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The Best Underappreciated Movies of 2012 [part 2]

January 1, 2013

Mark presented a solid list of the best underappreciated movies of 2012. Several of my favorites were already listed, but I have managed to assemble a few more movies worth a solid nod for various little-considered reasons.  Agree, disagree, whatever–just watch them.  However, it should be noted that never has there been a year that I totally missed so many movies–so you are obviously just getting an account based on what I managed to see.

The Cabin in the Woods

Looking for something in the horror genre that you haven’t seen yet?  Sounds impossible, right?  Wrong!  This is it!  Lovers of all franchises and single serving horror cones will thank me for this recommendation. This gets a general movie “A” and a horror movie “A+.”  While Tucker and Dale vs Evil presented a similarly unorthodox stylization, this film rewrote the rules!

In recent decades guaranteed-grossing remakes, prequels and franchising sequels have flooded theaters in lieu of new ideas. The Cabin in the Woods offers an imaginative never-told story, cleverly acknowledges almost every horror icon and franchise on the market, and ultimately alleviates a genre that has desperately thirsted for originality.  This Frankensteinian stitch-work horror transcends the genre and will perhaps never be successfully copied.  Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the title.  Instead, be warned at how comfortingly familiar it feels and enjoy this metafilm.
Wait–Giant Snake, Deadites…Kevin!?!

Game Change

Not that I’m trying to force a political agenda, but this movie is more for the pro-Obama crowd. Or, at least, the anti-Palin camp.  HBO has a strong resume when it comes to non-theatrical films (which have clear agendas) and continues to deliver golden screenplays chiseled to perfection by great actors.
I’m voting for the folks on top!


I’ve included this film because I fear it will disappoint a lot of people for the wrong reason.  Argo was advertised as an exciting rescue movie–bordering on a historical adventure loaded with situational comic relief. But there is really very little excitement and limited laughter, and certainly no sense of adventure.
They didn’t think it was funny either.

It’s really rather slow. But hidden in this slow-pacer is a constantly interesting historical mission with cool and risky details that never left me wondering where the action was…even though there was none.

Argo was plotty brilliance with an unusually skinny Ben Affleck and far fewer throat punches than American movie goers have come to expect.  However, despite the lack of jugular judo chops, this was a truly memorable movie experience. Set your expectations appropriately and enjoy this well-crafted film.

REC 3: Genesis

This film was short, sweet and persistently effective, with some of the best blood work, tactfully sharp color-correction and beautiful filming of any zombie film since 28 Days Later and Zombieland.  If you see one zombie movie this decade, make this it!  (Unless you haven’t seen Zombieland yet–then watch that, too.)
A lot of attention was paid to earning the audience’s care for these characters.  What did it for me?  It had to be their adorably choreographed first dance.  So much fun!!!  I want that to be my first dance at my wedding!

There are loads of negative reviews out there about this movie. It seems that all such reviews are based on inconsistencies between this and the previous two REC films–especially the zombies’ behavior.  So, folks…just stop doing that, get over your judgmental self (not that I’m typically any better), treat this movie as a stand-alone zombie film and enjoy!

The Expendables 2

The key word here is fun.  Watching this movie was a BLAST!  The plot (between the action scenes) can be slow to the point of weary, but it’s all worth the wait!  Remember when you were younger and loved 80s and 90s action movies and then you got older and groaned at the inane plots and wooden acting while waiting for those poorly choreographed nostalgic fight scenes and one-liners that you loved?  Well, this flick brings all of the 80s/90s-era action movie appeal with a budget, slightly better writing, EPIC fights and bigger explosions.  Oh, wait, and it does it with your favorite action stars of the 80s and 90s!!!!!

REALITY CHECK:  Van Damme is 52 years old. Dolph Lundgren is 55. And Stallone is 66—FYI, that’s Medicare-old.  Holy shit are they still in scary-epic shape!  Then, of course, there’s the aging Crews (44), Statham (45), Li (49), Couture (49), Willis (57), Norris (62) and Schwarzenegger (65)—who is reigniting his action-movie career!!!  Back in the 80s we would’ve expected them to be firing shotguns from Hover’rounds by now and calling LifeAlert instead of their brothers-in-arms when they’re hit.
Is this an ad for Lipitor, Rogaine, hormone therapy, Flomax or the latest enlarged prostate relief drug?

This is truly paramount among “movies for guys who like movies.”  It’s an overdose of action filled with satirical classic one-liners, big biceps, large caliber weapons, huge explosions and tremendous sprays of gore as people are nearly liquefied when shot.

Dumb movie?  Yes.  Perhaps my favorite of 2012?  ALSO YES!!!

Honorable MentionPitch Perfect

We’ve been inundated with dance movie sequels, Glee and other extra-curricular underdog-troupe movies, but this one was a MAJOR SURPRISE.  The acting, writing, humor, casting and music were all quality and fun!
Listen closely to this chick during the movie.  She is hilariously disturbing.

I was dragged to this movie during my friends’ wedding week and couldn’t say no.

I ended up thanking them.  So, here’s a “you’re welcome” in advance.  Watch this!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 1, 2013 8:16 am

    Gotta watch out for those jugular Judo chops. Cabin in the Woods and Pitch Perfect deserve the recognition. Viva LA Fat Amy
    I dug Argo too.

  2. johnleavengood permalink
    January 1, 2013 11:22 am

    Cabin for Best Picture!

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