When compiling my top ten movies of the year, some of it has to do with the aesthetics, directing and writing, and a lot has to do with character and story, but most of it depends on how much I want to see that movie again. While some films might be considered excellent and well-made, if I can’t wait to see it again, it falls down the list. (The Impossible just missed my list – powerful and well-acted). With that in mind, my top ten are as follows:
9. LooperTime travel is fascinating, especially when done well. This was a cool premise. I don’t understand why they would cast Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis as the same person when they look nothing alike, but kudos to Gordon-Levitt for nailing Willis’ mannerisms and way of speaking. Oh, and the little kid, Pierce Gagnon? So cute (…and scary!).
8. Beasts of the Southern WildSpeaking of impressive kid performances, Quvenzhane Wallis deserves all the recognition and nominations she’s receiving. She blows me away and trust me, she will make you cry. It’s a sweet movie about the relationship between a father and a daughter, and they truly carry the movie.
7. Django UnchainedQuentin Tarantino knows dialogue. And he knows entertainment. This film is fun and suspenseful, and funny, and bad-ass. Christoph Waltz steals the show. It’s no Inglourious Basterds, but it’s pretty close.
6. Silver Linings PlaybookI’m a sucker for romantic comedies, and this one adds another level to it with its serious undertones. Bradley Cooper is phenomenal. The ending is super cliche and almost too expected, but I still loved it.
5. Zero Dark ThirtyWe knew how this will end, and yet, I was glued to the screen. A fascinating look at what really happened in the capture and death of Osama Bin Laden. Extremely suspenseful and entertaining. Jessica Chastain impresses me once again.
4. Ruby SparksThis movie is made of magic. What I love most is that Zoe Kazan was terrific in it – and she wrote it. You go, girl. Paul Dano is not my favorite actor, but somehow, he’s forgiven. It had an Eternal Sunshine feel to it, and I don’t think I’ve ever said that about a movie.
3. ArgoAgain, knew the ending, but what a ride. I had so much fun watching this. A serious, suspenseful story told with humor and Hollywood jokes. Great acting. Scoot McNairy had the best scene in the airport (you might remember him from my favorite film of 2008, In Search of a Midnight Kiss).
2. Safety Not GuaranteedThis made me so happy. It’s such a cute, fun film with Aubrey Plaza’s dry, awkward humor and Mark Duplass as a nerdy outsider with a plan. Jake Johnson is equally amazing as Plaza’s boss. It’s a feel-good indie by a first-time writer and director, and nothing like I’ve ever seen.
1. The Perks of Being a WallflowerYes, I read the book first, and the movie far exceeded my expectations. Logan Lerman is so good as our lead man in this story of misfits. I love its message and its look at high school through the eyes of a quiet freshman.