07 February 2014

Reconsidering Our Top Films From 2009 - 2012

I realized something important when perusing through all the films of 2013 while making my obligatory "Best Of" list this year - looking back on some of my selections filled me full of rage and shame. It's the tricky thing about lacking the benefit of hindsight - some films even from just a few years ago haven't held up, and others that I thought were trash have grown on me. So I decided to do some revisionist history here. I went back the past four years and looked at my Top 10 Lists from 2009 - 2012. Now, it may just be the fact that it hasn't really grown on me yet, but 2012 still looks pretty good. I may not be changing that too much. But you had better believe I'm scrapping the rest.

Here, with the benefit of digesting and discussing each film for a little while longer, are the new rankings:

Original 2009 List:

#9: Observe and Report
#8: I Love You, Man
#7: The Great Buck Howard
#6: Up in the Air
#5: Funny People 
#4: Zombieland 
#3: A Serious Man
#2: Inglourious Basterds 
#1: District 9

This isn't altogether awful, and one reason I'm pumped for looking back at these things is remembering films such as The Great Buck Howard. That certainly isn't a flick though that I've really seen or thought about in four years. I can't even understand why AVABAR is here at all, I suppose that, even though I only placed it at #10, I was somewhat swept up in the sheer spectacle of its release, like literally, billions of other people worldwide. Four years on, though, I can judge it for how hollow it really is. So, here's my revised list:

Updated 2009 List:

#10: Where the Wild Things Are
#9: UP
#8: Observe and Report
#7: The Road
#6: Funny People
#5: The Hangover
#4: Adventureland
#3: The Hurt Locker
#2: A Serious Man
#1: Inglourious Basterds 
The good ninja wears white, of course

I was tempted to include other flicks like G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, which is actually turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and re-watchable Sunday afternoon movies of the past five years. I just still couldn't really add it, though. I did add the most depressing film of all time, The Road, which I still think about, and Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are, which really frustrated me by not meeting my expectations the first time I saw it, but also made me think a lot to figure it out. There were also some films whose greatness I didn't buy into in December, 2009 like The Hurt Locker and UP. Finally, the original installment of The Hangover deserves its place as one of the more tightly written comedies of the past decade, as well as one of the most debaucherous and influential.

Even though I think I Love You, Man did have some staying power, it's been overshadowed a bit by superior Paul Rudd buddy movies like Role Models (2008) and Dinner for Schmucks (2010). Even though I still love Zombieland, I do think that continued permutations of the zombie genre have lessened the tremendously fresh impact it had on me. Finally I scrapped my #1 pick, District 9 just because, ultimately four and a half years on, I don't really care about it other than the fact that at the time it was an astoundingly new movie. Maybe Elysium (2013) drained the appreciation of its unique aesthetics out of me.

Original 2010 List:

#10: Exit Through the Gift Shop
#9: Toy Story 3
#8: Cyrus
#7: True Grit
#6: Hot Tub Time Machine
#5: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
#4: Black Swan
#3: MacGruber 
#2: Inception
#1: The Social Network

Updated 2010 List:

#10: Exit Through the Gift Shop
#9: Black Swan
#8: Get Low
#7: Jackass 3D
#6: The Other Guys
#5: Get Him to the Greek
#4: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
#3: Hot Tub Time Machine
#2: Inception
#1: The Social Network
Featuring Grammy Award-winning robots

My horrible blockbuster that I actually think is pretty decent now is going to be Tron: Legacy. I can also watch that just about any time of the year. Looking back on it now, I'm surprised how many great comedies came out of 2010. Even though I did really dig MacGruber, it definitely didn't stay with me as much as Get Him to the Greek or The Other Guys did. I was tempted to also throw in Dinner for Schmucks, but I think that has some years to go before it overtakes anyone. I also don't think anyone cares about Cyrus, and even though it was pretty epic, I've found I haven't really cared about Toy Story 3 since that summer three years ago, which isn't really true for other Pixar films like UP or Brave (2012).

I had this really odd debate within myself whether to include Get Low or Easy A. They really couldn't be farther apart. Ultimately thought I think it may be a pretty good movie, Easy A just went down too easy for me. Eh. So I threw in Jackass 3D, because it's still one of the best 3D experiences I've ever had at the multiplex (how many blogs use that terminology), and one of the finest uses of slow motion technology ever. You'll note that my #1 and #2 selections haven't changed. I still think those are the tits.

Original 2011 List:

#11: A Dangerous Method

#10: Hugo
#9: The Rise of the Planet of the Apes
#8: The Descendants
#7: The Artist
#6: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 
#5: Bridesmaids
#4: Attack the Block
#3: Rango
#2: Drive
#1: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Updated 2011 List:

#11: X-Men: First Class
#10: Bridesmaids
#9: Fast Five
#8: The Tree of Life
#7: The Descendants
#6: The Rise of the Planet of the Apes
#5: Moneyball
#4: Attack the Block
#3: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
#2: The Muppets
#1: Rango
Mostly because I can't get over
the name, Imogen Poots.

There were a lot of great films in 2011 as I'm looking back on it, now. My rainy day film is the vastly underrated Fright Night, while we wait for underappreciated comedies like Hall PassThe Sitter, and Our Idiot Brother to mature. I also remember really digging Johnny Depp in The Rum Diary at the time, but I can't say I've really thought about it since. Let me also hit you quick with Cedar RapidsMidnight in Paris, and Contagion that all really tied for the #11 spot, but haven't really been relevant since. So, I've thrown out a lot of the overhyped Oscar-bait muck here and added some of the finest blockbusters that have emerged in the past couple years, including Fast Five and X-Men: First Class.

I'm not so sure about The Tree of Life, but I still think it's worth noting, even if some of its fire may have dissipated. I still love everything on here, and as Jonah Hill's brand gets stronger, so does Moneyball. And yes, I ranked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo right next to The Muppets. There's no accounting for my taste in film.

Original 2012 List:

#10: Haywire

#9: Silver Linings Playbook
#8: The Grey
#7: Argo
#6: Looper
#5: Lincoln
#4: 21 Jump Street
#3: The Cabin in the Woods
#2: Django Unchained
#1: The Master

Updated 2012 List:

#10: The Grey
#9: Ruby Sparks
#8: The Dark Knight Rises
#7: Dredd
#6: Zero Dark Thirty
#5: Seven Psychopaths
#4: 21 Jump Street
#3: Goon
#2: Django Unchained 
#1: The Master
Escape from Space!

My total underrated good time romp is clearly Guy Pearce having the time of his life in Lockout, which is as 80s throwback as you're going to get. This year wasn't as strong for immortal comedies, although I might contend that The Campaign does its part. So I swapped out a bunch of those Oscar Winners that I don't care about any more for some that seemed more prescient - Zero Dark Thirty and Dredd, of course. And even though The Cabin in the Woods was a game-changer and remains one of my favorite films of the year, I couldn't see myself watching it again after knowing the twist. That being said, I have replayed the twist's dire aftereffects countless times on YouTube. To be honest, the same goes for Looper. It was an incredible movie, but do we care in 2014?

Goon ended up being my favorite movie of the year, and it's a delight to watch every hockey season. Alongside fare like The Grey, I added the intricate, surprising romantic comedy Ruby Sparks. I was tempted to add Moonrise Kingdom, but it's a bit too much like The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders. Finally, with all this other nonsense, I thought The Dark Knight Rises proved itself to be at the top of the superhero game and deserves that recognition here. Bane was a bigger threat than the Joker in a better movie. Deal with that.

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