Best of 2012

Since year-end lists are so beloved (sassy wink/high five), I thought I’d take a stab at ranking my favorite theatrical releases of 2012. I’m ranking the films solely on the enjoyment they gave me (regardless of if they’re well-reviewed Oscar contenders, popular favorites or polarizing oddballs). My apologies to those I haven’t seen yet (Looper, Django Unchained, etc.). Here goes…

10. Cloud Atlas

The aforementioned polarizing oddball. I generally enjoyed it, and was blown away by its ambition. It also didn’t cause my wife to fall asleep during an evening show, which is a pretty major accomplishment.

9. Moonrise Kingdom

Another charming story from Wes Anderson.

8. Prometheus

This one also divided a lot of people, but I enjoyed it.

7. The Dark Knight Rises

A fitting end to the trilogy. Bane was/is truly menacing.

6. ParaNorman

The guys at LAIKA are rockstars. If you liked Coraline, you owe it to yourself to check this out.

5. The Avengers

It deserved all of its success. Great to see Joss Whedon hit a home run.

4. Wreck-It Ralph

The best animated film of the year. Sorry, Pixar.

3. Skyfall

What a way to return, 007. Can’t wait for the future.

2. Lincoln

Daniel Day-Lewis was absolutely astounding.

1. Argo

Fun, smart and stylish. Gotta give it up for Mr. Affleck.

Kyle’s Top Ten Magic Mountain Coasters

I spend a decent amount of time at Six Flags Magic Mountain. This is a surprise to nobody. In addition to the important “creating memories with the kids” angle, I find the adrenaline rush I get from roller coasters to be a pretty effective stress reliever. So which rides are my favorites? I thought I’d take a shot at ranking my top ten.

Disclaimers

  • Ninja is a great junior-level coaster, but it’s off my list due to the sheer number of times I had to ride it when the boys weren’t tall enough for anything else.
  • Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom (this season’s new ride) is great, but I’m not including drop rides in this list (only attractions I consider to be coasters).
  • Green Lantern: First Flight (last season’s new ride) is something I’ll go on, but I’d describe it less as something I enjoy riding and more as something to be endured 🙂 Not in the top ten.
  • The older I get, the less I can tolerate repeated rides on older, super-shaky coasters. I love you, Revolution and Viper (especially since the latter is the same track as Shockwave, one of my childhood classics), but you’re pushing this old man’s tolerance levels. No top ten for you.
  • Many rides are xTREME (insert Mountain Dew and Doritos Locos Tacos dual sponsorships here) technical marvels, but my list prioritizes overall fun above insanity level.

My Top Ten

10) Gold Rusher: The park’s first coaster, and still a fun experience. A tiny bit shaky, but enough to keep it in the top ten. Bonus points for never having a line.

9) Tatsu: An amazing “suspended head-first under the track” flying coaster. Nothing makes you feel closer to flying. That said, the experience of going up the initial hill with nothing keeping you from a giant fall but a simple chest harness is not for the faint of heart.

8) Batman: The Ride: A true classic, and dear to my heart since it also lives at Six Flags Great America.

7) The Riddler’s Revenge: The world’s tallest and fastest stand-up coaster. Super smooth, with gigantic loops.

6) X2: One of the most interesting rides in the park. You’re going through an insane coaster while your seats are also somersaulting. Sounds terrifying, but it’s a blast (though slightly draining).

5) Superman: Escape From Krypton: I guess technically this is a roller coaster, though it only goes straight up. At 100 mph in seven seconds 🙂 A blast.

4) Colossus: The park’s classic giant wooden coaster. Always great.

3) Goliath: The name doesn’t lie. It’s 255 feet tall, with a tremendous first drop. Despite the fact that I almost always come close to blacking out from the centrifugal force in one section, it’s a smooth, tremendously fun ride.

2) Scream: The front row is a must. Super smooth, even through some of the gnarliest loops in the park.

1) Apocalypse: My top pick might seem like a bit of a surprise. This is a relatively new addition to the park, and it’s a small wooden coaster that initially launched under the name Terminator Salvation: The Ride (before ditching the license). Tucked in the back of the park, most people might skip it. Don’t. It is jaw-droppingly fast, super smooth (despite being a wooden coaster) and amazingly fun. Most importantly, you feel great after riding it.

There you have it. Your mileage may vary, but I hope my list is of use to any future Magic Mountain visitors. Here’s to next year’s Full Throttle!