Simon de Bruyn's Best Of 2012

Simon de Bruyn, Contributing Writer
I look at end-of-year best of lists rather differently than many of my peers. I consume a lot of media: scripts, films, shorts, TV, interweb shows and ridiculous skits that I should know better about watching. (But seriously, watch this.) As a result of this overeating I'm presenting a best of 2012 list that encompasses most of these mediums.

Given I write predominantly about antipodean content and filmmakers, there is definitely a skew towards stuff from down under. But this doesn't mean it's hard to track down - and I fully recommend hunting around for many of these movies and shows. I've also included a few clips from YouTube below, as some of the content I loved is available for everyone to watch.

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Best Five Films
I'm not going to dwell too heavily here as you're already getting an abundance of recommendations from my Twitch colleagues. For me, this year was wildly unpredictable. There were some nice surprises (21 Jump Street, Get The Gringo, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Campaign, Contraband) and some big disappointments (Cabin in the Woods, Prometheus, Looper, End of Watch), and, for the most part, my favourite films came out of left field and surprised me. 

In no ceremonious order, my top five films of 2012 were The Dark Knight Rises, The Way, Hail, Kill List and The Raid. Each I consider a masterpiece in their own way, and each of them sits in my top 5 due to their profound personal impact on me during and after the first time I saw them. This includes the pure visceral cinematic thrill of The Raid (made all the more palpable by a personal tangential connection to the film via Twitch founder Todd Brown) which I returned to experience another five times in the cinema. Then there is the morbidly unsettling experience of watching Kill List without knowing anything about it beforehand, and the unashamedly religious and splendidly simple story told in The Way - a cinematic pleasure in the same vein as The Straight Story.

Update: I saw Django Unchained after I'd written this. As it's pure unbridled cinema and an utterly exuberant experience, I'm going to call the best American film of the year. So my top five is six.


The Real Meat And Potatoes
With the films out of the way, we come to the more substantial part of the dish, which basically includes my personal best TV shows, webseries, short films, and a few other things thrown in for good measure. There are a few popular favourites here, because I'm not really that obscure, plus a couple of treasures (potato gems) that are worth seeking out.

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Best TV Series
While Breaking Bad has been crushing it as usual, and really is the best thing on television hands down, consistently, year in year out, I wanted to single out something that a) wasn't the 5th installment of a series, and b) had more of its brilliance isolated to 2012. The answer then of course is season 2 of Rake, which in just eight episodes leapt from the comfortable spot it had secured with its first season in the top tier of Aussie TV shows to truly world class television. This year had comedy and dialogue that truly shined, drama flecked with surprising tragedy, and a stellar ensemble cast spiraling out from the charismatic wreck that is Cleaver Greene. It's no wonder that there's a US remake in the works with Greg Kinnear; and it'll be a hit.
Honorable mentions: Love/Hate, Devil's Dust (miniseries)


Best Webseries
This is the first year I've truly got into watching webseries with any sort of commitment, and there were a few that delivered in spades. None more often, and more inappropriately hilarious than Bondi Hipsters, the brainchild of brothers Christiaan and Connor Van Vuuren, and Nick Boshier. These guys are hands down hilarious and their satire has been bang-on accurate for a year. Give them a TV show.

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Best Music Video
Ever since I saw The Shoes' "Time to Dance" music video in March I've felt it was a masterpiece, not only in terms of the medium, but as a short film in general. In fact it simultaneously ranks as one of the best short films of the year. Directed by Daniel Wolfe, the video shows the evolution of a serial killer (played by 'The Haal') over a very generous 8 minutes and 30 seconds. The resolution is ambiguous and sort of works both ways, and depending on your mood you can interchangeably interpret what actually happens. If anyone should leap from music videos to movies it's this guy. Oh and the song is incredible too. Watch it below - the main song doesn't start until the 1:35 mark.
Honorable mentions: Roadgeek's "On the Borderline" by Michael Shanks, Gotye's "Seven Hours With a Backseat Driver" by Rubberhouse


Best Short Film
I saw Rupert Reid's Boo at the St. Kilda Film Festival in May and it hasn't been bested since. It's so damn simple, has the right combination of everything, and works every damn time I watch it. I've included it for you to watch below.


Best Short Doc
I didn't watch any feature documentaries of note in 2012 for some reason, so this brilliant short documentary The Globe Collector, will have to stand in for that too. I also saw this at St. Kilda and was very close to giving it a standing ovation I was so overwhelmed by it. However individual ovations in the middle of short film programmes are not really done for some reason, so this mention will have to do. Ostensibly a comedy but ultimately much more, The Globe Collector is really worth your time. I've included the trailer as the last video below.

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Best Thing That Needs Its Own Special Category
We're huge fans of Danger 5 here at Twitch and I'm no different. The madcap creation of Dario Russo and David Ashby is so damn brilliant that it deserves its own special category, and logically deserves it - as a web-TV hybrid. It's on Hulu right now for US viewers, and everyone else should import the fantastic DVD release from Australia. And, of course, kill Hitler!


Best Thing I Discovered Thanks To Twitch
James Bond. Yes, until 2012 I could very safely say I wasn't into James Bond. In fact I was proudly something of an anti-Bond fanatic, dismissing him more or less out of hand as an out-of-date misogynist, although I'd warmed to him somewhat in Casino Royale before being lost again with Quantum of Solace. I'd only seen four of the movies in total, and none before Goldeneye, so in comparison to my Twitch peers I was an iconoclast. And then along came Skyfall, and with it Twitch's massive retrospective series about the man and the movies. Yet still I resisted, until the articles on Twitch basically swung me around 180 degrees towards watching Dr. No and continuing through the next 10 Bond movies for the first time. And while Roger Moore's decrepit-looking Bond in For Your Eyes Only eventually halted my progress, I emerged as a convert, and with a much better understanding of why the character was so beloved - not to mention understanding more of the references in Team America. So, for that, thanks Twitch.
Honorable mention: Misfits
Around the Internet:
  • Herge Smith

    Does Bondi have hipsters? Isn't it full of British sunburnt drunken douchebags? Surely Newtown is the epicentre for Sydney side hipsters?

    Great piece

  • Guest

    Thanks!

    Yes, I'm told it does. They migrate over from Surry Hills and Darlo.

  • Herge Smith

    You have to respect that, right? I mean public transport to Bondi is a bitch and those hills are a bastard on a fixie... mind you if you're migrating it's all down hill to Bondi... literally.

  • Guest

    Maybe they just ride along the shoreline on the fixies. Although even up to Icebergs is a climb from memory!

    Anyway, check this out: http://youtu.be/HR4n6OVoyYQ

  • Herge Smith

    That's fab... fixies are so cuntish; they were at epidemic proportions in the inner-west this year. Thanks for sharing.

    Did you not get to see Housos vs Authority? Home grown cinema at its best... or maybe not.

  • Guest

    Not yet. I'll defend Paul Fenech's right to make movies til the cows come home (and to be honest, we need more working class filmmakers - too many filmmakers from Paddington making patronising films about the suburbs) although seeing them is another matter. I saw Fat Pizza at the cinemas, and while it was a memorable experience it's not one I'm keen to repeat.

  • Herge Smith

    Yeah I'm totally with you there 100%... I do like his TV shows, they are truly anarchic and fun AND Australian with no pretence (or desire it seems) for world wide acceptance. I absolutely respect that.

    Saying that I adore Kath and Kim but just couldn't bring myself to see their film.

  • Elia Devecchi

    Nice list but, if I have to be honest, the idea of anybody calling The Dark Knight rises a masterpiece boggles my mind. I know, I know, there's a million places to discuss that film. It's just the first time I see anybody with any form of understanding of cinema calling it a masterpiece. I thought it was idiotic - and incompetently written - to a nightmarish degree. Oh well.

    Danger 5, on the other hand, is the cat's pajamas.

  • Snoop Lion

    To each their own opinion, but here's some context: I saw TDKR on DVD many months after it was in cinemas and somehow had avoided all spoilers while paying attention to all the criticism weighed against it - so maybe I was watching it with lowered expectations, while still being surprised by the story. And as much as JGL is basically a piece of plywood with a face, I actually bought him in this, which is the first role I've liked him in since Brick.

    Also, I've never been a critic or claimed to be one (I only write news for Twitch) so I'm never saying it's a masterpiece for anyone but me. The Way is clearly not a cinematic masterpiece, objectively speaking, but it profoundly moved me and presented Catholic rituals and tradition - which I'm used to seeing either negatively portrayed or done in a movie-of-the-week kinda way - in a gloriously cinematic way. Which makes it a masterpiece in my eyes.

  • mightyjoeyoung

    "Ostensibly a comedy but ultimately much more, The Globe Collector is really worth your time."
    Odd hobby.....looked nice though.
    Nice list, thanks Mr Stone.

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