The year is half over, and earlier on Twitter a bunch of film critics and other assorted riffraff were posting their lists of the best of the year so far. I'm a good little lemming, so I'll join in the fun, even though for a variety of reasons this enterprise is more just for fun than any kind of lasting meaning. Then again, what the fuck do best-of-year lists mean even with a complete year? Eh? Riddle me that. Now that everyone's in a nice warm and fuzzy “morbidly questioning the purpose of existence” type mood, let's proceed:
Top 10 Movies I Haven't Seen Yet:
Money's been tight, and even if not for that, there are only so many hours in a day. Thus, without comment—
1—The Avengers (yep, still)
4—Damsels In Distress
5—The Deep Blue Sea (the Terence Davies one, wiseasses, not the shark one)
7—Take This Waltz
8—From Rome With Love (I don't care if everyone says it's meh, Woody's Woody)
Perils of being exclusively on the SF beat for Tor.com, and only being able to get into whatever else I can randomly hustle a screening for. Then again, less than a year ago I couldn't get into any screenings at all, so I should just shaddap.
The Shit List:
Though this has been a pretty good year for movies so far, there have been some real stinkeroodies here and there as well. Like the following (from godawful to disappointing in ascending order):
1—The Divide—Hateful, misanthropic, nihilistic garbage, and it lasted fucking eons.
2—Jesus Henry Christ—This pile of shit, I saw at Tribeca in '11, but as it (for some unfathomable reason) got theatrical release this year, and because I never talked about how terrible it was last year, here goes: this movie fucking sucks. It's a soulless, cynical attempt at twee quirk, that simply alienates through its rote horseshit attempts to be hip. Still, Michael Sheen's good in it, because Michael Sheen is always good, but that's literally the only thing in this movie that doesn't suck. The director openly admitting in the Q&A that he only made this picture (based on a short he'd already made and didn't really feel like revisiting) because his agent told him he could make money made the whole joyless experience make sense. Better luck next time, homes. Try doing what you feel instead of chasing a greenback dollar.
3—The Raven—Brainless horseshit. Would have made Poe turn over in his grave if he wasn't still too smacked out to move.
4—Gone—Amanda Seyfried's great, and the movie's not bad until the climax, at which point it abruptly ceases to make logical sense and faceplants, leading to a retroactive feeling of nothing in the whole movie having had any point.
5—Safe House—Denzel's Denzel, and it's not like this is any dumber than any ten other action pictures I'll happily rewatch, but holy balls is the editing bad.
6—John Carter—Conditional; I actually want to watch this one again, but the first time through was a little rough.
7—Prometheus—Partially brilliant, partially whatever the diametric opposite of brilliant is. Eminently frustrating as a result.
And, now, with no further ado, counting down from 10, my favorites (as opposed strictly to best) of 2012 so far. Due to where my head has been at and the way release calendars tend to go, the following overwhelmingly favors ownage pictures, but a) does that surprise you at all and b) whaddaya want from me, 2012's been a good year for ownage:
10—(tie) Men In Black 3/The Hunger Games—Both pictures had their problems (The Hunger Games' all that wobblydeewobblydee handheld camera, Men Black 3's cringe-inducing Chinese “jokes”) but overall two blockbusters that did their damn job.
8—Haywire—Gina Carano fucking owns.
7—Eddie, The Sleepwalking Cannibal—Hasn't been released theatrically in the US yet, but when it does, look the fuck out. Canadian somnambucannibal horror comedy is going to be the new mumblecore, just you fucking watch.
6—Lockout—SPACE JAIL MOTHERFUCKERS SPACE JAIL SPACE JAIL SPACE JAIL!!!
5—The Raid: Redemption—Wall-to-wall fucking ownage, of highly inventive variety (weaponized refrigerators, fluorescent light bulbs to the jugular), but more than that, the single greatest action movie premise ever: “The bad guys are in a fucking building, and we need to go to that building and fucking kill every single one of them.” It's kinda like a bunch of dudes were sitting around Indonesia chewing qat and smoking angel dust while watching Die Hard and being like “Yeah, those guys're pussies.” This and Space Jail are the two movies on this list I'm most likely to buy on DVD and watch until they disintegrate.
4—The Grey—Less an ownage picture and more an existential meditation on the futility of testicles as survival tools, and less a big dumb thing about a bunch of dudes getting eaten by wolves than a really goddamn good movie. It's the best thing Joe Carnahan's ever done by quite a bit (Narc comes closest, but good as it was it was still nowhere near this), and neck-and-neck with Taken for “best late-period Liam Neeson ownage picture,” no mean feat these days now with Liam Neeson's ascension to godhood.
3—Magic Mike—On top of all the praise I rained on it like so many $1 bills, it's also a clear-eyed look at the precariousness of the American economy at present.
2—The Cabin In The Woods—So clever. So much fun.
1—Sleepless Night—And, my favorite of the year thus far. What, you thought I wasn't going to love a French gangster movie that inflects its essentially naturalistic presentation with surreal elements to create a dream-like effect and a sense of neither beginning nor ending but always existing? Child please.
So here we are at halftime. The second half of the year holds even more glories. Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Dark Knight Rises, Holy Motors, Ek Tha Tiger, Joker, Looper, Django Unchained, The Master, whatever the fuck Terry Malick's new picture is called, that David Russell picture that basically looks like I cast it while fapping, and a zillion other things I can't even think of at the moment. AND . . . Taken 2. As Robert Carradine said in Revenge of the Nerds, “It's gonna be a great year . . . HEHHHH HEHHH HEHHH!!!”