HT Schuyler: Top Ten Films of 2012

Posted: May 31, 2013 by htschuyler in Lists

Finally! The list that no one was waiting for! My top 10 favourite films of 2012. I know that I really, really missed the deadline on this list, and it’s about 5 months too late, but there were plenty of films that I wanted to see before I made my list, and that on top of personal things consuming my time, it prevented my list from coming out sooner. But, better late than never. Now, I found 2012 to be a pretty good year in film, there were some really awesome blockbusters, some great indie films and also a lot of shitty films. But alas, that is another topic for another list, but this list is dedicated to the films that I found to be the best of the year, and as usual there is the obvious disclaimer: The following list is composed on my opinion and my opinion only. There will be some entries that may seem bizarre, but my personal tastes are bizarre, so there you go. So, without further ado, here are My Top 10 Films of 2012:

10.) Excision.


Release Date: January 21st 2012 (Sundance Film Festival).

Director: Richard Bates Jr.

Starring: AnnaLynne McCord, Traci Lords, Roger Bart, Ariel Winter, Malcolm McDowell and John Waters.

Rated: Unrated.

My number 10 spot is always reserved for the film that should probably not be in a list celebrating the best of the best, but really appealed to me for some weird reason, and Excision is a perfect example of this. Never heard of this movie? I don’t blame you. It’s one of those films that circled around film festivals until eventually being released to home video without getting a wide release, and I can’t blame it, because this film is fucking WEIRD. Young Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord) leads a bizarre life. She is on a crusade to lose her virginity, but only if it can be done on her terms…and on her time of the month. Her younger sister Grace (Ariel Winter) is very sick and in need of lung surgery, remember that, it becomes important later. Pauline’s parents are disappointed, disgusted, and most likely afraid of her, and send her to see the local priest (John Waters) to attempt therapy. Oh, and Pauline has vivid, disgusting dreams of sex, blood, and surgery. As we follow Pauline around on her daily activities, we see as she is pushed to psychotic levels and desperate attempts to help her younger sister, in the only way she knows how. This is one of those rare films that defines genre and leaves you feeling confused, perhaps disgusted, but still impacted. The movie has little in the way of plot, yet everything flows smoothly and builds to a very shocking conclusion. The direction is interesting and solid and all performances are great, especially McCord, who in reality is very beautiful, but here is portrayed as ugly inside and out. The visuals, while very gruesome and disturbed, are fascinating in their bizarreness, and while the film doesn’t do anything to further the art of film or anything like that, everything is just so fascinating in its weirdness that I can’t reflect on the film as anything less than a work of morbid genius. This is not a movie for everyone, if fact I can guarantee that most people will either be too disgusted to comment, or just flat out hate it, but for some, crazy, messed up reason, I loved it.

“You are a very troubled little girl”.

9.) Looper.


Release Date: September 28th 2012.

Directed by: Rian Johnson.

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Noah Segan and Jeff Daniels.

Rated: 14A

Yeah, that’s right, Looper. I know this movie is flawed as Hell, I know you need to suspend your disbelief like crazy, and I know some of it is just plain stupid, but you know what? This movie is fucking awesome! Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitte) must fight against his future self (Bruce Willis) when he returns to the past in order to change the future. Along the way he meets a young mother (Emily Blunt) who’s son (Pierce Gagnon) he must protect from his future self’s youth killing rampage. While time travel is a common movie plot point that in some ways has been used to death, I find this film breaths new light into it with the twist of having the protagonist’s future self be the antagonist, an idea which I personally find brilliant. The film moves at a fast pace while taking time to breath in the middle by establishing character which I personally found endearing and interesting, and the film is full of very tense and clever scenes, which an edge of your seat ending with a dark twist that gave the movie even more balls. Great performances all around, and I personally didn’t find the make-up on Joseph Gordon-Levitt that distracting, and really like the scenes with him and Bruce Willis together. Yes, a lot that happens in the film makes no sense and can be confusing at times, but overall I found none of this hindered my enjoyment, and the acting, great direction, bad ass action scenes and inventive plot kept me invested the whole time, and I really give this film credit to being one of the most original films not based on a previously established property to come out all year. Great stuff.

“Time travel has not yet been invented. But thirty years from now, it will have been.”

8.) Sinister.


Release Date: October 12th 2012.

Directed by: Scott Derrickson.

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, James Ransone, Fred Dalton Thompson and Nicholas King.

Rated: 14A

Ethan Hawke plays Ellison Oswalt, a true-crime novelist who moves into a house with his family where a brutal murder once took place, so he can write about it for his next novel. He finds a box of old Super 8 tapes, each one revealing a brutal murder. As Ellison digs deeper into his research he soon sees terrifying visions and occurrences as he unleashes an evil deity named Baguul (Nicholas King) upon himself and his family. This move takes the tired haunted house gimmick and gives it new life. The tension is constant and high, acting and direction great and scares inventive and, well, pretty damn scary. This movie is hands-down the scariest movie of the year, with many haunting images and scenes that stick with you for long after the film is over. I had a few problems with the ending, but overall this film is a tense, terrifying ride from start to finish with effective jump scares, haunting atmosphere, realistic-enough characters and a great new “villain” that is one of the scariest I’ve seen in years. A must see for horror fans or just film fans that don’t want to sleep at night.

“He consumes the soul of human children.”

7.) Chronicle.


Release Date: February 3rd 2012

Directed by: Josh Trank.

Starring: Dane DeHaan, Michael B. Jordan, Alex Russel and Michael Kelly.

Rated: 14A

Chronicle tells the tale of a young boy named Andrew (Dane DeHaan), who is shy and bullied by his classmates and father, and his friend Steve (Michael B. Jordan) and cousin Matt (Alex Russell) who discover a mysterious McGuffin which grants them super powers. What starts as innocent fun leads to violence as their lives spiral out of control and turn Andrew into something monstrous. This movie was made for a fairly low budget, but gets around that by filming it in the whole “shaky-cam” style, and honestly, this is one of the most creative uses of that gimmick that I’ve ever seen. The camera itself becomes a character in the film, and there are many inventive ways on how they bring the camera into it. Acting is great all around, the movie, despite being very short, is very fulfilling and feels solid and action packed from start to finish. The effects are great, tension high, and protagonist scary but sympathetic. Amazing action set-pieces and a satisfying ending, this film is really one of the most original and innovative films of the year, and one that won’t soon be forgotten.

“There’s something wrong with Andrew.”

6.) Skyfall.


Release Date: November 9th 2012.

Directed by: Sam Mendes.

Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes and Naomie Harris.

Rated: PG

James Bond (Daniel Craig) makes his triumphant return when a chip revealing the secret identities of all of MI6`s agents is stolen and puts everyone in jeopardy. A villain (Javier Bardem) with a dark past surfaces and is hellbent on killing M (Judi Dench). Bond must come back from the dead to face this new threat sending him across the globe, across London and even back to where it all began. Despite plot holes and inconsistencies and bizarre character actions, this movie is still freaking awesome. One great set piece after another, constant iconic Bond nods and props, great acting and dialogue, superb direction by the great Sam Mendes and an awesome villain played by a awesome actor. The most satisfying Bond film since Casino Royale, and just overall a great film that leaves you excited for next instalments. A thrill ride from start to finish with one amazing scene after another. It may not be the most solid of films as it is still full of holes, but screw it, it’s James Bond.

“What did you expect, an exploding pen?”

5.) The Avengers.


Release Date: May 4th 2012

Directed by: Joss Whedon.

Starring: Robery Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Clark Gregg, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson.

Rated: PG.

What can I even say about this movie? It’s the fucking AVENGERS! The teaming of Marvel heroes that I really didn’t give a shit about in there own movies, but now that they’re together awesomeness is sure to follow, right? RIGHT. My inner child almost fainted from the awesomeness this movie delivered, and upon repeated viewings, while it’s definitely not a perfect film by any stretch, it’s still a total blast from start to finish and had one of the best superhero set pieces ever towards the end. The actors all had great chemistry and were a joy to watch on screen, the direction was great, score epic and overall just a great, fun summer blockbuster. While I did see better films this year, this movie was just so enjoyable that I can’t look back on it in anything other than a positive light. It’s a superhero movie that delivers on all levels, and did the one things superhero movies these days just don’t do: Have fun. Personally I think this film is superior to The Dark Knight Rises, but that’s neither here nor there. It doesn’t try to be all dark and moody and full of side plots that are stupid and unneeded, it’s a movie about heroes kicking ass and being awesome, they don’t all need inner trauma and turmoil or any of that shit, it’s people in costumes fighting crime, it needs to just be fun, and that’s why I love it.

“I’m always angry.”

4.) Argo.


Release Date: October 12th 2012

Directed by: Ben Affleck.

Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Victor Garber and Alan Arkan.

Rated: 14A

Argo tells the true story of a group of American’s in 1980’s Iran who are hiding at the Canadian Ambassador’s house, and who must trust the wits of Tony Mendaz (Ben Affleck), who plans to sneak them out of Iran as a Canadian film crew who are location scouting for a fictional science fiction film named “Argo”. Affleck’s direction is superb, creating scenes filled with high tension and dramatic moments, including a tense and suspenseful scene in a Bazaar and an edge-of-your-seat scene at an airport. The film is dripping with style and underlying themes, displaying the horror of the true situation but also showing the heroics that took place as well. Though I have some issues about the distribution of credit in this film gave, that is neither here nor there, as it is still a tense, powerful, phenomenally acted (especially Bryan Cranston) thriller that keeps your at the edge of your nerves and ends with a satisfying conclusion of unity and teamwork. Ben Affleck’s best film to date, a great story and overall a great film that I’m sure will go down as a classic.

“Argo fuck yourself.”

3.) The Raid AKA The Raid: Redemption.


Release Date: April 13th 2012

Directed by: Gareth Evans.

Starring: Iko Uwais, Johannes Taslim, Donny Alamsyah, Yayan Ruhian and Pierre Gruno.

Rated: 18A.

A small SWAT team enters a run down building full of drug dealers, murderers, psychopaths and like one normal dude. Their mission? Get to the top. How do they do that? Well, first they start off by shooting everyone, but once the ammo runs low they’re left with only their own martial arts expertise, and what follows is the best action film of the year. The movie, quite literally, NEVER has a dull moment. It’s one action packed scene after another, not to mention a few scenes of sheer tension and suspense. The choreography for the fights scenes is breath-taking, and there were several moments where you just go: “HOLY SHIT!” Because some so incredibly bad ass just happened. This movie is not for the faint of heart, as it’s one bloody, violent fight scene after another, and the violence is unrelenting. When you are given a chance to breathe and the plot is developed, the story is interesting and keeps you invested until the end. From what I’ve heard the North American release of this film had a different score than the original, but I really don’t mind because the soundtrack was so damn cool. I know I sound shallow by praising this movie over how cool the action and violence was, but I don’t care, this was one of the most enjoyable films of the year for me, and one that I can’t wait to watch again. I literally can not think of any flaws that would take away from this film, so that alone gives it the right to be this high on my list.

“Pulling a trigger is like ordering a takeout”.

2.) Moonrise Kingdom.


Release Date: June 29th 2012.

Directed by: Wes Anderson.

Starring: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Burce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and Jason Schwartzman.

Rated: PG

The story of two young lovers (Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward) who escape their mundane lives and run off to be with each other as the small island goes crazy looking for them really might not seem like my kind of thing, and from the trailer this really didn’t look like something I would be interested it, but once the movie was over I just had the biggest smile on my face, and I realized that I loved this movie. I really don’t know what it is, but this movie is just so damn charming that you can’t help but love. The acting is great all around, especially from the younger actors, the comedy is quirky but never becomes pretentious, and there are several laugh out loud moments throughout. The love story, despite seemingly creepy at times, is very touching at times and seems realistic in it’s simplicity. I have a soft spot for coming of age films, and this is truly one of the best I’ve seen in the past several years. Be it the great direction, the acting, the “Peanuts”-esque style to it, the characters, the jokes, everything just works, and comes together to form out of the funniest, sweetest, and just overall one of the best films of the year.

“Jiminy cricket, he flew the coop!”

And my number 1 film for 2012 is…………………………………………………………………………………………

1.) The Impossible.


Release Date: Janaury 4th 2012

Directed by: Jaun Antonio Bayona.

Starring: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Smauel Joslin and Oaklee Pendergast.

Rated: PG.

The Impossible is the true story of a British (though in real life they were Spanish) family who were vacationing in Thailand when the 2004 tsunami hit, causing total destruction, deaths of many, loss, despair, and at the same time hope, and tales of courage and strength. This film tells one of those stories. After the tsunami hits Maria (Naomi Watts) and her son Lucas (Tom Holland) are separated from the rest of their family, the father Henry (Ewan McGregor) and two sons Thomas (Samuel Joslin) and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast). Through a tragic, disturbing and heartbreaking journey the family searches for each other, and come into contact full force of the despair and bloodshed the tsunami caused. The people they meet, the people they help, and the people that didn’t make it are displayed realistically and brutally. Director Juan Antonio Bayona delivers a film of such power, style and force that it makes you feels that you are in the tragedy yourself, experiencing the hardships and pain. This movie is an emotional roller-coaster from start to finish, leaving you with an ending of hope, but such bitter sweetness it just makes it even more powerful. The direction and cinematography is beautiful in it’s disastrous nature, creating images so powerful and heart-wrenching they still with you long after the film is over. The acting is beyond stellar. Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor give the performances of their career’s, and young actor Tom Holland gives the best performance I have ever seen from an actor under 18. The fact that this film was as snubbed as it was at the Oscars disgusts me. The thing I love most about this film is that while it is about one family, it still shows the tragedy in an unbiased way, showing more than just the family, and the impact it had on people. This is a film that needs to be seen, it displays shocking images of horror and tragedy, but also moments of hope and beauty, and the emotions this film portrays stays with you for quite some time, and this really is a film I will never forget, and that is why it’s the best of the year.

“Go help people.”

So that concludes My Top 10 of 2012. Overall a pretty solid year, and here’s hoping next year is just as good, if not even better.

-HT Schuyler.


  1. le0pard13 says:

    Fine list. I only need to watch Excision to have screen this all.

  2. Not a hobo licker says:

    What about the old man’s great role in The Raid? I don’t see any mention of him or his signature fighting move.

  3. htschuyler says:

    He was pretty great throwing those cabinets on people. :P

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