10. The Amazing Spider-Man
The first entry in this new series of Spider-Man movies delivers in comedy, action, drama and romance. Andrew Garfield is perfect for this movie's new, hipster Peter Parker, and the wonderful Emma Stone works well to create an adorable romance between the two. The new Spidey suit is very cool and looks great as the webhead flings himself around as the agile, corny-joke-telling super hero I love to see Spider-Man portrayed as. Lizard gets his movie debut that felt criminally absent in Raimi's trilogy, and the action is quite entertaining to watch. It's a promising start to what I'm sure is going to be a stellar series of movies.
9. The Watch
Yeah, I really liked this movie. Don't judge me! It's incredibly entertaining, with joke after stupid, stupid joke. The main cast of four - Stiller, Vaughn, Hill and Ayoade - work very well off of each other and create a big, dumb atmosphere that is impossible for me not to enjoy. From the budding, calm start to the ridiculous conclusion, The Watch is a killer comedy.
8. Wreck-It Ralph
This movie made me feel good to be a gamer. It's filled with in-jokes for gamers and it's a big love letter to gaming culture. But it's not just that. It's a movie about accepting who you are and who your neighbors are. It's about not putting people down for being something other than a shining example of perfection. Most of all, though, it's a fun movie with bursting, colorful animation, good comedy, and endearing characters. It's a good time.
Skyfall is the only James Bond movie I've ever seen. And I'd say it's probably a pretty good one to start with. Skyfall is a well-constructed thriller. There are lots of creative, big set-pieces; perhaps the best of which is the movie's first scene. Daniel Craig pulls off a super-cool secret agent that may be past his prime, and his bad guy adversary is equally compelling. It kept me on the edge of my seat until it finished, and by the end I was nothing but satisfied.
6. The Campaign
Democrat Cam Brady, played by Will Ferrell, vs. Republican Marty Huggins, played by Zach Galifianakis, is an awesome set-up for a movie. And it is, indeed, an awesome movie. It's a lot like Step Brothers in that it is absolutely ridiculous with its comedy. The movie gets more and more bonkers as it progresses, which makes guessing how much further it's going to go half of the fun. It also serves as satire on America's political discourse, poking fun at our dogmatic fear of terrorism, extreme rejection of Marxism, strong patriotism, and unwavering religious faith. Tons of fun.
5. Django Unchained
Just as Skyfall served as my introduction to James Bond, Django Unchained served as my introduction to Quentin Tarantino's movies. And what an introduction. Django Unchained is one of the most ridiculous movies I've ever seen. This movie goes as far as an R rating would allow it go with its violence, crude humor and profuse language. The action is incredibly bloody and very, very satisfying. The movie is absolutely hilarious, and all it really does is take simple situations and inflate them with shouting, f-bombs and flesh practically bursting apart. The conclusion takes the crazy bar and shoots it up even more. It's brilliant, really.
4. The Dark Knight Rises
I love Batman. And I love Nolan's Batman trilogy. With Rises, Nolan finishes the series of movies in style. Christian Bale delivers what may be his best performance of the three films, as a Bruce Wayne that is more troubled than ever before in these movies. Anne Hathaway successfully pulls off the cunning, sharp and sexy role of Catwoman. And Tom Hardy is simply horrifying as Bane, this movie's villain. This movie has a big, epic plot that fires at all cylinders. It does this saga the justice not that it deserves, but that it needs.
3. The Avengers
The talent behind this movie knows exactly what makes these characters so compelling, which is why The Avengers succeeds. Captain America is the inspiring hero that stands only for good. Iron Man is a cocky, self-absorbed genius that is cool enough to do some good. Thor is a noble God that is entrenched in mythology and comically out of place in the human world. Hulk smashes things. Loki is a fun, goofy villain. And Hawkeye and Black Widow are also here. The epic, energetic action sequence that seemingly lasts around forty-five minutes at the climax of the movie is truly a sight to behold, and that is because the filmmakers knew exactly how to use these awesome characters.
At the end of my list-making process, I was surprised to see just how high this movie made it. The movie looked like it was going to be another Cars-quality-outing, which was very disappointing to me as a big Pixar fan. As it turns out, the movie is so much better than Cars, and actually manages to be in the top five best of Pixar's films, in my humble opinion. The story of Merida and her Mother learning to properly love each other is immensely charming, and its themes of family, fate and love really connected with me. It's a gorgeous movie aesthetically, with some of Pixar's most vivid and expressive animation. My biggest surprise of 2012 and a very pleasant one.
1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
I cried. I smiled. I laughed. But I mostly cried. The other picks in this list were exceedingly hard to place, but putting this movie at the number one spot was an easy decision. This movie is delicately perfect. Subtle changes would have caused the film to simply crumble apart. What we get here is a moving story about childhood trauma, the pains of being a troubled teenager, and friendship, that is heart-wrenchingly grounded in reality. I was hit really hard by this movie. When I said I cried, it was mostly tears of sorrow, but when the movie ended triumphantly and joyously, I cried the most, and those tears were not of sorrow, but of bliss. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is my favorite film of 2012.
I also saw Ted (pretty good), Lincoln (meh), and Frankenweenie (blech). I unfortunately did not see This is 40, Paranorman, Hotel Transylvania, The Hobbit, and The Guilt Trip, each of which may have made it on the list.
What were your favorite movies of 2012? Dislike some of my picks? Lemme know in the comments below.