2012: The Year in Film and My Top 10

For my money, this was a very good year in film. Five four-star films by my rating system. A couple of excellent comedies. Picking a #1 this year was quite difficult! (Bad year for animation, otherwise, quite good!!)

Total Films Viewed from 2012: 42

Scroll down for the Top 10

Top 10 Critically Acclaimed Films

(Source : criticstop10.com – a site that take a weighted average of about 800 lists, 350 of which are considered “Top Critics”)

  1. Zero Dark Thirty
  2. Moonrise Kingdom
  3. The Master
  4. Argo
  5. Lincoln
  6. Django Unchained
  7. Beasts of the Southern Wild
  8. Holy Motors
  9. Amour
  10. Silver Linings Playbook

Winners of The Major Oscar Categories

Best Picture                             Argo

Best Actor                               Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln

Best Actress                            Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Best Supporting Actor             Christoph Walz, Django Unchained

Best Supporting Actress          Anne Hathaway, Les Miserable

Best Director                           Ange Lee, Life of Pi

Original Screenplay                Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

Adapted Screenplay                Chris Terrio, Argo

Best Animated Feature             Brave

Top Grossing Movie:                 The Avengers (Domestic and Worldwide)

(Argo became the first movie since 1990 – Driving Miss Daisy – to win Best Picture without being nominated for Best Director. Affleck has producer credit so still won an Oscar).

Really Good Films from 2012 You May Have Missed:


Looper (Noted Critic James Beradinelli has this as #1 of 2012)

Moonrise Kingdom

Act of Valor

Movie from 2012 to avoid at all costs:


Ghost Rider II (The things we watch on planes)

Dan’s Top 10 Films of 2012

Honourable Mention: The Dark Knight Rises, Actor of Valor, Les Miserable, Searching for Sugarman, Moonrise Kingdom, Life of Pi

10.  Ted

A great film? Not a chance. But very few comedies have ever made me laugh this hard. I am huge fan of Seth McFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad) so I am predisposed to the raunchy, crude often low brow humour that this film thrives on. A terrible ending prevented it from being even higher on the list.

9. The Avengers

Superheroes have demons, egos, problems, troubled pasts. This wonderfully fun and surprisingly touching action film hit on all cylinders and did not make the mistake of many similar films to follow and stayed a reasonable length.

8. Flight

Since I fly over 100,000 miles a year, perhaps a movie about a pilot with addiction issues is not something I should watch. But I would watch Denzel read a phone book. Gripping, shocking film with an excellent supporting role from John Goodman and for me, a deeply satisfying ending.

7. Skyfall

I have seen every Bond, all more than once. This is the best, full stop. No questions. Javier Bardem should have been Oscar nominated for his role as Silver, one of the great Bond villains. This is an extraordinary cloak and dagger action film with an exceptional emotional core.

6. Silver Linings Playbook

Back to my favourite theme of dysfunctional families, no offense to my siblings. The moment this movie ended I said out loud, I loved every second of that. One of DeNiro’s great performances. And it gives a very different kind of Hollywood ending, one that is satisfying only because the movie and really let you get to know its characters.

5. Prometheus

A thought-provoking, intelligent sci-fi movie meant to be a pre-cursor to the Alien series. Ridley Scott excels at this stuff. It leaves a lot for the audience to interpret and some may find the ending deeply unsatisfying. I loved every minute of it.

4. Lincoln

The best acting performance of the decade. One of the great of all time. This is not a love letter to Honest Abe. It is a hard edged, unblinking look at the compromises, politically and personally, that had to be made to pass the 13th Amendment.

3. Zero Dark Thirty

ZD30 was first intended to be a movie about the unsuccessful hunt for UBL, but when he was killed in Pakistan by Seal Team 6, this movie took a different turn. Methodical, not preachy. It’s a movie about war but much more than a war film. The most critically acclaimed movie of 2012.

2. Django Unchained

Not Tarantino’s best, but vintage QT. A fun, clever, blood-soaked extravaganza about a bounty hunter (Christoph Walz) travelling with a freed slave (Jamie Foxx) to see a Planation owner (Leo

DiCaprio) to rescue the freed slave’s wife. Leo plays a truly vile character, so much so, he had to take a break from filming. Django is a gorefest, a love story and also a bit of a history lesson that only QT can bring to the screen.

1. Argo

My top 10 list for 2012 has morphed over the years. Originally, I would have had this 3rd, behind Django and Zero Dark Thirty. But in this past 8 years, my admiration for this old school, classic Hollywood film has only grown. An unlikely Best Picture but it has held its own over the years. A story of how a bizarre CIA cover story was used to extract 6 Americans trapped in the Canadian Embassy in Iran. Again, another excellent supporting role from John Goodman. And an Oscar nomination for Alan Arkin.  Roger Ebert’s pick for best movie of the year, the last one before his death in 2013. 

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