Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

Quite the Early Crop: Year of Bests – 2012

Last year, I didn’t get a chance to publish a year-end piece on those blog articles I most admired — for their authors’ writing and my enjoyment in reading them — in the period. Certainly, the complicating issue was the number of marvelously written posts out there, along with not enough time to do it. I promised myself not to get caught flat-footed again. So, in the hope to rectify that fact I’m splitting the task up through the annum to solve it. This will be the initial one of those that’ll cover the first quarter of 2012. Time’s a wastin’, so shall we get going?

I’d be remiss in not mentioning the excellent guest post which Ronan Wright of Filmplicity graced upon my blog — yes, even though it was an article on my own site, it’s a more than worthy piece from a fine blogger (besides, who’s writing this anyway?):

Guest Post: 5 Ways to be a Happier Blogger in 2012

“Being that time of year when resolutions are being made, broken, re-jigged, remade and broken again, perhaps it is appropriate or maybe even (dare I say) practical, to list some ways in which we might be happier bloggers during this new year.”

Another good friend and colleague from across the pond, Colin (AKA Livius) of Riding the High Country, helped to inaugurate his move to WordPress with another stellar piece on an unexpected 50s western that was one-a-kind:

“In order to produce an art piece, particularly within a genre widely regarded as being bound by convention, you need a filmmaker who has confidence, clout, skill and vision. Although a combination of such qualities may be rare it is not unknown, and William Wellman was a director who fulfilled the criteria. His production of Track of the Cat (1954) was a daring attempt to fuse the western and the art house movie.”

My good friend and author John Kenneth Muir has had a recurring feature called “1982 in Film” this year that offers a series of movie reviews from the great genre year of 1982 on its 30th anniversary. And an underrated favorite caught my eye:

John Kenneth Muir’s Reflections on Film/TV: The Films of 1982: Firefox

“Tense, cerebral, and confident in a kind of glacial, calculating fashion, director Clint Eastwood’s Cold War techno-thriller Firefox was one of the unique offerings of the great summer of 1982.”

When I was up in San Francisco in January I caught the first memorable film of the year there, and it was fitting that I read one of the early and best reviews by Dan that captured what I felt about it:

The Grey

“With the cold as their enemy, draining their strength and their will, these men fight not only the wolves, but also the allure of surrendering to death. It’s a fascinating element that I hadn’t counted on. But it really packs an impact. What would keep you going?”

While we’re over at Fogs’ Movie Reviews, Dan closed out January with a convergence of two things very close to my heart — that of movies and music [which also gave me inspiration for a couple of articles]:

Tossin’ It Out There: What’s YOUR Favorite Song From a Movie?

“… there’s a deep connection between the two arts, and sometimes that winds up creating an inseparable bond between the two in the viewer’s mind.”

Darren Mooney of The Movie Blog certainly caught my eye, that is before a certain someone popped it out with vise, with his appreciative piece on a Martin Scorsese motion picture that deserves better:

Non-Review Review: Casino

While Goodfellas feels like a personal tale of greed and corruption, and the implosion that inevitably followed, there’s something grander to Casino. Offering the social history of Las Vegas, the rise and fall of the mob’s empire, it feels like large-scale tragedy.”

Even though he’s abandoned the City of the Angels for the brushwood allure of somewhere in Texas, Bryce Wilson still brings the sharp wit to bear on Things That Don’t (and do) Suck on his blog:

Conan the Barbarian

“Conan begins his Quest For Revenge™ and the film devolves into episodic nonsense, and not in the good way that Milius’s film devolved into episodic nonsense. Stephen Lang makes a thoroughly unimpressive villain though his various facial expressions do suggest that he has electrodes strapped to his testicles.”

J.D. over at Radiator Heaven, one of us long-time Walter Hill admirers, gave another of his deft examinations when it came to one more under-appreciated gem of a modern western:

Extreme Prejudice

“Hill not only indulges in his Peckinpah admiration with some of the film’s themes but more explicitly in how he stages and edits the exciting action sequences complete with slow motion carnage that culminates in the climactic bloodbath between Jack, Hackett and his men and Cash and his private army that evokes the penultimate showdown in The Wild Bunch (1969).”

[Ed. note – Kevin, AKA Jack Deth, provided another excellent look at this film with a Flixchatter guest post last December ]

And good ol’ Darren did it again with the unlikeliest treatise out there for the quarter with his look at how latest 3-D sequel put out by Hollywood that had an unanticipated deeper symbolic and religious meaning:

Hey Zeus, Meet Jesus: Wrath of the Titans & Judeo-Christian Archetypes…

“… watching Wrath of the Titans, I couldn’t help but feel that the film was not only acutely aware of that narrative shortcut, but perhaps even cleverly exploiting it – developing the character arc of these ancient gods and transitioning them into the archetypes that we know and recognise.”

The entire series can be found here.


17 Responses to “Quite the Early Crop: Year of Bests – 2012”

  1. Colin

    Michael, that’s extremely kind of you to include me in your listing. And an honour too to be sharing such good company. Thanks.


    • le0pard13

      My pleasure, my friend. You brought back memories of my first viewing of the film on television as a child with your fine piece. Thanks.


  2. fogsmoviereviews

    Flattered, Mike! I appreciate being a part of your selection – especially with The Grey, its a great flick!

    I’m going to try to poke around some of these other links when I get a chance and see some of your other recommendations here!


    • le0pard13

      Very happy to spotlight it, Fogs. I still remember coming back to the hotel room after seeing it and reading your review. You captured it well, my friend. Thanks.


  3. J.D.

    Thank you so much for mentioning one of my posts! I am deeply honored to be included in such fantastic company. I will definitely have to check out the rest of these links. You’re a gentleman and a scholar!


  4. rtm

    Thanks for including Jack’s post here, Michael. His classic reviews are awesome aren’t they? Look for yet another good one later today as a ‘preview’ to Gregory Peck’s b’day later this week 😉


    • le0pard13

      The pleasure is mine. Kevin had a great review of an under appreciated film and thought I share that one, too. Thanks, Ruth.


  5. John Kenneth Muir

    Hi Michael,

    Thank you for highlighting my Firefox review from the “Films of 1982” series. I appreciate your words so much, and am honored and humbled to be included with these stellar 2012 entries.

    Warmest regards,
    John K. Muir


    • le0pard13

      You’re so very welcome, John. I love this series of yours and this review in particular of yours brought back why I love Eastwood’s film adaptation of the Craig Thomas novel. Many thanks.


  6. jackdeth72

    Hi, Michael:

    Thanks so much for including my review of ‘Extreme Prejudice’ in your latest crop. The entire cast pulls the plow and I wanted to get it done just right!


    • le0pard13

      You’re quite welcome, Kevin. It’s a great piece on an under appreciated modern western by Walter Hill. At least, we can look forward to another of his films (Bullet in the Head) coming out this year, too. Thanks, my friend.


  7. How (200 + 4) / 2 = 2012: Year of Bests | It Rains… You Get Wet

    […] As I mentioned in April, last year I did not have a chance to publish a year-end piece on those blog articles I read and most admired. Certainly, the complicating issue was the number of marvelously written posts out there, along with not enough time to do it all. So now that we’re beyond the halfway point in the year, and not to be caught flat-footed once more, this is the next entry for spotlighting those authors and their blog/online posts I most enjoyed in the second quarter of the calendar period. That this piece has landed on the Fourth of July celebration, which so happens to coincide with another minor milestone (my 200th post on this blog), is just serendipity. Since this month will cover the Sports genre for my AFI Versus Top 10 next week and the parallel post book/movie review at the end of the month, I think a Lefty Gomez quote would be perfect for this instance: “I’d rather be lucky than good.” […]


  8. Hitting The Slide: Year of Bests – 2012 | It Rains… You Get Wet

    […] As I mentioned in April, last year I did not have a chance to publish a year-end piece on those web articles (many of them on friends’ blogs) I read and most admired. Certainly, the complicating issue was the number of marvelously written posts out there, along with not enough time to do it all. But now, we’ve started what I like to refer as The Slide. The cosmic phenomenon that is the beginning of the end for whatever year you or I happen to be living through. You know the one where the space/time continuum accelerates to the point that the annum is suddenly over. And, all of those things that happen between now and the end of the Rose Parade are just a blur. A fleeting memory. October 1st… January 2nd.  So, this is the next entry for spotlighting those authors and their online pieces I most enjoyed in the third quarter of the calendar period. […]



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