Yesterday, Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone announced the nominees for the 2013 Academy Awards, so I thought it was the perfect time to partake in an annual tradition of mine and recount my top five favorite films from the past year.
I love movies. A lot. Before Jude was born, Mike and I went to see at least one a week–sometimes more–but now that we have a child, we have to be more discerning. I thought it would be hard to give up one of my greatest pleasures (next to napping), but in fact, there have been just a few instances where I was dying to see a film and wasn’t able to get to the theater. We are so lucky that my mom is willing to babysit for us so that we can indulge in our habit, and I’m happy to say that aside from movies like The Master and Zero Dark Thirty, I’ve seen most of the films on my own personal must-see list.
So, without further delay, here they are, my top five picks of 2012 (and some honorable mentions):
1. Django Unchained
Full confession: I love Quentin Tarantino. It is a long-standing, deep, unbridled love affair. Pulp Fiction is probably one of my favorite movies of all time. So, it is easy for me to get on board with a QT film. That being said, Django is a marvel. Sure, it’s violent, but I’ve always looked at Tarantino’s violence as absurd–so over the top that it’s not so much gruesome as it is provocative. It starts a dialogue. But if you’re getting caught up on the violence, you’re missing the point of the thing. For me, it’s the way QT spins a story, and more specifically, the way he constructs dialogue. He is nothing short of extraordinary.
Mike and I saw this movie on Christmas day, and when it ended, the crowded theater erupted into enthusiastic applause–including my own (plus some woo-hooing).
2. Moonrise Kingdom
I think I smiled the entire time I watched this film. This movie is quintessential Wes Anderson–another director whom I enjoy quite a lot. He has such a distinct style and voice, and when watching one of his movies, I feel as though I’ve been transported to a different world. It is as though I am all of a sudden inside something quirky and beautiful, and I’m not sure I ever want to escape. It is pure joy.
The acting is great, the story is super, and the whole darn vibe is just enchanted.
3. Silver Linings Playbook
I kept alternating between my number three and number four choices for various reasons, but I finally settled in Linings for my number three pick because it made me feel so good. The movie is set in an area I know quite well, so for me, the characters were hyper-authentic, and the story was solid. If we’re being honest, I am not always a big fan of Bradley Cooper movies because I’m not often able to separate the actor from the character he is playing. But in this project, I was able to become invested enough in what was happening on the screen to forget all distractions.
I felt a special “hurrah!” when I heard of all the nominations for this one because I thought it was so darn likable, and I hope everyone sees it.
There is not a lot to say about this one, except, yes, it is as good as you heard, and Daniel Day-Lewis proves for the quadrillionth time that he is most awesome. It was so inspired that my friend LNRB chanted “USA! USA!” at the end to a packed theater.
Just see it.
When Mike and I have the following conversation while driving home (and several times the next day), it means we’ve given it our gold star:
“You know, I really enjoyed that.”
“Yeah, it was great.”
“Actor XYZ was [synonym for super-duper].”
“Yes, and I really liked [that part that was so good it was crazy]!” OR “How about [that part that was so good it was crazy]?!”
[You may also sub any of the following: "You know who would really like that? [Insert person we love]“; “Actor/Director XYZ may be [the best actor/director in the galaxy]“; “I always enjoy a Actor/Director XYZ film”; or “I did not breath for like ten minutes”.]
Argo was such a movie.
I have always had a sneaker for Ben Affleck (well, minus his J-Lo/Gigli days). So, I was rooting for Argo and hoping that it would live up to the buzz. It does. Again, solid story, solid acting, AND I learned a little something, too. Nice bonus.
Honorable Mention: Looper, Ruby Sparks, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
What were your favorite films of 2012?