The 2012 FMR MAJOR Awards: Most Surprising Movie Nominees

Most Surprising Movie Nominees

Hey everyone! Let the 2012 MAJOR Awards begin!

Up first we have the Most Surprising Movies of the year. These five movies delivered the greatest positive variance between what was expected and what was delivered. The ones you didn’t see comin’… the biggest surprises of the year.

Click through to see the nominees for Most Surprising Movie of 2012!


21 Jump Street“21 Jump Street”

A remake of a tv show from the early 90s… reinvisioned as a comedy, no less. Starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as buddy cops who go undercover back to high school. Nowhere, in any of that, did I anticipate a very funny flick. Yet funny was exactly what we got. Hill and Tatum work surprisingly well together in this high school/buddy cop combo, and audiences turned it into the surprise hit of the spring. A sequel is already in the works!



The found footage trailers about teenagers gaining superpowers did little to convey the calibre of this story about power corrupting. Three teens discover a mysterious tunnel and emerge with superpowers. Initially, everything is fun and games, but when one of them pushes his newfound abilities too far, conflict breaks out between the three of them. The found footage conceit is mildly detrimental, but undeniably one of the biggest surprises of 2012.

The Grey“The Grey”

“Liam Neeson fights wolves”. Essentially that’s what the marketing for “The Grey” boiled down to. I certainly can’t blame them. It sells much better than “Five men face certain death”. But the actual movie wound up being a harsh survival thriller with a philosophical core. A rare combination indeed, but the film is elevated even further with its high calibre acting and direction. A wintry winner delivered during the frozen Hollywood wastes of January.


Hope Springs“Hope Springs”

A geriatric sex comedy? A trailer featuring Meryl Streep preparing to go down on a banana? Ughck, cmonnn… LOL. And yet Streep and Tommy Lee Jones put personal embarrassment aside and manage to craft a winning film. With help from Steve Carrell (who’d have made a great therapist) “Hope Springs” was surprisingly good. Funny, touching and… only occasionally cringe inducing, “Hope Springs” caught me off guard in a big way.

Rise of the guardians“Rise of the Guardians”

I’m actually well on the record during the lead up to this film as saying that it looked lame (based on the trailers). Little did I realize I was in for such a treat. The childhood holiday heroes band together to battle the menace of the Boogeyman in a colorful, humorous, action-packed adventure. Imaginative, fun, and gorgeously illustrated, “Rise of the Guardians” was way better that I had thought it would be. I’d welcome the Guardians back enthusiastically if a sequel gets made!

Well, there you have it everyone. The nominees for the most surprising movie of 2012.

What do you think? Any I left out? Some that you don’t think deserve to be called surprises? Which one do you think is worthy of the title?

Let us hear it!

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84 thoughts on “The 2012 FMR MAJOR Awards: Most Surprising Movie Nominees

  1. I can’t believe I missed this post. Me, The Miss. FMR’s 25,000 commentator, forgot to comment on this post…I’m already slipping. Take the title away…LOL

    Hands down, 21 Jump Street was the biggest shocked. Remakes, as you know, are usually a miss. (ie: Total Recall) For whatever reason, this movie dodged the bullet. I was afraid that Jonah Hill was not going to be funny, because he lost all the weight. He did not miss a beat. I still stand by my opinion that 21 Jump Street should’ve used Nick Offerman more. He Ron “f*cking” Swanson.

    • LOL. 😀

      Ohhhhh shitttt. That’s funny.

      Meanwhile yeah, he was funny in the few minutes he got at least. I think part of the key to the success of Jump Street is they just took the idea and then ran with it. I mean, they didnt just try to slavishly revisit point a and point b and point c. They made their own movie based off of the premise. And they made it well.

      I wish Hollywood would do more of that if they’re gonna do remakes!

  2. Chronicle was definitely a happy surprise last year. Was expecting some fairly average found footagey film. But it had a bit more to say than that.

    21 Jump Street was fricking hilarious. Who’d have thunk it? Definitely not me.

    Headhunters was probably my most surprising film. It just worked brilliantly. Wasn’t expecting it at all.

    • Havent seen that one, but I’ve been hearing good things now that people are doing year end posts and whatnot.

      Meanwhile, I know I didnt expect 21 Jump Street. In fact, I think I actively expected it to be shitty. LOL. But yeah, really really funny stuff 😀

    • I did too. Loved that flick. It was so much more substantive than you’d have expected.

      I expected your average actioner with wolves as the bad guys. Instead we got this meditation on mortality. LOL Awesome. 😀

      21 Jump Street definitely was more mainstream. But I wouldnt penalize it for that, it was still good!! 😀

  3. I’ve only seen 2 of these (The Grey and Chronicle) and I was pleasantly surprised by both, although the found footage premise of Chronicle was definitely a detriment. Rise of the Guardians is one my Netflix queue, but I never even imagined putting the other 2 on my list. I figured they were “Wait for them on Cable, and then dont watch them then” films. I might have to reconsider them…. nahhhhh. 😉

    • I dont think I’d recommend anyone rush out for them or anything. But rentals wouldnt be out of line. I think they’d wind up being nice surprises for you.

      Look at it this way. If you were pleasantly surprised by the two here you saw, might it stand to reason that you would be by the others as well? Maybe… just maybe I’m on to something! LOL

  4. Hope Springs is the only one I’ve seen, but both The Grey and 21 Jump Street are on my list of films to catch up on once I’ve exhausted all the Oscar possibilities.

    Not sure if Hope Springs would count as a surprise for me though. My experience is that Streep and Jones can pull off almost anything, so I didn’t have much doubt that they’d do the same here.

    • Welllllll… I mean, you’re right, the talent was there. No doubt. But I think what it was is I was so averse to the geriatric sex comedy concept that I winced at the trailers. And then when I actually got to SEE the movie, it was a lot of fun. They did it right. 😀

      I believe they actually sent The Grey around, with Oscar Hopes… but… I cant see it. LOL. Maybe put Neeson on your list in like 25th place 😀

      • Yeah, they definitely did send The Grey on screeners to academy members, but I still haven’t seen Zero Dark Thirty, The Impossible, Amour, Hitchcock or even The Hobbit yet, and somehow missed The Paperboy, Compliance, Arbitrage, and Magic Mike the first time around. So depending on who gets nominated this week I’ve got a lot to catch up on first!

      • Well, thankfully at least a couple of those are films worthy of your time. 😀

        I havent seen Amour or Abitrage yet either. My bet is on Amour to sweep as many categories as it can, because it hasnt been seen by the American public, the awareness level of John Q Movie goer is 0, so its just the kind of elitist, alienating choice the Academy loves to make!! 😀

  5. I’ve seen the first three that you list, and all are correct. The Grey wins this one for me because my expectations were for a pretty standard horror film. Although I expected both to be good, I’d put Skyfall and Moonrise Kingdom here because they were great and a lot better than even I anticipated.

    • Hmmmmmm… Yeah, I dont know. I mean, they were both great, but if you hope them to be great going in, I dont know that I can sign off on them as surprises.

      Like the Grey, say. Which AT BEST I thought might be like cheesy B Movie fun. But it wound up being a lot more. You know?

      Thanks for having my back on the selections Dan! 😀

    • Was waiting for you to come in and hate on the Grey. LOL. I think you’re outnumbered like 10 to 1 in this post. 😀

      You know though, you’re right abotu Dredd. I absolutely screwed the pooch not having it in here. No doubt. That would have been a totally worthy nominee.


  6. Rise of the Guardians. Easily. Should have just been stock Dreamworks nonsense, or it could have been– and it wound up being kinda good.

    Then again I was actively dreading going into 21 Jump Street until I heard positive things, so that’s a fair nomination too.

    • YEAH! I think thats the first show of hands I’ve had for Rise of the Guardians. I was beginning to suspect I was the only person here who had gone to see that one!

      It was great, wasn’t it? I had such a blast with that one. 😀

  7. Nice picks, definitely gotta agree with 21 Jump Street especially. My own most surprising movie would also go on to be my pick for best movie of the year, that being Dredd.

    • Ha! Yeahhhhh I regret not including Dredd. Maybe I should have thought it would have been as good as it was or something. Definitely an oversight though. 😦

      I dont know if Id go so far as to call that one the best of the year though! 😉

  8. Chronicle. I was not expecting it to be what it turned out to be. In fact, I wouldn’t have gone at all until I started hearing all sorts of people talking about how good it was. I think we even went after work, to a more expensive showing. And it was totally worth it.

    • Yeah it wound up being really good. I was pretty shocked by it too.

      Although I had the benefit of going even before people started talking about how good it was. LOL. So… even more surprising that way!

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