2012 was a phenomenal year in movies. I don't think we're ever going to see a summer quite as explosive as this one. Not only did The Avengers live up to the hype surrounding it, it blew box office expectations away. Couple that with Christopher Nolan's end to his Batman trilogy and it truly was a unique summer. But add in a prequel to the Aliens franchise, a surprisingly popular male stripper drama and a successful reboot of a very young Spider-Man franchise - the summer was even more special. And that's not including the spring which saw The Hunger Games and 21 Jump Street surprise everyone with how awesome they were. I've been trying to compile a list of the ten best movies from this year and I'm having a hard time because I have about 15 already!
I highly doubt 2013 is going to be as big of a year as it was for the box office this year. But nevertheless, next year is going to have some amazing movies - I have no doubt about that. While there won't be any sure-fire $400 million dollar hits, next year brings a great mix of eagerly awaited follow-ups and original movie ideas. With that in mind - here's part one of my runner-ups list. These movies didn't quite make the cut, but are worth keeping an eye out for because they do have some potential.
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges
Director: Robert Schwentke
Release Date: July 19
Based on the comic book of the same name, R.I.P.D. tells the story of a slain young cop who joins the Rest in Peace Department, a group of undead police officers and is out to find his killer. Ryan Reynolds plays the lead. Two years ago, Mr. Reynolds was named the sexiest man alive, but his star power has waned a little bit since the box office bombs The Green Lantern and The Change-Up hit theaters last year. He did appear in the successful Safe House this year, although that was more due to Denzel being Denzel than Reynolds being Reynolds. And it seems like this is more of the same - instead replace Denzel with Jeff Bridges. I've never read the comic book, but the story sounds like it should be fun and Schwentke directed the magnificent Red a couple years back, so this movie has a lot of potential. It all really depends on the tone of the movie - I imagine it's going to be more campy and comedic than anything else and hopefully the darker theme of the story will bring in some truly macabre humor. It's a toss-up at this point whether it will be good or not and I'll reserve more judgement for when the trailer comes out!
Starring: Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall
Director: John Crowley
Release Date: August 28
Not much is known about this movie, but the story is about two ex-lovers who find find their loyalties called into question when they are re-united to serve as the defense team on a contentious terrorism trial. Now if this movie had been directed by Ben Affleck, I think this movie would have been in my top 10, but it's directed by the relatively unknown John Crowley. But the film was written by Steven Knight, who wrote the wonderfully intense drama, Eastern Promises. And the rest of the cast is solid - Jim Broadbent and Ciaran Hinds are two actors who've finally seen broader success lately and who deserve it. The nature of this movie - a court-room drama - has it low on the list because not much is known and we probably won't know much more until the marketing starts up for the movie. I love these kinds of movies - The Lincoln Lawyer, A Few Good Men are two brilliant examples of this genre. Who knows where this one will stand, but it's surely one to keep an eye out for.
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Chris Pratt, Cobie Smulders
Director: Ken Scott
Release Date: October 4
I can't tell if this movie is a remake of Ken Scott's previous film, Starbuck, or if it's a re-telling of that film. Either way, I'm curious to see how things shake out for this movie. Above is the trailer for Starbuck, a film about a man who finds out he's fathered several children because of his sperm donations. And The Delivery Man mines similar territory - so I'm guessing this movie is just being re-tooled for American audiences with funnyman Vince Vaughn. Lately, Double V hasn't really been capturing my attention - most of his movies have not been funny. But this movie has an interesting premise and it's got a great supporting cast - Chris Pratt is absolutely killing it on Parks & Recreation as the lovable oaf Andy Dwyer and Cobie Smulders should be getting more work - she's been great as Robin on How I Met Your Mother. The main reason I'm keeping this out of my list is Double V - he has not been in a good comedy since The Wedding Crashers and if he tries to steal each scene with his crazy "Hey look at me! I'm crazy Vince Vaughn over here" antics, then I will pass.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Starring: Ben Stiller, Sean Penn, Kristen Wiig
Director: Ben Stiller
Release Date: December 25
Ben Stiller jumps behind the camera to bring to life one of America's greatest short stories. The film follows Walter Mitty - an ineffectual photo editor who constantly lives vicariously through his daydreams - finds himself on an adventure when one of his negatives goes missing. Although this is not a direct re-telling of the short story itself, it sounds like it will keep true to the tone and spirit of James Thurber's masterpiece. As much as Ben Stiller can be tiresome at times with his acting - I've really enjoyed what he's done as a director. Reality Bites is a classic movie on post-college life and what lies ahead and I think it's his best movie as a director and as an actor (Zoolander is a close second!). So I have faith that this movie will find the sweet spot between comedy and drama. Plus the rest of the cast - Sean Penn, Kristen Wiig, Patten Oswalt, Adam Scott - are all really funny actors that will hopefully add to the comedy. The biggest reason it didn't make the cut is because it's so far away from release that I have no idea what the tone or vibe of this film is going to be. The warning signs of "family-friendly" are all over this movie - with the Christmas Day release date and the story itself. I'm just glad Disney isn't involved, then the movie would be dead to me. Don't get me wrong - I love family movies but if I have to sit through some nauseating feel-good montage with some awful Taylor Swift song I will probably blow chunks all over the kids sitting in front of me. Wow, that got harsh. Well - I tell it like it is, folks.
Director: Again, A Lot of People
Release Date: January 25
Okay, these kinds of movies are pretty much awful. They pretty much throw as much shit onto the wall to see what sticks, but mostly it all just ends up being a disgusting mess on the floor. The Ten, Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, Kentucky Fried Movie all had funny moments, but the sum of its parts didn't add up. And I have a feeling Movie 43 is going to be similar in nature. Don't get me wrong - I laughed pretty hard at the R-rated trailer above, but I'm guessing there's not too many good jokes beyond what they've showed here. But there's a lot of funny people involved in this movie so I can only hope that this will turn out better than an episode of Saturday Night Live (although that's really not that hard to do!). So I remain optimistic, but chances are this one you can catch on DVD when it comes out during the summer.