Sunday, January 5, 2014

Kevin's Favorite Movies of 2013

You might be surprised to learn that I am NOT a professional movie reviewer. I know, weird right? If someone were to pay me to go to the movies and talk about them then I would consider myself the luckiest person on earth. That being said, I'm not a professional so I have to see my movies at my own pace and time and sometimes things get missed. So I haven't seen everything that came out in 2013 nor have I seen everything worthwhile that came out in 2013, so this list isn't so much comprehensive, as just more the best of what I have seen. So this list could morph and change (as any can really) as the years go by. But this is where I stand, today, January 5, 2014.

Without further adieu (I know pins and needles) here are my 10 favorite movies of 2013:

                                  10) Frances Ha

Your movie has to be pretty special (to me) for it to be about a 20-something making mistakes and trying to find herself and not have it be annoying as all get out. Noah Baumbach takes a break from the chronicling the lives of jerks to chronicle the life of a sweet twenty something trying to find her way in the world and it is pretty wonderful. Noah Baumbach staying positive is a good thing, and so is Greta Gerwig, who is amazing, as is the soundtrack

                                         9) Room 237
What starts out as a discussion of a movie straight from the a film studies course turns into a group therapy session by the end. I don't know if I conveyed it well above, but I love movies and I love talking about movies, and I love The Shining, so this film length discussion of The Shining's hidden meanings is pretty much catnip for me. Basically it is lunatics talking about their various theories of what The Shining means, seeing too much meaning in continuity errors and elevating everything to delusions. It is insane but also really really wonderful. Pretty much for everyone that has had THAT late night discussion about what a movie REALLY means. (This isn't a movie but I have a theory that Robin Thick's Blurred Lines is actually about smoking weed, let's discuss it sometime)

8) The Conjuring
I don't know why it took so long for them to make a movie about Ed and Lorraine Warren, but I am glad they finally did. Personally, I think they are con people, but that is what great fiction is made of. And think of the potential: they have a whole CLOSET full of cursed items, they could make a movie for how they acquired each. How is Hollywood not calling me!? Anyway,  it was fun and made me jump out of my seat and will be THE horror movie that horror moviephiles will be telling me is overrated in the years to come.

7)The World's End
Who would have thought that third movie in the Cornetto Trilogy, which does feature alien robots taking over a human town, to be not only so heartfelt (we're all chasing our lost youth) but also one of Simon Pegg's best performances. It's also really funny. Subquestion: seriously how much of a debt does Simon Pegg owe to Halloween III for this idea?

6) 20 Feet From Stardom
I don't know what it says about me that the most moving documentary I saw this year was about the lives, and trials and travails of backup singers, but this documentary is absolutely wonderful and if you are interested in this sort of thing you should definitely check it out. Also Mick Jagger comes off as sort of a dick but Bruce Springsteen and Sting seem cool.

5) The Wolf Of Wall Street
It's no Goodfellas, of course, but it is an entertaining and decidedly crazy job. It also features the depressing message that there is absolutely no justice for rich people that rip other people off. Amazing soundtrack too.

4) American Hustle
The hairdo's, the music, the acting, the outfits, all wonderful if not a bit overlong. I am really enjoying latter day David O. Russell. Please keep being a madman and keep making movies that are so enjoyable. Science Oven!

3) The Fast and Furious 6
Probably the best time I had in a movie theater this year. Amazing action, and I like the direction the series is taking with these sort of "Men On A Mission" movies. Has at least two of the greatest action sequences of the year. If you're going to make an action movie make it as fun and ridiculous as possible, and that's what they did. Again. Pat O'D is right: these movies might bring the world together in a weird way: multicultural cast ALL with something to do, and that includes the women who are not just lilting violets but get in on the action and I mean GET IN ON IT. The Gina Carano/Michelle Rodriguez Tube fight is amazing and everyone gets a showcase. 

2) 12 Years A Slave
As beautiful looking and as brutal as you have heard. I think it's important for people to see this for a number of different reasons. I love Michael Fassbender too, but this made me hate him so much.

1) Before Midnight
I love ALL the "Before..." movies and this is a great way to end the trilogy. (Although I would welcome them coming back in another ten years or so) It puts a lie to the idea of "Happily Ever After". Although most couples do not fight as eloquently as Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke do. A couple that has known eachother for so long certainly fight as brutally as they do here. Um, spoiler alert.

Just Missed:
The Punk Singer

                                                                     Computer Chess
Can everyone just watch this movie so we can start a group dedicated to discussing it?

                                                                    Behind The Candelabra
Cheating a bit here, but it did debut at Cannes before it was shown on HBO. So so good.

                                                                   This Is The End
This is the closest "miss" of all of them. I laughed a lot. AND it has two of the best cameos of the year.

Man Of Steel-so bad I gave up watching movies for almost a month
Anchorman 2-I didn't expect this to be good, actually, but it was disappointing. There really is nothing worse than an unfunny comedy.
The Counselor-I fluctuate on this one because it is decidedly insane, but it is also boring, with the characters having pretty much the same conversation constantly. All style, no substance. But there IS Cameron Diaz having sex with a car.
Don Jon-Joseph Gordon-Levitt should stick with acting because, it seems, writing and directing are not for him. I wanted to shut this off after about 15 minutes.

Ones I missed (so far):
-Upstream Color
-Inside Llewyn Davis
-You're Next

Thanks for reading!

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