I L O V E a good movie. Movies are myth and truth. Movies can be a narrative therapy. Movies can be art when they strive for it.
Admittedly, sometimes, movies can just be fun. To make my list you better be either really good, really thought provoking, really funny, really transcendent or some fantastic combination of those traits.
I'm a little snobby about my feelings about film. I'm not snobby about much in my life, so I allow it in this one area. The people I like best in life tend to like the same movies I do, or at least quite a lot of them. Maybe that's a bad way to choose friends. I mean, I sorta know it is. Because I do have friends who really aren't feeling my movies sometimes. So I'll allow that there are people who I dig who don't dig my movies. BUT...generally speaking people who like some of my favorite movies always end up being some of my favorite people. It's like you can communicate in a sort of shorthand.
2012's best according to me:
This Must Be The Place
I seriously loved this movie. Sean Penn is his usual genius at inhabiting a character and bringing them to life. The story is equal parts quirky and brilliant, contemplative and life-affirming, funny and serious. The photography is gorgeous. And it's a rare occasion that you can watch an Italian, French, Irish film made largely in the U.S. It's kind of miraculous how well it works. It could have been a disaster. But it's the opposite. This is probably my all time favorite of the year.
Take This Waltz
A magnificent though heartbreaking depiction of the illusory and illusive nature of relationships. Probably the best, most realistic portrayal of how we complicate and over-value and under-value all the wrong things most of the time. Brilliant acting. The whole movie resonated with me. Emotionally draining at times, but ultimately, fantastic I think. If there is a movie that hits home with the message of why you should make a marriage work if you can, I think this is it.
The whole premise of this sounds so boring. Who would watch an entire documentary on a guy making sushi? But it's completely compelling. Obsession on this level is art. The dedication to craft is both admirable and mesmerizing. I loved every moment of this.
Robot and Frank
Both equal parts tragic and sweet, this movie explores themes of aging, loss, and the tenacity of the human spirit. It celebrates the individual and has asks some important questions about isolation and technology. But it's also just a super great premise for a movie.
The Queen of Versailles
What could be more delicious than a peek inside this insane life? Excellent and surprisingly thought provoking. These people attempted to build the largest house in the United States of America modeled on the Palace of Versailles, only to find themselves in the middle of the financial crisis. I admit a huge part of it's appeal is a big fat dose of schadenfreude. Which I enjoyed immensely. But it works on many levels. It asks a lot of important questions about wealth, class, and excess. Even in the midst of what looks like is going to be their tragic ruin and demise, just when you start to feel sorry for them, they say something that makes you question whether you really should.
The best thriller I've seen in years. Completely engaging, psychologically stimulating, tense, and intelligent. Too bad it's foreign because most people I know won't see it because of the subtitles. But they should.
Moonrise Kingdom is further proof of the excellent talents of Wes Anderson. Here Anderson provides us with a peek into a summer for precocious and odd children, with ample time, fantastical 1960s set decor, and masterful storytelling. We watch rapt and smiling wryly while we take this kooky little journey with them. Quotable, likable, funny and heartfelt without being treacly. What more can you ask for?
Safety Not Guaranteed