Richard’s Favorite Movies of 2012

Man, there were some incredible films this year. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, John Carter, Casa De Mi Padre, Dredd, Skyfall, Les Miserables, Looper… there was an amazing amount of good movies to come out in 2012 if you enjoy all types of films; really there was something for everyone. I know my wife and I certainly enjoyed our fair share of movies this year. Many of them we were definitely pleased with, some made us want to throw up our popcorn and soda in disgust, some we barely even paid a mind to when they were released. And then you had the few exceptional films that were released that just had us drop our jaws in awe and disbelief at how incredible the films were. Those films… those films that made me wonder just how much better film making can get in the coming years; those are the films that you remember for ages. Those are the films that you and your kids will talk about when discussing movies.

For 2012, the following ten movies are the ones that made the biggest impression on me and my wife. Whether they were big-budget comic book movies, sci-fi prequels, comedic teddy bear movies or horror movies that change the way I look at the genre, the following ten films more than stood out as my ten favorite movies of the year. I know not everyone will agree with me, and everyone will definitely move some of the movies I listed around in order, but as I saw them, these were the ones that really just got what movie making is all about.

10. Prometheus

Prometheus was a perfect sci-fi film that had me glued to my seat.

Prometheus was a perfect sci-fi film that had me glued to my seat.

Though my wife wasn’t as impressed with this film as I was, even she admitted that the level of story crafting in Prometheus was spectacular. Not everyone saw the film as the masterpiece that I did, some even questioned the direction and wisdom in making it. I saw the film as the groundwork for something even more grand that Ridley Scott has in store for fans. Yes, it left itself open to a lot of questions and didn’t answer as many as fans thought it should; but the curiosity at finding out just what will come next hooked itself into me something fierce and I will definitely be first in line to see the eventual sequel that is to come.

9. Ted

If you didn't get Ted, then you need to have your head looked at.

If you didn’t get Ted, then you need to have your head looked at.

It’s no secret that I am a fan of Seth McFarlane. Almost everything that he has done I have become a huge follower of. Well, with the exception of The Cleveland Show. But I knew that when I heard about Ted that I would instantly be in love with it as well. And I was glad that I was not disappointed. Everything about Ted really stood out as an amazing bit of comedy. Mark Wahlberg was actually funny; Mila Kunis was as wonderful, and sexy, as ever. And Seth as the voice of Ted was everything I knew he would be. Raunchy, hilarious and unapologetic, Ted was comedy gold in a year where comedy wasn’t all that funny.

8. The Cabin in the Woods

Talk about redefining the genre of horror.

Talk about redefining the genre of horror.

This is just one of two films that came out in 2012 that showed the rest of the world what we Joss Whedon fans already knew – the man is a fucking genius when it comes to the art of cinema. Not just a whiz at TV shows, Whedon showed that his writing that really focuses on characterization and intricate storytelling works on all levels. In The Cabin in the Woods, he showed us that even though we know that what we are seeing is not what we are seeing, we can still be surprised and entertained in ways that may end up redefining not just the horror genre, but movies in general as a whole.

7. The Hunger Games

How book adaptations should be handled.

How book adaptations should be handled.

This movie is the kind of success when you get when you get a good, competent director who is a fan of the source material he is adapting his movie from. We’ve seen it in other films before, but the way that The Hunger Games came together perfectly under Gary Ross was a brilliant fortune for the fans of the franchise. It also helps that you have an excellent writer, Suzanne Collins who also wrote the books, help write the screenplay. Unlike having a shitty writer like Stephenie Meyer write both the books and screenplays for that Twilight piece of shit and watching it all just go to hell. The Hunger Games was the right kind of adaptation made by all the right people.

6. Sinister

A truly horrifying movie that took me back to the days of great horror masterpieces.

A truly horrifying movie that took me back to the days of great horror masterpieces.

Not many horror movies that have come out in recent years have the ability to scare me. I think the last horror movie to really just make me go “Oh shit!” during the film was the first Saw film back in 2004. Insidious came close, but just left me wanting a little more in terms of sheer terror. But Sinister really lived up to its name. Man, I actually had nightmares after watching this film. Do you what kind of horror movie you have to put before me to give me nightmares. This film had just the right elements in place to make it truly scary and the performance by Ethan Hawke made it all the more realistic.

5. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Who had any doubts that Peter Jackson could do it again?

Who had any doubts that Peter Jackson could do it again?

For fans of the classic JRR Tolkien fantasy epic, you had to be pleased with Peter Jackson’s treatment of The Hobbit. Splitting one book into three films may have bewildered a few people, but I think that in order to completely enjoy and deliver everything that is in the literary classic Jackson and company had to do so. Also, the additions to the story of the film made perfect sense and were just the right amount of fan service for all us Lord of the Rings trilogy fans.

4. The Dark Knight Rises

A great end to an awesome trilogy of Batman films.

A great end to an awesome trilogy of Batman films.

Some people had issues with the ending of the film; I was not one of them. If you ask me, I think that The Dark Knight Rises was the perfect end to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. The interaction between Bruce Wayne and Alfred, the mixture of personalities between Batman and Selina Kyle, the inner pain and turmoil that Bane expressed; all great portrayals by a great cast. It was a great mixture of acting between all the principle characters that made this film such a joy to watch. I would even say that Joseph Gordon-Levitt really stood as one of the best elements of the film. As with the previous two films, it was the acting and directing that made this film a great homage to the Batman character.

3. Django Unchained

Sometimes hard to watch, but a thoroughly entertaining piece of cinema.

Sometimes hard to watch, but a thoroughly entertaining piece of cinema.

There is no doubt on a lot of people’s minds that Quentin Tarantino is one of the best film makers in Hollywood right now. Not just because of what he brings to the craft of writing and directing, but also because of the subjects he is willing to present in his films. In Django Unchained, Tarantino tackles the subject of slavery and the need for revenge. While revenge is nothing new in a Tarantino flick, his take on slavery and the men who engaged in it is sometimes hard to watch as it is brutal and unforgiving, but it is a wonderful movie in the grand scheme of it all.

2. Wreck-It Ralph

The best Disney film in years that didn't have the word Pixar attached to it.

The best Disney film in years that didn’t have the word Pixar attached to it.

Back before Geek Life and Nfamous merged, I wrote a review for Wreck-It Ralph where I described that the film will do for video games what Toy Story did for toys. I still stand by those words. After watching the movie a few more times, I have come to appreciate the writing and direction of the story even more. After all, finding one’s place in life is something that everyone, young and old, can identify with. Disney Animation seems to finally have relearned what Pixar has known for a while: great storytelling will always translate to a great movie no matter the subject.

1. The Avengers

Fun. Exciting. Entertaining. This is what a superhero movie is supposed to be like.

Fun. Exciting. Entertaining. This is what a superhero movie is supposed to be like.

And speaking of great storytelling, this is the second of those films that I told you about that showed the world the wonder of Whedon. The Avengers was a beautiful mix of compelling characters, amazing storytelling and the perfect blend of action and excitement that brought in fans of all kinds to see the best superhero movie of the year. The Avengers was an all-around fun film to watch again and again and proved that a superhero team movie could be accepted by the general movie going audience if it is done correctly. Now I am eagerly anticipating the next set of movie from the Marvel Cinematic universe to see what direction they will lead The Avengers sequel in.

Richard Cardenas

Created in a lab in Tijuana, Mexico, or cloned in a test tube in Torrance, CA, depending on which story you think is a better origin story, Richard is, if such a thing exist, a second generation nerd. The son of a man who loved sci-fi, comic books and horror, and a woman who loved making costumes, reading sci-fi novels and watching cartoons, Richard was exposed to all this and more since a very young age.

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5 Responses

  1. Daniel Joslyn says:

    “Sinister” freaked me out to such a degree that I had to leave the movie theater at one point. There was just something about it.

    • It just had some kind of visceral, primal freak factor that got to a lot of people. I really don’t know what it is either exactly that got to me as well. But I had nightmares for a couple of days after watching it.

  2. cell989 says:

    For once The Dark Knight is not the #1 spot, to me Avengers was the better movie, simply becaue of the huge task that it set out to be; make a Superheroe movie with 4 main characters and make them all relevant and interesting, no one dare ever do this b4, it took lots of creativity, team work, resources, planning and a master director to achieve this. This movie proved that when you play your cards right things pay off in spades.

    • I also think it was the more “fun” movie of the two. TDKR was a great cinematic film, but the dark tone set some people off. The Avengers was just fun overall. A great team movie, good actions, good characters, great pacing and some light hearted moments.

  1. Jan 11, 2013

    [...] offered us a lot of great movies, and 2013 promises to be just as exciting. Along with all of the new and original [...]

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