My Top 10 Movies of 2012
There is (almost) literally not a story, and a weak story is (almost) guaranteed to turn me off a movie for good. But by a wide margin Prometheus is the best-looking sci-fi movie I’ve ever seen. I watched it on an airplane and still couldn’t believe it. Slap a real writer on the sequel and count me in.
“The rich are different from you and me.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald. What’s great about Cosmopolis is how fully it commits to how weird it is: the dialogue, the structure, the performances, the wife. It doesn’t require as much acting from Robert Pattinson as those of us who believe in him post-Twilight would like to see, but…baby steps. Also, this exchange:
“Speaking of sex…”
“We’ve been married only weeks. Barely weeks.”
“Everything is barely weeks. We have minutes to live.”
“We don’t want to start counting the times, do we? And having solemn discussions on the subject?”
“No, we want to do it.”
“And we will. We shall.”
“You want to have it?”
“Yes. ‘Cause there isn’t time not to have it. Time is the thing that grows scarcer every day. What, you don’t know this?”
8. Everybody in Our Family
It goes off the rails in the last 20 minutes, but until then it’s a brutally dark picture of how divorce and child custody can bring out the ugliest sides of family members. By the time the credits roll, the title phrase—which first pops up about one-third of the way through—has been redefined in a way that sticks with you long after you’ve left the theater.
7. Seven Psychopaths
The two filmmakers who excite me the most right now are Edgar Wright and Psychopaths‘s Martin McDonagh, who also wrote and coproduced this, his second feature. It’s not as polished as In Bruges, his debut, but it’s more ambitious, self-reflexive, and narratively twisted—more of a movie, really. It’s also got a perfectly realized Christopher Walken performance and some sparkling instances of the mini-stories-within-a-story that McDonagh excels at (see: the Quaker).
6. Holy Motors
A metaphor for whatever you want it to be. The only thing we can say for sure is there’s no way to know where Monsieur Oscar’s acting ends and his real life begins. What does that mean for the rest of us?
5. Zero Dark Thirty
Remarkably restrained, ZD30 is a straightforward account of professionals doing their jobs. It doesn’t glamorize or chest-thump. It calmly, level-headedly—and with storytelling ease and acumen that may not be apparent until the movie’s 160 minutes have flown by—shows how years of unsung work led U.S. operatives to Osama bin Laden.
Exquisitely crafted and perfectly rendered. Love in Amour isn’t an emotion, but rather dedication to another person when the emotions are gone or hard to come by.
3. Beasts of the Southern Wild
Probably the best movie of the year, and the only movie I’ve ever been able to describe as “magical” with a straight face. It’s so completely a unique vision that writing about it just feels like taking time away from watching it again.
2. Wuthering Heights
A love story about falling for someone unequivocally, about being so given over to another person that he or she is your world. It’s also about being connected to a place while your connections to it dwindle. The Yorkshire Dales locations are bleakly beautiful, the stylized photography is stunning, and the emotions are raw and pure, juvenile and unconcerned with justifying themselves. Also, the end credits have what would win the Oscar for Best Original Song in a just world; it’s the movie in 3 1/2 perfect minutes.
1. The Comedy
The movie of my generation. It made me want to apologize to everyone I know.