The Films I Watched In 2012 Awards

30 Dec

With 2012 drawing to an end, it’s time for my second annual year end awards. Just like last year, I have not had time to fully delve into all the films released this year to the degree I would like to, so I once again focus on what I saw this year, no matter when it was released.

Thus, I’m happy to present A Swede Talks Movies’ The Films I Watched In 2012 Awards!

I saw 204 movies this year (not counting rewatches), which is a slight step down from last year’s 229. This is fine, and expected. In matters not movie-related, this year was busier than the last one for me. I still got a lot of good watching done, knocking off some long-standing entries from my List of Shame, starting to explore new directors like Buster Keaton and Ingmar Bergman, venturing into Iranian cinema for the first time, and much more.

So without further ado, here are some random silly highly prestigious categories, and their respective victors!

Skärmavbild 2012-12-28 kl. 14.18.03Best Beatdown of a Puny God Award
Winner: The Avengers

I’m sure mine wasn’t the only theater in the world to erupt with laughter when Hulk went to town on Loki. I could hardly breathe myself due to laughing so hard. Unexpected, brutal, and hilarious. Surely one of the greatest moments in 2012 film.

Skärmavbild 2012-12-28 kl. 14.29.27Walken Award for Best Show-Stealing Performance In A Bad Film
Winner: Malcolm McDowell – Silent Night

Silent Night was quite the run-of-the-mill slasher flick, with nothing remarkable taking place throughout its running time. Nothing, that is, except for Malcolm McDowell as grumpy and in-charge Sheriff James Cooper. He is wildly off-key compared to the rest of the cast, chewing the scenery at every turn, and the writers seem to have expected this, as they’ve given him way funnier lines than anyone else in the film. “Big mistake: bringing a flamethrower to a gun fight!” If there is a reason to see the movie – and to be perfectly frank, there isn’t really – it’s McDowell.

GoodFellasBest Film That I Should Have Seen A Long Time Ago Award
Winner: Goodfellas
Runner-up: Jaws

I would say that Goodfellas and Jaws are the two movies I’ve gotten the most “You haven’t seen that one!?” comments about these last few years. It feels good to have finally gotten around to them, especially since both turned out to be pretty great films. Goodfellas is the richer of the two in my eyes, but it’s a close call. Prediction: If this category returns next year, I’d say Schindler’s List might be a potential frontrunner.

3851_3Award for Excellence In Sexiness
Winner: George Clooney & Jennifer Lopez – Out of Sight

I’m surprised any copies still remain of Out of Sight, because the chemistry between J-Lo and G-Clo should rightly have scorched the celluloid to ashes. Every scene between them is sizzling. Where is this Lopez nowadays?

600full-clean,-shaven-screenshotMost Intense Physical Discomfort Award
Winner: Clean, Shaven
Runner-up: Bug

What is it about fingernails that makes injuries to them so cringe-inducing? There wasn’t much I really dug about this portrait of schizophrenia, but the part where Peter Greene cuts a fingernail loose from his finger had me curled up in a ball on my sofa.

9fb437fcGuitar Hero Award for Best Use Of “Free Bird”
Winner: The Devil’s Rejects

The Devil’s Rejects is an unrelenting, gruesome, dirty and crazy ride all the way through, and there is no better way for it to conclude than the strangely touching and epic ending we got, set to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s magnum opus.

Hunger 2Best Long Take Award
Winner: Hunger
Runner-up: Goodfellas

Sorry, Scorsese. The famous Goodfellas scene with Ray Liotta and Lorraine Bracco entering a night club is really cool, and more visually impressive than my winner here. The long take in Hunger is just Michael Fassbender and Liam Cunningham talking for 17 minutes. No camera movements, no action, no nothing. Just two people talking. And it is riveting regardless.

Skärmavbild 2012-12-28 kl. 14.42.53Best Colossal Fuck-Up Character Award
Winner: Vince Vaughn – Made

Everything Vince Vaughn’s character Ricky Slade does in Made is a disaster. He talks when he shouldn’t, spends money he can’t afford to spend, brings guns when no guns are allowed, and constantly puts his friend Bobby (Jon Favreau) in trouble. I watched the film with two friends of mine, and I lost count of how many times we uttered “What the hell are you doing!?” at the screen. It’s tremendous writing, and Vaughn does a great job with the part.

11597091_700x700min_1“Why Did I Watch This?” Award for When I Should Have Known Better
Winner: American Pie Presents – The Book of Love

Of course the last direct-to-DVD American Pie film was going to be terrible. I knew that, and yet I watched it anyway. I wasn’t going to, honestly. I had seen the first six films in the franchise – for stupid reasons – but the direct-to-DVD ones were terrible, and I was happy to call it quits with the series and not bother with The Book of Love. And then American Reunion came out. And then I heard that there was nothing in it that contradicted the direct-to-DVD titles, and that it in fact built on some plot elements first introduced in them. Which means that these terrible films were actually canon. Since American Reunion was getting some good word, I wanted to see it. But how could I do that without first seeing The Book of Love? I couldn’t. I watched it. And it was a steaming pile of shit.

faq-about-time-travel-8Best Song & Dance In A Public Bathroom Award
Winner: Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel

The first time Dean Lennox Kelly somewhat drunkenly dances around crooning “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, it’s one of those really great scenes where you can’t help but laugh even thought nothing overtly funny is going on. But then there’s an encore later on with him and his friends Chris O’Dowd and Marc Wootton, and that’s when it becomes truly tremendous.

0000215785“What’s The Big Deal?” Award for A Beloved Film That Left Me Underwhelmed
Winner: An American Werewolf in London
Runner-up: Beetlejuice

England is doing well in this category. Last year, British cult comedy Withnail & I was the runner-up for this award. This year, England-set An American Werewolf in London takes the crown. Save for the great transformation scene, the film is just dull and plodding. Neither funny nor scary, and I do wonder where all the love is coming from.

Skärmavbild 2012-12-28 kl. 14.50.47“It Makes Sense In Context” Award for Film That Spawned The Weirdest Thought In My Brain
Winner: Pleasantville

“Hmm, my water boiler is gray. It must be a virgin.”

Shannyn-Sossamon-Poster-of-The-Day-2012Shannyn Sossamon Award for Best Shannyn Sossamon Performance
Winner: Shannyn Sossamon – The Day

The Day was a pretty terrible post-apocalypse movie, and I’m not even sure I’d call Sossamon’s performance the best part of it, but whatever! Big congratulations to Sossamon for picking up her second consecutive victory in this category! Here’s to hoping she shows up in better films next year.

Skärmavbild 2012-12-28 kl. 14.52.43Nicolas Cage Award for Best Nicolas Cage Performance
Winner: John Cusack – The Raven
Runner-up: Nicolas Cage – Fast Times at Ridgemont High

I knew something felt off about 2012! It turns out that I haven’t seen any new film with Nicolas Cage in it, except for his debut Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and that’s just a tiny background part. Fortunately, John Cusack stepped up to the plate and delivered a spot-on Cage impression in The Raven. From the sudden shouting to the Vampire’s Kiss-esque flowery vernacular to the ridiculous hair, there is nothing about his performance that doesn’t scream Cage.

birds on the playground hitchcock1Best “Oh Crap” Moment Award
Winner: The Birds

The playground. God damn. The playground.

cear-tom-cruise-rock-of-ages-cover-story-vBecause He Deserves One Award
Winner: Tom Cruise – Rock of Ages

Tom Cruise could have won many awards this year through his performance as Stacee Jaxx. Best Male Supporting Actor, Best Kiss, Best Sex Scene, Best Song Performance – for either “Wanted Dead or Alive” or “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, mind you – Best Character Introducing Scene, Most Charisma, and so forth. This award should be taken as a catch-all for everything he did. This remains one of my very favorite performances from any 2012 film, and ranks among Cruise’s best work on screen ever. Haters are welcome.

infierno-blanco-pelicula-1Best 2012 Film So Far Award
Winner: The Grey
Runner-up: The Queen of Versailles

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I sat down to watch The Grey. I had heard mixed reactions to it, with some calling it one of the year’s best while others referred to it as a massive disappointment. As it turns out, the former camp was right. The Grey is an amazingly visceral experience, where I felt in my bones every hardship the group of survivors went through. It’s a powerful movie that’s on the surface about the will to survive, but with enough layers about spirituality and mortality to give it real weight. I was mesmerized by this movie, and don’t hesitate for a second to call it the best film I’ve seen from 2012 at this point. If something I see later on trumps it, I’ll consider myself lucky indeed to witness more such greatness.

Skärmavbild 2012-12-28 kl. 15.27.13Worst 2012 Film So Far Award
Winner: Lockout

Imagine trying to have a conversation with Guy Pearce‘s character in this movie. Every single damn thing he says is either snarky wise-assery or some lame action movie one-liner. Spending more than two minutes with a guy like this in real life would be tiresome at best. In Lockout, we get to pal around with him for 95 minutes while he stumbles around a space prison trying to rescue a hostage or something. It gets old really damn fast, as the action is pedestrian and the characters are either non-existent or lazy caricatures. Lockout isn’t so fantastically awful that I rule out the possibility of something worse from 2012 coming along somewhere down the road, but it’s still pretty damn bad.

tumblr_lej7gg9SWH1qdhh60Best Swedish Film Seen By Me In 2012 Award
Winner: Persona
Runner-up: Eat Sleep Die

“Persona might well turn out to be the most significant movie-watching I do this entire year.” That’s what I said in my mini-review of it back in March, and I’d say that remains a fair assessment. No other movie has ever made me see the light in terms of black & white beauty like this one did. It turned Ingmar Bergman from “guy I guess I should watch more stuff by” into a true master. It introduced me to Liv Ullman and Bibi Andersson. And it told a spellbinding story in a way that had me in a daze for the rest of the day. Or week. Or month. Or indeed year. With all due respect to Gabriela Pichler‘s powerful debut Eat Sleep Die – to date the only movie I’ve ever watched twice in theater – nothing I saw from Sweden was even close to Persona for me this year.

Skärmavbild 2012-12-28 kl. 15.29.36Worst Film Seen By Me In 2012 Award
Winner: In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds
Runner-up: The Prophecy II

The first In the Name of the King movie ripped off the plot of Lord of the Rings, filled the cast with recognizable faces, threw a bunch of money into the mix and still ended up a really lame movie. The sequel had no budget, Dolph Lundgren as its only star, and ripped off the plot of The Matrix infused with time travel. It was even worse than the first one. I watched the two films on the same day. It was not a very invigorating experience.

persona15Best Film Seen By Me In 2012 Award
Winner: Persona
Runner-up: The Remains of the Day

Not only was Persona the best Swedish film I saw this year; it was also the best movie I saw in all of 2012, period. This wasn’t originally how I thought it would go. At first draft of this post, when I just picked out the categories and jotted down the winners, I had The Remains of the Day at the gold medal place here. It’s an amazing film, I reasoned, and it’s nice to spread the wealth around, so Persona got the runner-up spot. But then I started doing write-ups for the different categories, and while writing about Persona for the Best Swedish Film Award, I remembered just how much it rocked my world. I tried to evoke the same degree of feelings for Remains, and I realized it wasn’t quite there. Persona ruled 2012 for me. All hail the Bergman, the Nykvist, the Ullman, and the Andersson.

What’s the best film you saw this year? And what do you think of my picks here?


Posted by on 30 December, 2012 in Year End Awards


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8 responses to “The Films I Watched In 2012 Awards

  1. mettemk

    30 December, 2012 at 16:46

    Awesome as usually!
    Loved your comment on Out of Sight which I just added to my watchlist ;). Actually I wondered what Lopez’s doing just recently… The last I heard of her was that razor ad.
    Also, thanks for the warning about Clean, Shaven. I already freaked out in that kind of similar Black Swan scene.
    And lastly, applause for including the Hunger scene, it was so fantastic that I was simply nailed to the screen (is that actually an expression? seems fitting though) like I had never been before.

    • Emil

      30 December, 2012 at 17:58

      Yeah, Lopez in general seems to have kind of disappeared of the radar. Certainly in terms of movies. Double-certainly in terms of GREAT movies. Out of Sight is teriffic, though. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

      The nail stuff in Black Swan was really uncomfortable for me too, but I’m not exaggerating when I saw that the Clean Shaven scene is more than twice as bad. I read somewhere that people fainted to that part when it played in cinema, and I have no trouble believing that.

      Glad to hear you liked the post! I hope you have a great New Year’s Eve. :)

  2. vinnieh

    30 December, 2012 at 17:01

    Great write up, I agree with you about Clean, Shaven it does make you shiver and feel uneasy.

    • Emil

      30 December, 2012 at 18:00

      Indeed, Clean Shaven was quite the unnerving movie, I’ll give it that much. I wasn’t satisfied with it as a whole, but I don’t think I’ll forget the fingernail scene anytime soon. Thank you for the kind words!

  3. ilovethatfilm

    31 December, 2012 at 11:38

    Love your categories! My best was Dark Knight Rises. The Grey was a very unexpected surprise! Saw the trailer for Lockout and decided against it immediately! Glad I did now!

    • Emil

      1 January, 2013 at 02:33

      Thank you! The Dark Knight Rises would probably be somewhere in my current top 5 of the year. I might like Batman Begins and The Dark Knight better, but TDKR was still a very good time at the cinema. I know there are some that found Lockout to be mindless fun, but it just got on my nerves in a bad way.

  4. Nostra

    2 January, 2013 at 14:24

    Yeah, Loki’s beatdown was one of the best this year and also had me in stitches. I can imagine you have heard that a lot about Goodfellas and I’m happy to see you’ve seen it now.

    Hahaha, love your Nicolas Cage award. Haven’t seen The Raven, but it almost makes me want to check it out.

    Surprised by your choice for The Grey, I really didn’t like the movie and thought it was very predictable. Just shows that everyone experiences them differently.

    Lockout was bad and the one liners actually were the only things I enjoyed about it.

    Still planning to see Persona. I have it, but have not come around to playing it yet.

    I’ve also put up my own look back at 2012 if you are interested…

    • Emil

      2 January, 2013 at 19:44

      The Raven is an okay-ish film. One of those that you can watch without getting bored, but you’re not missing anything if you skip it. Cusack’s performance is the most inetresting part of it, I reckon.

      Yeah, The Grey seems to have been a divise movie. I know others who have put it as one of their 2012 favorites, but there are many who don’t find it special at all. It’s interesting, really. Anyway, it certainly rocked my world.

      I’ll make sure to check out your post, Nostra. Thank you for commenting!


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