2012: Good for the Movies?
Here's Jeff Wells earlier today:
Some guy with a glass of wine said the other night that 2012 has been a weak year for movies. I stopped him right there and said “wait a minute” and got out the iPhone and read off the following titles: Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Dark Knight Rises, Magic Mike, Miss Bala, Haywire, Arbitrage, Bernie, Moonrise Kingdom, God Bless America, Side by Side, Trishna, The Three Stooges, The Sessions, Liberal Arts, Michael (Austrian child-molesting movie), Rampart, 21 Jump Street and The Grey. Okay, some of these aren't out yet but that's 18 movies. Add the films I liked or admired in Cannes — Holy Motors, On The Road, No, Killing Them Softly, Amour, Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir and Rust and Bone — and that's a total of 25.
I like that “Some guy with a glass of wine” comment. As if anyone drinking a glass of wine is readymade for dismissal. As if Jeff Wells were Woody Allen dismissing Michael Sheen in “Midnight in Paris.”
I've felt Wells' objection before—people skewering movie years that I liked (see: 2009, 2010, 2011)—but...2012? Those 18 movies? I'd recommend “The Dark Knight Rises” for fans of Batman and Chris Nolan, “Moonrise Kingdom” for fans of Wes Anderson, and “Beasts of the Southern Wild” for fans of Manohla Dargis. Thought “Haywire” died in the second act. Same with “21 Jump Street,” which becomes what it pretends to be skewering. Haven't seen the others. “The Three Stooges” isn't even on my DVD list.
At SIFF, I liked “Starbuck,” “The Woman in the Fifth” and “Goodbye” but those are all 2011 movies. As is “Monsieur Lazhar” and “Footnote,” both of which I recommend highly. Is “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” 2012? If not, my recommendations for 2012 movies come down to “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Under African Skies,” and “The Avengers.” Oh, and “John Carter.” Poor forgotten bastard.
Wells, in defending the year thus far, made me realize it's been pretty shitty. Thus far.