We’re coming up to the halfway mark on the year and I thought it’d be a good time to look back on the best films so far. I think it’s actually been a pretty great year for film. We haven’t really seen any Oscar-worthy flicks yet, but those always come in the last part of the year. What we do have is a LOT of fun at the movies. Here’s my top 5 so far…
The Avengers is not a perfect movie. It’s got a slow, aimless first act, not much motivation for the antagonist, and Scarlett Johansson. But these are just nitpicks really because OH MY GOD did I have a good time at this movie. And not only that, but it won me over emotionally as well. Joss Whedon is finally starting to get the praise he deserves with this film. And once again, he earned it. To pack a movie with this many characters and to make it work. To be emotionally invested in them, to have them be so clearly defined. It’s an achievement. A GIANT, fun, character driven tale, I could watch those last 30 minutes on repeat.
2. 21 Jump Street
This is the year of Channing Tatum. Between the massive success of 21 Jump Street, The Vow (which I also enjoyed), the upcoming Magic Mike, and they even apparently pushed back the release date of GI Joe 2 in order to un-kill his character! But when you watch 21 Jump Street, you get it. The guy is charming and hilarious. This movie is smartly (and VERY funnily) written, playing up it’s premise perfectly with the occasional wink at the camera. With an additional brilliant move of swapping the roles of the leads, with Jonah Hill becoming the popular kid, and Tatum becoming the nerdy one. A refreshing throw-back to the great 80’s action-comedy flicks.
I went into this one expecting to be “meh” on it. Reviews were so-so, it was coming on the heels of the only Pixar movie I skipped (Cars 2), and I usually enjoy the more outlandishly plotted Pixar films (Up, Wall-E). But Brave is a wonderful original fairy tale. It’s funny, adventurous, and emotionally gripping. Pixar has created not only their first female lead, but in my opinion, their best character yet. Merida is strong and independent while still being relatable. This could be the greatest of the Disney Princesses, a great role model for young girls – heck, a great role model for me! The movie also bravely chooses to not include a romance, instead putting all of it’s focus on Merida and the relationship with her mother. And more surprisingly, I didn’t miss it.
4. Safety Not Guaranteed
I LOVE this movie. Take two of my favorite actors from the only two sitcoms I watch (Jake Johnson from New Girl / Aubrey Plaza from Parks & Rec), add a 3rd star (and producer) from one of my favorite writer/director teams (the Duplass Brothers’ Mark Duplass), plus an amazing, funny borderline sci-fi premise, and you’ve got a film that is bound to be in my top 10 of the year. This movie is laugh-out-loud hilarious, touching, romantic (I may or may not have fallen in love with Aubrey Plaza’s character), all the while asking some wonderful and deep questions about life.
Having a hard time picking a final spot, so I’m just gonna list the ones that come close. And while I enjoyed all of these and recommend them, I doubt any will end up on my best-of-end-of-year list.
Prometheus – a wonderfully deep sci-fi movie.
John Carter – a lot of fun with a great ending.
This Means War – surprisingly funny and clever.
Cabin in the Woods – one of the most insane, risk-taking movies I’ve ever seen.