This was a big year for movies. Eclectic, quality, artistry. These are all words that could sum up a lot of the films. There was also a huge range of different, unique movies. Serious, Oscar-worthy movies made the jump into critical and commercial success, with movies like Spielberg's Lincoln and Hooper's Les Miserables as two of the biggest success stories. It was also a great year for smaller fare, as art house films and limited release titles set records.
While I'm a stickler for quality in the production of a movie, I'm also a sucker for a good story. To me, a good movie is one that sticks with me for days after...in a good way. Sometimes it's the subtle similarities between me and main character. Other times it's the excitement and thrill that had me on the edge of my seat. A good director sets a standard early on for the quality of what you're about to watch. Special effects are cool, but they don't sell the story. That being said, here are the films from 2012 that entertained me, inspired me, made me think, and overall evoked what I consider a good movie.
First up, the ones that didn't quite crack the Top Ten, but are still worth your time:
19. FRIENDS WITH KIDS
18. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
17. SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD
16. LES MISERABLES
11. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED
And, here they are...
Directed by: Ben Affleck
Starring: Ben Affleck, John Goodman, Alan Arkin
Bottom Line: Clever. Edge of your seat, especially because it's (based on) a true story! Affleck is the next Eastwood.
Possible Oscar Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (Arkin)
9. THE MASTER
Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams
Bottom Line: Anderson's best since Magnolia. Twisted. Dramatic. Brilliant performances. Beautiful cinematography. One of the best looking movies of the past decade.
Possible Oscar Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Phoenix), Best Supporting Actor (Hoffman), Best Supporting Actress (Adams), Best Original Screenplay
8. SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
Directed by: David O. Russell
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro
Bottom Line: Lawrence steals the show. Quality romantic-comedy that works.
Possible Oscar Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Cooper), Best Actress (Lawrence), Best Supporting Actor (De Niro), Best Adapted Screenplay
Directed by: John Hillcoat
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain
Bottom Line: Most under appreciated film of the year. Simple and effective. Hardy's best performance yet. Southern to its core (in a good way).
Possible Oscar Nominations: Sadly, it should be up for some, but it will probably not make the cut, following in the footsteps of previous movies to not make the Oscar nominations list, like (500) Days of Summer, 50/50, and Where the Wild Things Are.
6. LIFE OF PI
Directed by: Ang Lee
Starring: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan
Bottom Line: Best 3D production ever. Heartbreaking and edge-of-your-seat all in one. Stayed with me for days. Brilliant CGI. A true movie-going experience.
Possible Oscar Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay
5. DJANGO UNCHAINED
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson
Bottom Line: Irreverent, spaghetti western, Tarantino style. Intense. Fun. Why we go to the movies.
Possible Oscar Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (DiCaprio), Best Supporting Actor (Waltz), Best Original Screenplay
4. BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
Directed by: Benh Zeitlin
Starring: Quvenzhane Wallis, Dwight Henry
Bottom Line: Beautifully produced. What independent cinema is all about. Clever, heart-wrenching performance by Wallis. Subtle, but powerful.
Possible Oscar Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actress (Wallis), Best Adapted Screenplay
3. MOONRISE KINGDOM
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Starring: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis
Bottom Line: Anderson's quirkiness at its best. Great kid cast. Adventures like they should be. Best display of love shown all year.
Possible Oscar Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay
2. ZERO DARK THIRTY
Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Kyle Chandler, James Gandolfini
Bottom Line: Relevant. Sharp. Completely compelling. The third act seals the deal as one of the best endings in recent cinema.
Possible Oscar Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Chastain), Best Original Screenplay
1. THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER
Directed by: Stephen Chbosky
Starring: Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, Emma Watson
Bottom Line: Nothing has effected me more than this movie this year. Prime example of true adaptation. Youth in its most true form. Storytelling at its rawest. Haven't met a single person not effected by the emotion and sincerity evoked in this project.
Possible Oscar Nominations: Best Supporting Actor (Miller), Best Adapted Screenplay
So, there you have it. Did I miss any? Did I rank any incorrectly (in your opinion)? Tell me your picks in the comments below!