Yes I’m not quite there yet. I feel like I’m back in school and begging for an extension on my assignment. So instead of following the internet with my top films of 2012 I’m going to take a break from that, you can expect to see that sometime next week guys, to give you a list of films that had absolutely nothing to do with 2012 but I happened to watch for the first time in 2012.
In not particular order
The Thin Red Line (1998) (dir. Terrence Malick)
I’ve always been in love with spralling interconnecting cinema. One of my favourite movies of all time happens to be one that is an unapologetic version of it (i.e. Magnolia). Here we have Terrence Malick taking on war with a three hour runtime and enough actors that I truly believe he has a fifteen hour version sitting on the shelf at home that he enjoys watching in his off years wondering what other abstract story he wants to tell next. I’m not going to call it the greatest war film of all time, but it might be the most gorgeous one. It’s weird seeing the opening scene of Jim Caviezel co-existing with this tribe of people and having to figure out where the war comes into all of this. The film is a harsh viewing for anyone not acclimated to Malick‘s odd structure for telling stories but that’s always been his biggest strength for me as a viewer.
My Man Godfrey (1936) (dir. Gregory La Cava)
Many love to title stories being ‘rags to riches’ but I don’t think I can imagine one movie more dismissive of that summation than this film. Societal discussions as well as some of the best scene chewing acting from the likes of William Powell as Godfrey makes this movie a magical piece of old Hollywood entertainment that I feel all should see.
My Left Foot (1989) (dir. Jim Sheridan)
Daniel Day-Lewis to today’s just budding cinephiles is Daniel Plainview in There will be Blood, Bill ‘The Butcher’ Cutting in Gangs of New York and Abraham Licoln in this year’s Licoln. Here may not be where he started out proving that his acting is enough to propel films from heavy handed dross into cinematic gems, but it sure as hell is one of the best examples. While he’s usually the shining spectacle in his starring films I’m willing to hear arguments for other elements in all of his more modern releases (listed above) being why someone would love those movies, here however the entire selling point is him and him alone and it wins.
Ben-Hur (1959) (dir. William Wyler)
I make fun. I watched this movie over the Easter weekend, because it’s billed as an Easter film. However, I consider it to be a brilliant story of revenge that someone decided to shoe horn in cameo appearances of Jesus throughout to play to the religious crowd. So as long as you edit out the Jesus scenes, which I feel ruins the film entirely, it’s one of the grandest most amazing revenge stories ever; and the chariot scene is so good.
Heathers (1988) (Michael Lehmann)
If you need a better anti-culture film of the 80s ever made this might be it. The anti-establishment messages of Winona Ryder and Christian Slater going on a killing spree to make the world a better place, but not really, are so good it’s criminal. Related Post
City Lights (1931) (dir. Charlie Chaplin)
I had this grand plan at the beginning of last summer to marathon through a few of the Chaplin classics, sadly this was the only film I actually watched (maybe I’ll reboot that idea early this year…). However, this became an instant hit with me. I always watch old comedies with the feeling that the comedy won’t work. Comedy in itself is such a subjective genre that I feel that when you reach for comedies so far back that the context will be lost or the style has become so overused by then it’ll fall flat. On the contrary Chaplin falling flat, and in all other manners, was exactly what I needed as I couldn’t stop laughing. The tramp forever. Read my full review.
A Man Escaped (1957) (dir. Robert Bresson)
People love to dig deep into the realm of nitpicking movies. Call out generalizations and assumptions that movies make in order to keep a tight runtime and entertainment value high. Here in lies a film that does the opposite and still manages to engage in a way that so many movies forget to do nowadays, all while remaining to a sub 2 hour runtime. We’re given a meticulously detailed explanation of how Fontaine manages to live and eventually escape from his prison after being detained by the Nazis. There is no detail that’s left unexplained and nothing feels frivolous which gives the film the stakes needed to keep us on the edge of our seat for the entire runtime. Read my full review.
Read the rest of the list on the next page>>