Big Screen Ballyhoo – My Favorite Films Of 2012

Ha. I wrote Favorite Films of 2011. My bad. These are from 2012, I swear.

It’s the end of the year, and I think you know what that means. It’s the time of year where everyone and their mother starts compiling lists. Some lists are of course better than others… I think my list of lists last year proved that. This year, as I’ve actually been seeing a decent number of movies from this year (well into the double digits, which might actually be a first for me), I’ve decided to actually tell you what my favorite movies are.

Note: These are not my picks for Oscars or anything like that. The Oscars will ignore at least one movie on my list, likely more than that. My Oscar picks will be around the time the Oscar nominations come out because who the heck knows what those crazy people are actually going to nominate. If I can get 50% of the picks right, I’ll be doing fantastically.

Anyway, here’s my favorite movies of the year.

1) “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” – I adored this movie. I never read the book, but I can tell you that the movie was just fantastic. And, as the movie was both written and directed by the author of the book, Stephen Chbosky, the purity between book and movie was very likely maintained. Also, people that did read the book say it was. It has some fantastic acting, particularly from Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller (Emma Thompson has fantastic moments, too), and is delightfully quaint and surprisingly emotionally heavy-hitting. It may be the best coming-of-age film I’ve ever seen.

2) “The Avengers” – Holy crap, this was just a fun movie. I very nearly ended up watching it in theaters three times. Would have if it weren’t for an excessive nap. King of the nerds Joss Whedon directed this massively dangerous film, an attempt to balance Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye and S.H.I.E.L.D. in a cohesive action story, and he pulled it off fabulously. One of the most entertaining movies I’ve seen and perhaps my favorite superhero movie, with humor, action and heart combined in a fabulous combination. That’s how superhero movies should be made. I’m looking at you, Spider-Man franchise.

3) “Wreck-It Ralph” – I saw “Brave.” I liked “Brave.” It’s a good movie, and it’s almost certainly going to win the Oscar for Best Animated Film. Pixar has a habit of doing that. But, frankly, “Wreck-It Ralph” was beyond my favorite. As someone who enjoys video games, the premise and massive number of cameos/references from old video games was just beautiful. The nostalgia of the arcade was pitch perfect (I miss the mess out of those things). And the movie brought the emotions on way more strongly than I expected. I’m talking “Toy Story 3” levels, just about. Fantastic movie.

4) “Les Miserables” – I’ve been waiting for a film version of this musical forever. No joke. It’s my favorite musical of all time. And, while the movie isn’t perfect and misses some emotional moments many versions of the stage musical have, but it brings its own powerful emotions and beautiful picturesque scenes that would be unachievable on stage. It may have problems, but it’s ambitious and, I think, ultimately a major success. I find it hard to imagine a better version of the musical being put into film.

5) “Argo” – Ben Affleck is really coming into his own as a director, and becoming more comfortable as an actor, I think. A movie that deals with a far too neglected part of American history, this movie was one of the better thrillers I’ve seen in a while. Not only was it a great thriller, but it also had some surprisingly funny and well-crafted moments of lighthearted comedy, particularly when they’re trying to craft the phony film back in Hollywood. While I personally don’t think it will win, I wouldn’t mind “Argo” winning the Golden Globe, or maybe even the Oscar, for Best Picture. I may change my mind about that once I see “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Silver Linings Playbook,” but for now that’s what I think.

6) “Skyfall” – I’m really hoping that this movie gets more Oscar recognition than just a Best Original Song nomination. I never really watched many Bond movies in my life. Beyond “Skyfall,” I only ever saw “Die Another Day” all the way through. For some reason, my dad doesn’t own any of the old movies. So I may have missed some of the jokes and references in the newest Bond film, but I didn’t miss out on the action and humor. This was, in my opinion, the best crafted action film of the year after “The Avengers.” Beautiful use of colors and shadow throughout, great imagery, wonderful acting from Javier Bardem… I know others will rail against me for saying this, but I would much rather Sam Mendes and this film get Oscar recognition over “Django Unchained.” But that may just be me.

There were so many other good films this year, too. There were only five films that I saw this year that I didn’t like or thought were bad. That’s quite a bit less than half of the movies I saw, too, so I think this year is doing alright when it comes to movies.

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