It's been said here and in the podcast a number of times, but I might as well offer it up once more for good measure: 2012 was a pretty good year for movies. I admired a lot. I may not have loved a ton but I certainly really, really liked a lot and my appreciation and respect for a number of the visions tossed out on to screens this year can't be overstated. Bravo to the filmmakers, truly.
I was tinkering with my list all the way down to the wire Thursday night when Anne Thompson and I finally sat down to record the special top 10 edition of Oscar Talk and lock them in eternity. It was shifting and sliding so much that the final list even differed from the one I submitted on my BFCA ballot last weekend. And it likely will continue to do so, as the order of this particular collective feels more fluid than any list I've made of a year's best films in recent memory.
So everyone wins, then, right? A whole lotta good. But there were some films I wanted to mention, outliers, underpinnings and structural evidence of a great year in film. Movies like Ang Lee's "Life of Pi," for instance. or Stephen Chbosky's "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." J.A. Bayona's "The Impossible" and Ben Lewin's "The Sessions," too. These were all unique visions across a wide spectrum and made impacts along the way.
Other efforts like Robert Zemecki's "Flight" or Nicholas Jarecki's "Arbitrage" deserve singling out. Sam Mendes' "Skyfall" as well. These are skillfully crafted movies of a certain type that is notably lacking from the cinema, dramas that compel and intrigue on varying levels.
The films that just missed my list were fireworks displays of creativity. Disney's in-house animated pair of "Frankenweenie" and "Wreck-It Ralph" is an accomplishment. Leos Carax's "Holy Motors" is a wicked triumph. Benh Zeitlin's "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is a hand-crafted wonder and Joe Wright's "Anna Karenina" is a piece of conceptual brilliance.
But they all yielded to "the 10," and so, here they are. Click through the gallery below to catch up on my thoughts on the year's best films if you didn't manage to hear the podcast on Friday. And if, for whatever reason, you're too lazy and/or don't want to click through the gallery, or you're not a podcast listener and want the beef without the context, well, click through to the next page. Otherwise, enjoy the list.
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
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