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Top Ten Best Movies of 2012 and Mid-2013

Updated on December 23, 2013

Films are written, produced, and premiered every week of every year by newcomers and seasoned entertainment artists. There are significant differences between an average film and a great film. Movies make us cry and laugh; they shock us, scare us, and entertain us. However, great movies – the best – invoke a little more emotion from us. They do more than entertain. The great ones engulf us, take us on a journey and most of all - inspire us. They are the ones that touch us deep down inside.

I surveyed and studied many movies I've watched within in the past year or so, and pulled together a list of movies I realized passed the average movie mark and parked itself in the best movie seat. Below is a list of the top ten best movies of 2012 and into the middle of 2013.

Wanderlust | Source

10.) Wanderlust

Starting the list is the movie “Wanderlust” from 2012 with Paul Rudd and Jennifer Anniston. “Wanderlust” is about a New York couple, George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston), who lust for the perfect life. They think having great jobs, money, and material things will bring them happiness and give them that perfect life. The same day George loses his good job he hated, Linda's job 'choice of the year' did not work out.

On their way to live temporarily with George’s brother in Georgia, they wander off the highway and happen upon Elysium, a tiny community and bed & breakfast. At Elysium, the people in the community don’t care for material things and money. They care most about having great relationships and enjoying life, and focusing on love.

The concept of focusing on love and realizing happiness comes from within becomes a theme in the movie “Wanderlust.” We travel on the journey and experience the experiences with George and Linda. This main concept of love and happiness pushes to inspire us by invoking the emotion of love in us.

To explore more about the film “Wanderlust,” visit my published review on it solely.

Gangster Squad
Gangster Squad | Source

9.) Gangster Squad

The next movie on this list is “Gangster Squad,” which released in 2013, earlier this year. “Gangster Squad” is about a secret police team of officers who plan to bring down the infamous mob king, Mickey Cohen, who runs the Los Angeles city in 1949. The team of officers is led by two of the best sergeants in the city, Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) and Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling). When they find the key people, they all have their part in the plans.

This film prods and pulls us back in time to the 1940s and engulfs us in the experiences of the characters. The directing and acting is great. We find ourselves cheering on the undercover police team for the bravery – or at least I found myself cheering. Understanding the historical facts of the film, of the story it was based on, invokes realness to the film, which is not always easy to achieve – but also makes the viewer feel it.

Our full attention is captured from the beginning in “Gangster Squad,” making this film one we can empathize in the experiences and grow with the characters and the story. The nature of this movie convinces the viewer as one to go down in the history books.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters | Source

8.) Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

At number eight, the next film on this list is "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters", which also released in early 2013. This movie is a peculiar twist to the classic German children's fairy tale "Hansel & Gretel." It explores an in depth scenario to the end of the fairy tale.


A version of the original story of “Hansel & Gretel” was written down and published in year 1812 by two brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. They were known as the Brothers Grimm, & they lived in Germany a couple hundred years ago. In the story, the brother & sister, Hansel and Gretel, were lured into a witch’s house made of candy and sweets within a forest, and held prisoner. The children outsmart and kill the witch in order to escape.

Hansel & Gretel room in the Brothers Grimm museum in Kassel, Germany.
Hansel & Gretel room in the Brothers Grimm museum in Kassel, Germany. | Source

I have been to Germany and visited some areas, which inspired a few of the classic fairy tales the Brothers Grimm popularized as part of a self-guided ‘Brothers Grimm Tour.’ One of the areas included needing to travel on a road through a forest in Germany, which the road was probably nonexistent or gravel at the time the brothers lived. Still the forest was barely lit and the road had little to no lights along it. Having a great imagination myself, I can imagine, and understand how easily it is to become scared in the forest and how the classic fairy tales were inspiringly created.

Latest Film Version

This film version begins with the Grimm’s original story. The twist comes as we find what becomes of the children when they are grown up, and after they had defeated the witch, they outwitted when they were young. Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton), in this film, grow up to become witch hunters. They help villages and the families locate and rescue children from witches.

Even though this film seems to be sort of a corny version of the Hansel & Gretel, it is still a fun one to watch, especially if you love the Hansel & Gretel story, which is one of the reasons this film makes it on to this list. It provokes curiosity besides entertaining us.

Safe Haven
Safe Haven | Source

7.) Safe Haven

"Safe Haven" is the next film on this list at number seven, and was also released in 2013 like the two previous films. “Safe Haven” is about a young woman, Katie (Julianne Hough), who ran from her horrible life and tries to keep mysterious as she travels. Katie finds herself in a small town called Southport in North Carolina. She connects with a widower named Alex (Josh Duhamel).

As Katie hits it off with Alex, her haunted past catches up to her, and she is forced to confront it. No matter what, with Alex, she feels she can begin to feel safe, and she wants to let her guard down.

This film, “Safe Haven,” pulls us and engulfs us into the story. We are motivated to root for Katie to successfully start fresh and be happy, and for Alex to be the hero, not only in his own story but also to inspire Katie to be brave in hers. Both Katie and Alex touch us deep down with their different stories, and the fact that these two unlucky characters try to find the rainbow after the rain together.

Dr. Suess' The Lorax
Dr. Suess' The Lorax | Source

6.) Dr. Seuss' The Lorax

The film “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” comes in on this list at number six, and was released in 2012. This film inspires us to take care of our environment. The resources in our environment, especially trees and animals, give us the items we need to survive. At the same time, it gives us a true beauty that cannot easily be recreated. We need to be careful that we don't abuse the resources around us. The movie (and book), "The Lorax," show that great message. The message is that if you aren't careful about using the resources and use it for your selfish ways, then it will all be gone.

The movie, "The Lorax," which is based on the book by Dr. Seuss, is about a boy, Ted (Zac Efron), who lives in a city, Thneed-ville, which is enclosed in walls. They have all fake trees and nothing of real nature, including air, which they import. On the outside, there are no animals and all of the trees are cut down to stumps. The outside is dead and eerie, haunted by a world of color and life that used to be. Ted decides he wants to find a real tree so he could impress a girl in town, Audrey (Taylor Swift). He sneaks out of the town multiple times, with the help of his grandma (Betty White), to visit the only person who knows where to find the truffula trees, the Once-ler (Ed Helms), whom was the reason the trees are all gone. The Once-ler tells him the story of why all the trees are cut down to stumps, his invention of Thneeds, and about the Lorax (Danny DeVito), which is a small orange creature.

Dr. Seuss wrote, "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." If no one cares for the environment, then it won't get better by itself. It's a true and powerful message that in order to fix and save our environment, we need to take care of it before it becomes too late and it's all gone. If we let everything become dead and dulled down to nothing, we will soon be having foe trees and plants, and import air to breathe because we were selfish and only thought of ourselves.

This movie is necessary to see, whether you love Dr. Seuss or care "a whole awful lot" about the environment. To discover more about this film, “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax,” visit my published review on it solely.

SkyFall | Source

5.) Skyfall

Halfway through and kicking off the second half of the list is a film that is a part of a fan favorite film series for decades. At number five, released in the year 2012, is the James Bond film, “Skyfall.” This twenty-third 007 film is one of the newest films with the latest James Bond, actor Daniel Craig.

“Skyfall” starts with a mission with 007 that goes terribly wrong, and James Bond ends up going into hiding. During the mission, agents identities from MI6 are being revealed, and M’s past comes back to haunt her. Along with M’s past, it is discovered that Bond’s past also catches up with him. Bond’s past takes him all the way back to his childhood and to his parents’ old house, which is vacant except for a caretaker who has been there since Bond was a child. This time, in this mission, it is up to Bond to save himself and M, and in the process save MI6 too.

Besides the story of “Skyfall” in the movie, the acting and directing is done great as always. The visual effects and stunts always help to make a 007 film, especially this one, an adventure filled escape.

Like all the other James Bond films, “Skyfall,” not only entertains us, it also envelops us into the 007 world. If we could, if we go to watch the film in a theater and we could have alcohol, we even drink martinis to show patronage to Bond. 007 and the 007 world becomes a world we have and always will become a part of, especially to the linking of generation-spanning diehard loyal fans. “Skyfall” takes us on a journey in his mission with his past in the present day, and always we support and root for Bond as always.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn part 2
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn part 2 | Source

4.) Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2

The next movie on this list is another one from another popular series. It is not only a part of a popular movie series but the film is based on a book part of a popular book series. The second part of the final film of the series of The Twilight Saga, “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2,” comes in at number four on this list. This last Twilight film released in 2012 also, just like the two previous films.

The film “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2” is the second part to the Breaking Dawn book in the series. This second part is about when after Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward’s (Robert Pattinson) half vampire and half human daughter, Renesmee, is born and how quick she grows. In this film, the Cullens must call upon their friends from other vampire covens to help them protect Renesmee from the Volturri (the Vampire “Royalty”), when an accusing assumption made against them arises. The wolves are also called upon to partake in the aid.

Being able to view objectively and being a Twilighter myself too, “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – part 2” is probably one of the best in the film series. I have read all the books and watched all the films of this series, and overall the screenwriters, production, and actors have only gotten better within time in how the book translates to the film and as the story has progressed. If you are a Twilight fan, especially from the beginning, you find yourself engulfed in the story and the film very easily. This Twilight Saga film definitely portrayed a great epic ending to a great series, and wrapped it up with a bang.

Beautiful Creatures
Beautiful Creatures | Source

3.) Beautiful Creatures

As we crack the top three films on this best movie list, we now reach some of the most inspiring films in 2012 and 2013. Released in early 2013, we begin with the film “Beautiful Creatures,” which is a drama/romantic fantasy movie.

“Beautiful Creatures” is about a teenage boy, Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich), who meets a mystifying new girl, Lena (Alice Englert), in his small southern town of Gatlin, South Carolina. They both discover, together, the dark secrets in the history between their families, and their town. There are many twists and turns that keep you glued to the story.

The “Beautiful Creatures” film is based off the book of the same name, and the first book of the fantasy book series, which because of the film, I am excited to read the books. Along with the intriguing storyline, the acting and directing are done well, according to film bases. The special effects may not be as jaw dropping as most are used to these days but they were done well enough for the parts of the story to be believe-able, and to me that is what’s most important. At this point, I cannot compare book to movie, but I expect the books to be even better.

This film pulls you in easily from the beginning and keeps you enchanted until the end. “Beautiful Creatures” not just takes you on an extraordinary journey but it also definitely inspires you!

Oz the Great and Powerful
Oz the Great and Powerful | Source

2.) Oz the Great and Powerful

Coming in at number two on this list and also released in early 2013, is the film “Oz the Great and Powerful.” This film is the prequel film to one of the most loved and favorites from classic Hollywood, the film “The Wizard of Oz,” which was released during the Golden Age in film, in 1939. Both films are based off the Oz books by L. Frank Baum.

“Oz the Great and Powerful” is about how the wizard of Oz ended up in the Land of Oz and became the Great wizard two decades before Dorothy found herself in the Land of Oz. The film starts with the title character, Oscar Diggs, nicknamed “Oz” (James Franco), as a small magician at a traveling circus. The significant stop being somewhere in Kansas when a tornado storm roars through as Oscar escapes via air balloon from being chased by the strong-arm circus member whom is angry with him. Oscar, or rather, Oz as he prefers to be called, survives the storm, and finds himself in wondrous and vibrant world he cannot believe is real. He first meets the witch Theodora (Mila Kunis), and his true life changing extraordinary journey begins.

As the film progresses we are fully engulfed in the journey with Oz and feel inspired from his accepted braveness. The directing, acting, and visual effects are done well, and they truly add to the inspirational story to make it awe-inspiring. When you need a fun adventure or extraordinary inspiration to blend into your life or even if you’re a huge Wizard of Oz fan, this movie will definitely not disappoint!

Life of Pi
Life of Pi | Source

1.) Life of Pi

We have now arrived at the top film on this list. Released in late 2012, at number one is the movie, “Life of Pi.” This film may be an adventure/fantasy film but the story is done very well in a way that it feels realistic. “Life of Pi” is another film that the story is a book (of the same name) first before becoming a movie. I have not read the book though judging from the movie, the book seems it is very good too.

The film “Life of Pi” is about a young man named Pi (Suraj Sharma), who grew up in India, and survives a tragic disaster when at sea with his family and their zoo animals. Pi is abruptly tossed into a larger-than-life adventure and must discover how to survive on his own – with another lone survivor, their Bengal tiger. Quickly over time, the two form an unforeseen connection with each other, as they needed to learn to adapt to rely on each other to live.

We are cast into the astonishing journey with Pi and find inspiration with him. The acting, visual effects, directing, and cinematography are done beautifully and inspirationally. This film has officially won fifty awards including four Oscars and has gathered as many as seventy-seven nominations, including Best Picture. “Life of Pi” runs us through our emotions as well as instills inspiration in us and touches us deep down inside in our heart and soul.

The best movies do more than entertain; they inspire us and take us on a journey of a lifetime. These films prove they are significantly better and different from average movies. Hope you enjoyed this list and feel inspired to check out some, if not all, of these films!

Which of these movies have been your favorite so far?

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© 2013 Alyssa Scheidemann


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