9 Ridiculously Great Movies You May Have Already Missed in 2012

By  · Published on July 17th, 2012

Depending on who you ask 2012 is either on target to be a great year for movies or an underwhelming one. It’s worth noting though that anyone who answers with the latter is a complete and utter tool. There have already been several fantastic movies in theaters over the past six and a half months including The Grey, The Avengers, The Raid: Redemption, 21 Jump Street, The Cabin In the Woods, Moonrise Kingdom and more.

In addition to being fantastic entertainment though, most of those movies also had studio support to increase awareness and help make them big hits. As for The Raid and Cabin, well, you can’t say the internet didn’t do its damnedest to get the word out on just how awesome they are. Not our fault if American moviegoers didn’t listen…

But a third group of great movies exists this year too. Ones that had little to no push from studios or distributors, a minimal presence on movie blogs and a near negligible presence at the box-office. The year’s only half over, but we wanted to share our choices for the best movies you’ve most likely missed this year…so far.

Beyond the Black Rainbow

Panos Cosmatos’ feature film debut is a psychedelic nightmare that chronicles the mysterious tale of a young girl experimented on by a malevolent corporation and hunted down by an obsessive loner with a few secrets of his own. Beyond the Black Rainbow is a deliberately paced, deeply hypnotic film whose thick layers of style make for a strange, mesmerizing, and truly unique experience. This is not a film that concerned with conventional cinematic logic, but is instead made up of equal parts science-fiction and avant garde accumulating into an expertly-crafted, dense atmosphere which envelops the viewer within the imagination of a visionary filmmaker. Beyond the Black Rainbow is set in an alternative 1983, and in a summer full of prequels and studio-fed nostalgia, it’s a relief to see a movie that looks to the past and returns with something wholly original and unexpected. – Landon Palmer

Damsels In Distress

Being Whit Stillman’s return to the big screen after an overlong hiatus, Damsels in Distress should have made a bigger impression than it did. Stillman’s style isn’t for everyone, but if you’re into clever characters only capable of saying clever things, this is about as good as a comedy can get. Damsels in Distress is an uncynical, kind-hearted tale of misguided college youth. – Jack Giroux


One of the breakouts of Fantastic Fest 2011, Headhunters is a tense, intelligent thriller that makes the best left turns it possibly can to drive the story forward in interesting ways. It’s no shock they’re already planning an American remake, but you shouldn’t risk it. Check out the Norwegian original, which remains a highly suspenseful film loaded with interesting characters all of whom help add to the already engaging narrative. From beginning to thrilling end, it’s a winner through and through that shouldn’t be left on “movies you didn’t see but should have” lists. – Jeremy Kirk


The story of the invention of the vibrator in Victorian England is an unlikely candidate for feel-good movie of the year, but somehow director Tanya Wexler pulled it off. With a superb cast fronted by Hugh Dancy and Maggie Gyllenhaal and a witty, old-fashioned spirit, Hysteria transforms its ribald subject into genuinely inspirational fare. – Robert Levin

Oslo, August 31st

This Norwegian film about a young man struggling with depression over a 24 hour period is the closest a narrative film has ever come to matching the devastating emotional impact of 2008’s Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father. The themes couldn’t be more different, but the film manages to be uplifting even as it wrenches the heart to hell and back. In a fairer world lead actor Anders Danielsen Lie would be inundated with awards and accolades for his beautiful, gentle and affecting performance. — Rob Hunter

Safety Not Guaranteed

Quirky but strangely heartwarming, Safety Not Guaranteed is one of those based on a true story movies that simply uses a real event as a jumping off point to talk about faith and fate. That it also blends time travel with blossoming romance is just icing on the cake. On the surface just a basic comedy about an oddball who wants to find a partner for time travel, the film ends up with plenty to say if you’re willing to listen. – Luke Mullen

Sound Of My Voice

This little indie gem rocked me when I first saw it during Sundance last year (we’re talking “walked the long way home, through the snow, lost in my own thoughts” rocked me), and it has stayed with me ever since. The simple conceit of a couple infiltrating a cult by joining it was compelling enough to get it added to my must-see list during the fest, but I was not prepared for how the story would take hold of me and leave me wanting to immediately to re-play the moment the credits came up. I happily forked over my money for that re-watch when it hit theaters earlier this year and I encourage everyone who is a fan of movies that leave with more questions than when you began (or even simply fans of indie films) to add this one to your must-see lists as well. Plus Brit Marling’s performance in this defines captivating and will give you a jump on the discussion when her name inevitably starts getting tossed around as a serious talent to watch. (And she helped write the darn thing!) – Allison Loring

Take This Waltz

In the hands of anyone else but Sarah Polley, Take This Waltz and its steaming, seething, overripe tale of infidelity in its many forms would likely be the feel-bad ickfest of the summer, but Polley (and particularly her wonderful leading lady, Michelle Williams) has crafted a richly emotional and relatable tale about dreams (and romances) deferred. Perhaps not to be seen with your significant other, Take This Waltz is the best relationship drama of the year and is more than due one (or more) watches by anyone who has ever been in – and then out – of love. – Kate Erbland

Your Sister’s Sister

Though this film merely tells a small story about three people sharing a weekend in a confined space and navigating their tangled relationships, it’s also got several things going for it that should have earned it more than the typical indie film limited-release-with-minimal-marketing. It’s a Lynn Shelton (Humpday) movie, so you know it’s going to be amusing and insightful, but it also stars that funny guy people like watching on The League (Mark Duplass) and that pretty British girl who Roger Sterling didn’t want Matt Damon to end up with in that one movie (Emily Blunt). These are marketable stars who, when added to Rosemarie DeWitt, become a trio of talented performers whose chemistry makes this material soar. Just give audiences a taste of Duplass’ Revenge of the Nerds eulogy that opens this film and they would be hooked, let them get to the emotional depths of the third act and they’d be glad that they were. – Nathan Adams

Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.