Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Sarah's Top Ten Films of 2012! (And Andrew's Bottom Five!)

Sarah: Hello movie lovers and Happy New Year! We are so looking forward to the new year and all the great new movies that it has to offer! I gotta say, I'm pretty excited that the world didn't end because we would have seriously missed out on some good ones. So in response to the new year, Andrew and I are going to be looking back a little and bring you each of our favorite films from 2012. There will probably be some overlap but I can guarantee that we liked some movies for very different reasons.

Like we did with our two Top Ten List of 2012 So Far, we have some criteria for these lists: the films included have to be films we’ve actually seen and reviewed, and they had to be films that were released in theatres for public consumption in the United States during the 2012 calendar year. If you don't see a movie on this list, you can check it against our Reviews page and it's possible we just didn't see it, so it didn't qualify for our list.

At the bottom of my list you'll also be able to find Andrew's Bottom Five of 2012. You'll have to check out his Top Ten list to see what my bottom five were. Okay! I'm going to do my list in the countdown method, after the jump. Here we go...

10.) Savages: I don't care that I might be the only one who thoroughly enjoyed this bloody, angry, twisted drug movie. I did. And no one can convince me otherwise. The stars of the movie were terribly weak and the strong actors cast got the short end of the writing stick, but was it ever fun. Starring Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Selma Hayek, Benicio del Toro and John Travolta, this reversed Three's Company-turned-drug dealers is a sexy, violent assault to the senses. I loved that the drug lord was a woman and was Selma Hayek for crying out loud! It's just a fun movie that doesn't require any thought process, and sometimes you just need that in a movie.

9.) Ted: We love Seth MacFarlane. We LOVE Family Guy. So when MacFarlane came out with Ted, I was so excited. I love that as Mark Wahlberg's character, John, grows up, so does his childhood Christmas present, Ted. Do they use a lot of the same humor from Family Guy? Sure. Is the voice of Ted totally derivative of Peter Griffin? Absolutely. But that's what I wanted from this movie. A feature length story starring so many of my favorite voices was exactly what I went in to the theatre expecting and I was not disappointed. It was funny, raunchy and a little wrong at times but it also had a lot of heart. If you haven't seen this movie yet, for shame. For all those kids (like me) who had a favorite stuffed animal growing up, this movie brings a dream to the screen, and totally makes you wish that stuffed animal could talk. 

8.) The Cabin in the Woods: We've talked about this. I HATE scary movies. And when Andrew was all like, "Oh but you gotta watch this one with me, it's not that scary," I was a little hesitant. "Yeah buddy, you said that before we watched The Thing too." But I did it anyway. Call me a good wife or a glutton for punishment but one weekend we sat-down and watched it. And I was blown away. This movie is so ridiculously clever that it made me wonder why ALL scary movies could't be like this! Starring a pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth, this horror/sci-fi film was not what I expected at all. Yeah, there are some jumpy sequences and your stereotypical horror monsters but it really is a twist to what you may have always thought about the horror genre. The fact that this movie is in MY top ten from 2012 means that you should probably check it out.

7.) Django Unchained: I'm going to be the first to admit that I am not a huge Quentin Tarantino fan. Didn't really fall in love with the Kill Bill franchise and I just couldn't sit through Reservoir Dogs. But Django? Now there's a Tarantino I could get my head around! The pre-Civil War movie starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson provided some of the most fun that I have had at the theatres in a while. Yes, Foxx and Waltz were amazing in their roles and it really makes me want to see Inglorious Bastards now, but the real knock-out performance comes from scene-stealer DiCaprio. Once again proving that he is about as hard-core as they come in the acting field, he brings the Southern plantation owner, Calvin Candie, to life. A ruthless, evil man under a thin veil of equality, Candie is the reason to see this movie. If he doesn't get some sort of nomination for this role, I will be very surprised.

6.) The Dark Knight Rises: The final installment to Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy was, obviously, greatly anticipated. And it was pretty darn good. Was it the best of the three? No, but it held it's own and mostly on the back of a man that has taken Hollywood by storm. Tom Hardy's Bane was fabulous. I love that he is so much more than just a muscle-man. He actually brought a backstory to the character, and with the Nolan brothers' story-telling abilities, they were able to bring a character to the screen that the fans hadn't seen before. Another highlight was how they were able to wrap up the trilogy. Satisfying the fans but still leaving them with a little morsel to get excited about the future of Batman. Is JGL going to be the next Batman? Will we get a glimpse of him in the new Man of Steel movie out this year? You see what you do to us Nolan?! Stop it! (Actually, don't stop. For the love of all that is good, don't stop.)

5.) Lawless: This seems as good a time as any to bring up another Tom Hardy movie that he basically carried on his back but was still awesome. Lawless is a great story about a time in America that we can't really imagine, Prohibition. But told from the side of the hillbillies and mountain folk who brewed it, not the NYC and Atlantic City gangsters who sold it. Following the story of three brothers, this violent movie is host to an amazing cast: Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman...oh and I guess Shia LaBeouf. Yeah, LaBeouf isn't really my favorite character in this one, he's whiny and just stupid, but they decided to make him the star of the movie. He's going to make the viewers angry but you should still see this one.

4.) Les Miserables: I had been waiting so long for this movie to come out! This is probably one of my all-time favorite Broadway shows. It is such a heartbreaking story told entirely through song. Now for some, that is what bothered them the most about this movie, but not me. I was thrilled that they stayed 100% true to the show and had all the singing in there. And the fact that it was live singing made the experience all that more unique. It was like actually being in a theatre and watching the actors on a stage. For those who don't have the means to ever see this show on stage, the film is the next best thing. Yes, some of the singing struggles a little bit, but in my opinion, the acting makes up for that. Anne Hathaway blows the audience away with her gut-wrenching "I Dreamed a Dream" piece and Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen's Thenardiers bring the movie much needed levity throughout the story. If you get the chance, see this film. It's long, but it's such a beautiful story.

3.) Pitch Perfect: Pure fun. I was in choir when I was in high school and a couple years at Central Michigan University as well, so this choral comedy hit home for me. The singing is awesome, the actors rock and the humor is spot on. Starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow and Skylar Astin, I would recommend this movie to anyone who is looking for a good laugh. Kendrick is great as the aspiring DJ-forced-to-go to-college gal and ends up in The Barden Bellas, an a cappella group at the school. This film was way more raunchy than I had imagined going into it, but it was perfect! I was glad to finally see a "kids choir movie" made for adults. Rebel Wilson has really taken the screen by storm with her less conventional humor and all-out awesomeness. This was a chick-flick that even Andrew could get around and had us laughing all the way home.

2.) Argo: So here we are. The last two movies on my list. And Argo definitely deserves a top spot. To be honest I did an American fail. I really didn't know this story at all. And it was apparently a pretty big deal. But I think that not knowing made the movie all that more enjoyable to me. I had no idea what was coming and combined with the amazing direction from Ben Affleck, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. It was beautifully done. I really felt like I was watching a movie that had been made in the late 1970s. The art direction did a great job at that. When a movie makes the audience feel so anxious for the character's safety, I think they have succeeded. I was legit worried for these guys! I can't even imagine what it was like to actually go through that, but thanks to Argo, I have a little bit more of appreciation for the story.

1.) The Avengers: Yup, I had to stay with this one in my top spot. This was just all-out fun at the movies. I love me some action heroes. And the fact that those heroes were, for the most part, pretty easy on the eyes didn't hurt either. While it was the climax to all the Marvel movies that had come out before it, I am so excited that they are going to keep making new movies. There are so many stories left to tell! I will be interested to see where they have taken the new Iron Man movie after NYC is attacked by aliens. What The Avengers brought to the screen besides a ton of action and super hero awesomeness was the humor. Robert Downey, Jr. knows his comedic timing and Tom Hiddleston ain't so bad himself! I'm glad that Loki didn't get killed off because besides being a pretty good villain, he's hilarious!

Well, there you have it my friends. My Top Ten Movies from 2012. Twenty-thirteen is going to be an awesome year, I can just feel it, and we look forward to bringing you so many new reviews in 2013!

ANDREW'S BOTTOM FIVE MOVIES OF 2012 (same criteria as the Top Ten list)

Andrew: Now it's my turn to remind you which movies I thought were the worst of the films we saw this year, so that you can save eyes and ears from ever being exposed to them.

5.) (tie) The Watch and The Dictator: Both of these were movies that had some darn good comedic pedigree, what with Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade leading The Watch, and Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris and Jason Mantzoukas filling up most of The Dictator’s screen time. But all their talents are pretty much wasted. Don’t waste your time watching these so-called comedies.

4.) Battleship: This movie never ever needed to be made. The people at Hasbro and Universal should be ashamed of themselves.

3.) That’s My Boy: Yeah, I laughed at a few things, but holy crap was this ultimately tough to watch. It’s just…not good.

2.) The Raven: Utter dreck, through and through. EMILYYYYYYY!!!

1.) Cosmopolis: I hate this film with every fiber of my being. Does it look great? Sure. And were the wooden acting performances on purpose? Maybe. But all it does it make the mind-numbing dialogue turn into something worse – it threatens to alienate the audience. I know this is supposed to be a “smart” movie and for me to call it “pretentious” might make some people think I just “didn’t understand it.” But that’s not the case. It made me want to leave the theatre. The only reason I didn’t was because I paid hard-earned money to get in to see it.


  1. There are two movies in this list that I hate with a passion - Savages and Lawless

    1. That's totally fair! Different strokes for different folks and all.

      What are your top ten for 2012?

    2. That's a toughie. I know Ruby Sparks is number 1 for me. The next 9 are a mix of what I am sure would be in there, and others that come to mind.

      Cabin in the Woods
      The Avengers
      Dark Knight Rises
      Les Miserables
      Amazing Spider-Man
      Safety Not Guaranteed

    3. We never got to see Ruby Sparks, which really bummed us out. Looked good. Didn't get to see Compliance, either, which is another one we really wanted to see.

      Other than that, loving the rest of your list. Andrew watched Safety Not Guaranteed just the other day when I was working and he really liked it!

  2. Wow great to finally see some Savages love! I think its way better than its reputation. Also as seen in the signature it would be awesome if you guys could come up with a joint top-10 of the year for our Lions 4 LAMBs event!

    Make sure to submit your list to our Lion 4 LAMBs event that is currently running! http://www.largeassmovieblogs.com/2013/01/the-6th-annual-lions-for-lambs.html

  3. I'd list Savages as 2012's biggest disappointment for me... It was pretty fun here and though, but I was often really bored, unfortunately. I like your list, though, Sarah :).

    Django Unchained, The Cabin in the Woods and Argo are in my own top 10.

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