Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top 10 Movies of 2013

It's time once again for my annual Top 10 Movies of The Year. The year of 2013 didn't find me watching as many films as I'm either used to or prefer, partly due to my obscene work schedule and partly due to Blockbuster finally going under, which severely cut into my options. I didn't even get to see most of the movies released in the fall/winter season. I think I was at the theater like, once in December. And to be honest, while I had predicted that this would be a banner year, I was left kind of cold with the results. I was hard pressed to fill up the list, honestly. It wasn't as bad as 2011, but still, it was kind of a disappointing year at the cinema.

But I've still got a list to make, so here we are! These are my Top 10 Movies of 2013:

10. The Place Beyond The Pines
This is a solid, solid drama. I'm no fan of Ryan Gosling, and I think he's as bland in this as he is in everything else, but he's only part of a big story that meanders so much that you begin to think it's  screwing with you until the end where it all comes together. It's beautifully executed despite giving off the impression that it's not for quite some time. Not sure if it's something I would say I had a great time at, and it's a bit too long, but I can't deny that it's a good flick.

9. The Last Stand
Akin to a Phoenix rising from the ashes, "The Last Stand" summoned back The One True Action God himself to grace us with His presence. Is it art? Hell no. Is it intelligent cinema? Hell no. Is it a fun movie? You bet your ass it is. I suppose I should end with some stupid pun about Schwarzenegger "being back," but I'm above that. I'll just be content in the knowledge that when he said all those years ago that he was done with acting, he lied.

8. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Like last year, Peter Jackson's return to Middle Earth is, and I'm being arguably over-generous here, not without its problems. It's still too damn long for no good reason, but in this case the story is much faster paced and the action is frankly stunning when its going full-blast, which makes up for a lot of the other smaller irritations, like the bizarre changes to the story they added. But it was still fun, and the fanboy in me requires it to be on this list. But it's also the fanboy in me that can't in good conscience place it any higher than this.

7. Equestria Girls
Speaking of fandom: "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic." Yeah. I said it. Ponies. And while some of you out there are possibly confused, let me assure you that MLP is the illest, and that "Equestria Girls" was pretty darn awesome. Not for the uninitiated by any means, but for fellow herd members, there's no way you couldn't have a good time. Unless you're one of those weirdos who instantly hated it based on the premise. No it's not high art, after all it's a kid's movie, but it's a really good one based on what is handily one of the best shows around. It's extremely fun and very funny, and encapsulates a lot of the reasons why I love the show. I was so happy during this. So happy.

6. The World's End
If it's Edgar Wright, it's probably going on the Top 10 list. That's just the way it is. A fitting end to the Coronetto Trilogy, "The World's End" was full of the same clever writing, extremely flawed but extremely loveable characters, unbelievably good cast, and surprising and surprisingly heartfelt story that is present in all his movies. And it makes you really thirsty for a beer.

5. The Wolverine
The best Marvel movie since "X-Men: First Class." This is a sleek, stripped down to its bare essences, uncluttered tale of redemption that could have been a samurai movie staring Toshiro Mifune. "The Wolverine" is honestly the first Marvel film that felt like...I don't know...an actual movie, and my fondness of it only increases the more I think back on it. The X-Men franchise finally grew up a bit.

4. Pain & Gain
I can't believe I'm putting a Michael Bay movie on here, but I can't deny what is awesome, and "Pain & Gain" was awesome. It's not for everyone, as it's completely immature, misogynistic, foul, and jacked-up on an IV drip of a Red Bull/espresso cocktail, in other words "A Michael Bay Movie." But in this case the script is so insane and so outlandish that it would come across as an over-the-top satire of American society if it weren't also a completely true story. It's like a talented filmmaker made a brilliant parody of a Michael Bay movie, only the guy making it was actually Michael Bay. My mind is blown in several ways.

And now we come to the best three movies of the year. Which three stood out above the rest? Well, you've probably never heard of one, another was one of my most anticipated of the year, and the other...well...the other was one of the most stunning things I've ever seen. So what say you?! Onward! Excelsior!

3. Sushi Girl
In a year which did not grace us with a Quentin Tarantino movie, "Sushi Girl" was a blessing from whatever saints chose to bestow it upon us. It's like "Reservoir Dogs," only instead of that scene where Mr. Blonde tortures the cop lasting like three minutes, it takes up the entire last two acts, without cutting away from the bit with the ear. It's an intense movie, and there is some really tough to watch moments as the characters get pretty creative with the ways they put the hurt on their victim. And I'm not a fan of torture movies at all, but man oh man is it worth it just to watch Mark Hamill tear it the hell up.

2. Star Trek Into Darkness
J.J. Abrams needs some kind of medal for what he's done for "Star Trek." Both films of the rebooted series were stunning, with "Star Trek Into Darkness" one-upping the first one with the addition of Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain, a decision which is never a bad one. Action packed to the brim, gorgeous to look at, and possessing the same phenomenal cast as before (with the exception of Alice Eve who is terrible), this was everything I was hoping for in a sequel to one of my favorite sci-fi action flicks of the last few decades.

The fact that I nearly pass out with glee every time during Cumberbatch's big reveal moment also helps.


1. Pacific Rim
Mother of Mothra. This movie. Just. This movie. I can't even. It's too much.

It's too much to describe in words. It needs to be witnessed. Until you've seen a mecha hundreds of feet tall smack a giant monster in the face WITH AN OIL TANKER THAT IT'S HOLDING LIKE A SWORD, I don't even know how productive a discussion can be, because you'll simply be physically unable to comprehend the awesomeness.

I had more fun at "Pacific Rim" than any other movie I saw this year. "Star Trek" was close but this was on another plane of existence entirely. In a time when everyone is complaining that there's no originality in Hollywood anymore, Guillermo del Toro stepped in to prove us wrong. There were some killjoy detractors who called it "stupid" and "without a plot," but I would like to first ask them what exactly their exceptions were in regards to story, because if you ask me they gave us exactly the amount of story one needed and not an iota more, which seems very efficient. Then I'd like to remind them that what some might call "brainless fun" still needs to be done with intelligence, style and solid craftsmanship, which "Pacific Rim" was overflowing with. Otherwise you get "Transformers."

If this doesn't become a franchise, I quit life. It was the best movie I saw in 2013, and it's way too good to not be followed up on.

There you have my Top 10 of the year! Hopefully I'll be able to get out to the theater more often this coming year. I'm looking to make some changes in the way I do this blog, which will hopefully help me with that. In any case, I look forward to what is to come, and I'll see you next time!

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