Before I start, I must stress that I haven’t seen every release this year, and there are a few Academy Award contenders that are simply not available to me at this time. So bear in mind, I have not yet had the chance to watch films like 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street, Philomena, Inside Llewelyn Davis, or several of the small-time independent movies that are supposedly good even though only five people know about them.
So without further ado, here’s my wrap-up for the year!
Top 5 Best Movies of 2013:
Rush is the product of a collaboration between Ron Howard and Peter Morgan, which should be an indicator of the quality of the picture. This is an extraordinary movie, with its amazing racing sequences and compelling drama making it a shoe-in for the Academy Awards.
A third act deus ex machina aside, Alfonso Cuarón’s latest picture is a staggering work of cinematic art. Its art design and special effects are simply breathtaking, and it’s easy to get lost in the experience, especially if you’re watching it in 3D. Even BBC One’s vocal 3D hater Mark Kermode said it’s worth seeing in 3D.
I would’ve been happy if Frozen was simply a good movie, but it’s legitimately great, showing more maturity and sophistication than anything Pixar has done since Toy Story 3. It’s the best Disney animation since the ‘90s (not including Pixar).
4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Although it features a rubbish love triangle, Peter Jackson’s second Hobbit venture is a home run. Its action sequences are as thrilling as anything in Lord of the Rings, and Smaug is a CGI miracle. It’s a wonderfully enjoyable fantasy action-adventure that I plan to watch over and over again.
5. Iron Man 3
Yeah, I said it. Come and get me. Iron Man 3 is one of Marvel’s best to date, and it’s also a great Shane Black movie. Stripping Tony Stark of his suit and forcing him to rely on his intellect makes the picture incredibly interesting, and it’s bolstered by dialogue that literally sparkles. Not to mention, The Twist is one of the boldest and most interesting things in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far. Weren’t people criticising Iron Man 2 for being safe? Calm down, people, this is a great movie.
Honourable mentions: The World’s End, Prisoners, Man of Steel, Bad Grandpa, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
Bottom 5 Worst Movies of 2013:
1. Scary Movie 5
About 80% of the movie was shot two months ahead of its release. It took them two months to shoot and edit this. Think about that.
2. Movie 43
Every cast member refused to promote this film. Even Dennis Quaid, who’d probably prostitute himself if you gave him a few bucks.
3. A Haunted House
This movie is more traumatic than any real-life haunting could ever be.
The poster simply reads “Enough Said.” How apt.
5. Grown Ups 2
Rob Schneider couldn’t clear his schedule for this movie. Rob fucking Schneider thought he had better things to do than this.
Dishonourable mentions: The Purge, After Earth, You’re Next, Planes, Pain & Gain.
Most Fun: Escape Plan
We’ve been yearning for a proper team-up of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone for almost thirty years now. Although the pair have appeared together in both Expendables pictures, Arnie’s roles are always severely restricted; we have always wanted a proper movie with the pair as the main characters. And now we have it, and it’s spectacular. Escape Plan is not just a fun movie, it’s a great movie, with a smart screenplay and some exceptional performances from everybody. It’s a great story, and it’s peppered with some great one-liners. But the climax is something else. The action scenes which close the picture are staggering, the type of stand-up-and-cheer stuff that we wanted from a team-up of these two titans. It’s a bloody good time.
Most Underrated: Gangster Squad
I watched the movie on opening night and drew my judgements before I saw any reviews. Gangster Squad is some of the most fun I had in the cinema last year, and it’s also a well-made movie with kick-ass action scenes and engaging storytelling. The haters can hate. I loved it, and I’d be lying to myself if I said that I didn’t.
Also: Spring Breakers, V/H/S 2, Only God Forgives, Bullet to the Head.
Most Overrated: American Hustle
Give me Gangster Squad over this movie any day of the week. I mean that with utmost sincerity. American Hustle is in dire need of coherent plotting and an emotional attachment to the characters. I walked away completely cold and unmoved. I doubt I’ll ever watch it again.
Also: Captain Phillips, The Kings of Summer, The Heat.
Most Disappointing: Thor: The Dark World
Isolated set-pieces of the movie really shine, but it lacks the proper in-between stuff. I felt no attachment to the characters and I found it hard to get invested in the movie properly. Iron Man 3 is head over heels superior to this.
Biggest Surprise: World War Z
I’m not putting World War Z here because it was some kind of masterpiece. I’m putting it here because it didn’t suck, and considering that Paramount and Plan B pumped about $400 million into the film, delayed it extensively, had to rewrite the entire final third, and did about a month of reshoots…the fact it’s actually pretty enjoyable is a big deal.
Deserved to Flop: The Lone Ranger
There is absolutely no reason for Disney to have spent $250 million on this piece of crap. It’s a pure paycheque effort for everyone involved – another excuse for Johnny Depp to be “quirky” and walk away with a $50 million payday, and another blatant attempt for Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski to try to recreate the success of Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s not surprising that the movie landed with a resounding thud. It deserves all the scorn that it gets.
Deserved Better Box Office: Kick-Ass 2
The fact that Kick-Ass 2 flopped is heartbreaking. It was a real gem of a sequel, and it’s a miracle the thing even got made. It’s one of the most entertaining action films of the year, and it’s worthy of its predecessor. And now the fate of the third movie hangs in the balance, and it’s doubtful we’ll ever get the trilogy capper we want and deserve.