2012 Movie Challenge

Applies To: Nothing at all

I love going to the movies. I enjoy going with friends, but going by myself is fine too. I find it relaxing and fun. So this past year I challenged myself to go to the movies 100 times.

For those of you with quick math skills you’ll realize that’s nearly 2 a week. Unfortunately, I really slacked off on my goal for the first 7-8 months of the year and so I spent a lot of time at the movies in the past few months. It was awesome.

This post is not going to have any technical content like most of my posts, but it’s my blog so… Oh well! Now for all my lists!

The Movies

Here’s the full list of the movies I saw in theatre last year in the order I saw them:

  1. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
  2. War Horse
  3. The Muppets
  4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  5. Underworld: The Awakening
  6. The Grey
  7. Contraband
  8. The Woman in Black
  9. The Descendents
  10. Chronicle
  11. Ghost Rider
  12. Safe House
  13. Project X
  14. John Carter
  15. 21 Jump Street
  16. Lorax
  17. The Iron Lady
  18. Jeff, Who Lives at Home
  19. Hunger Games
  20. Hunger Games
  21. Wrath of the Titans
  22. We Need to Talk About Kevin
  23. Cabin in the Woods
  24. 21 Jump Street
  25. Raven
  26. Avengers
  27. Avengers
  28. Dictator
  29. Men in Black 3
  30. Hit & Run
  31. Prometheus
  32. Snow White & the Huntsman
  33. That’s My Boy
  34. Battleship
  35. Dark Shadows
  36. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
  37. Brave
  38. Safety Not Guaranteed
  39. Moonrise Kingdom
  40. Ted
  41. Savages
  42. Spider-man
  43. Batman Begins
  44. Dark Knight
  45. Dark Knight Rises
  46. Dark Knight Rises
  47. Night Watch
  48. Beasts of the Southern Wild
  49. Total Rekall
  50. The Campaign
  1. The Expendables 2
  2. Jason Bourne Legacy
  3. Hope Springs
  4. Premium Rush
  5. Lawless
  6. Killer Joe
  7. The Campaign
  8. Possession
  9. Branded
  10. Resident Evil
  11. Celeste & Jesse Forever
  12. Dredd
  13. Trouble with the Curve
  14. Looper
  15. End of Watch
  16. Taken 2
  17. 7 Psychopaths
  18. Argo
  19. Pitch Perfect
  20. Cloud Atlas
  21. Flight
  22. The Man with the Iron Fists
  23. Silent Hill
  24. Wreck it Ralph
  25. Skyfall
  26. Hotel Transylvania
  27. The Master
  28. Cloud Atlas
  29. Lincoln
  30. Red Dawn
  31. Alex Cross
  32. Killing Them Softly
  33. Rise of the Guardians
  34. Anna Karenina
  35. Red Dawn
  36. Life of Pi
  37. Hitchcock
  38. The Silver Linings Playbook
  39. A Royal Affair
  40. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  41. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  42. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  43. Skyfall
  44. Holy Motors
  45. The Guilt Trip
  46. Jack Reacher
  47. Django Unchained
  48. Django Unchained
  49. Les Misérables
  50. This is 40

Top 10

10. Lincoln

Daniel Day-Lewis was fantastic in this movie and so was the rest of the cast. I enjoyed this movie but probably not as much as everyone else. I thought it was a very interesting peek into a portion of Lincoln’s presidency but I found it strange that the Vampire Hunter movie covered more of his life. In fact, this movie didn’t show him cut the head off a vampire with an ax even once! Sure the 13th amendment was important, but to forget his courageous fight against those who lust for blood is to misunderstand and misrepresent a truly great man!

9. Cloud Atlas

I have no idea what this movie was about – but it sure was entertaining! It nearly gave me toxic shock syndrome since I didn’t want to go the bathroom in case they finally revealed the point of the movie (SPOILER: They don’t). I saw this movie a second time sure that I would figure it out; Nope. But it still makes my list because Tom Hanks, spaceships, cannibals, Tom Hanks, clone murder, Hallie Berry as an old Korean doctor, explosions, etc!

8. Celeste & Jesse Forever

I have no idea why this movie got such a limited release (less than 600 screens at it’s peak and only 4 opening weekend). It had pretty big names (Andy Samberg, Rashida Jones, Elijah Wood, etc.) and was a romantic comedy. Not only that, it was really funny and surprisingly touching. Rashida Jones deserved an Oscar nomination for both her script and her performance. You probably haven’t seen it so do yourself a favor and pick it up at Redbox sometime.

7. Brave

I love almost everything Pixar does (let’s pretend the Cars franchise doesn’t exist). They are funny without resorting to inappropriate adult jokes (I’m looking at you, Shrek), the animation is beautiful and the story is generally surprising or at least very well done (Bug’s Life = 3 Amigos, Cars = Doc Hollywood, Toy Story 3 = Brave Little Toaster, Your Mind = Blown). Brave was no exception. The characters were great and I was impressed that they had a Disney Princess who didn’t want to wear dresses all day and find herself a man! Good thing all the toys have her wearing the dress she hated and present her as a girly princess. So ignore the toys and go buy the movie.

6. Looper

Besides some pretty big plot holes (that some nerd can probably talk his way through), this was a cool, well done sci-fi movie. I especially liked watching that guy from There Will Be Blood get killed again. He’s probably a nice guy and he’s a good actor, but his character in There Will Be Blood was so awful I wouldn’t mind if every character he plays gets killed too. In fact, a There Will Be Blood/Looper mash-up movie would be awesome! “I drink my own future self’s milkshake! This makes no sense!”

5. The Muppets

This was technically released in 2011, but I didn’t see it until 2012 so it counts. I love the Muppets and this was probably their greatest movie. It had one of the best songs ever (Man or Muppet), a sing along by Chris Cooper, and the Muppets. Can’t ask for much more.

4. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

This movie started a little slowly, had some weird dwarf singalongs and a guy who lets a bird poop all over his face. Despite all that, I thought this movie was just as good, and in some ways better than, The Fellowship of the Ring. Don’t believe me? Try watching that one again and see if you can stand it when Frodo tries to have any emotional depth. This movie was full of adventure, there was sword fighting, epic battles, and British Jim from the office was able to pull off a great impression of the Bilbo Baggins from LOTRs while actually making him likable.

3. Moonrise Kingdom

Great performances, great script and Wes Anderson was at his most Wes Andersonny. I could have done without the middle school girl in a bra getting felt up scene, but I still liked this quirky movie. The movie was really funny and if you liked any of his other films (especially Fantastic Mr. Fox or The Darjeeling Limited) you’ll really like this one. If you thought The Guilt Trip was the height of hilarity: steer clear.

2. Beasts of the Southern Wild

I knew nothing about this movie going in, I just knew I needed to see another movie but was very pleasantly surprised. This story was fascinating and I might have cried a little, maybe. Quvenzhané Wallis was only 5 but gave one of the best performances I saw all year and I hope she wins Best Supporting Actress (although she was clearly the lead). It’s a little artsy at times but the story is so interesting and the characters so different than anything I’ve seen in a long time, that it’s totally worth it.

1. Django Unchained

I like Quentin Tarantino films but am not a die hard fan like some. Regardless, this was probably his masterpiece and was the best film I saw all year. I saw it twice and am planning on seeing it a couple more times. It’s extremely bloody, there’s some awkward nudity, some very hard to watch scenes, etc. But taken all together it’s a great film. Tarantino soundtrack’s are generally pretty good, but this one is especially awesome. It ranges from cowboy songs to rap but they’re all good and placed very well in the film. The performances were all great, but Leonardo DiCaprio as Calvin Candie was a thing to see. I’m still shocked he wasn’t nominated for an oscar – especially if they’re going to nominate Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook instead! If you haven’t seen it in theatre, get to it before it’s gone! You can still watch it at home, but you need to experience random white people awkwardly laughing at inappropriate times.

Worst 10

10. The Woman in Black

Some lady dies and sad lawyer Harry Potter has to go take care of her estate because he’s so sad that he will be fired for all of his sadness if he doesn’t. He goes to the creepy house and then kids die. Turns out some kid died and his dead mother is really mad; so now she makes kids kill themselves and she totally wears black all the time! But she can only do this if the dude that goes to her house (Harry Potter) looks at the kids. So then they dig up some dead kid, cause she obviously likes dead kids, but she’s still angry and kills some more kids. Then the guy behind me takes a phone call during the last 2 minutes to talk about his truck maintenance.  Unfortunately, the truck maintenance may have been the highlight.

9. 7 Psychopaths

Acting was terrible, story was terrible, and the whole thing was like an inside joke for screen writers. I did, however, get a promotional dog with a bloody paw that was pretty cool. I like to throw it at coworkers and shout “Bloody Puppy!” – So there’s that.

8. War Horse

Boy loves horse. Dad is a drunken idiot and buys the horse then tries to kill the horse. That horse is good at plowing – ship it to war! Everybody that comes into contact with horse must die. Seriously, war heroes, multiple children, bad guys, and even other horses! Boy who loves horses gets everybody around him killed too then finds his horse during the battle – despite temporary blindness, cause that’s real love. Hugs for everyone! Unless you’re dead! Bottom Line: This was a Romantic Comedy about Boy/Horse love that replaces comedy with death. If you are not a boy who loves a horse or a horse that loves a boy, nothing can save you.

7. Wrath of the Titans

To be honest, I knew what I was getting into. I’d seen the first one and yet I still had hope that they would find a way to make it better. Instead they decided on this strategy: “Viewers like CGI, let’s give them viewers some CGI! Money!!!” I have nothing against CGI, but you also need a couple of other things like plot, acting, etc. To be fair, I fell asleep a little bit and probably missed the really good scenes (right?). What’s really sad is that I’ll probably still show up for the third one. Le Sigh.

6. Holy Motors

I’m sure if I was more cultured I would have liked this film more (just kidding, I’m extremely cultured). But I left the theatre wondering what the heck I just saw. A dude drives around the city taking people’s places as they die. Somehow this involves weird latex sex performance capture, graphic leprechaun erections and talking limos. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of boring, drawn out craziness between to ensure you have no idea why this movie is happening to you.

5. Project X

We went to Project X knowing very little. My friend thought it was some kind of spy movie and all I knew was that it was “Super Bad on Crack” and produced by the same guy that brought us Hangover. So when it turns out to be another highschoolers-plan-a-party-that-goes-crazy movie, we were more than a little disappointed. Turns out that whole Super Bad comparison must have been taken out of context because it was indeed “super bad” and you would need to be “on crack” to enjoy it. It was so bad they should have named it Project Awful (Oh Snap! High-fives all around!!!).

4. The Raven

“Everybody liked Sherlock Holmes! Edgar Allan Poe was a detective too, right? Let’s go after fans of pretentious literary references who also love extreme gore and action! They exist, right?” said someone who makes far too much money.

3. Silent Hill: Revelation

John Snow and his father, Eddard Stark, in a video game based movie with Pan’s Labyrinth graphics!?! So much potential thrown away. I am one of the 4 people who saw this movie and we were all disappointed.

2. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

I have no words. I’m most disappointed in myself for having stayed until the very end.

1. Branded

An open letter to those responsible for Branded: Die in a fire.





Biggest Surprises

  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Cabin in the Woods
  • 21 Jump Street
  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
  • Celeste and Jesse
  • Argo
  • Anna Karenina – I ended up really liking both the music and the play style scene changes

Most Disappointing

  • Dark Knight Rises – Why does the third superhero movie always have to be awful?
  • Taken 2 – This was a near perfect example of filmakers not understanding their first success
  • War HorseGuy on a Buffalo was better done
  • Spider-man – Who thought Spiderman needed more angst?
  • Les Misérables – Besides Anne Hathaway’s one song, I’d take Liam Neeson’s version any day

Best Performances

  • Leonardo DiCaprio – Django Unchained
  • Tilda Swinton – We Need to Talk About Kevin
  • Rashida Jones – Celeste & Jesse Forever
  • Quvenzhané Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained
  • Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
  • Tom Hanks – Cloud Atlas
  • Marion Cotillard – The Dark Knight Rises (haha, nope.)

Quick reminder – My opinions are my own and are probably not shared by my employer, my family, my pets, your pets, myself, etc., etc.

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