If movies were amusement park rides, some people are content riding the merry-go-round or the bumper cars. I ride the roller coasters. I wants to take sharp turns and flip upside down at ludicrous speeds. That’s what I get out of my favorite movies. I want to laugh my ass off or escape reality amongst bullets and explosions. I want to go on an adventure when I recline in my seat while eating my pop corn and drinking my Cherry Coke. 2012 was a fantastic year for movie goers, especially for those who love comedies, action/adventure, and super heroes. I attended a ton of movies this year, but ten really stood out in my mind as not only an enjoyable thrill ride of a theater experience, but also fantastic additions to anyone’s home theater library.
10) Hit & Run
Not only did Dax Shepard star in Hit & Run, but he also wrote, produced, directed and filled the film with his own personal car collection. One notable vehicle Dax drives is his bad ass black 1967 Lincoln Continental. What made this movie feel genuine to me in chemistry and dialog was the casting of Shepard’s real life girlfriend, Kristen Bell. Their performance seemed so natural and the conversations on screen seemed like they were taken directly from their own relationship. Tom Arnold, Bradley Cooper and Michael Rosenbaum all provided humorous situations in their supporting roles. Hit & Run is a fantastic high octane, romantic comedy filled with aspects that have a broad appeal to both men and women. And if you don’t know what “Lemon Parties” or “Pouncer Apps” are, after watching, you most certainly will!
From the opening grindhouse style B-movie horror flick beginning to the cute song that plays during the end credit titles, ParaNorman is filled with amazing attention to detail and adorable wit and humor. Where you think it’s just a simple kids’ horror film, it’s actually a complex analogy about bullying amongst the film’s amazing stop-motion animation. Norman is the perfect poster child for kids that are picked on for being different. Whether someone is gay, obese or lives with a disability, ParaNorman cleverly teaches a lesson without talking down to kids all while containing a ton of adult humor to entertain parents. In a climate of rising juvenile suicides due to school bullying, I can foresee ParaNorman being used as a tool for teachers and faculties to watch with their students of all grades to spark healthy dialogues in classrooms.
8) Wreck-It Ralph (Review)
By far this was my favorite animated movie of the year, but I may be a bit biased as a big gaming nerd. The thing that Disney did perfectly, was make a film that all genders and ages could appreciate whether or not you were familiar with the source material. To put it simply, it was Toy Story for gamers. A lot of old school video game characters made an appearance and new ones were introduced. The relationship between Ralph and Vanelope reminded me of a cross between Sully and Boo from Monster’s Inc. and Shrek and Donkey from Shrek. I appreciated the nostalgia while my daughters loved Sugar Rush. It may not have been as technically sophisticated as Pixar’s Brave, but it was a lot more fun.
Available on HD Digital Feb 12 & on Blu-ray Combo Pack March 5.
If you are not a fan of Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy or American Dad, you probably hated Ted. It had the same humor, crude jokes and pop culture references found in the television shows. I, on the other hand, thought Ted was one of the funniest comedies of the year. You have a foul mouthed evil version of Teddy Ruxpin that loves hookers, drugs and Flash Gordon. John (Mark Wahlberg) and Lori (Mila Kunis) desperately try to salvage their relationship, but Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) keeps getting in the way. Bros before hoes and Thunder Buddies for life!
6) Dredd (Review)
If you are a fan of over-the-top violent movies like Robocop and Total Recall, then Dredd is your type of movie. Forget the Sylvester Stallone version from 1995, this reboot is more loyal to the comics in every way. I wouldn’t have thought Karl Urban was going to be able to pull it off, but he is bad ass as Mega City One’s most notorious judge, juror and executioner. Olivia Thirlby was great as Anderson, a rookie judge with powerful psychic abilities. Lena Headey plays Ma-Ma, an ex-prostitute turned kingpin of the most ruthless drug dealer gang. Dredd was also one of my favorite 3D movies of the year too. The highlight was during the “Slo-Mo” scenes. Slo-Mo is the new synthetic drug that allows people to perceive time at 1% of normal speed. It was during these moments that you saw bodies ripple, blood splatter, glass fly and bullets penetrate. It was so very visually stunning. The movie wasn’t cheesy or cartoony. It was gritty and raw like a graphic novel is supposed to be. Karl Urban proved that he is “the Law.”
5) Argo (Review)
When I reviewed Argo, I predicted it would win some awards and I was right, Ben Affleck won a Golden Globe for Directing and the film won Best Picture. Ben Affleck was absolutely robbed by the Academy awards by his Oscar snub. I was a bit young to remember all the events of the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis, but Argo made you feel like you were there in that moment of history. It had all the emotions and heart that a movie of this type is supposed to have. It was perfectly written and directed. It lived and breathed the late 70’s from the wardrobe to the film’s soundtrack. But most importantly it was amazingly accurate in its details. The cast is lead by Affleck as CIA agent Tony Mendez with a fantastic supporting cast. With Affleck not being nominated for directing, it’s going to be near impossible for the film to beat front runners Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook, but Argo is my personal favorite for the Oscar.
4) End of Watch
You may think movies like Colors and Training Day are the most authentic cop movies, that was until End of Watch hit theaters. The story is told from the POV perspective of Officer Brian Taylor played by Jake Gyllenhaal talking directly into his camera. He is making a film for a college class using his job as the subject material. As an audience member, it feels like you are on your own personal ride-along. Everything Taylor experiences, from mundane paperwork to car chases, you are thrown into the roller coaster or meat grinder. The movie wouldn’t be complete without Taylor’s partner, Mike Zavala, portrayed by Michael Peña. Their chemistry is amazingly genuine. As someone who works for a police agency in real life, I can tell you that this movie is 100% the real deal. You will laugh at the dialog during the down time in the squad car and immediately gasp in horror on the results of routine assignments. Every single police officer I work with that saw End of Watch said that this movie hits so close to home because of how real it is. There are some “Hollywood” moments in the film to move the plot along, but the film really emphasized on the importance of partners and family.
3) The Dark Knight Rises
Before The Dark Knight Rises hit theaters this summer, a lot of people, including myself, were skeptical if Christopher Nolan would be able to pull off a proper ending to his Batman trilogy. The bar was raised high with the performance of Heather Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight. As the biggest fan of the caped crusader, I can say that Nolan knocked it out of the ball park. Nolan and crew was able to intertwine Batman comics story arcs like “No Man’s Land” and “Knight Fall” flawlessly with real world events like the Occupy Movement. Now while Heath Ledger’s Oscar winning performance was absolutely missed, Tom Hardy as Bane was diabolical in his own right. He was ruthless, calculating, cunning and evil. Tom Hardy brilliantly was able to emote all his emotions with his body language and his eyes. The major highlight was the battle scene in the sewers where we finally got to witness Bane breaking Batman’s spine. Fans have been wanting that since the Knight Fall comic series. Even though Anne Hathaway will more than likely win an Oscar for her performance in Les Misérables, her portrayal as Selina Kyle was nothing short of fantastic. To keep the realism as there was in the previous movies, I liked how they never officially called her Catwoman, but rather just referenced to her as a brilliant cat burglar and thief. With the Tumbler Batmobile destroyed, I was quite happy with the new flying machine, “The Bat.” All in all I loved the Dark Knight Rises. And make fun of me all you want, but I even cried when (spoiler alert) I thought Batman was dead and Alfred was at the grave site begging Bruce’s parents for forgiveness. The Dark Knight Rises proved that Christopher Nolan is King in the DC Comics universe. Here’s hoping Nolan’s influence in this summer’s Man of Steel turns the Superman franchise on its ear.
2) Marvel’s The Avengers
What do you get when a rich playboy in a suit of armor, a golden boy soldier with a shield, the God of Thunder, a dude with a bow, a hot chick in a tight leather outfit and a giant green rage monster join forces? The best friggin’ super hero movie EVER, that’s what! Writer and director Joss Whedon took an all-star cast with a fantastic script and created an action packed movie for all ages. The effects were spectacular and looked great in 3D. The Avengers was just all out fun. I saw the movie four times in theaters and even endured the 15+ hour marathon with all six movies. What The Avengers created was the template of how to create a not only a summer blockbuster, but future superhero collaborations. Unfortunately, this is something near impossible for DC and Warner Bros to achieve in a possible Justice League endeavor due to its properties being scattered to the four winds. The Avengers smashed every box office record like the Hulk and fulfilled every comic book geek’s wildest dreams. If you want to experience the biggest nerdgasm of your life, I highly recommend you buy The Avengers on Blu-ray and add it to your home movie collection. I can’t wait until 2015 when The Avengers 2 hits theaters. In the meantime, I’ll be looking forward to Iron Man 3, Captain America 2, Thor 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy as awesome set up movies for the sequel.
1) Django Unchained (Review)
Admittedly, I am a Tarantino fanboy. So it may be of no surprise that Django Unchained is my #1 favorite movie of 2012. It was even awarded Geekenstein’s movie of the year along with fellow writers, David Rhinehart and Joe Marino. And if you want to just call me biased, then I’m not the only one, because it is nominated for Academy Awards in five categories and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association awarded well deserved Golden Globes to Quentin Tarantino for Best Screenplay and Christoph Waltz for Best Supporting Actor. Though some critics cited the movie as racist and too violent, they are just blind to the fact that the movie is just a fantasy about a man overcoming trials and tribulations to rescue his wife. Django Unchained isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It is brutal and violent, but it is story telling at its finest delivered by an amazing cast. It’s has every element you want in a western, and then some: revenge, redemption and salvation.
Still in Theaters and pre-order on Blu-Ray and DVD
This is a personal top 10 list and the entries and their rankings do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Geekenstein.com, but of the author publishing it.
So what were your favorite movies of the year? Are you like me, or do you prefer the more dramatic films? Comment below, we’d love to hear from you!