Top 10 of 2012 – Adelaide’s Picks
So, as much as I love movies (and I LOVE them), I don’t actually watch many new ones. I tend to view films when I feel like it, and my interest has little to do with release schedules. I do go to the theater, but not that often, and usually to see older stuff. (Also, I was sick for a really long time last year and didn’t get out much.) My top 10 for 2012 list is a little different than most because it’s what I watched in 2012—not what came out. The only rule: it cannot be something I have seen before. (Otherwise it would just be all Hitchcock and John Carpenter.) Runners up include In Name Only (1939), Ball of Fire (1941), Public Speaking (2010), Sound of my Voice (2011), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), Magic Mike (2012), 2 Days in New York (2012), Three Godfathers (1936), and Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2011). There is one movie that I saw, The Gatekeepers (2012), that would have made the list pretty near the top, but it is not being released for a while, so I’m leaving a space for it on next year’s list.
10. Trouble in Paradise (1932)
I could wax poetic about Ernst Lubitsch for just about forever. This move is an almost perfect expression of his art and exemplifies “The Lubitsch Touch.” It’s about two thieves (Miriam Hopkins and Herbert Marshall) who decide to fleece perfumer Madame Colet (Kay Francis). Also featuring the divine pairing of Edward Everett Horton and Charles Ruggles, every performer is on the top of their game: Marshall is suave, Kay is smoldering, and Hopkins is as light as a feather. Its fine directorial touch, hilarious screenplay, and strict attention to detail make this film a must-see. I am completely ashamed that I had not seen it before now.
9. Bernie (2011)
I like director Richard Linklater okay, but I’ve been hit or miss on watching his films, because they never seem to really grab me. So I was somewhat surprised by how much I liked Bernie. Jack Black is really good as the Carthage, Texas murderer who is so well liked in his community that no one wants to see him prosecuted. Hell, even I wanted to see him get away with it. Black plays Bernie as kind, effeminate, and completely henpecked by possessive friend Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine). This is a role that could have quickly turned into a caricature, but instead Black stays warm and real. Performances by MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey are also spot on, and the whole film is given an aura of authenticity by their hard work. I thought this film deserved a lot more mention than it received, so if you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend giving it a try.
8. The Queen of Versailles (2012)
The lives of the rich are not like ours, especially the lives of Jackie and David Siegal. David Siegal is the founder of Westgate Resorts (time shares), and when the economy was booming, David and his wife Jackie decided their house was too small, so they started building the largest single-family house in the United States using the Palace at Versailles as their inspiration. When the economy went bust, so did Westgate Resorts, as did the plans for their new home. This movie is more than just the story of their failed home aspirations—it addresses race, class, ethics, gender roles, trophy wives, grumpy old guys, bad parenting, kindness, what friendship really means, the cluelessness of the nouveau riche, tastelessness, and what happens when you have no boundaries. It is also very kind to the protagonists, and while I was appalled by many of their decisions, I was also moved enough to care about what happened to them.