Al looks back at the films of 2012

HorrorSo, apparently one of the downsides to previewing 52 films is that a bunch of them never actually came out. I did, however, try to make up for it by seeing as many of these as I could in 2012, and wound up liking a bunch of movies that I never would have given the time of day! So maybe that means 2012 can be known as “The Year I Totally Ate My Words”? Maybe not. Well, anyway, onto the recap:

BeautyBeast1) Beauty and the Beast 3D

I Said: “I’d love the opportunity to see it in the theater, though probably only if I can find a non-3D version playing somewhere.”
Did I See It? No.
Did I Regret It? Yes.

Another year, another missed opportunity to see something cool in the theater. I’m not weeping over it or anything, but I really would have liked to catch this while it was around.

underworld awakening2) Underworld: Awakening

I Said: “I don’t always like Kate Beckinsale, but when I do, I like her in leather.  Probably not enough to make me pay for this movie, though.”
Did I See It? No.
Did I Regret It? No.

I skipped this without much thought. I did manage to rewatch the original this year, however, and check out Underworld: Evolution and Rise of the Lycans, so I will almost certainly end up tracking this one down, too, even if it’s just for completeness’s sake. Of course, something tells me it’s going to be yet another 90 minutes of poorly lit blacks and blues, complemented with angsty growling.

TPM3D3) Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

I Said: “On one hand, I have no particular desire to pay George Lucas to watch 3D that I didn’t ask for, in a movie that I only sort of like. On the other hand, I’m only going to have the opportunity to see Star Wars in the theater a certain number of times.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? Kinda, yeah.

I’ve offered my defense of Episode 1 in the past, and I still stand by what I wrote. However, I wound up seeing this movie twice while it was back in theaters and I think I’ve now had enough Phantom Menace for about the next ten years. I’m inevitably going to see Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith when they’re re-released in 2013, but I can’t say I’m really looking forward to it.

220px-Ghost_Rider_2_Poster4) Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

I Said: “The trailers are making Spirit of Vengeance look pretty badass, so I’m hoping the finished product is at least fun to watch.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? My eyes, my eyes!

From what I remember, the first forty minutes of Ghost Rider 2 are fairly watchable. However, somewhere in the second act, it takes this neck-breaking right turn into the land of Whip-It dreams where plot and acting become little fluttery moths that only occasionally alight on your arm before whisping away again, and Nicolas Cage spins in circles like the hills are alive while screaming at the marshmallow-fudge skies that he is Emperor Crazypants, ruler of the Smarblet people.

lorax5) Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax

I Said: “Man, screw this movie.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? Shockingly, no. (Big Surprise #1!)

There are all kinds of nits I could pick about this movie, but I’d really just be disguising the fact that I enjoyed it a lot. I thought it was funny, clever, and true to the spirit of the book, even if the plot deviates wildly. I want to hate it, but I’d be lying if I said that I did.

hanselgretel6) Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

I Said: “I’m not exactly filled with confidence since the movie is less than two months away and doesn’t even have a trailer out.”
Status: Unreleased.

So, it looks like this will be out March 1st, 2013, instead of March 2nd, 2012. That extra year didn’t seem to do it much good, though. It still looks pretty awful.

johncarter7) John Carter

I Said: “It certainly caught my eye, but I really don’t know if it’s going to be any good or not.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? No.

I know I’m the umpteenth person to say it, but John Carter didn’t deserve to flop as badly as it did. The movie wasn’t life-changing or anything, but it really was a fun flick and I’m a little disappointed I missed it in the theater.

21jumpst8 ) 21 Jump Street

I Said: “Never saw the original. Don’t care about the remake. I suppose I should at least watch the trailer. … Okay, watched the trailer. Still don’t care.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret it? Nope. (Big Surprise #2!)

I can’t believe what a funny movie this was. I honestly never saw it coming.

hunger19) The Hunger Games

I Said: “The movie is going to be made of straight-up awesome.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? No!

It wasn’t perfect, but The Hunger Games seriously delivered. I’m excited to see how Catching Fire and Mockingjay turn out.

wrathposter10) Wrath of the Titans

I Said: “Nothing about Wrath makes me think that it will be any [better than Clash of the Titans], but I’m a sucker for Ancient Greek fantasy and will probably see this anyway.”
Did I See It? No.
Did I Regret It? No.

I kept meaning to check this out but always found something better to do. I’ll probably get to it eventually. Maybe.

amerreunion11) American Reunion

I Said: “I don’t know if Reunion is really going to be any good, but seeing all the characters again has me kind of excited”
Did I See It? Yep.
Did I Regret It? No way!

I had a lot of fun with this movie. It was great to revisit the characters (as I had hoped), and while it didn’t rank anywhere near the top of my list this year, I still had a great time.

titanic3D12) Titanic 3D

I Said: “For all its faults, the last ninety minutes of Titanic are fairly epic and I’d love to see them on the big screen again.”
Did I See It? No.
Did I Regret It? Not really.

I had plans to see this, but it never quite happened. Like Beauty & the Beast, it would have been nice but I’m not shedding any tears over missing it.

3stooges13) The Three Stooges

I Said: “This can’t possibly be as bad as the trailer makes it seem.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? Actually, no. (Big Surprise #3!)

I grudgingly sat down to watch this and was very much surprised. When this movie is dumb, it’s *really* dumb, but when it’s funny, it’s *really* funny. I guess I couldn’t have asked for much more than that.

cabin114) Cabin in the Woods

I Said: “A Mutant Enemy film produced by Joss Whedon and starring Chris Hemsworth, Bradley Whitford, and Amy Acker? Holy crap!”
Did I See It? Yes!
Did I Regret It? No way!

Smart, funny, surprising—this was everything I hoped it would be.  Easily one of my favorites of the year.

scarymovie515) Scary Movie 5

I Said: “*double sigh*”
Status: Unreleased.

It now looks like this will be out in April, with Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan. My sentiments above remain unchanged, except now I have all kinds of interviews and set gossip to back me up.

TheAvengers_Poster16) Marvel’s The Avengers

I Said: “This has been building for years and it’s either going to be a brilliant success or a soul crushing, spectacular failure. Either way, I’m so totally there.”
Did I See It? Many times.
Did I Regret It? Not even a little.

I headbanged through this movie. That’s the best way I can think to explain it. I spent almost all two-plus hours, trying to keep from screaming “Yes! Yes! YES!”  Every single thing you want to see in a superhero team up movie is here and it’s all done right. I’ve noticed a trend of “feelm” people talking bad about the movie, but don’t believe it for a second. The Avengers is still as awesome as you remember. Probably more awesome, actually.

darkshadows17) Dark Shadows

I Said: “Gee, a ‘scary’ Tim Burton movie starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter. Color me friggin’ shocked.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? I did not. (Big Surprise #4!)

As much as I really dislike Tim Burton, I must give credit where credit is due: I had a good time with Dark Shadows. The last act runs off the rails into trainwreck territory, but I thought the first two thirds of it were funny and solidly enjoyable.

dictator18) The Dictator

I Said: “I laughed loud and inappropriately at parts of the trailer. This one could go either way.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? No.

There’s nothing new and exciting here, but I liked The Dictator for what it was. It had Anna Faris, too, which is always a plus for me.

whattoexpect19) What to Expect When You’re Expecting

I Said:  “It’s basically just Divine Secrets of the Hormonally Schizophrenic Sisterhood.”
Did I See It? Nope.
Did I Regret It? Nope.

I actually almost rented this, just so I’d have something to say about it for this article. But then I came to my senses. Phew.

battleship20) Battleship

I Said: “Remember when there was a chance in hell that I would throw down ten bucks to see this movie? Me neither.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? Most definitely.

I can’t say I expected anything different, but, wow, what a vapid piece of trash.  Everything about this movie made me grind my teeth.

mib321) Men in Black III

I Said: “I was actually pretty excited by the new trailer until Poolman pointed out that TLJ probably isn’t in most of the movie . . . [M]y enthusiasm has been pretty dampened.”
Did I See It? I did.
Did I Regret It? Not really.

This was the first movie I missed in the theater and regretted it. I eventually got to check it out on DVD, but it turns out I’m glad I saved my money. There was nothing wrong with MIB3, but it was pretty disposable.

snow_white_huntsman_poster22) Snow White and the Huntsman

I Said: “Wow, they just completely made this movie up, didn’t they?”
Did I See It? Yes
Did I Regret It? No, but…

I watched this under protest, but was shocked to discover it wasn’t all that bad. It wasn’t all that good either, but it surpassed my expectations.

prometheusofficialposter23) Prometheus

I Said: “I. Can. Not. Wait.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? *sigh* Yes.

My big disappointment of 2012. Prometheus earned a lot of goodwill during the first hour and squandered pretty much all of it during the last hour. I’ll see the sequel, but mostly because I hope it will redeem this one.

jackgiantslayer24) Jack the Giant Killer

I Said: “No, I don’t care who’s directing it, I am not watching a Jack and the Beanstalk movie.”
Status: Unreleased

It looks like this will now be out June 2013 instead of June 2012, and it’s been re-titled Jack the Giant Slayer (because Slayers are cooler than Killers, obviously). I’m still not seeing it.

abelincoln25) Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter

I Said: “Aw, come on! This looks fun!”
Did I See It? Yup!
Did I Regret It? Nope!

This was a much better movie than it had any right to be. Not great, mind you, but if I was only going to see once Abraham Lincoln movie in 2012, I’m glad it was this one.

brave26) Brave

I Said: “Pixar is making a movie about a feisty, butt-kicking warrior girl in the Scottish Highlands? Sold.”
Did I See It? Aye
Did I Regret It? Nay!

Brave really seemed to divide people. I get the complaints, but I think they’re too busy hemming and hawing about what they wanted the movie to be instead of appreciating it for what it was. I liked seeing a story about a mother/daughter relationship for once, and I liked that it eschewed the typical Disney princess stuff (i.e., a love interest). I admit that the actual plot kind of threw me for a loop, but I really ended up charmed.

gijoe227) G.I. Joe: Retaliation

I Said: “Will I pay to see a sequel? Nah. Will I see it on DVD? Most likely.”
Status: Unreleased

Channing Tatum blew up in a big, bad way this summer, so GI Joe 2 allegedly got pushed back to 2013 so they could film new scenes with him and make him a bigger part of this movie.  Will it pay off? I guess we’ll find out in March.

magicmike28) Magic Mike

I Said (sarcastically): “A film all about the riveting world of male stripping? Count me in!”
Did I See It? Yes
Did I Regret It? Shockingly, no. (Big Surprise #5!)

Speaking of ChanTat (Are we calling him that, now?), he did a pretty good job with this and made Magic Mike a much better movie than I would have guessed. The dancing was honestly ridiculous, though. Is that really what a male strip club is like?

ASMposter29) The Amazing Spider-Man

I Said: “You’re going to hurt me when I tell you I want to see this, aren’t you?”
Did I See It? Yup.
Did I Regret It? No, but… yeah.

I said this using a lot more words in my full review, but basically: this didn’t do very much that was new and didn’t always really feel like Spider-Man, but it was still kind of a good start. Jury’s out until the sequel.

iceage430) Ice Age: Continental Drift

I Said: “I’m certainly not going to see it, but I guess I’m not going to complain, either.”
Did I See It? No.
Did I Regret It? No.

I couldn’t quite muster up the interest to check this one out. Of course, it’s not really made for me anyway, so I don’t think it’s any great loss.

ted31) Ted

I Said: “I don’t know about this one, either . . . I bet it would be a funny SNL sketch.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? No.

I liked Ted. It was funny. I didn’t love it and I don’t really feel the need to give it a second look, but, yeah, this one was good.

darkknightrises32) The Dark Knight Rises

I Said: “Matalo! Matalo! Bane! Bane! Matalo! Matalo! Bane! Bane!”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? No.

My feelings are TDKR are kind of complicated, but I think the best comparison I could make is to Return of the Jedi. This was a good ending the series. Not spectacular and nowhere near the level of it’s predecessor, but a good, solid conclusion.

stepup433) Step Up: Revolution (formerly Step Up 4Ever)

I Said: “Wait, do I suddenly want to see this movie? Bad Al!  Bad!”
Did I See It? Yes
Did I Regret It? No — don’t judge me! (Big Surprise #6!)

I’d never seen a Step-Up movie before, and don’t really feel the need to go back and watch the others or anything, but I like seeing people who know how to dance, and these kids clearly do. It was just dumb, brightly-colored fun.

bourneleg34) The Bourne Legacy

I Said: “Jeremy Renner’s performance in Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol makes me think he has the action chops to carry a film like this.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? Unfortunately, yes.

I didn’t hate The Bourne Legacy or anything, but I like the others so much and was so underwhelmed by this one that I’m almost certainly judging it more harshly than I ought to be. Seriously, though, you can’t introduce a big conspiracy angle and then not pursue it at all. What gives, man?

totalrecall35) Total Recall

I Said: “I love the Paul Verhoeven flick and enjoy Arnold in the role, so that probably tints my view on a remake.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? Yes.

This was a waste of a remake. It was basically same movie as the original, but Colin Farrell somehow manages to have less charisma than Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Plus, I honestly couldn’t tell apart Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel. Does that make me a bad male? Maybe.

campaign36) The Campaign (formerly Dog Fight)

I Said: “This will either be completely excellent or truly awful, but I just don’t know which.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? No!

Completely excellent is an overstatement, but this was pretty darn funny. I thought Dog Fight was a much better title, though.

expendables237) The Expendables 2

I Said: “I think we could be on the verge of something beautiful here.”
Did I See It? Yes
Did I Regret It? No!

This is basically the first Expendables all over again, but I enjoyed this one much more. However, I’m not sure if it’s actually a better movie or if I just had lower expectations.

dredd-poster38) Dredd

I Said: “If there’s any chance that Karl Urban can wipe the original from my mind, I’ll cheer him on all the way to the box office.”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? Nope.

I enjoyed Dredd, and I think it’s a film that will find it’s fanbase when it hits DVD. Interestingly, I saw a Korean film called The Raid: Redemption about a week after I saw Dredd, and it was almost the exact the same movie. I don’t know if it’s a case of one ripping off the other or just a weird coincidence, but I’d probably recommend either to any action fan looking for a way to kill a few hours.

frankenweenie39) Frankenweenie

I Said: “Bah! Burton can call me when he gets a haircut.”
Did I See It? No.
Did I Regret It? No.

I have nothing to add to my above comments. Bah!

taken240) Taken 2

I Said: “I adore the original so I’m already all over this sequel. Bring it on!”
Did I See It? Yes.
Did I Regret It? Immensely.

Did I say Prometheus was my biggest disappointment this year? Well, that’s probably still true, but Taken 2 seriously gave it a run for it’s money. Uninteresting, uninspired, and destined to be forgotten as quickly as possible.

texaschainsaw3d41) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D

I Said: “Well, their most recent attempt at rebooting this franchise was just appalling, so I have to believe this one will be better.”
Status: Unreleased.

This is actually due out sometime mid-January 2013. You know, where they put all the hit movies of the year.

boom42) Here Comes the Boom

I Said: “That sounds terrible. Just deeply, shockingly bad.”
Did I See It? No.
Did I Regret It? No.

There went the boom. I didn’t even notice.

halloween3d43) Halloween 3D

I Said: “[O]n the bright side, it’s NOT being directed by Rob Zombie!”
Status: Unreleased

This seems to have disappeared without a trace and I can’t say I’m sorry.

reddawn44) Red Dawn

I Said: “I cannot for the life of me figure out why this movie is being made.”
Did I See It? No.
Did I Regret It? Yeah, a little.

By all accounts, this was a terrible movie. Not worth your money, not worth your time, and not worth the celluloid it was recorded on. And yet, I want to see it. I can’t help myself. WOLVERIIIIINES!

skyfall45) Skyfall

I Said: “Bond 23 is definitely happening and I’m totally excited.”
Did I See It? Yes!
Did I Regret It? No way!

I know this film had its detractors, but, for me, James Bond Rises delivered. It easily ranks as one of my favorite Bond films and one of my favorite movies of the year.

twlightbd246) The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II

I Said: “It’s not my particular cup of tea”
Did I See It? No.
Did I Regret It? No.

Didn’t see it, don’t care. Moving on…

47Ronin47) 47 Ronin

I Said: “Keanu takes the whole martial arts mindset pretty seriously, so I’d like to think the he’d avoid starring in a movie about it that was obviously garbage.”
Status: Unreleased

I’m interested, but still don’t really have a bead on this movie. I guess we’ll see in February.

les-mis-poster48) Les Miserables

I Said: “I have zero opinion of this film. The cast looks nice, though.”
Did I See It? No.
Did I Regret It? Yes!

I’m still really hoping to get out and see this soon. The more I hear about it, the more I want to see it in theaters.

The_Hobbit _1_poster49) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I Said: “I already know that I’ll see it and I’ll love it, so I’m refusing to waste my breath on it now.”
Did I See It? Yes
Did I Regret It? No.

I liked The Hobbit a lot. It isn’t perfect and it isn’t as strong of a movie as any part of the Lord of the Rings, but it’s a good start. We’ll see if Peter Jackson can keep it up for another two films.

wwz50) World War Z

I Said: “I devoured the Max Brooks book that this was born out of, so I’m sure I’ll be checking this one out.”
Status: Unreleased

Well, this seems to have turned into quite the train wreck. The trailer looks like a pretty generic action movie and doesn’t seem to bear much resemblance to the novel. It’s also rumored that Max Brooks has pretty much dissociated himself from the film, which doesn’t really bode well.

django51) Django Unchained

I Said: “I’m onboard with anything QT makes”
Did I See It? No.
Did I Regret It? Yes!

I’m still not super-excited about this film or Jamie Foxx in the lead role, but I’m determined to see it in the theater. Maybe this weekend…

gatsby52) The Great Gatsby
I Said: “I have no particular like or dislike of Gatsby, but I’m a big fan of Baz Luhrman.”
Status: Unreleased

I’m still fairly neutral on this, too, but it’s been gaining a lot of buzz. I still can’t help thinking that it’s one I’ll end up just seeing on Netflix.


Man, that was exhausting!

My Totals

Movies That Didn’t Come Out in 2012: 9/52 (17%)

Movies on the List that I Watched: 30/43 (70%)

Movies I Regretted Seeing: 7/30 (23%)

Movies I Regretting Missing:  4/13 (31%)

As I’m sure you noticed, there were an awful lot of surprises for me in 2012. I’m either getting way easier to please or much less willing to give something the benefit of the doubt. Either way, you couldn’t have convinced me twelve months ago that I’d give a positive review to stuff like The Three Stooges and Step Up 4.  Maybe this means I’m approaching 2013 as a calmer, wiser man.

Wait a minute, they’re releasing another Die Hard movie? Bruce Willis, you go to HELL and spin on a pitchfork!

Other stuff I saw and enjoyed in 2012: Argo, Casa de mi Padre, Chronicle, Cloud Atlas, The Grey, Haywire, Lockout, Looper, The Raid: Redemption, Savages, Wanderlust


  1. I was very glad to see your roundup, Al! You convinced me to consider a few (21 Jump Street, Three Stooges, Dark Shadows, John Carter and Ted) that I had written off. You also made me look longingly at the movies I wanted to see and haven’t yet (Django Unchained, Les Mis, Skyfall, and Expendables 2).

    There’s still no way I’m watching Snow White and the Huntsman, The Dictator, Magic Mike, The Lorax, MIB3 or Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, though. I’m still mostly on the no side of watching The Amazing Spider-Man although I did almost go see it after Brad Jones (Aka Cinema Snob) from That Guy With The Glasses raved about it.

    As for Prometheus we own it and I still haven’t watched it yet. My husband did and was disappointed, so I’ve had no real desire to see it yet. I feel like a terrible person, but I feel a bit vindicated by my initial reaction to the trailer, which was underwhelming at the least.

  2. OK, in order:

    I actually kinda liked ‘Spirit of Vengeance’. It certainly wasn’t a GOOD movie, but it was enjoyable anyway, and Cage gave one of the hammiest performances I think I’ve ever seen him give. Good times.

    Eh – Lorax wasn’t terrible, but I’m with the Nostalgia Chick on this one: the ’70’s cartoon version was way better, and they should have emulated it.

    ‘Hansel and Gretel’ may possibly be terrible, but I’m seeing it anyway. It looks somewhat similar to ‘The Brothers Grimm’, and I liked that one.

    Already gave my review on John Carter (and thanks for linking to it), but yeah – good stuff; deserves more love.

    Hunger Games has received enough good press that I’ll probably have to see it at some point, once I’ve gotten around to reading the books.

    Hollywood needs to stop making over-pumped CGI-fest rehashes of Greek mythology. I haven’t seen ‘Wrath’, and I don’t want to – the gods are getting angry, and I’m getting annoyed.

    Avengers was pretty awesome. I’ll be interested to see how it affects the JLA movie when it finally comes around (given that their backstory ALSO prominently involves alien invaders – will they have to change that so it doesn’t seem like an Avengers rip-off?)

    ‘Huntsman’ was not at all bad. If nothing else, it proved that Theron can be downright SCARY when she wants to be.

    I liked Prometheus, personally, but I’ll certainly admit that it had flaws. I may have liked it more because I was alone in the theater when I saw it, and if you want to make jump scares more effective, just see ’em in a large, dark room all by yourself. (I can attest to this, because it was the way I first saw ‘Alien’, too.)

    What’s wrong with Jack and the Beanstalk, may I ask?

    Brave is not among the top-tier Pixar flicks, but it was still pretty good.

    AS-M was not exactly revelatory, but it did a good enough job of establishing a new Spidey. Unnecessary? Yes – but it could have sucked, and it didn’t, so thumbs up for that.

    DKR was kind of a fizzle as far as I’m concerned, but it wasn’t TERRIBLE; it just wasn’t a particularly good Batman movie, in my opinion.

    I am quite annoyed that I missed Dredd in theaters, as everyone keeps telling me it’s good. I’ve got to check it out now.

    Well, I LIKE Tim Burton, so I’m looking forward to this one, too.

    The Hobbit was certainly not bad, but way too freakin’ long and stuffed with unnecessary additions. I’ll definitely be seeing the sequels, though.

    I’ll probably see Gatsby on Netflix, too, but that doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to it. I’m a fan of the Roaring ’20’s.

    Good follow-up article!

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