Amanda Doughty ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff
10. Struck by Lightning
This movie technically isn’t released until 2013, but it’s been available on demand for a week now, so it counts. Desperate to get into Northwestern University and escape the small town he lives in, Carson Philips (played wonderfully by Glee’s Chris Colfer) creates a literary magazine by blackmailing the entire school, all while dealing with an alcoholic mother, a grandmother who can never remember who he is, and a father who just blew back into town.
9. Moonrise Kingdom
Called Wes Anderson’s best by many, this film about young love was adorably absurd. Two lovebirds, both coming from shady homes, run away together after a year of conversing through letters, and the adventure that follows will leave you smiling for days.
A ridiculous story centered on a man in his thirties and his magical talking teddy bear, Ted was easily the funniest film of the year. Filled with raunchy jokes, excellent one-liners, and hilarious cameos, this was one that had to be seen multiple times before you could pick up all the jokes. In addition, it was even able to draw emotion from you towards the end, highlighting the true bond of friendship. Overall, this film showed us something we should have seen long ago: comedic great Seth MacFarlane (who both directed and starred in the film) without the sensor of television.
7. Beasts of the Southern Wild
An obscurely beautiful story about a young girl living in the bayou, this film was one of the most beautiful of the year in terms of cinematography. The doomed bayou was beautifully filmed, as were the elements of young Hushpuppy’s imagination. The acting was also superb: with Quvenzhane Wallis’ performance as Hushpuppy easily being the strongest child performance of the year, and Dwight Henry’s performance as her father is equally as strong. This film showed a proud people in the face of disaster, and it did so beautifully.
6. Django Unchained
Quentin Tarantino’s latest violent delight follows slave-turned-bounty-hunter Django’s search to find his missing wife. While relatively tame on the violence (on a Quentin Tarantino scale anyway), this film still managed to effectively provide the comedic, action-packed entertainment only Tarantino can bring to the big screen. Featuring stellar performances from Christophe Waltz, Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Samuel L. Jackson, this film’s nearly three-hour runtime flew by in a flash, and left audiences wanting more.
5. Pitch Perfect
The “surprise hit” of 2012 seemed a bit stupid in its previews, but proved to be utterly hilarious. Between Ben Platt’s adorable, nerdy magician Benji, Skylar Astin’s swoon-worthy Jesse, and Rebel Wilson’s sassy and lovable Fat Amy, the film delivered a delightful supporting cast that carried the film perfectly. In addition, the music was spectacular, and each cast member extremely talented. Between the heart, humor, and great music, this film definitely shows that a great movie can come from anywhere, even a story about rivaling a cappella groups.
4. Silver Linings Playbook
A delightful story about people coping with mental illness, this movie was the best indie film of the year. Although Bradley Cooper gave the best performance of his career here, the true star of this film is Jennifer Lawrence. She’s aggressive and strong-willed, yet fragile due to grief, and that makes her a phenomenal character. And all of the other characters in this film are equally as complicated and multi-dimensional, and that’s what makes this film so spectacular.
3. Wreck-It Ralph
Quite possibly Disney’s cleverest movie to date, this movie follows Ralph and his journey to prove to his peers that he is more than just a villain. Filled with cameos from classic video game characters, as well as big-name cast members like John C. Reilly and Jane Lynch, this movie is both hilarious and heartwarming. It also leaves audiences with a great message- “there’s no one I’d rather be than me.”
2. Les Misérables
Tom Hopper’s adaptation of what may be the greatest musical of all time was easily one of the most anticipated movies of this year. While it received mixed reviews with critics, true fans of the musical were immensely satisfied. They stayed mostly true to the original score, provided strong vocals to support that score, and managed to portray the same emotional dynamic the musical delivers so eloquently. Hugh Jackman portrayed Jean Valjean with near perfection, and Anne Hathaway gave the single greatest performance of her career as Fantine. In its almost three hour runtime, this movie managed to keep audiences captivated for every second with its talented cast and beautiful cinematography. Oh gosh, should this have been number one?
1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
No, while Les Misérables was spectacular, this film is ever so slightly superior. Adapted from Stephen Chbosky’s classic coming of age novel, this film contains qualities that everyone can relate to. Grief, guilt, homosexuality, the struggle to make friends, the film has it all. And the film has a spectacular cast, each member giving both humorous and heart-wrenching performances (most notably Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller, who each deserve the Academy Award, though they probably won’t even be nominated). With Chbosky both writing the script and directing the film, the film was incredibly true to the book (every author should be this involved in the film adaptations of their novels). Given all these elements, how could this not be the best movie of 2012?