The "D" is silent.

I discovered something quite distressing while prepping for this annual listicle. I made an initial pass through a list of movie titles from 2012 and marked about 230 of them that I remembered seeing. The number seemed light, so I checked them against the Film Shorts columns that I and others wrote that year, and found write-ups of 30 movies that I had evidently seen and forgotten completely. Granted, some of them were unremarkable in both title and content (like the Venezuelan soccer movie Hermano) and some were so bad that I consciously blocked them from my memory (Dinesh D’Souza’s 2016: Obama’s America). Still, 30 films! That slipped my mind entirely! I’m hoping this is just one of those things and that my memory will perform better for 2013’s movies when I do this in 11 months or so. In the meantime, let’s revisit those beautiful days of this century’s early teens. Click here if you want to see how I ranked the best movies of 2012 at the time.

1. Django Unchained
I did so many blog posts about Quentin Tarantino’s fantasy that my editors had a conniption, so I don’t have much to add, but I will say that the last 10 years of racism in America have made this look even more gonzo.

2. Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson needed a hit after the commercial failures of The Life Aquatic and The Darjeeling Limited, and he got a deserved one with this enchanting fable about a boy and a girl creating a world of their own on an island with a massive storm headed for it. Nobody talks about this as one of Bruce Willis’ finest performances, but it is.

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3. The Raid: Redemption

Since this movie came out, Indonesia has become a veritable player on cinema’s world stage thanks to action films like Gareth Huw Evans’ ass-kicker. The action sequences still hold up, especially the machete fight against the thugs in the hall.

4. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

The Lone Star Film Festival screened this 157-minute epic about Turkish cops stumbling around in the dark, and I was mesmerized. If you want to know why Nuri Bilge Ceylan is considered one of the world’s great filmmakers, this police procedural full of dead ends, breathtaking visuals, and philosophical meditations is the place to start.

5. Ruby Sparks

I picked this as No. 1 in 2012, and I stand by that pick now because I thought it deserved as much attention as that year’s Oscar contenders. This comedy about manic pixie dream girls and the defective guys who create them hasn’t grown any worse, either, and Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan are still a couple (and now parents) who solidified their status as a filmmaking duo with their Wildlife.

6. Holy Motors

If you were enthralled or befuddled by Annette, be sure to track down this film by the same French director. Leos Carax’s tale of talking limousines ferrying around a guy who changes personality every time he steps out of his car is his best and most mystifying effort, with subterranean creatures, deathbed confessions, Kylie Minogue leading a musical number, and an accordion band that absolutely rocks.

7. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

In the last decade, Ezra Miller came out as non-binary and then proceeded to give other non-binary people a bad name. Even so, they are still awesome along with everybody else in this superb teen drama that deserved more attention from the critics and the general public. Has anybody else stood up in the back of a truck while going through the Fort Pitt Tunnel?

8. The Avengers

Joss Whedon may be a massive tool, but it’s hard to deny the skill with which he brought together different superhero series into an epic that deserved its massive canvas. Had he failed, we might not have the Marvel universe. Now, the Indian and Chinese movie industries are busy trying to copy the success of this.

9. Amour

Michael Haneke caught the Oscar voters’ attention for once with this remorseless and sharp-eyed observation of an old woman in the throes of mental decline and her husband’s helpless witnessing of it. Gaspar Noé’s Vortex came out this year, and that is just a weak rewriting of this film that’s much better for going at its subject without bells and whistles.

10. Skyfall

Still the best of the Daniel Craig James Bonds. One reason is that it focuses on Judi Dench’s M instead of 007, but the supporting characters are incorporated quite smoothly, the action set pieces are as good as that of any action-thriller, and Javier Bardem’s bleached-blond villain manages to transcend camp.

11. The Cabin in the Woods

Still the most brilliant deconstruction of horror-movie tropes I’ve ever seen. Who knew you could feel so much existential despair in a slasher flick, and that you could laugh so hard, too? Drew Goddard has only directed one movie since this (Bad Times at the El Royale), and it wasn’t as funny as this.

12. Looper

This movie made more money in China than it did in America, and that made Hollywood’s eyes go wide at the prospect of Chinese box-office renminbi. Aside from that, this time-travel science-fiction thriller is brilliantly cast and constructed, with some visuals that will stick in your mind.

13. Silver Linings Playbook

If the movie’s take on mental illness hasn’t aged well, the performances by Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper more than hold up, and so does David O. Russell’s take on being a sports fan through thick and thin. Since this movie came out, the Eagles finally broke their Super Bowl curse, and I like to think Pat Solatano was there.

14. Smashed

Mary Elizabeth Winstead gave one of 2012’s best performances and hardly anyone noticed. James Ponsoldt’s drama is about an alcoholic schoolteacher who realizes that she’s going to die if she doesn’t stop drinking. This movie has Aaron Paul, Octavia Spencer, Nick Offerman, and Megan Mullally all adding something. You wonder why it was ignored.

15. Life of Pi

Yann Martel’s novel defeated efforts by Stanley Kubrick and Alfonso Cuarón to adapt it to film, and Ang Lee succeeded where they couldn’t. The epic tale of an Indian boy shipwrecked with a tiger remains a marvel of special effects and a story that stops to allow its protagonist to ponder the mysteries of human existence on the high seas.

16. Safety Not Guaranteed

Aubrey Plaza has come good since this science-fiction comedy. Colin Trevorrow, not so much. They both hit a career high point with this time-travel movie that’s actually about hurt people learning how to love again. I still laugh when I see Karan Soni showing off the flame decals on his computer. “It’s a gaming laptop. It’s really fast.”

17. I Wish

Hirokazu Kore-eda’s drama is one of his best exercises in low-key realism, with two brothers separated by their parents’ divorce (played by real-life brothers Kohki and Ohshiro Maeda) undertaking a journey to meet at a railroad overpass in Tokyo that’s supposed to grant their wishes.

18. This Is Not a Film

I don’t have to put the #FreeJafarPanahi hashtag on this, because the man was freed earlier this month after staging a hunger strike. The Iranian filmmaker famously got around his country’s ban on his career by making this movie in his home, saving it onto a thumb drive, and shipping it out of Iran inside a cake. It’s still a fascinating document of his time under house arrest, and I still wonder about that trashman who knew so much about Panahi’s filmography.

19. The Master

Gee, you wouldn’t think Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic would be this far down the list, but here we are. Maybe that’s because this study of a man who falls into and out of a cult inspires more admiration than affection in me. You can’t fault the sharp visuals and the acting in this enigmatic work.

20. Sound of Noise

The Swedish percussion collective calling themselves Six Drummers portray themselves as a group of revolutionaries giving guerrilla musical performances around the city of Malmö and tormenting a police detective (Bengt Nilsson) who hates music because he’s tone deaf and hails from a family of musical geniuses. Rock out to the absurdity of this comedy.

21. Jeff, Who Lives at Home

The Duplass brothers still haven’t received their due or had a major hit despite working with big stars. Jason Segel is excellent as the hapless Jeff who’s somehow blessed by some protective higher power that only he is in tune with, and Ed Helms gives the performance of his life as the brother who can’t help but look out for him.

22. Pitch Perfect

Somehow this franchise has rolled on with a TV series whose protagonist is maybe the 10th most interesting character in the movie. Let’s just remember what a blast this original film was, a testament to the power of attractive young women who can sing, as well as a movie that made me laugh.

23. Bernie

It’s hard to pick Jack Black’s greatest performance, but this one merits serious consideration. He plays a gay Christian kept man who snaps and kills the old woman (Shirley MacLaine) who’s financially supporting him. Richard Linklater accompanies him with a look at small-town Texas: “I forgot the panhandle, but then, most people do.” Fun fact: The real-life Bernie Tiede went free on a clerical error by the prosecutor and lived on Linklater’s property for two years.

24. Killer Joe

The McConaissance began with this adaptation of Tracy Letts’ play, in which Matthew McConaughey is really scary as a Dallas homicide cop who moonlights as a killer for hire. Juno Temple is in this, too, but I don’t blame you if you only remember the depraved Joe forcing Gina Gershon to fellate a chicken drumstick.

25. Footnote

Joseph Cedar’s skills are everywhere in evidence as he unspools this Israeli academic comedy about a handsome youngish Talmudic scholar (Lior Ashkenazi) who wins the Israel Prize, only for his old, bitter, similarly named father (Shlomo Bar Aba) to be wrongly informed that he’s the winner. I still don’t know whether the younger man deliberately leaves clues for his father to learn what has actually happened.