Many people dismiss film festivals as pretentious or boring, and view them as inaccessible to the layperson. If you're not in the "industry," then what's the point in taking any interest? Other than the quick glimpses of celebrities around town, what more is there?

I used to be of this school. I'd ignore the Toronto Film Festival signage that would appear in early August, and turn my nose up at any parties or TIFF-themed events. The movies looked artsy and nonsensical, way beyond the scope of my cinematic comprehension. Over the past decade, after taking in some pretty stirring, memorable movies at TIFF, I've realized the opposite -- there's something for everybody here.

The TIFF lineup for 2012 is probably one of the best I've seen. These movies (for the most part) can reach the mainstream: there are blockbusters, action films, romances, emotional dramas, comedies, documentaries, and literary masterpieces brought to life. So, stripped of any pretension or elitist movie opinion, here are my top 20 best bets for TIFF. You don't have to be a film buff to appreciate what these titles have to offer.

CATEGORIES Movies