You can have your Top 10 lists stuffed with cold and corny prestige pics and all those “respectable” “films” headed for Oscar gold, but when I think back on 2012 I remember the movies that wrapped themselves around my heart and brain like a warm blanket made of light and sound and kick-ass jammin' electric guitars and made me feel excited to be alive, dammit!
(I can also pinpoint with a wistful pang the precise moment when Tyler Perry broke my heart. Still love you, TP.)
These are the films, big and small, ambitious and soulful, heart-rending and bone-crunching, about lovers, fighters, time-travelers, masters, closet-dwellers, hermaphrodite basketball players and friends (forever) that made my year at the movies. Join me in celebrating these magical movie moments and let's hope 2013 delivers even more awesomeness.
As far as underdog success stories go, no film this year holds a candle to the crazy true resurrection of the obscure Florida-set 1987 rock 'n' roll martial arts pic Miami Connection. A totally '80s actioner shot independently by Korean-born Tae Kwon Do expert and future Grandmaster Y.K. Kim, the film tanked so hard upon initial release (in just eight theaters in Central Florida) that it sat languishing in obscurity for decades... until the maverick visionaries at Drafthouse Films discovered the gloriously cheesy and infectiously sincere tale, about five orphaned Tae Kwon Do black belts who face off against biker ninjas while moonlighting as a synth rock band.
Friends, let me tell you about a little movie called Miami Connection: One part '80s rock 'n' roll musical, another part martial arts extravaganza, this forgotten gem made in 1987 by future Tae Kwon Do Grandmaster Y.K. Kim is the cult pic of the year.
When else will you ever see a team of multicultural orphan BFF rock musicians-slash-college students take on biker ninjas and economically frustrated rival bands in totally '80s suburban Florida, complete with insanely catchy original tunes AND a throwaway plot involving "stupid cocaine?" I'll tell you when: Never.