Best Movies of 2012 by Dan Hartman

And the winner of The Great Movie Challenge of 2012 for seeing the most movies released in 2012 is…

Daniel Hartman Jr.!
@DanielHartmanJr

Congrats to Dan who wins a 1 year membership to the SellingYourScreenplay.com Forum (a $49.99 value)!  And thanks to Ashley Meyers of SellingYourScreenplay.com for donating such a great prize!

Dan’s winning “Best Movies of 2012” list is below.   Of course it is but one of the lists in the The Great Movie Challenge of 2012.  For all of the “Best movies of 2012” lists please see the post: All the “Best Movies of 2012” Lists  -Eric

The Great Movie Challenge of 2012
by Daniel Hartman Jr.

TOP 10
1) Django Unchained – The best film of the year! An ultraviolent, well-written, expertly acted, great time at the movies, with one of the best shootouts ever put to film.
2) Looper – A thrilling and smart sci-fi film, with great performances and stunning visuals.
3) The Dark Knight Rises – Completely exhilarating film! Not a wasted second in its 165 min. run time.
4) The Cabin in the Woods – Thank God a movie finally came along that pokes fun at conventional horror films, but is also great fun to watch.
5) Killer Joe – A masterpiece of depravity, it’s unflinchingly violent, relentlessly brutal, and thoroughly hilarious. I enjoyed every minute of it.
6) The Avengers – This is exactly what a comic book film should be; exciting, fun, and action packed!
7) Killing Them Softly – Brutal, violent, and a funny, satirical look at the flaws of capitalism and the incompetence of those in political power. The cast does an amazing job and the direction is flawless.
8) Silver Linings Playbook – Charming, hilarious, and expertly acted by the entire cast. Also, doesn’t follow romantic comedy conventions and therefor avoids their downfalls.
9) Wreck-it Ralph – The Academy should give Pixar a break this year and book a trip to the podium for Ralph.
10) Jack Reacher – Fun, realistic action film with an intense car chase expertly directed by McQuarrie.

STILL REALLY GOOD
11) Prometheus – Visually stunning and exciting film. One of the best Sci-Fi films of the last decade.
12) Dredd – An explosive film with non-stop action, impressive visuals, and Urban in full in bad-ass mode.
13) Zero Dark Thirty – Very well-made with excellent performances, but it’s in the final 40 mins. where the film becomes the most intense I’ve seen all year.
14) Seeking a Friend for the End of the World – Funny and sad at the same time. Does a great job of balancing tones. Chemistry between Carell and Knightley is perfect.
15) End of Watch – Brutally violent, but also deeply emotional. The only thing keeping this from being a masterpiece is the off-putting camera work.
16) Ted – The story isn’t anything special, but it’s consistently hilarious the whole way through.
17) Hara Kiri: Death of a Samurai – Expertly told and beautifully photographed film with deep emotional resonance.
18) Moonrise Kingdom – Wes Anderson is an acquired taste, but this is a Quirky, expertly made film that is well acted by a wonderful cast.
19) Hitchcock – A wonderfully acted and thoroughly interesting film. Hopkins and Mirren should be nominated for Oscars.
20) This is 40 – A hilarious look at married life that many adult couples can relate to, which makes it even funnier.
21) The Raid: Redemption – A bit cliché, but awesome, non-stop action until the very end.
22) The Bourne Legacy – Renner does a great job in this thrilling, well-constructed action film.
23) Skyfall – Superbly acted and fast paced, this entertaining action film, a notch below Casino Royale, is not without its flaws. (e.g. All that planning to just walk into a room shooting???)
24) Argo – A tense, thrilling film with terrific performances. Well-made and well-written.
25) Lincoln – It’s entertaining for 2 ½ hours of nothing but talking and Day-Lewis is phenomenal!
26) The Grey – Thrilling from start to (almost) finish. Poor ending. Needed five more minutes.
27) Amour – Honestly, this is an amazing film, flawlessly made in every area. The only thing keeping it from the top of the list is that it’s absolute torture to sit through. By that I mean the only thing more sad would be watching a loved one actually die.

GOOD
28) The Hobbit (HFR 3D) – Stunning visuals, but the story filler used by Jackson drags the film out longer than necessary. The HFR worked well most of the time, but sometimes made the footage look cartoony.
29) ParaNorman – Fantastic animation, and funny, unique characters make this fun film to watch.
30) Howling – Korean filmmakers really know how to make entertaining films with fantastic stories.
31) V/H/S/ – Tense and scary throughout. I can’t stand “found footage”, but it worked very well here.
32) The Sessions – Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always heartfelt, with terrific performances by Hawkes and Hunt.
33) Compliance – A stomach turner with great performances and the feel of the film is gritty and dirty and that’s how the viewer feels while watching it.
34) Lawless – Thoroughly interesting period piece and at times brutally violent. Well-acted by everyone invovled.
35) Brave – Not Pixar’s best film, but it’s still really good.
36) Bachelorette – Funny, vulgar film with likeable performances by Caplan and Fisher.
37) Trouble with the Curve – A bit of sloppy directing, but the cast and the satisfying ending more than make up for its flaws.
38) Madagascar 3 – Fast paced with rapid fire jokes, this is the best of the series.
39) Here Comes the Boom – It may be a bit hard to believe, but this film is funny, touching, and uplifting.
40) The Hunger Games – Thrilling, with an interesting plot. Three flaws: Poorly filmed fight scenes, lame climax, and a resolution that feels forced.
41) Goon – I’ve been waiting for a funny hockey movie. This foots the bill.
42) Pitch Perfect – Funny, somewhat predictable. The musical performances are actually good.
43) For a Good Time, Call… – An enjoyable, funny film. Well-written with likeable performances.
44) Promised Land – Good, well-written film, but the filmmakers focus too much on the heavy-handed message instead of entertainment value.
45) Magic Mike – More than just a film about male strippers, this film is smart, funny, and interesting. Tatum does a terrific job at playing the most likeable stripper ever.
46) Casa de mi Padre – Bad acting, bad sets, bad filmmaking. All of it intentionally hilarious.
47) Safety Not Guaranteed – Well-made and a good film, but it wasn’t the classic indie I was hoping.
48) The Expendables 2 – Why is this film this high on my list? Two words: Chuck… Norris. It’s a decent film, but the horrible editing makes it look much worse than it is.
49) Chronicle – Great story, but the FF style of the film holds it back and drains all dramatic power from the climax.
50) Seven Psychopaths – It’s a decent film full of surprises, but it’s not quite as funny as it thinks it is.
51) The Amazing Spiderman – It may be the same story I’ve seen/heard 1000 times, but it’s told well.
52) The Man With the Iron Fists – Narrowly avoiding becoming a narrative mess, it’s actually a fun Crouching Tiger/70’s kung fu flick combo.
53) Red Lights – Well-made, very interesting story with a neat little twist at the end.
54) Savages – Interesting story and well-acted. Hayek and del Toro steal the show.
55) Celeste and Jesse Forever – Smart, funny, and realistic, with likeable characters.

OKAY
56) The Collection – While it lacks the thrills of the first film, it’s effective enough. The “Aliens” template is a good thought, but the execution is lacking.
57) The Pact – It drags a bit, but this direct-to-dvd horror film isn’t that bad. It throws a pretty neat little twist at ya in the final 20 mins.
58) 2 Days in New York – Strange, but often funny indie comedy.
59) The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Funny and touching drama/comedy. Well-written with good performances.
60) The Paperboy – Violent and disturbing with great performances, but brought down by a slow pace.
61) Life of Pi – Visually stunning with some tense scenes between the lead and the tiger, but it’s a bit slow at the beginning and lacks much of a punch at the end.
62) The Master – While this is a filmmaking masterpiece with great performances, it also has a story that bogs it down and keeps it from being great.
63) The Watch – Entertaining and kept my interest, but the solid sci-fi plot is wasted in favor of a couple of familiar subplots.
64) Sleepwalk with Me – A funny and smart, but moves a bit slow despite an 80 min. runtime.
65) Resident Evil: Retribution – Poorly scripted and clumsily directed, but I’ve always had a soft spot for action/sci-fi/horror films.
66) 3, 2, 1… Frankie Go Boom – Wildly inconsistent, but funny with quirky, likeable characters.
67) Detention – It’s a mess, but it’s a fun, interesting mess that had me laughing consistently throughout.
68) Haywire – Great fight scenes. Carano does a decent job opposite the plethora of A-list actors.
69) Jeff, Who Lives at Home – A funny, touching little indie film.
70) Wanderlust – Half the jokes are hilarious, the other half not so much.
71) Hope Springs – Superbly acted and realistic, but predictable and boring at times.
72) Big Miracle – Touching family film with good performances and an interesting story.
73) God Bless America – Funny, but a bit too preachy. It attacks only one side of politics while both are ripe for satire.
74) Silent House – Single shot gimmick is neat, but holds the film back a bit and the supporting actors are awful. Once the film gets going though, it’s intense and Olsen is such a great actress.
75) Sinister – Tense with some scary images, however silly at times and lacking a satisfying climax.
76) The Woman in Black – Eerie atmosphere. A few good scares, but predictable.
77) Battleship – SFX are good and the film keeps things interesting, but it’s ultimately dumb entertainment.
78) John Carter – Okay, so the editing’s poor, the characters are bland, it’s undeniably silly, and it defies its own logic, but it’s still fun to watch.
79) Safe – Entertaining, albeit goofy, with dialogue that sounds like a child wrote it.
80) Man on a Ledge – Thrilling at times. Illogical and an extremely sappy, cliché ending.
81) The Raven – Interesting idea. It has many flaws, but the story is intriguing enough to let them go.
82) Men in Black 3 – Started off really bad, got better, then hit a stride and ended up enjoyable.
83) Cloud Atlas – I appreciate the ambition, and the film wasn’t a mess like most are saying, but the execution was off.
84) Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – Visually appealing, but overly serious and not as much fun as it could’ve been.
85) The Campaign – Hit and miss.
86) Premium Rush – Some interesting ideas, but watching Levitt speed through NY on a bike for 90 mins. becomes tedious after a while.
87) Hit and Run – decent film, but it offers nothing I haven’t seen a hundred times before.
88) Hotel Transylvania – Cute, but offers nothing new.
89) Arbitrage – Well-made and superbly acted, but the filmmakers failed to draw me in and sympathize with the character, which destroys most of the tension.
90) Mirror Mirror – Turned out to be a decent film. Nothing amazing, but better than Snow White and the Huntsman.

NOT… GREAT
91) Flight – An amazing first 25 mins. gives way to melodrama and predictability.
92) People Like Us – Well-acted film, however long and tedious at times. The ending is amazing, though, and drug this film from the bottom of this list.
93) Total Recall – Good SFX and a couple thrilling action sequences, but the story is the same as the original beat for beat.
94) Vamps – Occasionally funny, often uneven, but managed to hold my interest.
95) The Bay – Creepy, but once again the found footage style drains any dramatic power from the narrative.
96) Taken 2 – Megaton is a terrible director. The family scenes feel forced and the hand-to-hand combat seems fake. Neeson is the only reason this film works in the slightest. Bring Morel back!
97) The Day – Looks good and the actors all do a decent job, but it takes 50 mins. of the 85 min. runtime to get to the meat of the story.
98) Les Misérables – I’m probably gonna get beat up for this, but I thought it was okay. A Good story with terrific performances, but they glossed over areas that needed more development and some scenes drug on longer than they needed. Don’t get me wrong it had some amazing moments, but it also had moments of pure boredom.
99) Won’t Back Down – A couple of good performances, but overlong and preachy.
100) Fire with Fire – Pretty decent for a direct-to-dvd action flick.
101) Liberal Arts – What starts out as an enjoyable film with likable characters descends into an insanely frustrating 3rd act that for me brought down the film.
102) A Lonely Place for Dying – Feels kind of amateurish at times and the direction is flawed, but it’s an enjoyable and interesting spy thriller.
103) 2016: Obama’s America – While not a fan of documentaries, I enjoyed this film when it actually provided facts, which was about 1/4 of the runtime.
104) That’s My Boy – Not the piece of crap I thought it would be. Still bad, but it’s kind of funny actually.
105) The Tall Man – Interesting because of all the twists in the plot. For most of the film I wasn’t really sure what was going on. The final reveal wasn’t as interesting as the rest of the film.
106) Red Dawn – Kept my interest, but has ZERO character development, bad dialogue, and a shocking ending that’s sure to piss people off.
107) Chasing Mavericks – Decent film, but surfing’s not really my kind of thing.
108) Chimpanzee – Cute film, brought way down by silly narration and Disney’s insistence on naming the “bad” chimp after the villain from “The Lion King”.
109) Hick – Interesting, but I fail to see the point of the film.
110) The Hunter – Well-made film. The first hour kinda drags.
111) Transit – A terrific idea and at times it’s exciting, but the poor script, editing and lighting keep it from reaching its full potential.
112) Rampart – Woody Harrelson is terrific and the film is interesting, but it falls apart a bit in the 3rd act.
113) Wrath of the Titans – Great special FX, but a little boring and poorly edited.
114) American Reunion – Okay. Has some funny moments, mostly near the end.
115) Dark Shadows – Tone is all over the place. It can’t decide what it wants to be. Not as funny as advertised or as good as the talent involved.
116) Gone – A total surprise. I thought it was going to be trash. Not great, but worth seeing.
117) Safe House – Some good action scenes, but suffers from gross predictability and shaky camera syndrome.
118) Lockout – Terrible SFX, but Pearce keeps this unoriginal action film from being too dull.
119) 21 Jump Street – Not as much fun, or as funny as it should be, but it has its moments.
120) Apartment 143 – Scary images and likeable characters. Better than PA 2, 3, & 4.
121) Breaking Dawn Part 2 – As stupid as it is, it still manages to send the series out on a slightly higher note than the crap that came before it.
122) Project X – A lot better than expected. Some funny moments and the hand held camera didn’t annoy me like I thought it would.
123) The Pirates! Band of Misfits – A few moments of genius, but ultimately bland and predictable.
124) Ice Age: Continental Drift – For each moment of brilliance, there’s 5 moments of “Oh, God, that’s terrible”.
125) Excision – Well-made, but extremely weird and creepy. The lead is like a deranged, female Napoleon Dynamite.
126) Cosmopolis – Interesting, despite the plot revolving around a psycho going to get a haircut.
127) Paranormal Activity 4 – Same old jump scares and predictability.
128) Snow White and the Huntsman – Well-made and acted, but predictable and so boring.
129) The Words – Well-made with some good performances, but tedious with very little to say.
130) Madea’s Witness Protection – Poorly made, but has some funny moments throughout.
131) Girl in Progress – Occasionally funny dramadey, however predictable.
132) The Viral Factor – Some good effects and action scenes, but offered nothing new or exceptional.
133) Beasts of the Southern Wild – The cast, especially Wallis, do a tremendous job, but film failed to be interesting in the slightest.
134) The Hole – Dante fails to resurrect any “Gremlins Magic” with this uneven, cliché family/horror film.
135) Why Stop Now? – Sometimes funny, but the characters are underdeveloped and the story is nothing new.
136) Bernie – Black and MacLaine are fantastic, but the film kinda drags.
137) What to Expect When You’re Expecting – Chuckled a bit, but ended up a cliché mess.
138) Being Flynn – Interesting at times, but ultimately unsatisfying.
139) The Lorax – A structural mess. A Few fleeting moments of brilliance.
140) Friends With Kids – Few strong scenes, has difficulty balancing tone, and predictable.
141) Piranha 3DD – Not as bad as you’d expect. At least it knows it’s trash and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
142) Journey 2: The Mysterious Island – Really corny with too much CGI, but at least it’s kinda fun.
143) Rec 3 – Blood-filled gorefest with a badass heroine, but it’s kinda goofy and poorly written.

BAD
144) Silent Hill: Revelation – Horrible dialogue and poorly directed, but the story is good, even if it makes no sense some of the time.
145) House at the End of the Street – Lawrence elevates the material… slightly, but it’s completely unoriginal and not scary in the slightest.
146) Lovely Molly – Started off tense and scary, but got more and more silly as it progressed. Once it ended, I failed to see the point.
147) The Lucky One – Well-made, but silly and predictable.
148) Seeking Justice – Not a bad idea, but contains many illogical moments and unintentional humor.
149) Chernobyl Diaries – A few scary moments, but lacks a compelling story and interesting characters… Well, actually there is no story and characterization is non-existent.
150) Contraband – Run-of-the-mill thriller, predictable, and kinda boring.
151) Underworld: Awakening – Dumb. Made slightly watchable because of a thrilling climax.
152) The Cold Light of Day – Silly and offers nothing I haven’t seen 100 times before.
153) Nitro Circus 3D – Visually amazing, but repetitive and witless.
154) One For the Money – While not the trash others would make it out to be, it’s also uninspired and poorly executed.
155) Act Of Valor – Poorly written, underdeveloped characters, but the mission scenes are really well done. The SEALs deserve a better film.
156) Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance – How does Nicolas Cage keep getting work?
157) Deadfall – This movie is badass for about 3 minutes of its 90 minute runtime.
158) Fun Size – Cute, but not a lot of fun… or funny.
159) The Three Stooges – The original Stooges were geniuses. These feels like a cheap knock-off.
160) The Possession – A few creepy moments, but the whole film feels contrived.
161) Vile – Lives up to its name. It’s sick and disturbing.
162) Meeting Evil – Intriguing at first, but quickly descends into mediocrity and boredom.
163) The Courier – I like Morgan and it’s well made, but it’s also derivative and boring.
164) FDR: American Badass – Silly and strange, but it’s obviously what the filmmakers intended. It’s also funny at times.
165) The Odd Life of Timothy Green – Silly, strange, really corny, and worst of all boring. The actors do a good job however.
166) Airborne – Bad dialogue and bad acting, but at least it kept my interest.
167) Best Laid Plans – Good acting and good source material, but the pace moves so slow and I lost interest.
168) Werewolf: The Beast Among Us – Silly, derivative, and not at all scary. Fight scenes are poorly staged.
169) Red Tails – Who’s the dumbass that thought it was a good idea to put credits over a battle scene? Also, Poorly written, acted, and directed. Completely devoid of emotion. The only saving grace is the CGI.
170) The Dictator – Quite possibly the least funny theatrical film of the year.

REALLY BAD
171) Silent Night – Who would have thought a film about a deranged Santa Claus wielding a flame thrower would be so boring?
172) The Devil’s Carnival – Interesting if only because of its weirdness.
173) Brother White – Not really as inspiring or funny as it thinks it is, but it’s not crap.
174) Rock of Ages – I wanta fly to L.A. and give Adam Shankman a good, swift kick in the nuts.
175) The Samaritan – Poorly constructed and boring through most of its 93 minutes.
176) The Five Year Engagement – I love Emily Blunt, but this film is so boring that I took a break in the middle of it and cleaned the house.
177) 360 – Well-made and performed, but boring for the entire 2 hour runtime.
178) Alex Cross – Goofy, run-of-the-mill, and devoid of thrills. It’s got laughably bad dialogue, acting, and directing.
179) Dead Season – A mess of a movie, but it finally gets a little good in the last 10 minutes. Only a little.
180) Iron Sky – Who’d have thought a film about Nazi from the moon attacking earth would be completely devoid of fun.
181) Stolen – Derivative and silly. Why does Nicolas Cage look constipated every time he runs in this film?
182) The Apparition – The only good thing about this film is Ashley Greene, but it’s really stupid and boring.
183) Keyhole – Watching this film is like watching someone’s nightmare. It’s weird and feels like a student film.
184) The Forger – Silly and overly dramatic.
185) Goats – I fail to see the point of this film. Was it supposed to be a comedy? If so, it wasn’t funny.
186) A Thousand Words – Okay, I was wrong about the Dictator. This is the least funny.
187) The Devil Inside – Boring. Makes you sit through a movie just to tell you that if you want more info to go to a website.
188) Beneath the Darkness – This poorly written, highly illogical, bore-fest makes me feel bad for Dennis Quaid.
189) This Means War – This movie is so bad it literally gave me a headache. I feel dumber having seen it.
190) A Little Bit Zombie – Some good ideas, but for every joke that lands about 20 more miss.
191) Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie – Painfully unfunny and nonsensical.
192) Battleground – Shamelessly rips off Predator and Heat, but lacks their entertainment factor.
193) Branded – A huge talking cow constellation narrates the film….
194) The Scorpion King 3 – Looks good, but it’s silly with bad dialogue.
195) ATM – Laughably illogical. Every character in this film must be mentally challenged.
196) Hidden – Rips off every horror film and doesn’t do anything interesting.
197) 7 Below – Okay, so apparently ghosts are reenacting murders right in front of the characters and they’re only worried about boring conversations and their lack of sleep.
198) The Mark – “All the terrorists are dead… Oh no! The rapture!” remarks the worst Super Soldier ever conceived for film.
199) Area 407 – Annoying and painfully stupid.
200) Night of the Living Dead: Reanimation – Just like a zombie, slow moving and stupid.
201) Dark Tide – Halle Berry does her best, but this film is booooooorrrrrrrring!
202) Battlefield America – Some of the dancing is mesmerizing, but it’s full of clichés and poor fimmaking.
203) Playback – Boring and stupid.
204) Payback – The most boring documentary I’ve ever seen.
205) Camel Spiders – Yes, I watched this movie… It was hilarious!
206) The Girl from the Naked Eye – A shameless rip-off of Sin City and Oldboy with terrible acting, writing, et al.
207) Rites of Passage – Good production values, but the movie makes no sense whatsoever.
208) Sexual Chronicles of a French Family – Porn disguised as art.
209) Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies – Our 16th president chops off a zombie’s head while exclaiming, “Emancipate this!” Not only is it cliché, it also makes no damn sense.

THE REALLY $#&%ING BAD BOTTOM 10
210) Adopting Terror – LOGIC: The filmmakers do not understand the meaning of the word.
211) Sand Sharks – This film is labeled as a Horror/Comedy, but it’s not scary or funny. Also, Brooke Hogan plays a doctor… so…
212) Parasitic – The director was on the SFX crews of some of Hollywood’s biggest films, so the creatures look really good. Everything else (e.g. Acting, dialogue, direction) is utter crap.
213) Smiley – What a joke! This film is completely awful. As an aspiring screenwriter, I am offended that this film was produced. Characters and even some scenes didn’t even need to exist, the dialogue is just a lot of screaming and babbling about evil, then there’s a twist that makes no logical sense.
214) American Warships – Goofy looking aliens, stupid film.
215) The Perfect Student – Hilariously bad!
216) Don’t Go in the Woods – A slasher/musical. A character sings as she’s being murdered. I think that about sums it up.
217) Strippers Vs. Werewolves – A visual masterpiece with brilliant performances by everyone involved. It’s a smart, fun, thrill ride… Nah, I’m just kidding, it’s crap.
218) Alien Origin – FF rip off of Predator and Prometheus where the characters run around a jungle shooting at nothing for 88 mins.
219) Bigfoot – That moment when Danny Bonaduce and Barry Williams first met face to face was almost as awesome as when DeNiro met Pacino in Heat… almost.

How the heck did you see so many current movies, Dan?  Seriously.  I mean…Congrats on winning the contest! :)  -Eric

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