2012 is long gone and either the Mayans were wrong, or we’re living in an alternate timeline. Regardless, at the end of every year, I like to remember the important things…you know, movies, music, and what not. Here are my favorites from 2012:
#5 “21 Jump Street”
This one probably gets a special place, due to the fact my brother worked on it. And by worked on it, I mean he made sure nobody walked into a shot. But still, this movie was by far the funniest movie that I saw in the theater this year. Not to mention, Johnny Depp’s cameo was freaking priceless.
#4 Tie – “Skyfall” and “The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey”
Here’s why I liked these movies so much…and why they tied. I had hyped these movies up in my head way more than I should have. And then they stood up to the hype. I loved the humanity of Bond in this edition; and Jackson’s interpretation of The Hobbit was faithful enough to please and creative enough to be deemed an interpretation. Dug ‘em both.
#3 “Django Unchained”
I loved Django…or I didn’t. I have been so torn about this movie since seeing it, that I decided to put it in spot #3. Depending on the day, I could call it my favorite…or my least. Here’s why I loved it. First, I felt like it was Tarantino’s best storyline ever (not necessarily his best film). Moving and engaging, I really wanted Django to get his wife back. Second, I appreciated his treatment of slavery. It wasn’t glorified and I left thinking how horrible slavery was. Third, Christoph Waltz is unbelievably good in everything he does.
But then the cons…I have read way too many articles about the use of the n-word, how women are portrayed as flat, helpless characters…but these things don’t concern me as much as a third issue: justice. I find myself cheering for Django as he slaughters wholesale not only slave owners and their families, but also slaves. Given, really jerky slaves, but slaves nonetheless. It felt immensely unsatisfying for justice to be in the hands of this vigilante…and puts into question all the other vigilante crime-fighters. Was it right for Django to kill all the folks that he did? I would say no. <SPOILER ALERT> It seems that when Dr. Schulz died, so also did Django’s moral restraint in killing only those with prices on their heads.
Anyway, all that is to say, it’s a deeply engaging film–one that has made me think a lot about justice, slavery, and their depiction in film. So I can’t help but include it in my top 5.
Thankfully, this was not as preachy as I thought it would be. It painted Lincoln in gray tones that made me more interested in him. This is a good thing. However, I agree with other who have said that it wasn’t necessary to have Lincoln getting offed in the end. Could’ve shortened an enjoyable film and we all would’ve known that it happened anyway.
Bruce Willis travels through time and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (transfigured into young Willis) has to kill him. Insanity ensues with a surprise lesson at the end. You really can’t beat it. I LOVED this movie like the commercials told me to. And for days afterward I thought about time travel. There’s not much more to say. Watch it.
#5 Tie (because I’m not sure either of these will be getting played much after the artist’s next release)
Derek Webb’s Ctrl and Sola-Mi’s Nexus [Can be DLed at derekwebb.com and sola-mi.com]
I’ve blogged about these sister albums previously, so I’ll trust you’ve read that already if you have any interest. A cautionary tale about when we allow technology too much control in our lives.
Jack White’s Blunderbuss
Not nearly as gritty and guitar-driven as the White Stripes, this is a really solid album, in which Jack shows himself once more to be a “musician’s musician.” Solid Nashvillian rock and blues album.
#4 Punch Brothers’ Who’s Feeling Young Now?
If you like newgrass or the Punch Brothers’ other offerings, you will deeply love this one. Their best album to date, musically and lyrically.
#3 The Avett Brothers’ The Carpenter
I’m late on the Avett Brothers bandwagon, so I can’t compare this to their other works. Bottom line, the lyrics are deeply moving and the music is great. When it comes to folk-rock, these guys rock. Blew Mumford out of the water this year.
#2 Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ The Heist (w/ bonus tracks)
I have never listened to rap as moving as this. I have also never heard rappers sing about thrift stores, baseball, or the shame of relapsing. Macklemore is so intensely honest and personable that you can’t help but love this record. If you’re a rap fan, you will love this one.
#1 Indelible Grace VI: Joy Beyond the Sorrow [Can be DLed at indeliblegrace.bandcamp.com]
The sixth album from the Indelible Grace collective, this is my favorite offering yet. Musically, this album feels more cohesive than older ones and the lyrics they dug up for this one are intensely good. If you like old Reformed hymns to a folk rock beat, you will really dig this one.
Well, that’s enough for tonight. Feel free to post any questions or responses. There were others I’d like to talk about, especially the new children’s album Rain for Roots and this single from Wright Family Music, but I’ll let you do a little research yourself.