Friday, January 3, 2014

Best FIlms of 2013

A new year is upon us friends! As tradition dictates I thought I would share my favorite films of 2013. I saw so many fantastic films this year.

For me, 2013 might be the year of the documentary because I watched some really good ones. I also saw some really huge turds like SPRING BREAKERS and PASSION. Alas, I’ll save that list for another post. I absolutely loved AMERICAN HUSTLE, DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, and BLUE JASMINE. Even big budget blockbusters like IRON MAN 3, PACIFIC RIM, and THOR 2 were pretty enjoyable.

Here is my list:

I missed this film in theaters, but caught it on DVD. I had not even heard of it until it was mentioned by QT. I saw director, Joe Swanberg in YOU’RE NEXT and he was my favorite character. I love the cameo by director Ti West; he even reps a Lawrence Arms t-shirt! At a distance, looking at this film nothing really stands out. However, the whole film was completely improvised with no script. A vague outline was given to the actors much like an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Anyone familiar with acting or performing knows that improv is not an easy task. The acting in this film was fantastic and the characters were very relatable. DRINKING BUDDIES reminded me of my early 20s. Much like this film those years were very carefree and fun.

This is a documentary that really hits close to home. As a long time fan of The Descendents, it was heartwarming to finally see a documentary about them. We all know the songs, but we don’t know the stories behind the songs. I once got the chance to sit and have some beers with Stephen Eggerton and he was one of the most delightful people I’ve ever met. He indulged all my asinine questions about ALL and Descendents. Watching this film, I still gained so much more knowledge about this amazing band. This documentary is a love letter to such an influential band that will never cease to be an important part of my life.

Typically, sequels are never as good as the original film. Nonetheless, I loved BEFORE SUNRISE so much more than BEFORE SUNSET. Now I love BEFORE MIDNIGHT more than SUNSET if you can believe that. This is a perfect trilogy that chronicles the ups and downs of a true relationship. Life and love is not like THE NOTEBOOK, it’s disagreeable and uncertain. The chemistry between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy is electrifying. MIDNIGHT really exudes their wisdom as actors and the comfort they feel among each other. MIDNIGHT is a great end to Richard Linklater’s wonderful trilogy.

While Spike Lee was busy butchering Chan-wook Park’s masterpiece OLDBOY, Park was exhibiting his first English language film. STOKER made very little splash here in the US which is unfortunate because Park is one of the best directors currently in the game. The themes and color usage in this film were very subtle but absolutely important. Park has an understated way of telling his story; he makes you work for it and I am always happy to oblige.

I cannot for the life of me understand why this film was so critically panned. I truly loved it and I am the last person to support a Ridley Scott vehicle. Read my previous review and simply give it a chance. No spoilers, I promise.

This film should be called THE WOLF OF HOLLYWOOD because Leo is thirsty for Oscar blood. To tell you the truth, he deserves it. I feel like Leo has paid his dues for his teen heartthrob past and now he needs to be respected for the amazing actor he’s become. Scorsese brings out the best in Leo. I love the Leo/Scorsese team almost as much as I love the QT/Uma team. Normally I despise Jonah Hill, but he is ridiculously funny in WOLF. It’s as if his character from SUPERBAD grew up and became a stockbroker. This film pushes the envelope; it’s smart and funny. Just give Leo an Oscar already.

The greatest thing about this compelling documentary is the impact is has had on society. It has really opened the public’s eye to the cold hard facts that SeaWorld is a truly evil corporation. Several musicians have cancelled pending performances at SeaWorld parks as a direct result of this film. This is a small victory for an important issue.

Joss Whedon is flawless and so is this film.

I understand a lot of people don’t want to watch this film. It’s uncomfortable, heartbreaking, and difficult to watch. Remember that the topic at hand is slavery. There’s nothing pleasant about slavery. Having said that, I think the story of Solomon Northup is especially important and one that everyone should know.

I watched this film without knowing much about it other than the fact that it was directed by Derek Cianfrance who blew me away with BLUE VALENTINE. It’s a great story with a really unique format. Hey Girl is in top form and Eva Mendes poured her heart into this role. This film really flew under the radar, but now the rumor is that Mike Patton might get an Oscar nod for his amazing score. Take that Trent Reznor!

Some films that barely missed the cut:

JGL is no doubt an incredibly talented actor. His directorial debut really showcased his skills behind the camera. Let’s talk about how awesome Tony Danza was in this film! I really hope JGL continues to write and direct because he has so much potential.

I’ve been on the fence about Nicolas Winding Refn because I enjoyed BRONSON, but DRIVE fell very short for me. With ONLY GOD, I feel like he’s really coming into his own style as a director instead of just mimicking Gaspar Noe. You either love this film or you hate it; there’s no in between. I just couldn’t take my mind off this film after initially watching it. That is what makes a good film, something that stays with you days later. The cinematography is just gorgeous and I cannot say enough about Kristin Scott Thomas’ role. If you’re looking for a Hey Girl jerkfest, look elsewhere because he speaks only 17 lines total. There’s not much dialogue in this film because it’s meant to keep you guessing.

I really commend Sarah Polley’s courage to take on this project. To turn the camera inward and document the hard truth about your own family is a really brave thing to do. She tells the story of her life with a nonpartisanship that most others would find impossible. I look forward to other projects from Polley.

There it is folks, my favorite films from 2013! Thank you for another year of faithful readership, it is much appreciated. I hope you continue to enjoy my posts. Feel free to share your favorite films and let me know if I missed any.

Happy New Year!

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