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2012 Random Awards

December 26, 2012

Hello all. Mark here. Welcome to the 2012 MFF awards. The awards that celebrate the underdogs yet still appreciate the critical darlings.

The list celebrates films that were unexpected, under appreciated and surprising . Films that all offer the viewer something important and unexpected  (Wonderful characters, inventive action and Bill Murray hitting Ed Norton with a shoe). These movies all offer something original and inventive that make the experience worthwhile. They are unexpected treats that subverted the conventions of cinema and were better than they had any right to be. They featured fantastic fights too.

Sean William Scott Goon fighting


The list is no particular order. I started the list with five films then it ballooned  and I still feel bad about leaving Dredd, Bourne Legacy, Headhunters and Cabin in the Woods out. Also, Killing Them Softly almost made it’s way in because of the occasional soon to be classic moments that happened between James Gandolfini’s heavy breathing.

Without further ado here is the list!

Goon – Doug Glatt is my favorite character of the year. Earnest, tough and kind. Seann William Scott plays him as an adult man who isn’t a man child. He is a guy that is kind and loyal but has no problem head butting your face into oblivion. Goon features fleshed out characters who were created with love. The movie has a huge heart and is evident in the relationship between Glatt and his love interest Alison Pill. Liev Schreiber is fantastic as tough guy Ross Reardon. If Ross was in any other movie he would be played as the stereotypical asshole who is the foil to the hero. However, under Liev’s moustache is a man who has forgotten who he once was and embraces his current persona. The characters are three dimensional and the friendships are fantastic. People loved this movie so much that Jay Baruchel is writing a sequel. I can’t wait to spend more time with the corn dog loving Doug Glatt and his motley crew.

Goon Sean William Scott hockey


Safety Not Guaranteed – The Charm of Safety Not Guaranteed is that you like everyone involved. You want them all to find what they want and live happy quirky lives. Audrey Plaza is fantastic, Jake Johnson is a wonderful blend of neurotic and confident and Mark Duplass makes you believe he can actually pull off time travel. Safety Not Guaranteed makes you smile and you will enjoy every second of the “weird mojos bonding.” It also features this fantastic dialogue exchange:

Duplass: “Have you ever looked certain death in the eye?’

Plaza: “If I had I wouldn’t be talking to you.”

Safety Not Guaranteed Jake Johnson


The RaidThe Raid is an urgent film. If you stop or make the wrong movement you are dead. Everything is at stake and the fights are brutal and efficient. The Raid is what happens when you lose your budget and are forced to create a cheap fight epic. There are no bells, whistles or unnecessary exposition.  The movie hits hard, often and with absolute confidence. Every time somebody gets hit you feel the pain and the bones crunching. The way the characters use torque and technique to hurt people is a marvel of violence, fantastic choreography and face kicking.

The Raid fight scenes


The Grey – live or die. Trudge on or give up. The Grey was marketed as Neeson punching wolves but instead was a contemplation of life and death. You feel the cold and relate to all the men. That is why the journey is a nail biter that asks and answers questions about death. For instance, how do people hold up when death is on the horizon? What will you do in your final moments? Where does the will to live come from? The film is beautiful to behold and bleak to watch. After the film was over I wanted to talk to somebody. It creates conversations and lingers in your memory.

the grey walking


Bernie – Part documentary/Part film/All Linklater.  It is funny, charming, cheeky, engaging and creative. Jack Black gives a career defining performance and you will love watching Matthew McConaughey having a hoot of a time. Movies like Bernie do not come around much because there is nothing like them. I will let Roger Ebert sum up Black’s performance:

“I had to forget what I knew about Black. He creates this character out of thin air, it’s like nothing he’s done before, and it proves that an actor can be a miraculous thing in the right role.”

Bernie Jack Black


ChronicleAvengers was managed. Dark Knight Rises was too self important. Chronicle was unexpected. All three films are fantastic but Chronicle offered something that Avengers, Dark Knight Rises and Spiderman couldn’t achieve. There is a sense of wonder, exhilaration and truthfulness that explodes off the screen and creates an unexpected blast of original. When the three kids are flying and a plane bursts through the clouds it makes you feel like you are up there with them. The film was made for $12 million and proves small budgets often bring huge creativity. Also, it also makes me want to go spelunking again after The Descent and it’s evil mole monsters scared me away.

chronicle sky scraper


Haywire – This is what happens when you use your actors correctly. Haywire is a retro fight fest that hits hard and has tons of style. I love that Carano does her own stunts and has some spectacular fights with Tatum, McGregor and Fassbender. I love how McGregor fights like McGregor, Tatum is the Tampa guy who can fight and Fassbender gets killed in worst/best way ever. The long static shots showcase the bone breaking action and I dig how Carano uses her MMA training to choke, kick and elbow her ways to realistic victories over her larger male opponents. Also, kudos to Pullman and Carano for pulling off one of the best father/daughter teams since Veronica Mars.

haywire arm


The Five Year Engagement – The film is long, loaded with too many characters and food trucks are involved. However, somewhere in the film there are neat truth nuggets. The film swings for the fences and asks you to sit down for two hours while attractive people don’t communicate. However, it has a bravado and truthfulness that you don’t see very often. Some moments are shoved down your throat (doughnuts) and subtly is abandoned (explaining the doughnuts). However, any film that refuses to play it safe(a toe is cut off due to frost bite which was caused by infidelity) is cool in my book. viva la Cookie Monster!

The Five Year Engagement Emily Blunt


Moonrise Kingdom – If Wes Anderson sneezed on some film I would put it in my top ten. Moonrise Kingdom is Wes at his best. He coaxes a warm and engaging performance out of Bruce Willis and helped Ed Norton revitalize his career (with an assist from Bourne Legacy). I love Anderson films because they can be described as whimsical, quaint and occasionally violent. Moonrise is 100% Anderson but is unpredictable. It is like being on the same bike but on different trails. You know how the wheels turn but have no clue what is around the corner.

Moonrise Kingdom cast


21 Jump Street – The most rewatchable film of the year. Their are so many laughs in 21 Jump Street you will need to watch it several time to appreciate them all. I love how the film plays with the definition of cool and what remakes should be. Add in Ice Cube’s sassy yelling, Jake Johnson’s stressed out principal, Brie Larson’s free spirited teenager and Franco’s smarm and you have the funniest movie of the year. In the words of Rob Riggle “I need me some Doug McQuaid.”

21 jump street slim shady


What do you think about the list? Comment. Complain. Agree. Thanks!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Marilyn Peck permalink
    December 26, 2012 9:59 am

    I especially agree with your comment about 21 Jump Street. You can rewatch it a bunch of times and still catch things to laugh at that you missed the first, second or third times!

  2. VJ Long permalink
    December 26, 2012 3:41 pm

    Goon has made its way into my top constantly changing top 10. It will remain there for a while I’m sure. Mark, since you told me to watch this earlier in the year it has been my go to on Netflix. I just can’t get enough of Glatt. I have high hopes for the second installment, and have a feeling it won’t disappoint. Solid job on the other movies. I’ve got a couple up there I still need to watch…

  3. johnleavengood permalink
    January 1, 2013 2:54 pm

    Finally saw Goon. LOVED it! But, man, did they have to make Sean William Scott so dumb?

    • January 1, 2013 3:03 pm

      I don’t think he was dumb. I saw him as a loyal, kind and knows what he is capable of. For instance, he couldn’t talk smack to those hockey players because he is too nice and doesn’t talk rudely to people. Not dumb just awkward.


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