2013 was a pretty good year for films, with a variety of action, drama and comedy. It was also a year marred by some very, very bad films.
(Disclaimer: This is my list, my opinion and based on all the films I've seen. I'm willing to entertain any criticism or suggestions for other movies I may have missed. If you don't like it, make your own dang list).
It was a tough call to choose my favorite film, but in the end - a great cast, script and direction from David O. Russell won out with American Hustle.
About Time was a sentimental choice along with Saving Mr. Banks, but what can I say – I’m a sucker for a good cry once in a while.
12 Years a Slave was a very important film that reminded me how far we've come since the days of slavery.
Gravity was a tense thrill ride I didn’t expect, while other films like Inside Llewyn Davis and Nebraska proved you don’t need huge visual effects to create movies with a lot of heart.
Frozen proved Walt Disney Animation can keep pace with its Pixar friends, while the Zack Snyder took Superman into deeper realms with Man of Steel.
The little-known documentary The Act of Killing shocked and astounded me with a story that’s almost too hard to believe. It’s also a rare true story, and not one of those “advocacy” documentaries that make you mad about injustice or some other societal malady.
There were a lot of other very good films in my honorable mentions that could have easily replaced any of the others in my Top Ten, including big budget spectacles like Star Trek Into Darkness and Pacific Rim, while a few other independent films like The Spectacular Now, The Kings of Summer and The Way Way Back (all Sundance selections) are well worth a closer look.
A few foreign films, The Hunt and The Past are also worth a look, and if you can get past little annoyances like subtitles, you might agree with me.
1. American Hustle
2. About Time
3. Saving Mr. Banks
4. Inside Llewyn Davis
5. 12 Years a Slave
9. Man of Steel
10. The Act of Killing (Documentary)
Honorable Mention: Her, Star Trek Into Darkness, The Spectacular Now, 20 Feet From Stardom, The Hunt, The Past, Blackfish, In A World...,The Kings of Summer, Mud, The Way, Way Back, Rush, Captain Phillips, Pacific Rim.
My choice for worst film of the year was easy, since Spring Breakers would make my list for worst films of all time. Seriously, this is a movie that proves why some mentally disturbed people should not be allowed behind a camera (or in front, for that matter). If you have some sort of perverted fetish for seeing former Disney Channel princesses (Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens) behaving badly, this is the movie for you.
The latest adaptation of Romeo and Juliet was so terrible, I’m sure Bill Shakespeare bypassed rolling over in his grave and just dug deeper into the Earth.
White House Down was full of all the stupid implausible scenarios you’d expect in a movie about a hostile takeover of the most protected piece of real estate on the planet (there were two “White House under attack movies this year, including Olympus Has Fallen), but it was the sensation of being watching a two-and-a-half hour-long Obama informercial (complete with GOP demagoguery) that made my eyes roll incessantly.
The Purge, Pain and Gain and Getaway were movies that made me wonder why some projects don’t go through a little more of a vetting process – like, wasn't there one producer who thought to raise their hand and suggest “Hey, maybe this isn't such good idea.”?
After Earth proved once and for all that the show’s over for M. Night Shyamalan, and that the ceiling for the Will Smith family movie business has been reached. Safe Haven was this year’s Nicholas Sparks “template” movie – but deserves credit for being even worse than its redundant predecessors (Dear John, The Lucky One, The Last Song, etc., etc., etc…). He should have stopped while he was ahead at The Notebook.
Two raunchy comedies round out my worst list (The To-Do List, 21 and Over), proving once again that an increase of sex, drugs and alcohol are not necessarily a formula for more laughs.
1. Spring Breakers
2. Romeo and Juliet
3. White House Down
4. The Purge
5. Pain and Gain
7. After Earth
8. Safe Haven
9. 21 and Over
10. The To-Do List
(Dis)honorable Mention: Fast and Furious 6, The Company You Keep, The Lone Ranger, Paranoia, City of Bones: The Mortal Instruments, Homefront.