I am finally ready to compile my list of favorite movies from last year. Living in a small town means that it usually takes longer to see all the important films of the year; some films never come here. Nevertheless I’ve managed to see all of the films that I think have the best shot for making my list. There are two major films I missed this last year: Argo and Les Miserables. I can always add them later if I see them and really like them.

1. Django Unchained

My favorite film of 2012 was Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Here’s the trailer:

As a general rule, I tend to love Tarantino’s films. Unlike everyone else in the world, however, I didn’t really care much for his previous film Inglorious Basterds. For me, that film was missing the element that I most enjoy in my favorite Tarantino films: personal revenge. (I know that the Shosanna Dreyfus character was more or less fulfilling this function, but I felt that the film’s revenge plot got swallowed up in the fantasy of killing Nazis.)

Many viewers and critics loved that movie and had a more lukewarm response to Django Unchained, arguing that the latter failed in its depiction of slavery and racism. I obviously disagree. For me, Django’s personal revenge story gives us an interesting, albeit fantastical glimpse into nineteenth-century slavery. I thought Tarantino was back in the mode of Kill Bill, my favorite of his movies, using violence and spectacle not merely to entertain but also to make us think. I think this is a challenging film that also happens to be really stylish and interesting. Consequently, it’s number one on my list!