

  • NajlaAnn

    Thanks for listing. There are several I haven’t seen yet. Will watch them.

  • DanDollar

    You heard it here first: Carson Reeves wants to get inside Jessica Chastain.

    I agree about Jamie Foxx, and a surprising number of other choices here. Except fucking Prometheus and fucking Hunger Games. Both had so much potential, yet disappointed so much.

  • ThomasBrownen

    I’m glad to see Chronicle make this list. That was a big surprise for me.

    I went in dreading some type of found footage rehash, then started to fear it was going to be some annoyingly phony sci-fi story, and then it turned into a classical tragedy about the dangers of unlimited power. I was sort of stunned — in a good way.

    The found footage made the story feel raw and gritty, and the special effects seemed all the more realistic because of it.

    • klmn

      Maybe you should take granny to see Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D. Better yet, take her to see the dinner theatre presentation.

      • Poe_Serling

        Oh, that’s a great idea about the theater show. I hear it’s playing down in Branson this spring and will feature the Gatlin Brothers. ;-)

  • BennyPickles

    Just a thing about your Life of Pi analysis; he didn’t ask “Which story do you believe?”, he asks “Which story do you prefer?”. And that completely goes against the point of the story. Obviously everyone prefers the story with the animals on a boat, but nobody’s pretending for a second that that’s the true one. So it’s pretty much stating that, like religion, we may prefer the fantastical tale, but deep down we know it’s not the truth. But other than the fact that the film contradicted the message it was trying to convey, I thought it was pretty damn good – and very cathartic.

  • lest78

    So surprised to see PROMETHEUS on this list. The films merits have been argued for so long now that I won’t bother, but did not expect to see it here.

  • UrbaneGhoul

    Will Smith was Tarantino’s first choice. Not exactly plucking a guy from obscurity like Robert Forster or Christoph Waltz but it would’ve been interesting. Probably the most interesting thing Smith would’ve done the last 10 years. Tarantino usually gets his first choices, I think one of the times he didn’t was himself as Mr. Pink.

  • Mb

    Seven Psychopaths! Unique, clever script, good performances all around. And a cute dog.

    • http://twitter.com/LisaAldin Lisa Aldin

      Agree. I really enjoyed that movie.

  • Keith Popely

    I HATED THE GREY! CARSON, I’M NEVER READING YOUR BLOG AGAIN!

    • Poe_Serling

      Keith-

      Before you ride off into the snowy distance and eventually vanish in classic Eastwood style… at least give us your Top Ten reasons why you hated The Grey. ;-)

      • Keith Popely

        Hey, Poe,

        Do I have to list 10 reasons? I wrote a rant about the movie a while back and I’m not sure if I can remember all of my logical, indisputable reasons that would make you and everyone else immediately agree. Frankly, it’s an emotional response more than a analytical one. I was really, really looking forward to THE GREY. That shit is right up my alley – David Mamet’s THE EDGE is one of my all-time Top Ten movies, the type of movie that I could watch every time I come across it on cable – so I had already decided that I loved THE GREY. So when I didn’t, my dislike turned to hatred. Kind of like when you’ve got a crush on a girl and she rejects you.

        I think my principle objection is that it lacked a certain authenticity, for me anyway. From the writing to the action and directing, it just seemed like it was made by posers who had no experience in this world.

        I’ve got two personal experiences that may have affected my opinion: one, I live in Alaska. The movie starts out with three ridiculous inaccuracies that immediately took me out of the movie. The opening shot is a beautiful, pine-tree-covered mountains whereas the North Slope of Alaska (where the oil is and the opening is set) is an Arctic desert. It’s flat and treeless. The most boring landscape outside of Nevada. The second thing is that there’s a raucous bar scene. Alcohol is forbidden on North Slope oil rigs and the entire job site. There are no bars there and no drinking at all. Great way to get fired. Third, the workers are portrayed as the outcasts of society, losers and criminals. In fact, the average pay for North Slope workers is north of a hundred grand a year, with many making closer to two hundred grand. Plus, they work two weeks on and two weeks off. So that’s two weeks of vacation every month whereas most Americans get two weeks off every year. Working on the North Slope is pretty much the greatest job on the planet and the employees are hard-working, often college-educated professionals.

        Now I know that’s a bit like seeing a movie shot in your old high school and saying, “Hey, that door doesn’t lead to that hallway!” What does it matter? Still it bugged me and the reason for that may be my second personal experience, which is I worked on set in Hollywood for over 10 years. There are a million ways to cheat, from little things like moving a lamp from one set-up to another because when the camera changed angles, the lamp isn’t in frame and it’s the sort of thing nobody is going to notice, to big things like putting mountains where they shouldn’t be because it will look cool.

        And that’s what bugged me about THE GREY: I think the filmmakers (and I’ll throw the actors into the guilty pile with the writer/director) repeatedly and consistently chose what was cool over what was real. The great filmmakers, in my opinion, make great efforts to find that authenticity but also manage to be cool. Think of an example, I don’t know, BRAVEHEART or LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. I’m sure there are more recent examples. At any rate, I just hate it when I feel like I’m watching of bunch of spoiled, poncy millionaires pretending. It’s like watching a cheesy high school play with a bunch of kids pretending to be soldiers. THE GREY totally failed to achieve a suspension of disbelief with me. It was acting. It was “cool” shots rather than great shots. It was pretend. And I could tell it was makebelieve every step of the way.

        Also, the characters did idiotic things, like when they ran across the field knowing that killer wolves were on their asses but they didn’t bother to do so much as pick up a piece of jagged metal, which was lying all around in the plane wreck. And why did the characters do this? Because the director had a cool scene in mind of the wolves killing a guy in the middle of that field and if the guy had been carrying a big piece of metal, he could have defended himself. Again, it was a filmmaking cheat. It was dumbass move that a real person would not do.

        It was pretend.

        • Poe_Serling

          Whoa! I was thinking you might come back for a quick cameo… not a Montgomery Clift monologue. ;-)

          All excellent points. Plus, you have the unique perspective and insights of someone living in the backyard of the film’s setting.

          And I gotta agree, some of the inconsistencies in the The Grey’s storytelling left me cold (no pun intended).

          ‘…the characters did idiotic things, like when they ran across the field knowing that killer wolves were on their asses..’

          I thought the same thing… these guys can outrun a pack of wolves in kneedeep snow. As a strapping, strong-legged teen, I couldn’t beat my dog to the end of the street – even with a 100 yard lead sometimes.

          And as for The Edge… yup, always watchable and entertaining. I love that bear.

        • Michael

          I don’t know about the top ten films of the year, but this is one of the top ten rants of the year. It inspired me to go back to the GREY DAY post and read your original rant. That rant began with a pack mauling of an Ottway supporter that started eloquently: “Are you entirely retarded?” :-D))) I can’t stop laughing. Thank you.

          Best line from this rant: “From the writing to the acting and directing, it just seemed like it was made by posers who had no experience in the story’s world.” Prior to filming The Grey, my guess is Joe Carnahan’s only wilderness experience was a stroll through Griffith Park.

          I remember ranting on about the same lack of effort to be logical. It seemed so needless on the filmmaker’s part. Why destroy the films credibility when it’s just as easy to get the real world facts correct so the viewer is drawn into a mystical film world where a pack of wolves can rejuvenate a mans dead soul and lust for life? That’s the movie I wanted to see. That’s the film I was passionate about as well and why, I too was angered by the product they gave us.

          I see why Carson loved the script. It wasn’t your average action film, but a rare GSU driven action film that had a strong theme centered on multiple arcing characters in need of salvation. The script had heart and reached high, but all of that potential greatness was lost in an arctic blizzard of, well, lazy choices by the filmmakers.

          Big what I learned: Make the world of your film authentic and don’t give the viewer a reason to doubt it. Thanks Keith.

          • Keith Popely

            Ha! Thanks, Michael. You made my day. “A pack mauling.” Love that. I’m signing up for your fan club.

        • http://www.facebook.com/john.bradley.71066 John Bradley

          That sounds like me with Spiderman 3. I loved the 2nd one and looked forward for 2 years to see the 3rd. I bought tickets to the midnight opening. I told everyone Spiderman 3 was going to be the greatest movie ever, then when I got through that steaming pile of garbage I was angry!!!
          While I personally enjoyed the Grey and thought it was a good movie. I understand your anger at expectations that were not meant. It’s very relatable.

      • http://twitter.com/OntPoli Ont Poli

        I agree with Keith.

        The Grey: Complete Synopsis. Plane crash. Wolves chase some guys and kill some of them.

        • Poe_Serling

          lol.

          Watch out, Prometheus… looks like Mr. Popely has started a tidal wave.

          • Keith Popely

            Actually, I’m with Carson on that one. Sorry, Marija! I think our emotions run higher on the projects we’re closest to. I hated THE GREY because it was exactly the type of movie I love, but it did things differently than I would have preferred. People who are strongly into sci-fi and ALIEN in particular have a stronger reaction to a movie like PROMETHEUS than I did. With THE GREY, I was analyzing every little thing. But with PROMETHEUS, I was able to turn off my internal critic and just enjoy what the movie was.

            I think this reaction is especially true is we’re writing a script similar to the movie in question. It’s got to be perfect or we’re going to hate it. If we’re not overly emotionally attached to a genre, we’re much more forgiving.

            Know what I’m saying?

          • Marija ZombiGirl

            Hey, no need to apologize :-) I think you’re right about the emotions thing. I loved The Grey but I can absolutely understand why you don’t. You make your points in the post above very clearly. I’m not a particular sci-fi fan but the Alien trilogy (yes, trilogy) is very close to my heart so even though I ignored all viral promotion and didn’t expect a masterpiece (with Prometheus), I was sorely disappointed by the character treatment in particular (and also some weird story choices). Someone mentioned the DVD commentary by Spaihts and Lindelof. I have no intentions of actually buying the thing but I’m still very interested in listening to it. I’m just going to have to beg a friend except they probably wouldn’t trust me with it :-)

          • Keith Popely

            ha! Don’t destroy your friend’s dvd.

            xo

  • carsonreeves1

    The second half of TDKR just kept going on and on until I checked out. That’s what I left the theater with, that neverending second half. Had I left after the first half, it would be on my top 10.

  • Roy

    Good picks. I also liked Prometheus more than most, although I’d call it “entertaining” more than I would call it “good”.

    My favorite was probably The Raid. Just a lean and mean little movie with Indonesian stunt men proving they might be certifiably insane.

    Also, for other action fans, I’d recommend Dragon (aka Swordsmen). It’s basically a Chinese remake of History of Violence only much more fun and with a lot more kung fu.

    Biggest surprise this year for me was how many animated movies I enjoyed this year. I’m a big fan of the art form and there were some delightful flicks this year. Again, I liked Brave more than most but I wouldn’t put it on my best list. But I found it decent and over-hated/underrated.

    But I really enjoyed Paranorman, Wreck-It Ralph, Secret World of Arrietty, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Frankenweenie (best thing Tim Burton’s made in ages) and Rise of The Guardians. Figured no one else would bring up animated movies, but I found a lot of these far more enjoyable than many live action movies I saw.

    • maleficedark

      Man ! You are my friend !

      ” The Raid” was awesome .Best movie of the year for me . Dragon was really cool too.

      Secret World of Arrietty is not 2012 but it’s one of my favourite movie ever .

      But i think the best movie of the year is one that i have not seen yet :

      The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki

      The trailer was so good !

      • Cfrancis1

        Yes! The Raid rules! Love that movie!

      • ripleyy

        The Raid was so brutal but really fun, especially the part the guy slams the other guy into a broken door.

  • kellisays

    There were a lot of movies I really liked in 2012, but Life of Pi is the only one I was awed by – so glad to see it at the top of the list!

    • carsonreeves1

      Yeah, it really does capture a sense of wonder. Such a visually amazing film, as well as a great story.

      • JW

        Great story… I’m sitting with a group of producers and managers pitching this real-life story about a guy who gets caught in the middle of the Atlantic when his boat sinks and he survives for weeks on just a raft before being found in the Bahamas (skinny as a rail). It’s a story that has heart, drama, struggle, death, survival and an ending I tacked on myself that’s a bit of a twist! These guys looked at me and said, “You’re nuts, have you heard of Life of Pie? It’s not going to make any money and when Hollywood hears about water they run the other way because it balloons budgets. Move on to your next idea.” And, this is why sometimes opinions are truly and utterly wrong — even from people “inside” the industry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.bradley.71066 John Bradley

    I went into the theater to see Prometheus a perfectly healthy, happy movie-goer. When the movie was over, I had aquired sudden on-set Type 2 diabetes and was filled with an uncontrollable urge to beat puppies.
    The Grey was amazing and I will have to read the script one day.
    I’m a huge nerd, and while I agree with your assesment, I loved The Dark Knight Rises! I was going to love it regardless so my vote should not count.
    I really thought Chronicle would be a crappy, teenie popcorn movie, but have heard some good reviews and will have to check it out.
    I just saw Django a few nights ago…not Terrantinos best, but there was a ton to like. Am I the only person who thinks that Terrantino goes out of his way to use the “N” word simply because he enjoys doing it without getting in trouble?

  • http://simplyscripts.com/ Steex

    Just for the sake of pure fun and a crazy third act, I would have Cabin In The Woods in my Top 10. Besides that, Carson, this list is pretty close to how I feel. A different order, but damn close. (Although, I’ve yet to see Moonrise Kingdom)

  • http://www.facebook.com/shaun.snyder.35 Shaun Snyder

    So glad to see Chronicle and The Grey on the list. I loved how Chronicle took two tired film ideas (the “superhero” movie and the “found-footage” movie), combined them, and somehow made them feel fresh. As for The Grey, I thought the ending was a BALLSY choice, and I LOVE when movies take chances!
    I’m glad someone else enjoyed Prometheus, too. I was beginning to think I was the only one.

  • Thunk24

    Tinker tailor soldier spy, The Sessions, Skyfall, Killing them softly, Prometheus and Shame. Yet to see Zero or Django, they’ve yet to reach New Zealand.

    • Thunk24

      Forgot a couple of absolute favourites – Drive, loved the tone of this movie, would love to know if that was conveyed in the screenplay and the Descendants was fine.

      • ChinaSplash2

        Drive is my second favorite movie of all time. But it came out in 2011.

  • http://twitter.com/FlanaganCRK C. Ryan Kirkpatrick

    I didn’t care for The Hunger Games and found Prometheus, while having gorgeous visuals, to be an ambitious mess (if you haven’t listened to the commentary with Spaihts and Lindelof, you should. Ridley made quite a few changes, even from Lindelof’s final script).

    I’ve rewatched The Avengers about 900 times, loved The Grey and Chronicle. Still haven’t seen Django (screw you, holidays!) but loved loved loved the script.

    Good list, C.

  • J-E-B

    Prometheus and Moonrise Kingdom have worried me to no end that you even remotely liked them. Everyone of course is entitled to their opinions but in this case I fear you come dangerously close to completely destroying your credibility. Either one of these films could easily be title Swiss cheese for the level of holes they were riddled with. Prometheus for obvious continuity issues and ridiculous exposition, and Moonrise because if ever there looked to be a film made by a director to look like it was a student film made by a Wes Anderson wannabe then this was it. I blame Roman Coppola. He has about as much talent as video store clerk.

    Please come back to earth Carson.

  • nawazm10

    The Avengers? I think it has to be the most over rated movie this year! I thought it was fun but I can’t see it anything more than a popcorn flick.

    I’ve still got a few more movies to watch but from what I’ve seen already, my list goes like this.

    Special Mention – Dredd. Strange movie but it was done well. The bones of the film were good, it was a fun watch.

    5. Looper – I love my Sci-Fi and this didn’t disappoint. Obviously the second section of the movie was unexpected but I thought it was done well. GSU reeked from this movie. It made it tense and it was visually pleasing as well.

    4. Prometheus – I’m that one guy who wasn’t a major fan of Alien. I liked the movie but just couldn’t get into it. I wasn’t expecting a lot from Prometheus either but man, was I surprised. This was tense and like Carson mentioned, I was totally engrossed. Some good stuff here.

    3. The Dark Knight Rises – For the most part, Nolan did a great job. The twist wasn’t to my liking but besides that, this was some fine film making. I enjoyed it a lot.

    2. Cloud Atlas – Three hours just breezed by, I really like what the writers attempted here. It was original, tense, funny, thrilling, it was everything! Some stories could’ve used a good clean up but this was worth the watch.

    1. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World – Loved it, couldn’t understand the hate for it. Tonal shifts? Who cares! The movie was enjoyable. Lorene Scafaria’s got a promising career ahead of her.

  • tipofthenose

    BATTLE ROYAL, it’s the name of the movie were you see kids kill each other. Actually “the hunger games” is just the boring unbloody popcorn version of that great film with takeshi kitano.

    Sometimes it is fun how movies get sold as amazing tentpole ideas and the producers try never to mention what a ripoff the whole thing is. With “the hunger games” it worked. The horrible “The Tourist” drowned in venice but the original “Anthony Zimmer” was good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1462007233 Avishai Weinberger

    Unlike your Worst Of list, I completely agree with this list. Each of the movies on this list that I’ve seen, I loved.

    If it were my list, I’d add other films, as well. Like Looper, Cabin in the Woods, Dredd, Seeking A Friend At The End Of The World, Skyfall, TDKR and others I’m sure I’ll remember if I think really hard. Then I’d have to whittle the number down to 10.

    I realized something… I’m much more forgiving of plot holes if the story has a solid structure. So people complain about Prometheus, but I can look past its flaws and appreciate it as an intriguing piece of atmospheric science fiction.

    • TGivens

      We’re on the same page here! Cabin in the Woods, Dredd (that was AWESOME!!! I demand a sequel!!!!), Skyfall and TDKR are on my list, too. But Django takes the first place in my book!

    • http://www.facebook.com/john.bradley.71066 John Bradley

      I agree with The Dark Night Rises, despite all the mentioned flaws, it was still an epic movie and Bane’s voice just tickled me to death

    • JakeMLB

      I have a few buddies (sci fi diehards) who went absolutely bonkers over Dredd.

      I enjoyed it but not nearly as much as I had hoped. That aside, I’m seriously bummed that it fared so poorly at the box office as it might spell the end of R-rated sci-fi/action in the near future (and will certainly mean no sequel).

      The marketing campaign was terrible. The title, DREDD 3D, was a pisspoor choice. As was the decision to air it almost exclusively in 3D. There was literally no awareness of this film. The marketing did nothing to separate it from its predecessor.

      My hope is that it lands a huge cult following on DVD/Blu-Ray as awareness grows. Buy it if you haven’t!

      • DrMatt

        DREDD WAS AWESOME.

        I wish it had a little bit more gusto. I don’t know what that word actually means but what I mean is, I wish it moved a little quicker, was a little more inventive with its set pieces, less CGI blood and had a more tense finale.

        With that said, it was refreshing to see a well-made 80′s action throwback that I’ll come back to on Blu-ray.

  • blueiis0112

    I would like to see a good script prior to “Alien” that takes us to the queen’s planet. Is there more than one queen? When Cain found all of the eggs, the surrounding atmosphere was devoid of oxygen. Bishop rescued Ripley and Newt, the queen hitched a ride on the OUTSIDE of the craft. Not needing oxygen and being jettisoned from the Sullocco, could the queen have floated to another planet or moon? How did the queen in the ancient temple get there? If she was brought there by the predators, how did they find her?

    • Malibo Jackk

      Cool concept.
      Maybe crash landing on the queen’s planet.

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      It’s Kane, not Cain.
      And Sulaco, not Sullocco.

      Oh my god, I hate myself for doing this :-D

  • TGivens

    Well, in my opinion Wreck-it Ralph, Cloud Atlas and End of Watch deserve to be on this list much more than Life of Pi, Prometheus and the Battle Royale rip-off. Yes, Life of Pi was good, but I wasn’t sooooo excited about it. Maybe because I don’t like religious themes (especially in movies). And The Hunger Games was completely ridiculous and frankly pissed me off. Not just because it’s a Battle Royale rip-off, but also because of the unlikable characters, because of the violent premise with PG-13 (!!!!) rating, because of the stupid Lady Gaga costumes and etc. etc.

    My personal list (in no particular order): The Avengers, TDKR, Cabin in the Woods, Dredd, Skyfall, Moonrise Kingdom, The Raid: Redemption, Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, Argo.

  • jridge32

    The junkyard scene in “Chronicle” where the characters figure out they can fly might be my favorite scene from last year. There’s an odd, unabashed joy to it that almost makes you forget you’re watching special effects.

  • Murphy

    It has been a very good year for movies I think, and still I have not yet seen some of your list. I have a top 9 because I have not yet seen Django, and yet I am sure it will feature somewhere in my top ten based on the script alone.

    So my nine, awaiting for Django, are…

    9 – Moonrise Kingdom

    8 – Killing Them Softly

    7 – Seeking a Friend for the end of the world.

    6 – Sightseers

    5 – One upon a time in Anatolia

    4 – A Royal Affair

    3 – Searching for Sugar Man

    2 – The Intouchables

    1 – Argo

    And it has been such a great year that I would have to say the top five here are already considered classics in my mind. Brilliant films.

    • Murphy

      I just want to add that I have only just seen Searching for Sugarman tonight, a very late edition to my list. I was absolutely blown away. A fantastic documentary and a fantastic story. I would recommend this movie to everyone who aspires to be be somebody.

  • ElliotMaguire

    I’m not gonna bash ‘Prometheus’, I loved it! Sometimes ambiguity isnt there on purpose, its just bad scripting and filmmaking. but with ‘ Prometheus’, I feel its all art of a master plan. I think things will be explained, and I enjoyed being forced to make my own mind up about certain things. I actually had a pitch for a sequel but then word came out they were already doing one and probably would ignore a UK writer with no rep. Oh well.

    I know you didn’t like it Carson, but I recently watched Dark Knight Rises for a second time, and now love it even more. I get your review, but the movie was just ‘me’, the themes, the ballsy moves, it all made for an emotional experience, one of my favourites of the year.

    My number one is without a doubt ‘The Grey’. Everything you mention about ‘ Life of Pi’, about God, mortality, is what I got from Carnahans movie. I actually cried, I have NEVER cried at a film before that. I tried to explain it to my girlfriend, and all I could say was ‘I think its ‘cos I’m a dad now’. I dunno, can’t shake that one.

    It’s good to see there’s a place for good old fashioned entertainment with ‘The Avengers’, but I would have put the other Whedon film up high on the list, the film that I found to be so ridiculously enjoyable, I’ve rewatched it more than any other, ‘Cabin in the Woods’. The Pixar-horror movie.

  • http://www.howdoiblog.com/ Scots Chris

    Hated Prometheus and The Grey, but I said that already. :)

    My tops so far (and there are TONS of movies I haven’t seen yet) are Beasts of the Southern Wild, Wreck-It Ralph, Seven Psychopaths, 21 Jump St, Cabin in the Woods, The Avengers and Looper.

    Everything else was kind of middling or awful.

  • jridge32

    Worst extended Tarantino film cameo in the history of bad Tarantino film cameos. His scene in “Django” brought the movie to a grinding halt for me.

    • LisaMcDowell

      I didn’t mind Tarantino’s cameo so much. But I’ve heard a lot of people comment that they weren’t a fan of casting Jamie Foxx. I think he did a solid job. It’s sometimes hard to be to be as entertaining or interesting as the villains when you’re playing the straight hero/good guy.

    • Awescillot

      I couldn’t agree more. I read the script before I saw the movie, so I knew what to expect (one thing I was looking forward to was Samuel L Jackson playing his role). But when I saw QT on screen, I could only shake my head. Couldn’t really understand why he wanted to do that.

  • ChinaSplash2

    Still haven’t seen most of these. I will say this though:

    Jennifer Lawrence is one of the most exciting new actors out there, and Hunger Games — a boring, leaden, overblown snooze-fest — is a complete waste of her prodigious talent. I sure hope she finds the time to do some more good stuff and doesn’t just fritter away the next few years propping up this tedious franchise tent-pole.

    Just a personal thing, no biggie, but I found Life Of Pi unreadable. I managed about 60 pages — with heavy skimming — before I threw it away. It’s the only book I’ve ever [tried to] read that managed to make animals seem dull. So I don’t care how wonderful the movie is supposed to be, I won’t be watching that one anytime soon. Not in 3D, not in anything. (I wish someone had made Aravind Adiga’s ‘The White Tiger’ instead.)

    And Prometheus wasn’t terrible, it was just half-assed and very disappointing.

    End Of Watch though, yeah! Great movie! That should definitely be at or near the top of the list. Also, as far as I can tell from some cursory checking, except for one obvious change, it sticks to the 4-22-2011 script pretty much word for word. And this is a script that the SS review described as ‘devoid of arcs, form, focus, setups or payoffs.’ Oh really? Seriously Carson, what the heck happened there?!! I mean I know that every script is supposed to be pumped up with contrived conflicts and preposterous storylines, but sometimes you just gotta let the story breath and be what it is. Training Day was great — but that was one thing and End Of Watch is another.

    Thank God for David Ayers!

  • ripleyy

    10) V/H/S
    While Chronicle was great, I thought V/H/S took Found Footage and made something out of it, something different. I loved them all, each more than the other until the end stuck with me for weeks. Definitely rewatchable.

    9) This is 40
    Carson’s right about 2012 having the comedy crop because This is 40 was funny but also touching. Judd really thought it through and, which is rare for a comedy, it had stakes which made it worth my list.

    8) 21 Jump Street
    Hilarious and highly rewatchable.

    7) Cosmopolis
    Cronenberg proves again he can do it and I really loved Cosmopolis even though I shouldn’t but Robert’s performance was really captivating for some reason and the entire film felt strange and surreal and I can’t even tell you why I liked it.

    6) God Bless America
    Despite being hilarious, God Bless America has a message for you and I love that this is one of the most edgiest, darkest comedies in a while: it was so dark and edgy that it felt uncomfortable but Bob’s rant on reality and the performances were great. I recommend this the most.

    5) Detention
    Scott Pilgrim has dropped acid, smoked a pound of weed and took so much LSD it resulted in this film being one of the quirkiest films of the year. If you hate self-aware comedy, this isn’t for you, but if you do, Detention is worth a watch. I enjoyed it and I’ve watched more than once.

    4) Upside Down
    Carson says to give Romantic films something different and there is nothing more different than Upside Down, a romance in which there is a city for the sky, and a city for the ground, and on the top city, there is the rich and famous but on the ground below there is the poor and helpless…and two from both side fall in love. If you want to be absorbed into something, Upside Down does just that.

    3) Detachment
    Despite its depressing nature, Detachment made me spend the rest of the week feeling deep and philosophical. Sami Gayle was insanely good in this and there is one scene later on that brought a tear to my eye.

    2) To Rome With Love
    Quirky and Woody Allen all over, I wasn’t much for Midnight in Paris but To Rome with Love was what I expected. Plus, how can I not turn down Ellen Page? The answer is that I can’t.

    1) Prometheus
    I’m more than likely going to get killed for saying this but Prometheus being my number one has to do with the reason that I love Science Fiction and being delivered this Sci-Fi that is everything I love about it, I couldn’t say no. Plus, no one talks about the score – The score for this film is incredible. Flaws? What flaws? I can look through them and enjoy this for what it is.

    • ElliotMaguire

      Your right, the score is amazing, even better listeneto seperarate from the movie (even though I love the movie) I listen to it when writing suspense scenes.

      • ripleyy

        I’ve been listening to the entire soundtrack for a week now and it’s beautiful. Even if you can’t hear much of it in the film, it’s there. And like you. I think I’m able to write better when listening to it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1462007233 Avishai Weinberger

      I also love the Prometheus score. Specifically “Weyland”.

      V/H/S was a mixed bag for me. Some segments worked. Some didn’t, at all. What frustrated me was that the framing device didn’t work as a story in its own right. So when it wrapped up, instead of saying Whoa, I was thinking, That’s it?

      • ripleyy

        I’m addicted to “Too Close” but trying not to listen to it excessively is hard, you can listen too much of it and you lose the essence of what makes it a great song, like any song you listen too much of.

        And yeah, some didn’t. I really loved the first one though, with the Succubus, but the wood one didn’t work but the end was really fun. As a whole, it was a really good watch and it was just a breeze to watch, I remember sitting down and watching it and just shutting off for a while and enjoying it. With the sequel, I hope they plan it out better.

    • ChadStuart

      I think for everything “Prometheus” got wrong, it got something right. It’s half a great movie. There’s plenty of interesting stuff in there, and any movie that generates as much discussion as it has is worth something.

  • Jovan Jevtic

    Best:

    1. Argo

    2.Wreck it Ralph

    3.The Avengers/The Hunger Games

    4.Chronicle

    5.Moonrise Kingdom

    6.Cabin in the woods

    7. Safe House

    8. Looper

    9.Life of PI

    10.Les intouchables

    I hated The Grey and was disappointed with Skyfall

    • Q.T. Anderson

      Good list. Did you now that a few years back Carson bashed Cabin in the Woods, actually saying that he thought the script was a joke? I didn’t really enjoy it that much, but I just though it was funny, seeing a review from Carson and comparing it to the box office receipts from today.

      • carsonreeves1

        Ugh, I hated that script! :)

        • AstralAmerican

          Ahhhh forgot about that god awful mess CABIN IN THE WOODS. Hated that movie.

        • Pugsley

          Hey, Carson:

          LIFE OF PI??? #1?! I mean, it was visually stunning, but I’m not sure the narrator pulled off what he promised — to tell a story that would make you believe in God. I kinda felt that was over-promised.

          I do, however, have a story that might make you believe in God. Check out THE NARRATIVE OF ARTHUR GORDON PYM OF NANTUCKET, by Edgar Allan Poe. Published in 1838.

          In the story, after a shipwreck, four men make it to a lifeboat. Starving, they draw straws, and the shortest straw is killed and eaten. He’s a young cabin boy named Richard Parker.

          The odd thing is, about 50 years after Poe published this, around 1888, a REAL shipwreck took place, and three men and a young cabin boy made it to the lifeboat. The three men, starving, killed and ate the cabin boy. His
          name? Richard Parker.

          All true and it’s been documented in a murder trial. None of the surviving cannibals were aware of the Poe story.

          We’re in the Matrix.

      • DanDollar

        Carson also gave an Impressive to The Sitter if I’m not mistaken.

  • http://twitter.com/LisaAldin Lisa Aldin

    The movies I most enjoyed that came out this year are…

    1) Liberal Arts
    2) Seven Psychopaths
    3) Lawless
    4) The Hunger Games
    5) The Grey
    6) Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
    7) Cabin in the Woods
    8) The Dark Knight Rises
    9) Chronicle
    10) The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

  • JW

    A lot of people argue on this thing and everyone wants to talk about how someone’s great film wasn’t really great and how they have better great films etc… but I think that’s what makes film such an intriguing medium. Because we all go in with our baggage we take things in differently. I saw Silver Linings at a pre-release screening and I enjoyed it. At the time it hadn’t been fully cut, but I liked the comedy. I didn’t like the drama because I felt it was tacked on and didn’t mix well with the structure (in addition to the ending, which was highly Hollywood). I felt the film was its strongest when the comedy was center-stage. It wouldn’t have made my great list, but again, that’s the great thing about film… my filet mignon is someone else’s McRib. I saw a pre-release screening of Killing Them Softly and almost walked out that’s how much I wanted to punch Harvey Weinstein in the face, who happened to be in the crowd (but critically this film has been getting huge raves). I know everyone loves to argue about stuff and we live in a polarizing society, but this is what I love about this medium. Everyone’s opinion really counts because it’s how you react to the film and at the end of the day that’s all that really matters (there’s rarely a right and wrong because the debate can usually be framed in so many agreeable ways). Just promise me you won’t eat too many McRibs… I care too much about you…

    • Malibo Jackk

      Well said JW.
      (Still curious about Killing Them Softly.)

  • thescreenplayman

    I didn’t like the Grey at all. I mean, Carson, you say you hate people talking around in one big room, yet we several scenes exactly like that in the Grey (replace “room” with campfire. Prometheus was a major disapointment. Hunger Games sucked, nowhere near the cool premise of the book (or maybe the vision in my head).

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1462007233 Avishai Weinberger

      I think those scenes in The Grey worked because they were still in constant danger, and the longer they stayed, the lower their chances of survival were. Also, at least one of these scenes (the one that ended with a wolf decapitation) became a big character conflict scene.

  • http://www.howdoiblog.com/ Scots Chris

    Just to re-iterate one thing if it isn’t clear from my no 2 slot on my list, Wreck-It Ralph was probably the best written commercial movie I saw all year – it had so many set-ups and pay-offs that I should have seen the ending coming, but I didn’t, it still surprised me… maybe because it was a kid’s movie, or maybe because it was so well constructed. Regardless, Carson, it’s an awesome movie and you should see it post-haste.

  • garrett_h

    Gotta say, I completely disagreed with yesterday’s list. But of the ones I’ve seen here (have not seen Pi, ZD30, Silver Linings or the Sushi one) they were all my favorite movies of the year. Except for Hunger Games. I thought it was OK. But I really hated how safe they played it. The brutality I’ve been told is in the book is completely absent from the film. I felt cheated. But otherwise, great list!

  • ChadStuart

    I usually like to break “best of” into two categories: “Favorite Movie of the Year” and “Best Movie of the Year.” Favorite movies are fun movies. They don’t necessarily have anything weighty to say, or want to advance the language of film. They just want to have a good time. For me, last year, that was “The Avengers”. It was everything bad you could say about it in spades, but it was a whole lot of fun to boot, which made up for all of its flaws.

    For Best Film, I have to admit that nothing I saw struck me as remarkable filmmaking. Since I live outside the bubble of L.A. or New York, there are several I simply haven’t had access to. But for the most part the ones that struck me as “best” were “Lincoln” (I love politics and the political process so it was fascinating to me), “Les Miserables” (because I love the musical and think the ideas behind economic inequality are very timely), and “Argo” (history and politics just hit my sweet spot lately, I guess).

    But, if you were to compare any of these films to “best ofs” from years past, they wouldn’t much register. I don’t know why we have gotten into a habit of partitioning off films into years as a way to judge them. I think it would be more accurate to lump them together into periods much like we do art and classical music that span decades. If we look at the long tail of this period in film (post-post-modernism?), I think there are far better specimens from past years to define the period.

  • DD

    Pretty good list! I also liked That’s my Boy and the Campaign (dictator not so much.) LIFE OF PI, DJANGO, ARGO, LINCOLN, MOONRISE KINGDOM, SILVER LININGS, PROMETHEUS were all great. Agreed on the best shot of 2012. That was transcendent.

  • Samuel Clark

    I have a top 5
    1) Ruby Sparks – Awesome concept, charmingly written, plays with its concept, twists it and turns it right toward the end. And Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano are really awesome.
    2) Cosmopolis – Because I like a story about self destruction with weird Pinteresque dialogue inside a limo that looks like a spaceship.
    3) A Royal Affair – People really need to hunt down this Danish Period drama. YES, YOU DO! A DANISH PERIOD DRAMA!
    4) Prometheus – Because!
    5) The Woman In Black – Scariest movie I’ve seen in a long time. I hid behind my coat at one point, can’t remember a movie doing that since I was about 10.

    • Murphy

      Royal Affair, agreed, great movie.

      I am assuming you are a disciple of the Good Doctor Samuel? Many of the movies I watch I would never see were it not for Wittertainment.

      By the way, what’s happening with your stuff? Written anything new lately?

  • Guest

    It’s okay that you like Prometheus, but it’s still a shitty movie.

    • K__David

  • carsonreeves1

    I liked 21 Jump Street!

  • http://www.facebook.com/shaun.snyder.35 Shaun Snyder

    Well said. 21 Jump Street is the funniest movie I’ve seen since the first Hangover.

  • DanDollar

    Fun fact, the makers of 21 Jump Street’s first and only previous film was Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (I think). Just goes to show you how funny and versatile they are.

    • deave

      Dude, you’re on a screenwriting website. You do realize that the directors had pretty much nothing to do with any of the humor of that movie? They’re great guys, I’m sure, super talented, but you realize everything single movement and line in that movie was scripted out by a writer? Robert Redford and a million other people say that directing is 90% script and cast.

      • DanDollar

        You’re absolutely right. I hear they actually offered 21 Jump Street to Robert Redford at first because of course it would have been just as funny.

      • DrMatt

        Oh really? Tell me more.

  • Cfrancis1

    Glad to see Prometheus on your list. I really enjoyed it. Liked it even better the second time I saw it. Are there plot holes, sure, but I not as many as people made it out to be. Some annoying and shallow characters? Yep. But I was intrigued the whole time and thought there were some wonderfully tense scenes.

    Saw Hunger Games again recently and liked it less the second time. Found the characters dull. Very little suspense in the film. And the first hour is incredibly boring.

  • Poe_Serling

    Some good insights, especially in regard to The Grey parroting some of the basic slasher horror tropes.

  • Acarl

    1.) Django:
    Unchained- Easily my favorite of the
    year. Better than Inglorious Basterds,
    in my humble opinion. I thought the
    script and film were both equal in greatness.

    2.) Argo:
    Gritty, smart and Ben Affleck has evolved yet again. I can’t wait to see what he does next. F’n bad ass script as well!

    3.) Zero Dark Thirty: So engrossing, and brilliant at consuming the
    viewer and putting them ‘there’. Another
    where the film equaled the script.

    4.) The Grey:
    Another that was equal to the great script from which it sprung.

    5.) Sinister: Best horror film since The Ring, but not
    better than. And it was baseline
    produced for just a nudge over 3 million
    $!!! Want to read this script – HINT HINT.

    6.) Safe House: Much of my love for this one had
    to do with the romantic backstory of the first time scripter…. So I was rooting
    for it to be awesome – it was good, not great.

    7.) Moonrise Kingdom: On any given day this could
    easily be my #2. Want to read this
    script.

    8.) Not Fade Away: Big David Chase fan, bigger Gandolfini
    fan. Loved this simple film – see it. I am a sick lover of Chase’s ‘no solid answer’
    story writing ie: final episode of The Soprano’s which actually tells EVERYTHING that happened in
    a semi-subconsious way…whatever that means.
    Have not read the script.

    9.) The Avengers: Not a big action comic guy but
    this left me high with a sugar buzz from all of the eye candy.

    10.)Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Was very skeptical going into this but ended
    up thoroughly enjoying it. Fun
    revisionist history and most every scene was rock solid and moved things
    forward. Did not get to read the script
    of this one.

    • Acarl

      Non sequitur add on – forgot to include something that I read last week that is
      not relative to a best of list for this year, but I encourage anyone who
      hasn’t, to read the script for Monster’s Ball. So sparing yet
      effective with the exposition. Conveys EVERYTHING in the moment in just a matter of a few words.

  • J.R. Kinnard

    Interesting list, Carson. I would definitely have “Avengers”, “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Life of Pi” in my top 10, also. And I won’t give you crap over “Prometheus”. :-)
    For the first 2 hours, “Django Unchained” was in my top 10, and then it degenerated into 45 minutes of tedious shootouts. Honestly, I can’t think of anything more boring than watching people shoot at each other. I used to think car chases were the most boring things ever, but I’m now convinced that shootouts are the new car chases. It’s like 120 pages into the script QT said, “Holy shit! Where is all the bloodshed?!?” Once Waltz was out of the picture, the movie became very boring to me.
    And “Chronicle”? Wha? I can’t remember a movie where I cared less about a protagonist. I really expected more from Landis than painting superficial characters and expecting that to justify their actions. Had the notion of the “Alpha Predator” been introduced immediately and expounded upon throughout the script, this movie could have been terrific.
    A movie which would make my top 10 that most folks seem to consider a disappointment is “Seven Psychopaths”. Maybe just because it appeals to my sense of humor, but I had a blast at this movie. And I can’t really figure out why Sam Rockwell isn’t a HUGE star. He owns every scene he’s in. In fact, that’s probably the biggest flaw of this movie: Rockwell makes Colin Farrell look like the average actor that he is.
    Also have to send some love to “Safety Not Guaranteed”. That movie got under my skin. Yes, it reeks with earnest indie yearning, but it totally worked for me. I probably enjoyed this movie more than any other.
    Overall, I would have to say that 2012 was a solid rebound for the movies. The last 5 years or so have been monumentally disappointing.

  • CyclopsRobot

    Bad: Prometheus. Boring, convoluted, nonsense. Painful.

    Great: Argo (best movie of the year). Exciting, interesting, edge of your seat thriller.

  • the monster

    I have one basic rule for movies I consider great.

    If while watching them I can’t find a single flaw, something I’d change, and truly believe what’s on the screen could actually be happening while I watch, even though it’s far fetched or fantastical in nature, that’s a movie which I consider great.

    I couldn’t tell you what to change in “Casablanca”, “Wizard of Oz”, “Ordinary People”, “Tootsie”, “the Player”, “Godfather”, “Young Frankenstein”, “Aliens”, ” Bad News Bears ( the original ), ” Rocky”. “Lost in Translation”, “Jaws”, “Remains of the Day”. I bought all their authenticity hook line and sinker. Tonally consistent, thematically sound and acted impeccably, to a movie.

    I can’t say the same about this years crop of movies save for “Beasts of the Southern Wild” which was hypnotic at times, euphoric, heart wrenching and simply beautiful to watch. I couldn’t see a single flaw in it. The storytelling was masterful, the editing superb, the acting genuine. It earned every single emotion it evoked without having John Williams musical scoring to shepherd the audience through it.

    ” Prometheus” didn’t need to piggyback on the “Alien” franchise and would’ve been better served being a wholly new sci fi story. H.L. Geiger’s beautiful creation will probably never be equaled, not by Predator movies, nor the Independence Day aliens who get knocked out with one Will Smith punch, nor the “Aliens Versus Cowboys” creations with their weird little hands in their ribcage. We don’t need villain backstory, be it Michael Myers, the Grinch, the Predator or Aliens.

    And while the initial crew of the movie “Alien” made some mistakes, that was believable because they’re basically space miners, not scientists like the idiots in “Prometheus” who don’t act like people with scientific logical backgrounds and training. They act more like the kids at Crystal Lake Camp, making out while Jason Vorhees hacks up their peers in the next tent.

    “Avengers” was totally, utterly forgettable. There was no real story, just a congregation of characters hitting one another, fixing a ship for fifteen minutes, and making jokes at the expense of a green hulk, or anyone less rich than Tony Stark. Honestly if writers don’t know the big bad wolf villain should seem more indomitable than the protagonist, they haven’t done their homework. Loki was a space fop, an ineffectual priss who needed to hop onto a flatbed truck to escape the scene of his bloody arrival on earth. Why not call a cab Loki?

    The Avengers outnumbered one Name Villain. In case anyone forgot, only one guy went up against Goliath. ( and you can’t count the armada of alien ships, they’re like storm troopers, hero fodder ) You need a baddie so evil people cringe, like the wicked Witch of the East, Darth Vader or the aliens. Loki inspires scorn and pity.

    “Cabin in the Woods” was so close to making my list of good films, not great. The premise was so muddled, with vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and cosmic gods combining in a universe where all rules go out the window. In the end it seemed it was more a satire on the horror genre in general rather than a horror movie. But at least it seemed original and that’s something the industry could use more of.

    “Skyfall” too was so close, but I think the climax was rather anticlimactic. Instead of ending in Scotland at the Skyfall estate, on the moors, in bleakness and desolation with the underused Albert Finney playing a caricature out of a Monty Python sketch, and the effete Javier Bardem
    whose genius extends to being able to blow up a subway tunnel anytime or where he likes, but can’t seem to kill one old woman.

    Bond movies have to be about him saving the world, not himself, and not his colleagues. “Skyfall” got smaller as it went along, and it needed to unravel bigger. But the movie was gorgeous to look at, I’ll give it that.

    “Silver Linings Playbook” was really entertaining, until it got preposterous and Robert Deniro kept showing up more and more. It lost its way in the third act.

    “Hobbit” movies are for nerds.

    “Moonrise Kingdom” was great until the kid got struck by a bolt of lightning, which basically shattered the entire story for me. Wes Anderson may as well have walked into the frame and waved at the camera a la Alfred Hitchcock.

    Speaking of which, nearly a century of movies and that make up was the best they could come up with for Toby Jones and Anthony Hopkins? Hopkins looked more like the judge Dan Aykroyd played in “Nothing but Trouble” than the master of suspense. When casting an icon, we aren’t looking for your interpretation of Hitchcock, we’re looking for authenticity, a la Jamie Fox as Ray Charles. Or Jim Carrey as Andy Kaufman.

    Haven’t seen “Django” but reading the script, I may not need to. His writing is that evocative. But he is a little too precious in the editing room. He kills so many onscreen, but has a tough time killing his rambling darlings on the page.

    “Lincoln” was a pretentious bore. Daniel Day Lewis will win best actor based on pedigree.

    So “Beast of the Southern Wild” should in a perfect world win best picture. Most people haven’t seen it. Most studios wouldn’t know how to market it. There are no action figures you can sell, with plastic levees, although the wild boars might make interesting toys.

  • Murphy

    Carson, I wasn’t going to try and find fault with your selections, but I think I should….

    “Argo was decent, but carried with it a strange seriousness that was always at odds with its outlandish true story.”

    I am really surprised by this reason for not including it in your list. I thought that Ben Affleck (and the writer of course) nailed the tone of this movie perfectly. There was plenty of lighthearted moment to balance out the seriousness, but it cannot be forgotten that this was a serious situation. Just because the idea is funny, ridiculous even, it was important to remember that there were actually lives at stake here! Some U.S. citizens who didn’t evade capture were held hostage for over a year, 8 American’s were killed during a failed rescue attempt.

    I think Ben Affleck has done a wonderful job with this bizarre slice of history and many lesser directors might well have just made a screwball comedy. He is quickly becoming one of my favourite directors, which in itself is quite bizarre and possibly worthy of a film in it’s own right…

    “Affleck: The amazing and bizarre true story of how Ben Affleck became the new Sydney Lumet”

    • Murphy

      I will also add I hope Argo wins the Oscar, and think it might.

      What many don’t realise is that if it does win then it is going to be George Clooney and Ben Affleck who will recieve the Oscar as producers.

      As a big fan of the Cloonster’s work, I would love to see him win an Oscar for best picture.

  • Acarl

    Everything happened in the Soprano’s ending — it was all shown in the last 5 minutes with the multiple use of 3 camera shots. The bells rings, cut to Tony looking up, cut to Tony’s POV. This repeated 3 times and on the 3rd, Tony’s POV went black when he should have seen Meadow, just like they’d always surmised happened when you’re whacked — it goes black. Chase is a master.

  • CyclopsRobot

    I agree. Funny movies and all movies this year were lacking, but 21 Jump Street shocked the shit out of me with how good it was, and how damn funny it was. I was hysterically laughing from the first minute Jonah Hill is walking through the bus all Eminem’d up with bleached, buzzed cut hair and the Eminem playing in the background. I couldn’t stop laughing. That was the funniest opener in forever. That movie was gold, and I never saw it coming. I payed, but I was waiting for a laugh here, a laugh there, and for the entire thing to pretty much suck (as a movie like The Other Guys did, man they reached a new level of bad with that movie), yet it surprised me at each turn, and in the end was solid, loved it! and comedies really have to work for me to like them.

  • carsonreeves1

    This is extremely disappointing news.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eric.floch.3 Eric Floch

    Great comments one and all. My two cents…

    Very glad someone mentioned Seeking A Friend At The End Of The World. Went into that one not expecting much and came out a little bit shattered. Great writing and acting there.

    Cabin In The Woods… Thoroughly enjoyed this one. But I’m an old-school Whedon fan from back in the days of Buffy. This felt very much like the best episodes of Buffy and Angel.

    Haven’t seen Django or Zero Dark Thirty yet, so it may yet change, but the most affecting film I’ve seen this year was Les Miserables. I love some of the old-school musicals, but I actually went in never having seen the stage version and not really knowing any of the music. Was absolutely blown away. The decision to film the actors singing live was just brilliant. Absolutely the tip-top of my list so far.

    Other loves from this year… Chronicle, Argo, The Hobbit, Skyfall, The Avengers, The Grey, Silver Linings Playbook, Ruby Sparks, among others.

  • kidbaron

    Agree with the Chronicle blurb. I was really happy to see that one. Thanks for reminding me about it Carson.

  • rayzrsharp

    Um… Jamie was perfect because Will Smith said HELL NO, Idris apparently said HELL NO and I believe Michael K Williams turned it down as well. THEN Jamie got the offer and said yes.

    • shadypotential

      lol you got it all wrong. Will Smith said that Django was one of the best scripts he ever read. Quentin and Will hanged out in NY while Will shot MIB 3 and they talked about the movie.

      here is him talking about it

      “I came really close, it was one of the most amazing screenplays I had ever ever seen,” Smith said in an interview with Empire. “I was in the middle of ‘Men In Black 3′ and [Tarantino] was ready to go, and I just couldn’t sit with him and get through the issues, so I didn’t want to hold him up. That thing’s going to be ridiculous. It is a genius screenplay.”

      so no. you’re wrong. why would Michael or Idris turn down a Tarentino movie that would be amazing for their careers? Jamie fits the role perfectly like Quentin said. he is Django.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=754265225 Janet Elizabeth Swainston

    Wish I had something more to contribute than, I would like to see more movies this year. I’ve had a bad year and wasn’t even able to go to see more than one film, I didn’t get to choose it and I’m sorry I went. MAGIC MIKE was an overpriced piece of crap that even McConaghy couldn’t fix….which is a shame. I didn’t even get excited by the half nude men…except aforementioned Mathew…and there just wasn’t even enough of that. Channing Tatum or Tatum Channing or whatever the heck that guys name is (not worth remembering in my book) is just one of the most awful actors of all time…ALL TIME! He has less expressions than Kristen Stewart….but other ladies who I won’t malign for their desperate taste in men, seem to love him. I, on the other hand, loathe him. But these days i want to see movies that nobody is making….so…what can I say…I guess I’m weird….I like my men rugged, mature and handsome and my movies interesting.

  • The_One_Who_KNOCKS

    WHERE’S PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER?!?!?!?!?!?!? Carson, your list is really… strange. Probably the strangest list I’ve seen yet from respectable people. It seems to me like half of these don’t even belong on the list. Weird dude… just… weird. Admittedly though, I still have to tear myself away from A Song of Ice and Fire to check out some of these so maybe I’m wrong.

  • AS

    Jiro Dreams of Sushi! Loved that movie. Great pick Carson. A lot better than some of the other ones (I’m looking at you Chronicle). Jiro’s extreme attention to detail is just ridiculous. Great story about dedication.

  • Steve

    The Grey was one of the worst movies I’ve seen in the last few years. It’s a classic case of why structure works. It was essentially a very expensive art film without a third act. You know the third act, the part where the hero mans up and defeats the bad guy overcoming his flaw in the process? Well, this movie was just a bunch of idiots trying to walk away from man-eating wolves. Yes, killer wolves. Ha ha. And a plane that crashes for no reason and we’re told that no rescue effort will be coming. Oh, boy. But none of that matters. What does is that the men just walk and walk and die. That’s it. I knew I was in for something bad when someone we invited to join us refused because he said he already saw The Grey and it was so bad he didn’t even want to go for free. And we were there because Safe House was sold out. This was yet another one of Carson’s failed recommendations, I think he went 18 for 0, which is scary for his producing future. It’s hard to overcome losing money for your investors 18 times in a row.

  • Age_C

    Argo most def the best film of the year for me. A masterclass in building a thriller. What a great, edge-of-your-seat cinema experience.

  • http://simonlundlarsen.dk/ Simon Lund Larsen

    Really enjoyed both The Grey and Chronicle. They were both very focused stories and one or at least very few storylines going through them.

  • srdiction

    My favorite is Zero Dark Thirty. Haven’t seen Life of Pi though…

  • georgie kuna

    Late to the party (and back after a long absence)…but really surprised to see Life of Pi as the top film of 2012 from Carson. It’s an impressive bit of movie making – but I was oddly underwhelmed by it, and have yet to decide if I think it’s actually any good. I think there’s a case to answer here (and with Midnight’s Children if general critical response is anything to go by) over the adaptability or not of particular types of novels/prose/whatever for the screen, and that this attempt, despite the wow factor, isn’t particularly successful – style over substance for my money, particularly when the complex subtext and underpinning themes have to be ‘fed’ to us in the those cheese laden ‘tell me all about it’ scenes with the grown up Pi, given that this particular ‘story’ is about ‘stories’ and the nature of ‘truth’ and ‘faith’ and aks us to question ourselves on the deepest levels about what we chose to believe in, and how that is connected to our need to survive. In the light of that reading, this particular choice feels clumsy and spoiled the film for me – If this is deemed necessary to make the film ‘work’ then I’d argue that it probably means that the material is best left in it’s original and highly satisfying, successful novel format. As this is probably going to be a big box office success I guess Yann Martel wouldn’t agree with that! Anyway, I wonder who decided that this particular story telling device was a good idea here? While I’m in no doubt that Ang Lee knew exactly what he was doing, making these scenes feel like an afternoon movie made for TV in the 70s I do think that Rafe Spall was a bad casting choice (he played a brilliantly disturbing sociopath in The Shadowline, so maybe my view of him has been skewed by that…) I don’t think they, or the film in general, really come off.

    It is a ‘lovely’ watch, very very beautiful and the first film I’ve watched in 3D that didn’t annoy the hell out of me (I still think it’s a big old waste of time and money and am not convinced that it added anything other than a bit of gimmicky glamour, but at least this time it didn’t give me a headache).

  • DanDollar

    Finally saw Life of Pi. Man that movie pissed me off.

  • Guess Who

    If Pi gets nominated, will it earn some additional money at the box office…either on a relaunch “Oscar/Golden Globes” bid…or reissue in Imax…

  • Greg dinskisk

    A little late with this, but I thought there were tons better than many of these… Jiro Dreams of Sushi is good, I can get people loving it… I personally found Searching for Sugarman to be better, but I could go either way really. 2012 documentaries were FANTASTIC!

    I loved Looper, fantastic script, which I own. Cosmopolis is one of the most divisive of the year, and I ADORED it, more than I probably should have. The syntax was so WEIRD though, I couldn’t help but love it!!! Cloud Atlas is my second favorite behind Django… I really enjoyed Ruby Sparks, Safety Not Guaranteed, and Prometheus (I LOVED tat one, glad you put it on here!)

    No PTA love for The Master? I find that surprising, for some reason. Holy Motors was incredibly well done, fantastic film. Magic Mike is (in my opinion) Soderbergh’s best since Bubble. Jeff, Who Lives at Home is a beautifully well done film, another great one after Cyrus by the Duplass Brothers! Cabin in the Woods was a great comedy-horror, a beautiful loving-hate letter to horror as a whole… This is 40, many don’t agree with me, but I loved here… Great mix of comedy and drama, I thought, on Apatow’s part.

    Although I found 2012 to be a good year for movies, having enjoyed many of the ones I saw (60 or so, I think), I’m sure between Refn’s next film, The Place Beyond the Pines, Upstream Color, and more, this is going to be an even BETTER year!!!

  • Arnie

    Looper and The Master was bad but SLP and The Hunger Games was good? Probably two of the most overrated films of the past 5 years…..Prometheus nothing else needs to be said

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