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The Year in Review: Re-Evaluating My 2012 Most Anticipated

Written by: Kristen Lopez, Editor in Chief


 Another year of film-watching concluded, and I figured before I’d look towards what’s on the horizon I’d re-examine what I was excited for when 2012 was shiny and new (no I won’t bust into a Madonna song).  With that, I’m looking back at the ten films I listed as my most anticipated.  I’ll analyze if I saw them, what I thought about them, and if they lived up to my expectations.  I’ll include links to any reviews I wrote about them as well.  If you want to see my original Most Anticipated List just click the link.  So what did this year offer me?  Let’s see!

10Prometheus

If you read my original review of Prometheus then you know I found it to be a huge disappointment, and I stand by that.  After rewatching it, I will say that coming at it with reduced expectations is best.  It’s not the best prequel to Aliens, but the acting from the space crew is good.  Michael Fassbender’s storyline continues to be the best of the lot.  I think Prometheus just failed to live up to the hype of the Alien franchise.  Gone was the pure horror of being in space, and instead there was a religious storyline with more holes than Swiss cheese.  It remains one of the more disappointing movies of the year.  

Did I See It: Yes
Did I Like It: No
Live Up to Expectations: No

9Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages has become a guilty pleasure movie for me.  I hated it in theaters, and it is a crappy movie, but it has a campy 80s quality to it that I can’t resist.  The music makes up for a lot too because who doesn’t love Bon Jovi?  The acting, particularly from Tom Cruise and Malin Akerman continues to make me laugh as well.  I will say that director Adam Shankman creates a terrible film that removes the plot of the play, and replaces it with a cliché romance helmed by two of the worst actors ever (Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta).  With that being said, I own the film, and I will watch it.

Did I See It: Yes
Did I Like It: Eh…
Live Up to Expectations: Yeah, they weren’t high to begin with

8Gangster Squad

Unfortunately, Gangster Squad wasn’t seen by me (or anyone) this year due to being rescheduled in light of the Dark Knight shootings in Colorado.  The ending of the film, as seen in the original trailer that was pulled after the shootings, involved tommy guns and movie theater so it was easily understood why it would be moved.  This will be appearing in my Most Anticipated for 2013 for sure.

Did I See It: No one Did
Did I Like It: N/A
Live Up to Expectations: I hope so

7.  Magic Mike

Yeah, 2012 is the year that I lost all faith in a movie where people take their clothes off.  If director Steven Soderbergh didn’t make Haywire in the same year, I’d have lost all faith in him as well.  The main issue with Magic Mike was the need to make the audience believe that the male characters weren’t sex objects, and that seeing them as such as was dirty.  If anything, Magic Mike illuminated the double standard of sex workers on film which I analyzed earlier this year.  For a film that wants to humanize these characters, it definitely plays fast and loose with consequences.  Thankfully, Soderbergh seems to be back on track with Side Effects in 2013, and hopefully male stripping won’t be on-screen again (unless Channing Tatum gets his way and directs that sequel).

Did I See It: Yes
Did I Like It: No
Live Up to Expectations: No

6Les Miserables

This was the last film on this list I saw and it’s a doozy.  The parts of it that were great were amazing, and the parts that weren’t were terrible.  I have to believe that there was someone better than Russell Crowe because he single-handedly destroys every song he sings, and by destroy I mean ruin.  Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne make a better pairing than Crowe and Hugh Jackman which is sad because the latter two should be the character we’re interested in.  The film has a soaring score, and great sets, but the film doesn’t have any breathing room; jamming in every song back to back to back.  It’s a good movie, but it’s far from a good adaptation.  It could have been done better.  

Did I See It: Yes
Did I Like It: For the most part
Live Up to Expectations: No

5.  Wettest County aka Lawless

Yeah it went through yet another title change before coming to theaters.  I finally caught this on DVD, after years of waiting, and it was good.  The performances from Tom Hardy and Jessica Chastain are amazing, and easily make up for a lot of the film’s failures.  The predominant weak link is Shia LaBeouf who is not at all gangster material.  The film also changes the book and introduces a main villain played Guy Pearce.  Pearce is a laughably bad villain who borderlines on a caricature.  For some reason the film blends these high camp characters with a down-home story that never gels.  It’s good, but forgettable.

Did I See It: Yes
Did I Like It: It was okay
Did I Live Up to Expectations: Barely

4The Cabin in the Woods

Like Lawless, this was a film I had waited several years to see.  Thankfully, Cabin in the Woods finally saw the light of day, and boy did it live up to and exceed my expectations!  Much has been written about this Joss Whedon/Drew Goddard film, but I think it easily redefines the genre, and goes in-depth into the very creation of the horror film itself.  The acting was fantastic, particularly from Whedon acolyte Fran Kranz, and the gore was right on par.  This is a film I never tire of, and I’m so happy to finally have a copy on DVD.

Did I See It: Yes
Did I Like It: Hell yes!
Did It Live Up to Expectations: Of course!

3The Great Gatsby

I should have seen The Great Gatsby this week, but unfortunately the studio decided to push it back to the summer for reasons unknown.  There’s been debate about whether the studio has lost faith in the film, or if director Baz Luhrmann needed more time/money to finish the film.  Regardless, this film didn’t see theaters this year.  Based on the recent trailer that’s been unveiled my expectations continue to plummet for this film.  The garish tone, the muddied plotline, and the coy acting are making me wonder if the studios know the film isn’t strong enough.  We’ll have to wait till next summer to decide, but I’m starting to become worried about this adaptation.

Did I See It: No one did
Did I Like It: N/A
Did It Live Up to Expectations: My expectations continue to fall for this.

2 Django Unchained

Having just recently seen this I’m still jumping up and down, talking about how fantastic this film is.  It’s easily Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece, and everything I thought would come true did.  Tarantino continues his streak of fantastic work, and the game-changing performance from Leonardo DiCaprio is worthy of accolades on its own.  I still hope to see it as a Best Picture nominee, although I’m not sure of its chances at winning the coveted award.

Did I See It: Yes
Did I Like It: Hell yes!
Did It Live Up to Expectations: Exceeded them

1The Dark Knight Rises

Oh boy did this one fail me.  I recently rewatched this on DVD, and maintain it doesn’t hold up on the replay.  The story is longwinded and everything about Batman is unceremoniously tossed by story’s end.  I mean all one needs to know about the ending is told by Alfred (Michael Caine) right around the thirty minute mark, and the film isn’t shy about the foreshadowing!  The film is just a mess due to its desperate need to please fans, rap up storylines, and leave the door ajar for any future sequels.  The introduction of Robin seemed to be the big fan service moment that seemed laughable.  I could complain about this movie all day, but with the blinders removed I’m able to see The Dark Knight Rises for the large disappointment it is.  Sad.

Did I See It: Yes
Did I Like It: Eh…
Did It Live Up to Expectations: It feel flat…like the multiple times Bruce Wayne falls off that damn ledge in the movie.

So here’s to a new year of movies, and hopefully I’ll find my expectations exceeded more in 2013.

Author: Kristen Lopez, Editor in Chief

Kristen Lopez is the editor-in-chief of CC2K and a freelance pop culture essayist. Her work has appeared on Roger Ebert, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Daily Beast. When she’s not burning down Film Twitter she runs two podcasts, the female-centric film show Citizen Dame, and the classic film-themed Ticklish Business.

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