Another year done, so it’s time to find out what my movie of the year was. As always, my caveat from earlier years still applies: Film Fight is done in a knock-out style and, as such, only picks my favourite film of the year; there are no guarantees about second place.
First, the films that were good but did not win their month:
- The Hunger Games
- Jeff, Who Lives At Home
- The Raid
- Angel’s Share
- Seeking a Friend For the End of the World
- The Dark Knight Rises
- The Man With The Iron Fists
- Safety Not Guaranteed
Now, the winners:
- January: J. Edgar
- February: Carnage
- March: 21 Jump Street
- April: The Cabin In The Woods
- May: Marvel’s Avengers Assemble
- June: Prometheus
- July: Killer Joe
- August: Ted
- September: Dredd
- October: Looper
- November: End of Watch
- December: Sightseers
I think it’s fair to say it’s been a much weaker showing this year than last year. In 2011, we had a large number of honourable mentions, and the winner’s list was full of stand-out films, with the toughest final decision in years.
In 2012, we have only 9 honourable mentions (and that’s after lowering the bar a little), and an extremely uneven winner’s list. In many other years, Ted, for example, wouldn’t have won a month.
It’s fair to say that Joss Whedon is probably the mastermind of the year, with both Cabin in the Woods and Avengers genuinely surprising; the former with its homage to classic horror, and the latter with a relatively coherent and fun big-budget action film. He’s helped craft two excellent films there.
Biggest surprise of the year is 21 Jump Street: a comedy that had absolutely no business being as funny as it was. In some ways, I don’t want to see it again and find it was only funny because it tickled the right funny bone at the right time, but it was a brilliant film that I didn’t see coming.
While there were a few moments of Prometheus that don’t stand up to much scrutiny, I think on a whole it did something far better and more intelligently than many gave it credit for. Sure, it wasn’t Aliens, but neither was it supposed to be. The answers to almost every question I’ve seen posed is hinted at strongly in the movie, without ever being outright stated. That’s a degree of subtlety and care that we rarely get in films, let alone large sci-fi films.
There can, however, only be one winner and, for me, that was Looper. It’s an intelligent movie about finding love and the transformative effect that can have. It uses quite a clever sci-fi gimmick to explore that theme which forces an unusual structure, but you’d be making a mistake to assume that was the whole. It’s not. This is a film that looks great, misdirects when it needs to, and, above all, tells a very human story. Looper is the Film Fight 2012 winner.