Thanks to everyone who submitted a “Best of 2012” list for the Great Movie Challenge of 2012.
As we approach the Oscars, it’s time to start posting the lists!
To kick off the postings is a list from Phillip Mottaz. Mottaz is a screenwriter, comedy sketch writer, and a member of my writer’s group. He also is a parent, which may explain how THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS got on his list.
Whether you agree or disagree (but especially if you disagree) with Phil’s list, check out his blog where he writes about screenwriting, life, and the batman.
Alright, onto Phil’s list with his astute (and sometimes humorous) observations about each film.
(ie: The Best Movies of 2012)
by Phillip Mottaz
1. Moonrise Kingdom:My favorite movie of the year. A clinic on writing a character at the peak of his or her powers from the first line and then exploring.
2. Lockout: winner of the “most delightful surprise” award and “movie I most pushed on people” award. No pretension, no fat, just a fun action movie.
3. Bernie: Interesting characters and relationships all the way; even though his first appearance took me out of the movie, Matthew McConaughey turned in a great performance.
4. Argo: I didn’t realize how much more I valued this movie until comparing it with others like it. Exciting.
5. Life of Pi: There are some stiff sections with the Adult Pi and his writer friend, but they might only feel stiff when compared to the lyrical gorgeousness of the rest of the movie.
6. 21 Jump Street: award for “Shouldn’t Have Been This Good.” Helped by a lot of positive choices (such as making them friends instead of rivals).
7. Celeste & Jessie Forever: Realistic funny people, an interesting, but not impossible situation. Who knew? My new favorite character: Drunk Rashida Jones.
8. The Pirates! Band of Misfits: Delightful.
9. Django Unchained:Too long, too much, & lesser Tarantino still means it’s 1 of the most memorable movie experiences. Can Skyfall say that?
10. Haywire: The power of effective casting.
11. Lincoln: Should get knocks for being such a talky political chamber movie, but Spielberg can make anything seem cinematic, even if it’s not.
12. Silver Linings Playbook: Charming; only gripe is the pre-finale scene where the Hollywood Plot shows up as though Donald Kaufman wrote it.
13. Beasts of the Southern Wild: Also charming and with one of the most striking poetic images I saw: Hush Puppy’s imagined polar ice cap collapse.
14. Queen of Versailles: good documentary about hubris, making the largest house in the country when they cannot REALLY afford it.
15. The Dark Knight Returns Pt1: I missed the book’s narration, but it was suitably gritty; special points for the voice acting, finding new takes on old material.
16. Hope Springs: Not the coolest or wackiest movie in the world, but there’s something sort of nice about watching two A-List pros (Jones and Streep) doing what they do best.
17. Perks of Being a Wallflower: lots of clichés, but sincere clichés, so it worked.
18. Zero Dark Thirty: – Maybe hampered by history, but this felt less like a story and more like a string of events. A string of talky events.
19. The Dark Knight Rises – In my opinion, Batman never quits. Twice. In the same movie. This movie had no characters, just talking means-to-an-end people.
20. The Avengers – Lots of clever dialog, but also TOO MUCH clever dialog. It seemed like superpowered characters smashed down walls to have conversations.
21. Skyfall – Blowing the cover for British Secret Agents would be a huge deal in the real world, but it seems like small potatoes for the James Bond world.
22. Dead Season – a small horror movie a friend of mine starred in. Effective enough.
23. The Hunger Games – I suppose this is the most exciting story about a girl taking a nap in a tree ever filmed, but that’s about all that makes it memorable.
24. Les Miserables – In a year of fan service, this was one of the guiltiest culprits. “Surprises” that don’t feel like surprises end up leaving me cold.
25. Trouble with the Curve – Just a mess. Sloppy, hacky, confusing.
26. Casa de Mi Padre –In the absence of movies inspired directly from SNL characters, they made this, which should have been a 5-minute sketch.
27. Snow White and the Huntsman – The idea had a chance, but they blew it; didn’t even have the sense to use the tools they set-up in the movie (ie Snow White can talk to and control nature) to help them defeat evil.
28. Prometheus – Needless complications and pontifications about the meaning of life. & robots. & useless twists. & weird CGI. & lacking logic.
29. The Bourne Legacy – Worst of the year. When Ernest Hemingway said, “Do not mistake motion for action,” he had this movie in mind. If I never see another movie where government officials concentrate and yell in a room full of monitors, it’ll be too soon.