Thursday, November 29, 2012

Has 2012 Been a Good Year for Movies?

2012 is drawing to a close, which means it's that time when every online publication starts doing their retrospectives and looking back at the Year That Was. Let it be said that F This Movie! was first...ish.

Patrick: So there's only a month left in 2012, and now comes the time when everyone starts putting out Top 10 lists and predicting what movies will win what awards. Before all of that starts, let me beat them all to the punch and ask you something. Has 2012 been a good year for movies?

Doug:You're interrupting me watching Red Tails for this? BTW, I am watching Red Tails. #jealous

Jay-kay -- I finished Red Tails. Now I'm watching Morning Glory SO ... to answer your question, based on the two examples I just gave you, 2012 has been a GREAT year for movies (e.g., Red Tails and Morning Glory).


Patrick: I literally don't know how to respond to that. But you make some good points.

Doug: Wait, IMDb just told me that Morning Glory came out in 2010. So, I guess 2012 has been just HALF good.

Seriously, I think 2012 has been an above average (verging on great) year for movies

Patrick: Interesting. Care to elaborate? What would have made it a GREAT year for movies?

Doug: I would like to elaborate, thanks for asking. I think 2012 is a reallyreally good year for film, based on the number of high-profile, well-done movies that have been released.

Patrick: Red Tails, you mean.

Doug: The reason I don't think it's GREAT is because, so far (and there are still several potentially awesome movies due out in the next few weeks), while I've really enjoyed some of the films, I don't think I've LOVED any of the films. Argo is probably the closest I've gotten this year to loving a movie.

Going out on a (safe) limb, I do think I'll love Django Unchained, but even typing that makes me nervous, like I'll jinx the movie or something.

Patrick: I'm having a similar reaction, in that there are very, very few movies I've LOVED and wanted to have 10,000 of their babies. But there are SO MANY movies I have at least liked that I have to say it's been a really good year. So much so that even the movies I thought didn't work were worth seeing (Dark Knight Rises, Prometheus, etc.)

Doug: I agree! Like, for example, The Avengers -- it's really good, and I really enjoyed it! But (and I realize some diehard fans out there think I'm wrong, and that's OK) I didn't love it.

Patrick: Yes. But it's a sign of a good year when our summer blockbusters are as entertaining and good (at least, if not great) as The Avengers, or as ambitious as The Dark Knight Rises. Not to keep mentioning that movie.

Doug: I'd also throw The Hunger Games in there as well. Technically not a summer movie, but it really set the tone in the early spring for the rest of the year.

Patrick: The early months were all pretty great, actually: Haywire, 21 Jump Street, Hunger Games, John Carter, The Grey, Chronicle, Jeff, Who Lives at Home -- all movies that were good or interesting or ambitious, and all worth seeing even if they succeeded in vastly different degrees. I think so much of the year has been like that, which I'll take over a year in which I LOVE four movies and am indifferent about everything else.

Doug: Interesting list. And I'm sure many F-Heads out there may disagree with the "success" of those films. I, for example, recently saw Jeff, Who Lives at Home, and was really underwhelmed by it. However, Haywire, while a very flawed film (and easily picked apart) was really entertaining (IMHO). Which I think speaks to our larger point about the year being full of lots of "good" movies. And different kinds of movies for lots of different people. Oooh, don't forget about this year's horror entries: The Cabin in the Woods and The Innkeepers -- two EXCELLENT movies.

Patrick: I understand being underwhelmed by JWLAH. But aren't you glad to have seen it? Didn't it try to something different from other movies? Even if I didn't like it, I would take a JWLAH over five This Means Wars any day. I didn't like Prometheus, but I'm glad to have seen it. Same kind of thing.

Doug: I think your two questions are not mutually exclusive. Yes, of course I'd rather have a JWLAH than another This Means War. But that doesn't mean I liked it (and, honestly, I'm not even sure how I feel about it -- I found it a little boring). What I liked about JWLAH is that I didn't necessarily know where it was going. But that's probably the best thing I can say about it. Also, I'm SO OVER Ed Helms.

Patrick: All I meant was wouldn't you rather have a year full of movies you might not like that are more like JWLAH than This Means War? Or Morning Glory, to put it back in terms you'll understand? I think a really good year can be defined by its bad movies as much as by its good ones.

Doug: Of course I'd like that. But what I'd like more is to have a year full of movies I like no matter what, regardless if they're clever "indie" movies (JWLAH) or big, schlocky blockbuster-type films. But that's beside the point. Overall, I think 2012 has been very satisfactory! And I haven't even seen Looper yet!

Patrick: Obviously it would be better to have only good movies. Ah-no-doy. I'm just trying to make the point (probably too much now) that I think many of the movies I didn't really like still had something to offer, and I didn't feel like my time was wasted. I won't go back to them, but they didn't crush my spirit the way so many movies have in years past.


Doug: I want to! And I will! And I agree about your larger point (i.e., movies that crush your spirit are way worse than movies that are simply disappointing). I don't see as many movies in the theater as you, so that isn't as big of a problem for me. In other words, I don't have my spirit crushed as often, because I'm not subjecting myself every week to whatever the local AMC wants to shove in my face. In fact, I benefit GREATLY from your experiences, because I know if you absolutely hated something, I don't need to bother with it. So ... thanks?

Patrick: You're welcome. Also, if you have a glass of poison that needs sampling, I'M YOUR HUCKLEBERRY.

Doug: When I watch a movie these days, I'm almost certain it will be decent.

Patrick: Red Tails?

Doug: I stand corrected.

In your opinion, what are some other great years for movies? I seem to remember 1999 being all sorts of awesome.

Patrick: '99 was great. 1939. '97 was pretty good. 2007 was strong. Heck, looking back, even 2009 was pretty good. '91. And, of course, 1982. #fthismoviefest

Doug: Do you have a favorite film so far this year? A least favorite? And, yes, I realize it's WAY early to make statements.

Patrick: I do have a favorite -- a movie I love so much that even if the rest of the year was a wash, I would remember 2012 as the year this movie came out. It's too hard to pick a least favorite, but I think I have one of those, too. I don't really want to say what they are, since we'll be doing our annual Best of and Worst of podcasts in about a month. But, to answer your question, YES.

Doug: Ugh, lame.

Patrick: Also your review of Red Tails.

Doug: It's A Thousand Words, isn't it?

Patrick: Your review of Red Tails is a thousand words? #who'sonfirst?

Doug: Clever girl.

Patrick: Ok, I'll tell you. My favorite movie of the year is Titanic 3D.

My least favorite is Titanic 3D in 2D.

Doug: 2012 has also been a great year for movies from great directors. Even if some of their movies weren't the BEST, it's always nice to have new entries from really inventive, creative auteurs.

I just used the word AUTEUR.

Patrick: Yes you did. Try not to spill any TEA on your keyboard, you SNOB.

Doug: "Mmmm ... there goes my career in espionage."

Patrick: I touched on that in my "thankful" list last week -- that we had new movies from a lot of great directors, even when those movies weren't great. Not to keep harping on Prometheus, but it's great to have a new Ridley Scott science fiction movie this year. Even if that movie is Prometheus.

Doug: Does anyone out there LOVE Prometheus?

Patrick: I think so. Which again speaks to the overall quality of the year. Even the movies I didn't really like (for the most part) had an audience, and it's one whose position I could kind of understand. The inverse is true, too. I really like Snow White and the Huntsman. I am alone in this.

Doug: Sure. Rupert Sanders. Why not? And let's not forget your LOVE for John Carter. See, I can make these jokes because you TOOK A BULLET FOR ME. You see everything, so I don't have to!

Patrick: This reminds me: why are so many people trying to shoot you?

Doug: Because I'm an asshole. DURRRRRR.

Patrick: I really liked John Carter. I suspect you would not. The world is a rainbow. Although there are some aliens with TAILS...and Mars is the RED planet...

Doug: I see what you did there.

Wes Anderson. David O. Russell. Paul Thomas Anderson. Ridley Scott. Quentin Tarantino. Tom Tykwer/Wachowski Siblings. So, yeah, 2012 kicks dick.

Patrick: THANK YOU. That's all I was looking for.

Doug: So, we're good? 2012 rulez?

Patrick: I think so. I guess I would rather see something I like every week (or every other week) than one thing I LOVE twice a year. The good thing about 2012 is that it offered some of both.

Doug: But more the former than the latter. Which is to this year's credit. And, not to beat a dead horse, but there are still several movies coming out soon that could be (emphasis on the "could") AWESOME.

Patrick: Sure. Django Unchained. This is 40. Les Mis. That Cirque du Soleil thing. Is there a new Chipmunk movie this year?

Doug: I think so. It's called Go Chipmunk Yourself.

Patrick: And with that, we'll wrap it up. Let me know if those black pilots win the war.

No spoilers, though.


  1. First of all, it was "rulz" not "rulez". Gosh Doug. Most importantly, Joss motherfucking Whedon bitches!!!! Twice!!! In May it seemed like Joss Whedon had won the "Best New Artist" Grammy because all of sudden people were finally validating my 15 year worship and advocacy for Whedon. What I mean by that it that it was like when the Grammys give that award and every music snob you know is like "ugh really? that's their 3rd record. I've known about them for years. What took everybody so long." So having 2 Joss Whedon movies alone makes 2012 memorable. I will remember this year if only for "Cabin in the Woods" The fact that "Cabin in the Woods" will be my favorite movie in a year with a "Hunger Games" movie that was good, "The Avengers" and a final "Batman" movie which may or may not hold up means a lot. And I haven't even seen any of the fancy award-bait good movies yet.

    This is all a long way of saying that this year, unlike the wasteland that was 2011, I routinely added movies to my list of things I wanted to watch. All I can remember last year is hating the idea of every single movie I heard about

  2. I don't think we've had a good year for movies in a long time. I'm not trying to be all rose colored glasses or anything, but Hollywood makes SO MANY MOVIES now and I find myself caring about them less and less every year. We've had some really good movies this year. But when you consider the colossal amount of films that come out, there's only about 10 percent of all of that which I even care about seeing at all. Then of that 10%, I may find 25% to be memorable. At the end of each year, I've probably got about 5 new blu rays from the year's output that I even care about ever seeing again. I wish the system would slow down a bit, focus on making really cool, really interesting movies instead of cranking out sequels, comic book adaptations, young adult novel adaptations, and insufferable animated fare. How am I supposed to get excited about Rise of the Guardians? Or Breaking Dawn? Or Red Dawn? Or Here Comes The Boom? Who are these movies for? So little of what comes out is even interesting.

  3. I really must have low expectations, but I dont expect anywhere near the majority of films to tickle my bones, and only need a handful to do so in order for me to consider the year be successful. There is no way that the majority of movies coming out, or even the majority of movies of which I am the target demographic will be great in any given year. So, if there are two or three that impress me enough to want to watch over again or stick in my mind for a while then I am happy.
    I think when we look back at previous years there is a tendency to have a skewed perspective. All the multitudes of crap that come out each year are very quickly forgotten with only memorable films remaining in our minds....unlike the most recent year or two where we are much more likely to recall much of the crap. So we tend to view past years more favorably than recent or the current year.
    Most films are disposable garbage. Thats ok. Thats how it is. And I think thats how it has been all of my life. When a good film comes along, that's good. When a great film comes along that's Fantastic, and when a handful of good/great films come out in one year then that truly is a good year!

    Best not to wallow in the crap, because it will all soon be forgotten anyhow.....except by Patrick "The Memory Master" Bromley.

    1. Oh my gosh - Brad. That last line cracks me up. Because he really does have a crazy good memory. It must be some special wiring in his brain. I love that you noticed too - and you don't even live with him! Or wait, do you live with him?

  4. Maybe. I know I used to go to the movies every week, sometimes a couple of times a week. Each year I see fewer movies theatrically, but I think this year was an all time low for me. I barely went to see anything. I mean, there totally has always been garbage at the movies, but has there ever been as much garbage as the last few years? Maybe the answer is yes. Someone was probably complaining about King Ralph and Drop Dead Fred in 1991.

    1. I should try to look on the bright side of life, though. That's what Monty Python would suggest, and that's why I spend so much time here with you guys. Of the movies that came out this year, there were a couple that I LOVE, and a few that I'm really glad got made. I know Patrick didn't care for Amazing Spider-Man, but I still consider that to be maybe the best comic book movie ever done. Cranes or no cranes. I cared about Peter Parker and his relationships in that movie more than I have cared about many actual real relationships.

    2. That's the craziest thing I've read all day.

    3. I know, right. I mean, Rik F**king Mayall! Drop Dead Fred is awesome...(sorta, i just really like Rik Mayall). #choosingwhatyouarereferencing

      I guess it comes down how we define a "good year". Is it quantity or ratio? good or great? Technically good or enjoyable good?

      And on the flip side, can a year be so bad that it invalidates any good that happens?

    4. Oh no! I wasn't trying to step on toes. I was just trying to think of movies from the early 90s that are mostly forgotten. You're right, this whole topic is really subjective. I've now confessed to liking both Amazing Spider-Man and Jingle All The Way in the same week. Lest anyone forget, my favorite movie of all time is Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. If that's not enough to show subjectivity, I don't know what is. Also? Gagnam Style? Kind of catchy! This has been a bit of a tough year for me in other areas, so that could have affected my view on the year in movies, too. Sorry about Drop Dead Fred.

    5. Heath, while I can't quite go all the way to your position that "Amazing Spider-Man" is the best comic book movie ever (because that would be "The Dark Knight Rises"... ducks from Doug throwing poop at me!) I'm with you that it's a really good comic book movie and worthy of the "Spider-Man" lore. The Parker-Gwen relationship is given equal (if not stronger) emphasis as the action scenes, a couple of which are pretty kick-ass. Only Sally Field sticks out as a sore thumb but other than her the movie won me over and, for the record and for what it tries to reflect as part of Spidey's comic book world, the cranes scene is actually pretty touching and cool.

      I went to see "TAS" as conditioned against it for being an origin reboot as everybody seemed to have been and I walked out a believer. Can't wait for the 3D BD to go on sale so I can snatch it into my web of (cinematic) sin. :-)

  5. I think it's been a good year. The problem is a lot of people are prone to hyperbolics where everything is either GREAT or HORRIBLE. In between those have been dozens of good movies.

    For example, I saw Killing Them Softly (no spoilers follow) and the audience was pissed afterwards with one guy saying 'did they think that was really going to win oscars'? I was annoyed because that's exactly what's wrong with a lot of moviegoers (on top of texting, talking, making out, smacking yourself on the top of your head ala Rain Man..which is not a joke...I've seen that before). Why does it have to be perfect? Can't you just appreciate that the movie you watched was interesting or at least got a reaction out of you at all?

  6. Someone else made this observation in the media (forgot who) but, paraphrasing: you'd think a year with so many banner directors releasing highly-anticipated projects would produce at least a handful of movies that will be the one's that will headline these director's obits upon their eventual passing. Instead 2012 feels like the year many of the greatest directors of our time came together (each on their own) to make 'a movie' instead of 'the movie.'

    Will "The Master" be mentioned in the first couple of sentences of P.T. Anderson's obit? Or "Haywire"/"Magic Mike" in Soderbergh's? "Silver Linings" for David O. Russell? "Moonrise Kingdom" for Wes Anderson? "Cloud Atlas" for the Wachowskis? "Prometheus" for Ridley Scott? "The Grandmasters" for Wong War-Kwai? "Flight" for Robert Zemeckis? "Cosmopolis" for David Cronenberg? "Lincoln" for Steven Spielberg? "Titanic 3D" for James Cameron? "Life of Pi" for Ang Lee? "Damsels in Distress" for Whit Stillman? "Dark Knight Rises" for Christopher Nolan? "Twixt" for Francis Ford Coppola?

    And, based on the previews, I don't think Kathryn Bigelow and Quentin Tarantino's 'A' game is reflected in the trailers for "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Django Unchained" (could be wrong, but at least "DU's" trailer is just awful). The handful of movies that live up to the 'will appear in first lines of obit' criteria would be "The Avengers" (no way it doesn't get mentioned when Whedon dies), "Argo" (for how it reflects on Affleck's growing clout as a legitimate director), maybe "John Carter" for Andrew Stanton (unless bigger Hollywood bombs come along to dull its impact), etc.

    Ironically, and despite the above rant, I've really enjoyed 2012 as a good year for movies (including many of the listed 'B' efforts by ace directors) because, while no masterpieces, many of these movies have been genuinely entertaining/enthralling/thought-provoking/etc. I'll wait until Top 10 time (and the holiday movies get released) but, if 2010 was a famine, then 2012 is at least as big a feast as 2011.