' ' Cinema Romantico: The 8th Annual Prigges: Top 10 Movies Of 2012

Monday, January 07, 2013

The 8th Annual Prigges: Top 10 Movies Of 2012

As a prelude I will simply say this: my favorites of 2012 are undeniably an odd collection but are undeniably also the ones that struck me most, regardless of genre, budget, box office, or critical/audience consensus.

10. "Zero Dark Thirty." Having only seen it for the first time less than forty-eight hours ago, I do not feel I have had enough time to fairly digest and analyze and, thus, properly place it within this list and, yet, my gut tells me that on this list is where it belongs. So I will place it at #10 while also leaving myself the right to revise my list later. (I pretty much revise my lists every year anyway.)

9. Haywire. It's a less overtly jokey and more intensely thrilling "Cabin in the Woods" for action movies.

8. Moonrise Kingdom. This might be Wes Anderson's most complete statement yet - set on an island where kids both yearn for and are suspicious of adulthood and adults who wish they could somehow bottle up the innocent yet devout zest of the kids.

7. Lincoln. Director Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner have, in a way, crafted a "Before Sunrise" for history buffs, a historical epic that is not a standard biopic but a dramatic and thrilling talk-heavy re-enactment of a specifically crucial point in our nation's history and the sculpting of a myth. James Spader's run to the White House was, to me, more exciting than that plane lift-off in "Argo."

6. Bernie. Cleverly structuring his mockumentary based around a smalltown murder so that by the third act the audience has essentially become a jury, Richard Linklater offers a sly and strangely poignant comedy that leaves us asking the most ageless and baffling of queries: "Who knows why people do the things they do?"

5. Gimme the Loot. As sweet as it is foul-mouthed, this teeny-tiny indie film (nominated for best new feature by the Independent Spirit Awards) about two teen graffiti artists hustling for cash for their biggest piece of performance art plays like an old-fashioned screwball comedy......with handheld cameras.

4. Bachelorette. Let's stop comparing it to "Bridesmaids" (which I admittedly and regretfully did in my review), let's not call it "The Hangover" for girls, because that is just a disservice and an injustice. It is tough, it is dark, and it is deceptively complex, and it goes to show that when it's all on the line even the most judgmental and dickish person can prove her/himself a humanist.

3. The Grey. The most (understandably, in a sense) mis-marketed movie of the year. It is NOT about Liam Neeson fighting a wolf - well, not in the way you THINK it is about Liam Neeson fighting a wolf. It is dark and murky, glorious and life-affirming philosophical brawn. "Live and die on this day."

2. Starlet. Another in a long line of Unlikely Friendship Forged films, director/editor Sean Baker’s L.A. sunshine-saturated indie opus is a gently searing evocation of what happens when you are willing to let your guard down, be vulnerable, and open yourself up to someone else. It reminded me of the words of the immortal Roger Ebert: "Some movies are obviously great. Other movies gradually thrust their greatness upon us."

1. Silver Linings Playbook. "They’re trying to figure out where they belong in the universe, in war zones, in their bloodlines. They’re trying to find some balance between the sane and the crazy, between judgment and compassion. But the exhilarating truth of the David O. Russell experience is that — philosophy and pharmaceuticals be damned — the balance doesn’t exist: We’re all just kind of nuts." - Wesley Morris, Boston Globe


Nikhat said...

Yaay Bachelorette! It's number 11 of my year so far, but god I love it.
Have to watch Silver Linings Playbook.

Nick Prigge said...

I'm just so happy there are others that love Bachelorette as much as I do.

And Silver Linings doesn't seem to have much of an overseas presence yet. Hope it gets to you soon.

Derek Armstrong said...

I'm going to end up not seeing three of your top ten movies of the year (by the time I release my rankings on Thursday, anyway): Starlet, Gimme the Loot and Bachelorette. That alone is interesting to me, as I will be up around 120 when all is said and done. (And it is so not said and done yet.) You're good for having a couple surprises on your list -- I remember you had Cold Weather in your top ten last year. (When I later saw it, I couldn't understand why, I'm sorry to say.)

I'm not going to tip my hand too much here, but let's just say there are a couple I'm ecstatic to see on here and at least one where I completely disagree with you. I will say this: My top ten is probably going to look comparatively conventional, with a couple really big surprises that I'll be eager to discuss with you.

Nick Prigge said...

Cold Weather was my #1 last year. You leave Cold Weather alone! Do you hear me?! (But seriously, you're not the first one to tell me that same thing.)

I'm always eager to see the big surprises on people's lists. And hey, for all my surprises I still have the two that are probably going to duke it out at the Oscars. What's good is good, that's how I see it.

Wretched Genius said...

I read this just in time to decide which movie I should watch while having lunch in my office yesterday. And now, The Grey will likely end up on my Top 10 list as well.

Given how fond you are of Lizzy Caplan's performance in Bachelorette, you should also check her out in Save the Date. I'd argue that she's even better in that one. Just avoid ever seeing 3..2..1 Frankie Goes Boom though. No amount of Lizzy Caplan could have saved that one.

Dan said...

Cool list, Nick. I think that Haywire might have made my list if I'd remembered it, but I saw it so early in the year. The Grey was a big surprise for me and just missed my top ten. Bernie is another inspired choice, and Lincoln was excellent. I'm really curious to see both Starlet and Gimme the Loot, which I haven't heard much about so far. Both have been added to my watch list. Thanks!

Nick Prigge said...

Brad: Yes! Happy to turn someone else toward The Grey. And I remember reading about Save the Date somewhere else (AV Club, maybe?) and they made it sound really good. Definitely going to check it out.

Dan: I think what's interesting about this list is that both Haywire and The Grey were January releases. How often do movies of that kind of quality get released in January?

Alex Withrow said...

Yep, 2012, the year of damn eclectic year-end Top 10 lists.

Dude, I LOVE that Haywire made the cut here. I really enjoyed that film ( I’m a sucker for Soderbergh). Also love that you have a movie I've even heard of, let alone seen. Off to hunt down Gimme the Loot. Great work!

Nick Prigge said...

"Gimme the Loot" gets a proper release in March. Who knows how many cities it will actually play in but keep an eye out.

I was lucky enough to catch it at the Chicago Film Festival.