Skip to main content

Derek's Top 15 Movies of 2012

I'd have to say 2012 was a well-rounded year for movies. It never really felt like we were being bogged down with one certain genre or type of filmmaking. While I believe 2012 offered many quality films, it also stamped out a few major disappointments. Ultimately, successes and disappointments happen every year, but this year the disappointments stood out to me more so than the actual successes. I think that may be why it's difficult for me to consider 2012 a great year for movies. I do consider 2012, however, a great year for variety, which is a trend I hope we continue to see.

To find the flicks that didn't disappoint (too much), hit the jump!

     15. Chronicle
The textures and raw acting elevate what could have been a routine found-footage movie into a stimulating take on the superhero genre. I also sort of look at this movie as a tide over until I finally get my live-action Akira movie.

     14. Cloud Atlas
I regard Cloud Atlas as the most important movie of the year. While it doesn't necessarily hold a high watchability factor, the running themes tackle big issues that are universally relevant. The ambition alone is worth dropping endless accolades on Tom Tykwer and The Wachowski Siblings.

     13. The Grey
Even when there may be nothing left to live for, the strength of man is towering.

     12. Argo
Sometimes you say "it had me at the edge of my seat" and you don't really mean it. This movie literally had me at the edge of my seat. I mean it. The aggrandizing pace and tension is an obvious benefit to the film.

     11. Silver Linings Playbook
This movie succeeds with its "cliche" ending because of the other equally important central themes within the story. Yes, the movie itself may have ended traditionally, but the meat of the story informs us, while silver linings can be found, they still line long hard roads for these characters.

     10. Moonrise Kingdom
Wes Anderson places his usual cast of quirky characters on the sidelines to let young love blossom between two unknowns. Moonrise Kingdom serves as a breath of fresh air in Anderson's always unique and artistically driven aesthetics.

     9. Pitch Perfect
A surprise hit for me. The laughs and music will put this easy-to-watch movie in my DVD player often.

     8. The Cabin In The Woods
I'm always wondering when self-aware cinema will reach its breaking point, but when people like Joss Whedon are involved, I don't see that future being too near.

     7. Goon
I would have never guessed I would ever see Sean William Scott in a character study role. He definitely rises to the occasion in this small film. My hat's off to you, Mr. Scott.

     6. Django Unchained
Tarantino has a knack for creating memorable characters that will live on as cinema legends. In this movie he made so many it's difficult to pick a standout. I do have to ask though, where's the mighty female character in this movie?

     5. Looper
It's a Science Fiction film that seems to change genres while you're watching it, yet continues to keep its feet firmly planted in science fiction without you realizing it. I really hope this movie is remembered as a sci-fi classic years and years down the road.

     4. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
I can't say I identify with any of these characters, but that doesn't make them any less intriguing. Some lives have more drama than others, and if I were in this movie I'd be one of the kids played by an extra observing the chaos that can exist in youth.

     3. 21 Jump Street
I've watched this movie multiple times now and it continues to make me laugh. This movie also converted me to believing Channing Tatum is a real actor. I now look forward to seeing movies he's in rather than rolling my eyes when I see him in a trailer. High watchability is found in this movie.

     2. Beasts Of The Southern Wild
It's amazing to me when a story that toes the line of fantasy or fairy tale can feel the most real. This movie is absolutely remarkable and is draped with the greatest score 2012 has to offer. Read my review here.

     1. The Avengers
Even with all the corny or cheesy moments happening in the film, The Avengers never ceases to place me back in the 90's when superheroes occupied a good majority of my brain. On first viewing I just sat there wide-eyed taking it all in. The movie is so massive I had to give it some repeat viewings to make sure I had taken it all in. With the onslaught of generic and uninspired superhero movies that come out every year, it's a relief when you can really connect with one. Check out my review here.

It seems to me I found "watchability" to be the most important factor when ranking my list this year. It seems strange that the movie I consider to be the most important of the year only makes my #14 slot. Watchability is my only defense on that issue. As I said at the beginning, variety is what stood out to me most this year. Very few films actually stuck with me this year, but these are the ones I have to tip my hat to. If you haven't seen them yet, give 'em a watch.

Feel free to comment below on anything you liked or disliked, agreed with or didn't agree with above. What were your favorites of 2012?

Be sure to check back tomorrow for Nathan Hinds' Top 15!


  1. I'm curious to know what movies disappointed you? Do tell

    1. - The ending in Lincoln that was put together by a 5th grader doing a Abraham Lincoln Power point.
      - The Action Packed ending to Frankenweenie. The warm and personal beginning had so much going for it.
      - The dumb dance in Django that unfortunately reminded me of Burton's Alice In Wonderland.
      - The abrupt stop in momentum in the pacing of Argo.
      - Telling me How Tom Hardy's character died in Lawless.
      - The Master sucking.
      - The Hobbit feeling so redundant within itself.
      - American Reunion ignoring Stifler lore.
      - Lack of epic score in Avengers.
      - The fact that The Amazing Spider-man movie exists.
      - Maggie Grace being in Lockout.
      - Various lame/confusing/not needed scenes in Prometheus.
      - Haywire being the most boring action movie ever.
      - Chloe Moretz being the worst part about Dark Shadows, a movie that already sucks.
      - The nose dive that Les Mis took.

      I'm sure there's more.

    2. I love how everything that Derek hated is basically just the films that are in my Top 15. haha Goes to show the difference that people can look at movies.

      I'm not saying I necessarily disagree with most of these things, but generally other aspects of these films propelled me to still enjoy them quite a bit.

      Other than Les Mis being excruciating to sit through, I didn't ever expect much more from the films that Derek had issues with that weren't among my favorites of the year, so those failures don't come off as problems to me - I feel they were supposed to be bad in some ways, so they just lived up to their hype. Overall, I feel like I didn't love many films this year, but I really liked tons of films (more than most years). My disappointment levels were generally low; I enjoyed much that cinema had to offer this year.

    3. "I feel like I didn't love many films this year, but I really liked tons of films."

      That's how I feel. I think I can only count 3 or 4ish that i was just blown away in love with this year. #s 2, 4, 14. And even then, none of them are as affecting as 'Melancholia' was last year.

    4. Plus it's funny that some of the films we "love" are ranked below others that we don't. The power of watchability compared to art and emotion.

      Looking over my list, I'm not sure there were even three. Heck, I don't know that there was even one! I think I loved "Looper", but I'm not positive.. Maybe I loved "Cabin in the Woods" and "21 Jump Street", but for reasons not necessarily to do with "art". But I don't think anything else hit me that much. "Django Unchained" was tons of fun, but I'm not sure I feel I love it. I might throw it into the conversation though.

      If "Moneyball" and/or "The Social Network" came out this year, they both would have topped this list. "Looper" would most definitely be in that conversation, but I think it would come out at #3. And I think I'd throw "X-Men: First Class" and "Django Unchained" into my overall Top 5 from the past three years. (did I just open up a fun box of worms for us to explore?)


Post a Comment