The 30 Best Movies of 2012by RyanNilsen | created - 18 Feb 2013 | updated - 1 month ago | Public
This is a list of what I thought to be the twenty best films of 2012. I believed this year was the best year of movies in a long, long time and that many directors and stars changed cinema. I watched many movies that came out this year, more than I have watched any other year and saw certain things that I did not believe I could see in a theater. I felt things that I had not felt with certain movies in the past, and was above all impressed out of my mind with these twenty films. First some honorable mentions: "Chronicle", "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen", "Prometheus", "Pitch Perfect", "Jeff, Who Lives at Home", "Friends With Kids", and "Wreck-It Ralph".
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1. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
PG-13 | 93 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Faced with both her hot-tempered father's fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, six-year-old Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love.
Votes: 75,067 | Gross: $12.80M
Beasts of the Southern Wild is THE BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR! From director and writer Benh Zeitlin comes Beasts of the Southern Wild, his first feature-film. This is a story about 6 year-old girl, Hushpuppy, who lives with her father, Wink, in the Bathtub. The Bathtub is located in the southern bayou at the edge of the world. From the year Hushpuppy was born, her mother has not been around. Her mother allegedly left the bayou and neither Wink nor Hushpuppy knows where she is. While the rest of the world wants the people of the bayou to leave the Bathtub because one day it will be covered in water, the people stay because it is their home. Hushpuppy learns that Wink is suffering from some type of blood disease and must prepare for a time where he will no longer be there to protect her. In the wake of a storm heading near the bayou, the majorityof the people living there evacuate except for Wink, Hushpuppy, and a few others. Unfortunately, the Bathtub is left almost completely under water. In the mean time, what may or may not be a part of Hushpuppies imagination, temperatures rise and the ice caps melt releasing these prehistoric creatures called Aurochs heading right for the Bathtub. With waters rising and Winks health fading, Hushpuppy embarks on a search for her mother creating a surprising and moving ending that forces us to think twice about how good are lives really are. Never before have I seen a more profound 6 year-old performance than that of actress Quvenzhane Wallis as Hushpuppy. Even though she is six, she deserves an Oscar nomination for best actress. Beasts of the Southern Wild is a symbolic, meaningful, heart-warming, and touching piece of film that will be remembered and mentioned for years to come. Bravo.
2. Django Unchained (2012)
R | 165 min | Drama, Western
With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.
Votes: 1,112,973 | Gross: $162.81M
3. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
R | 122 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
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.
Votes: 590,074 | Gross: $132.09M
4. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
R | 157 min | Drama, Thriller
A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L.s Team 6 in May 2011.
Votes: 237,071 | Gross: $95.72M
5. Argo (2012)
R | 120 min | Biography, Drama, Thriller
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.
Votes: 505,688 | Gross: $136.03M
In 1979 Iranian militants stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The militants took about 70 hostages and started a crisis that would last for 444 days. Argo is a “declassified true story” about six Americans taking refuge in a Canadian ambassador’s house after the attack on the U.S. Embassy building in Tehran. The six cannot escape on their own alive. So, the CIA extractor Tony Mendez (Affleck) comes up with an idea to go to Tehran as a Canadian film producer for a sci-fi movie “Argo” and claim he is looking for places to shoot in Iran, where he will get the six Americans and escape as a film crew. Mendez gets help from makeup artist John Chambers (John Goodman) and film producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin). Within the first 5 minutes you are on the edge of your seat for the entire movie. Director and star Ben Affleck (Gone Baby Gone and The Town) is in the midst of his career’s comeback. There are no “stellar” performances in Argo, but it sure is one of the top ten movies of the year.
6. Looper (2012)
R | 113 min | Action, Crime, Drama
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.
Votes: 473,975 | Gross: $66.49M
7. The Avengers (2012)
PG-13 | 143 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Earth's mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are going to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity.
Votes: 1,091,225 | Gross: $623.36M
The movie comic-book geeks have been waiting for. The Avengers. Joss Wheedon’s super-hero movie brings Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and The Hulk together for this world record-breaking blockbuster of a movie. When Thor’s brother, Loki, threatens the earth with an army called the Chitarii, the Avengers have to assemble. THEY DO, creating an action movie like no other. An action movie that can look as good as an action movie from Michael Bay but is actually a “good” movie. The Avengers is a great ensemble of characters, giving each hero an equal amount of screen time and not just focusing on one or two. This movie is one of the coolest this year and it was fun watching it.
8. Skyfall (2012)
PG-13 | 143 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller
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.
Votes: 566,723 | Gross: $304.36M
The 23rd Bond film in the 50-year-old franchise is awesome. The disappointing, horrible, and cottage cheese-like James Bond movie that is Quantum of Solace was a terrible sequel to the fantastic Casino Royale. Skyfall has everything that a classic Bond movie needs while at the same time being like no other. After being injured in a mission, Bond must try to get back into the swing of things while an enemy from M’s (Bond’s boss) past comes back to haunt her. This puts 007 in a position where he needs to protect M and must try to defeat this cyber villain whose always one step ahead. Javier Bardem stars as the villain and Daniel Craig has his best performance as Bond yet!
9. Les Misérables (2012)
PG-13 | 158 min | Drama, History, Musical
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.
Votes: 269,663 | Gross: $148.81M
10. Life of Pi (2012)
PG | 127 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengal tiger.
Votes: 498,478 | Gross: $124.99M
11. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
PG-13 | 94 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama
A pair of young lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out to find them.
Votes: 270,480 | Gross: $45.51M
This is a unique film. It is about a love story between two twelve year-olds during a 1965 summer in New England. Sounds a little corny, but it is anything BUT THAT. Sam is in a Boy Scout Troop at Camp Ivanhoe. After running away from camp, the counselors (Edward Norton and Co.) try to notify his parents, only to learn he is an orphan and his foster parents can no longer care for him and do not want him back. Suzy lives in a lighthouse a little ways from Camp Ivanhoe and despises her family of three younger brothers and two lawyer parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand). She falls for Sam and decides to runaway from home too in order to be with him. So two runaway twelve year-olds, in love, and on an island. The rest of the Scout Troop use their quirky skills and set out to find Sam, while Suzy’s parents and the local police officer (Bruce Willis) set out to find her.
12. Lincoln (2012)
PG-13 | 150 min | Biography, Drama, History
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.
Votes: 217,254 | Gross: $182.21M
Directed by Stephen Spielberg, the story of one of our country’s most important political people throughout history Abraham Lincoln our 16th president. Lincoln is deep, really deep. It explores the hardships and life-altering decisions Abraham Lincoln had to make in his term such as promises he could not keep. Lincoln also explores how his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln influenced some of Lincoln’s decisions on a personal scale. Except for the beginning, there are almost no battle scenes in Lincoln at all. It is kind of slow and does not have that intriguing of a build up. It almost feels like a motion picture social studies class, but what Lincoln does have is an all-star cast and a remarkably satisfying performance by Daniel Day-Lewis. Without a doubt Daniel Day-Lewis will be nominated for a best actor Oscar and much more. Lincoln is a well-made American Classic that can be added onto the colossal “Stephen Spielberg great movie shelf”.
13. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
R | 86 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified advertisement seeking a companion for time travel.
Votes: 108,269 | Gross: $4.01M
Some (most) will argue that The Avengers, Moonrise Kingdom, Argo, and Lincoln are better than Safety Not Guaranteed. What those movie watchers do not understand is while those four movies are terrific, Safety Not Guaranteed blows them all out of the water as far as story goes. Safety Not Guaranteed is a dramatic and funny love story that is a piece of art. Darius (Aubrey Plaza), an intern for a magazine company is assigned to assist a reporter- Jeff (Jake Johnson) in finding someone who wrote an unusual want ad in the paper. The ad reads “Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.” Darius, Jeff, and the other intern Arnau, find the writer of the ad Kenneth (Mark Duplass) a loner who works part time at a grocery store. Many people immediately think Kenneth is crazy in believing he can go back in time. Darius pretends to be someone responding to the ad and is taken underneath Kenneth’s wing in training for going back in time. While undergoing training Darius sees something that no one else does in Kenneth. She sees a believer in what some may think is impossible. The ending is spectacular. What happens in the end? You will have to see. I had a smile on my face for this entire movie. This movie is wonderful, touching and unique in every sense of the word. Safety Not Guaranteed remains a classic in my book.
14. The Impossible (2012)
PG-13 | 114 min | Drama, Thriller
The story of a tourist family in Thailand caught in the destruction and chaotic aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Votes: 165,425 | Gross: $19.02M
15. The Grey (2011)
R | 117 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
After their plane crashes in Alaska, six oil workers are led by a skilled huntsman to survival, but a pack of merciless wolves haunts their every step.
Votes: 219,147 | Gross: $51.58M
16. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
PG-13 | 169 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy
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.
Votes: 692,196 | Gross: $303.00M
First of all, before I say anything, I respect Peter Jackson A LOT. The LOTR trilogy was amazing and King Kong was terrific! Jackson is the type of filmmaker who makes good judgment on where to use special effects and or CGI and where not to. He is also known for all his films being relatively “long” (LOTR: Return of the King 3 hours and 21 minutes). Taking on the Hobbit, Jackson is totally capable and qualified.
This incredible story is about a Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf the wizard, and twelve other dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield. These characters are on a quest is to take back the dwarves stolen home Erebor from a dragon named Smaug. Once this gang of middle earthians gets on their way they encounter obstacles that surmount to intense action sequences and some repetitive humor. The scene that makes this film good takes place in Gollum’s cave, where Bilbo meets Gollum and middle earth is changed forever!
18. Cloud Atlas (2012)
R | 172 min | Action, Drama, Mystery
An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.
Votes: 312,142 | Gross: $27.11M
This ambitious film is based off of David Michelle’s best-selling novel. I cannot compare the two because I have not read the book, but from what Mr. Dippell claims, it is really awesome. Cloud Atlas has almost every genre imaginable in it with action, adventure, mystery, romance, drama, and science fiction all incorporated. Cloud Atlas also has an amazing cast, three directors, Oscar worthy special effects, and a story like no other. I would need three more pages to explain what the movie is about, so here’s what it is essentially about. Taking place in five different periods, various actors play multiple characters (one from each period) and each characters life impacts that of another character in the past, present, and or future. Allof these characters act of impact trigger some sort of rebellion whether it’s big or small. This sounds like it would be a lot coming at you at once, but for a 2 hour and 45 minute film it is somewhat tame. The only parts of complication are the switches from one time period to the next. However, this is necessary for the film as a whole. It is a little confusing for one minute focusing on a dying lawyer writing in his diary in 1849 and the next being in the 1970’s. This is what makes the movie interesting though! The music is terrific and actor Tom Hanks and actress Halle Berry are as good as ever. This is without a doubt the most ambitious movie of the year. Cloud Atlas’s ending left me speechless for a good two hours and is definitely a top 10 movie of the year.
19. Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
PG | 101 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
A video game villain wants to be a hero and sets out to fulfill his dream, but his quest brings havoc to the whole arcade where he lives.
Votes: 307,483 | Gross: $189.42M
20. The Sessions (2012)
R | 95 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama
A man in an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity contacts a professional sex surrogate with the help of his therapist and priest.
Votes: 38,620 | Gross: $6.00M
21. Bernie (2011)
PG-13 | 104 min | Biography, Comedy, Crime
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.
Votes: 51,383 | Gross: $9.20M
A one-of-a-kind dark comedy based on a true story. Bernie (Jack Black in a serious role) is about a mortician in a small town in Texas. All Bernie has ever done is be kind and provide a warm spirit throughout this small town. He later falls for a wealthy widow that drives him nearly insane and he kills her. Now Bernie must hide the fact that he murdered her and make everybody believe she is alive. This movie was terrific. It made me happy, it made me sad, and its surprise ending affects all who see it.
22. 21 Jump Street (2012)
R | 109 min | Action, Comedy, Crime
A pair of underachieving cops are sent back to a local high school to blend in and bring down a synthetic drug ring.
Votes: 452,493 | Gross: $138.45M
23. Ted (2012)
R | 106 min | Comedy, Fantasy
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.
Votes: 513,764 | Gross: $218.82M
24. Flight (I) (2012)
R | 138 min | Drama, Thriller
An airline pilot saves almost all his passengers on his malfunctioning airliner which eventually crashed, but an investigation into the accident reveals something troubling.
Votes: 286,965 | Gross: $93.77M
26. Robot & Frank (2012)
PG-13 | 89 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
Set in the near future, an ex-jewel thief receives a gift from his son: a robot butler programmed to look after him. But soon the two companions try their luck as a heist team.
Votes: 56,903 | Gross: $3.33M
27. This Is 40 (2012)
R | 134 min | Comedy, Romance
Pete and Debbie are both about to turn 40, their kids hate each other, both of their businesses are failing, they're on the verge of losing their house, and their relationship is threatening to fall apart.
Votes: 111,794 | Gross: $67.54M
28. Jack Reacher (2012)
PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Crime, Mystery
A homicide investigator digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims.
Votes: 264,411 | Gross: $80.07M
29. Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011)
R | 83 min | Comedy, Drama
Dispatched from his basement room on an errand for his widowed mother, slacker Jeff might discover his destiny (finally) when he spends the day with his unhappily married brother as he tracks his possibly adulterous wife.
Votes: 58,524 | Gross: $4.24M
30. Pitch Perfect (2012)
PG-13 | 112 min | Comedy, Music, Romance
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.
Votes: 240,342 | Gross: $65.00M
31. Dredd (2012)
R | 95 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi
In a violent, futuristic city where the police have the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner, a cop teams with a trainee to take down a gang that deals the reality-altering drug, SLO-MO.
Votes: 223,679 | Gross: $13.41M
32. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
PG-13 | 164 min | Action, Thriller
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.
Votes: 1,292,757 | Gross: $448.14M
The most highly anticipated movie of the year- The Dark Knight Rises. Christopher Nolan’s fantastic end to the Dark Knight Trilogy is one for the ages. It is Eight years from where the previous film ended. Batman had made a deal with Commissioner Gordon to take the fall for Harvey Dents killings in order to prevent future crime. Now, with the city held "hostage" by a group of mercenaries, terrorists and other bad guys all led by a villain named Bane, the Dark Knight must rise. The Dark Knight does rise and he rises to the top. Instantly making every other super-hero movie look like the teletubbies on a scavenger hunt. Bane is the first villain Batman has had to face where he is out matched physically. Bane has a plan to destroy Gotham and will go to whatever means to ensure he succeeds. Now, as amazing of a movie this may be it is not however better than The Dark Knight. Heath Ledger was fantastic in that movie and it is one of those movies that cannot be beaten. So should you even bother seeing this one? YES! Of course you should see it! So much in this movie works. Christian Bale has never played Batman better and to add to this amazing cast new characters appear with Anne Hathaway playing Catwoman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Edward Blake. These characters just makes the movie all the more better! The special effects are Oscar-worthy, watching a football field explode was one of the coolest things I have ever seen. This is also the longest Christopher Nolan film running at 2 hours and 45 minutes. Every minute your eyes are glued to the screen. It was a pleasure watching and witnessing this adventure.
33. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011)
PG-13 | 107 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A fisheries expert is approached by a consultant to help realize a sheik's vision of bringing the sport of fly-fishing to the desert and embarks on an upstream journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible possible.
Votes: 56,078 | Gross: $9.03M
34. The Hunger Games (2012)
PG-13 | 142 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games: a televised competition in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to fight to the death.
Votes: 763,216 | Gross: $408.01M
35. Friends with Kids (2011)
R | 107 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Two best friends decide to have a child together while keeping their relationship platonic, so they can avoid the toll kids can take on romantic relationships.
Votes: 38,191 | Gross: $7.25M
36. Lawless (2012)
R | 116 min | Crime, Drama
Set in Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a trio of bootlegging brothers are threatened by a new special deputy and other authorities angling for a cut of their profits.
Votes: 203,912 | Gross: $37.40M
37. Amour (2012)
PG-13 | 127 min | Drama, Romance
Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.
Votes: 79,706 | Gross: $6.74M
38. Frances Ha (2012)
R | 86 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A New York woman (who doesn't really have an apartment) apprentices for a dance company (though she's not really a dancer) and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as the possibility of realizing them dwindles.
Votes: 54,229 | Gross: $4.06M