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Best Films of 2012: More Lists

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 7:17 AM Comments (17)

Last week, I published my 2012 wrap-up and top films list. Now I turn my attention to other best-film lists.

Perusing the lists below (and bearing my own picks in mind), a number of recurring titles stand out—above all The Kid with a Bike (my #1 film of 2012), appearing on every list below except one. (Actually, my friend Ken Morefield clarifies that The Kid with a Bike did appear on his top 10 list — for 2011. So it’s unanimous!)

Other oft-cited titles include Moonrise Kingdom, Lincoln, Les MisérablesThe Loneliest Planet, Looper and Brave.

While it’s natural to focus on these “consensus films,” idiosyncratic choices can also be worth attending to. A number of films called out by just one of my friends below are now in my queue. (Disclaimer: Obviously, since I haven’t seen all the films below, I don’t recommend them all, nor do I recommend all the ones I have seen.)

One pick on my list, Planet of Snail, wasn’t widely seen and appears on only one other list below, but I’m confident those who seek it out will be glad they did. (Planet of Snail debuts on home video February 12, along with The Kid with a Bike.)

As in the past, I voted in the two top 10 lists produced each year by ChristianityToday.com, Critics’ Choice and Most Redeeming.

The ChristianityToday.com Critics’ Choice winners for 2012 are:

  1. Lincoln
  2. Moonrise Kingdom
  3. The Kid with a Bike
  4. Zero Dark Thirty
  5. Argo
  6. Anna Karenina
  7. Skyfall
  8. Life of Pi
  9. Les Misérables
  10. The Avengers

The ChristianityToday.com Most Redeeming winners for 2012 are:

  1. Les Misérables
  2. Lincoln
  3. The Kid with a Bike
  4. Moonrise Kingdom
  5. Life of Pi
  6. Undefeated
  7. Argo
  8. Looper
  9. Brave
  10. The Avengers

Remarkably, all but one of the Critics Choice films, and seven of the Most Redeeming films, appear on my own top 20 — and six films appear on all three lists. (Life of Pi appears on both CT lists but not mine.)

Turning to some of my friends’ lists…

Victor Morton of Rightwing Film Geek put together the only list besides mine to include Planet of Snail (a film I saw on a tip from him), as well as Whit Stillman’s Damsels in Distress; he also picks a number of films that appear on lists below.

  1. The Kid with a Bike
  2. The Deep Blue Sea
  3. The Turin Horse
  4. Looper
  5. The Loneliest Planet
  6. Damsels in Distress
  7. The Imposter
  8. Amour
  9. Planet of Snail
  10. Cabin in the Woods

Jeff Overstreet, now blogging at Patheos, has two overlapping lists this year, a “global edition” and an “American release edition.” Comparing apples to apples, here’s his American release top 10, four of which he shares with me and at least one of the CT lists. (Check out his page for additional films.)

  1. Moonrise Kingdom
  2. The Master
  3. The Loneliest Planet
  4. The Kid with a Bike
  5. Lincoln
  6. Holy Motors
  7. Margaret
  8. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
  9. Brave
  10. This is Not a Film

Also at Patheos, Christian Hamaker’s top 10:

  1. The Kid with a Bike
  2. Looper
  3. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
  4. Margaret
  5. Lawless
  6. Life of Pi
  7. The Master
  8. Les Misérables
  9. Your Sister’s Sister
  10. Cosmopolis

M. Leary at Filmwell:

  1. Moonrise Kingdom
  2. The Turin Horse
  3. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
  4. The Loneliest Planet
  5. The Kid with a Bike
  6. Looper
  7. Holy Motors
  8. Let the Bullets Fly
  9. Haywire
  10. Oslo, August 31st

Finally, at 1More Film Blog, Ken Morefield goes very much his own way, with five documentaries and a number of choices that he acknowledges could be called contrarian. (Ken’s #1 film made my runner-up list; the rest I either haven’t seen or didn’t think as highly of as Ken. Still, Ken’s prompted me to take a second look at a number of them.)

  1. The Queen of Versailles
  2. Miss Representation
  3. Wreck-it Ralph
  4. Great Expectations
  5. Under African Skies
  6. Django Unchained
  7. Looper
  8. The Central Park Five
  9. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
  10. Head Games

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out my own 2012 piece with top 10, runners-up and honorable mention.

Filed under movies, top film lists

About Steven D. Greydanus

SDG
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Steven D. Greydanus is film critic for the National Catholic Register and Decent Films, the online home for his film writing. He writes regularly for Christianity Today, Catholic World Report and other venues, and is a regular guest on several radio shows. Steven has contributed several entries to the New Catholic Encyclopedia, including “The Church and Film” and a number of filmmaker biographies. He has also written about film for the Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy. He has a BFA in Media Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and an MA in Religious Studies from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, PA. He is pursuing diaconal studies in the Archdiocese of Newark. Steven and Suzanne have seven children.