2012 definitely was the year for me at the movie theatre. Final numbers show a record 62 trips to theatres to see movies, in a record 6 different theatres including 4 theatres for the first time ever, in 4 different cities, equalling the all-time high I set in 2011.
I saw movies that I loved, movies that I will more than likely never watch again, and movies that I wish I had never have seen at all. It was that kind of year indeed. What I want to do here is go over my own personal Top Ten for the year. To make this list, a movie had to be released in 2012, and I had to see it in the theatre during the calendar year.
That means movies like War Horse, which was released in 2011 but I saw in 2012, and Django Unchained, which was released in 2012 but I saw in the early part of 2013 do not qualify. That also means that movies like Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook, that I have yet to see due to their not being released in my home town, could not make the list either.
Without further ado, here is the list:
10. Men in Black 3
Call me sentimental, but I love the original Men in Black, and even though it had been ten years since the second instalment and this year’s edition, little had happened to dampen my spirit when it came to seeing Agents J and K on the big screen again.
A time travel film with heart and substance, and a well thought out ending, unlike another time travel movie that was released in 2012, all worked to re-create the magic that the original MiB had and brought this movie to the forefront as one of my favourites of the year. Josh Brolin nailing a young Tommy Lee Jones was definitely one of my favourite characters of the year as well.
In a year that was seemingly light on fresh comedies, Ted was a very refreshing entry into the comedy genre in 2012. From the mind of Seth McFarlane, creator of Family Guy, Ted was a story about a pot-smoking teddy bear and his foray into the real world. Yes, if you haven’t seen the movie, that is pretty much what it is about. And if you haven’t seen the movie, do yourself a favour and do so, it will be completely worth it.
8. The Amazing Spider-Man
While it has only been a few years since the end of Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire Spider-Man trilogy came to a close, I was quite okay with a reboot of the story in the theatres. What this reboot actually brought to us was the one thing missing the most from the first three Spider-Man trilogy was a wise-cracking, joke-making Spidey, but that is exactly what we got in The Amazing Spider-Man.
Director Marc Webb brought a wonderful high school Peter Parker to the big-screen that was well worth the money to see this movie. This Peter Parker struggled to deal with the advent of his powers and the loss of his uncle and was beautifully done.
7. Jack Reacher
My Top Ten list has two releases from December and four from the last two months of the year, and the first of those to appear on this list is probably the most surprising in Jack Reacher.
To be perfectly honest, I have never been a huge Tom Cruise fan, and I do have to admit in the last couple of years he has certainly grown on me as an actor, and that continued with his role in Jack Reacher.
Jack Reacher had the perfect blend of action, suspense and comedy to make a believer out of me for both the story and the movie, but also Tom Cruise as well. I really hope that enough people watch this movie and like it to warrant sequels to be made from other books by author Lee Child.
6. 21 Jump Street
The first good comedy that I saw in 2012 was 21 Jump Street, a comedic adaptation/remake of the the 1980’s TV show that helped launch the career of Johnny Depp, and this remake helped thrust Channing Tatum to the forefront of the acting community in 2012.
Featuring cameos from cast members of the 80’s show, 21 Jump Street, co-written and co-produced by Jonah Hill and staring Hill along with Tatum, this movie was another one of the biggest surprises of the year for me, and much like Jack Reacher, I cannot wait to see what kind of sequel we will get with the Tatum/Hill pairing down the road.
I have to admit that in the past I have not always been a big fan of the James Bond films, but all of that changed with Daniel Craig and Casino Royale and even though Quantum of Solace was a bit of a step back in quality of film, Skyfall blew them all away both in terms of quality, but also in just how big James Bond can actually be worldwide.
Skyfall is the most well received and highest grossing Bond movie of all-time and Sam Mendes managed to merge old-school Bond with the Daniel Craig Bond all into one movie, and even at over two and a half hours, Skyfall was a movie that managed to keep me on the edge of my seat for the whole film.
4. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
For anyone that actually knows me will be possibly surprised to see this film this far down my list and not closer to the top, but that is more indicative of the high-end quality of films that were released in theatres in 2012.
As a huge fan of both J.R.R. Tolkien’s works based in Middle Earth and Peter Jackson and his Lord of the Rings film trilogy, returning to both of these sources was bound to be a success to me and that is indeed what happened with An Unexpected Journey. Even filming in the untested 48fps format did not dilute how amazing this film was.
Martin Freeman was wonderfully cast as Bilbo Baggins to carry a new trilogy in Middle Earth and the returning characters did more than enough to create continuity to cover the 60 year gap in the timelines of both series of films.
3. Wreck-It Ralph
While the only animated film from 2012 to make my list, I honestly feel that Wreck-It Ralph was the one film, animated or not, that carried the most heart-warming story of the year.
I have been quite critical of many Disney animated films in the past fifteen to twenty years, excepting Pixar for the most part, but the last few years have seen a definite turnaround for Disney in their animated department and a return to form as well and Wreck-It Ralph is the best of the recent lot and probably my all-around favourite from Disney since Aladdin in 1992.
I love Wreck-It Ralph. I love the movie, I love the main character, I love the premise, and I love the story. If you have not seen this movie and grew up in the late 80’s or early 90’s playing video games of any kind, you owe it to yourself to watch this film and fall in love with it.
This is probably the best all-around movie I saw in 2012. Ben Affleck continues to re-invent himself as one of the better directors in Hollywood today and also is proving that he is quite an adept actor as well when being a little more choosey with his roles.
This is how good Argo is: it would be my personal choice for Best Movie at the upcoming Academy Awards and Affleck would also be my choice as Best Director as well. It really is telling about someones skills when they can tackle a known-subject in history such as the Iran Hostage situation of the late 70’s and make it be suspenseful at every turn, and that is just what Affleck did with Argo.
1. The Avengers
I would actually like to meet someone in North America that watches movies that has not seen The Avengers. I think that may be one of the hardest things to do in the world today. That is just how big The Avengers turned out to be. Not many out there would have expected the convergence of Marvel characters Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor and Captain America along with other characters to be the biggest and loudest movie of the year, but that is exactly what happened, and this was the movie I had the most fun watching all year, leading the way with five viewings in the theatre alone.
The Avengers was directed by former Marvel comic writer and Buffy, The Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon. What Whedon proved with The Avengers is that giving control of a comic book movie to a comic book writer is bound for glorious success, and while we will have to wait for more than two years to see what Whedon whips up for us in The Avengers 2 in 2015, I don’t see how it does not blow The Avengers away.
For all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer. Cheers.