AFI Lists Top Ten Films of 2012

I pilfered this list from Deadline before the press release came:

AFI MOVIES OF THE YEAR
ARGO
BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES <—–!!!!!
DJANGO UNCHAINED
LES MISÉRABLES
LIFE OF PI
LINCOLN
MOONRISE KINGDOM
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
ZERO DARK THIRTY

Marking the thirteenth chapter in the American Film Institute’s 21st century almanac, AFI AWARDS 2012 selections are made through AFI’s unique jury process in which scholars, film and television artists, critics and AFI Trustees determine the most outstanding achievements of the year, as well as provide a detailed rationale for each selection. This year’s juries – one for film and one for television – were chaired by producers and AFI Board of Trustees Vice Chairs Tom Pollock (former Vice Chairman of MCA, Chairman of Universal Pictures) for the movies and Rich Frank (former Chairman of Walt Disney Television, President of Walt Disney Studios, President of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) for television, and includes award-winning artists such as Angela Bassett, Brad Bird, Chris Carter, Marta Kauffman and Octavia Spencer; film historian Leonard Maltin; scholars from prestigious universities with recognized motion picture arts programs (Syracuse, UCLA, University of Texas, USC, Wesleyan); AFI Board of Trustees; and critics from leading media outlets such as Entertainment Weekly, The Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Time Magazine, USA Today and more.

AFI TV PROGRAMS OF THE YEAR
AMERICAN HORROR STORY
BREAKING BAD
GAME CHANGE
GAME OF THRONES
GIRLS
HOMELAND
LOUIE
MAD MEN
MODERN FAMILY
THE WALKING DEAD

112 Comments on this Post

  1. Pleasant surprise for Dark Knight Rises, beyond that it’s pretty well-rounded.

  2. Glad Walking Dead, Argo, Life of Pi made it to the list!

  3. Christophe

    I assumed Les Miserables was a British movie and would receive a “special award” like the artist and harry potter last year or the king’s speech the year before, but it’s even better that way, I guess they took into account that it was made with American money. No skyfall or frankenweenie though.

  4. So the only real snub is The Master. And I’d have switched out TDKR for Skyfall myself.

  5. Erik Anderson

    At first The Master’s snub is a bit surprising, but that TDKR is essentially in its place representing the sole blockbuster in that group of 10, I’m not that troubled yet. If it were to fail to get into BFCA tomorrow though, I’d say it’s toast. It missed NBR too though, and that is worrisome, cumulatively.

  6. The Great Dane

    Christophe: Isn’t Skyfall British? Like, completely?

    Shocking that they didn’t go for The Avengers as well. Statistically they should have, but again, it being snubbed is a true testament to the strength of this film year. I’m glad it isn’t there in stead of DKR, though.

  7. Princess of Peace

    I think that Skyfall, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Anna Karenina are considered British films so they wouldn’t qualify. And certainly Amour wouldn’t.

  8. eurocheese

    Really happy to see Beasts and Life of Pi. TDKR is a nice pick. Swap it for Amour (obviously not eligible here) and those look like the BP 10, should the Academy go that high.

  9. Danemychal

    So they considered Les Mis American (probably based on Universal Studios). Pretty predictable list, a lot like Travers’ except missing his favorite, The Master.

  10. Is it wrong that I am most excited about AMERICAN HORROR STORY?
    the best thing on tv right now

    jessica lange … drool! :) (the best acting on tv)

  11. Very glad to see Django on the list and that it’s popping up more and more. Don’t think it has a chance to win best pic but hoping it makes the best pic lineup for the Oscars.

    Love Dark Knight Rises on the list as well. Shocked that The Master is missing. Not shocked Flight was left off.

  12. Lookin’ good. *Batdances*

  13. Christophe

    @thegreatdane
    They seem to have very unclear and loose rules when it comes to nationality, but they could’ve given skyfall or amour a “special award” like they often do. I have no idea which is more british between les mis or bond, they were both made in the uk by british filmmakers with American money and maybe also a couple American producers. Hollywood movies are often international affairs but it’s still Hollywood so ultimately American I guess.

  14. Adding The Master and Amour, which are presumably going to be favored by the 5% rule, that’s our 12 finalists. I really think Flight is out. At least two will miss it when january 10 comes. And I hope only two. This year deserves 10 BP nominees.

  15. I gotta say, that’s a pretty solid list. It’s leaving out a few worthy films but frankly, it’s one of those years where no matter how many BP nominees we have, some deserving films are going to be left out.

  16. TDKR!!! Love it and well deserved inclusion.

  17. Freddy Ardanza

    No Boardwalk Empire?….I don’t know what people see in Girls or The Walking Dead.

  18. Also, I’ve noticed that The Dark Knight Rises has been popping up on a bunch of lists in the last week or two. I thought it had no shot at a nomination, but maybe it’s still got a fighting chance?

    I’d love to see it happen.

  19. BOO! Just realized no Perks of Being a Wallflower. Thought for sure it would be on the list.

  20. Still could have been Avengers instead of TDKR.

  21. Christophe

    So glad for Moonrise Kingdom. So far it’s #2 on the metacritic awards scorecard behind zd30. I remember watching it in a theater two days after its first screening in cannes and thinking hopefully voters will remember it at the end of the year, seems to be the case.

  22. LMAO@ Hobbit fanboys predicting The Hobbit as one of AFI`s Top 10 when it couldn`t even make Huffington`s Top 30. Loooong, been-there-done-that movie with some really bad make-up reveals courtesy of HRF and unengaging characters and plot.

  23. @tipsy

    Since no one mentioned The Hobbit, I’m not sure why you felt it necessary to bring it up.

  24. Christophe

    “This year’s juries were chaired by producers and AFI Board of Trustees Vice Chairs Tom Pollock (Chairman of Universal Pictures)”

    I guess that explains why Les Misérables suddenly became eligible and made the cut.

  25. Standard. One of their most conventional lists in ages. The Master’s absence is disappointing.

  26. Jesus Alonso

    I must say that I’ve seen only one of those and doesn’t have a place in my top 10, already is on #10 but with dozens of films to see, from what I have seen. If I had to choose ONLY from American films, well, it would still be there, but in no way is The Dark Knight Rises a more accomplished film than The Avengers or Cabin in the Woods. The last 3rd of Nolan’s overlong film, is a confusing and confused mess. No real sense of time and distance, cheap tricks that completely sink the whole experience, to my taste. Even Chronicle was a more fulfilling experience, to my taste.

    I got good vibrations with Argo and Moonrise Kingdom, which may be my next viewing. I am going to skip both Zero Dark Thirty and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, till new notice. Not interested in any of both proposals.

  27. Tero Heikkinen

    I can see why people keep mentioning Skyfall when critics do it as well.

    “Glenn Whipp ‏@GlennWhipp

    Good on AFI for include a genre film. Wish they picked the year’s best, though. #skyfall”

    Good to see I’m not alone loving TDKR (4,5/5). Still one of year’s best. And I’m generally no blockbuster lover. Examples: The Avengers 3,5/5, Prometheus 3,5/5, The Hunger Games 3/5 and The Hobbit 2/5. Skyfall would be one of the best British films with 4/5.

  28. Joao Mattos

    “The Master” perfomance in the critics awards is quite disappointing so far, I guess. Maybe at the Oscars could be lef out of the Best Movie and Best Achievement in Directing.

  29. I was refering to 3 fanboys who predicted The Hobibt in AFI Preview thread.

  30. Zachary Freiesleben

    9 of the 10 TV shows are on basic or pay cable.
    I have only seen 3 of the films, so I won’t offer my opinion of the list.

  31. Christophe

    @Joao
    If even critics can’t get excited by The Master, I don’t think the Academy will go for it. They’ll be too happy to sweep that one under the rug explaining it wasn’t even a critical favorite.

  32. Glad to see TDKR as blockbuster pick over other Avengers and Skyfall!

  33. They’ll be too happy to sweep that one under the rug explaining it wasn’t even a critical favorite.

    Gee. Even though The Master was the LA Critics #2 favorite yesterday and even though the AFI jury are not critics. Even though The Master has one of the year’s highest scores on Metacritic. Still not a critics favorite. Interesting explanation.

  34. “LMAO@ Hobbit fanboys predicting The Hobbit as one of AFI`s Top 10 when it couldn`t even make Huffington`s Top 30. Loooong, been-there-done-that movie with some really bad make-up reveals courtesy of HRF and unengaging characters and plot.”

    You probably haven’t even seen it for youself. It’s also probably being very underrated at the moment.

  35. Pretty much expected from the milquetoast set – no Master or Perks. Glad for TDKR, Pi and Beasts, though.

    Beside the $$$ behind it, what’s American about Les Miserables?

  36. Jerry Grant

    This list is basically……. absolutely correct.

    So glad none of the following titles were snubbed: “Life of Pi,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Django Unchained,” “Lincoln”. These are such good movies.

    Am neither bothered nor surprised “The Master” is left off… even though I have considerable respect for it.

    (I kinda hope “Lincoln” wins BP this time around, but know it won’t happen.)

  37. I think The Avengers should be on the list over Silver Linings Playbook.

  38. What’s American about Les Miserables? Some of the cast members? Probably the studio behind it.

  39. Christophe

    @Ryan
    Well it might not be enough yet to pressure the Academy into including it in the race. I mean, it doesn’t seem like the kind of movie they’d naturally go for so I guess it would need a HUGE push by the critics to make it into the Oscars. Of course I could be completely wrong, I guess you certainly know much better than I do who we’re dealing with.

  40. Jerry Grant

    This list looks like the top ten most likely to receive BP noms (yes, “Django” is more likely to be nominated than “Flight”, AwardsDaily!); with the exception that “Amour” could replace “TDKR”. This is how things look to me:

    1. Zero Dark Thirty
    2. Lincoln
    3. Les Miserables
    4. Argo
    5. Silver Linings Playbook
    6. Beasts of the Southern Wild
    7. The Life of Pi
    8. Django Unchained
    9. Amour
    10. Moonrise Kingdom

  41. Even though The Master has one of the year’s highest scores on Metacritic. Still not a critics favorite. Interesting explanation.

    The Master only has an 86 rating on Metacritic – which places it in a 5th-way tie for 10th place in terms of the Best of 2012. That’s hardly enough of a ‘favorite’ to make it award worthy if critical reactions were the primary arbiter of such things.

  42. Snubbing “The Master” over the overrated “Silver Linings” is absurd.

  43. Christophe

    @Justin and Ryan
    Also the AFI jury includes big execs, producers and “award-winning artists” so it is much more likely to reflect the Academy’s tastes than critic circles.

  44. Apart from The Dark Knight Rises, that’s a pretty uninspired list. Correct me if I’m wrong though, AFI only lists American productions?

  45. rufussondheim

    The Master is #2 if you count the number of reviews that were scored 100. Only behind Beasts of the Southern Wild. Yeah, Zero and Amour might pass it too, but right now, it’s easily a ‘critical favorite’

    AMPAS won’t like it for the same reasons they didn’t like Drive or Melancholia.

    There is a chance that The Master still might get the The Tree of Life slot, a slot for a challenging critically successful film that didn’t find a huge audience, but that slot might not exist this year since plenty of critically successful films are out there capturing audiences.

    As much as I am not a huge fan of The Master, I wouldn’t mind it getting a BP nod since it will provide further evidence that there is indeed a The Tree of Life Slot. And most years I will probably love the film that can eke its way into that hopefully annual The Tree of Life Slot.

  46. linc4Jess

    Once again an AFI list of the best films of the year that does the organization proud and one that OSCAR should look at and consider when they make their choices. No nonsense here. This group proves once again that being seen as sophisticated and adult does not mean choosing “immature” sexual nonsense entries like “The Master” and “Holy Motors”. Kudos to the AFI. Now I am thinking that the DGA and PGA just might give “The Dark Knight Rises” a slot on their lists. Here is Hoping.

  47. Jerry Grant

    I always like the idea of there being a “Tree of Life” slot. But a strong part of me thinks that “Tree of Life” was unique–Academy voters had to confront that it would go down in history as one of the grandest and most ambitious films ever made.

  48. R. M. Wicklund

    The Master will get more love at the Oscars for the acting performances. Good for Beasts, Moonrise, and Django. All of which may be fighting with Amour and The Hobbit for final Best Pic noms. And congrats to TDKR, albeit it probably won’t receive an Oscar around sound editing/mixing.

  49. “This group proves once again that being seen as sophisticated and adult does not mean choosing “immature” sexual nonsense entries like “The Master” and “Holy Motors”.”

    Surely you knew this would not go unnoticed.

  50. rufussondheim

    As the official discoverer and namer of the The Tree of Life Slot, I should point out that Beasts of the Southern Wild, should it get nominated, would also be evidence of there being a The Tree of Life Slot.

    If Zero Dark Thirty fails to get an audience and it gets a BP nomination, I don’t think it qualifies. Something in me believes that in order to qualify for the The Tree of Life Slot, you need to be a festival darling and not be released at the end of the year.

  51. Christophe, you say
    “even critics can’t get excited by The Master”

    somebody else named Christophe on this page says this:
    “So glad for Moonrise Kingdom. So far it’s #2 on the metacritic awards scorecard behind zd30″

    Moonrise Kingdom has a metacritic score of 84. The Master has a metacritic score of 86.

    Please speak to your evil twin about whether or not you two think metacritic represents how critics feel.

  52. Strange that ‘The Master’ – a brilliant American film – didn’t make the cut, but I am very happy to see The Dark Knight Rises here, hopefully this mention will help the film in the long run, I would love to see it sneak into BP.

    Also, I think Django Unchained will be a big hit, it has been mentioned by several groups so far, so I think it will probably get good/great reviews and that with the great star power will probably result excellent Box Office, not that latter would count a lot, the Academy-deadline is like a week after it opens. Still, I think the film will be a serious Oscar-player…and if that happens, it will be close to impossible for David O. Russell to get a BD-nomination. It was tough to begin with, with the Spielberg-Bigelow-Affleck-Hooper-Anderson-Lee sextet already vying for 5 slots, but if Tarantino becomes a viable pick, too, I think the Academy will opt for the easy route and simply make Russell settle with an Adapted Screenplay nomination (no win, though, no way he could beat Kushner).

    I think Les Miserables is getting its mojo back : it now made the NBR and AFI top10, won several Best Ensemble awards and supposed early frontrunner Anne Hathaway finally started winning, too : the DC-victory might have been her first prominent one, but already her 3rd this season. Also, the film climbed to a comfortable 77 (7.6 avg. rating) on Rottentomatoes based on 26 reviews. That’s still around a 100 reviews away from the final score, but definitely a much-needed improvement. Now it will be interesting how the (IMO more important) Metacritic-score will go. It is still shitty based on 7 reviews…but it will get like 40 more before all is said and done. Could it jump from a mediocre 55 to 70s in the end ? It will be interesting to see how it goes. I think it needs 70s for a BD nod and at least high 70s-low 80s for a viable shot at the BP-victory.

  53. Christophe

    @Ryan
    Lol! The metacritic scorecard is NOT a review aggregator, it adds up all the awards and noms received by movies and performances during award season and ranks said movies and performances accordingly.

    http://www.metacritic.com/feature/film-awards-and-nominations-2012

    So all I’m saying here is that even though critics were very good to the Master in their reviews, they’re not so keen when it comes to giving it prizes, thus diminishing its chances to be seen as the “critics favorite choice” for the Oscars. This seal of approval would be much needed if the Master wants to break in the BP race.

  54. Happy for Homeland and Girls. They snubbed Boardwalk Empire!
    Also glad to see Moonrise Kingdom making the list while The Dark Knight Rise is far from being one of the best movies of the year!

  55. ok, I get it now.

    “critics can’t get excited by The Master” … “even though critics were very good to the Master in their reviews”

  56. I wouldn’t read too much into critic’s scores for Les Mis, if the AMPAS really like it they’ll award it. Crash won with a 69 on Metacritic.

  57. Jerry Grant

    @phantom I agree this is a fascinating year for who gets the Director noms.

    Bigelow-Spielberg-Affleck are sure things. But as for Hooper-Russell-Lee-Tarantino, I think there are a number of plausible scenarios. Hooper is quite likely to get in. But I do not necessarily think Lee or Tarantino are more plausible than Russell. They clearly liked his work in “Fighter” enough to give him a directing nod, and this is a far more interestingly directed (and accomplished) film. He is declaring himself, yet again, as an extremely unique voice. Not a single shot in SLP is predictable (or spoken line). I still think Russell is more likely than Lee who is more likely than Tarantino, but it’ll be a real fight. (Russell, Lee, and Tarantino are each hugely deserving.)

  58. Christophe

    @Ryan
    yes, or maybe I’m just hating on The Master, which I haven’t even seen yet… (cue: cries of shame)

  59. “You probably haven’t even seen it for youself. It’s also probably being very underrated at the moment.”

    I`ve seen it and it isn`t underrated at all. It`s very averige and doesn`t bring anything new to the table and that includes the semi-laughable HFR. Out of over 2 and a half hours long movie only one scene was good and memorable. There`s a very good reason why it`s absent from Top lists – it isn`t a particulary good or memorable movie. Other blockbusters this year were way better.

  60. I’m really not trying to pick on you, Christophe. Friendly disagreement about critics and what they like.

    But let’s not forget the LA critics names Paul Thomas Anderson Best Director just yesterday.

    We should realize that failure to be named Best Film by 5 critics groups doesn’t doom a movie’s BP chances.

    Heck, if the only movies that ever got nominated for BP were those that critics named their #1 favorite, then The Social Network would have been the only BP nominee in 2010.

    :)

    I hope Moonrise Kingdom and The Master are both nominated for BP. I hope Life of Pi is too. But I won’t toss Life of Pi in the dustbin just because the New York critics liked Zero Dark Thirty better.

  61. I’m probably the only once that hates les mis

  62. PS the master was good but tbh I was disappointed a little

  63. unlikely hood

    The Best Director race is this year’s Red Sox-Yankees. Sure there are other competitions. But are there, really?

    It’ll be like this any year that 10-12 films deserve a BP nomination. But what’s especially interesting is that 3 of the 4 likeliest people already won BD “recently enough” (I put in quotes). Hooper, Bigelow, and Spielberg – because it was his 2nd time, 1999 was recently enough.

    Thus, Oscar parity might suggest that the voters will take a shine to Affleck or the fifth person – Russell? Lee? Anderson? Tarantino? Haneke? Thus the fight for the fifth nom means more than in a year where they might throw, say, David Lynch or Terrence Malick the token 5th nod. It would mean only having to beat 3 previous winners and Matt Damon’s BFF to win gold.

    But…as juicy as that sounds…the truth is they never voted that way before. BD won’t be given as a consolation, the way that supporting actor was given to Clooney because they knew he wouldn’t win anything else that night. If the past is any guide, BD will be given to one of the 2 or 3 films that actually could win BP. Right now that means Steven, Tom, or Kathryn.

  64. mileshigh

    I don’t understand all the love for Life of Pi. Very overrated! Anyway, this list will look foolish years from now because of the exclusion of “The Master.”

  65. The Master is getting the awards and mentions it deserves – it is a well made version of a not-great story about grotesque characters.

    Meanwhile, Beasts deserves everything. And to those capitalist robots calling it “poverty porn” – can you really not fathom the joys to be had in this world that aren’t based on material goods? I grew up in one of the wealthiest towns in this country and I saw plenty of abject misery – and do you the root of much of it? Absentee fathers more concerned with making $$$ than paying attention to their kids. Beasts is a celebration of fathers and daughters and is the most daring, original American film of the year.

  66. He does not seem to be the front runner at the moment but if we’re talking Oscar don’t actors just go head over heels auto-fellating themselves when one of their own is nominated for Best Director? Ben Affleck could do better than expected.

    I don’t know the stats but are their many instances of an actor nominated for director losing?

  67. While I think DKR is an astonishingly bad, uneven, and poorly-written movie, I’m totally ok with no Master. I think There Will Be Blood, along with Tree of Life, is one of the only true masterpieces I’ve ever seen. The Master is a strangely unaccomplished movie, and, simply put, is really an empty pseudo-masterpiece. Having said that, I’m disappointed that Life of Pi is here – what an empty movie. “This story will make you believe in God.” Okay! When, why? Lincoln, a bore.

    ZD30 looks awesome though, and I loved Silver Linings Playbook. What a wonderful, strange movie. And Django will be awesome because Tarantino is incapable of anything less.

  68. Christophe

    @scott
    in 2006, clooney was nominated for good night and good luck and lost to ang lee for brokeback mountain

  69. REIChdome BACK with Avengeance

    Even if and totally no justification to snub tdkr come Oscar, at least the afi is leading the way in demonstrating to Oscar a film that truly learnt it place more so than most other pictures in that list this year…take note u critics circle mugs that list ought to reflect Oscar contenders..

  70. Tero Heikkinen

    Rufus, did you cry now that Perks was not on the list? And it SHOULD HAVE been, as should have The Master. At least Les Mis could’ve been dropped. Not because I don’t like seeing it on any top list but because it should not be on an American top list.

  71. Christophe

    @tero
    exactly that’s what the afi “special award” (king’s speech, the artist) was created for, I don’t get why they’re not giving one in an overcrowded year like this one.

  72. Cosme Fulanito

    BREAKING BAD, BREAKING BAD, BREAKING ALL THE WAY….

  73. I think The Master is fine for the Oscars. The fact that PTA won best director from the LA critics yesterday pretty much solidifies his nomination for an Oscar. Terrence Malick won that award last year for The Tree of Life and went on to be nominated as well. And I do agree with the above posts that The Master will get this year’s so-called “Tree of Life Slot”, along with acting nominations and perhaps a few others.

    I’m pleasantly surprised that The Dark Knight Rises made it. I wasn’t too sure since it didn’t make the cut over at the National Board of Review. I never expected The Avengers or The Hunger Games to make the list (has anyone seen either of those films make any best of the year lists yet? Didn’t think so). I’m aware that TDKR isn’t perfect and not even the best movie of the year, but I think it is the best blockbuster of the year (along with Skyfall) and I’d be for it to get a Best Picture nod just because it’s the last chance the Academy has to honor a series that has really changed the way people look at the potential of superhero/comic book movies. But we’ll just see how things go from here on.

  74. Bball_Jake

    Fuck Yeah! Now all The Dark Knight Rises haters can shut the hell up. I knew AFI wouldnt leave off the Best Film of the Year! Congrats to Nolan and TDKR.

  75. Moonrise kingdom & tdkr will probably not get Oscar bp noms. Life of pi though very good may also miss out especially if the arthouse pocket w/in the academy go for the master. Given pt anderson’s good oscar track record and TOL’s noms last year, the master is a safer bet than TDKR, Pi & moonrise k.

  76. Zero Dark Thirty has an amazing 99 on metacritic right now, out of 10 reviews. Only good reviews on the web so far, I cannot find a single one that isn’t.

  77. unlikely hood

    Reno I disagree. The Master has to overcome the stench of failure, Life of Pi does not. If only one of them gets a BP nod, it’ll be the tiger.

  78. Jerry Grant

    I agree with everything CB said above. “The Master” is not “Tree of Life”. It is strangely empty and alienating despite everyone’s desire to love it. It has extraordinary acting, cinematography, and music. But as a whole picture… It’s no Tree of Life.

  79. I think if Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close made it in, then Life of Pi can make it in, over The Master, over Amour, over Moonrise Kingdom.

  80. Harvey the rabbit and The Tree of Life slot are getting married. Santa Claus is officiating. They’ve decided to honeymoon in Brigadoon after the Zombie Apocalypse.

  81. Jerry, empty, probably, but worse things were said about TOL last year yet it got the bp-bd combo

    Unlikely, one critics award after another don’t look like failure to me. Are u referring to it’s box-office perf?

    After what happened last year, we now know that 5% is so easy to secure

  82. I wouldn’t be surprised if The Master fails to get a BP nom. It’s my least favorite of all PT Anderson films. Nevertheless, the film is still amazing. All Anderson’s films have a way of mesmerizing me.

  83. rufussondheim

    No, Tero, I did not cry even though I wanted to. I decided that crying would be giving in to the relentless message board need for validation. I’ve said it before, but it’s true, I don’t need validation from some silly group of film experts, I know my taste is amazing, and I have a shelf full of elementary school participation trophies telling me this.

    ————

    I can’t recall the name of the yackerheimer who said that SLP was unpredictable, but I have to argue with you with vehemence. Here I go. You know the part at the end, you know, where they dance in order to prevent sliding into debilitating madness and they needed like a 5 to win the bet so Robert DeNiro’s gambling addiction can be validated as a good thing? You remember that part, you should, it was like the climax of this oh-so-sensitive movie about fragile people clinging to happiness in a world that wants to do nothing but crush them. Well, you recall there were four judges?

    Oh before I get into this, can you do math? Because I’m not sure. OK, just in case you don’t know how to calculate averages, here’s a refresher. You add up the scores and then divide by the number of scores. Write it down if you have to.

    OK, let’s practice. What is the average of 2.5 and 3.7? did you get 3.1? You did? OK, good!

    Now back to the movie. Do you recall the first three scores the judges gave the mesmerizing young couple when they finished their erratic and unfocused dance? If not, I do! They were 4.9, 4.8 and 4.9. And with one judge to go it wasn’t looking good for that average of five, because they clearly needed the fourth judge to give them a better score. Because something like 3.5 would not have been enough.

    Now let’s practice those math skills. What would the mentally unstable but beautiful lovebirds need to get to five? I’ll pause a moment giving you a chance to find a pencil and some paper. Don’t use your Christmas List, you might confuse Santa (You probably think he exists? Don’t you?)

    Ok, hope you figured that out. What did you get? If you got anything other than a 5.4 you should do the math again.

    OK, refresher, the first three scores were 4.9, 4.8, 4.9 and they needed an average of five. So if the fourth judge didn’t give them at least a 5.4 in this wildly unpredictable and inventive rom com (I hate to use that term in describing this clear masterpiece!) Oh, what? wait! The judge gave them a 5.4. Wow, amazing! I had no idea that was coming! Brilliant! Masterpiece!

    I weep for America. David O’Russell should be waterboarded.

  84. Jerry Grant

    Yeah we have to be honest about “The Master”: great acting, great title, great filmmaker, great cinematography, great music, great topic —— extremely frustrating and alienating movie. I walked into it thinking it would be one of the great movies of our time. I walked out of it feeling absolutely sure that it would not be nominated for BP. But I still am in awe of it. But it is not fully successful. It is not making it on enough Top 5 lists.

  85. Jerry Grant

    Oh man rufussondheim, SLP looks like it’s going to be a real battle-ground! I was the one who said every shot of SLP was unpredictable. I don’t want to get in a big stupid fight.

    I think O. Russell wants every moment of his movie to be unusual–including the happy dance competition ending, which is particularly odd and funny coming at the end of such a wild and imperfect narrative. But my evidence is not about the last scene, which of course, is the most conventional part of the movie, and maybe the weakest. David O. Russell is developing his own storytelling language, his own way of doing long-shots, his own way of doing busy talking-over-each-other scenes that are not quite Altman, not quite Scorsese, not quite Woody Allen, not quite PTA. The movie asks you to stay uncomfortable (the ending, yes, rewards you for sticking with it instead of problematizing things further); it asks you to stay uncomfortable on a purely formal level, alienating you while asking you to enjoy it. He’s done this for other movies, but it works best here, where mental imbalance is the main theme, and where we are asked to realize it is everywhere and we all partake in it. I found it a real razor-edge accomplishment, like some Coen movies.

    Of course I’m not going to convince you it’s a good movie. It seems you really hate it. But I at least want to get my word in. I absolutely stand by it. (I’m not the only one, I’m thrilled to find out!) David O. Russell wants the direction of his movie to be unpredictable, and just about every shot of it is.

  86. Jerry Grant

    @rufussondheim I laughed at your comment nonetheless.

  87. rufussondheim

    Well, I hated The Fighter too.

    I miss the David O’ Russell of Flirting With Disaster and Three Kings. Now those were two movies that were focused and interesting and filled with reckless abandon.

  88. Bball_Jake, I learned not to argue with an idiot, since you will drag me down to your level and beat me with experience.

    But I will tell you what I see: an emotion response to non-existent enemy, so in your mind you “win” this “fight” against the haters. I know you are a fanboy for TDKR (I know since I used to be a fanboy myself of certain films, but that was 10 years ago).

    When it comes to the critical praise of TDKR, you MUST agree that it is controversial. Not “this is better than TDKR” but instead you get “no, TDKR is not even close to a great, or even good, film.” Sasha’s fangirl status is annoying, BUT it brings in tons of blog hits and generates many comments, which bring about more blog hits.

    “But TDKR made AFI’s top 10 list!!” To that, I do not know what to say. I’m surprised, I’m disappointed, it makes me question what, exactly, AFI is awarding here: quality of a film (story, characters, etc) or rather the ACHIEVEMENT of a great American director. I would argue it’s the latter.

    I’m not a hater of TDKR. I’m a completely baffled reader who wants a sophisticated and well-balanced look into the guilty pleasure that is movie awards season…but you fanboys and fangirls with your crusade to defend this monumental yet incredibly flawed action flick is annoying. So, while you keep commenting here, I will as well.

  89. PPS great year of films! So snubs aren’t a but problem for me. But I did not like les mis on this list. AFI top ten should be over the academy’s. More respect! One day, a DVD cover will say… “AFI’s top ten..”

  90. Bball_Jake, I learned not to argue with an idiot, since you will drag me down to your level and beat me with experience.

    Somebody is a rude Gus.

  91. Zach: “Still could have been Avengers instead of TDKR.”
    Davey: “I think The Avengers should be on the list over Silver Linings Playbook.”

    I agree with Davey, except I offer this. If you put 10 free tickets for The Avengers and 10 free tickets for Life of Pi on the same table, I bet you a year’s pay there would still be tickets left for Pi. 92 on Rotten Tomatoes, $623m domestic boxoffice, $1.512B worldwide. The quality, four-quadrant appeal and cultural impact of Joss Whedon’s movie cannot be overlooked, denied or scoffed at. It should’ve been on the top 10.

  92. Robert A.

    “If you put 10 free tickets for The Avengers and 10 free tickets for Life of Pi on the same table, I bet you a year’s pay there would still be tickets left for Pi.”

    I would have taken a Life of Pi ticket over a ticket for The Avengers. *shrugs*

  93. My feeling is that there will be 9 Nominees this year and I think there are already 8 films that fit pretty comfortably within the “Oscar Movie” with enough critical praise:
    Zero Dark Thirty
    Lincoln
    Argo
    Silver Linings
    Les Mis
    Life of Pi
    Beasts of the Southern Wild
    Moonrise Kingdom

    For the 9th Spot 2 films speak to me:
    Flight
    Django

    The Master, Batman, Skyfall and Amour with Outside shots.

  94. “I bet you a year’s pay there would still be tickets left for Pi.”

    Depends on the location of the table, Paul, and who is sitting around it.

  95. Bball_Jake

    @NicCage Yes I am a fanboy of TDKR, but I also know and recognize a masterpiece and brilliant achievement in filmmaking when I see it! You can say its flawed, but you truly know that its a perfect film. Call me an idiot if you want, I think your the immature idiot for calling me an idiot. There has been a lot of haters on this site and InContention, and Im proud of TDKR for earning a spot in the ten best American films of the year, and now the haters look stupid for saying that TDKR sucks!

  96. Just want to repeat this, loudly:

    I’m proud of TDKR for earning a spot in the ten best American films of the year, and now the haters look stupid for saying that TDKR sucks!

    cheers, Bball_Jake

  97. Unlikely hood

    I love the SLP chatter – well, because I saw it yesterday.

    Rufus have you read the book? I haven’t, but those are some bold-ass claims if you haven’t.

    Yeah the dance was weak. But I think a lot of the rest was vital in a way most movies aren’t.

  98. Wellington

    Yeah, yeah, I’m very happy for The Dark Knight Rises and all, but… Where the hell is “The Master”?

    In my opinion they should have put “The Master” instead “Beasts of the southern Wild”, because the movie itself is not that great. The only wonder in the production is Wallis’ brave performance.

  99. rufussondheim

    Unlikely hood. I am unsure what book you are referring to, but if you are referring to Silver Linings Playbook, no I haven’t read it, but I’ve made no claims about that book so I am lost in that regard.

  100. Very glad for TDKR! Made my day.

  101. Jerry Grant, now it is I who agrees with everything you’ve said, especially about SLP. Did you see Cloud Atlas? I’d like to know your thoughts on that.

  102. How can anyone call The Master and Holy Motors immature then go on to praise TDKR, that deep and serious film about the guy who dresses up as a bat! Not so sure it’s the TDKR haters looking dumb, as the AFI becoming slaves to hyperbole. Killing Them Softly would have been better served with the kudos, also Middle of Nowhere, very soon films like that won’t be made at all, super heros on the other hand will be forever peddling their tired dreams. Oh well, the TV line up kicks ass and that’s excluding Boardwalk and Treme.

  103. “You can say its flawed, but you truly know that its a perfect film.”

  104. unlikely hood

    Reno – Yes, its box-office performance – partly because it cost $50 million to make. Why did it need to be shot in 70mm? Where did the $50 mil go? You don’t see it on the screen.

    Rufus – Yes, I mean the SLP book. You’re going on and on about the 5.4 scene – how do you know that’s not just being loyal to the book? I mean, you’re talking about waterboarding David O. Russell – you should at least know if he made that up or just kept it in for the book’s fans.

  105. So Ryan, just because a film makes AFI’s top 10 list of the year, that automatically makes those 10 films immune from criticism? Because, and you cannot deny this, there is a lot of criticism out there for this film. A lot.

    Has there ever been a single film on any of AFI’s top 10 movies of the year lists that you disagreed with, or even thought was dumb? Or is AFI’s top 10 movies of the year list the final say?

    TDKR hasn’t been making too many lists. It’s made some, which is fine, because it’s an OK film. But hey, Skyfall has made some year-end lists, too. Maybe a few more than TDKR.

  106. rufussondheim

    I don’t care if the 5.4 was left in the movie for the book’s fans. If that’s the case I have even less respect for Mr O’Russell. A bad decision is a bad decision no matter where it originates.

  107. Cabin in the Woods? Someone mentioned it above as being better than Dark Knight Rises. Cabin is one of the few movies which was sort of off the radar AND got me to pay for a $12.00 ticket. Loved it. Fun, start to finish, and one of my favorites of the year. (Haven’t seen a dozen or so that I want to before I pick a favorite.)

  108. It’s just so weird to read “it’s not Tree of Life.” Words I thought I’d never see in print. I thought I was the only person who loved it and was mesmerized start to finish.

  109. If you love a movie, you barely notice it’s flaws. If you dislike a movie, you pick apart it’s flaws, even if it’s a exceptionally well-made movie . . . it’s that simple.

    Regarding SLP, it didn’t matter to me if the movie had flaws or not, because I absolutely loved it. It hit a chord, stirred my emotions, made me laugh, kept me completely enthralled throughout. I loved The Fighter as well.

    If you didn’t feel an emotional connection to SLP, of course you’re going to hate it. Much like my experience watching “Hugo” last year. Freakin’ hated that movie because I could of given a shit about the storyline. Nothing about that movie was interesting to me. Wanted it to end. Fell asleep, etc. That being said, I can still appreciate that many people loved it. Which is cool! All movies are different things to different people, thank god. : )

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