2. I don’t care, I’m going to actively promote evil queen Charlize Theron to everyone.
I mean, I liked Snow White and the Hunstman pretty decently well overall, as you may remember. It’s that kind of ridiculous dark thing I generally appreciate. But the more I think about it, the more I go: wow, wow, but evil queen Charlize Theron is actually the best thing ever. I haven’t seen a lot of Charlize Theron movies, or I’ve only halfway seen them, or I wasn’t really paying attention, but wow, maybe it’s just that I sort of dig on evil queens, but I enjoyed the hell out of this particular performance.
1. There were a lot of movies this year that I objectively recognize were good but just… didn’t really care about overall.
The Dark Knight Rises. Skyfall. Looper. Friends With Kids even. For different reasons each time, but also largely for one overarching reason: I have such a hard time caring about the movie when I don’t care about the characters and/or don’t necessarily appreciate how they were being used. It’s not that I didn’t like these movies. To whatever extent, I did. But I wasn’t thinking about them too much afterward, I wasn’t analyzing everything about them happily, I didn’t feel compelled to jump into discussions about them. I actually kind of fear being asked to join discussions about The Dark Knight Rises, because there really isn’t anything insightful I can say about it.
I just rewatched this movie the other night. And ugh it makes me so happy. I don’t really need to repeat myself, but it did so many things right and I adored it for that.
3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
See but this would also have been a predictable disappointment, because I do not recall the last time I was this nervous about a movie. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is such a big part of my adolescence that the film had some monumentally-sized shoes to fill in my eyes. But not only did it fill those shoes, it was actually a really really good movie that did a lot of the things that I thank Brave (and actually the next two movies I’m about to discuss) for. Yes, Charlie (Logan Lerman) has a crush on Sam (Emma Watson). But that is not the point of the movie, the point of the movie is friendship. It’s a love story, but it’s a platonic love story about these young people who care so deeply for each other, and that makes me so absolutely happy.
2. The Avengers
You can see where this is going, no? I talked about how this movie was almost immediate fulfillment of a wish I expressed: a movie about platonic relationships. Because aside from Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) and Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow), there is absolutely no romance in this movie. (I mean, if you’re too desperate for Avengers romance, you can basically look… anywhere on tumblr or the rest of the internet and find every possible permutation of romantic relationships between every character who has ever appeared for half a scene in the MCU.) This is a movie about a bunch of people, extraordinary people for whatever reason, who by all rights should not get along, but still manage to forge a beautiful team and do some world-saving. And this is a movie where the good guys never ever go “oh yeah, and here’s our token lady team member,” they just appreciate her skills like they appreciate (or sometimes don’t appreciate) anyone else’s skills and go about their day. This is a movie where things felt high-risk and where things felt real even if it was about superheroes and space aliens and where characters were interesting to me. This is a movie where I actually got invested in really just about everyone.
1. The Cabin in the Woods
This is the height of predictable. This is also not the only list (or sublist I guess) that this movie will be heading up in the near future. This movie, though. This movie has romantic relationships and makeouts and whatnot, Curt (Chris Hemsworth) and Jules (Anna Hutchinson), Dana (Kristen Connolly) and Holden (Jesse Williams), and this is largely because it’s integral to the genre critique and the extreme meta factor. But you know what I love? I love the handling of the “Marty and I were sweeties in our freshman hall” bit, insofar as it’s refuted with a “we made out once” and not turned into some source of tension (one of the pieces of Cabin meta I’ve found online talks about this; I don’t remember which one, but one of them, all of which are in my Cabin in the Woods tag so go find it if you’re curious I guess) I love that even while Dana and Marty (Fran Kranz) were running around destroying everything, even while they were clinging to each other and being sweet to each other as the world combusted, they didn’t actually have romantic subplottiness. It’s so easy to pull that “last boy last girl shove ‘em together” stuff, and that has definitely happened in the genre before. And mind you, I actually do kind of ship Dana and Marty. But I like that it didn’t have to be made canon.
4. Rooney Mara(The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo)
It almost seems like this movie came out last year, since it was so close to the year’s beginning. But nope, this was a 2012 movie indeed. And I just. I love her. Between this movie (because while I adore Noomi Rapace’s Lisbeth, I am not in love with her) and the fact that this was the year I finally finished the book trilogy, 2012 was the year I actually fell in love with Lisbeth Salander. I think she’s great, and I think she’s fascinating. She’s a badass, she’s a techie savant, she’s unapologetically bisexual, she’s unapologetically everything actually. She’s just great.
3. Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks)
I really loved this movie. Probably because of all of its meta. But I love Zoe Kazan because she’s adorable and I found the evolution of Ruby in the story to be pretty interesting, and I love her because this was her movie. She came up with it, she wrote it, she made happen what she needed to make happen. And that’s super-super-cool.
2. Fran Kranz (The Cabin in the Woods)
We’re into the predictable again. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, I get inordinately proud when watching this movie with other people and they express fondness for him, be it the couple sitting in front of me the third time I saw it in theaters talking about how he was the most awesome one in the movie or be it my friend proclaiming that not only was he awesome, he was pretty cute. I am bordering-on-creepy-proud of my Fran and how well people reacted to him in this movie. I am so happy that he was the star of everyone’s hearts.
1. Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers)
I definitely mentioned before that I’ve actually always kind of had a Scarlett Johansson thing. This used to be for reasons that I couldn’t quite articulate, because it wasn’t because of a particular movie or because I’d read something cool with her or anything. It just sort of was. But after The Avengers (and her growing real-life fantastic reactions to people talking to her about it) I feel completely justified in this for the first time. Because I’m sorry, Entertainment Weekly, but Loki being the one character from this movie that you pulled out specially to mention in your end-of-the-year whatnot? Noooope. I am ambivalent toward Loki, actually; I don’t hate him, but neither do I fall all over him going “aw poor baby.” However, Black Widow has become at least to some of my friends one of my real life things, like British accents or cupcakes or dragons. Because Black Widow is fantastic and wonderful, and I and the world needed a character like her in this (and really any) movie so much. She is my rational, kickass, imperfect, literal-minded, well-developed darling, and I am so glad she exists.
–your fangirl heroine.