Other Ten Percent Year End Movie Guide

Dec 28 2012

You know, I split this up from TV this year because I thought I’d easily get to 10 movies I really enjoyed finally but instead I had to cheat to get up to 8. Still, I figured out a way to get 10 movie related things going on in OTP today.

My Favorite Movie of the Year–Cabin in the Woods
Somebody beat me to figuring out how to use genre fiction to fix the problems of Brechtian Distanciation and I don’t even mind because the movie they made with it is fantastic. It isn’t that Cabin is a meta-horror movie that makes it so brilliant it’s that they manage to humanize the characters pulling the strings on the level outside of the horror movie to actually raise some questions about the genre instead of just showing off how much the audience knows about it.

Best Movie That Did Something Really Hard Really Well So That Nobody Noticed–Avengers
I mean I suppose saying nobody noticed isn’t accurate when it’s the 3rd highest grossing movie of all time. Still, nobody really talks about Avengers as an IMPRESSIVE film rather than just a fun one and in a lot of ways it IS impressive. Not so much in its plot which is really just a loose excuse for a giant battle in act 3, but in its structure which manages to create interesting story beats for almost a dozen characters that all interact with and amplify the big summer movie beats that have to show up. Justifying the existence of that many characters in any movie is tough but doing it when you need to fit in at least an hour or so of things exploding is close to impossible.

Best Movie I haven’t Seen At All–Django Unchained
I’ll let you know if I’m wrong but given how much Suzan loved it and the general critical reception, I doubt it. Tarantino figured out that the best people to troll are white men because they’re the only ones that don’t see it coming and formulated an entire movie about daring somebody to get annoyed at killing slavers.

Best Sci-Fi Movie–Looper
Honestly I didn’t love Looper as much as I expected to. There were just a few too many hoops to jump through to get the story to its inevitable conclusion and a few too many plot threads left awkwardly dangling for me to really love the ending, poetic as it may have been. Looper did however have a better visual style than any science fiction movie I’ve seen since Children of Men. The costumes, architecture, even makeup showed a real sense of how the past and the future interact that made you really feel like it was a time travel movie that actually gave a shit about time Travel.

Best Movie I Think Critics Might Actually Agree Is the Year’s Best Movie–Moonrise Kingdom
The best Wes Anderson movie since Tanenbaums at the very least and I’ve heard compelling arguments it’s his best film period. Somehow Wes Anderson continues to double down on the same aesthetic and its passed through a highly unstable period into straight up animated reality into Moonrise Kingdom where he seems to have actually passed beyond animation in terms of controlling everything about the visuals. All that artificiality somehow makes the story work even better however.

Best Movie I Saw All of On a Plane–Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Aa a film this movie has a hell of a lot of problems in act 3 but as an excuse for a series of loosely interconnected sketches about the end of the world it’s fantastic. When Connie Briton shows up in the first 10 minutes and asks who wants to do heroin you’re in for a pretty damn great movie.

Best Movie I’ve Only Seen About Half of–Beasts of the Southern Wilds
Nikki vouched for this on our last flight and I tried to watch it but the flight was already nearly over. What I did see I really enjoyed however including a truly remarkable performance by a kid.

Best Pixar Movie of the Year–Wreck-It Ralph
I really loved this movie. I was expecting to enjoy it but after two years of moderately disappointing Pixar movies it really seemed like a breath of fresh air. It didn’t just care about the visuals and forming 90 minutes of decent jokes but it actually built a story and a world that remained consistent. Needless to say I was really glad to learn that they’re planning a sequel.

Movies More Beloved By Critics Than Anything On This List but I Think Kinda Sucked- TIE: Skyfall and Dark Knight Rises
So I understand that critics will appreciate a big genre movie that tries to grapple with serious issues instead of just being a structurally bulletproof exercise like Avengers. What I can’t understand is why they apparently don’t need to be any damn good at it. Dark Knight Rises throws around Occupy symbols so randomly that the only possible moral you can draw from the film is that we need to let billionaires decide things for us because populist movements are just a trojan horse for fascism. Skyfall meanwhile pays lip-service to the idea that James Bond’s life would take a toll on him and that the world is passing him by but has to abandon both of those ideas about halfway into the film to keep the franchise going.

Movie I’m Most Looking Forward to Next Year–Much Ado About Nothing
It’s no secret that I’m pretty much right in the middle of the target audience for this film, it’s a shakespeare adaptation directed by Joss Whedon starring more Whedon allums than you can shake a stick at. Still, while I can’t deny that I’ll enjoy finally getting to see Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker end up happy together in something it seems silly NOT to be excited about another movie from somebody responsible for two of my favorite films this year.

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