2012-film-montage

With the award season in full swing, there’s been a ton of buzz surrounding the juggernauts of the year: will Django ride off with all of the awards, or will Lincoln’s long arms haul them all away? The only thing louder than the buzz the Golden Globes created last week is, of course, how the Golden Globes will influence the Oscar buzz, which is already near-deafening a month ahead of the ceremony–especially after Ben Affleck won the Globe for Best Director and Best Picture but failed to earn that Director nod from the Academy. But, just like in sports, with all of the star players generating all of the scouting talk, there are those players whose purpose is to watch the big boys while taking a back seat on the bench and keeping it toasty, for lack of a better metaphor. 

The fact that there are so many great films and directors that weren’t nominated for the Golden Globes and, as of earlier this month, the Academy Awards (*cough* Ben Affleck and Quentin Tarantino *cough*; sorry, flu season), is testament to the great year that 2012 was for film. While they may not have been the big guns of the year–at least not in terms of awards (we all know that they did, however, scrape up quite a bit at the box office)–the following Globes-excluded films still contributed greatly to the cinematic experience of this past year and deserve just as much recognition as Argo or Life of 3.14159265:
5. The Cabin in the Woods

Move over Midas Touch, there’s a new touch of gold in town: the Whedon Touch. Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods (the film, not to be confused with the place to which he retreats when he needs to take a breather from Hollywood) departs from the formula of predictability that most horror films nowadays follow; in fact, it satirizes the whole process. According to horror films (in accordance to Cabin in the Woods), first the “slut” must die, then the “jock,” followed by the “stoner” and the “scholar,” with the virgin’s death being the only optional death. Cabin in the Woods manages to meet all of the “guidelines” established for the horror film genre–“guidelines” that, as the film explains, the audience dictates through who they want to see killed off–all while making fun of it and supplying a surprising amount of laughs over the course of 100 minutes. For a person who is far from being a fan of horror, I couldn’t help by love every second of Cabin in the Woods, the credits included! It definitely won’t be winning any big awards this season, despite its originality, but it’s already won the hearts of audiences around the globe. After all, isn’t that the win that really matters?
4. Looper

Joseph-Gordon-Levitt-Looper

If I had to describe Looper in one sentence, I would say it’s this generation’s Blade Runner. This film was one of the best science-fiction films to hit the big screen in a long time. Its concept of using time-traveling to “close the loop” (watch the movie to find out what that means; this is a spoiler-free zone) was every bit as fascinating as the plot of Inception, if not moresoIn fact, Looper’s originality has been noted at award ceremonies across the country, including through a nomination for Best Original Screenplay from the Writer’s Guild of America. With all of the praise it’s been receiving, it really is rather puzzling how this film was snubbed in favor of the extremely generic script of Zero Dark Thirty or the straight-out-of-the-history-books script of Lincoln. Wouldn’t Lincoln technically be considered a Best Adapted Screenplay anyway? While Looper is highly underrated film, in terms of the award recognition, it’s definitely one of the more enjoyable films of the year.
3. The Amazing Spider-Man

Cheesy as it may sound, this film lived up to its name, and then some. Had it been released 10 years ago, it would have been lauded as being the greatest superhero film of all time. Unfortunately, people weren’t so warm towards the film, despite it being a well-made spectacle of Spidey web-slinging and cracking jokes around the Big Apple. And why’s that?

Andrew-Garfield-The-Amazing-Spider-Man

The problem with peoples’ reception of Marc Webb’s take on Spider-Man lies in the fact that it was birthed just 10 years after Sam Raimi’s take on the friendly neighborhood Avenger. Apparently people nowadays just don’t have the attention span for another Peter Parker origin story, even if it’s an origin story done the right way; no organic web-shooters, no too-big-for-high-school Tobey Maguire, none of the things Raimi bastardized to simplify Spider-Man’s origin.

Peoples’ love for the cheesy Raimi trilogy hindered The Amazing Spider-Man from doing as well as it could have: people were already protesting the film before it even aired its first trailer. Upon being released, the film won over critics with the performances of Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, who praised the real-life couple’s chemistry onscreen. It did however, also give birth to “critics” in another sense, who did nothing but tear apart the Lizard story for being derivative of 2002’s Green Goblin story. But enough about that; I could detail the “he said, she said”‘s of the reviews all day; luckily for the internet, I’m not about to pull out the big guns, I’ll leave it at that.

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The point is, The Amazing Spider-Man was never going to win a Golden Globe–seeing how comic book films rarely get a nod (let alone a win)–but it’s one of the more enjoyable films of 2012, making way for what could be an even more amazing sequel come 2014.
2. Marvel’s The Avengers

Back in 2007, when Iron Man first entered production, it did so without a concrete script. Much like Curb Your Enthusiasm, there were plot points that had to be met but everything else, dialogue specifically, was meant to be ad-libbed. The film that would determinate the fate of  the Marvel Cinematic Universe, now one of the highest grossing franchises in cinema, figured it would take a page from good ol’ Bill O’Reily’s book and essentially say, “F–k it, we’ll do it live!” Had it not been from the master of improv, Robert Downey Jr., and his uncanny ability to produce genius one-line quips out of thin air, we may not have witnessed Thor and Bruce Banner sharing shawarma together after a long day of work in New York City. Instead of fighting evil on the big screen, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes may have been assembling in a $5 DVD bin at a Wal-Mart near you.

Shawarma-Avengers

Despite not having a script, Iron Man managed to receive universal acclaim (that’s right, even the Martians like to kick back and pop it into their Green-Ray players when they’re not hiding from Curiosity) and was followed by films starring Captain America, Thor and the Incredible Hulk. And then, at the hands of Joss Whedon, all of these heroes came together [leaving Spidey hanging, quite literally, somewhere in the distant New York skyline] and exploded onto the big-screen, earning a spot as the third highest grossing film of all time.

The Avengers wasn’t spectacular for what it managed to earn but for what it managed to do: unlike other superhero films, it didn’t try to be more than what it was. It made no attempts of being realistic, it was just meant to be fun. It was an extremely well-written popcorn flick meant to be experienced on the big screen. The Avengers reminded the world why we go to the movies, what it means to enjoy the company of  a theater full of people. It may not have been the deepest film, with the most tears called upon probably being tears of laughter at the expense of a certain “puny god,” but it was a masterpiece within its own genre. A masterpiece that’s been nominated for one Academy Award–take that, Golden Globes!

Avengers-Assembled
1. Seven Psychopaths

When I first saw Martin McDonagh’s directoral debut, In Bruges, four years ago, it instantly became my favorite film–just slightly edging out High School Musical 2–and I couldn’t wait to see what McDonough had up his sleeve next. Seven Psychopaths, according to his IMDB page. And so my countdown began: 1,204 days and 6.32 hours until the release of Seven Psychopaths. Surely it would pass by in no time.

Alas, just two days ago, finally seized my opportunity to watch this film-it was worth every second of the four year wait. Much like its predecessor, Seven Psychopaths is a masterpiece of the black comedy genre: a film about a screenwriter struggling to write his film, Seven Psychopaths. On top of a stellar script, Psychopaths (the real life movie, not the movie within the movie) is chock-full of even more displays of brilliant acting, with great performances by Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Christopher Walken’s accent, Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, even the kidnapped shitzu got a chance to shine. It’s paced better than almost any other film I’ve seen this year: once it’s gone and grabbed you by your shitzu-petting hand in the opening minute, it really doesn’t ease its grip.

Seven-Psychopaths

After it was recently nominated for a BAFTA for Best Film, I was shocked to see this didn’t get at least a Best Screenplay nod from the Golden Globes or the Academy. But its lack of nominations doesn’t (and shouldn’t) detract from the greatness of the film; see for yourself when it’s released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 29th. And if you haven’t seen In Bruges yet, what better way to pass the week or so in-between now and the 29th than by watching and rewatching McDonagh’s first film a few times?