Last week, the first weekend of the year, brought us the abysmal Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones. This weekend will bring us a couple more films that you and I probably won’t want to see either so I decided to do something a little different with the column this week. I have decided to post my Best of 2013 film list for you to read and either agree with or disagree with.
First a word about the list. I didn’t see every film last year so this list will not be an all-inclusive list. It will only cover the best of what I saw.
Also, there were a few films that a lot of the critics loved but I thought just missed the boat for whatever reason. They just didn’t do it for me.
I thought Robert Redford was amazing in All Is Lost, but the film itself tested my patience in a way that few films have, and I sat through Tree of Life, so I know from tested patience.
I wanted to love The Place beyond the Pines, but again, it just missed greatness for me. I thought it would have made a great book and it is a book I would read in a heartbeat, but the film felt rushed and for me, it got weaker as it went along until, by the last act, it had lost me completely. I was actually far easier on this film than I would have been because writer and director Derek Cianfrance’s first film, Blue Valentine, was one of my favorite films of 2010 and is one of my favorite films ever. It broke my heart that this film didn’t reach those heights.
There were yet other films, like MUD which, sad to say, I just never got around to seeing. With those parameters in mind, let me give you my list.
These are in no particular order.
(1) THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
Director Martin Scorsese hasn’t felt this alive and vital in years. There has been a lot of controversy around this film and it’s depiction of graphic sex, graphic drug use and general abhorrent behavior by Leonardo DiCaprio and his merry band of Wall Street crooks, but for the first time since GoodFellas in 1990, it feels like the Martin Scorsese from Taxi Driver, Mean Streets and Raging Bull has returned. For those of us who were disheartened by mediocre films like Shutter Island and Hugo, it was like a shot of pure cinematic joy.
Just pure film. Cutting edge effects aside, the first time I saw this film was the most nerve-wracking 90 minutes I have spent in a theater in years. Genius.
(3) AMERICAN HUSTLE
A great time at the movies. Christian Bale is almost unrecognizable in this film, but he is also amazing. One of those rare times where I really didn’t know where the film was going and was happy for it. After being snubbed (some say robbed) from a best picture Oscar for last years Silver Linings Playbook, this could be the film that finally gets that statue on writer/director David O Russell’s shelf this year.
(4) 12 YEARS A SLAVE
Brutal. Hard to watch in places. Stunning. Brilliant. All these words apply to this beautiful film. It should win best picture but I am afraid it’s too brutal for some in the academy. If it doesn’t win, in years to come, this will be seen as a travesty.
(5) THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE
Simply a great film. More faithful to its source material than the first film was to its source. It gives the world of Panam a more epic scope than we have seen before and expands the stage for the final battle that is to come. It does everything a middle chapter in a trilogy (or quadruple?) should do. Oh, and its an absolute blast from beginning to end.
(6) MAN OF STEEL
(7) PACIFIC RIM
Rather than spend a lot of time rehashing the thousand or so words I’ve already written about these films, let me just say that I stand by the reviews I’ve written about these films. I love them both without reservation and if you want to know why, check out my reviews.
(8) IRON MAN 3
Being the Defacto sequel to last years Avengers, this film could have played it safe and just went through the motions and still been one of the top grossing films of the year. Instead, it took chances and played fast and loose with the formula and delivered one of the best summer films of the year. It also delivered the best Iron Man film since the original. This is how a sequel should be done.
(9) FURIOUS 6
Also known as The Fast and the Furious 6. This is like Oceans 11 crossed with The Avengers. Once you realize that the characters aren’t human anymore, but superheros, you can dial in to what the film is doing. It was just about the most pure fun I had at the films last year. Just a ride from start to finish. If you can walk out of this film without a smile on your face, you are dead inside.
(10) THIS IS THE END
This is the film that movies like Hangover 3 and Anchorman 2 wanted to be. irreverent and edgy. Pitch black humor, inside jokes and absolutely fall down funny. The single funniest film of the year, hands down.
Honorable mentions go to: The To-Do list, Evil Dead (2013), The World’s End and Much Ado About Nothing. They all came very close to being in the top 10. In fact, on certain days, they actually are in the top 10. I’ll let you guess which films they take the place of in a given week.
Well, that just about does it. Next week we will more than likely get back to talking about whats coming to the theater screens, but I hope you’ve enjoyed this walk down memory lane as we looked at what I thought were the years best films last year. If you agree or disagree, let me know.
Until next time, Keep the Projector Threaded.