Three months. Three long months of going to the theater and watching movies both big and small. This is what we took away from it all — the good, the bad, the stupid, the nonsensical, the idiotic, the glorious, the happy-making, and the WTF-ical.
A — Assless chaps: Of all of the costumes in Magic Mike, none was crafted as lovingly as the pants with the breathable seat worn by Matthew McConaughey in his big solo number, since McConaughey supposedly designed them himself. Truly, he is 2012’s most significant renaissance man.
B — Branzino: There’s just something about the way Emma Stone says this word when she invites Peter Parker over to a family dinner in The Amazing Spider-Man that has stuck with us for months. Seriously, watch the way her mouth moves when she pronounces it.
C — Chems: “Where are the chems?!” Jeremy Renner screamed approximately 800 times during The Bourne Legacy, before finally “viraling out” (another A-plus glossary term) with the help of Rachel Weisz and some confused Filipino security guards. The science behind the blues, the reds, the viraling, and the “program” still eludes us, but: CHEMS, CHEMS, GIVE ME THE CHEMS is a very fun thing to yell in a drugstore.
D — Drake as a woolly mammoth: Most rappers would not agree to have their cartoon likeness wear an Agassi mullet and talk about molehogs. Drake, as we have learned time and time again, is not most rappers.
E — Endless dick jokes: That’s pretty much the entirety of The Watch. Dick jokes and Costco jokes.
F — Flash Gordon: There have been several references to the cult 1980 sci-fi film on Family Guy (like this one), so it’s no surprise that Seth McFarlane’s first feature film would contain the same. But the animated series could never pull off what a live-action movie could: an in-the-flash appearance by Flash himself, Sam J. Jones. Take that, cartoons!
G — Goo, black: So, is Prometheus’s black goo intergalactic poison? Is the black goo the essence of life? Is the essence of life intergalactic poison?
H — Hushpuppy vs. the Aurochs: The best shot of the summer? No contest: It’s the moment in Beasts of the Southern Wild when the mammoth Aurochs — the monsters that give the indie its magical heft — finally arrive in the Bathtub and little Hushpuppy stares them down.
I — Intelligibility issues, Tom Hardy edition: Between his muffled villain in The Dark Knight Rises and his mumbling “hero” in Lawless, we just want Hardy to speak like a normal person again.
J — Jacked-up old guys: Sometimes, after three long, wearying months of young ‘un superheroes dodging CGI explosions in spandex, you’re in the mood to see a special-effects-free action film full of sleeveless leathery old dudes kicking ass in a way that would make the average 60-year-old’s hips explode in a cloud of bone dust and Metamucil vapor. Thank you, Expendables 2.
K — Katy’s breasts: They did not shoot foam towards the audience in the 3-D concert documentary Katy Perry: Part of Me. So we spent $17 for nothing.
M — Mossy turtle: Remember when Snow White (the Huntsman version) found her way into some magical forest where all the fairies were dancing? You don’t? You were too distracted by eerie hints of sexual tension between Kristen Stewart and the movie’s off-screen director? Well, there was a giant mossy turtle in the forest, and he was great.
N — Nuclear bombs: Both The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises climaxed with the threat of urban nuclear annihilation. And as much as we enjoyed those two movies, their reliance on the old ticking-time-bomb plot device felt a tad cheap.
O — Old people, fellatio: In Hope Springs, Meryl Streep pulls a “You Oughta Know” on Tommy Lee Jones, going down on him in a theater. Meryl! (Side note: It’s too bad that this is the more sexual TLJ movie, because No Country for Old Men would be the far easier title out of which to make a porn parody.)
P — Poultry, fellatio: In Killer Joe’s most notorious scene, ruthless sociopath Matthew McConaughey dangles a piece of fried chicken in front of Gina Gershon, then intimidates her into blowing his stand-in, uh, cock. Hard to figure out which would make you less hungry for KFC: this scene or their Mashed Potato Bowl.
Q — Quvenzhané Wallis: Look, we don’t know how many ways to tell you this, but you just need to go already and check out this young girl’s performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild.
R — Rihanna’s dialogue in Battleship: A sample: “Weird, man.” “Lieutenant, get up.” “Lieutenant.” “Ahhhhh!” “Ahhhhh!” “Boom.” “Yeah!” “Let’s go.” “Go, go, go.” And the immortal, “Mahalo motherfu—-.”
S — Shawarma: The summer’s great post-credits joke, this Avengers callout earned much of its appeal from the fact that the majority of Americans who saw this movie had never before eaten (or even heard of) shawarma.
T — Tom’s crotch: Though this entire list could be composed of dumb things from Rock of Ages, the one that most stuck with us was the bejeweled dragon-head codpiece that Cruise dons in his introductory scene. During interviews, the actor made great hay of the fact that he later gave it to wife Katie Holmes. Weeks later, they were divorced.
U — Uggie getting punched: The Campaign is less weird than most Will Ferrell movies and not nearly as weird as actual politics right now, but it does have a moment where Uggie, the wonder-dog from The Artist, gets punched in the face. Hey, dog’s gotta eat.
V — “Video Killed the Radio Star”: In one extended, dialogue-free scene in Take This Waltz, Michelle Williams and Luke Kirby take the Tilt-a-Whirl to this Buggles classic, and it’s as colorful and romantic and emotional and sad as life (and love) gets.
W — Salma Hayek’s Wig: If you were still rooting for Blake Lively and Friends by the second hour of Savages, then Salma Hayek’s insane, wig-dropping freak-out surely put you on the right side of things. (But if you were Team Salma from the beginning, don’t worry, you’re not alone.)
X — Xenomorph: Everyone knew, despite Ridley Scott’s too-many protestations, that Prometheus was a prequel to Alien. (Spoiler follows.) But did we really need a scene during the end credits in which we actually see one of the shiny black creatures burst out of an Engineer’s chest? It, meet too-fine-a-point.
Y — Young love: It has been years since a film as sweet and melancholy as Moonrise Kingdom made its way into our hearts. The performances by the two child leads — both first-time actors — are as awkward and true-feeling as their on-screen relationship.
Z — Zimmer, Hans: His score for The Dark Knight Rises seemed to be one endlessly repetitive and pounding composition that sounded something like “bum bum bum bum bum bum BUM BUM / bum bum bum bum bum bum bum BUM BUM.” And so on.