ANOTHER END OF THE YEAR LIST! YIPEEEE.
Last week I posted my favorite songs of 2012, and because I have become quite a movie addict this year, I thought it would be fitting to also list what I think were the best movies released as well. There were some good ones and I assume you all are on the edge of your seats waiting to hear what I thought they were.
Especially my best friend Jessie who describes my taste in movies as ,"weird ones that I have never heard of." Of course, I take that as the highest compliment.
I must preface this list first by saying, if you are looking for some in-depth, Academy of Motion Pictures type critical analysis, turn back now before it's too late. I have one simple test for whether or not I think a movie is good, and that is how long I think about it after it is over. If it immediately leaves my mind with little to no second thought (I'm looking at you The Grey), then it fails. If it lingers for hours, days, or even weeks? 100% on the tomato meter and a guarantee that I will be purchasing it and watching it an obscene amount of times in my own home.
My second caution is, this list comes solely from movies that I have actually seen. I am sure there are countless others that are great, but I am only one woman! I do also have a full-time job and go outside occasionally, so if there is one you think I have missed (and will also pass my good movie test), please leave me a comment and I will add it to my list.
Without further ado, in no real order (except for my favorite, which I saved for last), the best movies of 2012 according to me:
Calvin (Paul Dano) is a novelist who found great success as a teenager, but now at twenty six is struggling with crippling writer's block. At the request of his therapist, he develops a free spirited and beautiful girl named Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan), who he finds himself falling in love with. He wakes up one morning and is surprised to discover her standing in his kitchen. With the help of his skeptical brother Harry (Chris Messina. love.), he realizes he is not in fact insane and they begin a real relationship that is simultaneously hilarious, magical, and charming.
The Giant Mechanical Man
Janice (Jenna Fischer) is thirty-something, unhappy, and struggling to find and keep a job, not to mention struggling with what to do with her life despite the persistent and unwanted help from her sister Jill (Malin Akerman) and the arrogant motivational speaker (Topher Grace) who she is trying to set her up with. Tim (Chris Messina. again love.) knows exactly what he wants to do with his life, despite it's unconventionality, but is being looked down on by his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend because of it. Giving up, they both take mediocre jobs at the local zoo where they eventually meet and find in each other that, "it only takes just one person to make you feel like you belong in the world." A tiny tiny movie that made me feel really happy.
Argo (starring and directed by Ben Affleck) is loosely based on the true story of Tony Mendez, a CIA agent who, with the help of the Canadian Ambassador, rescues six American citizens from Tehran in 1979 during the hostage crisis. How does he do it?! By pretending to be a film crew location scouting for a science fiction movie. Despite such a daring plan, they are successful, but not without tension that will leave you on the edge of your seat until the credits roll. It is an inspiring and griping story, with some surprisingly lighthearted and funny moments (Argofuckyourself!).
I didn't want to like this movie. I reeeeally didn't. It is the type of movie I usually reject because, from the outside, it looks hokey and gleeish. Gleeish is a term I like to use when music is used to pull people into something, but everything about it generally sucks otherwise. I initially resisted it until I saw this interview with Anna Kendrick, where she performs a song with only a cup as accompaniment, one that she also performs in the movie.
YOU GOT SOME CHOPS GIRL.
So I watched it, and I loved it so much I bought it the day it came out on DVD. Anna Kendrick (Beca) is irresistibly likable and Rebel Wilson (Fat Amy) carries the comedy like she was born to do it.
AND, to my satisfaction, one of the categories during the riff-off against the Bellas and the Treble Makers is: Songs Ruined By Glee.
Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World
With an enormous, apocalyptic style asteroid named Matilda about to collide with Earth in three weeks, Dodge (Steve Carell) finds himself alone after his wife leaves him in a panic. While reading a letter from Olivia, a long lost love, one night, he finds his neighbor Penny (Keira Knightly) sitting outside his window crying. Her family is in England and she missed the last flight, upset she will never be able to see them again. With Penny's help, Dodge realizes he must find Olivia before the end of the world, and also knows someone that can fly her home, so they decide to help each other out in their separate journeys and set off on a road trip. The countdown to their final days is approaching and they are reminded that perhaps life isn't about surviving, but discovering love in unlikely places.
Carell and Knightly are exceptionally good and convincing together, and for an unexpected ending, it left me feeling strangely optimistic.
A heartwarming documentary that stars Joe Garner, an ordinary guy who leaves everything behind for thirty days to see if he can survive solely on the support and goodwill of strangers. With no money, only the clothes on his back, a cell phone with no contacts, and a laptop, he relies on Craigslist to find food and shelter, and ends up demonstrating to all those who doubt the basic goodness of human beings that each and every one of us is capable of kindness and beauty. Everyone should watch this movie.
Safety Not Guaranteed
After Jeff (Jake Johnson) a magazine journalist, discovers a classified ad in the newspaper seeking a companion for time travel (based on a real ad), he suggests he investigate for a story. He takes with him two interns, Darius (Aubrey Plaza) and Arnau (Karan Soni), on a road trip to the coast to try to find the person behind the ad. They discover Kenneth (Mark Duplass), a lonely yet driven idealist who whole-heartedly believes he is on his way to building a functioning time machine. While Jeff and Arnau see him as paranoid and mentally unstable, Darius sees the sweet and endearing side of him, and agrees to become his partner. It won't be long until you are silently cheering for Kenneth and hoping this time machine he is so passionate about is actually real, like I was.
I couldn't stop thinking about this movie after seeing it. The song from the trailer, and a moving scene from the movie (Big Machine by Mark Duplass), also made my list of best songs from this year.
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is based on the novel of the same name by Stephen Chobsky. It is a coming of age story of Charlie (Logan Lerman), an incredibly smart and passionate teenage boy who writes a series of letters to an assumed unidentified classmate. He has felt like an outsider his entire life, plagued by unfortunate circumstances as a child and some resulting mental illness, and feels that way even more so now as a freshman in high school, until he is taken in by seniors Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson). Along with their other friends (notably Mae Whitman as Mary Elizabeth), they embrace him, he learns to be himself and for that to be okay.
I so often find that movie versions of books lose the magic the pages held, but I was thrilled with how closely the film followed the novel. I actually think I liked it more.
Be prepared to have an obsession with David Bowe's Heroes for a good two or three days.
Your Sister's Sister
Let me first say that, if it hadn't been for the movie below, this would have been my absolute favorite this year. No question.
Most of it takes places at a secluded and rustic waterfront cottage, a family cabin that Iris (Emily Blunt) encourages her best friend Jack (Mark Duplass) to spend a weekend at to clear his head as he is still having a very hard time dealing with his brother's death a year before. Unbeknownst to either of them, Iris's sister Hannah (Rosemarie Dewitt) is also staying at their father's cabin recovering from her own recent breakup. One entire bottle of tequila later, Jack and Hannah wake up to find Iris at the front door. They each have secrets they are trying to keep and they each have feelings they they are trying to sort out.
The plot is a simple one. The entire movie takes places during three of four days. It is the chemistry these three actors have that is what made the movie for me. And it makes sense because, on further investigation, I found that the director Lynn Skelton, has said that 75% of the script was improvised. Three fourths of the movie was JUST MADE UP ON THE SPOT. All three of them are phenomenal, but Rosemarie Dewitt? She is so good in this it literally hurts my insides.
Aaaaaand for my number one favorite movie this year:
Celeste & Jesse Forever
I loved this movie. I really really loved this movie. I must admit, and it is no secret, that I have a special warm place in my heart for Rashida Jones. She is in my favorite television show and I find her an extremely interesting and talented person. Take that, on top of finding out she would be not only starring in this movie, but also co-wrote it (with Will McCormack), I knew it would be incredible.
Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg. love.) were high school sweethearts who married young and now, despite still loving each other, are divorcing. Their best friends don't think they can maintain their friendship through the failure of their marriage, but they don't see it as a problem. In fact, they still see each other every day since Jesse is living in the backyard guesthouse of their once shared home. But Jesse eventually meets someone else, and their brilliant plan backfires as Celeste finds it harder to move on than she thought.
It is not your generic, predictable, romantic comedy but instead, a realistic, funny, and at times painfully heartbreaking story of two best friends and the sometimes agonizing reality of having to say goodbye to someone you love.
I may or may not have scheduled myself to not work on Feb. 5th, the day it comes out on DVD. (I did.)
You also might have noticed a certain darked-haired, handsome Christopher Messina is in an impressive and unplanned 4 out of 10 of these movies. I think it is safe to say, if I were to make a favorite actors of 2012 list, he'd be at the top.