It's embarrassing to admit when the death of a famous person -- basically, a stranger -- affects me emotionally. I can name them all right now: John Ritter, Tim Russert, Roger Ebert and, now, James Gandolfini.
You know what an audience-friendly film is. It tells a story that engages you about characters you can like and root for. Yet those films -- movies that seek to tell a story that uplifts or inspires -- often get short shrift from critics for that reason alone.
Here, in no particular order, are my favorite films of 2012. Some are great, some are guilty pleasures -- but all of them are films that gave me a jolt in some way, or reminded me why I love watching movies.