This has been a pretty darn good year for movies. Awesome blockbusters ("The Avengers," "The Dark Knight Rises"), hilarious comedies ("Ted," "21 Jump Street") cool indies ("Moonrise Kingdom," "The Master") and hot dramas ("Lincoln," "Argo") have battled for attention in the media and at the box office. It's really been an embarrassment of riches.
But you know what else is an embarrassment? The fact that because of the crowded box office slate, some of the best movies of the year were hardly seen at all.
Of course, thanks to the amazing power of home entertainment, every movie gets a second chance. So with that in mind, here's our list of the Most Criminally Underseen Movies of 2012. Because you don't want to make the same mistake twice.
1. 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower'
This movie had everything going for it: Critical acclaim, a built-in fan base thanks to the fact that it's based on a beloved book and was adapted for the big screen by the book's author (Stephen Chobsky), and, of course, "Harry Potter"'s Emma Watson in one of the lead roles. And yet, inexplicably, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" has earned less than $17 million. Sometimes you can do everything right and people still don't notice.
2. 'Pitch Perfect'
Like "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," "Pitch Perfect" seemed perfectly poised to become a major hit; not only is it about a singing competition, which fans just can't seem to get enough of (what with "American idol," "The Voice," "Glee," etc.), it also stars both Anna Kendrick, an Oscar Nominee and "Twilight" favorite, and Rebel Wilson, one of the funniest and hottest young stars around. "Pitch Perfect" did kind of become an underground hit, dragging in a little over $63 million at the box office ... but to put things in perspective, that's less than "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" made on its first day alone. "Pitch Perfect" deserved more.
3. 'Beasts of the Southern Wild'
After debuting at Sundance last January to huge buzz and widespread critical acclaim, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" has gone on to become one of the most talked-about films of the year, with precocious star Quvenzhané Wallis in line to possibly become the youngest Best Actress nominee of all time at the age of nine. Relegated to the arthouse circuit, though, this magical fantasia has barely broken the $11 million mark at the box office. Here's hoping the award season buzz gets this film a little more exposure.
Directed by auteur Richard Linklater ("Dazed and Confused," "Before Sunset"), "Bernie" is a quirky, offbeat film that defies categorization. It also features the best performance of Jack Black's career, for which he's been nominated for a Golden Globe, a Critics' Choice Award and an Independent Spirit Award, among other accolades. The $9 million "Bernie" has made so far, however, is probably less than Black was paid to voice "Kung-Fu Panda 2." Our suggestion: Go out and support "Bernie" and give Black a reason to keep pushing himself to make good movies.
5. 'Seeking a Friend For the End of the World'
This one seemed like a no-brainer — an offbeat comedy starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley as a mismatched pair who embark on a road trip on the eve of the world's imminent destruction. Plus, it was written by Lorene Scafaria, who previously gave the world "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist." Unfortunately, though, "Seeking a Friend For the End of the World" hit theaters the same day as "Brave" and was buried at the box office. But take it from us — this is a film that definitely deserves a second look.
6. 'Jeff, Who Lives at Home'
In-between churning out hit TV shows ("How I Met Your Mother") and hit movies ("The Muppets"), Jason Segel took the time to co-star opposite the always awesome Ed Helms in this little comedy about two brothers who have very different lives. "Jeff, Who Lives at Home" was also written and directed by indie superstars Mark and Jay Duplass, so you know it's probably good ... well, you and apparently nobody else, as about five people in the world went to see it during its theatrical run. Hey guys, as long as cool movies like this keep getting overlooked, we're going to continue to be force-fed crap like "Battleship."
7. 'Safety Not Guaranteed'
Speaking of Mark Duplass, he basically appears on about half the flicks on this list, including this quirky time travel yarn that puts "Looper" to shame. Based on an actual personal ad published as a gag a few years ago, "Safety Not Guaranteed" also co-stars Aubrey Plaza ("Parks and Recreation," "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World") as an investigative journalist looking into a dude's claims that he's actually a time traveler (that's Duplass). Now if only he could go back in time and convince people to see this winning little movie.
8. 'Celeste and Jesse Forever'
Aubrey Plaza's "Parks and Recreations" co-star Rashida Jones also had her own must-see movie this year which, unfortunately, nobody actually saw. That would be "Celeste and Jesse Forever," which Jones wrote and co-stars in as a go-getter who decides the only way to advance her career is get a divorce from her nice but unambitious husband (an excellent Andy Samberg). Besties in real life, Jones and Samberg have a great chemistry that makes their on-screen break-up all the more painful to watch. In a just world, this one would have been a big hit.
9. 'Searching For Sugar Man'
Okay, so there's only a small circle of hardcore fans that actually go to the movie theater to see documentaries as everyone else just waits for them to air on HBO or PBS two years later. But sometimes a doc comes along that you just shouldn't wait around to watch, and this year that doc is "Searching For Sugar Man," which tells the amazing true story of a musician named Sixto Rodriguez who, forgotten in America, became a huge superstar in Africa without ever knowing it. "Searching For Sugar Man" is a frontrunner for this year's Best Documentary Oscar, so you might get another chance to see it in theaters. Don't blow it this time.
10. 'Your Sister's Sister'
Let's just face the facts: This was Mark Duplass' year, if only anybody had noticed. In "Your Sister's Sister," Duplass stars as a guy named Jack who heads to a cabin in the woods (not that "Cabin in the Woods") to hang out with his best friend Iris (Emily Blunt!). Her sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt!) also shows up, which turns into a major problem when a) Hannah and Jack sleep together and b) Iris reveals to Hannah after the fact that she herself is in love with jack. It's just a total mess for them, but great drama for us. Total box office? $1.6 million. Officially the most criminally underseen movie of 2012.