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My Top 10 Favorite Movies from 2012 (Updated 1/10/2013)

January 3, 2013
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This is a list of my favorite movies from 2012. The ratings are based on the quality and enjoyment of the film. Each movie is given a numbered rating between 1 and 10:

  1. F- – A movie that will kill you if you watch it.
  2. F – A movie that will cause you severe psychological pain.
  3. F+ – A movie that will hurt you.
  4. D- – A movie that is mainly boring or slightly painful to watch; or a movie with some small twisted entertainment value despite a severely low production quality.
  5. D – A movie that is somewhat entertaining and has a low production quality; or a movie that is boring.
  6. D+ – A fun B-rated movie; or a movie that has some value, but is not fun to watch.
  7. C – An entertaining movie with high production quality, or an intellectually stimulating movie.
  8. B – A top-notch entertaining movie with high production quality, or a very intellectually stimulating movie.
  9. A – One of the best movies ever made. It has a great story, great production quality, great acting, and great characters.
  10. A+ – The ideal movie. It has a perfect story, high production value, great characters, great dialogue, great acting, and it’s intellectually stimulating.

1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (8.5/10)

I liked the Lord of the Rings, but I like the story from the Hobbit even better. I was disappointed that it was stretched out in three movies and thought the additional “white orc” subplot was particularly unnecessary. However, it is still the Hobbit movie that I’ve been waiting for my whole life. The characters are enjoyable. Bilbo, Gollum, and Gandalf in particular are a lot of fun. I love this type of adventure. This is the stereotypical fantasy storyline that I wish more people would try to emulate.

My rating is somewhat higher than it would be because I know what comes next (and that more movies will come soon). If this was the only Hobbit movie that would be made, that would be very disappointing. But it’s the first of three. We know there’s more to come, and that counts for something. The finished product will be greater than the sum of its parts.

2. Django Unchained (9/10)

Django is one of the most fun Cowboy movies ever made. It is incredibly unrealistic, but the fantasy world created by Quentin Tarantino is based on a stereotypical “Western” and “Southern” style we are all familiar with. The characters and dialogue are a lot of fun. I thought the pacing of the movie was quite good despite some complaints I’ve heard. Perhaps people are getting ADD. We need to have some slow character-driven parts of movies. All action is boring. I want to feel a connection to the characters and I want to enjoy their personalities.

3. The Dark Knight Rises (8.4/10)

The third installment of the Christopher Nolan Batman series is by far the best third installment of any superhero franchise ever made. It is the first time we have a real conclusion to a superhero movie series. There is finally a beginning, middle, and end to the Batman story. That means that this movie makes the new Batman series greater than the sum of its parts. It needs to be viewed as a series. And it is satisfying to have a real conclusion for a change.

I like the new Batman character. I like his corny growling voice. The new Catwoman also did a decent job. The villains were decent, but could have been better. What matters the most in this film is that Batman continues to go through changes. He retired and comes back for a last fight. He has to learn to continue to persevere in the face of extreme adversity.

I would have preferred the movies to follow the Batman Year One and The Dark Knight Returns graphic novels more closely, but I still thought the movies were well done.

4. Cloud Atlas (8.2/10)

Cloud Atlas was the best artsy movie of the year, and it had a huge budget. It was about the life story of several souls—several people who are continually reincarnated and live at various historical periods. Including the future. I liked all the stories, and there were many of them. I liked the characters. I liked how the movie concluded.

Although I’m not a huge fan of “dramas”—vanilla movies that don’t fit into any category very well—this movie had fantasy, sci fi, and action elements that I didn’t expect to see. Merely a decent story of reincarnation would be enough to draw my attention.

5. The Avengers (8/10)

The Avengers is a bit silly, but the Hulk and Iron Man stole the show. Those two characters (and their personalities) are great. The storyline isn’t the best, but the movie is still by far the best I’ve seen involving a super hero team. Joss Whedon proves that he can direct action, dialogue, and comedy. I would rather get another season of Firefly, but his movies will have to do until then. If we are lucky, he might end up doing something better than Firefly at some point.

6. Chronicle (8/10) [added 1/8/2013]

The most realistic completely absurd superhero movie ever made. It is a character-driven story about people who enjoy their new found ability of telekinesis and eventually learn to use it in completely ridiculous ways. But it was fun from start to finish.

7. Looper (8/10)

Looper is one of the most creative and strange sci-fi/time travel movies I’ve ever seen. The movie involves people hired to kill others from the future—and eventually their older selves. Bruce Willis continues to entertain as an outrageous action hero, and there are certainly important moments of character development as well. The storyline is good, and you will have to see it for yourself.

8. The Hunger Games (7.5/10)

The only dystopian movie about the future that is “mainly loved by women.” But men can also like this movie. You throw a bunch of kids into a reality show and have them all kill one another until there’s only one left. What’s not to love? Of course, the same plot was also well done in the Japanese movie Battle Royale made in 2000.

It’s hard to say why this story is even considered to be “for women,” but perhaps the monogamous relationships have something to do with it. If monogamous romantic relationships make movies more women-friendly, then maybe story writers should learn a thing or two. I don’t think men have any reason to shy away from such a thing.

9. The Amazing Spider-Man (7.5/10)

I like the new Amazing Spider-Man movie better than the ones from the recent trilogy by Sam Raimi. The new Peter Parker is good. Perhaps what was most important is that this story is more character-driven than usual. The plot involving his biological father was a great idea in particular.

A bit unrelated: I would like Sam Raimi to make more horror movies. The Evil Dead series was great.

10. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (7/10)

I was waiting for this movie ever sense I heard about the book being made. I knew it had to be made into a movie. It is pretty much exactly what you want it to be. A movie where Abraham Lincoln is an action hero who chops the heads off of a bunch of vampires. The storyline gets a bit too silly near the end, but what else were you expecting? There are also points where the movie seems to take itself quite seriously, which is part of its charm. I actually would have rated it higher if it could take itself a little more seriously. Action movies seem to generally have a silly climax, which is boring. Movies like Die Hard did things the right way. Perhaps using computer graphics is too tempting, so showing off special effects is taken to be the “right choice” during a movie’s climax. Enough already!

Honorable mention: Argo (2012) (8/10)

Ben Affleck continues to prove his acting and directing ability. He has been said to be a better director and actor, but he was a decent actor in this movie. The idea is that American diplomats are stuck in Iran and the CIA will try to sneak them out by pretending that they’re all making a Hollywood movie. The storyline was great and there were thrilling moments as well. This is a bit more of a “drama” than the movies I would typically put on my top 10 list, but it made the cut.

I did well when predicting how the movie strayed from the true story it’s based on. You can see information about the true story here.

More Honorable mentions

I did not see all movies from 2012 that I think I would enjoy, so the list could be different if I saw them all. In particular, I haven’t seen the following:

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2013 2:45 pm

    My own top 10 is a bit different. I wasn’t a fan of Cloud Atlas (really had a difficult time getting through it), but I see some similarities. Have put up my own top 10 on my site if you care to check it out.

    • January 3, 2013 10:13 pm

      I saw Skyfall, Prometheus, Moonrise Kingdom, and Descendants. I didn’t see the other movies on your list. I heard about the Raid and it sounds interesting in particular.

  2. January 3, 2013 5:30 pm

    Such a strong year, as I’ve either enjoyed or heard good things about almost all the films on your list but my top picks are totally different. Check out my list http://amandalovesmovies.com/2012/12/28/best-of-2012

    • January 3, 2013 10:09 pm

      I saw Moonrise Kingdom and it was decent. I saw Lincoln and it was good in certain parts, but watching politics for hours can get hard to watch. I didn’t see the other movies on your list. Safety Not Guaranteed sounds interesting to me in particular.

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