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Top 10 Best & Worst Dramas Of 2012

Top 10 Best Dramas 2012 (Movies)(& Worst)Imagine a movie NOT based on a comic book and NOT starring Adam Sandler. This is my personal list of the worst and best dramas of 2012 (movies, not TV). Five of each. That makes ten. Here they are…

5. WORST: Lawless

Best Dramas 2012
John Hillcoat’s The Road was a movie over which to argue the merits of, but there were no such worries for the same director’s follow-up, prohibition-era saga Lawless: it sucked like an aardvark toking on a doobie.

Tom Hardy ambled round like a fat bear, Guy Pearce sneered it up like an animated Disney rat, and Shia LaBeouf played it stupid as only the big ball-dropper knows how. Their heroic cooks versus horrible cops shtick was stale enough, although in truth the really criminal aspect of the whole endeavour was Nick Cave’s dog-wagging tail of a script, which had events happening because the film needed them to – not because they made any sense in the context of story and characters.

5. BEST: Ruby Sparks

Best Movie Dramas 2012
Oh, Paul… oh, Zoe… we’re SO the indie acting golden couple, aren’t we?… Yes, my own personal private squirrel girl, we surely are… do you think the world acknowledges our gilded indie credentials?… well, me maybe. After all I was in a movie with Indie Empress, Zooey Des… DON’T MENTION THAT NAME! YOU SAID YOU WOULDN’T MENTION THAT NAME!…

Sorry! But you know what? If she’s the Indie Empress, you’re the indie movie Princess Leia… I am?… you are… hey, I know! Why don’t I write a movie about what an indie dream girl I am, and you can play the guy who dreams me up… er, sure why not? As it turns out, I don’t think I’m going to be needed for that Cowboys & Aliens sequel…

4. WORST: On the Road

Top Dramas 2012 Movies
If the belated movie adaptation of On the Road was a car, it’d be a Volvo. Steady enough. Solidly efficient. And about as exciting as a post-Christmas dinner game of charades with Grandma.

Is it a book? A book, petal. A bo.. never mind. Go back to sleep…

Aside from Viggo Mortensen as Old Bull Lee/William Burroughs, the acting company were all so adorable and cute as to resemble a Kerouac-themed Vogue photoshoot, while the double whammy of this and Snow White and the Huntsman left the notion of Kristen Stewart as serious actress in her own right looking as misguided as that ‘Congratulations!’ cake I sent Mitt Romney.

4. BEST: Le Havre

Best Drama Films 2012
A shoe-shiner named Marx, living in a French port that, like him, has perhaps seen better days. His angel of a wife lies on death’s doorstep, the bony finger of the Reaper tapping evermore forcibly on her shoulder with each passing hour. And into the grizzled ol’ geezer’s crumbling life comes a young immigrant boy, scampering round the backstreets of the eponymous city in a bid to evade the searching gaze of a black-clad cop.

Ingredients of human drama that would be mixed into a sentimental tear-jerker of a cack-handed stew by most mere mortals, but which in the iron hands of Finnish film maestro Aki Kaurismäki are melded into something funny, touching and entirely individual.

3. WORST: Cosmopolis

Best Drama Movies 2012
Remember K-Stew? Well, in contrast to Li’l Miss Woodentop, her Twilight playmate Captain Jawbone actually acquitted himself in David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis; Robert Pattinson’s performance as tumbling Wall Street wunderkind Eric Packer serving to inject a soupçon of interest into a truly tedious talkathon.

Though Don DeLillo’s slender picaresque novel was penned pre the current crisis of capitalism, Cronenberg’s slog round a sterile and an oft-shoddily recreated Manhattan offered a hearty pat on the back for halfwits seeking pretend profundity from their cinematic fix. However for everyone with their brains not located in the anal area, it was all as immense a waste of time as trying to convince a dog of the merits of wearing trousers.

3. BEST: Rust and Bone

Best Dramatic Movies 2012
Okay, yes, after the gangster epic that was A Prophet, it was a little disappointing that Jacques Audiard’s follow-up feature was essentially superior soap opera. Yes, Matthias Schoenaerts was basically playing Joey from Friends. And yes, Marion Cotillard was practically begging us all to gasp in awe at the lack of ego in her performance. Look, she’s on the bog!

Yet somehow the collected faults didn’t scuttle the whole. Far from it in fact, as Audiard delivered another affecting, aesthetically splendid piece of cinema. Plus, it’s probably the best whale movie since Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

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Worst / Best Dramas 2012

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  • gd smith said

    Cosmopolis, Lawless and the Master are way better than most of the “best” 2012 dramas on this list.

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    • Sheridan Passell said
      Sheridan Passell

      I haven’t seen most of the films on this list, but in the author’s defense: Cosmopolis (rotten tomatoes: 65%), Lawless (68%), The Master (85%) vs Argo (95%), Amour (91%), Le Havre (99%).

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      • gd smith said

        I never take any notice of rotten tomatoes or IMDB. I make my own judgements. In the case of cosmopolis, I trust Cronenberg far more than anyone who critiques him. I also don’t get what people mean, when they say something is pretentious or that the fans are being pretentious for liking it. I thought it was an interesting film about a man trying to get a haircut and it was like Cronenberg doing After Hours.
        Lawless had some good shoot outs, Pierce was great and his hair alone was Oscar worthy. Plus I really liked the way they turned White Light, White Heat into an American folk song. It’s a good gangster film that draws on American folk culture and is entertaining. If you want to talk about scripts having things happen because they need to happen rather than because they make sense, I point you at The Dark Knight Rises. Although, to be fair this is true of virtually every other action film. But it’s got be said Nolan’s films are bigger offenders than most on this score.
        And The Master had good performances and some interesting ideas.
        What this list, I think shows is a bias against American films that tackle big ideas.

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        • Sheridan Passell said
          Sheridan Passell

          I am only judging it off the trailer, which isn’t fair, but Pierce looks very cartoony in Lawless. In my opinion he’s had a horrible year, I thought he was awful in Prometheus and really let the side down in Lockout. It was a chance for him to show his range in some parts that really stretched him but he dropped the ball. I’ve liked him in stuff like Memento and LA Confidential.

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        • Paul Martin said

          No bias against films of any nationality that tackle their central themes with intelligence, bravery and originality. Big problems with films of any nationality that are nauseatingly pleased with their self-perceived cleverness. Totally agree about Dark Knight Rises though – it felt like all the scenes had been decided long in advance, and the narrative pathways connecting them drawn up in 5 minutes on the back of a diner serviette.

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          • Paul Martin said

            Big set-piece scenes, I should say.

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          • gd smith said

            What I would say about Cosmopolis is that Cronenberg is nearly 70 years old and has gone well beyond the point where critics or fans matter, It;s about haircuts, capitalism, extremely pretty women and whatever. It has value because the life and work of an artist is always more significant than anyone who presumes to comment on it.

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  • dnwilliams said

    Wow. I take umbrage with Shame and to a lesser extent Lawless. I’ve also yet to be the Master, but I’d be truly shocked if it were that bad.

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  • Jemal Polson said

    Cosmopolis was such a let down, such an incoherent mess. I also didn’t like Rust & Bone very much either.

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  • Garreth said

    The judgement made on Lawless here couldn’t be more oblivious to the fact that the movie isn’t all about the development in characters and an unrealistic storyline as seen in most movies around. The acting was top notch and yes had a simple story to it, but the reality of the relationship between the brothers through great acting made for an incredible movie. Although you’re entitled to your own opinion I personally think you couldn’t have judged this movie any more ignorantly..

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