A List of The Best 2012 Movies

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Here is our list of the best films of 2012.  To quality for our list, they need to be family-family and good (high quality) – so here are the 2012 best movies.  Please also make sure to check out our list of the 2013 best movies.  Do you think we did a good job on the scores?  Do you agree or disagree with our picks?

#25 – The Odd Life of Timothy Green

The Odd Life of Timothy Green

Quality: C Violence: A Sexual Content: A Language: A-

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – This is a really clever and creative story that is touching and inspiring. It is a good family movie to watch all together. This is a really cute movie.

Summary – Academy Award®–nominated director/writer Peter Hedges brings enchantment to the screen with “The Odd Life of Timothy Green,” an inspiring, magical story about a happily married couple, Cindy and Jim Green (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton), who can’t wait to start a family but can only dream about what their child would be like. When young Timothy (CJ Adams) shows up on their doorstep one stormy night, Cindy and Jim—and their small town of Stanleyville—learn that sometimes the unexpected can bring some of life’s greatest gifts.

#24 – Real Steel

Real Steel

Quality: B- Violence: C Sexual Content: A- Language: C+

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – My favorite part about the movie was to watch Charlie build his relationship with his estranged son, Max, and to see Charlie change throughout the movie. There is quite a bit of action that will appeal to men. This movie is similar to other boxing movies but with giant robots. I thought the robot boxing was fun to watch even though the movie was predictable.

Summary – Enter the not-so-distant future where boxing has gone high-tech — 2000-pound, 8-foot tall steel robots have taken over the ring. Starring Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton, a washed-up fighter turned small-time promoter, Real Steel is a riveting, white-knuckle action ride that will leave you cheering. When Charlie hits rock bottom, he reluctantly teams up with his estranged son Max (Dakota Goyo) to build and train a championship contender. As the stakes in the thrill-packed arena are raised, Charlie and Max, against all odds, get one last shot at a comeback.

#23 – Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Dog Days

Quality: B- Violence: A- Sexual Content: B+ Language: A-

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – I chose not to see One and Two of Diary of a Wimpy Kid because they are not my style of a movie. They seem to be cheesy and not be very uplifting. So I personally have chosen not to see this but other might enjoy the humor.

Summary – This third film in the popular series follows self-described “wimp” Greg through summer vacation misadventures as he tries to win over the girl of his dreams while avoiding his father’s attempts at bonding. Suffice to say he learns some valuable lessons along the way and ends up growing closer to his father.

#22 – The Lorax (2012)

The Lorax

Quality: B- Violence: B Sexual Content: A- Language: A-

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – This movie was okay; my children liked it but it was not their favorite. Kids will enjoy it for the characters, humor, catchy songs, and colorful scenes. This movie does have an overall good message about taking care of the environment, but there is a lot of consumerist tie-ins.

Summary – Twelve-year-old Ted will do anything to find a real live Truffula Tree in order to impress the girl of his dreams. As he embarks on his journey, Ted discovers the incredible story of the Lorax, a grumpy but charming creature who speaks for the trees.

#21 – John Carter

John Carter

Quality: B- Violence: C- Sexual Content: B+ Language: B

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – I was apprehensive to see this movie because of the poor trailer. The only reason why I saw this movie was because some friends highly recommended it, but before that I hadn’t heard of the movie.  I think a lot more people would have seen this movie if the marketing was done a lot better. That being said I really enjoyed the movie.  The movie is action-packed and suspenseful with romance to engage people of all interests.  If you like Star Wars and Avatar I would recommend this movie.

Summary – John Carter is a war-weary, former military captain who’s inexplicably transported to Mars and reluctantly becomes embroiled in an epic conflict. It’s a world on the brink of collapse, and Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands.

#20 – Here Comes the Boom

Here Comes the Boom

Quality: B Violence: B Sexual Content: A- Language: B+

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – This movie is interesting and has its funny moments. It was not my favorite movie of the year but it taught some good life lessons. It teaches that we should never give up on our goals and what our beliefs are.

Summary – Former collegiate wrestler Scott Voss (Kevin James) is a 42-year-old, apathetic high school teacher. When budget cutbacks threaten to cancel some of the school’s programs and lay off its music teacher (Henry Winkler), Scott creates a scheme to raise money by moonlighting as a mixed martial arts fighter. Everyone thinks Scott is crazy – most of all the school nurse, Bella (Salma Hayek). In his quest, Scott gains something he never expected as he inspires his students and becomes a sensation that rallies the entire school.

#19 – Love’s Christmas Journey

Love's Christmas Journey

Quality: B Violence: A- Sexual Content: A- Language: A

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – This movie is brand new this season and is part of the Love Comes Softly Series. Let me know what you think of this movie it should be great just like the rest of the series

Summary – Inspired by the best-selling “Love Comes Softly” book franchise written by Janette Oke, the first-ever uplifting, almost 3 hour, Christmas story in the series. Still mourning the loss of her family, Ellie agrees to watch her brother’s children when he has to leave town. When a fire is set, Ellie works with a handsome deputy to clear a friends name and learns that if she can trust her faith, this Christmas may bring more miracles than she hoped.

#18 – Courageous


Quality: B Violence: C+ Sexual Content: A- Language: A

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – This is such a touching story. I love how the group of men have a change of heart and decide to do what it takes to be a wonderful father to their children. They  finally realize they make a huge impact on their children’s lives. A very touching movie that you can watch with the whole family.

Summary – As law enforcement officers, Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes and their partners willingly stand up to the worst the world can offer, yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood. While they consistently give their best on the job, they quickly discover that their children are beginning to drift further away from them. When tragedy hits home, these men are left with a newfound urgency to renew their faith and reach out to their own children. Will http://mommybearmedia.com/blog/wp-admin/post.php?post=260&action=edit&message=1they be able to find a way to serve and protect those who are most dear to them?

#17 – We Bought a Zoo

We Bought a Zoo

Quality: B+ Violence: B+ Sexual Content: A- Language: C+

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – Parents should be aware that there is quite a bit of swearing for a PG movie and the son draws some scary/disturbing images that are shown several times. I thought the casting was great in this movie especially Rosie, the seven-year-old daughter (Maggie Elizabeth Jones). I would recommend this movie to older children and adults.

Summary – When his teenage son gets into trouble, Benjamin Mee (Damon) gives up a lucrative newspaper job to move his family to the most unlikely of places: a zoo! With help from an eclectic staff, and with many misadventures along the way, Benjamin embarks on a fresh beginning to restore the dilapidated zoo to its former glory, while uniting his family.

#16 – War Horse

War Horse

Quality: B+ Violence: C Sexual Content: A Language: B

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – Watching the trailer my initial thought was the movie was about a bond between a young boy and a horse during a time of war. But it was actually more of a war movie with horses in it.  I think this movie is too intense for younger children, but older children and adults will like it. Overall I enjoyed this movie, but it was not favorite.

Summary – Based on the Tony award-winning Broadway play, and set against the sweeping canvas of World War I, this deeply heartfelt story begins with the remarkable friendship between a horse named Joey and his young trainer Albert. When they’re forced apart by war, we follow Joey’s extraordinary journey as he changes and inspires the lives of everyone he meets.

#15 – The Adventures of Tintin

The Adventures of Tintin

Quality: B+ Violence: C Sexual Content: A Language: B

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review –  I haven’t read the books so I didn’t have something to compare the movie to, that being said, I enjoyed it and don’t have criticisms of details not matching up. The animation was done well but I didn’t think the 3D was necessary. Overall, I thought the movie was entertaining and well done.

Summary – From Academy Award® winning filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson comes the epic adventures of Tintin. Racing to uncover the secrets of a sunken ship that may hold a vast fortune, but also an ancient curse, Tintin and his loyal dog Snowy embark on an action-packed journey around the world that critics are calling “fun for the whole family.” ABC-TV (Chicago)

#14 – Tinkerbell – Secret of the Wings

Tinkerbell - Secret of the Wings

Quality: B+ Violence: A- Sexual Content: A- Language: A

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – This movie has been a great success I would say. I haven’t seen it myself but I have friends who really enjoyed this new Tinker Bell movie and I have heard a lot of great reviews of it being one of the best Tinker Bell movies.

Summary – For the fairies of Pixie Hollow, the Winter Woods are strictly off limits. But when a mysterious force draws Tinker Bell to cross the border into this unknown world, she discovers a secret that will change her life forever. She comes face-to-face with a frost fairy named Periwinkle, the only fairy who can help unlock the secret of the wings. With fun and laughter, they form a magical connection and make an astonishing discovery… they’re more than friends, they’re sisters! When Pixie Hollow is threatened, this perfect pair must work together to save their two worlds. Disney’s Secret of the Wings will make you believe in the unbreakable bonds of friendship and sisterhood, and will change Pixie Hollow forever.

#13 – Puss in Boots

Puss in Boots

Quality: B+ Violence: C+ Sexual Content: B- Language: B+

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – Similar to Shrek as far as humor and cleverness, but much cleaner in the language department.  Fantastic voices, animation and cuteness.  Your whole family will love it.

Summary – You loved him in Shrek-now see where the one-and-only swashbuckling feline found his fame – and a very big pair of boots – in the “hilariously funny” (Associated Press) animated epic! Lover, fighter and outlaw Puss In Boots (Antonio Banderas) is off on the adventure of his nine lives as he teams up with Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) for the ultimate showdown with the notorious Jack and Jill (Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris). Here’s the true story of The Cat, The Myth, The Legend – Puss In Boots!

#12 – The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man

Quality: B+ Violence: C+ Sexual Content: A- Language: A

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – I was pleasantly surprised with this version of Spider-Man. In my opinion, Andrew Garfield was a much better and more believable Peter Parker/Spider-man than previous actors. The other characters were well cast, including Emma Stone as Gwen. The storyline is quite similar to other versions, but this one gives more details and is truer to the comic books. There are many comic book-style action scenes that could be scary for younger children, because of that I would recommend this for children 13 and older.

Summary – Teenage social outcast Peter (Andrew Garfield) spends his days trying to unravel the mystery of his own past and win the heart of his high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). A mysterious briefcase belonging to his father, who abandoned him when he was a child, leads Peter to his dad’s former partner, Dr. Connors. The discovery of his father’s secret will ultimately shape his destiny of becoming “Spider-Man” and bring him face to face with Connors’ villainous alter ego, the Lizard.

#11 – Won’t Back Down

Won't Back Down

Quality: B+ Violence: A- Sexual Content: B Language: B-

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – This is a touching and inspirational movie. The passion and emotion that the actors portray in this film is empowering and very special. It is a great movie for the whole family to enjoy but children might find it boring.

Summary – Frustrated by her dyslexic daughter’s struggles at a failing inner-city school, Jamie Fitzpatrick (Gyllenhaal) tries to enroll her somewhere else. When this fails, Jamie recruits a disillusioned but caring teacher (Davis) to try to fix the broken school. Soon, the women find themselves in a tense battle against apathy, hopelessness, and powerful interests. Oscar Winner Holly Hunter and Oscar Nominee Rosie Perez also star in this inspiring story that shows how profoundly parents can affect their kids’ education.

#10 – Brave


Quality: B+ Violence: C+ Sexual Content: A- Language: A

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – This film has great animation and an engaging storyline. It does have some scary scenes that may be too much for younger children. I enjoyed watching the mother-daughter relationship grow through the different events they had to face together. Parents should be aware that in one scene a group of men’s bare behinds are seen and the naked backsides of three small boys (all for comedic effect). Also a heavyset woman wears a low-cut dress revealing ample cleavage, again for comedic effect.

Summary – Take a heroic journey with Merida, a skilled archer and headstrong daughter of King Fergus and Queen Elinor. Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the unruly and uproarious lords of the land. When Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos in the kingdom, she must harness all of her skills and resources – including her clever and mischievous triplet brothers – to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late, and discover the meaning of true bravery.

#9 – Madagascar 3

Madagascar 3

Quality: A- Violence: B- Sexual Content: A- Language: A-

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – This was a great sequel to the first two movies (I personally thought this was the best of the Madagascar franchise).  The new circus characters and the original characters were entertaining, likeable, and funny! The animation was well done and one of the best that I have seen.  There are some mild crude terms and a couple violent scenes that parents should be aware of. I would recommend this movie for children ages six and up.

Summary – Your favorite characters are back in their most hilarious adventure yet! Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria are on the run through Europe in this wildly-entertaining and outrageous comedy critics call “charming and very funny!” (Bill Zwecker, Chicago Sun-Times). With the fame-loving King Julian and take-charge Penguins, the whole crew joins the circus to escape Captain Dubois of Animal Control.

#8 – The Muppets

The Muppets

Quality: A- Violence: B+ Sexual Content: A- Language: B+

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review –  The Muppets is a happy, fun and simple movie.  It is full of subtle jokes, references, and celebrity cameos.  Probably only die hard fans will understand all the references but those who do not understand will still enjoy the movie. Most of the songs are good and were stuck in my head for days after I watched it. This is a movie to see with the entire family.

Summary – While on vacation in Los Angeles, Walter, the world’s biggest Muppet fan, his brother Gary, and friend Mary uncover the diabolical plot of a greedy oil millionaire to destroy the Muppet Theater. Now, the Muppet-loving trio must reunite Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and their friends to stage the greatest Muppet telethon ever and save their beloved theater. The gang is back together again in a must-own movie full of irresistible music and family fun.

#7 – Wreck-It Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph

Quality: A- Violence: A- Sexual Content: A+ Language: A

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – This is a great movie for people of all ages. It has a great story line and teaches how we all should just be ourselves and everything will work out better.

Summary – Wreck-It Ralph (voice of Reilly) longs to be as beloved as his game’s perfect Good Guy, Fix-It Felix (voice of McBrayer). Problem is, nobody loves a Bad Guy. But they do love heroes… so when a modern, first-person shooter game arrives featuring tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Lynch), Ralph sees it as his ticket to heroism and happiness. He sneaks into the game with a simple plan — win a medal — but soon wrecks everything, and accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens every game in the arcade. Ralph’s only hope? Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Silverman), a young troublemaking “glitch” from a candy-coated cart racing game who might just be the one to teach Ralph what it means to be a Good Guy. But will he realize he is good enough to become a hero before it’s “Game Over” for the entire arcade?

#6 – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey

Quality: A- Violence: C Sexual Content: A Language: A+

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – I have not seen this movie and I don’t plan on seeing just because it is not really the kind of movie that I personally enjoy. I have heard that it was very well done and that a lot of people really enjoyed it.

Summary – A younger and more reluctant Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, sets out on a “unexpected journey” to the Lonely Mountain with a spirited group of Dwarves to reclaim their stolen mountain home from a dragon named Smaug.

#5 – Hugo

Quality: A- Violence: B+ Sexual Content: A- Language: A-

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – Both older children and adults will find this movie intriguing. The 3D in this movie was spectacular and in my opinion one of the best uses of 3D to date. The acting, plot, and special effects are amazing; there was a reason it won five oscars!

Summary – When wily and resourceful Hugo discovers a secret left by his father, he unlocks a mystery and embarks on a quest that will transform those around him and lead to a safe and loving place he can call home.

#4 – The Secret World of Arrietty

The Secret World of Arrietty

Quality: A- Violence: B+ Sexual Content: A Language: A

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – This movie has a similar plot to The Borrowers, but has its own original twist to it. It is a great animated movie that the whole family can watch and enjoy together. I enjoyed the simplicity of the animation and the songs. Do note that Miyazaki did write the screenplay, though he did not direct the film.

Summary – In a secret world hidden beneath the floorboards, little people called Borrowers live quietly among us. But when tenacious and tiny Arrietty is discovered by Shawn, a human boy, their secret and forbidden friendship blossoms into an extraordinary adventure.

#3 – Les Miserables

Les Miserables

Quality: A- Violence: B- Sexual Content: C+ Language: B

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – I have not seen this movie yet. It just came out recently. People I have talk to that have seen it either really enjoyed it or really didn’t. The music is live and so it is not perfect but it adds to the emotions of the movie. The acting is wonderful and portrays the message very well.

Summary – In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole, agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s daughter, Cosette. The fateful decision changes their lives forever.

#2 – The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

Quality: A Violence: C- Sexual Content: B Language: A-

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – Like many people, I have read the Hunger Games book series so I was excited and nervous for the movie to come out because I didn’t want the movie to ruin the book for me. I thought the movie was fantastic! The movie follows the book closely but it does not have every detail and there are a few differences between the two. Overall, I thought the directors did a great job at portraying the characters, scenes, costumes, etc as I imagined them to be when I was reading the books. Some people have asked whether or not the movie is too violent. Even though the movie is about children killing each other I didn’t think the violence was too gruesome or intense because you do not see all of the killing that is going on. The movie is from the perspective of the main girl, Katniss, so the deaths that are shown are the only ones that she sees; the other ones you only know about it because of the daily death count. I wouldn’t take my younger children to see it, but I do think it is appropriate for older children and adults.

Summary – Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers in her younger sister’s place and must rely upon her sharp instincts when she’s pitted against highly trained Tributes who have prepared their entire lives. If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

#1 – The Avengers

The Avengers

Quality: A Violence: C- Sexual Content: A- Language: B+

Mommy Bear’s Family Movie Review – I LOVED this movie! I would recommend watching the other films beforehand, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America, you will understand more of the references and what is going on, but it is not a necessity. This film has action, adventure, drama, intensity, and humor. The special effects, characters, and scenery were top notch. The actors did an incredible job at portraying their individual characters; it was easy to connect with them. The were a lot of one-liners that were funny and one of my favorite scenes was with Loki and the Hulk. Parents should know there is a lot of violence in this movie but no gore/blood. There are some minor profanities but no f-bombs, sex, or nudity.  I wouldn’t bring my younger children to see this movie but anybody 13 and older should see it!

Summary – Nick Fury is director of S.H.I.E.L.D, an international peace keeping agency. The agency is a who’s who of Marvel Super Heroes, with Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When global security is threatened by Loki and his cohorts, Nick Fury and his team will need all their powers to save the world from disaster.


  1. Cameron Stromness says

    Well, so much for trusting you. I have no desire to watch any of these movies because of the violence, language and sexual content. None of these (except The Muppets and Lorax, I assume – I have not seen them) are "family friendly" in my opinion just from watching the trailers. I did see Brave, thinking it was going to be a good Disney/Pixar kids movie only to be shown bare bottoms. But recommending people watch Iron Man and The Hunger Games? No good, MommyBear.

    • says

      I appreciate your comments. The term “family-friendly” is extremely subjective and opinions vary greatly so that’s why we’re adding editor/parent reviews to our website so that each individual can make an informed decision about what they want to watch. Just because it’s on our website does not mean that every person will find it family-friendly so our goal is to make the decision for you but to let you decide for yourself based on the information we give you.

  2. Chantal Wheeler Ronchetto says

    Wow! I've seen a few of these movies and they are favorites of mine as well. I look forward to renting the ones I haven't seen.

  3. Faith Amber Bosnick says

    Thanks for the list! My son loved The Lorax & we all thought Tinkerbel: Secret of the Wings was a very cute movie! I will add the others to my list of movies to see!

  4. Victoria Russell says

    What a terrific list! Haven't seen the Avengers but am bookmarking this list because I know it will come in handy when the kids are on holiday break!

  5. Heather Pfingsten says

    Thank you so much for this listing. My daughter is three so some of the movies were automatically eliminated; however, there are a few that I plan to check out in the new year during family movie time.

    Thank you for taking the time to compile this list along with a review of your thoughts!

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