J.D.'s Best of 2012

So the world didn't end. At least we have a bunch of other cool stuff to look back on in the year that some believed should've been the last. Here's my thoughts on Movies and Television in 2012.

Movies:

Here are my Top Five movies in no particular order, well except for the one movie that ruled them all!

Looper - I had a little trouble figuring out how to write a review for Looper without spoiling it. The plot was so dense and the set-ups and pay-offs were so well done, that it was a pain trying to articulate how much it meant to me to finally have a time travel movie that did it right. Eventually I came up with this review. It says almost everything I don't have the room to say here.

The Cabin in the Woods - Gory, witty, and totally meta. This was one of the most unexpected movie experiences I've had in years. I kept looking to the guy sitting a few seats down from me, since we were both going, "what the hell is going on!" every few minutes. I don't think I can give it any more praise than this, it was one of my favorite films of the year, and I think it's an absolute must see. You can also read about my thoughts in more detail here.

Lincoln - This film just blew me away. I have always been attached to the Civil War era, probably because of some early reading influences. So going into this film, I thought I knew what I was going to see. I was wrong. This was a subversive, subtle, and brilliant political tale of how Lincoln was just a flawed, but great politician. Weird, I know. Lincoln was a politician? What struck me the most was seeing the Republican party fighting so hard to get the 13th amendment voted into law. I can't imagine what has happened to the party to change it so drastically. Also I think Tommy Lee Jones should get an Oscar for this one, he was just amazing.

Cloud Atlas - Talk about mind blowing. This was a three hour epic that took my breath away. Moving and brilliant, thoughtful and engaging, this was a masterpiece and I don't say that lightly. I could write several paragraphs praising this film, and everything it did right. Wait, I already have. Just follow the White Rabbit (oh a little Matrix reference never hurt anyone).

And my Favorite movie of the year is unsurprisingly:

The Avengers - Fooled you with the one ring reference, right? Anyway, I thought this was an unprecedented achievement, and it should never have worked. The logistics alone must've been a nightmare. Yet Joss did it... again. Was it the best movie ever, well no. But it was a superhero movie that didn't laugh at its source material, didn't crap on the stylistic choices made by the talented writers and artists who've labored on these characters for fifty years. It didn't ignore the wildly diverse origins and conflicting personalities of its characters, and it still managed to deliver one of the greatest actions scenes of the year. Seriously, it shouldn't have worked. Joss should've been doing movies like this for a decade. Imagine what he's going to give us in the years to come. Mark gave us a great review of this movie, and you can find it here.

Other Favs, Biggest Surprises, and Honorable Mentions:

The Hobbit - It was a bit bloated, but for sheer nostalgia sake I loved this trip back to Middle Earth. The loving care and careful attention paid to the details made the experience grand. I have no doubt the second or third installment will make my top five next year or the year after, but for now I just have to include it as just one of my favorites for the year. If you'd like to know more, here's my review.

The Dark Knight Rises - I think I loved this movie as a conclusion to the trilogy more than I loved it as a standalone film. The last thirty minutes or so were simply marvelous. You can read my reaction in greater detail in my review.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World - This is one of two comedies that I think deserve mention. Comedy isn't one of my favorite genre's because the good ones are so few and far between. This little gem was a bit uneven, and at times just a little too goofy. Still I was impressed with what they were trying to accomplish, and I think it worked. I firmly believe in Billie's rules, if something can make me laugh and cry in the space of a few minutes than it deserves my praise. This movie did that a few times.

Ted - I was surprised at how much I liked this movie. The premise was absurd, but they didn't shy away from it. Instead of just going for the easy jokes (which there were plenty of), the writers actually tried to push this silly idea to places that other movies would shy away from. I mean where do you go with a stuffed bear that is suddenly senescent? I guess you'd have to figure out what would happen when the world found out. I enjoyed the heck out of this one, and I recommend it for the novelty of the premise and the thoughtfulness put into the story and characters.

Dredd - I was totally surprised by how good this new adaptation turned out to be. I won't go into detail here, but I wrote a review that elaborates on how much I liked it, and why I consider it one of my favorites of the year.

Chronicle - Unexpected, subtle, and effective this was the little found footage film that surprised the heck out of critics by actually being good. Seriously, if you can stand shaky-cam at all, check this one out. You can find my review of it here.

Biggest Disappointment

Prometheus - The really sad thing about this film was that it could've been great. Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof just made too many bad story choices, and forced the characters too make too many stupid choices. If they had just decided to make this a straight Alien prequel it might've worked better. If they had gone with something wholly original, it might've worked better. Unfortunately it just didn't live up to anyone's expectations, including mine.

Television:

Here are my Top Five in no particular order except for my favoritist!

Walking Dead - And I thought the end of season two was harrowing. My god, if they keep this up for the rest of the season, were all going to be zombies. Gripping our chairs, white knuckled, moaning at the loss of our dearly departed friends. I just hope our families will take pity on us, and give us the headshot needed to put us out of our misery after what will likely be a heart stopping season finale. Thankfully Sandy will be there along with us with her awesome reviews.

Breaking Bad - I sort of fell out of love with this show for a while. I thought the end of season four was amazing, but for some reason I wasn't looking forward to season five. Wow, I was just wrong. The first half of this season was amazing, and I can't wait for the final run of episodes coming next year. I just wish they would just call those eight episodes season six, because this long of a hiatus is really a season break, sheesh. Billie Doux will review that final run of episodes.

Downton Abbey - I fell in love with this show very recently. At the behest of ChrisB, and her wonderful reviews, I had to give this show a try even though it is really not in my usual wheelhouse. Thank god I did. What a brilliant show. What a great cast. What a heart-wrenching, funny, and human experience. The character's feel so real, that it's hard to imagine that this is just a work of fiction at times.

Lost Girl - Don't hate. Seriously though I can't entirely explain why I love this show. Maybe it's the kick ass leads, or the awesome chemistry between all the actors, heck maybe it's the characters. Come to think of it, I love them all, and I can't think of too many other shows where I'm attached to all the characters. That's why this made my top five this year. I have some reviews up for season 1 and 2. Mark and Billie will be Joining me to cover reviews of Season 3 when it begins to air in January.

And my favoritist show this year is:

Vampire Diaries - Am I the only one that wanted Elena to be like she is? I'm loving the fact that this show doesn't shy away from taking risks. Pushing the status quo, and going places that other shows fear to tread. It doesn't go to the absurd extremes of True Blood, and that's a good thing. But the labyrinthine plots, and fascinating character dynamics continue to pull me in, and keep me involved in the drama. I just wish they would figure out what to do with certain characters (cough Matt, cough Tyler, cough Bonnie). Figure out who is the best love interest for Caroline (cough Stefen). Oh, and give us a real Damon/Elena love affair damnit, stop going halfsies. Josie K. tackles this twisty drama, and here are her superlative reviews.

Other Favorites:

Supernatural - I still consider this show one of my all time favorites, and this season has been the best in years. I think I fell out of love with the series after season five. Every year I hope it will change my mind, so that I can call it my all time favorite again. Billie reviews this still awesome show.

Fringe - I've been fascinated with these final episodes. Even though season four was a bit odd, and took too long to come together, I thought it ended well. This feels like an ending, and I wonder if they are going to give us a happy one. Josie reviews this one, as it sprints towards the finish line.

Teen Wolf - After a wild season 2, I'm totally looking forward to season three, I just hope they can bring Allison back to the sweet character she was. Panda reviews this funny and occasionally outrageous show.

Arrow - I had to put in my show, even though it's not quite a favorite yet. I think Arrow has an amazing amount of potential, and I truly believe it can grow into something wonderful. I just hope it does.

Here's to 2013, and the hundreds of new movies and episodes that will enrich our lives and engage our senses.  I truly hope everyone will have a wonderful and Happy New Year!

 I need this movie not to suck!

4 comments:

ChrisB said...

Reading this, I am suddenly aware of how much good cinema I missed this year. Hopefully, I will get see more in 2013. Although, I did see Lincoln and absolutely loved it. It very nearly made my favorite of the year.

Glad you're enjoying Downton. Not too long to wait now for season three.

Great article, J.D.

celticmarc said...

They did a kinda homage to the Avengers in Quebec's annual review of the year in a TV show called Bye Bye 2012. It's in French though. But seeing local politicians as superheroes was a huge gag.

Prometheus....Misery. And you want to make a sequel ?!!? Big sigh. Wasted potential. But kudos for the performances of both N. Rapace and M. Fassbender. They were brilliant but I hated the movie.

About Fringe. Here's my hypothesis on how this show will end. No spoiling, just my imagination. They will indeed be able to shut the Observers from our Universe but they will loose some people. Nina won't be the last. And the very last scene ? The scene at the park, with Peter and Olivia on the sheet on the grass, and the same Etta running toward the trees, but this time...no Observer coming from thin air...

But we'll only know late at night on the 18th if I guessed correctly or not...

PlatinumRosebud said...

Allo, J.D.

Good wrap-up of the year that was.

I'm with you in your Looper notes.
It's really one of those time travel films that gives you a hard time finding a fault. :)

Cabin In The Woods, Lincoln and Cloud Atlas.
Haven't seen these films yet.
Waiting for my to strike on this three. :)

The Avengers.
Yep. Enjoyed this movie, too.
No movie with Iron Man in it can pass by me and my son. Hahaha.

The Hobbit and The Dark Knight Rises are pretty good.
For TDKR, it's mainly because its the last of the trilogy and the best one of the three.
We're now wondering who'll be the next actor to don the black cape.

With Prometheus, imo, it's one of those films you'll gonna appreciate more in DVD. I bet it'll become a cult fave in the years to come.

I love Lost Girl, too.
Can't wait for it's return.
You are right about the ensemble's chemistry; they do compliment each other's character.

We are starting to mourn the ending of our favorite Fringe.
We'll surely miss our End-Of-The-World Warriors.

We have missed Teen Wolf, too.
We are eagerly waiting for the series' return.
It's just a bit sad that Vampire Hunter Mom is gone. (or is she?)
I second you in Allison going back to her ol' sweet self.

Wish you well in the years to come.
Happy rewiewing! :)

sunbunny said...

I'm not a big movie-goer, but I actually saw several (!) of your top movies.

Cabin in the Woods - Awesome. I hate horror movies and it gave me nightmares, but it was still awesome.

Avengers - I'm also not a fan of superhero movies, but I loved this one and not because of the man candy. Well, not only because of the man candy. :)

Lincoln - Saw it yesterday. I was the only one under 60 in the theater which amused me to no end. Daniel Day-Lewis did a good job and will probably win the Oscar, although I maintain he's generally overrated. Tommy Lee Jones did a fantastic job and James Spader was hilarious. I didn't expect the movie to be so funny, but I laughed out loud more than once. Excellent movie, beautifully shot, but if Sally Field snatches the awards out from Anne Hathway's nose, I will be considerably put out.