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The Best Movies of 2012: #40 – #21

February 7, 2013

Can you taste it, folks? We’re so freaking close now. For those of you unaware of what The Rock is currently cooking, here’s the deliciousness that you’ve been missing out on:

Day 1: #102 – #81
Day 2: #80 – #61
Day 3: #60 – #41

And now that we’re all on the same page, let’s see what made the cut…


40. Headhunters
Oh, the difference it makes when you’ve got a smart script with smart characters. Kept me guessing from beginning to end, and I can’t even begin to express how nice it was not having to scream at the TV for a change. Please, God, give us more scripts like these.


39. The Sessions
One hell of a cast and one refreshingly mature story about the birds and the bees. The world could use more movies that are this adult about sex. Brought me this close to tears, folks


38. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Certainly no Fellowship, and there were some truly awful scenes to boot (eg: the stone giant boxing match, the orc king’s demise and last words, and everything about that run-in with the trolls). But at the end of day, what a delight it was to be back in Middle Earth.

silver linings playbook

37. Silver Linings Playbook
Up there for the best soundtrack of the year, and what a swell movie to boot. I’m no doctor, so I can’t say much to the effect of its portrayal of bipolar disorder, although as a movie geek, it is further evidence that everything’s better when you throw in a dance competition.


36. Lincoln (Full Review)
Don’t have a single bad thing to say about it, and if you’re going to make a talking heads movie, this is an awfully good blueprint to follow. Only reason it’s not higher on the list is because it just didn’t stick with me the way some other movies did, but that’s not to say it’s undeserving of every compliment and accolade afforded to it. And who are we kidding, DDL has this one in the bag.


35. The Innkeepers (Full Review)
Scared the tar out of me like no other this year, and it’s as good as any slow burn you’re likely to find. That Ti West is one to watch, folks.


34. Skyfall (Full Review)
The more I think about it, the less gripes I have (not that I had many to begin with). Talk about one hell of a return to form in more ways than one, even if it’s still no Casino Royale.


33. Bernie (Full Review)
Can’t quite bring myself to put it higher on the list, but make no mistake, it’s been one of my favorite recommendations of the year. Can’t help but love this backwoods, crazy-ass, only-in-America story, and I’d be awfully surprised if it didn’t win over the hatingest(?) of Jack Black haters out there.

Shut Up and Play The Hits

32. Shut Up and Play the Hits
Rarely, rarely, does my hair stand up on end from watching a rockumentary (or any movie for that matter). Probably not that interesting if you’re not into LCD Soundsystem, but as someone who just happened to discover them right after their final show, it’s an awesome, revelatory, bittersweet goodbye for one of the best bands of the past decade.


31. The Imposter
WHAT a crazy story that only keeps getting crazier. Chomping at the bit to see if and how this thing ever fully plays out.

loved ones

30. The Loved Ones (Full Review)
Horror premises don’t get much better, nor are they often executed this well. A great little cast, a great marriage of shock and humor, and damn if this thing won’t just pin you to your seat. Those Aussies, man…


29. Argo (Full Review)
Much like Lincoln, there wasn’t a thing about it I didn’t like, yet it just hasn’t stuck with me the way some other movies have this year. Okay, maybe it does get a bit too “Hollywood” towards the end, but that aside, it’s still home to one of the best casts, scripts, and stories of the year.
That Ben Affleck’s on a roll, yo.

cloud atlas

28. Cloud Atlas (Full Review)
Successfully adapting this flat-out phenomenal novel to the big screen was as tall an order as any fan or film maker(s) could fathom. Though understandably muddling to some who went in blind, it was as timeless as its source material for a convert like myself.


27. The Grey (Full Review)
Remember when this turned out to be a surprisingly poignant meditation on the inevitability of death? Remember when we all thought it was gonna be Liam Neeson bare-knuckling wolves for two hours? That sure was an awfully pleasant surprise. Really digging Joe Carnahan these days.


26. Marley (Full Review)
Amazed it took this long for someone to make this movie; amazed at how little I knew about one of my all-time favorite musicians. Such an easy movie to get lost in, and good luck finding a better soundtrack.

invisible war

25. The Invisible War (Full Review)
Required viewing. The most important movie I saw all year. Would be surprised if it didn’t walk away with Best Doc. That is all.

killing them softly

24. Killing Them Softly (Full Review)
Maybe the hardest movie on this list to recommend, but having known what to expect beforehand, boy, did I end up digging it. George V. Higgins would be proud.

jiro dreams of sushi

23. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (Full Review)
A continually fascinating insight into a dying breed, and one that’s especially fascinating to us Westerners and our coddling ways. Not to mention it’ll have you booking it to the nearest sushi restaurant right after. Man, talk about work ethic.

life of pi

22. Life of Pi (Full Review)
As a shamelessly big fan of the book who never expected it to be adapted to film (let alone ten years after everyone went ape over it), it’s still amazing to me how beautifully it all came together. One of the all-time great stories about storytelling, and one of the most visually breathtaking movies of the year.


21. The Avengers (Full Review)
Nitpick all you want, but just keep in mind how easily this sucker could have crashed and burned. The fact that it did anything but is just one of the many reasons why A) Joss Whedon is a god among nerds; and, B) it was some of the most fun I had at the movies all year.

I know, some seriously-effing-good movies didn’t make it into the Top 20 this year, but make no mistake, that’s more a testament to the quality of tomorrow’s offerings than a knock on what made it today. So with that being said, hope to see you around here mañana, gang. Big things in store.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 7, 2013 11:00 am

    Surprised the Invisible War wasn’t top 10 material for you. Your review definitely was the most heated and passionate I’ve ever seen from you and I thought it really took you by storm that bad. Oh well, maybe it’s one of those films not worth recommending if you want to be miserable for more than 2 hours and practically have your day ruined because your so angry. Either way, the race is heating up and I am so pumped!

    • February 7, 2013 11:06 am

      Haha. Well said. I was actually expecting it to rank higher as well after I saw it, but as important as it is, it’s also pretty punishing. If it had gotten me riled up, invested, and emotional in the way that, say, The Interrupters did last year, it definitely would have ranked higher. Anyway, I’m rambling over here. Just one more day, homey. Hang in there!

  2. February 7, 2013 2:30 pm

    “Headhunters” is fantastic. It pains me that it didn’t make it on my top 10, just barely! I remember watching this movie and I was so into it that my hands and feet started to get cold because I was so nervous! It is exactly as you said: smart and unpredictable. It is also very well-crafted in terms of pauses and which images should be shown and which should be left to our imagination. I cannot recommend it more.

    Like “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” I have great images of “Silver Linings Playbook” in my head. Finally, Bradley Cooper is using the potential that I saw when he was in “Alias.”

    When I saw the photo you selected for “The Innkeepers,” for some odd reason, Lena Dunham’s face popped into my brain. And it’s funny because she was barely in it! This is a great rental on a rainy night. Alone.

    I’m ready for the “Skyfall” sequel. Can we fast-forward into that moment in time?

    I don’t know about “Bernie,” to be honest. Everyone thinks it’s a great dark comedy but I just couldn’t care about it all that much. It didn’t make me laugh enough.

    I’m mad that LCD Soundsystem decided to call it quits. I haven’t seen the movie but I intend to. “Tribulations,” “Daft Punk is Playing at My House,” “Get Innocuous!,” “Someone Great,” “All My Friends,” “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down,” “Dance Yrself Clean,” “Drunk Girls”… I can go on and on. I love them.

    “The Loved Ones” made me feel humiliated for the actors in it. The one good thing that came out of that horrible experience is that it put Xavier Samuel on my radar.

    “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” should have been nominated for Best Documentary. Jiro’s quest for providing the best is just amazing to me. The movie is an inspiration.

  3. February 8, 2013 10:27 am

    “Hobbit” is a little high for me, but otherwise I like your list.

    • February 8, 2013 10:34 am

      Thanks, man! Yeah, I had a feeling that might be high for some, but what can I say, I thoroughly enjoyed myself (not counting the said awful scenes that Jackson threw in there).

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