The first half of our top twenty was posted yesterday, which you can read all about right here. Here's a summary of how that went down:
20. Anna Karenina
19. How To Survive a Plague
18. The American Scream
17. The Wise Kids
15. The Kid With a Bike
12. The Loneliest Planet
11. Wuthering Heights
And now... OUR TOP TEN!
The Cabin in the Woods (dir. Goddard) DING! The sound of those elevators opening once twice three times is the sound of pure unadulterated geek joy being loosed. I always knew Joss Whedon and his new favorite acolyte slash superhero all his own Drew Goddard had the inside track to my happy places, but this was like that shot that sunk the Death Star - one little flash straight down deep to my core, and kabluey I was smitten to pieces. (original review)
Killing Them Softly (dir. Dominik) Truth be told I fell in love with this movie during its opening credits - that hiss chop static cacophony of movement and sound. I guess other people found this movie terribly disagreeable (it got one of those Cinemascore F grades! I think Wolf Creek did as well, so good company, that), but I worshipped every hot second from those credits on. Andrew Dominik is a powerhouse. (original review)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (dir. Chbosky) High school movies are really difficult to pull off. For every The Breakfast Club or Mean Girls the gutters runneth over with pandering slop and pablum. Perks just has that vibe from its opening shots that you're watching a new modern classic, and I watched it partially terrified it was going to veer off course... only to have it ease with calm certainty toward its modest yet immensely moving goal. A home-run. (original review)
Dark Horse (dir. Solondz) What is this new Todd Solondz we're dealing with anyway? He peeked his head out with Life During Wartime, but he's really come into his new own here. Balancing the trickiest of tones - very dark comedy with magical realism and empathy so deep you get your boots stuck in it - he performs high-wire acts of derring thematic do that nobody else came come close to. He is trying things with tone that James Cameron couldn't build for a billion dollars, and he's breaking your heart while he's at it. I have no idea how he does it but I hope he keeps doing whatever it is for the rest of my life. (original review)
Amour (dir. Haneke) The only movie on this list that I have no desire to ever watch again. I tried to factor that in when deciding where to place it, if at all really - weigh the pros (it's emotionally devastating!) with the cons (it's emotionally devastating!)... and sure enough they came to a draw. I just know this list would have been a lie without it - it's Haneke's warmest film, although that's like saying it's the Pope's cheapest pair of loafers - they're still covered in rubies, and Amour is still drop deadly serious. With a grandparent that's slipping into dementia right now, I just can't with this movie these days though. It's too much. That wreath of flowers on Anne's pillow is everything. (original review)
ParaNorman (dir. Butler & Fell) I really hoped the Academy would surprise us and go for Laika this year, and ParaNorman's loss was probably the deepest sting I felt watching the awards. From top to bottom to every side, every nook and crannie - Norman's ears as the sunlight goes through them! The texture of his uncle's dead tongue! - this thing is a wonder. I have never wanted to have children but this movie makes me want to have children just to make them watch it over and over again until they have to run away from home and leave me alone with my movie already. (original review)
Rust and Bone (dir. Audiard) What is it about this movie that resonates so deeply with me? I haven't really put my finger quite on it yet, but I haven't been able to let it go. There's this profound sense of wonder rubbing against this nitty gritty reality of getting through the day to day, and two people so precisely drawn yet entirely enigmatic - it stirs in me the truest sense of getting to know someone and how impossible that really is, all at once. (original review)
Zero Dark Thirty (dir. Bigelow) I had more stirring conversations about this movie than any other this year, and when I looked around me everybody else was too. I don't want to say they were all the wrong conversations but an awful lot of them were missing the point, seeing the trees for the forest. but then, this thing was an invitation to chaos - Bigelow made a fascinating refracto-gram that seems to say more about us yapping about it than it's giving away itself. How very Maya of it. And what more perfect ode to the murkiness of our current geo-political morass? (original review)
Holy Motors (dir. Carax) This movie makes me feel alive. It makes me feel like movies can do anything. It makes me want to turn into a snake and play the accordion. It is song and dance and love and sex, it is gnome erections and tender death-bed soliloquies, it is a theater-full of spartan silhouettes staring back at us, it is chimpanzee romance. (original review)
Moonrise Kingdom (dir. Wes Anderson) I had no idea when I first saw Moonrise Kingdom that it was going to end up topping my list. I loved it, but did I love it? It was the second time seeing it that I started to notice the vise-grip this thing had on my heart. Then the third time, me and Sam and Suzy, we pricked our fingers and made it official-like. The fourth time thru we called up Cousin Ben, traded him a canister of coins, and did it proper. No other movie last year whisked me away like this - it's so precise and so note-perfect. "That sounds like poetry. Poems don't always have to rhyme, you know. They're just supposed to be creative." (original review)
Seeing that Moonrise Kingdom was your number one sent tingles down my spine. That movie has brought me so much joy! And the quote you used at the end? Absolutely perfect.
Moonrise Kingdom is my number 1 as well, but I'm part of the group that can't understand how Killing Them Softly is on anybody's top 10 list.
Black Swan and Melancholia were my favourite films of their respective years, and we almost go 3 for 3, with Holy Motors topping my list this year (Moonrise Kingdom is my #2). Our top 4 is the same, though. What I'm saying is you have great taste.
I love when people defend movies I didn't particularly like, because I get to see them in new light, appreciate different perspectives and find more angles to look at them from.
But it's really something to read the thoughts of people who love the same stuff that I do and are able to express said love with wit and eloquence. It was a great read.
Paranorman!! That movie filled me with such glee and joyness. I'm glad I'm not the only one!
Killing Me Softy was my #1 movie of 2012 and it's quick and quiet death at the box office will always flummox me - not to mention its exclusion in the Best Screenplay nominations.
I absolutely adored your write up of Dark Horse. I could not get enough of this movie!!
Ronald - I hadn't gotten to the point of writing of Wes Anderson like a lot of people seemed to but I did not expect any more of of his movies to get me like MK did. I guess I thought his films would just settle into a comfortable nice place for me - but wow did he prove me wrong.
Remy - You are legion, Remy. Did it make many top tens? I just saw it sort of fall off the face of the planet. I don't get the criticisms, but then I have a high (nigh nonexistant?) tolerance for cynicism when rendered as beautifully as I thought Dominik did here. But to each their own, of course! :)
inaki - Holy Motors was my number one for a good long while but Moonrise Kingdom snuck up on it and jammed some scissors in its back in just like the last week.
Sandisan - And sadness too! The showdown between Norman and Aggie is so filled with pain and sadness, when she just collapses against the tree beside him? Weeping.
Anon #1 - Me neither. Brilliant dialogue up in there.
Anon #2 - Thanks! I was worried I wouldn't do it justice because it's been the longest time since I've seen it and I haven;'t had a chance for a rewatch. It's so good though.
MK was #1 on my list too! Which felt weird with all the heavy flicks in my Top 10. But I thought it was pretty flawless and fun! I like your #2 too and I think 'Dark Horse' was underrated.
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