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I've Got the Magic In Me: The 10 Most Rewatchable Films of 2012

By The Pajiba Staff | Guides | January 4, 2013 | Comments ()


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Each year we at Pajiba -- like most sites of our ilk -- feature a Best Films of the Year list. It's obligatory, and to be honest, it validates all of our movie-watching. But the thing about a Best Of list is that it doesn't often best reflect the movies that will eventually occupy space on our DVD bookshelf or our Storage Clouds. Lincoln was amazing, and some people believe that The Master is, as well, and one or both may make it on to our Best Films of 2012 list, but neither is a movie most of us will ever watch again. There's a substantial difference between the BEST movies and those that we'd prefer to spend our Friday nights with, wrapped up in a blanket, in our jammies, rocking a Big Carl wine glass.

To be sure, there's probably some crossover, but we wanted to create a list of movies that, while not necessarily the best in terms of acting, directing, or writing, were nevertheless the movies we'd be more likely to revisit, or to recommend to friends. They are our comfort movies. That is to say, when you're scanning through our archives later this year to look for great movies to watch over the weekend, maybe skip the Best Of Movies that will make you feel better about yourself and check out these 10 movies, which will just make you feel better.

The 10 Most Rewatchable Films of 2012

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10. Lockout -- Lockout has only the barest sense of a coherent plot. It's haphazard and silly, and there are quite a few plot threads that simply never get resolved, Very Important Discoveries that clearly aren't that damn important since they're mentioned once and then forgotten. It's ten pounds of dumb in a wet five pound bag, practically bursting at the seams with stupid. But here's the thing -- Lockout? Kind of a shitload of fun. Oh, you're not going to like yourself afterwards, but damn if it doesn't manage to engage and entertain every now and then. We're left with a B-movie in the truest sense of its modern definition. It's cheap and dumb and clumsily written, less homage and more cinematic hustle job. It explodes all over the place, big scary dudes beat the fuck out of the good guy, and he beats just a little bit more fuck out of them. -- TK

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9. Moonrise Kingdom -- There's almost nothing in Wes Anderson's latest film, Moonrise Kingdom, that isn't in his earlier ones, and that's not a bad thing. The movie is packed with whimsical details of a world not quite like ours; it's immaculately framed and shot by Robert D. Yeoman, who's worked on every one of Anderson's films; it's laced with dry wit, oddly hilarious turns of phrase, and awkward boys and girls trying to figure out how to escape becoming their parents. Maps are drawn. Records are played. You get the idea. Anderson is a writer and director who knows what he wants to do, and how he wants to do it, and he's spent most of the past two decades working toward a state of creative focus and grace that make themselves known in every frame of his most recent film. He's moved through the cockiness of youth and into a calmer, more measured approach without sacrificing any of the stylistic flair that defines him. In other words, for all his love of dysfunctional children, he's grown up. -- Daniel Carlson

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8. Wreck-It Ralph -- Some villains are just 8-bit programmed that way, you know? Such is the case with the titular character of Wreck-It Ralph, a video-game baddie who is forced to hulk-smash during his professional life; yet when the lights go out, he yearns to be a hero. Disney did good here. They licensed some of the most important arcade-era characters, including Pac Man's ghosts, Q*Bert, and Sonic the Hedgehog, and parents will love this throwback to their youths. This movie isn't just a trip into nostalgia land for retro-video gamers. There's an actual story and some real feeling embedded within, and overall, the movie is a riveting adventure. Overall, this film features a good time for both boys and girls, and their parents will enjoy the heady trip into their own childhoods without ruining memories like Hollywood tends to do. Wreck-It Ralph not only features stellar visuals but also a shit ton of character development. -- Agent Bedhead

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7. Goon -- Goon, written by Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg and directed by Michael Dowse, is the unholy bastard child of Rocky and Slap Shot, with the dynamite mechanics of Major League thrown in for good measure. It's not so much a movie about hockey as about my favorite part of hockey, the enforcer. It's hilarious and violent, a sweet love story punched in the face with a knuckle dragging sports blowout, with profanity fountaining out like a shook-up soda can. From the opening shots of blood splattering ice as a tooth slowly tumbles to the rink, asskicking abounds, and from opening buzzer to final bloody dukeout, Goon pummels you with gleeful abandon and you're left dazed and smiling. Albeit short a few choppers. -- Brian Prisco

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6. Looper -- It can be tempting to write off Rian Johnson as a writer-director who just likes mashing things up. His feature films -- Brick, The Brothers Bloom, and now Looper -- have shown remarkable skill at marrying two seemingly incongruous worlds and making them feel totally at home nested within each other. Brick wasn't just a high school drama masquerading as mystery, or vice versa; it was both at once. Yet he's able to pull this off because, as much as he loves mingling disparate genres, the mingling is never the point. He's more than just a gimmick. Johnson is profoundly interested in character and consequence, like good storytellers in every genre, and he's specifically drawn again and again to tales of people who buy and sell bullshit and whose biggest liability is believing their own hype. Joseph Gordon-Levitt anchored Brick as Brendan, a high schooler on the trail of a missing ex who twisted the truth as much as the people he was chasing, so it feels right for Gordon-Levitt to return for Looper, playing a man whose hunt for truth puts his own existence in jeopardy. Looper is many things -- a gripping action movie, an smart sci-fi story, a heartbreaking time-travel lullaby -- but most of all it's about a man watching himself go through a process most of us take for granted: he has to decide what he wants to believe, about the world and about himself, and then live with the consequences. -- Daniel Carlson

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5. 21 Jump Street -- 21 Jump Street isn't really a remake of anything. It's not an adaptation, it's barely even an homage to the classic television series of the late '80s. If anything, it's a tongue-in-cheek parody of it, like a 100-minute Funny Or Die video that stumbled drunkenly into your multiplex. There's none of the seriousness, the welling teen angst and tastefully gritty drama that made the series so popular. Instead it's a goofy, profane, and decidedly not profound send up of not just "21 Jump Street," but of cop movies in general. Hill and Tatum have a surprisingly sweet chemistry together, and their well-meaning ignoramuses are actually quite enjoyable. In fact, what I was most stunned by was our man Charming Potato himself -- he's funny in this. I don't mean point-and-laugh funny; I mean he's got some genuine comedic timing and he plays off Hill with a mischievous sense of silliness that took me aback. It may well be that this is the niche Tatum belongs in -- that of a cute, sweet, but dumb-as-a-sack-of-gravel guy without pretense or, well, any real depth. -- TK

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4. Safety Not Guaranteed -- Safety Not Guaranteed isn't what you'd expect it to be. It's a bittersweet comedy that flirts with time travel, but it's not straight science-fiction or rom-com. It resolutely refuses to tie up a couple of its plot lines, yet the story is still satisfying and full. Most rewardingly, it's a dramatic comedy built on relationships that feel earned, nuanced, occasionally uncomfortable, and completely relatable. Director Colin Trevorrow, in his first feature, mines a series of relationships for small-scale humor and poignancy, and the script from Derek Connolly (also his first feature) has some wonderful moments that reflect the awkwardness of young adulthood and the way we all eventually have to reckon with the choices that we make. The film is light and often breezy, but it's anything but insubstantial. -- Daniel Carlson

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3. Pitch Perfect -- Pitch Perfect will draw inevitable comparisons to "Glee," and while some of the more enjoyable mash-ups and a particularly delightful "riff-off" may evoke the show's first, least problematic season, the better comparison would be to the you-don't-have-to-like-cheerleading-to-like-this classic, Bring It On. So let me promise you. Even if you don't like pop music or a cappella or sunshine, you can still have fun at Pitch Perfect. If, however, you do like those things, then the back to back to back musical numbers will delight you. This movie is packed to the gills with music and each number is somehow unencumbered by the cheese that smothered and killed "Glee." Director Jason Moore (Tony Award-winning director of "Avenue Q") deserves much of that credit as does the sharp script from "30 Rock" writer Kay Cannon. The film is also peppered throughout with fun cameos including co-producer Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins as a cappella color commenters and an older babershop quartet played by Joe Lo Truglio, Har Mar Superstar, Jason Jones, Donald Faison. That's right folks, there's some moderate Turk dancing. -- Joanna Robinson

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2. The Avengers -- The Avengers is fun. It's genuinely enjoyable, engaging and frequently wickedly funny. Whedon's stamp is all over it -- sarcasm reigns, giggle-worthy peanut gallery commentary, and a couple of scenes which bordered on outright hysterical (featuring, surprisingly, the Hulk, who seems the least funny character) are spread generously throughout, to lighten up the gloom and doom of this pending apocalyptic invasion. It's got all the highs (and lows) of a Whedon project, but feels tighter and more focused, even in the wake of its inherent absurdity, than many of his previous endeavors. It's helped by the fact that each actor nails their roles, coming together to create a real sense of camaraderie. Even Johansson succeeds in showing more than pursed lips and cleavage, and gets her equal share of quips. More importantly, Whedon has clearly grown since his "Buffy" days, something we learned with "Firefly" and Serenity, but something that's on full display here. The humor is mature, fitting with the complexity of the interwoven characters, and one-liners are few, but when they're spoken, they don't feel artificial. -- TK

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1. The Cabin in the Woods -- The first rule of The Cabin in the Woods is you don't talk about The Cabin in the Woods. Cabin in the Woods is a movie that you don't want to know much about, and I don't want to tell you much about it. Before the screening, co-writer/producer Joss Whedon told the crowd, "Enjoy it and then keep it to yourself." The first part was easy, because this is a fun movie, probably the most fun I've had in the theater since Drag Me to Hell. The second part, that's much trickier, because I have to tell you something more than "you'll dig it, trust me."

But you will dig it. Trust me. -- Seth Freilich



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Levine

    I watched Lockout at the dollar theater with one of my friends I work with at DISH, and it was the best dollar I ever spent! Julie Chase and koko temur have sold me on Pitch Perfect. I’m not going to take the leap of purchasing it, but I will add it to my Blockbuster @Home queue that I have through DISH. This way if I hate it I will have spent no money on it, but if I love it, I can watch it several times and keep it as long as I want. They don’t charge late fees and since there are no due dates, I don’t have to rush and mail it back right away.

  • Emmet O'Cuana

    I've had so many fights with people about Cabin in the Woods. There seems to be this belief among horror fans that it is an overhyped cheat.

    I dug it though.

  • Lovely Bones

    I don't understand that attitude among horror fans at all. It's such a brilliant analysis of horror, is simultaneously hilarious while doing said analysis, is legitimately eerie at times as well, is made with clear, absolute affection for the genre. . I just don't get it. I say all of this has a huge fan of horror, albeit one that's admittedly a bit on the pretentious side.

  • Emmet O'Cuana

    That's the other word I've heard tossed around - pretentious.

  • Lovely Bones

    But it's not a pretentious film at all, I'm sure we can agree, nor one that's exclusive to horror fans. It's just thoughtful. My father, who to put it simply is no horror fan, still really enjoyed it, for how entertaining it was, how it lampooned aspects of horror, and the deeper ideas at work.

  • Emmet O'Cuana

    We're speaking the same language.

  • Lovely Bones

    Indeed. As for Jaws, it's by all means a really good film, I'm just not personally into it.

  • Kyle

    Pitch Perfect was terrible, and the script was absolute trash.

  • Fatpie42

    I'm sorry, but "Safety Not Guaranteed" had b***er all to do with time travel, was massively insubstantial and, when a character starts singing a song he wrote himself without a hint of irony, it finally becomes clear that it's shameless uninspired indie 'dramedy'. ('Dramedy' being the new hipster term for indie movies with no comedy and no drama.)

  • AudioSuede

    Also, another overlooked gem from this year was Sleepwalk With Me. I find it so deeply refreshing. A lot of people are discounting it because it's an adaptation of Mike Birbiglia's one-man show, but I don't think that disqualifies it at all from being a great, funny, re-watchable movie. If anything, it's interesting to watch just to see the various ways he tweaks the process of a film adaptation, especially in the last five or so minutes.

  • AudioSuede

    My wife and I saw Django Unchained twice in four days in theaters paying full price and have been considering going a third time. That movie is the most fun and fast two-and-a-half-hour long movie I've seen possibly ever.

    Also Dredd. That movie was a thousand times better than it should have been.

    And Magic Mike. The best movie no one thinks is the best movie.

    And Ted. Better Dredd than Ted, but Ted and Dredd are better than being kicked in the head with Keds in bed.

  • Ooh yeah, Magic Mike. I watched it 3 times just in December.

  • opiejuankenopie

    I don't get all this Ted like-age. He lifts a whole scene from Airplane! I know that's Seth's schtick, but I hate his schtick! All the reviews said they were pleasantly surprised, but I was surprised by how unpleasant it was.

  • AudioSuede

    It wasn't so much a "lift" as an "homage." Basically it was his way of paying tribute to Airplane as a comedy worthy of such tribute. But I can see not liking it. Especially if you "hate his schtick." That'd be pretty hard to overcome with that movie.

  • opiejuankenopie

    He pissed away his "homage" card years ago. It was the exact same scene, with nothing changed or added (except for the actors, of course). That stuff might be understandable (still not forgivable) when you have roughly 8 billion animated hours to fill every week, but when it is your first ever film it reeks of laziness. Which is sad because I used to like his stuff. Before his stuff became a lazy parody of itself. Glad you liked it, I just wish I could have liked it, too.

  • AudioSuede

    True, definitely an odd choice, especially for his first crack at making a movie.

  • koko temur

    ok, I usually mostly lurk around this parts since english isnt even my third language and i feel kinda not witty enough, but i had to say something. i downloaded the "safety not guaranteed" on a whim solely because of this list (and because nick miller is awesome and was in the picture). i'm currently only 2/3 into it and its already my favorite movie, probably ever. it just struck something within me, i don't know. i keep on weeping randomly. i cannot thank you enough for recommending it!.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Yay! for delurking. YAY!

  • koko temur

    oh *blushes and bats an eyelashes in Juliens' general direction*, thanks.

  • Lucy

    The Avengers is mature mature and complex then Buffy?! Someone hasn't watched Buffy in a while...

  • koko temur

    in writers defense, i don't think he meant it was actually more mature, just that it's theme was more "grown up" and accessible, since most people passed on Buffy because it was (on the outside) a high school drama.
    at least i damn hope that it was what he meant.

  • What? Fuck LOOPER and CABIN IN THE WOODS, those are the two most overrated flicks of the year. Next to TDKR.

  • winged chorus

    What, no Kill List?

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    Though it traded too heavily on the kind of Steppin' Fetchett scared black man in the woods for my personal comfort, I found Intouchables to be thoroughly enjoyable.

  • Goon is fantastic. Even my wife, notorious sports hater that she is, just suggested we watch it for a 3rd time. What a horribly underrated movie! It doesn't hurt that it was filmed in our hometown, though...

  • kirbyjay

    She's probably hot for one of the goons. That's the only reason I'll watch any movie over and over. A hot goon.

  • Lbeees

    Joss Whedon, FOR THE WIN!

  • I actually bought The Avengers. I never buy movies. Ever. Mostly because I'm a cheap,cheap person, but also because I know I probably won't watch them more than once. That one, though? I've lost count.

    Though I admit I skip past the entire first 10 minutes or so. Pretty much until Steve Rogers shows up with the punching bags and his magnificent ass.

  • PennyHartzCan

    I am aca-obsessed with Pitch Perfect, but I'm going to assume that the reason you are neglecting to mention Silver Linings Playbook is because it's not out on DVD yet? I could watch the Emu dance circles with J Lawrence and her amazing cleavage all day.

  • Outside of Safety Not Guaranteed, these are all on my "Must Watch" list. I've only seen three. Ay.

  • I have rewatched Goon and Moonrise Kingdom more times than I care to admit. I actually purchased a copy of Goon for my friend so I could watch it over at his place.

  • I completely disagree with the rewatchability of Pitch Perfect, seeing as I watched it twice in one day, bought the dvd, downloaded a few of the songs, sing all the parts in the "Just the Way You Are" mashup while showering and cooking and breathing, and convinced my husband to nerd out and watch it with me.

    Ahem. Hate that movie.

  • koko temur

    watched it for the first time the day this list was published. re-watched ALL the songs at least twice a day, every day ever since. i think its the most re-watchable movie period.

  • John G.

    We need some good rewatches in the long dead horrible movie dump of January through March

  • Ruby Sparks was so good! If you liked Safety Not Guaranteed, give Ruby a try.

  • Totally narcissistically I feel this advice was meant very specifically for me, so... thanks - will do.

  • I just watched "Pitch Perfect" over the weekend and am already thinking about watching it again. And I cannot wait for my copy of "Looper" to arrive. I hardly ever buy DVDs, but I own half of this list, so clearly y'all knew what you were writing about.

  • Lollygagger

    I saw Pitch Perfect three times in theaters, then bought it the day it came out. Watched it on both flights at the holidays. It has definitely settled into the top spot for 'put it on in the background' when I'm doing damn near anything.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Need to see Pitch Perfect, if for no other reason than Anna Kendrick.

    IMO Cabin in the Woods fell way way short.

  • dizzylucy

    I just re-watched Moonrise Kingdom, and loved it again. I could watch Pitch Perfect again too.

    Need to see a couple of these for the first time.

  • Max

    Kinda thought Dredd was better than Lockout in the mindless action category.

  • Emmet O'Cuana

    Pete Travis, who directed Dredd, did a bloody good job with Mega-City One. Such a great vision of a worn out future. Loved it.

  • TK

    I actually agree that Dredd is better than Lockout... but not in that way. It's genuinely a better movie. But for mindless - truly mindless - action? Lockout's your girl.

  • John G.

    I agree. Dredd is actually not even a bad film. It's not good, because it's bad. It's actually good. Lockout was like the nerds in my block of cubicles at work that I listen to all day designed an action film, and wrote the dialogue themselves.

  • Dredd

    Well than they should have made a list of terrible movies that are still fun to watch. This is a list of good movies that have replay value. Dredd deserved that spot.

  • The Other Agent Johnson

    YOU ARE WRONG BECAUSE YOUR OPINION IS DIFFERENT THAN MINE.

  • Dredd

    Well I guess I was just arguing semantics regarding the nature of this list. Acknowledging Dredd's quality, in which we all seem to be in agreement, is really what matters here. What I am trying to say is that I just loved that movie.

  • JayRrr

    i wish Cabin in the woods was better,but as a Whedon fan, it just seemed like an extended episode of one of his shows.

  • e jerry powell

    I WILL NOT. Dig it.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Was Moonrise Kingdom filmed through a bottle of Chartreuse?

  • Bert_McGurt

    Three of these I've seen (Moonrise, Goon, and Cabin) and I couldn't agree more. I had WAY more fun watching these in 2D at the smaller local theatre (or at home) than I did for the giant-screen 3D 4800 rpm Beards and Swords Run Away from Albino Captain Hook Through New Zealand for Three Frickin' Hours.

  • Milly

    What is the term for a fan of Pitch Perfect? Pitch-hard? Because that doesn't quite work, although I do have a raging enjoyment of the film and the throbbing base created by the engorged nodes of Brittany Snow.

    Well, maybe it does work and I should erect a shrine in their honour.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Is it just me, or did anyone else glance at the Pitch Perfect poster and think the token black chick somehow had a white thalidomide arm?

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    Cackled like a goon.

  • Milly

    I hate to use it, but actual genuine lol. Or maybe it was just a chuckle or guffaw outloud.

  • Puddin

    Does Pitch Perfect have boobs? Because I swear, the ONLY way I can get that man to see anything with singing in it is the promise of boobs.

    I am really, REALLY sick of having a straight guy for a husband. Like yesterday-we're watching The Walking Dead and when Rick was killing a zombie I said, "Its a self preservation thing, you see" and HE DIDNT GET IT. Its only the third best storyline in the fourth best Christmas movie of all time!

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    It's a cleavage jamboree: Push-Ups Much Guarateed.

  • Why, yes. Yes, Rebel Wilson does push up the girls in every scene. And then there's this: http://media.tumblr.com/14302b...

  • aardvark

    I find it hard to believe that are people out there that haven't watched Love Actually more than 15 times.

  • Malware

    So I watched Love Actually right now just because of your comment, so congrats to you for that. My conclusion is that non-anglophile Americans won't see it more than 15 times because of cheap shots like your president is a misogynist asshole and that all american women are sluts. Really? like that had anything to do with the rest of the movie? Some storylines were very sweet, they didn't need to muck it up. gg brits.

  • BabyBearStrikesAgain

    Well, there's bologna nipples.

  • John G.

    I've seen the film twice now, and I still don't know if bologna nipples gets into the Bellas or not.

  • LaineyBobainey

    Okay, soooo on my, I don't even know now, 12th? viewing, I think she's in the Madonna group. I think she's the one singing "Like a Virgin" in the Riff-off.

    Jejus, I gotta' stop watching this movie...

  • Yeah, she's in the Madonna group. Not a Bella and not a Stoner.

  • jM

    Tell him there's a Brittany Snow and Anna Kendrick shower scene. That should help.

  • Milly

    Brittany Snow is delightful, particularly talking about her "lady jam". Taken out of context it's funny and in context, along with the little wink, it's ah-mah-zing.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Well, there are a lot of female characters in Pitch Perfect (along with really overproduced singing), if that's what you mean by "boobs".

  • Gina Rivera

    Safety Not Guaranteed is a weird one, I saw it with a friend of mine and we were both drunk and thought it was terrible. Watched it again sober and it was totally cute and worth re-watching. Really want to see Looper, love me some JGL!

  • BWeaves

    I saw Safety Not Guaranteed sober once. I didn't like it. I was disappointed in the ending. I wanted it to be more mysterious.

    The Avengers was also a oncer. I thought it was OK, but I have no desire to ever see it again.

  • good list!

  • JoannaRobinson

    SUE!

  • NoPantsMcLane

    The Expendables 2. It's so cheesy and fun. Just Van Damme's performance alone makes that movie instantly rewatchable.

  • Quatermain

    That movie was a hoot and yeah, Van Damme's performance was one of the best ones.

  • Blake

    Great list! Especially for mentioning Lockout, which was one of my favorites last year despite all the negative reviews (Guy Pearce is terrific and it is probably one of the lovely & leggy Maggie Grace's better roles). I would love to see more movies with Marion Snow...

    I would however have to replace The Avengers (never need to see that again) with the amazing Raid : Redemption.

  • Fatpie42

    I suppose I can see the contrast considering that "The Raid" also had endless waves of faceless drones who were just there to be expendable and get picked off by the lead characters. However, "Avengers Assemble" actually had a plot. And a decent villain too.

    Loved Lockout though. :)

  • theotherone

    'The Avengers' was voted most overrated movie of 2012 by the
    <ahref="http: www.latimes.com="" entertainment="" movies="" moviesnow="" la-et-mn-avengers-overrated-movie-2012-poll-20130102,0,7295260.story"="">LA Times by a landslide - 85%.

  • theotherone

    Lwt's try that again...

    'The Avengers' was voted most overrated movie of 2012 by the
    <ahref="http: www.latimes.com="" entertainment="" movies="" moviesnow="" la-et-mn-avengers-overrated-movie-2012-poll-20130102,0,7295260.story"="">LA Times

  • No, you can't do that.

  • LaineyBobainey

    I could watch 21 Jump Street and Pitch Perfect over and over and I maybe have, and they're still just as delightful to me!

    I need to watch Safety Not Guaranteed. That's on my list. I need another one to add to the rotation.

  • Safety Not Guaranteed is great. It's the best romantic comedy in years because it's mainly about time travel with a little loving thrown in.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    I enjoyed it with reservations. The love story wasn't believable for a second (for me, but I've never had any patience for the 'I love this anti-social quirk generator) and I can't get on board with another 'studious Indian introvert gets 'cooled up' out of pity, finally gets a moment in life that reveals to him what it is to be 'hu-man' re-tread. All told, it was nice to see Aubrey Plaza--who I like-- playing someone who isn't April Ludgate--who I'd like to disembowel with my mind science.

  • Ddddddmoney

    Up voted just for " mind science."

  • Great list. I'll add on that I've watched The Hunger Games four times now and it still holds up. Who knew that casting good actors in a blockbuster with a plot could result in a great film?

  • Fabius_Maximus

    If only they hadn't put atrocious dialogue in their mouths (and the plot was barely there).

  • pajiba

    #11, I swear!

  • And I understand why. It's an eternity long. I always take an intermission after the Tracker Jacker scene now.

  • pajiba

    Yeah, Hunger, Dark Knight and Django were basically tied for #11, and probably all fell a bit because they were so long.

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