2012 movies – a few of my favorite things
As 2012 comes to an end, I take a look at the movies that weren’t necessarily the best of the year, but the ones that gave me the most entertainment.
As 2012 comes to a close without the apocalypse “predicted” by the Mayans and Roland Emmerich, it’s time to look back on some of my favorite movies from the past year. Now this is by no means a comprehensive list of the Best films of the year, simply because there are many Oscar hopefuls that have yet to play in my neck of the woods (Baltimore is not regarded very highly by the studios as one of those “select” cities some movies open in first before getting a wider release). And with several writers here at CliqueClack covering movies, we don’t all get to see the same movies for reviewing purposes. So, while Zero Dark Thirty and The Impossible have yet to open in Baltimore, my 2012 list will consist of the movies I simply enjoyed the most this year. So let’s take the plunge and see if we can find something that was entertaining, if not great (i.e. Oscar caliber). The following list is in no particular order … except the order in which I saw them.
21 Jump Street was an update of a 1980s TV cop drama that absolutely should not have worked … but it did! Instead of sticking to the straight drama of the show, the movie was a full-out comedy that somehow still managed to honor the show and be pants-wettingly funny at the same time. Jonah Hill is an old hand at comedy by this time, but who knew Channing Tatum had the chops and timing to deliver the dialog, do the pratfalls, and still manage to be charming all at the same time? We saw a level of self-deprecation in this performance that we really haven’t seen before, and this certainly contributed to Tatum’s meteoric rise to stardom in 2012. Before this, he was just another pretty face. And the movie has one of the funniest visual gags — when Tatum’s and Hill’s characters get inadvertently stoned — in a movie this year.
After sitting on the shelf for two years due to the bankruptcy of MGM, Lionsgate stepped up to give The Cabin in the Woods the proper release it deserved. Part horror, part sci-fi, part satire, the movie took the stereotypical horror movie characters — the jock, the virgin, the brain, the nerd, the slutty girl — and put them in a stereotypical situation, but there was a lot more going on behind this premise than anyone realized. The film beautifully poked fun at everything audiences expected from this type of movie, then turned it all upside-down in the third act without being snarky or denigrating the genre. It ended up being a terrific send-up of the genre, but much more subtle and reverent than the Scary Movie franchise. And Lionsgate really lucked out by releasing the film now as the then unknown Chris Hemsworth has ascended to stardom thanks to his career-making role as Thor.
I know I’ll get raked over the coals for this one, but I totally enjoyed the Farrelly Brothers’ update of The Three Stooges. After the last few films from the Farrellys, I had the lowest of expectations for this movie, which took the blasphemous route of casting actors to play carbon copies of the original Stooges. The die-hard fans were appalled at the notion, but the Farrellys managed to cast three actors who were able to remain faithful to the original trio and never took the characters into parody territory. Chris Diamantopoulos and Will Sasso, as Moe and Curly, were terrific with their voices and mannerisms, but the real star of the show was Sean Hayes as Larry. After being known mainly as Jack on Will & Grace, Hayes showed that he really is more than a one-note actor (and put to rest the notion that an openly gay actor can’t play anything but gay), and totally nailed the character of Larry that actor Larry Fine originally gave life to. And being fans of the original, the Farrellys put the care and love into the project and respected what came before. I know many people felt this movie was totally unnecessary, but the audience I saw it with laughed from beginning to end and who doesn’t want that from a comedy?