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Now that we’ve finally finished compiling our Best of 2012 lists, it’s time to dive headfirst into 2013. Remember, folks – silent introspection leads only to guilt and shame, so it’s better to begin immediately diverting yourself with the next entertainment coming down the pike.

With its flash and power chord panache, rock and roll has always been ripe for cinematic exploration. From the fictional stories based in the medium to the concert films that find emotional epiphanies in the strangest of song couplets, music makes for memorable movies. There is just something universally unreal about someone—or group of someones—who can transform mere words and arranged notes into an anthem, a ballad, or the soundtrack of your life. Even more amazing are the backstories involved. Some of these people are barely passable as human. Instead, they are a surreal combination of person and performance, their onstage act meshed with this doubts and disconnects of their everyday existence to form that most mighty of myths—the rock god.

So what is an “almost” film and what part does it play in this, the final Year End evaluation from Short Ends and Leader? After all, we’ve already had a Best of, and a Worst. We’ve even explored the once fruitful realm of the Movies You’ve Never Heard Of. And within each category, we discussed other titles, films we would have included had the lists been more than a mere 10 choices long. So where does the “almost” movie fit in? How is it defined, and better still, why include another collection as part of a separate list? Well, every year, Hollywood waits until the last minute to unleash its award season specials on us suspecting critics, and every year we have to make a margin call when it comes to combined aesthetics. Sometimes, a movie fails to make the grade in one important category. Perhaps it just wasn’t “as good” as the other entries making up the final thumbs up/thumbs down tally.

Sometimes, you just gotta hate Hollywood and not for the normal reasons. Sure, the constantly pander to the lowest common denominator while pretending to care about cultural tastes, but when dollars come to donuts, they really only care about cashing in, and most of said scratch is apparently coming from a far less critical international community. Still, every year, like Swiss engineered clockwork, the studios unleash their biggest guns, giving us critics more than a few aesthetic hissy fits. As we complain for 11 long months about the lack of quality in our local cineplex, the last four weeks of the year come along and whisk us away to a world where auteurs make powerful personal statements and the tried and true award season stalwarts wake up and show us their creative best.

With the fluctuating tastes of the international public, and the undeniable lure of the quick cash buck, making a Worst of List for any year is a trial. After all, you have to wade through a sea of sloppy indie drivel, many a homemade horror show (both literally and figuratively), and enough supposed comedies/romances/combination of the two to choke a champion mare. The democratization and micromanaging of the medium has lead to offerings specifically geared toward a more than specific segment of the cinematic populace. Thus, Tyler Perry keeps cranking out the crudely baked morality tales while fright and terror are delivered in tepid, ready for the teen market mediocrity.

//Mixed media

"Island of Lemurs: Madagascar" Is Cute but Spooky

// Short Ends and Leader

"This flick is a superficial but eye-popping survey for armchair nature tourists.

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