I saw 130 new movies this year. Let's start off with the ones I hated and move up from there:
Half a Star:
The Evil Dead (1981) - Really got zero enjoyment out of this one.
Bye Bye Birdie (1963) - A bizarre adaptation skewering a pretty decent musical.
Mr. Baseball (1992) - Nothing original about this at all.
Loving Annabelle (2006) - Clearly trying to say something deep, but just comes off as pretentious and cliche.
Deliverance (1972) - Didn't capture my attention at all.
Saw (2004) - Not because it was too gory, but because it was boring.
Faces (1968) - This movie felt like it was 10 hours long.
The World Is Not Enough (1999) - I can't even remember what happened in this movie.
One and a Half Stars:
Nell (1994) - Laughably sentimental and cliched.
The Revengers' Comedies (1998) - Just kind of... sat there.
Dracula (1931) - I admire its legacy, but it pales in comparison to the book and its sort-of adaptation Nosferatu.
Brokeback Mountain (2005) - Nice ending, but agonizingly slow and with very little character relatability.
2046 (2004) - Never gripped me.
Ulysses (1967) - What did I even watch?
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) - Really awkward, but Andrew Garfield is delightful.
Happy Gilmore (1996) - If anyone but Adam Sandler had been in this, it would've been pretty funny.
The Hurt Locker (2008) - One or two great scenes, a lot of meandering.
The Yellow Handkerchief (2008) - This movie wanted to be great... It was just bland.
Footloose (2011) - The original is superior in every way, but there are a couple fun dances.
Win Win (2011) - Paul Giamatti should be more interesting than this.
Gladiator (2000) - Joaquin Phoenix was fascinating. Couldn't have cared less about Russell Crowe.
Superbad (2007) - More needlessly gross than I generally care for in my humor.
Fish Tank (2009) - Interesting characters not actually doing anything.
Hulk (2003) - This story is ridiculous, but I kind of enjoyed myself.
Independence Day (1996) - I kept zoning out, but what I saw was fine.
The Fifth Element (1997) - I don't get the hype.
The Money Pit (1986) - Not nearly as many laughs as there needed to be.
Two and a Half Stars:
Moneyball (2011) - I keep forgetting this was nominated. It's fine, but not great.
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) - One or two clever laughs, but most gags go on far too long.
The Disappearance of Alice Creed (2009) - Overly dramatic at times, but kind of fun.
Spellbound (1945) - The love story here is much too disturbing to be overlooked as it is.
Meet Joe Black (1998) - Love the play... this version is missing the spark.
The Score (2001) - Oh, it's fine.
Bad Teacher (2011) - I liked this more than I thought I would, but it's still pretty meh.
Cape Fear (1991) - Apparently Scorsese thought the original just wasn't over-the-top enough...
Marathon Man (1976) - Too many silly moments, but it is fun.
The Descendants (2011) - The other one I keep forgetting was nominated. It's solid and forgettable.
Interstate 60: Episodes of the Road (2002) - A bizarre, surreal, ridiculous movie that has a strange charm to it, though it shouldn't.
Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008) - I was expecting and hoping for so much more...
The Help (2011) - I'm just not that interested in stories about women. Women in movies are never anyone I can relate to.
Stage Door Canteen (1943) - Fascinating as a pop culture time capsule.
Cracks (2009) - Really boring until about halfway through, when it suddenly kicks into gear and goes crazy.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) - Nothing wrong with this movie. I just didn't care.
One, Two, Three (1961) - A mediocre Billy Wilder overall with a great final scene.
The Ring (2002) - The final scene makes it all worth it.
Rushmore (1998) - It's pretty funny, I guess.
Marie Antoinette (2006) - This movie worked for me in a way I really wouldn't have expected.
21 Jump Street (2012) - Surprisingly entertaining.
In Time (2011) - Awesome premise, didn't work out quite as well as I'd have hoped.
Smiles of a Summer Night (1955) - Light and fluffy Bergman is fun.
A Dangerous Method (2011) - Fine, but I was hoping for more psychology and less romantic drama.
City Lights (1931) - Solid Chaplin.
Bowling For Columbine (2002) - I don't remember what my beef was with this, but I feel like I had one...
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) - Excellent second half, meandering first half.
Brave (2012) - Even Pixar's weaker efforts are better than most animated flicks.
Les Miserables (2012) - Two great performances, incredible visuals, a lot of effort... but unfortunately also a lot of terrible singing.
The Player (1992) - Never blew me away, but kept my attention all the way through.
Thor (2011) - Kenneth Branagh brought a very Shakespearean feel to this movie and I loved that a lot.
The Edge of Heaven (2007) - Admirable rather than enjoyable.
Anonymous (2011) - Very silly but pretty entertaining.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011) - A second watch could move this further up on my list. Interesting.
War Horse (2011) - This movie is more emotionally manipulative than it has any right to be, but it somehow worked on me.
The Woman in Black (2012) - Mediocre horror story with suddenly incredible ending.
It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010) - Zach Galifinakis NEEDS to do more serious movies.
Office Space (1999) - I feel this would be funnier if I watched it with friends.
The Battle of Algiers (1966) - I don't even remember this, to be honest. Probably this ranking is too high.
The Seventh Seal (1957) - Interesting images that stuck with me, but I don't get it.
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) - The most cheerful superhero movie I've seen in awhile. Refreshing.
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) - Not my favorite Tarantino, but as always he has style.
In the Mood For Love (2000) - Meh, it was fine.
Three and a Half Stars:
The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012) - A charming and entertaining effort from Aardman Animation.
Gentleman's Agreement (1947) - A well-acted movie that deserved the awards it won.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012) - A fun movie, despite the fact that there doesn't seem to be much Batman in it...
Evil Dead II (1987) - 10 times sillier than the first one and therefore 10 times more fun.
My Date with Drew (2004) - The likeable protagonist is the best reason to watch this movie.
Saving Private Ryan (1998) - Effective, although now at the end of the year I can't remember why.
The Departed (2006) - Good acting all around in a genre of movie I don't like.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966) - Pretty much exactly what I said for The Departed.
The Duellists (1977) - Stretched out forever, but the basic idea was fascinating and the ending superb.
The Band Wagon (1953) - A couple of great song-and-dance sequences, a lot of weird ones.
Drive (2011) - Ryan Gosling is the main reason to watch this movie, although it's decent on its own.
Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011) - I was impressed with this movie, but I think I was supposed to get more out of it.
Hugo (2011) - A visually beautiful movie with a pretty good story.
Bonnie and Clyde (1967) - The titular characters are fascinating to watch.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011) - I think I liked it better than the 2009 original, but my goodness, what a complicated plot.
Bridesmaids (2011) - Best female-centered comedy I have perhaps ever seen.
Dark Shadows (2012) - Completely campy... and such a blast.
De-Lovely (2004) - Much lovelier music than I expected, leading to a very entertaining musical, although it does go on quite long.
My Week With Marilyn (2011) - Much more interesting than most biopics.
Mars Attacks! (1996) - This movie is ridiculous enough to keep me from loving it, but I sure did like it a lot.
The Tree of Life (2011) - It's much too long and difficult to follow for me, storywise, but moments of it are absolutely gorgeous.
Scotland, Pa. (2001) - I remember liking this movie, but to be very honest, I can't remember much of it now.
Nosferatu (1922) - Most terrifying vampire movie I've ever seen.
The Artist (2011) - Lovely homage to silent cinema.
Beetlejuice (1988) - Totally not what I expected, but much funnier.
Trainspotting (1996) - Every moment of this movie is interesting.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) - Some absolutely superb acting, but what else can you expect, given the caliber of the cast?
The Blair Witch Project (1999) - Supremely effective horror flick, easily the best of the found footage flicks.
Army of Darkness (1992) - Abandons all hope of being a genuine horror movie and becomes a parody instead.
50/50 (2011) - Very moving and genuine portrayal of a story that's been told many times before.
Rock of Ages (2012) - Enjoyable enough, but Tom Cruise is what gives this movie the rating it has.
The Great Dictator (1940) - Easily my favorite Chaplin thus far, though it's silent like his most famous ones.
Jake's Women (1996) - Quick-paced, enjoyable script by Neil Simon and good performances.
Carnage (2011) - Wonderful adaptation of the Tony Award-winning play from a few years back.
Contagion (2011) - Quite a good disease movie, nice and suspenseful.
Bernie (2012) - Easily the best movie Jack Black has ever done, IMHO.
Ordet (1955) - A very moving film about belief and religion, even if the ending is a bit of a stretch.
The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall (2012) - Now this is what Phantom should sound like. Take that, Gerard Butler.
Rise of the Guardians (2012) - Surprisingly touching, given that it's a kids' movie.
Short Cuts (1993) - Nearly every story in this ensemble flick is fascinating.
Mrs. Brown (1997) - Well acted and well scripted, though at the end of the year I do feel the 4-star rating might have been a little high.
The Exorcist (1973) - Not scary so much as haunting and tragic, but great with that.
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006) - So much funnier than I thought it would ever be.
Nowhere Boy (2009) - Strong emotional thread carried it all the way on this one.
Young Adult (2011) - Funny and entertaining, takes all the cliches about "going home again" stories and spins them around.
The Dictator (2012) - One or two moments that really didn't work, but overall, extremely funny.
We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) - Terrifying, chilling, and fascinating.
Never Let Me Go (2010) - Great premise with some very good acting, even from Keira Knightley, who I usually hate.
The Hunger Games (2012) - Extremely solid adaptation of the first book.
My top 10 I saw in 2012 (in order from least awesome to most awesome)
10. Four Lions (2010) - A dark comedy that would have been even higher on this list if I wasn't so ambivalent about the ending.
9. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011) - The little kid is a wonderful character and a joy to watch, even if the story gets ridiculous at times.
8. My Neighbor Totoro (1988) - My favorite Miyazaki so far. Perfect blend of whimsy and realism for me.
7. Take Shelter (2011) - Michael Shannon is an incredible actor, and he is the life behind this movie.
6. Breaking the Waves (1996) - A hard movie to watch, but one that greatly impacted me on an emotional level.
5. Submarine (2010) - The best quirky indie young adult movie I've seen in a couple of years.
4. Inglourious Basterds (2009) - Breathtakingly original and absolutely fascinating every step of the way. I didn't begrudge it its long running time at all.
3. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) - I did not in the least expect to like this movie, much less love it, but somehow nearly every joke works for me.
2. The Cabin in the Woods (2012) - Quite possibly the best horror movie I've ever seen, and certainly the best movie made in 2012.
1. Vanilla Sky (2001) - I do want to see Abre los ojos, but in the meantime, I was completely blown away by this movie. It's so very haunting in its story and its visuals, and I couldn't stop watching.