The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

10 pieces in my memory box of 2012

with 22 comments

We’re pretty much done talking about 2012, aren’t we? The top lists are out there and we’re looking in another direction at what’s ahead of us. But like last year I’ve brought together a few pieces in a little box: ten memories or images that I’m going to carry with me.

Most of them are happy and bright, but I have to warn you right away that there are a couple of very dark ones. I’ll start with those, but then I’ll move on to lighter areas and I promise to end on a positive note, OK?


1. The shootings in Aurora
Maybe I shouldn’t bring up the memory of the night when twelve innocent people were killed in a theatre as a madman opened fire to them during the midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises. It was awful and incomprehensible and broke the spell of the cinema as being a safe spot, a place of peace and wonder and imagination. Perhaps you had forgotten and now I’m here reminding you. But I think I think those things should be remembered and talked about until something is done to help stop the repeated mass killings. And I’m not talking about security checks at the entrances of cinemas. There must be other ways.


2. The death of Tony Scott
The news about the director jumping from a bridge was heart breaking, but also hard to comprehend for many of us. A successful director in Hollywood, how could he do such a thing? People were gripping for explanations. There was a rumour about him suffering from incurable cancer, which turned out to be false. In the end we need to realize that being successful doesn’t equal being happy. Depression hits all sorts of people and it’s an illness as devastating and hard to overcome as cancer can be.

john carter
3. John Carter bombing at the box office
I thought John Carter was pretty terrible. It was messy, cramming too many books into one movie and leaving out some of the best parts of the original story, about how John Carter learns the language and becomes familiar with the civilization. But my biggest problem was the 3D effects that had been added after the recording. It’s the worst kind of 3D, making people look like cardboard figures and it bugged me endlessly.

I wasn’t alone. John Carter turned out to be the punch bag of the year and was ridiculed at such an extent that I started to regret my own harsh words when I saw how things rolled out. OK, it was bad, but not THAT bad. I felt sorry for the director Andrew Stanton, who from all I could tell from interviews seemed to be a great guy and a true fan of the franchise. Maybe some of the bad decisions weren’t his in the first place?

In the end it bombed at the box office, people got fired and I cringed at every report about the failure, imagining what it must feel like to be in Stanton’s position.

I can’t imagine we’ll ever see a continuation of John Carter. According to IMDb, he’s currently doing Finding Nemo 2, which sounds like a safer territory. But I hope he’ll be trusted to go outside of it once again at some point in the future.

And now for something brighter:

4. The video diaries of The Hobbit recordings
I’m a big fan of Peter Jackson’s LOTR films, but the question is if I’m not even a bigger fan of the extra material that came with the extended version boxes. I’ve never seen anything like it, either in depth or in length.

The production video diary entries that were released throughout 2012 as a part of the marketing of The Hobbit were like those extras, with the difference that we got them in advance. I enjoyed every minute of them, just as much – or more – than I enjoyed the final film. All in all we got ten video blogs. I hope we’ll get some more during 2013 while we’re waiting for the next instalment

bill cunningham
5. My falling in love with documentaries
2012 was the year when I full discovered how much I love documentaries. I’ve seen loads of them, films such as the charming Bill Cunningham New York, the inspiring Big Boy Gone Bananas!*, the heartbreaking Bully, the fascinating Catfish, the thoughtful Into the Abyss and the riveting Dear Zachary, just to mention a few. Maybe I’ve been lucky with my choices, but it’s as if I just can’t go wrong when I pick a documentary. It’s  new territory that has opened to me. The exploration has only begun.

6. The opening of Prometheus
As opposed to many others I loved Prometheus. And most of all I loved the opening scene with the alien man who throws himself into a mighty waterfall. I had no idea of what that was about; but it drew me right into the movie (and makes me want to go to Iceland, where it was shot, more than ever.)

Pierce Gagnon
7. The excellent child actors
There was a time when I was prepared for the worst when there were children in a movie, since their performances generally were terrible: stiff, mechanically reading lines, not the slightest convincing. It’s rather natural when you think about it: being actor is a profession that require experience and training and you can’t expect someone who has neither to be particularly good. But this didn’t take away the fact that they were a pain to watch.

But when I look at the child actors this year, I’ve got nothing to complain about. Thomas Doret in The Kid With a Bike, Pierce Gagnon in Looper and Zoé Héran in Tomboy were all excellent, just to mention a few. And then I haven’t yet come to see the Oscar nominated Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild.

I don’t know why the child actors are better nowadays. Maybe the casting is better, maybe the direction. I’m very pleased by the development though.

8. The joy of having a film club
I’m fortunate enough to have a film club in the city where I live. Our  film club has access to an old theatre that has been restored to look like it did in the beginning of the 20th century, which means that it has uncomfortable chairs but great atmosphere. We screen movies one night a week, and membership is cheap. During 2012 I joined the committee that sets the programme, so now I’ve got the chance to share some of my movie discoveries with others on a big screen. It’s great fun!


9. The strong young female characters
2012 gave us quite a few strong female characters, as the NY Times critic A.O. Scott noted in his essay Hollywood’s Year of Heroine Worship. Of course I approve of this. It gives my daughters and possible future grand-daughters decent role-models to identify with.

But there’s one pattern in this that still is unsatisfying, as Women and Hollywood points out in a follow-up post. Merinda in Braeve, Kattness in Hunger Games, Hushpuppy of Beasts of the Southern Wild are all very young.

To quote Melissa Silverstein:

“Things will only be different when we see a diversity of films with female heroes of all ages, just like is available for the guys, because in my life I see great female heroes everywhere.


10. The final shot of The Cabin in The Woods
Obviously I can’t show it here for spoiler reasons, but that image was a brilliant ending of the most entertaining movie of the year. Horror movies will never be the same to me after this.

And now: Bring me on 2013!

Written by Jessica

January 25, 2013 at 7:25 pm

22 Responses

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  1. What an eclectic and interesting list Jessica. It’s been a quite a year. Thanks for the link, so I could read it. 🙂


    January 25, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    • Sandy! I’m so glad to see you here. Thank you for your kid wrods and for taking the time to come over and visit me. Now let me bring you a drink!


      January 25, 2013 at 9:19 pm

  2. Cool list. A lot of these are in my memory box too.

    I remember watching The Impossible and thinking “damn, these child actors are KILLING it this year!” (Tom Holland, Quvenzhane Wallis, Kara Hayward, etc).

    I watched Prometheus in IMAX 3D and there are no words to describe of glorious that opening scene was. Pure ecstasy.


    January 25, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    • Thanks! Now I’ve seen Quevenzhane Wallis, so that makes another one. I have yet to see The Impossible. I wish I could have seen Prometheus in IMAX. I’m afraid we don’t have any of those theatres in Sweden.


      January 27, 2013 at 9:53 pm

  3. It’s been an interesting year in film. I agree with you about child actors, and I now have a “Movie of the Month” group (est. October 2012)!

    George Watches Things

    January 26, 2013 at 4:09 am

  4. Nice list as always. I saw btw that the Chinatown-sequence in Gangster Squad was supposed to have contained a movie theatre shooting out, which they changed at the last minute because of your no 10.


    January 27, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    • Thanks! I guess we won’t see a lot of theatre shootings in movies in the years to come. Not that I complain about it.


      January 27, 2013 at 10:01 pm

  5. Jessica, I’m a John Carter apologist, but I didn’t see it until DVD. I think that makes a huge difference because I’d already heard so many bad things. By that point, I was surprised to find an entertaining adventure within the mess.

    It’s great to hear that you’ve fallen for documentaries during the past year. I tend to forget to watch them, so I’m really going to focus on watching a lot more this year.

    It’s awesome that you’re part of a film club. My schedule is too crazy now to really seek them out, but that sounds like such a rewarding experience.

    And I’m with you on The Cabin in the Woods! Such a fun movie!

    Dan Heaton

    January 27, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    • Thanks for your comments Dan! Documentaries are really worth checking out. If you want ideas of what to see I’ve written abouta lot of documentaries over the last year, but Nostra at My Filmviews is the expert. He writes regularly about docs and is good at picking the gems.


      January 27, 2013 at 10:03 pm

  6. Great list, Jessica. It encapsulates some of the best and some of the absolute worst of a very important year (for me, at least). Thanks for sharing.


    January 28, 2013 at 12:57 am

    • Thanks Fernando. I hesitated to bring in the bad stuff, but then I thought: these are things I will remember from this year after all, so I shouldn’t exclude them.


      January 28, 2013 at 7:41 pm

  7. Very good list. I’m with you on the child actors & the documentaries.

    I only discovered this site recently & really enjoy it. Keep up the good work!


    January 28, 2013 at 2:34 pm

  8. The video production diaries for The Hobbit made me so excited about the film. It’s like having the DVD extras before seeing the film. And everyone involved is just as excited about the film as you are watching the production diaries.

    The final shot of Cabin is brilliant! Great pick. Have you seen Tucker and Dale vs. Evil? I’d recommend it if you haven’t. Another one that’ll change your mind when it comes to horror films.


    January 28, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    • I haven’t seen Tucker and Dale, but I’ll make a mental note about it. Thanks!

      I’m glad to hear that you share my love for the production diaries! I’m so into them that I might very well rewatch them all as I’m waiting for the next part.


      January 28, 2013 at 7:43 pm

  9. […] förekommen anledning från Jessica på The Velvet Café som listade denna film som en av 2012 års största besvikelser, inte minst för investerarna. Inte […]

  10. Nice pieces for your memory box, my favorite is that you fell in love with documentaries, but you already knew that 🙂


    February 8, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    • Thanks Nostra! We’re allied in our love for docs!


      February 8, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      • Although I have not watched it yet, I just saw that the documentary on the Pirate Bay has just been released and can be watched on Youtube: Interested to see what was going on behind the scenes there.


        February 9, 2013 at 12:28 am

        • It’s Swedish! And yes, I plan to watch it.


          February 13, 2013 at 11:18 pm

          • Although it doesn’t go into all the details I was interested in, it was an enjoyable documentary to watch.


            February 14, 2013 at 1:44 pm

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