As an armchair film critic, it takes me a while to finish seeing most of the “best” films of a year. There are still a half dozen smaller films that got great reviews I haven’t seen from 2012, about 15 films I’d still really like to see, and others I’ll discover down the road. So my Top Films list is always a work in progress. I feel no obligation to establish it in stone right this second.
As a whole, I thought 2012 was an outstanding year – one of the best overall in a while in depth. And, unlike some recent years, the best films weren’t all completely depressing. Of the 9 films nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, 8 of them made my top 20. Only Amour (AKA 2 hours of incredible sadness) didn’t quite make it.
Just before the Oscars, I will reveal my picks and predictions, but here is (ever-evolving) Top films of 2013.
Jews love blessings. It is part of our core. Many of our blessings are done with special objects such as candles or bread in front of us, but we don’t actually bless the object. We thank God for the opportunity, for the sacred moment or opportunity. Jewish blessings typically begin with Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech HaOlam – Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe. But they don’t have to. For example, The Priestly Benediction or Yivarech’cha from Numbers 6: 24-26 is a quintessential Jewish blessing. Jacob shares blessings with his sons before he dies and Moses with the Jewish people as a farewell.
Blessings are usually short. A classic blessing is “Ad Meah v’Esreim Shanah” – May you live until 120 years. 120 years is how is Moses lived. When I shared that recently with an advanced senior, she wasn’t interested, so I offered her the alternative version that differs by one letter in the Hebrew: “Ad Meah c’Esreim Shanah May you live until 100 and may it be like you were 20 years old. She liked that more.
In our daily lives, we fill our conversation many short and simple blessings without even thinking about it. Here are a few…
(Note: The movie quotes below use words that you probably wouldn’t use in front of your grandmother, but can be said on Prime Time TV today without bleeping. Just so you know they are coming…)
“Trust me,” Katniss Everdeen says in the recent big-screen adaptation of the best-selling The Hunger Games. Trust is a basic necessity of everyday living even for teenagers forced into a public game to kill each other. We trust the other drivers on the road to obey certain rules. We trust the restaurant to give us clean, healthy foods. We trust our politicians to make laws and policies in society’s best interests. Frankly, we do a lot of trusting of complete strangers all day long.
In one of my all-time favorite comedies, A Fish Called Wanda, a gang of jewel thieves is also stabbing each other in the back. But to achieve their goal of gaining sole possession of the stolen diamonds, they must continually reassess their trust of one another. For example, when Kevin Kline (in a wonderful Oscar winning role) as Otto and Jamie Lee Curtis as Wanda go to steal the diamonds from the secret hiding place, Wanda is planning on bashing Otto over the head the moment they pull them from the safe. When the jewels aren’t there, she quickly has to alter her plans. Otto’s response to the diamonds having been moved is amusing considering he was in the process of stealing them.
Otto: “Ok… Ok… DISAPPOINTED. Son of a bitch. What do you have to do in this world to make people trust you?”