Feb 16, 2014

Goes to the Movies 2013

This probably should've been a late-December/early-January post, because it's the sort of thing that bloggers do around New Year's, but you're getting it now, because awards season made me think to do it. Also, I've only recently watched a couple of these, so while they came out in 2013, I wasn't prepared to list until now.

I've seen fifteen films that came out in 2013. I don't think I've ever seen so many recent movies in my life, but lately it's become a frequent date night for Trevor and I to go to the movies. I think I want to keep up on that tradition. Watching movies at the theater is fun and walking home and discussing what we watched with my husband is even more fun.

Below I have a ranking of how much I enjoyed each film. I've tried to be very honest about my own enjoyment level and not let critical opinion sway my judgement. Mild spoilers might be involved.

15. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - I'm not a book purist. Film and books are different mediums and if you want to add things or change things, that's fine with me. I'm not going to get uppity like some of my nerd friends. But when you're obviously just adding things because Warner Bros said that you need to make The Hobbit story stretch across three films, I'm going to be upset. Especially when what you're adding is chase scene after chase scene after chase scene. Best part was Legolas telling Kate they have to go back to the Lost island.

14. Man of Steel - If I never see another superhero movie again, I'd probably be just fine.

13. Pacific Rim - Some cool visuals and mildly cool concept, but otherwise meh. I'm not the target demographic for robots fighting monsters.

12. Star Trek: Into Darkness - It seems like I kind of liked this film, but I don't remember anything about it. I like Star Trek in general, but nothing about this movie seems to have stuck with me. Star Trek is best when it's about the exploring characters and philosophy, leaving the action sequences to a minimum. I don't think that's what this film did.

11. 12 Years a Slave - The acting was superb and I loved the attention to historical accuracy. However, I never really felt pulled into the story. It's one of those movies where you pretty much know exactly what's going to happen at every step. But let's not criticize this film, because that somehow makes you a racist.

10. American Hustle -I was excited to see this film. The critical acclaim was massive (though there has been some backlash now after all of it's freaking Oscar nominations, and rightfully so). Maybe I was expecting too much or maybe I'm missing something, but it wasn't a good movie. It had too many protagonists, none of which I really wanted to cheer for because they were terrible people. Only Jennifer Lawrence's character was terrible in a fun way to watch. Everyone else was just selfish and horrible and I wanted them off the screen. The only two characters I truly liked  were Louis C.K.'s who didn't get enough screen-time, and Amy Adam's cleavage who unfortunately always shared the screen with Amy Adam's character.

9. Gravity - It was really neat to watch. A lot of neat visuals. But the plot was basically "Sandra Bullock's Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day", and there's only so much of that you need in your life.

8. We're the Millers - I know putting a silly comedy like this one above Oscar nominees makes me a terrible person, but we're being honest here. The plot relied on way too many coincidences for me to be truly satisfied, but there were quite a few laugh-out-loud moments. And that Will Poulter is going to be a big star, you watch. Very funny kid.

7. Elysium - While there were, admittedly, some flaws, I liked the overall premise of this movie. I think about it sometimes when income-inequality comes up, and I always like when something adds to my conception of ideas. While there was a lot of action and I'm not really an action fan, there was plenty of politics and emotion and all that. And I like that the main guy and the main girl had a really deep connection but weren't love interests.

6. The Great Gatsby - I know this one got mixed critical reviews, but I loved it. The story of The Great Gatsby is undoubtedly great, and the portrayal was decent, but I would've loved this even if it was nothing but Leo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan walking around in 20s costumes surrounded by 20s architecture/furniture and nothing happened at all. I'm super fond of the aesthetic of that decade. This was all about the visual spectacle and I enjoyed every second of it, anachronisms and all.

5. The Wolf of Wall Street - And on the subject of Leo DiCaprio playing some rich dude, this one was pretty good as well. It was also about the visual spectacle for me, something about watching excess makes me excited and sad in a way that is both fluffy fun and emotionally satisfying. I'm sure a lot of people watching this film thought all that money/cocaine/hookers looked like an ideal life, but man that would stress me out. If I was ever that filthy rich, I'd read books in an endlessly warm bathtub every day and go to a party like once every other month. In other news, I like Jonah Hill more with every film.

4. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues - I liked this a lot better than the first Anchorman, actually. Not because it was actually better, I'm sure, but because my comedic tastes have become a lot more okay with this kind of wackiness over the years (I'm sure part of this can be attributed to my husband and our many improv comedy friends).

3. Blue Jasmine - The plot had a number of surprises for such a simple story. Plenty of laughs, too, in the "this is so true to life" or the "this is such a unique character" kind of way, not the jokey kind of way, which is often the humor that sticks with you longer. Every single character had that superb balance of likeablity and unlikeability that is the hallmark of very good writing and acting.

2. This is the End - Laughed the whole way through. It looked like the actors had a lot of fun making it, which is always a plus to me, especially in comedy (this also can definitely be said for Anchorman 2). The Backstreet Boys cameo at the end was the happiest I have ever been in my life.

1. Her - This will definitely be the movie that sticks with me the longest. I think about it quite frequently, as the themes of the film touch on so many themes of real life: relationships, technology,  what makes us human, where are we going as a human race, etc. I happened to have just finished Jeff Hawkin's On Intelligence when I watched this film, so the differences between humans and computers was already very much on my mind and the ideas of film fit so nicely into a lot of the things that I've been very interested in lately. Also, the set and costume design was impressive in its portrayal of the not-particularly-distant future. I also liked the optimism of the whole thing. I can think of very few films set in the future that aren't dystopian. I could see a million other stories that would fit into the setting created for this film, and that made the slice of that world that we did see feel very full-formed. Just plain a well-done film.