| 01/03/2013 | 0 Comments

MOVIETONE NEWS, and subsequently FILM COMMENT used to publish my favorite film article of the year with their “MOMENTS OUT OF TIME” column.  In it, instead of producing a Top 10 List, they would get to the heart of what affected them in films of that year – a moment, a shot, a line of dialogue, a performance, etc.  Discontinued in 1999, the feature was thankfully picked up by MSN back in 2006.  They’re a joy to read and a great way to cause you to reflect on your own way of processing storytelling.

Sometimes a bad film will resonate because of a singular image. Fortunately, 2012 will go down as a particularly good year for film. Although I saw many more than the 76 films I reviewed, I like to exclude film festival screenings from this column, as it takes on an air of exclusivity to the casual filmgoer.

If I were to make a Top Ten List, it would look like this (in no particular order):


HONORABLE MENTIONS:  Magic Mike, The Grey, End Of Watch, Safety Not Guaranteed, Detachment, In Darkness, Jeff Who Lives At Home, Moonrise Kingdom.

But lists, schmists…  Let’s look at MY MOMENTS OUT OF TIME IN FILM 2012:

With their futures ahead of them, a loveable trio of misfits heroically charge through the Fort Pitt Tunnel, David Bowie’s HEROES blasting on the soundtrack, as the view opens up onto the glorious Pittsburgh skyline – THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER

After their last encounter, a Sex Surrogate (Helen Hunt) sits in her car, knowing it will likely be the last time she sees her client, a man stricken with polio, and as her heart breaks, mine did too – THE SESSIONS

A young boy ducks underwater as the 2004 Tsunami bears down on him, and all hell breaks loose – THE IMPOSSIBLE

A woman, having just led the charge in capturing the biggest terrorist of our time, sits alone on a military cargo plane and weighs the toll – ZERO DARK THIRTY

A bullet is discharged from Brad Pitt’s gun in slo-mo and travels through a car window and into the head of its intended victim, thus cementing what will surely be a great career for DP Greig Fraser – KILLING THEM SOFTLY

Using the excuse of purchasing Small Town Clothes to flirt with a store owner, France McDormand turns an otherwise pedestrian film in a Master Class of unfussy, perfectly calibrated screen acting – PROMISED LAND

A French flag is seen under water, the camera swoops up to reveal a giant ship being pulled into a dry dock by prisoners. The preamble blasts from the speakers in one of the few lasting images in an otherwise hideously filmed musical – LES MISERABLES

A prop tooth hilariously wobbles on a coil atop a wagon as it works its way across a prairie, as we, the audience, know our travelers aren’t dentists, but Righteous Bounty Hunters – DJANGO UNCHAINED

Blood splatters all over a cotton crop, signifying the death of a slave owner – DJANGO UNCHAINED

An amputee lovingly reunites with the whale that caused her injuries, a pane of glass separates them, but she has nothing but love and forgiveness to offer  – RUST AND BONE

Jennifer Lawrence breaks down some pretty complicated football odds to a stunned Robert DeNiro and becomes the most loveable romantic heroine since Marisa Tomei, in MY COUSIN VINNY, showed off her knowledge about cars –SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

A zebra jumps from a sinking ship and violently crashes into a lifeboat – LIFE OF PI

The fluttering sound of a handheld fan is all the internal monologue we need as we dolly in on the face of Keira Knightley’s guilt-ridden adulteress – ANNA KARENINA

An enigmatic leader listens as black Civil War soldiers recite his most famous speech back to him, and we’re unsure what he makes of it – LINCOLN

A world class spy quietly makes his way through a Hong Kong skyscraper as the tension is brought to another level by the beautiful reflections of the buildings in the windows – SKYFALL

In a film stuffed to the gills with indelible images, I keep going back to the moment Tom Hanks’ thug character commits a surprising act of murder in front of a stunned crowd – CLOUD ATLAS

A commercial jet, filled with passengers and a drunk, drug-fueled pilot, terrifyingly flies upside-down in order to save most of the people on board – FLIGHT

In the front seat of a car in broad daylight, a distant cousin gives a hand job to President Roosevelt, while we, the audience, observe it from a distance, the car’s shaking being our only indicator – HYDE PARK ON HUDSON

Joseph Gordon Leavitt waits in a cornfield, gun at the ready, itching to pull the trigger to kill….himself – LOOPER

A pigeon inconveniently intrudes on the lonely existence of a man caring for his dying wife – AMOUR

“Argo Fuck Yourself!” – the line of the year – ARGO

“My friend, Thomas Jefferson is an American saint because he wrote the words ‘All men are created equal’, words he clearly didn’t believe since he allowed his own children to live in slavery. He’s a rich white snob who’s sick of paying taxes to the Brits. So, yeah, he writes some lovely words and aroused the rabble and they went and died for those words while he sat back and drank his wine and fucked his slave girl. This guy wants to tell me we’re living in a community? Don’t make me laugh. I’m living in America, and in America you’re on your own. America’s not a country. It’s just a business. Now fuckin’ pay me.” – the speech of the year blisteringly delivered by Brad Pitt – KILLING THEM SOFTLY

One character delivers a beautifully understated speech at the end that is guaranteed to rip your heart out – END OF WATCH

A musician in a smoky speakeasy plays his instrument right in the face of a writhing woman, and right there, we understand the lure of jazz and the inspiration for the Beat Poets – ON THE ROAD

Reflecting back on their losses and sacrifices, a group of AIDS Activists finally let their emotions flow – HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE

Never before has vomiting while singing Ace of Base’s THE SIGN been so funny – PITCH PERFECT

At a cocktail party, a doubter, perfectly standing in as the audience’s surrogate, confronts Phillip Seymour Hoffman about the merits of his new religion – THE MASTER

Will Ferrell punches a baby in motion so slow, you can see the cheek indentations his fist makes, in what has to be the funniest screen image of the year – THE CAMPAIGN

Ann Dowd perfectly plays the spirit of a good Midwestern American, the kind who would never want to offend anyone.  On the phone with an authority figure, she dutifully does whatever he asks; her internal conflicts on full display – COMPLIANCE

Outside a beautifully photographed wedding tent, the camera finds our main character to give us a glimpse of her lovely destiny – CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER

A young girl, raised in total isolation from the world around her, feels safe inside a cardboard box, after accidentally lighting her kitchen on fire – BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD

A schlubby man completely wins over his reluctant date (a wonderful Selma Blair) giving hope to Average Joes everywhere – DARK HORSE

Alex Pettyfer and Matthew McConaughey, in the craziest outfit ever, hilariously work out in a gym and yet build a genuine rapport – MAGIC MIKE

A woman performs her own C-section in order to rid her body of an alien, making this one of the year’s most visceral scenes (THE IMPOSSIBLE wins the prize tho) in what is otherwise a totally disappointing film – PROMETHEUS

After an entire movie’s worth of “Is there a time machine or not?” questioning, the answer is breathtakingly revealed at the end of – SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED

The most epic and satisfying fight scene of the year was between man and stuffed bear – TED

A fantastically realized opening plunge from a cliff cuts to a train winding through a fall landscape as NIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN mysteriously plays on the soundtrack, a transition I could watch over and over for its lovely shift in tone – DARK SHADOWS

Reminding me of a live action version of a SOUTH PARK bloodbath, the elevators open and hell is unleashed – THE CABIN IN THE WOODS

Making us laugh while forcing us to confront our collective racism and terrorism fears, Sacha Baron Cohen unwittingly scares a poor tourist couple on a helicopter in one of the funniest scenes of the year – THE DICTATOR

Two heroes emerge from a limo with an entourage of babes and a dole of doves flapping in slo-mo – 21 JUMP STREET

Our hero/villain uses his emerging powers to shockingly run a car off the road in a thrillingly matter-of-fact style – CHRONICLE

Swooping from one Superhero to the next in a continuous shot as we shoot down New York streets and jump on flying ships creating a magical flow of storytelling – THE AVENGERS

Dollying right past a perfectly symmetrical row of tents and following the benevolent Leader as he looks for a missing Boy Scout, thus nailing the bemused, lovely, nostalgic aesthetic at its heart – MOONRISE KINGDOM

Unable to keep up the charade, a clearly closeted gay man can’t deal with his shrew of a companion for a minute longer, so he shoots her and stuffs her in the freezer – BERNIE

An opening monologue about the deeper meaning behind SIGNS, perfectly sets the stage for the story of a man who needs to start living his life – JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME

A visual metaphor for the deeply emotional stories told before, the final images of a torn and tattered school resonates fully – DETACHMENT

In a beautiful wide shot, a pack of wolves suddenly race down a snowy embankment, terrifying a group of survivors and us in the process – THE GREY

Glenn Gaylord is an award-winning Writer/Director/Producer and graduate of the UCLA School of Film and Television.


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