American Film Institute’s Best of 2012

The American Film Institute has a list of their choices for the 10 best films of 2012.  In alphabetical order, they are:

  • Argo
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • Django Unchained
  • Les Miserables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty

I’ve only seen two (!) of the films on the list so far, Dark Knight Rises and Moonrise Kingdom, and loved both of them.  At some point I expect I’ll catch up with the entire list – those I most want to see are Argo, Django Unchained, Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty.  (Zero Dark Thirty has also been named best picture by the New York Film Critics Circle, the National Board of Review and the Boston Society of Film Critics.)

Along with films, they also listed what they see as the best American TV of the past year:

  • American Horror Story
  • Breaking Bad
  • Game Change
  • Game of Thrones
  • Girls
  • Homeland
  • Louie
  • Mad Men
  • Modern Family
  • The Walking Dead

I have no patience for Modern Family.  The situations and humor are just too traditional for me.  I thought Game of Thrones season 2 wasn’t as strong as season 1.  I’ve been unable to get into season 5 of Mad Men.  I would have happily substituted Boardwalk Empire season 3 for any of those; I think this past season was its strongest to date and I’m looking forward to season 4.  Overall, the winner for me this year was Louie.

How Big Is Bond?

In a relatively quiet box office weekend in the United States, the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, was the top grossing film of the week – in its 5th week of release, something that almost never happens.  Skyfall has become the top-grossing release from Sony Pictures ever.  It is also the top grossing film of all time in the UK.

Skyfall has grossed about $261 million in the US and a total of $918 million worldwide.  The production budget was reportedly around $200 million.  It has yet to open in China and it’s probably safe to say that the film will end up grossing more than $1 billion in its global theatrical run.

The previous Bond film, the miserably titled Quantum of Solace, did really well (despite being one of the weaker films in the series) but Skyfall has been far more successful.  I never would have predicted that Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Revolutionary Road) would be so successful as an action director.  Skyfall did score 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and Daniel Craig is in my opinion the second best James Bond after Sean Connery.

Unless one wants to count the original Casino Royale in which both Peter Sellers and David Niven played Bond, while Woody Allen was his nephew Jimmy Bond.  Actually, a horrible misfire, a real guilty pleasure for me, the cast also included Ursula Andress, Orson Welles, Dahliah Lavi, Deborah Kerr, William Holden, Charles Boyer, John Huston, George Raft, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jacqueline Bisset, Ronnie Corbett, Geraldine Chaplin, Anjelica Huston, Bert Kwouk and Peter O’Toole.  And had some segments directed by John Huston.  Thoroughly bizarre.

Anyway, one minor thing that struck me was that at the end of almost every official James Bond film, the credits would include a card saying “James Bond Will Return In [next film’s title]”.  Skyfall just has a “James Bond Will Return.”  Given the money made by Skyfall, that’s a given.