Saturday, January 12, 2013

Parker's Top 10 Movies of 2012

10. Chronicle
This is the story of three high school friends who suddenly find themselves with bitchin' telekinetic powers. I think a lot of people either had no knowledge of this flick's existence when it hit theaters in February or were turned off by the played out premise (super-hero origins plus found footage!). But, it turns out this movie is great because it avoids the triteness of its genre(s), as it doesn't dwell on the hows and whys of super powers and instead focuses (almost solely) on the emotional and psychological impact of having these powers. There's also in-story reasons for there being a camera in every scene to document these events, which is increasingly rare for that genre. I also love how the found footage aspect puts the viewer in the shoes of the bystanders of a super-hero encounter near the climax. It really conveys the epic confusion and excitement that would fuck your day up if Dr. Doom and Iron Man started fighting in your neighborhood.

Oh, and the director is apparently gonna be doing the new Fantastic Four movie next, which has me pretty stoked.

9. The Loved Ones
This is an Aussie movie that came out in 2009, but it just came out in America this year. And that's where I live (because I love Freedom and political hyperbole), so it counts as a 2012 movie. This movie is equal parts "Ghost World," "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," "House of 1000 Corpses" (though, that's kind of redundant) and a Taylor Swift song.

About halfway through the movie, I realized I need to go to therapy because I was falling in love with the Lola character.

8. ThanksKilling 3
We covered this movie on JFD138 and (spoiler alert) I was the only one who really liked it, but I think it's super fun, inventive, original, irreverent and, most of all, watchable. I've seen this movie five times so far (more or less, as I just have it on my tv at all times, so I catch scenes here and there) and I think I'll be re-watching it for so long that by the time I get tired of it, everyone else will come around and acknowledge its inevitable cult-classic status. Or at least cult-semi-classic, anyway. ThanksKilling 3 is probably a lock for being the prettiest movie we've ever done on JFD, aside from maybe "Total Recall" or "Gothic" or something.

I realize, though, I'm probably biased towards this, as I'll champion any movie where a space worm tells an anecdote about a friend of his having "worminal cancer."

7. Django Unchained
I've talked about it on the show, but I almost loved this movie. I went in skeptical, because I didn't like "Inglourious Basterds," or as I call it "Inglourous Basterds a Little Bit, but Mostly Some French Broad who owns a Theater." In fact, I wasn't even planning to see Django at all, but my wife really wanted to see "Les Miserables," so I had to quickly escape by saying "Oh, you go see that and I'll see Django and it'll be like we went to a movie together sorta, right? Eh?" I was turned off by the surprise Frenchmen in "Basterds" so I imagine I'd absolutely hate the omnipresent Frenchmen in Les Miz.

Anyway, despite going in skeptical, I was quickly won over (probably sometime around Christoph Waltz's third line of dialogue or so). By the one-hour mark, I was declaring this Tarantino's best work (as a director) and the best film of 2012, but by the two-hour mark, I was yawning and checking my watch and hoping to be released from my misery. The ending of this film is completely ruined by Q.T.'s ego and lack of solid bros around him to go "Hey, buddy. I know you made 'Pulp Fiction' and everything, but this fucking ending sucks and you have no business playing an Australian slaver. How many fucking Australian slavers were there in Texas, anyway?!" This is why Tarantino's best work is stuff other people directed, because you remove the cataclysmic ego of a man who thinks you can just pause an emotional climax of a film so that he can get his dumb face in the picture. I said this on the show, but imagine watching "Fellowship of the Ring," and the fellowship is waylaid by the Uruk-hai, Boromir dies protecting Merry and Pip and then Frodo and Sam escape and eat lembas bread with Peter Jackson for about a half an hour then return to the battle, see the Uruk-hai steal Merry and Pip AND THEN they decide to go to Mordor by themselves. Sounds fucking stupid right? It sure does.

Anyway, this is #7 on my list, because I'll be able to fast forward all that bullshit on the Blu-ray, probably.

6. Compliance
This movie is a re-enactment of a crime that happened in Kentucky, where a man pretending to be a cop called a McDonald's and told the manager to strip search an employee because she may have drugs or stolen money on her. Surprise: the manager did. Surprise again: It gets so much worse than that.

This movie is horrific for a few reasons. First, it highlights the absolute darkest aspect of humanity: that people will do whatever the fuck someone with authority tells them to do. This is how humans wound up getting slapped with the Holocaust, thinking "Lost" was a good show, voting on "the lesser of two evils" and the Killing Fields. There are tons of ignorant narcissists on youtube and Getglue that comment on this movie with shit like "Look @ these dummiez! Who wood do dat shiz?!" And, sure, it's easy to think that, but compliance is burned deep in our stupid human DNA. Back when we were still monkey people trying to avoid velociraptors, following the orders of the alpha male monkey man probably helped us survive as a species. Otherwise, there'd be fights and tribes and families would break apart, making them easy pickens for a sabertooth tiger or whatever. So, much like a tailbone, blindly following the leader persists in our silly species today.

Another reason this movie is so horrific is that it is not a dramatic re enactment of the original crime. I'm used to movies being "based on a true story," only to be let down by finding out later the only similarities are that the movie and the "true story" both involved humans and virtually everything else was different. But, I was fucking shocked to discover that everything in the movie happened as it did in real life. AND THAT IT HAPPENED 80 OTHER TIMES (to varying degrees, of course.) Perhaps most shocking and wretched is that when they caught the guy who was doing all this, he got acquitted and lives a happy life with his five children, consequence-free. The victims successfully sued McDonald's, though! Good work, American justice system, you're about as effective as Hugh Hefner's wobbly old dick.

5. Roller Town
This is easily the funniest movie of 2012. I can't even remember the last time I laughed so hard watching a movie. Every single gag in this movie cracks me up. Even aside from the chuckle-wuckles and laughie-poos, this is just a fun movie. It's a parody (or maybe a satire) of the goofy star-crossed-lovers-plus-a-hip-trend movies that we love on Junk Food Dinner, like "Roller Boogie," (obviously), "Breakin," "Thrashin," and "Airborne."

The movie is on Netflix Instant now, so go watch it. If you don't go around singing "Jeans! Everybody's wearing their jeans! I got mine on!" instantly, then you have no soul and you should only be allowed to watch "Compliance" for the rest of your life.

Oh, the movie was made by a Canadian sketch troupe (is there any other kind) called Picnicface. You can watch a bunch of their clips here. And they used to have a show in Canada, but it got canceled, probably to get back at me for all all the times I made fun of how clean Toronto is. But, come on! Cities aren't supposed to be that clean! It's creepy.

4. Safety Not Guaranteed
This is a movie that didn't look good on paper. Or on trailer, I guess. I've seen Aubrey Plaza play cynical and detached and I've seen comedies where the punchline is a character that is unflinchingly sincere and genuine and lacking irony, like Mark Duplass's character in this movie. In fact, most comic foils these days fit that description, from Napoleon Dynamite to Dwight Schrute to the bearded dude in "The Hangover." I wonder what that says about our irony-drenched senses of humor?

Anyway- this is a movie about a hoax. Sort of. And it's a movie about time travel. Possibly. But, mostly it's a movie about characters and regret and connections between people and risk and love and the inevitability of getting older and thinking how your life could be different. It's funny and sad and hopeful and entertaining and thought-provoking and beautiful and clever and I love it.

3. The Amazing Spider-Man
I was pretty opposed to this movie, but JFD listener and all-around swell dude, Seth Koozer, told me to see it and I was bored enough to listen. I'm glad I did because it's by far the best Spider-Man movie ever made. I liked (most of) Raimi's movies and everything, but in every one, the villain (who can't control himself because he's been taken over by a symbiote or robot arms or a goblin chemical) kidnaps Mary Jane and blah blah. This movie (and the sequels, judging from the bitter-sweet ending) is less about the simple excitement of Peter Parker overcoming his antagonist, and more about the changes the character goes through because of those antagonists.

The movie has some faults, though. The Lizard looks like a goomba from the Mario Bros movie, and he's boring as crap. But, this movie isn't about him. It's about Peter and Gwen and the great acting and chemistry from those two. Oh, and it's about Denis Leary, cuz he's awesome in this.

2. The Avengers
I love this movie, but I'm genetically predisposed to, I guess, as I have a Captain America tattoo. Admittedly, this movie has a few faults: Why do the Chitauri all die when their mothership blows up? They're not robots! And why does Hawkeye have to be a zombie for most of the movie? And why doesn't Capt. America just handle the whole situation by himself BECAUSE HE'S THE BEST HERO OF ALL TIME?!

Anyway, this is easily the most ambitious super hero movie of all time and perhaps the most ambitious blockbuster movie of all time (aside from Water World or something). Joss Whedon had the task of combining 4 movie franchises into one flick and he pulled it off swimmingly. Joss is best when he's handling ensemble casts and dealing with multiple character arcs and stories. Granted, about 80% of this movie is fighting and stuff, but Joss make a character say more with one line than most writers can in an entire movie.

Besides all that - if watching Hulk smash doesn't get you fucking hype then you can just get out of my face.

1. The Cabin in the Woods
It's probably really, really hard to make a meta critique of horror movies while simultaneously making one of the best horror movies. "Scream" and "Funny Games" come to mind, but the former feels ridiculously dated now and no one seems to enjoy the latter. Either way, we talked the shit out of this movie on JFD106, so I won't spend all day gushing. But, this movie is great. Great performances by everyone in the cast (mostly Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins), a great story full of paranoia and conspiracy and a third act that comes straight out of the wildest dreams of every horror nerd. This movie is amazing and I think it's just gonna pick up steam as the horror benchmark it is as time goes on.

To quote Mark: "Cabin in the Woods is totally a game changer and it has the realest cg bird I've ever seen in my life!"

2 comments:

  1. I remember Mark saying exactly that.

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  2. Re: Django ending: I understand that Tarantino wanted to have Django return to Candieland on his own, without any help or any rules, but I will admit the padding to get there is kind of squiffy. It actually bothered me more the first time I saw it; the second time around I was okay with it. That could be because I knew exactly what was going to happen though. It feels like one of those scenes that I might end up either hating or loving over a long period of time.

    Re: Avengers: I didn't realize how much Avengers satisfied me as an action film until I bought the movie on DVD. With these PG-13 action spectacles (Star Trek, other Marvel movies, etc) I usually just enjoy the film as a whole, and only watch it a couple of times after initially viewing it (despite loving the crap out of the movie, of course). But I find myself popping in my Avengers bluray just to watch that AMAZING Hulk/Thor fight on the helicarrier, cause it is fucking amazing. And I'm totally okay with the super action spectacle of this film cause I know Joss will turn it inward and make everyone sad with the Avengers sequel. (In fact, it looks like they're already going that way with the individual movies since Iron Man 3 looks sad as hell and we all know that Captain America 2 will be the saddest movie of all time).

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