The best film and TV of 2012 (that you didn’t see)
There has been a host of excellent films and fascinating shows traipsing across screens in the last twelve months – a good harvest for cinephiles and season-marathoners. To watch everything […]
There has been a host of excellent films and fascinating shows traipsing across screens in the last twelve months – a good harvest for cinephiles and season-marathoners. To watch everything that everyone has said was good in 2012 would take up most of your free time in 2013. To make matters worse, we’ve gone and picked out the movies and TV that we thought deserved even more attention and praise from the year the Mayan calendar stopped. Some you may have never heard of, some you may have briefly considered checking out, and others may make you feel guilty because they were playing when you went to go and see Taken 2 a second time (spoilers: Taken 2 is not on this list). However, all of the following are worth your time to hunt down and check out. So, without further ado:
Amour made it clear that 2012 was all about the slow, painful death of French people. Imagine Les Mis with less singing and more crushing despair. We follow an elderly couple, Georges and Anne, as they deal with the aftermath of Anne’s debilitating stroke. Director Michael Haneke is cinematic Marmite, but this is his most accessible film. He created a heartbreaking portrayal of isolation and love, earning 5 Oscar nominations and the makings of a masterpiece. Even if you don’t love it, you’ll be able to drop it in to conversation and sound mildly pretentious, which is always a winner.
Despite three critically acclaimed seasons, Cougar Town narrowly escaped cancellation in 2012. Courtney Cox stars as Jule, a divorcee and single mother with a penchant for wine and a colourful sexual history—two things she shares with most St Andrews students. Admittedly, the formula isn’t new, but the humour is refreshingly simple. There’s no laugh track—the comedic equivalent of peer pressure, and no contrived situations written for cheap giggles. Unfortunately, without a ratings boost, Cougar Town will become another casualty of a TV system which has somehow allowed Two and a Half Men to have 10 seasons. Don’t let it happen.
Him and Her
At first watch, I found it difficult to identify what I liked about Him and Her. The cast is very small, the set rarely deviates from a slightly dilapidated one-bedroom flat, and the writers resist the pressure to force pacing with births/deaths/marriages. Yet, what makes this BBC drama about a couple in their mid-twenties stand out is its intense honesty: romantic and familial relations are recognisable, rather than overly dramatic or idealistic. It includes the kind of rare toilet humour found in other British shows like The Royle Family, yet at its core Him and Her remains a masterful black comedy that examines the nature, and the very definition of, a ‘functional’ relationship.
File this one under ‘Good Movies Killed at the Box Office by Woefully Inept Trailers and Marketing’. Written and directed by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh, Seven Psychopaths serves as a sort of spiritual sequel to the brilliant-but-similarly-ill-fated In Bruges. It starts off like a quirky Guy Ritchie imitation, with Colin Farrell as an irish screenwriter getting mixed up in misadventures with dog kidnappers, mafioso, and mafioso-murdering psychopaths, but quickly begins to take so many turns that you’re left completely unable to guess what the next scene will contain. By the end, it manages to end up somewhere surprising and kind of beautiful, and for that alone I think it’s worth checking out. Also, Christopher Walken gives a performance that isn’t bad or weird, and that has to be worth something, right?