The 2012 FMR MAJOR Awards: The Most Surprising Movie Winner

Most Surprising Movie Winner

Ok everyone, let’s kick off our winner announcements with the winner for Most Surprising Movie! This category celebrates pleasant surprises… those movies that catch you off guard in a good way.

The nominees are: “21 Jump Street”, “Chronicle”, “The Grey”, “Hope Springs”, and “Rise of the Guardians”.

Most Surprising

Click through to see which of these five surprising films was the biggest surprise of the year!

“The Grey”

The Grey

I clearly remember being in the theatre watching this, and realizing that I was literally on the edge of my seat. I had to chuckle at myself, but it definitely made me realize just how into the movie I was!

“The Grey” is the story of a small handful of men who survive an arctic plane crash, only to be hunted by a pack of ravenous wolves. They’re forced to fight for their lives, but they also confront their own mortality in a very meaningful way.

Given its January release date, and the questionable quality of many of the projects that Liam Neeson has chosen to associate himself with in recent years, I never even suspected that this might be good. In all honesty, I was completely dismissive of it prior to actually seeing it. I was more than content to chalk it up as “Liam Neeson fights wolves this time, instead of kidnappers”. But director Joe Carnahan gets solid performances across the board – including from Neeson, who reminds us here why we consider him a great actor. He and the rest of the cast engage in a physical struggle against the wolves, and a metaphysical struggle against death. It all added up to a film that was exciting, yes, but also far more profound than anyone would have expected it to be.

The other films were surprising as well. I watched the trailers for “21 Jump Street” and thought, God that looks dumb. Plus, the track record of movies based on tv shows is pretty awful. Of course, it only turned out to be one of the funniest movies of the year. I didn’t expect “Chronicle” to illustrate just how fun it would be to have superpowers, and then follow it up with a rumination on power. The idea of a senior citizen sex comedy made me cringe, but I should have realized that Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones could have pulled it off. The trailers failed to convey just how fun “Rise of the Guardians” would be, but given Dreamworks track record, maybe I should have expected more than I did.

The GreyLeg LampNone of them were more surprising than “The Grey”. What should have been a disposable action film wound up worthy of discussion of being one of the best films of the year.

“The Grey”, the FMR Major Award winner for Most Surprising Movie, 2012

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72 thoughts on “The 2012 FMR MAJOR Awards: The Most Surprising Movie Winner

      • Haha! Honestly I still don’t really know what to expect..and I’m trying to skim anyone writing about it in case there are little spoilers…so I can keep the surprise element a bit! But if it got most surprising here..I’ll trust that its awesome :)

    • Totally true. Although this year’s best actor class was really really stocked. I mean, those are five awesome performances they have there. I could see choosing Neeson over Denzel though, I might approve of that. LOL :D

  1. OK I’m hearing a lot about this final scene, and I love my Neeson, so I wanna know – am I going to cry? Could be tears of joy, I just need to be warned :D

  2. WooHooo! Backing you up on this one 100%. I had fun watching this that had character backstory and survivalist feel and a shivering cold vibe from the filming. Definitely not for the squeamish but VERY engaging and surprising.
    Great pick.
    [Shouts out to Fredo and DearFilms.net :-)]

    • LOL. Yeahhh, they’re infrequent visitors here, but Brian swears he reads he just doesnt comment. LOL. Ric from Dearfilm comes by all the time though. Anyways, I’ll always associate that podcast with this film! :D

      Glad you concur, this movie was a very very solid, unexpected surprise in the January dead zone.

  3. “THE GREY” Totally.
    It Shocked The Hell Out Of Me.
    I Went Into It Expecting Another Action Flick.
    I Came Away From It Loaded With Thoughts AND A Want/Need To See Again Very VERY Soon..
    Now THAT Is Wonderfully Amazing!!!
    So, Yeah, “THE GREY” Totally Gets My Vote!!!
    -B.

    • Absolutely. You nailed it during the nomination thread, too. LOL. It was shocking wasn’t it? I definitely didnt see that coming! At best I thought it would be a decent action flick, I would have never suspected a legitimately good movie! :D

  4. I concur. I could only really accept this as an Eco film. Man versus Nature. Man has raped the land with machines and technology to the point of animal extinction and now its payback time. This is the only way I could take this. I wasn’t going to buy wolves as Monsters attacking poor, innocent men! Think about it. Would it have been as good if Neeson had won, say found some dynamite and blown all the wolves up? I think that’s what people thought would happen, but the outcome made it much more thought provoking!
    “21 Jump..” had some laughs to it, but it was a throw away flik for me.
    I’ve yet to see “Guardians”, but here it should be in the animated category.

    • Most Surprising Animated film? LOL. The animated field is narrow enough. LOL It qualified. My expectations for it versus what it evetually delivered were pretty extreme.

      Meanwhile, on the Grey, I didnt get the environmentalist messages that you keep alluding to. I’ll keep my eye open for them next time I watch, but for me the subtext was all about the will to live.

      • I’d hate to think that the movie says Kill all the Wolves, they’re too dangerous. I knew a few things going into the film, mainly from reading about wolves being reintroduced to Yellowstone. Like the number of attacks on humans in North America was less than a dozen. But whatever way you look at it the “Grey” was a rockin’ thrilla!

  5. Yes, the plot of “The Grey” would sound like a flop, but the magical powers of Liam Neeson makes this movie AH-mazing. The cinematography was great too. I don’t know about you, but just watching the movie made me feel cold as sh*t.

    I always wondered what happened in the end. In a way, Neeson’s character really didn’t have anything to live for. I mean, his wife died of cancer, right? On the other hand, he made it SO far. I’m going to say he survived. Although the ending kept me unfulfilled, I still love it.

    • SPOILER

      My take on the end was always that he died, but he got the Wolf, too. That’s what that brief snippet post credits shows.

      I think the fact that he had “nothing to live for” spoke volumes to the power of actually wanting to live. Its funny… they start the film off with him wanting to kill himself, but then as he’s faced with a life or death situation, he chooses life so strongly that he’s willing to fight to the death for it! :D Now that’s a movie!!

      END SPOILER

  6. Always interesting when what looks to be a dumb action flick turns out to be more cerebral… especially if it still manages to be exciting. I’ll pencil in The Grey for viewing sometime.

    • Cool. You should. I thought it rose above its early calendar year release lack of faith and wound up being quite an impressive flick. Decent action, but even better reflection… thats what I got out of it. I was very impressed!

  7. Good call! The Grey was absolutely one of the better films of the year, with very little fanfare. The only reason it wasn’t a surprise to me was that you had already paved the way for me by seeing it first and recommending it so highly, so I went in expecting a good film, and was not disappointed!

    My personal “Surprise” film of the year was Bernie, a film which I expected to hate, but really really didn’t.

    Anyways, Kudos to The Grey! Great film.

    • Thank you sir. Glad I didnt steer you wrong, as well. I’ve heard good things about Bernie (Tanski’s mentioned it I think, maybe “Off air” though), so I’ll take note!

      The Grey definitely was one of the year’s better films, I think it would have been much better suited for a September release. That month (to me) says, “We think this might be good, but not commercial” LOL.

  8. I think I’m in the minority with this one. I thought it was a fine movie, but don’t have nearly the same appreciation everyone else seems to have. Maybe it’s because I saw it months after hearing that it’s better than you think it will be, but I just thought it was sort of slow and self-important. Where others see profound discussions, I heard boring, unoriginal plodding. Neeson however was fantastic, and the very ending sentiment does add a lot to the overall film. I definitely get the appeal, I just wasn’t on board. Out of your choices, I would definitely go with Chronicle which was far better than it ever seemed it should be.

    • Well, again, this particular category is “Most Surprising” so, if you had it drummed into yo that it’s actually pretty good, you were definitely coming at it from a different direction. Being in that first wave of theatre goes, I expected a dumb action movie where Liam Neeson brawls with wolves using “Glass Knuckles”! Turned out so much better than that.

      I am sad to hear you didnt connect with it though. I thought that the “profound discussions” really were actually profound. I thought it was great character work watching these tough guys slowly open up as they faced death. It was a really impressive film, to me.

      Chronicle was definitely surprising too, but that’s the name of the game here, I think all of these were! :D

    • Yeah, Chronicle would have been a good winner in this category as well. But I think this one wound up the best film of the bunch, and with an equally low starting point in terms of expectations… it wound up travelling the furthest!

    • Yeah, that definitely was a big element of its surprise. Any time a movie released at the beginning of the year could possibly be talked about as one of the year’s best? Thats a BIG surprise, no doubt!

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