Personal Top Movies of 2012

by chessguy2 | created - 31 Dec 2012 | updated - 31 Dec 2012 | Public

This year was a great year for movies. I decided to make a list chronicling my favorite ones. Note that this is a list of my personal favorites, not 'the greatest' or whatnot. Also keep in mind that I have not seen: Beasts of the Southern Wild, Cloud Atlas, Dredd, Killer Joe, Life of Pi, The Master, Safety Not Guaranteed, Seven Psychopaths, and Zero Dark Thirty, all movies I could see on this list (I may edit this when I see them). Anyway, yeah, enjoy! And I'd love to discuss in the comments.

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1. The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

R | 95 min | Fantasy, Horror

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72 Metascore

5 friends go for a break at a remote cabin, where they get more than they bargained for, discovering the truth behind the cabin in the woods.

Director: Drew Goddard | Stars: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz

Votes: 310,364 | Gross: $42.07M

Dude. This movie came out of nowhere, and ended up being my favorite movie. A horror-comedy, it plays on the horror troupes in a fun and creative way while still being a mind-blowing experience. I can definitely see this being a cult classic.

2. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

R | 122 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

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81 Metascore

After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.

Director: David O. Russell | Stars: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver

Votes: 584,898 | Gross: $132.09M

Some of the best writing of the year with some of the best acting of the year. Beautifully told story that I think is my pick for the oscar's this year.

3. Les Misérables (2012)

PG-13 | 158 min | Drama, History, Musical

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63 Metascore

In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after breaking parole, agrees to care for a factory worker's daughter. The decision changes their lives forever.

Director: Tom Hooper | Stars: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried

Votes: 266,889 | Gross: $148.81M

I like musicals. This is a great musical. Truly an epic film. Great music, sound, makeup and all that jazz, while still having amazing direction and amazing acting. Personally wasn't a big fan of Anne Hathaway, but I absolutely loved everybody else in it.

4. Looper (2012)

R | 113 min | Action, Crime, Drama

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84 Metascore

In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits - someone like Joe - who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by sending back Joe's future self for assassination.

Director: Rian Johnson | Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano

Votes: 469,747 | Gross: $66.49M

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis are good of course, but the main spectacle in this movie is the amazing writing and the amazing direction that blow this movie out of the park.

5. Argo (2012)

R | 120 min | Biography, Drama, Thriller

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86 Metascore

Acting under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film, a CIA agent launches a dangerous operation to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran in 1979.

Director: Ben Affleck | Stars: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin

Votes: 500,559 | Gross: $136.03M

Ben Affleck directed and starred in this dramatization of a 1980 mission to get six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran. Great writing, directing, and acting all across the board makes this one of the best movies of the year - and one of my favorites.

6. Chronicle (2012)

PG-13 | 84 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

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69 Metascore

Three high school friends gain superpowers after making an incredible discovery underground. Soon they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond tested as they embrace their darker sides.

Director: Josh Trank | Stars: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly

Votes: 219,046 | Gross: $64.58M

This is probably my favorite found footage film since Blair Witch Project. It tells of three kids who get tele-kinetic powers, and then mostly just dick around with them, until one of them uses them to embrace his darker side. Dane DeHaan gives a performance that makes him one of my favorite actors, and Josh Trank directs an amazing movie for such a small budget. Not to mention the great writing.

7. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

PG-13 | 94 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

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84 Metascore

A pair of young lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out to find them.

Director: Wes Anderson | Stars: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray

Votes: 267,014 | Gross: $45.51M

This was the movie that introduced me to Wes Anderson. After then seeing Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, and The Royal Tenenbaums, I can call him one of my favorite directors, and I can't wait to see what else he makes.

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

PG-13 | 102 min | Drama, Romance

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67 Metascore

An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world.

Director: Stephen Chbosky | Stars: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd

Votes: 394,395 | Gross: $17.74M

Thematically, this film was Rocky Horror Picture Show. It probably helps that there are segments of the cast shadow-casting midnight screenings of RHPS. Due to the fact that Rocky Horror is both my favorite musical and movie, this movie was very exciting to see.

9. Django Unchained (2012)

R | 165 min | Drama, Western

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81 Metascore

With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington

Votes: 1,096,616 | Gross: $162.81M

I love Quentin Tarantino. I think he's a great director. Performances by Christopher Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio here are oscar-worthy. This is a great movie. Any other year it would probably be higher on the list.

10. Bernie (2011)

PG-13 | 104 min | Biography, Comedy, Crime

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75 Metascore

In small-town Texas, an affable mortician strikes up a friendship with a wealthy widow, though when she starts to become controlling, he goes to great lengths to separate himself from her grasp.

Director: Richard Linklater | Stars: Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey, Brady Coleman

Votes: 50,863 | Gross: $9.20M

Jack Black gives probably his best performance of his career. Add Shirley MacLaine, Matthew MCConaughey, and great direction by Richard Linklater, you have a Harvey-like dark comedy about a mortician who kills a wealthy widow and none of the town believes he did it.

11. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)

R | 101 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

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59 Metascore

As an asteroid nears Earth, a man finds himself alone after his wife leaves in a panic. He decides to take a road trip to reunite with his high school sweetheart. Accompanying him is a neighbor who inadvertently puts a wrench in his plan.

Director: Lorene Scafaria | Stars: Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, Melanie Lynskey, Patton Oswalt

Votes: 96,342 | Gross: $6.62M

In my mind, this was one of the most underrated movies of the year. A dark comedy about the world ending had me both laughing and crying. I thought it was an interesting take on the road-trip genre and would have loved to see more people excited about this movie.

12. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

PG-13 | 169 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

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58 Metascore

A reluctant Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, sets out to the Lonely Mountain with a spirited group of dwarves to reclaim their mountain home, and the gold within it from the dragon Smaug.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis

Votes: 688,304 | Gross: $303.00M

I'm not the biggest Lord of the Rings fan, but I enjoy the movies. Although garnering mixed reviews, I liked this film. The 48 FPS didn't bother me (likely because I was in an imax theatre). From a special-effects and makeup perspective, this is absolutely spectacular. However, that's kind of expected for a LOTR movie. It's a solid film, but not quite worthy of it's predecessors. Plus, there's no real ending due to the fact that the book is going to be 3 movies.

13. Killing Them Softly (2012)

R | 97 min | Crime, Thriller

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64 Metascore

Jackie Cogan is an enforcer hired to restore order after three dumb guys rob a Mob protected card game, causing the local criminal economy to collapse.

Director: Andrew Dominik | Stars: Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins, Scoot McNairy

Votes: 119,180 | Gross: $15.03M

It's a strange movie. Very cynical. Brad Pitt plays a assassin who is hired to kill three guys who rob a mod-protected card game. It has some really great acting, and is directed very well. I don't think this movie was received as well as it should of because people went in expecting an action-packed killing movie. Instead, it was a slow, dialogue-heavy movie that I really enjoyed.

14. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

PG-13 | 164 min | Action, Thriller

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78 Metascore

Eight years after the Joker's reign of anarchy, Batman, with the help of the enigmatic Catwoman, is forced from his exile to save Gotham City, now on the edge of total annihilation, from the brutal guerrilla terrorist Bane.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman

Votes: 1,277,593 | Gross: $448.14M

I love Christopher Nolan. He's one of my favorite directors. And this is an epic movie. It just didn't quite do it for me though. The main problem was that so much was done in this movie important moments weren't as strong as they needed to be. Not to say that I didn't like it. Great direction, and the addition of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy were great.

15. Prometheus (I) (2012)

R | 124 min | Adventure, Mystery, Sci-Fi

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65 Metascore

Following clues to the origin of mankind, a team finds a structure on a distant moon, but they soon realize they are not alone.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron

Votes: 510,866 | Gross: $126.48M

Initially, I was a bit doubtful of this movie, but the more I thought and talked about it, the more I liked it. A prequel to Alien by the same director (Ridley Scott), this was written by one of the writers of Lost, making for a controversial script. I don't agree with all of the 'plot-holes' people complained about, but I think there were a few faults. Great direction, special effects, and a spectacular performance by Michael Fassbender as David

16. Skyfall (2012)

PG-13 | 143 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

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81 Metascore

Bond's loyalty to M is tested when her past comes back to haunt her. When MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.

Director: Sam Mendes | Stars: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris, Judi Dench

Votes: 563,147 | Gross: $304.36M

This was a great James Bond film. While I personally prefer the gadget-based James Bond, this was still a great action film that, any other year, would probably be higher on this list as well. Javier Bardem is also an amazing villain.

17. The Raid: Redemption (2011)

R | 101 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

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73 Metascore

A S.W.A.T. team becomes trapped in a tenement run by a ruthless mobster and his army of killers and thugs.

Director: Gareth Evans | Stars: Iko Uwais, Ananda George, Ray Sahetapy, Donny Alamsyah

Votes: 163,349 | Gross: $4.11M

This movie is simply 100% action. That's all it is, and it does it incredibly well.

18. Pitch Perfect (2012)

PG-13 | 112 min | Comedy, Music, Romance

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66 Metascore

Beca, a freshman at Barden University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school's all-girls singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition.

Director: Jason Moore | Stars: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp

Votes: 237,536 | Gross: $65.00M

I was expecting this movie to be garbage. But it was aca-awesome (okay, I'll stop). It was legitimately funny and had some great singing as well. Incredibly tongue-in-cheek, this creates a school where the acapella groups rule all. Rebel Wilson also solidifies her position as my favorite female comedian.

19. Lincoln (2012)

PG-13 | 150 min | Biography, Drama, History

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86 Metascore

As the War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Votes: 214,641 | Gross: $182.21M

I know, I know. This movie should be higher on the list. But Steven Spielberg hasn't exactly put out the best movies these past few years. That said, this movie is an epic. Great writing, direction, and performances (especially Daniel-Day Lewis). Although not my personal favorite, this is a quality movie.

20. 21 Jump Street (2012)

R | 109 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

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69 Metascore

A pair of underachieving cops are sent back to a local high school to blend in and bring down a synthetic drug ring.

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller | Stars: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Brie Larson

Votes: 448,798 | Gross: $138.45M

This was a great comedy. Very tongue-in-cheek and had me laughing nearly the entire movie. It also marks the beginning of me actually starting to respect Channing Tatum.

21. Ted (2012)

R | 106 min | Comedy, Fantasy

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62 Metascore

John Bennett, a man whose childhood wish of bringing his teddy bear to life came true, now must decide between keeping the relationship with the bear or his girlfriend, Lori.

Director: Seth MacFarlane | Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane, Joel McHale

Votes: 510,219 | Gross: $218.82M

Don't have too much to say about this movie. It's funny. Also gives proof that Flash Gordon is the greatest, ever.

22. Magic Mike (2012)

R | 110 min | Comedy, Drama

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72 Metascore

A male stripper teaches a younger performer how to party, pick up women, and make easy money.

Director: Steven Soderbergh | Stars: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Munn, Matthew McConaughey

Votes: 117,313 | Gross: $113.72M

No. I'm not gay. Steven Soderbergh directed this movie so it's okay.

23. Arbitrage (2012)

R | 107 min | Drama, Thriller

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73 Metascore

A troubled hedge fund magnate desperate to complete the sale of his trading empire makes an error that forces him to turn to an unlikely person for help.

Director: Nicholas Jarecki | Stars: Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Brit Marling, Tim Roth

Votes: 44,781 | Gross: $7.92M

Richard Gere is amazing. That is all.