Roger Ebert Reveals His Top 10 Movies of 2012 with 'Argo' as #1

December 29, 2012
Source: Ebert's Journal

Roger Ebert Top 10 2012

"A miraculous achievement of storytelling and a landmark of visual mastery," Ebert writes about Ang Lee's Life of Pi. As we wrap up 2012, every last critic unveils their Top 10 of the year. One critic that I still like to hear from is Roger Ebert, even at 70 years of age, he's still reviewing over 300 films a year and can still put together a damn good Best of 2012 list. His post on Ebert's Journal starts by explaining he "sustained a hairline fracture of my left hip", meaning he couldn't walk on his left leg at all, but he was still able to fit in a record year of watching movies. And his list of favorites is yet another unique selection of outstanding films.

Ebert explains: "The good news is that I've seen the films of one of the best recent years in cinema. I wrote more than 300 reviews in 2012 -- a record -- and it was unusually difficult to leave out many of the quote-unquote 'best' films in 11th place." His list includes a full breakdown of his Top 10 and reasons for each film.

Without further ado and without his commentary, as Ebert states, "here are the Best Films I saw in 2012:"

1. Argo
2. Life of Pi
3. Lincoln
4. End of Watch
5. Arbitrage
6. Flight
7. The Sessions
8. Beasts of the Southern Wild
9. Oslo, August 31
10. A Simple Life

In his post Ebert also names a few Grand Jury Prizes ("titles that were as good, in one way or another, as the others") alphabetically: Central Park Five, Cloud Atlas, Impossible, In the Family, Last Ride, A Late Quartet, The Master, Paradise Lost 3, Prometheus, Rampart, Searching for Sugar Man, West of Memphis.

Honestly, Ebert's choices for this year are mostly spot-on, with some of the best of the year named (Life of Pi, Argo, Lincoln, Beasts) and other unique choices like Oslo, August 31 (a very depressing film) and End of Watch, an intense cop thriller earning lots of acclaim. Ebert also provides additional commentary for each of his Top 10 films on his Chicago Sun-Times blog, so read on for more. In explaining why he chose Argo, he states: "This film takes first place on my best movie list because it is above all else a movie -- pure, strong and sound. It has the classic values of a Hollywood thriller… The new film reveals surprises about a story we all lived though. It is told with classic comedy and tension." Do you agree with Ebert's 2012 picks?

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  • Xerxexx
    Not a bad list...not a bad list at all.
    • It was a good year.
  • Tester
    django gets no love from Ebert
    • Hazedmind
      He didn't see it yet because of his injury, but Zero Dark Thirty gets no love from Ebert, and Arbitrage was such an average movie, hes got some biases
      • Emma
        Zero Dark Thirty could technically also be considered a 2013 film, since it isn't really released to the public until January.
        • exactly
        • Mike P.
          It was released to the public in 2012, in a limited run, in major cities. While that doesn't make it available to a large portion of honest, non-pirating citizens, it still makes it a 2012 film.
  • Hazedmind
    Just for the record, Ebert gave both Prometheus and Cloud Atlas four star reviews
    • Both were four star movies
      • Hazedmind
        No yeah, thats what I ment, just mentioning that although they arent on his list he still gave them perfect reviews
      • IF you think Prometheus was 4 stars...I do not even know what to say, it is so poorly written and ripe with plot holes it isn't even funny.
        • Kaim
          There are no plot holes because a lot of the plot is still a mystery.
        • ff
          Could not agree more.
      • Cody W
        Lol Prometheus was a 1 star movie though!
    • jez
      He also gave The Golden Compass a 4 star review. Whether people agree with him or not i'm still not sure.
    • BoboVision
      So you're saying he has shit taste in movies despite his top ten list.
      • Hazedmind
        Jesus fucking Christ, I am pointing this out because people on this site seem to love those movies and I thought it would be something interesting to add to the thread instead of my usual trollish remarks, but assholes like you are really making it hard for me to keep my cool
        • BoboVision
          Ah, so you're saying you knew people on this site love those movies, so you are kissing their ass because you desperately want to be liked and are tired of having your trollish comments downvoted. Got it. That's pretty sad. No integrity whatsover, just conforming to the popular opinions.
          • Cody W
            Way to take the asshole title of this thread sheesh
          • BoboVision
            LOL. You guys seriously have some issues. Just because someone has different taste in movies you start swearing and name-calling? Keep it classy, Cody W.
          • Cody W
            Lol was that different person typing your swear filled name calling response? Or are you just delusional? "so you are kissing their ass because you desperately want to be liked and are tired of having your trollish comments downvoted. Got it. That's pretty sad. No integrity whatsover, just conforming to the popular opinions."
          • BoboVision
            Point out where I was name-calling. The funny thing is, you and I pretty much said the same thing but in different ways. You said Prometheus was shit, and so did I, but in different ways. This has nothing to do with what I said. You and Hazedmind have issues. In Hazedmind's case, he's trying to become part of the firstshowing clique by going along with what's popular around here....including spewing venom at me because of my opinions about movies. The funny thing is, you guys seem to think no one notices your issues.
  • Dylan
    I'm interested to hear Ebert's review of Django Unchained, which has not been posted, but I suppose he hasn't had time.
    • Yeah hearing lots of great reviews for Django.
  • Respectable.
  • Isildur_of_Numenor
    Prometheus is one of the "honorable mentions". That's awesome! And Argo deserves the top spot, Ben Affleck is one of the best directors working today.
  • TDKR should be on there
    • Guy who comments on things
      • Geoffrey has his own opinion as do you. I agree with him. seems to me most people are basing their opinion of TDKR based on comparing it to TDK instead of just as its own film. in my opinion it was a great film for what it was, one of the best of the year and deserving of a top 10 spot. Others may think differently, but thats why we all love america, you have that right to be/think different.
        • Guy who comments on things
          I Loved TDKR but this is Roger Eberts list not Geoffreys', so him saying a film 'should' be on it doesn't make any sense to me. It shouldn't be on the list because clearly Ebert doesn't want it on the list. There isn't one film on there that is bad in my eyes, it's a good list. Why don't we all just leave comments saying films that we think should be on someone else's list? What a fun discussion we'd be having then.. Avengers should be on this list, Where is Django? Why has he not put Moonrise Kingdom, If it's my favourite film, it should also be Roger Eberts. Where is Lawless, I enjoyed that film very much, therefore the fact that Roger Ebert did not baffles me endlessly? Movies are subjective.
        • Guy who comments on things
          I was never a huge fanboy of TDK either, I think it probably works better overall as a structure than TDKR however.
  • Jenny
    Cloud Atlas was pure shit. What is going on with this man? He's getting too old.
    • Xerxexx
      Its his opinion.
    • CDR
      This comment partially ruined my night... I think I'm too attached to Cloud Atlas
      • I'm with you bud. I loved that movie.
      • Guy who comments on things
        I've read the book and watched the first 20 minutes of the movie, and I've read that they've changed so much of it now, I'm almost afraid to watch the film incase it ruins the story for me.
        • Cody W
          I havent read the book, but Ive HEARD, that people who read thought it was one of the best adaptations ever and they couldnt believe how well they fit everything into a film. But we all hear different opinions.
  • vaporware
    Finished watching Argo. The hype led me to believe, as it is intended to, that this would be a great film of the re-telling of how the US & Canada worked together to bring home 6 American Diplomats who had escaped to a Safe House after the 1979 American Embassy takeover in Tehran. What was I left with? A footnote in history, similar to the ones that make you say 'Hmmm..., I didn't know that.', was expounded and stretched and elaborated upon for 120 minutes in a way that only Hollywood can. The team of Ben Affleck and George Clooney deliver a story that should have been packaged as a comedy, as fantastic character actors Alan Arkin and John Goodman represent Hollywood's connection to this joint government operation-sadly, there is not one comedic element in this film. There is nothing special about Argo:nothing regarding the look of the film get's your attention, although the recreation of sections representing Tehran are commendable. The acting is, well, boring. There is no interesting dialogue and the actors themselves seem very casual about a very dramatic event within their lives. There are way too many creative liberties taken in Argo to portray just how dramatic the events surrounding these 6 in Iran were. Ben Affleck and George Clooney rode on the coattails of the tragedy in Tehran to present events that would have been more worthy of a CNN Special Event or an HBO movie. No, this is not Academy Award material, and it is a shame this film is trying to be passed off as Oscar-worthy.
  • josh
    Tired of people talking about cloud atlas, the movie failed at execution, looked good, but failed....Argo and Pi I agree with, just thought their would be a little more love for the Grey.
    • Lagoya
      The Grey was just a crap version of Alive, I was very disappointed when I saw it.
  • nightgoat72
    What a boring list. His always is, though.
  • The_Strawbear
    I don't understand why Lincoln's being so well received. I found it muddy and plodding. Great performances, great looks and a great subject matter but to me it seemed to be put together in a way which was devoid of any narrative flow. Sally Field flickers in and out of the film and does her best to rekindle memories of Sybil with her character's varying moods and desires. The apparently obligatory-for-Speilberg father-son relationship storyline didn't do anything much. Including the great man's death seemed less than necessary as this wasn't a full measure of his days, just the days relating to the bill in question. Indeed everything after the vote scene felt as tacked on as TLJ's hairpiece. Was this a film of the man or the vote? This never seemed to be answered and ultimately it left me feeling it was a full telling of neither.
  • darrin
    arbitrage was soooooooo freaking gooooooooood
  • Pubes
    Zero Dark Thirty Life of Pak Silver Linings Playbook Django Unchained Argo The Grey End of Watch Prometheus The Avengers Looper
  • Guy who comments on things
    1. Chronicle 2. Lawless 3. Moonrise Kingdom 4. The Avengers 5. Dredd 6. Bernie 7. Cabin in the Woods 8. 21 Jump Street 9.This is 40 10. Looper Honorable Mention:TDKR, The Bourne Legacy, The Amazing Spiderman, Jeff who Lives at Home Worst of the Year: Resident Evil Retribution/ Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter/ That's My Boy Films I haven't yet seen which could make it: Django Unchained/ Argo/ Cloud Atlas/ Life of Pi/ Safety not Guaranteed/ Wreck it Ralph/ Lincoln/ The Perks of being a Wallflower/ Zero Dark Thirty
    • Shane
      Everything you haven't seen would take all your top ten spots. Possible exceptions; Looper and Moonrise.
  • Cody W
    I feel like This is 40 really got shafted by bs critic reviews. It was so painfully realistic and true to life its scary. It could've had about 20 mins of fat chopped off but I truly think it may be Apatows best.
  • quazimoto
    End Of Watch made the top 5? It was good, but out of all the movies this year it's a stretch to even make the Top 10. But that's what I like about this list. So many 'Top Critics' follow the same mundane pattern of "artsy/Indie bs" that it gets nauseating. Personally, films that left me hugely entertained, mesmerized, captivated, blown away, or thinking for days about their meaning score far more than ones where I simply judge based on acting, directing, and story. And that's how it should be. Your choices should be based solely on what your preferences are, regardless of outside opinion. While I disagree with some of Ebert's list, I like it because he's basing it on what he liked vs what is popular among those of his status. And though I disagree, I respect it.
  • Happy Camper
    1. Zero Dark Thirty 2. Rust and Bone 3. Moonrise Kingdom 4. The Master 5. Amour 6. Keep the Lights On 7. Sound of My Voice 8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower 9. Oslo, August 31 10. Kon-Tiki
  • Thanks for sharing, Ebert is the the only film critic whose reviews I'd read in its entirety with full attention. Got to find a theater still showing end of watch
  • Nielsen700
    Saw Oslo, August 31 last year. Perk of being a Norwegian.
  • castingcouch
    I liked Flight a lot.
  • Bl00dwerK
    I haven't seen one movie on that list...
    • Hattori Hanzo
      Ditto.... Yawn ... And I have no interest in seeing any of them either. Tired of being preached to by studios and critics each year to see so called great movies that always turn out to be overrated. Maybe catch one or two for free one boring night on MovieTime.
  • Thomas Zizzo
    "The Master"? Ebert gave the master 2.5/4, a very mixed review. Yet it makes his jury prizes....a film he didn't like he thinks is one of the best of the year? Hm. He must've seen it again. I love the master, it's my favorite of 2012, so I'd love to know if ebert had a second opinion.
  • John cj
    Ebert lost his relevance a long time ago. He loved the first Star Wars prequel for God's sake. Prometheus and Cloud Atlas are not four-star movies. Cloud Atlas had some good moments but it was too long, self-congratulatory and at times ridiculous. Prometheus was disappointing and as mentioned full of plot holes. So sick of the Lost MO of delivering questions with no answers BTW.
  • Drake
    Get flight off this list




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