Honorable Mentions Of 2012: ‘Magic Mike’

You’ve seen our Top Ten of 2012 list, but now let’s take a look back at the movies that just missed the cut. These are our Honorable Mentions of 2012.

It’s certainly not rare for a trailer or a television ad to misrepresent a movie for the sake of marketing. Last year, “Drive” became a generic “Fast and Furious” knock-off, and this year, “John Carter” turned into “Random Jumping Man.” But perhaps the most deceptive marketing campaign of all goes to “Magic Mike” aka “That Stripper Movie,” which in all honesty is one of the best movies of the year.

But, yes, there is a lot of stripping in this movie, and yet you could sub out any frivolous career/lifestyle choice for the g-strings and umbrellas, and you would end up with roughly the same movie. Albeit, it would be a much less entertaining film, but the beats would have the same impact nonetheless. The real story here is that of a boy trying to become a man, in spite of his previous actions and current lifestyle. Mike’s journey is one we’ve seen a million times in a million different arenas, but the point is that we haven’t seen it from the perspective of the Kings of Tampa.

In addition to the novel setting, what sells the movie is the stylized, yet realistic look from director Steven Soderbergh and some of the best naturalistic acting in a mainstream movie this year. If you’re wondering what people mean when they talk about Channing Tatum’s meteoric rise to stardom, “Magic Mike” offers more than enough evidence, and it’s not for the reasons you’re thinking about. (Well, it is, just a little.)

Tatum is natural charmer, and his Mike exudes charisma. In a time of rather dubious young male “stars,” he has something to offer that’s different from every other set of abs. He’s only made better by the strong supporting cast around him, including Matthew McConaughey, continuing his hot streak, and Cody Horn, doing her best Kristen Stewart impersonation.

The underlying sadness of all of this is that Soderbergh plans to retire from theatrical films after next year’s “Side Effects.” Considering the work he has done in the last two years alone, it’s tough to imagine a near future where we can’t look forward to what this guy has coming next.