Simon de Bruyn's Best Of 2012
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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
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