Last year was an amazing year for movies. I was in love with all the movies that made my Top 10 list so much so that I own ALL of them. Now, this year, although I’ve seen many many movies, I don’t feel the same way as last year. I feel like it was more of year of mediocrity than real imaginative storytelling. In any case, here are my Top 10 for 2013.
10. Captain Phillips
The tension kept getting tighter and tighter with each scene. Paul Greengrass brings this true story to the big screen by focusing on Tom Hank’s Phillips’ honorable leadership. The final scene of the film truly sold the trauma Phillips went through which shed not only my tears but all around me. Speculation of the actual facts be damned.
9. Blue Jasmine
Based loosely on “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Blue Jasmine” follows a recent divorcee, Jasmine, as she attempts to recollect her life in San Francisco with her boisterous, imperfect sister. Cate Blanchett pulls off her best character work that is both heart-wrenching and darkly hilarious. A solid supporting cast of Alec Baldwin, Louie C.K. and Sally Hawkins brings this broken fairytale down to earth. Woody Allen handles this drama with his own prowess and style that gave me a good breath of fresh air in the midst of all the blockbusters.
8. Warm Bodies
Who knew that a “Zom-Com” can only be hilarious but have an actual message to it!? Based roughly on “Romeo and Juliet,” “Warm Bodies” perfectly captures the mind inside of the overly-done horror icon. Sure, it’s a dumb premise: girl falls in love with zombie. But it’s not that simple. “50/50” director, Jonathan Levine, takes this love story and makes it work in every way.
7. Dallas Buyers Club
Mark my words. If Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto are not at least nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, it will be a crime against cinema. Their performances are so real-to-life, entertaining, and intriguing that they sold the movie by themselves. A story of AIDS, social prejudices and corrupt pharmaceutical companies, “Dallas Buyers Club” is not an easy watch but an essential one for any movie buff.
6. Thor: the Dark World
Maybe it was because my expectations were on the ground when I walked into the theater, but “Thor 2” blew me away. Sure, it had needless cheese in its over-bloated and self-important plot, but it was everything I want in a superhero flick. The mixture of the romance, action, comedy and charismatic characters created one of the most entertaining experiences I’ve had this year.
5. Fruitvale Station
Ever left the theater just emotionally exhausted? “Fruitvale Station” did that for me. Michael B. Jordan plays a struggling father who is just trying to do right for his daughter and girlfriend. Taking place on New Years Eve, Jordan’s Oscar Grant is only a snapshot into his life. We, as an audience know the impending ending which only gave every one of Jordan’s actions the emotional weight.
4. Pacific Rim
I’ve watched this movie about… four times since its theatrical release. Stylized to the core and brimming of cool, Del Toro’s epic tale of man/machine versus monster left me smiling in every scene. The plot was simple enough to follow and the tech was far-fetched, but that’s what it was. It was pure fantasy. An awesome world where I would love to revisit again and again.
3. The Way Way Back
If you have been an awkward kid, you will attach yourself to this movie. A coming of age story about how teens are more adult than adults and how adults can and will be more childish than their kids. Duncan (Liam James), a teenage introvert, finds himself in the solace of a water park and mentor Owen (Sam Rockwell). Full of laughs, drama and impressionable moments, it holds its own with “The Breakfast Club” and “The Sandlot.”
2. Don Jon
Has pornography addiction ever been done in cinema? Wait. Has it ever been done as truthfully as this one? Starring and directed by the confident hand of Joseph Gordan-Levitt, “Don Jon” illustrates the difference between fantasy, whether it is romantic-comedies or pornography, and actual, real to life relationships. It’s message is so poignant that it can help anyone that is struggling and come to realization of the subject of the movie. Uncomfortable at times, but useful at the end of the day.
1. Star Trek: Into Darkness
Okay. I’m sure I’ll get a lot of hate for this. There has been a ton of backlash about 2009’s Star Trek sequel. In my opinion, it had some of the most sophisticated storytelling, character moments and remarkable CGI that has held my top spot of my list since I have seen it. And that’s all I’m going to say because I’m sure I’ll get even more backlash than the actual movie.
Well that’s it. And here’s the other movies that I’ve seen in three separate categories.
Good, but not good enough:
The Place Beyond the Pines, American Hustle, Iron Man 3, Saving Mr. Banks, The Wolf of Wall Street, All Is Lost, Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, Elysium, Monsters University, Frozen, Carrie, Mud, Prisoners, The World’s End, Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Man of Steel, Ender’s Game, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Kick-Ass 2.
Upstream Color, The Wolverine, Much Ado About Nothing, Stoker, Now You See Me, Rush, After Earth, This Is The End, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, The Great Gatsby, Oz: The Great and Powerful, World War Z
The very worst:
Only God Forgives, The Lone Ranger, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, The Bling Ring.
And that’s it. I still haven’t seen all the movies that I would want, but these are the ones that I have.
Here’s to a little better 2014!