I don’t particularly like lists – especially where movies are concerned because so much depends on what you’re hoping to gain, and the kind of mood you’re in. I generally want to be entertained. If I leave a theater happy, or at least content with what I saw, then the movie did its job. With that said, here’s my list of the best, worst and not bad flicks from among the dozens I happened to see in 2013. Click on the titles to see the full review (don’t worry – they’re short and sweet).
1. The Way, Way Back
3. Side Effects
4. The Conjuring
5. 12 Years a Slave
6. American Hustle
7. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
8. Saving Mr. Banks
9. Man of Steel
10. A 10-way tie among the following: Frozen, Philomena, Captain Phillips, Gravity,
Enough Said, The Butler, The Kings of Summer, 20 Feet from Stardom, The Book Thief, Prisoners
11. My Guilty Pleasures: Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, Thor: The Dark World, The Wolverine, White House Down
NOT BAD (i.e. potential rentals based on your mood):
The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug – if you know how to pronounce Smaug, you should probably see it.
About Time – sweet, poignant indie about a guy who learns when he turns 21 that the men in the family are able to travel back in time.
The Best Man Holiday – ensemble comedy with a sappy, dramatic twist
Inside Llewyn Davis – strange movie (Coen Bros.) with a good soundtrack (T Bone Burnett) that follows a week in the life of a singer in the Greenwich Village folk music scene in 1961
42 – great true story made into an okay movie about baseball legend Jackie Robinson
Jobs –Ashton Kutcher plays Steve Jobs in this biopic that’s less about the man, and more about the company he created
The World’s End and This is the End – completely different comedies with similar names that came out too close together to tell them apart.
The Family – All I remember is that it was about a mafia family that goes into hiding and wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected it to be.
We’re the Millers – gross, funny, and kind of sweet comedy about a ‘fake’ family of misfits trying to smuggle drugs from Mexico to the U.S. in an RV.
2 Guns – Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg play government agents working at cross-purposes to try and bust a drug lord. Did I mention Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg?
Turbo – cute animated flick about a snail with super-speed
Despicable Me 2 – the first one was better, but this one has its entertaining moments
Olympus Has Fallen – White House Down with a much higher body count
World War Z – Contagion with a sci-fi twist
Before Midnight – dialogue-driven third installment following the years-long relationship between Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke)
The Heat – decent ‘buddy’ comedy with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy
Oblivion – totally muddled plot but Tom Cruise fans will muddle through it
The Great Gatsby – visually spectacular but narratively lacking, despite a decent effort by Leo DiCaprio as Nick Carraway
Midnight’s Children – depressing and a bit hard to follow, but those who read the book may like it
The Sapphires – a decent indie based on a true story about a group of Aboriginal girls who became Australia’s answer to The Supremes in the 1960s. Good music.
Oz the Great and Powerful – It may not hold a candle to the Wizard of Oz, but I kind of liked this ‘prequel’ to the iconic story.
Quartet – sweet little indie for classical music buffs about a retirement home for retired musicians
Unfinished Song – if you liked Quartet, you may want to check out this poignant melanchomedy about a glee club for seniors – and death.
Identity Thief – Jason Batemen and Melissa McCarthy are appealing, but the movie itself is weak
Beautiful Creatures – Young adult novel turned into a sci-fi romance movie for the YAs who liked the book.
Pain & Gain – really strange movie based on a true story about a trio of bodybuilders who get caught up in an extortion ring gone awry. It’s almost tragically funny.
The Place Beyond the Pines – a crime drama with Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper. Too dark for my taste.
Safe Haven – boring sappy romantic drama with Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel. They’re easy on the eyes, but you may want to multi-task while watching it.
The Internship – a weak but serviceable comedy with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson googling their way back into the job market.
Now You See Me – a decent movie about a group of illusionists pulling off a major heist
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone – far from incredible, but not completely terrible comedy about magicians in Vegas
A Good Day to Die Hard – mindless entertainment that falls way, way, way short of the original
That’s my list. What’s yours?