Friday, January 25, 2013

Best of 2012: Favorite Movies

We watch most movies at home, on the DVR or DVD player, so you’ll see the best movies of 2012 on my list---next year. In 2011 I saw eight movies on the big screen, in 2012 a mere six. I blame two factors for our lack of movie date-nights. First, while I love our babysitter Torrie, her priorities are all messed up. While watching my boys should be the first priority in her life, she has all these other distractions:---she’s senior class president, on the basketball, tennis, & softball team, homecoming queen, a great student and in theater. Seriously. But I’d rather wait for the rare evening she’s free than start finding anyone else. Secondly, our theater eventually does get the Oscar nominees---but it takes its sweet time showing the remake of Red Dawn for three weeks. Seriously, three weeks?

So here are my favorite movies (or non-movies) of 2012, even though most of them aren’t from 2012:

10. Homeland


Okay, it’s not even a movie, but along with Parenthood (the family-melodrama I adore), it was a main source of entertainment for us. Fun, edgy, ridiculous, smart. Everything. I fell in love with Mandy Patinkin in “Sunday in the Park with George” when I was sixteen, so I keep hoping they make give Saul more time on screen.

9. Brave


Even if our good friend Mary Alice hadn’t been one of the associate producers, I’d have loved Brave. It was beautiful and funny and original. So proud of MA!

8. The Guard


I thought Brendan Gleeson should have been Oscar nominated for his role in In Bruges. Here, as a racist Columbo---if Columbo had been Irish with a dark side, he is again brilliant. The script is so sharp and funny, but I never even heard about it until I saw it on my friend Lara’s list for 2011.

7. Moonrise Kingdom


The same friend who guided me to The Guard, pointed me away from Moonrise Kingdom. Then I remembered I love Wes Anderson and I loved Moonrise Kingdom. It’s beautiful and poignant and quirky.

6. Brief Encounter


I can't believe I had never seen this movie. My mom made sure we were well-educated in movie classics, and I know she loved this movie, but somehow I never saw it until this October while visiting my dad. It is short, distilled, and perfect. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days---which is my favorite kind of movie.

5. Rango


I kept hearing Rango described as “dark animation” so I passed until Aidan picked it for one of our Friday night movies. It’s delightful and creative---a little scary for kids but more playful than dark.

4. Hachi


Another one of the boys’ Friday night movies that I adored. I love how it told part of the story through Hachi’s eyes without resorting to a “talking dog” or anything too silly. Even Nolan got the idea that the black and white scenes were  from Hachi’s point of view. Warning: tear-jerker.

3. The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada


Unpredictable. Disturbing but excellent. Thanks Dad for making me watch it.

2. The Crying Game


I saw this at The Loft in Tucson in 1992, and for the second time 20 years later. I thought it would be like rewatching The Sixth Sense, less engaging and more like watching how the trick was done. I was completely wrong. So many great lines in this script, so many great performances, and ultimately about empathy---trying to do the right thing, simply because that’s our nature. [FYI: if you haven’t seen it, it is definitely an adult film]

1. Safety Not Guaranteed

Safety Not Guaranteed DVD Sleeve.indd

I saw this in Denver with Angie & Mary Alice at The Landmark, where they offer free refreshments/popcorn and have wine as well as love seats. I can’t exactly distinguish between how good the movie was and how good a time I had seeing it. It’s quirky, longer than necessary, and unpolished. But a few scenes will stay with me forever---Jake Johnson’s character crying on his go-kart, and the final lines:

Kenneth: To go it alone or to go with a partner? When you choose a partner, you have to have compromises and sacrifices, but it's a price you pay. Do I want to follow my every whim and desire as I make my way through time and space? Absolutely. But at the end of the day, do I need someone when I'm doubting myself and I'm insecure and MY heart fails me? Do I need someone, who when the heat gets hot, has my back?


Honorable mentions: Argo, The Hunger Games, Salmon Fishing in Yemen, and Hugo.

If you are looking for a movie to rent, here are links to my favorite movies of 2011, 2008, and 2007.

Next up…best reads of 2012 on Monday!


  1. We still have some major catching up on 2012 movies to do! We watched the movie that will almost undoubtedly rate in the top one or two spots of 2013 tonight: Searching For Sugar Man. It's a documentary; I'll review it soon but I can't bear to think of someone who loves movies and music not knowing about it. Find it (do you have Apple TV? Oh my gosh, that little box is changing our lives with all this suddenly available-to-us stuff) and tell me what you think!! It is INCREDIBLE.

  2. I am now OBSESSED with finding this movie:) Since the new year, we've seen Life of Pi and Silver-Lining Playbook, which are both better than anything we saw on the big screen last year.

  3. ETA: We saw Searching for Sugar Man and so enjoyed it! Bought the soundtrack too (though now I wish we'd just chosen the 3 songs we liked best...I gotta embrace that I'm not a whole-album listenter).
    Today we saw Lincoln and it blew anything we saw last year out of the water. I heard such mixed reviews that our expectations weren't as high. Maybe that was part of it. I was riveted and devastated and amazed. Hoping it wins Best Picture!


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