Quick Takes on the Movies of 2012

I often get asked about how much I liked certain movies in direct correlation with when they arrive in Redbox or appear on Netflix Instant.  The sole purpose of this page is to provide easy access to my recommendations without having to bother with reading my reviews (when I write one) or talking to me directly (which is the worst).

NOTE: These are mostly based on wide release (or VOD) dates in the U.S. Some of these movies will say 2011 in IMDB because they were screened in some film festival in 2011 and weren’t picked up for distribution in time to be released that same year. Also I will not be including short films because no one rents short films and I’ve never been asked for a recommendation for one.

All movies are in alphabetical order within their respective categories.

Favorite:
Beasts of the Southern Wild – Beautiful and poetic. I cried multiple times.

Love:
Cabin in the Woods – Hilarious and almost brilliant film for people that are both fans of horror and not.
Friends with Kids – One of the rare romantic comedies that works extremely well. Great ensemble cast.
Goon – People will say it’s the second coming of Slap Shot but I say it’s wonderful, funny, and charming based on it’s own merits.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home – I rarely relate to every main character as much as I did in this movie.
Life of Pi – Masterfully infuses spirituality and faith into an entertaining movie without being heavy handed or off-putting to people that have no religion or faith.
Looper – We are only 1 movie away from completing the “Don’t make Bruce Willis time travel because horrible things always happen” trilogy.
Sleepwalk With Me – Movie of the year for nerds of both comedy and sleep disorders!
Wreck-It Ralph – Made the life I wasted playing video games worth it for 108 minutes.

Really Like:
The Avengers – Better than all of the Marvel movies that led up to it save one, The first Iron Man.
Bernie – As unique of a biopic as you’ll ever see. Jack Black is really great.
Cloud Atlas – After 10 month of complaining about how too many movies this year were too long I end up really enjoying and being engrossed by the longest one I’ve seen to date (3 hours that feel like 9o minutes).
Dredd – Sorry Stallone, this is the real Dredd.
End of Watch – Despite doing the stupid handi-cam film making style that is more annoying than anything else this movie works REALLY well. It’s the best cop movie since Training Day (not that I can name many others that would qualify).
The Grey – Not many quality survival movies get made anymore. It has everyone’s favorite aging action star in Liam Neeson and features one of the most intense plane crash sequences I’ve ever seen.
Haywire – An action movie that bucks a lot of the cliches and trends from it’s predecessors to be a breathe of realistic fresh air.
Hitchcock – A light, amusing, and entertaining biopic that is elevated by some truly great acting.
The Impossible – I recognized how emotionally manipulative it was and yet it still got to me so I guess I am a sucker. McGregor makes acting look easy.
Lawless – If Tom Hardy were any cooler his sweat would come out as sleet. If Jessica Chastain were any hotter her sweat would come out as steam. Shia’s is just salty-water like all us normal people.
Lincoln – I’ll admit it, this movie and Daniel Day-Lewis lived up to the hype. Beyond some typical Hollywood Spielberg-y scenes and a few too many moments where different characters were speaking in “earnest theatrics” instead of conversationally this is a great movie.
Moonrise Kingdom – It’s safe to say I am biased enough towards Wes Anderson that you can’t trust my opinion, but a lot of other people liked it too.
Oslo, August 31 – Addiction, depression, and subtitles. Nothing captures the hearts and minds of American audiences more.
ParaNorman – Fun animated movie. It drags a bit towards the end but everything leading up to it is funny and very enjoyable.
The Raid: Redemption – 95% of this movie is extremely intense action. If that interests you then you will enjoy this movie. My dad didn’t like it, but what the hell does he know?
Rise of the Guardians – It’s about time we got a bad ass Santa with tatts and swords.
Robot & Frank – Robot helps an older guy who is starting to suffer from dementia restart his career as a cat burglar. Charming, light, and funny.
Rust and Bone – Broken people find a unconventional relationship.Kind of like Silver Linings Playbook only it’s in French, there is less slightly less dancing, and way less bullshit.
The Sessions – Some very fine acting in this very enjoyable movie none of my friends will see (or even know what I am talking about if I ever bring it up in their presence).
Seven Psychopaths – Sam Rockwell leads an awesome cast through a very good script packed with a meta vibe.
Zero Dark Thirty – Jessica Chastain eats and chases terrorists!

Like:
21 Jump Street – Who knew Channing Tatum had good comedic timing? I’ve really warmed up to him after this year. He’s put in solid work.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – Not enough U.S. presidents just go out there and kick some ass.
The Amazing Spider-Man – It’s too long and rehashes a lot of stuff that I felt like I saw only a few years prior. I still enjoyed this in a “it’s a good enough beginning that the sequels could really be good” sort of way.
Amour – Not the movie you want to see if you use movies as a form of escapism to distract yourself from thinking about death.
Anna Karenina – Filmed in a unique and engaging way and many good performances (capped by the great Jude Law).
Arbitrage – The one adult thriller without guns that Hollywood allows to be released every year.
Argo – A bit overrated but still quite good. The tension during the end feels a bit forced but it’s forgivable…it is a movie after-all.
Battleship – The fact that I liked this movie makes me feel great because it proves I haven’t become a pretentious twat.
The Bourne Legacy – Fans of the franchise will probably like it despite it rehashing a lot of the same themes from the first film at a slower pace. Does have a few good action moments.
Brave – A supposed “lesser” effort by Pixar. Which means it’s still really good but people are spoiled.
The Campaign – I laughed a lot. What else do people want from a comedy?
Casa de mi Padre – In a lot of ways it reminds me of Black Dynamite. It really embodies lampooning the style of Mexican film making (even if I only recognize it from melodramatic soap opera-ish television). It also is funny in a lot of places. I give credit to Will Ferrell for trying something new (even when it’s obviously not going to appeal to a lot of people) when he often gets dogged on for playing the same type of characters.
Chimpanzee – Did narrator Tim Allen really have to make a “Home Improvement” grunting sound when the chimps were using tools? Do kids even get that reference?
Chronicle – Nice surprise. Pretty realistic take on how teenagers would probably act if they developed telekinetic powers.
The Dictator – See my description for The Campaign.
The Do-Deca-Pentathlon – See my description for Brave but replace the word “Pixar” with “The Duplass Brothers”
Django Unchained – Tarantino made the most tolerant white person a German…this is huge.
The Five-Year Engagement – Despite being a 90 minute movie stretched out to just over 2 hours I still liked it. Mostly because Chris Pratt and Brian Posehn are very funny.
Flight –The first act is great and then it slowly erodes into something much less great. By the end I just wanted it to be over. Denzel is still the man though.
Frankenweenie – Essentially a drawn out version of the live-action short. It’s simplicity left me flat and it drags pretty early. Might be more entertaining for people who haven’t seen the short.
God Bless America – Director Bobcat Goldthwait does real dark comedy. Focuses a little too much on long monologues/diatribes but still enjoyable for the cynics of the world.
The Guilt Trip – It reminded me a lot of how my mom and I interact. She’s very sweet, supportive, and nice and I am a sad sack wise-ass.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Peter Jackson must think “dues ex machina” is Latin for giant eagles.
Hotel Transylvania – Little kids were laughing there asses off. Big strong burly men like me were chuckling with our asses still on.
The Hunger Games – Douche bags will say, “It’s no Battle Royale” but it’s still fun. People who read the books probably get a little more out of it than those who don’t. Considering all three books take roughly 15 minutes to read you should just read them.
Hyde Park on Hudson – Of all the movies this year that featured a hand job this was second best.
Indie Game: The Movie – Very interesting look on being an independent game maker, the politics of video games, and the artists mentality.
The Innkeepers – A moody little horror movie that I liked until the ending started having a main character make nonsensical decisions. Horror fans should give it a shot. Everyone else can ignore it.
Jack Reacher – An action movie that’s fine as it is. It’s not going to knock your socks off, but socks sometimes are better left on.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi – 82 minute documentary about the greatest sushi chef alive. If that sounds interesting to you then you should watch this.
John Carter – I’m one of the 12 people who saw this in the theaters and liked it. Proof that marketing does matter because no one I knew wanted to see it even after I told them I enjoyed myself.
Killer Joe – Great acting makes this tense dark comedy entertaining. In the hands of worse actors I could easily have seen myself hating it.
Les Misérables – Impressively engaging considering I don’t like when characters sing dialogue and I had a hard time knowing what was going on at the very beginning (I am unfamiliar to the story). The rebellion part was pretty great.
Magic Mike – Let’s be honest. It’s a movie that lacks a whole lot, but is watchable because Channing Tatum is quite compelling. Not a lot of (non-bullshit rom-com) movies are made for you so enjoy yourselves ladies.
The Man with the Iron Fists – You have to give RZA credit for making a very entertaining movie in his directorial debut. It’s not perfect but still a highly enjoyable 90 minutes is you can take some gore.
The Master – I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt. Despite it’s many problems it’s never boring and I’m glad I saw it…even if I don’t know if I’ll feel like watching it again.
Mirror, Mirror – It’s really not that good, but I thought the dwarfs were funny and well done and they got enough screen time where this movie is quite watchable. Plus director Tarsem Singh is quite skilled at making a scene look great.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower – The movie really shines when they get out of the overly cliched high school moments that plague the first act a bit.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits – Leave it to the British to come out with a movie about pirates 5 years after the fad of liking them is over. I can’t wait to see their take on zombies and vampires in 2018.
The Possession – A very important film. It’s about time someone knocked those Catholics down a peg or two. Other religions can exorcise too you greedy turds!
Prometheus – A lot of people hated this and when I read their complaints I can’t really argue against them. It feels like a quality sci-fi movie with characters that too often have dumb horror movie logic.
The Queen of Versailles – A documentary that makes you feel bad for rich people for a little bit until you stop watching and realize they just don’t know how to not have money. A skill that can be learned with experience, just look at all of us.
Ruby Sparks – Better than I could have expected from the trailers. A nice commentary on both relationships and the horrible plague of manic pixie dream girls that are a pox on movies today.
Safety Not Guarenteed – An indie darling that I admittedly had too high of expectations for. I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would but it’s still good.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – Ewan McGregor’s name was Dr. Jones and he got referred to it so many times that I could think about was Short Round from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
Safe – Jason Statham kills a bunch of dudes that are assholes because he is very anti-asshole.
Seeking a Friend For the End of the World – I would have loved this movie if it had been about Rob Corddry’s character instead.
Skyfall – Besides one part that made me legitimately hate James Bond it was a very enjoyable experience.
Smashed – Not even one “Yo, Bitch!” from Aaron Paul 😦
Taken 2 – It’s not as good as Taken but it’s not as bad as 1000s of other movies.
Ted – It got trailered so hard that I would say this would probably be more funny in a few years. Despite that fact the CGI with the Teddy Bear is legitimately some of the best of the year.
The Three Stooges – Surprised me. Despite the truly awful Jersey Shore cameos it’s a nice slap stick treat for anyone who still likes that form of comedy. All that being said if it had been a well written biopic starring the same three guys it could have been truly great.
Total Recall – The original remains superior but this is still some mindless, fun summer action.
Wanderlust – The cast outside of Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston make this movie truly enjoyable.
The Watch – By the numbers comedy. Your enjoyment of it will be based highly around if you think jokes about dicks are funny.

Dislike:
The Babymakers – A few of The Broken Lizard guys are in this. It’s a movie that relies on dirty humor and yet it still feels like it plays it too safe.
Bad Ass – Can a movie starring Danny Trejo kicking people’s asses be bad? Yes.
Being Flynn – Good performances are dragged down by some messy storytelling/film making. Also it’s listed under comedy genres and it’s not a comedy at all, not even a dark comedy. It’s just really heavy.
The Comedy – A movie I was predestined to not enjoy. Too much cruelty to regular people that the protagonist obviously doesn’t respect.
Compliance – You’ll be busy yelling at your TV for the characters to not do such incredibly dumb shit. Then you will look up the real life events this is based on and find out that they happened almost exactly the same way. Then you’ll want to kill yourself.
Contraband – Giovanni Ribisi plays a decent weirdo villain, but even that can save this stupid action movie.
The Dark Knight Rises – I have the distinct feeling I would have disliked this movie if Batman Begins and The Dark Knight weren’t lurking in the shadows making me want to rate this higher than I think it should. Or I wouldn’t have had high expectations and not been so nitpicky. Either way it’s got problems, but my opinion on it isn’t going to sway whether anyone sees this or not.
Here Comes the Boom – It’s about as good as any movie that is completely derivative, predictable, and one-dimensional can be. Kevin James likability makes it a pleasant family movie but not anything you need to see.
Hit and Run – It’s never hilarious but often amusing. It’s essentially a vehicle (har har) for Dax Shepard to make out with his lovely girlfriend and drive cool cars.
Killing Them Softly – It could have been this generations Fight Club to 15 year old boys everywhere. Gandolfini was the most useless character of 2012.
Man on a Ledge – Wanted to do something new. Ended up being pretty by the numbers.
Men in Black 3 – Loved the first. Bored by the second. Number 3 lacks a lot once you take out Josh Brolin’s great young Tommy Lee Jones impression.
Premium Rush – The protagonists are such pretentious turds that I wanted the evil Michael Shannon to take them out the whole movie.
Rampart – Tries fancy camerawork and it’s annoying. Has intriguing plot points and wastes them. Woody Harrelson’s performance is the only thing that keeps me from hating it.
The Raven – God Bless John Cusak. You could tell he really wanted this to be good. It just really really wasn’t.
Red Tails – Great dog fights but it was so poorly written in every other regard that it does a disservice to everyone involved.
Safe House – I love Denzel, I like Ryan Reynolds, and I am usually very forgiving of mediocre action movies. Me not liking this should say a lot.
Silver Linings Playbook – I’m the only person who didn’t seem to like it so don’t take my word for it.
That’s My Boy – I got a few laughs but this could been hilarious if it was made as a full-fledged dark comedy.
This is 40 – The whitest movie all year. The blackest thing in it is Michael Ian Black.
To Rome with Love – The philosophy of a Woody Allen fan: “Oh well there is always next year.”
Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie – Just so weird. Don’t even watch this if you don’t like the show.
The Woman in Black – A horror movie where Harry Potter either sits around doing paper work or walking from randomly from room to room holding a candle. Eventually a ghost shows up and screams and I guess it was supposed to scare me but it just woke me up from my nap.

Hate:
Act of Valor – Just watch someone play Call of Duty’s campaign mode and leave after 7 minutes when you get bored. It’s the same thing only less heavy-handed.
American Reunion – So many attractive high school senior girls want to bang older guys that look like Jason Biggs.
Chernobyl Diaries – The best horror movies are the ones where everything that is supposed to be scary happens in the dark when you can’t see what’s going on right?
Dark Shadows – Tim Burton and Johnny Depp can officially stop making movies together.
The Expendables 2 – Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger look like wax sculptures from a Madam Tussaud museum. The script very desperately wants to be cheesy and funny but it’s just trite bullshit.
Lockout – The plot makes no sense, the dialogue is awful, the effects are piss poor, and the only thing that makes this movie even remotely watchable is when one of Guy Pierce’s one-liners happens to stick. He throws so many out there that it’s impossible at least one won’t make you laugh.
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance – I thought I would like this. I can be very stupid.
Piranha 3DD – The first one wasn’t good but it was fun in it’s own way. Minus Paul Scheer and Ving Rhames incredibly small roles this was a waste of time.
Red Dawn – This movie stains the majestic war cry that is “Wolverines!”
Rock of Ages – Every rock song from the 80’s gets put through a teen-pop machine and loses the admittedly small amount of grittiness they had in the first place. Tom Cruise really tried.
Savages – If Blake Lively narrated your life in the same way she narrated this movie you’d want to kill yourself.
Snow White and the Huntsman – Not one person on Earth would say Charlize Theron is less fair than Kristen Stewart. That is not me saying Stewart is ugly because she’s not. In fact I find her quite attractive. Theron is just a very beautiful woman. Like freakishly beautiful. Also the huntsman carries an axe. Who the hell hunts with an axe? These are just a few of the dumb things in this stupid movie that is over two very long hours.
Stolen – It’s just really really stupid.
This Means War – Why Tom Hardy? You are awesome and should be able to do anything you want. You of all people should not need to slum it up to make a paycheck.
Wrath of the Titans –  Who wanted this to be made?

Most Hated:
Project X – A great movie for teenage boys who think women are only on this Earth to please them. In other words, the worst movie I’ve seen in quite some time.

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