2012 was another great year for movies. Every year I wrestle with deciding which pictures belong on My Top 20 Films List, but I had an especially difficult time this year.
Admittedly, for someone who loves the movies, trying to shoehorn 31 films into a "Top 20" is certainly a nice problem to have.
So, over the next three weeks, I’ll present this countdown of the best films (I experienced) in 2012.
I hope you enjoy this journey.
"Wanted. Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before."
It certainly sounds like a joke, but Jeff (Johnson) truly wants to find and interview the man behind this bizarre plea, and recruits two interns (Aubrey Plaza and Karan Soni) to help him on his uncharted journey.
Colin Trevorrow directs this memorable movie which works extremely well on two levels.
One, the filmmakers perfectly cast the essential handful of players who drive the narrative, as Johnson offers a constant barrage of sarcastic zingers which set up the ground for Plaza and Soni to work.
While Jeff tries his best to extend his adolescence into old age, Darius (Plaza) and Arnau (Soni) try their best to probe into the mystery, and of course the mysterious man behind the ad, Kenneth (Mark Duplass).
The triad of reporters introduce amusing comic chemistry and present a striking contrast to Kenneth's daffy weirdness and resolute intentions.
Whether he can time travel or not, Kenneth – with intricate plans and secretive half-explanations – surely leads us to believe his can, and his perseverance defines the film’s second strength: pulling us in to ask the question: Is Kenneth for real?
Trevorrow’s movie meanders at times, but, as a tradeoff, he and writer Derek Connolly offer a generous amount of time with each character.
I’m glad “Safety Not Guaranteed” takes us off the mainstream trail because the payoff of knowing Jeff, Arnau, Darius, and, of course, Kenneth - for specific and distinct reasons - is more than worth the price of admission.
Will this ride transport you to different times and places?
You’ll have to see for yourself.
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