When it comes to film, 2012 had it all. Movies like "Marvel's The Avengers" and "The Dark Knight Rises" met the standards of even the most die-hard fans. But then you have films like "Django Unchained," "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Ted," which surprised audiences and blew up just as big.
These are the nominees for Movie of the Year at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards, airing this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET. It's on you to choose which stands out from the pack and deserves that Golden Popcorn. Since that's not an easy decision to make, here's a quick reminder of what these films accomplished.
"Marvel's The Avengers"
It started in 2008 with a nerdy promise that one day all the heroes you grew up loving would not only appear onscreen, but together. "The Avengers Initiative" sounded all well and good when it was just Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury at the end of "Iron Man," but to actually pull that off and make a compelling film was an entirely more complicated prospect. The Hulk, Captain America, Thor and Iron Man were larger-than-life characters that filled out their own movies, so to make them work as a unit in one film would be a precise balancing act. If becoming the biggest movie of all time equals success, we all know how that turned out.
"The Dark Knight Rises"
Much is made of what Christopher Nolan achieved within the context of the superhero genre with his "Dark Knight Trilogy," an ambitious and gritty retelling of the Batman saga, but even in the more general sense of cinematic storytelling, the director produced something much more impressive. Over the course of three hit films, Nolan recontextualized how we saw one of pop culture's most recognizable heroes and how he relates to the world we live in today, and he did it in a way that didn't force you to think of the capital-S significance of that and instead allowed you to just enjoy the movies.
In the first two movies of what may someday become his historical revisionist trilogy, Quentin Tarantino has essentially become a storm chaser for some of the darkest times in our cultural history. Though "Django Unchained" is, at the end of the day, a "good guys win" Western, it deals with slavery in a braver way than most mainstream movies ever have.
"Silver Linings Playbook"
A superficial look at David O. Russell's most recent movie could give you a very wrong idea of what it is actually about. Bradley Cooper's Pat could come off as just a troubled guy who meets a girl in typical rom-com fashion and gets tossed into this wacky dance competition plotline. But the honesty of how "Silver Linings Playbook" dealt with mental health and how we relate to each other and our own brand of crazy made the movie so much more.
Seth MacFarlane had already created three animated television shows by the time he took what seemed like the inevitable leap to film, and he had proven himself to be a successful show creator beyond a doubt. But what would happen when he left the confines of the half-hour time slot and sitcom set-up? The answer was a hilarious and touching look at what it's like to have to grow up and how your best buddy can stick with you through it all.