Jim’s 2012 Lists part 2: And so it begins… 20-16

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Best of 2012 Part 1: 20-16

I am breaking this down for two reasons. First, by breaking it down I make it a less massive, more manageable project. Second, by making it more manageable I allow myself more time on each part so that I am not rushing through it. You may not know this, but writing about 20 movies in one sitting is a bit of a chore, at least it is if you want what you write to be worth a damn. This way I can hit five at a time and put some thought into what I write.

Are you ready? Outstanding. Here we go!

20-16: This is the part of the list where the numbers are pretty irrelevant. Basically, until you get to the to 6 or 7, all the numbers are just a matter of semantics. Honestly, can I really quantify a difference between 20 and 11? Not really. So take that in with you when you read it.

20) Brave

This one is probably going to be the most questioned on my list. A lot of people didn’t like it very much. I almost omitted it in favor of “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” because of it. But then I decided to keep it for that very reason.

I understand that it’s not perfect and it is far from Pixar’s best. But, it’s not an awful movie as some people like to prattle on about. It’s different, and I think that’s the problem. It deviates from Pixar’s established story structure and I know that a lot of people don’t really cotton to that. Structurally it’s very much an old fairy tale that doesn’t adhere to a familiar outline. But if you give it a chance I think you’ll see that it does have all the hallmarks of Pixar films that people love without question.

19) Goon

I went into this thing thinking that it would be some really stupid nonsense that just existed to show some bad ass hockey violence. Shawn William Scott doesn’t have the best track record on this type of thing, so I was apprehensive.

I am really happy that I was wrong. This was a fairly by the numbers “loser gets a break and makes it big,” but it has a surprising amount of depth.

It’s more about teamwork, loyalty, and being true to your nature than anything else. The relationship between Liev Scrhiever and Shawn William Scott is so subtle and genuine and it really adds a nice weight and relateabiltiy to the story.

18)  Jack Reacher

A lot of people want to judge this film harshly because Tom Cruise blah, blah, blah. The title, blah, blah, blah. All this crap that has little to do with the movie itself.

The movie is very hard hitting, very adult, and very unflinching in pretty much every regard. Cruise is outstanding as a man with no flexibility who is there to do a job and nothing else. He is not a hero, but he is a man who does the right thing. His character is hard to like, but you know that you are happy to have him on your side.

I miss the days of the smart, adult oriented, hard boiled action/detective story. Everything is so watered down for family consumption that it’s almost refreshing to go, as an adult, to a move like this and see something that was intended for me and not for the family of 8 that was seated behind me at the screening (there were 3 kids under 10 with them, which gave me pause).

Anyway, this is a grown up action/detective/thriller that I absolutely loved and think that everyone should check out. Well... maybe not 7 year olds.

17) Paul Williams Still Alive

So, I met Paul Williams. No big deal. Just the guy who wrote “Rainbow Connection,” and played Little Enos in “Smokey and the Bandit.”

I met him after seeing the second screening of Steven Kessler’s “Paul Williams Still Alive” at South By Southwest and, given our brief interaction I would classify him as a good guy.

“Paul Williams Still Alive,” is a very interesting and superbly made documentary about someone who went from obscurity, to the heights of fame, to relative obscurity. It shows the pitfalls of fame and the embarrassing hubris that can go with it. It shows how someone can have too much of a good thing (booze and drugs) and then spend the rest of their lives letting people know that they really aren’t such a good thing. It shows the absolutely fickle nature of fame.

Paul Williams was a giant of a small man back in the 70’s. He was everywhere and everyone knew who he was. His fame was an absolute mystery. I mean, he was a songwriter. How many songwriters become famous. Not just industry famous, but famous famous. Because Paul Williams was a full blown celebrity. You damned near couldn’t turn on your television without seeing the guy. He had songs, movies, TV specials, concerts... the guy was an absolutely ubiquitous part of the cultural zeitgeist of the 70’s.

And then... he went away.

You learn why, but more importantly you learn who the man was and who he is.

Paul Williams Still Alive is not a picture of a faded star trying to reclaim his former glory, it’s an honest and warm hearted love letter to a man who has created some amazing entertainment and has found a much earned comfort and peace in life. From small club shows in the US to “The Phantom of the Paradise” fan festivals in Canada, to SOLD OUT STADIUM SHOWS ALL OVER THE WORLD, this movie gives you a look at a man who has done it all and is doing it again the right way.

Paul Williams Still Alive is an insightful portrait of a wonderfully charming man who has lived an amazing life and is lucky enough to have matured to a point of having complete perspective.

I started this movie liking Paul Williams, I ended it a full blown fan. I can’t really give it higher praise than that.

16) The Bitter Buddha

The second of three documentaries on the list!!! And the second documentary about a performer you should know more about. I was also lucky enough to get an interview with the director and the star of this film immediately following the premier of it at the Austin Film Festival, which means that you can hear the first interview done after the film premiered on this very site! Isn’t that exciting?

The Bitter Buddha is a documentary about Eddie Pepitone, a stand up comedian known as a “comic’s comic.” Eddie is a brilliantly funny comedian who doesn’t have time for any more of your bullshit.

There are a multitude of reasons to love this movie, but I am going to focus on two.

1- It provides a platform to one of the most inventive and original voices in the world of comedy today.

and...

2- It provides an actual, honest portrayal of stand up comedy.

Stand up is an art form just like any other. You have masters and you have hacks. The masters will have an audience, but for some reason the hacks always find a way to become bigger.

Don’t believe me? Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” has sold more copies than any Beatles song. Ever.

Led Zeppelin, R.E.M., and Depeche Mode have never had a number one single. Rihanna has had 10.

The cast of Glee has had more songs chart than The Beatles and Flo Rida’s “Low” has sold as many copies as “Hey Jude.”

People love crap, but there is good stuff out there.

This movie gives you a look at a comedian that you may not have gotten a chance to see otherwise. Eddie’s comedy is fresh and original and different than what you will get from what you will get anywhere else.

The second point, stand up comedy is a rough fucking business. It’s just like any other popular art form, the most amazing talent is not always recognized the way it should be. This is not to say that Pepitone isn’t popular, he is. But he is nowhere near as popular as he should be. d

But we live in a world where Kim Kardashian has 17,000,000 Twitter followers, so is it a shock that someone who uses that medium for jokes like

"Whenever someone yells 'can I get a woot woot?' I like to yell 'only if you promise to read a book in your lifetime."

only has 49,600.

So, bottom line, check out Eddie Pepitone, see “The Bitter Buddha,” and look into getting some better taste, ya bastards!



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