Wednesday, January 02, 2013

22 Movies I Regret Not Seeing in 2012

Happy New Year, everybody!

One of my favorite things to do each January is look back at the movies of the previous year. I'm gonna do that every Wednesday for the rest of the month, starting with my least favorite and working my way up to a Top 10, but I realize that ranking movies that way is a flawed process. I can only talk about movies I've seen. There were a bunch that I had no interest in this year, but I also didn't get to see everything I wanted to.

So, by way of clearing the floor for my lists, here are 22 movies that I wish could have been on them. I have no idea how I might have ranked them, but I'm sorry I wasn't able to find out by Year End.

In the order they were released:

1. The Raven

I love Edgar Allan Poe and John Cusack. Not entirely confident about the plot that seems ripped off from the series premiere of Castle, but I'm willing to find out.

2. The Pirates: Band of Misfits

I have no idea how I missed a pirate movie starring Hugh Grant by the creators of Wallace and Gromit. That should've been something I saw opening night.

3. Safety Not Guaranteed

Audrey Plaza is very funny and I also dig Jake Johnson from New Girl. The plot also sounded intriguing with its focus on loneliness and whether or not the time travel aspect is real or just a metaphor for regret.

Full disclosure: I actually saw this movie about half-an-hour before writing this post, so maybe it shouldn't be on this list. I saw it on DVD though and the rest of my lists are all movies I saw in the theater, so I'm keeping it here.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed by Safety Not Guaranteed. It's a funny movie and worthwhile for the performances, but the story doesn't have much to say other than "loneliness sucks" and that it's better to have someone in your life. That's a fine start to a theme, but I wanted more. There's a huge, missed opportunity in a choice Plaza makes late in the film and Johnson's subplot is only halfway done when the final credits roll.

4. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

If there's anyone I find more charming than Keira Knightley, it's Steve Carell.

5. Magic Mike

No, wait. It's Matthew McConaughey and he's hilarious in the trailer for this.

6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

My son turned me on to the Wimpy Kid movies and I love them. They're hilarious. I'm not watching one without him though and he'd just as soon see them on DVD.

Actually, not a big fan of seeing movies in the theater, my son. He'll go if everyone's going, but he'd prefer to be at home (and we don't even have a decent TV). I don't know if that's typical of other kids, but it makes me curious about the future of the movie industry. Not about whether there is a future (of course there is), but just about what it will look like. Will future generations value having control over the presentation more than the less convenient spectacle of the big screen and giant sound?

7. Chicken With Plums

I loved the graphic novel this is based on.

8. Dredd

My only exposure to Judge Dredd is a) those Dredd/Batman crossovers they did in the '90s and b) the horrible Sylvester Stallone/Rob Schneider movie from the same time period. None of that stuff made me a fan, but I'm as fond of second chances as I am of anything Karl Urban signs up for. Judge Dredd has a lot of fans, so there must be something to him. I'm interested in seeing the character's film potential redeemed.

9. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Like me a teenage comedy/romance. Also curious to see what Emma Watson can do post-Potter.

10. Solomon Kane

I don't know if it's accurate to call this a 2012 movie, because they've been announcing it for about three years now and I'm not real up on why it was just now released this year to a very limited number of theaters. Probably because it's not very good, but it's such a solid concept and a Robert E. Howard character, so I'll take my chances.

11. The Oranges

Hugh Laurie and Oliver Platt. Hoping this'll take the edge off my House withdrawal.

12. Cloud Atlas

I don't have high hopes that Cloud Atlas' execution is equal to its ambition (the makeup isn't at all convincing, for starters, and that seems like a big deal), but it looks like a magnificent spectacle and I'm a sucker for these stories about how we're all connected.

13. Fun Size

A Halloween comedy with Jane Levy from Suburgatory. That's all I need to know.

14. Wreck-It Ralph

I'm not enough of a gamer to be super excited by the cameos and in-jokes, but I like a good Disney animated movie and by all accounts, this is one.

15. Lincoln

Torn between loving Daniel Day Lewis on the one hand, and not liking Spielberg's sentimental side on the other. Curiosity wins out though.

16. Anna Karenina

Another one I'm conflicted about. Adultery stories usually push me away, but Keira Knightley has the opposite effect.

17. Silver Linings Playbook

Another one I was wishy-washy about. Love Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Pretty tired of uninspired romantic comedies and Robert DeNiro's being in them. I've heard this is anything but uninspired though, and it also features Chris Tucker's return to acting in something other than a Rush Hour movie. Honestly, it's that less element that finally draws me in.

18. Life of Pi

Didn't think I wanted to see a movie about a kid adrift on a lifeboat for two hours, no matter how pretty it is, who directed it, or how many CGI tigers are involved. Ironically, it took having the end spoiled for me to make me want to check it out. I wish now that I'd been willing to see it before and been surprised, but oh well. I'd like to see it so that I can talk with people about it. Sounds like there's a lot of discussion to be had around this one.

19. This is 40

Because I'll watch any Paul Rudd comedy. That rule has bitten me in the past, but most of the time it's trustworthy.

20. Zero Dark Thirty

Didn't have much interest in a docudrama about the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, but the trailer sucked me in with its focus on Jessica Chastain's character and her team. Also, the mission itself looks absolutely haunting. Should've trusted Kathryn Bigelow to do this right.

21. Jack Reacher

Looks like a mediocre Tom Cruise action flick, but I still tend to enjoy those.

22. Django Unchained

I'm not as in love with the indulgent, alternate reality of Inglorious Basterds as most people, so I'm not all thrilled at the possibility of seeing it repeated against the backdrop of the Antebellum South. I'd prefer to examine history as it really was and learn from that instead of seeing Quentin Tarantino play out his fantasies onscreen. On the other hand, I love pretty much everyone in this movie and want to judge it on its own merits instead of on my fears about it.


Siskoid said...

Of these, I've only seen Safety Not Guaranteed and Django Unchained, though Dredd is on my list (heard very good things from people I trust on this sort of thing). If Bigelow wasn't associated with Zero Dark Thirty, I'd agree this was a quick, even disturbing cash-in like those 9-11 movies (which I have not seen either).

I'm also very surprised you didn't see Pirates on opening night. What happened?!

Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

While I was aware of Solomon Kane's release, looking back I can't remember very much advertising for it, which is strange for a "genre" action film. With no big star in the lead and the lackluster performance of pulp concepts like "John Carter" maybe the studios thought they could cover their losses by burying it.

Michael May said...

Siskoid, all I can figure about Pirates is that there must have been something else going on that weekend that kept me from getting there. Hard to believe!

Erik, yeah. I never even saw a trailer.

Kal said...

Don't miss Dredd. Urban is amazing and totally redeemed the property. Those ultra slow motion death effects will be standard in all action movies from now on. I could watch one of these a year for the rest of my life if the same cast and crew as involved.

After I saw the trailer for Silver Linings Playbook I thought the last thing I wanted to see were the problems of pretty people but that Jennifer is such a good actress and I have heard nothing but good about this one.

Michael May said...

Thanks for the recommendation on Dredd. I'm right there with you on SLP.

JK Parkin said...

Wreck-It Ralph is great; I am a video game guy and loved the references, but I think the story and characters are strong enough that you don't have to be to enjoy it.

Jack Reacher was better than I expected. It's directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who did Usual Suspects, which is probably what made it better than your typical Tom Cruise action movie.


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