For the first time that I can recall, the year came to a close without unveiling a clear-cut, hands-down, no-questions-asked choice for the coveted title of “Best Film.” Plenty of films screened throughout the year amazed and entertained for various reasons. But no movie – in my humble opinion – managed to distance itself from the pack, meaning that the order of this Top 10 (at least, the films in the top five slots) could change order from week to week without altering what I feel about them or how highly I hold them in certain regard.

As always, all lists are subjective, and this compilation reflects my personal tastes. Because of that, it’s closer to my “10 Favorite Films” than “10 Best Films,” but the former, I believe, has more value. If you haven’t seen them yet, Katey Rich and Eric Eisenberg singled out their Top 10 films as well. Here are mine:

10. Safety Not Guaranteed
Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson and Aubrey Plaza all enjoyed a breakout year … though not because of Safety, which basically no one saw. Here’s hoping fans of New Girl, Parks and Rec and The League take a chance on Colin Trevorrow’s charming, romantic and ultimately wondrous sci-fi dramedy now that it’s on DVD, because they’ll be surprised by Derek Connolly’s moving, funny and flat-out original screenplay. I know I was. Masquerading as a time-travel movie, Safety ultimately explores why people would bother to time travel instead of getting bogged down by the science of it all. Plaza and Duplass weave a tender chemistry playing misunderstood loners, and Johnson steals every scene he’s in. Plus, the final sequence counts as my most enjoyable and uproarious experience in a movie theater in 2012, as a rowdy South By Southwest crowd cheered and clapped Trevorrow’s unexpected ending. There’s a reason his name is/was on the short list to direct the next Star Wars.

Best Moment: It has to be the finale, when the mysterious and possibly dangerous Kenneth (Duplass) finally puts his plan into action, and Darius (Plaza) has to decide whether she trusts him enough to join him.

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