Admittedly, I didn’t see a great many “films” theatrically in 2012. I spent a decent portion of 2011 ingesting a glut of films for free at a theater that still used the actual medium of film, but in 2012, I daresay I saw perhaps only one legitimate “film.”
That film, was The Master. By no means an endearing experience, it is nonetheless an unshakeable one. This film springs from a dusty, high, forgotten shelf of cinema where a few peers may reside. Perhaps Aguirre: The Wrath of God? Perhaps The Thin Red Line? I don’t know what else to compare it to. It’s just… extant. Great performances all around, but the connection between the film’s titular character and Scientology-founder L. Ron Hubbard is tenuous and oblique. P.T. Anderson seems to have something to say about the apparent futility of soul-searching in a world replete with charlatans who employ technology as a means of enlightenment, but I’ll be darned if I know what it is.
Now I am brought to my top 10 list of movies from 2012. The #1 spot is taken by The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, unsurprisingly. I have been a Tolkien fan since my youth, and originally read The Hobbit from an illustrated version that my mother bought for my cousin. Gollum’s cave is etched deeply into my remembered childhood imagination. Peter Jackson’s return to Middle Earth is at once triumphant, cataclysmic, and like the arrival of a dear, old friend on your doorstep.
My second favorite film came as something of a surprise. I had known of Richard Linklater’s new(er) film, Bernie, for a while. Strictly speaking, the film was completed back in 2011, but it didn’t see the light of day as far as a distributor until 2012. Why on earth it took me so long to finally watch it, I cannot say. I do know I will NOT miss out on Linklater’s next project, a third entry in the Before Sunrise series, with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. I digress. Jack Black does something amazing, here. He inhabits the entire length, breadth, and width of his idiosyncratic, real-life character’s personality traits and proclivities, delivering a performance that is so bizarre and true, it could not have ever been invented. Read that last sentence aloud, without taking any breaths. Sorry about that.
And the list goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began.
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
- Jiro Dreams of Sushi
- Moonrise Kingdom
- Kari-gurashi no Arietti (The Secret World of Arrietty)
- The Avengers
- Les Misérables
- The Master
- The Dark Knight Rises
Here is a list of ALL 2012 releases which I have seen, specifically. An all-time low: total number equaling 18. I aim to do a little better in 2013.
- Brave – theatrical
- Les Misérables – theatrical
- The Master – theatrical (film!)
- Kari-gurashi no Arietti (The Secret World of Arrietty) – theatrical
- The Avengers – theatrical
- The Dark Knight Rises – theatrical
- The Hunger Games – theatrical
- Skyfall – theatrical
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – theatrical
- Prometheus – theatrical
- John Carter – theatrical
- Looper – theatrical
- Chronicle – theatrical
- Moonrise Kingdom – RedBox
- Bernie – Netflix
- Jiro Dreams of Sushi – Netflix
- Take This Waltz – On-demand
- The Innkeepers – DVD