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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Movies numbers 123- 105

Although this list does rank the films that I saw this year, and I critique them, I want everyone to know that I still enjoyed every single movie that I saw this year on some level. If it is a movie and I am watching it, I am enjoying it.

In making this list, I have created 7 categories in which I placed the films. To try to ensure that my placement in the categories was correct, I went through and made sure that, as I rose through the levels, I would generally rather watch a film from level 3 before I watched one from Level 4, and so on. Then, in each level, I ranked them again, so that, generally speaking, I would rather watch number 105 than 1-8 and so on.

The only time that I did not follow this ranking is in my section of 'Pure Entertainment'. These are generally action films and these are ranked in chronological order. Since my dad was a cop, I grew up watching cop shows and they are generally like "comfort food" to me and I can watch them at any time and I am almost always much more lenient on these types of films than I should be- that's why they get their own section.

It was 13 years ago, while watching 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' that I realized that, in order to consider something really good and solid that I had to care or that it had to really touch me in some way. The films which are lower on my list are there, more often than not, because, at the end of the film, I didn't really care about the characters or the story told, and I was able to walk out of the theater and not really think much more about the story and the characters and it was only the technical maiking of the film that kept going through my head.

On the other end of the spectrum, though, I am starting to realize that the films that make the top of my list are ones where I do honestly care about the story or characters, where I am transported into the film and forget everything for 2 hours, or films that have deep connective ties to me.
I will admit, right now, that the films that are at the very top of my list this year are ones that, even though I see flaws in them, they touched me and struck a deep chord somewhere in me. These chords include cancer, family, fathers, and creatvity.
In fact, to give a bit of a tease, my favorite film of the year is actually one that had no real storytelling surprises at all, but it featured 4 actors at the top of their craft making a heartfelt film that had me laughing or crying the entire 90 minute running time the first time I saw it and, while I did not quite do the same the second time that I saw it, I still laughed a lot and got very teary.

Anyway, that is for a different post. Here, to start off the list are my least favorite films that I saw this year.

Bottom of the Barrel-

123- The Host- I am not a Stephanie Meyers hater who automatically hates it just because she is behind it. While I do think the Twilight films were bad, they had certain actors and moments that stopped them from being the absolute worst and, conceptually, I have heard of storylines that are much worse (a high school cheerleader who is also a vampire slayer). The Host, however, even though it has a great cast and a concept that is not necessarily a bad concept, should have stayed on the page. The actors do what they can, but they can’t save it. Having a voice over done by the voices in the main girl’s head doesn’t work, a love quadrangle with 2 minds in one female body and 2 separate boys is laughable, sets look chintzy…the list goes on. It ended up just being a very very bad film and not working on any level.

Good moments, good cast, but large disappointments

122- Diana- Naomi Watts does a great job in playing “The People’s Princess” in this film look at the last 3 years of Diana’s life, but, had I not lived through the actual events, I wouldn’t have cared at all about anything that happens. It is boring, plotless, and gives nothing more than a glance behind the fa├žade. Very, very disappointing.

121- Book Thief- While I know that many people are loving this film, both of an older generation and younger, I found this film very boring and pointless. Whena main plotline is about the hiding of a Jew in a basement in Nazi Germany and absolutely nothing comes of it either plotwise or characterwise, it is a very misguided film. Story points are brought up and dropped, never to be heard from again, characters make random decisions that do not have any point, things happen for no reason, and again, the list goes on and on. Only the acting by Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, and the main character played by Sophie Nelisse and the mjusic score by John Willliams make this even worth watching.

120- Last Exorcism 2- I really enjoyed the first film and found it both fascinating and terrifying. There is almost none of that here. Only Ashley Bell’s lead performance keeps this one on the tracks. I like the darkness of where they were trying to go, but it just didn’t work.

119- To Do List- While the cast is amazing, absolutely nothing of any interest really happens in this film. It feels like a generic 80’s sex comedy that was barely released and only Clark Gregg and Connie Britton as Aubrey Plaza’s parents make any impact. No laughs cripple a comedy.

118- Counsellor- While I love the darkness and bleakness of this film, I just didn’t care. I liked some of the monologues, but at the end of the day, I did not feel any of the stakes for any of the characters, some of the acting was bland, other acting was flat-out bad, some scenes were ridiculous in a bad way- this is showing up on Top 10 and Bottom 10 lists this year and for me, it is on the bottom.

117- RIPD- Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, mary Louise Parker and Kevin Bacon are all game, but this film is a pale imitation of Men in Black. Only a few silly quips keep it from the bottom.

116- Dead Man Down- Dripping with mood and good acting, but with a pace that is plodding and a plot that is uninteresting, this Colin Farrell-starrer was easily forgotten upon leaving the theater.

115- Rapture-Palooza- A few random laughs and a great comedic cast with impeccable timing (Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, Ana Gasteyer, Thomas Lennon, John Francis Daley) does not save this misfire about a woman who, after the rapture, is coerced into getting intimate with the Anti-Christ so that she can trick him and imprison him for a thousand years. Too much emphasis on the crude jokes while the actually funny bits are few and far between. Oh, and Anna Kendrick looks great in the white dress.

114- Hangover 3- I really admire the fact that the filmmakers took this film in a different direction (as opposed to Hangover 2) and make 3 more of an action film. Unfortunately, very little of it works. Bradley Cooper having to climb down the outside of Caesar’s Palace and Chow’s parachuting down the strip are highlights, as is a quick reunion with Heather Graham’s hooker from the first film adds a touching couple of scenes, but otherwise, again, why bother (?) and very forgettable.

113- Machete Kills- I knew that I was going into a complete piece of trash filmmaking- which I got- however, as opposed to the original film, it isn’t much fun. Until the last 30 minutes or so of the 2 hour running time. Then the film springs to life with all the gloriously bad, cheesy plotpoints connect and it almost redeems itself. Almost. By that point, though, the film has overstayed its welcome (see: The Lone Ranger) I am srtill excited to see Machete Kills Again…. In Space.

112- Pulling Strings- In what is basically an extended Three’s Company setup, a mariachi band member helps a Consulate worker who just denied him his US Visa find a computer that she thinks was lost but is actually safely at his apartment in exchange for receiving a Visa. I laughed only once in this two hour long romantic “comedy” and while definitely not a chore to sit through, the script meanders way too much and the chemistry between the leads is non-existent.

111- Hobbit- Desolation of Smaug- I have not really been a fan of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, nor the previous Hobbit film. However, the more that I thought about this film, the more I disliked it. Other than Evangeline Lilly, the barrel/ river chase, and the Dolby Atmos sound, I disliked this movie. The Hobbit was barely in it except for the last 40 minutes or so, it belabored plot points and… Every. Single Thing. That. Each. Character. Says. Is. Of. The. Utmost. Importance. The action was not fun nor was it exciting, the characters were boring, Gandalf is off on his own adventure through most of the running time watching the menace of Sauron buld (which is absolutely non-essential to this story),and Smaug was not menacing. Also, apparently in a world that has Elves, Dwarves, and Orcs, cats and pigs are alive and well. It feels as though the film is struggling to give the audience more of what it loved in the original trilogy and this time, you see the film’s own flop sweat. CGI still looks like CGI. The best thing of this film? I only have about 3 more hours to spend in middle earth.

110- Jobs- Steve Jobs is a fascinating individual. He pushed technology further than anyone expected it could go. He was a perfectionist. And a world class jerk. That is basically what I got out of this film about Steve Jobs. I have not read his biography nor do I know everything about him and his associates. This film introduces names that I know but does not give me much reason to care. It jumps back and forth in time for the opening 20 minutes. His wife is only onscreen when he can yell at her. Characters are introduced and then forgotten until it is time for Jobs to betray them or for them to betray Jobs. While the acting is the only thing going for this film, it makes it worth it, but it never really scratches anything more than the surface and gives us anything other than: Jobs was a genius, Jobs was a jerk sequences.

109- Beautiful Creatures- While not unwatchable, there is also nothing really noteworthy about this adaptation of the first in a series of young adult novels trying to be the next Twilight. The production is competent, the acting is good, but again, nothing connected with me in the story or the characters. Emma Thompson and Jeremy Irons are always welcome to watch, but even they can’t save this film.

108- Paranoia- Paranoia is actually only a plotpoint for about 5 minutes of this film. This is one of the most bland films made this year. Characters aren’t really characters in this film, they are chess pieces and they make moves and decisions only to get them to certain places in the plot- nothing seems natural or plausible. Gary Oldman chews the scenery and ignites his scenes. Harrison Ford doesn’t even appear until about the 40 minute mark and only has a few scenes. The real killer of this film is the non-relationship between its leads Liam hemsworth and Amber Heard, both of whom I have liked in other films, but do nothing but recite dialogue here. Even though the plot is silly now ( a phone which has lots of capabilities) it could have been overshadowed by gutsy directorial decisions and a tighter script. This is a real disappointment.

107- Butler- Forest Whitaker is amazing. Let me repeat that- Forest Whittaker is amazing. Otherwise, this is a horrible white-guilt crowd pleaser meant to make white people feel good about themselves because now we have a black President. This takes a fascinating true story and morphs it into a horrible Forrest Gump like film where the titular butler’s son is involved in every single important piece of the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s. because the Presidents speak to The Butler, they make decisions leading to the laws giving Civil Rights across the board. Oprah Winfrey is along for the ride and co-stars as The Butler’s wife who hates him for the first half of the film and admires him for the second half with no turning point other than it was written in the script. Some of the cameos are great but for every good moment in this film, there is an awful, cringe-inducing moment. I hope that this wons no Academy Awards, especially for Oprah, and that, if any black film wins awards, it should be 12 Years a Slave, a much, much more well-made film.

106- Man of Steel- Another film that makes a really awful choice for every awesome choice. I like a lot of man of Steel. Cavill is great, Amy Adams is an actual Lois Lane that I believe is an award winning journalist, Diane Lane and Kevin Costner bring the heart to Clark’s yearning for home and family and Michael Shannon is an evil bad guy with motives I understand and sympathize with. I like the “hero who disappears” angle along with the parts of the military not knowing if Superman is a threat or not. Unfortunately, I realized that I just don’t care about Superman’s backstory and Krypton. I never have. Thus, seeing it again and continuing to discuss it bored me out of my mind. Also, the last 45 minutes or so can be summed up like this- IHOP- punch, punch, punch, punch punch, punch, Sears, I throw you through a building, you throw me through a building, bad CGI, bad CGI, punch, punch, punch, punch, punch, punch. Way too long, drawn out and boring. I am more excited for the sequel than I am in ever watching this again.

105- Bullet to the Head- Sylvester Stallone returns as a mobster who has to work with a cop to find who killed their respective partners, all helped out by Sarah Shahi as Stallone’s tattoo artist daughter. This is a very non-descript action film with a fun, exciting climax. I have become a Shahi fan this year after watching the TV show ‘Life’ and she adds some much needed spark, but nowhere near enough. Otherwise, nothing here.

Total List of everything watched in 2013

Here is a list of everything that I have watched for the first time during 2013. I have decided to keep it to first time watches because, if I have seen something before, I may watch it while I fold laundry and only watch a specific 20 minutes or so. I figured this was just the easiest way to do it as, if I have not seen it before, I will push through and finish it as opposed to the half-watche or clips or listing Raiders of the Lost Ark 13 more times. I have notated if I watched a specific film more than once this year as well.

This list includes a total of 178 films watched this year- 155 individual new films watched- along with 5 seasons of half hour long tv shows and 23 seasons of hour long TV shows.

Here it is, my list of everyhing new watched in 2013:

Previous Years’ films

Big Red One
Code of Silence
Goon- 2x
Green Berets
Just Go With It- 2x
Rocky Balboa
To Catch a Thief
Trick or Treat- 1986
Visiting Hours
Warning Shot

Watching Currently

TV Series

Big Bang Theory Ssn 5
Body of Proof Ssn 2
Body of Proof Ssn 3
Castle Ssn 4
Community Ssn 4
Covert Affairs Ssn 2
CSI Miami Ssn 10
CSI NY Ssn 8
CSI NY Ssn 9
CSI Vegas Ssn 12
CSI Vegas Ssn 13
Dollhouse Ssn 1
Fairly Legal Ssn 1
Fairly Legal Ssn 2
Good Wife Ssn 2
Hart to Hart Ssn 1
House of Lies Ssn 1
Law & Order LA Complete series
Life Ssn 1
Life Ssn 2
Mentalist Ssn 2
Mentalist Ssn 3
Mentalist Ssn 4
Newsroom Ssn 1
Party Down Ssn 1
Rizzoli & Isles Ssn 3
Psych Ssn 6
Suburgatory Ssn 1

2012 films

Les Miserables- 2x
Jack Reacher
Life of Pi
Lay the favorite
The Hobbit
Zero Dark Thirty
The Impossible
Django unchained
Wreck It ralph- 2x
Beasts of Southern Wild
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Seven Psychopaths
Perks of Being a Wallflower
Fun Size
Hit & Run
Man with the Iron Fists

2013 Films

1-Texas Chainsaw 3D
2- Hansel & Gretel Witch hunters
3- Warm Bodies
4- Good day to Die Hard
5- Snitch
6- Dark Skies- 2x
7- Jack the Giant Slayer
8- Last Exorcism Part 2
9- Oz- Great & Powerful
10- Dead Man Down
11- Incredible Burt Wonderstone
12- The Call
13- Croods
14- Gi Joe- Retaliation- 2x
15- Olympus Has Fallen
16- The Host
17- Jurassic Park 3D- 2x
18- 42
19- Spring Breakers
20- Trance
21- Evil Dead
22- Oblivion
23- Iron Man 3
24. Star Trek Into Darkness- 3x
25- The Last Stand- 2x
26- Hangover Part 3
27- Now You See Me- 3x
28- Fast & Furious 6
29- Gangster Squad
30- Man of Steel
31- World War Z- 2x
32- Monsters University
33- This is the End
34- The Heat- 2x
35- Bling Ring
36- White House Down- 2x
37- Lone Ranger
38- Kevin Hart- Let Me Explain
39- Pacific Rim
40- RED 2
41- RIPD
42- Way, Way Back- 3x
43- To-Do List
44- Unfinished Song- 2x
45- Conjuring- 2x
46- Wolverine
47- 2 Guns
48- Percy Jackson- Sea of Monsters
49- We’re the Millers
50- Kick Ass 2
51- Paranoia
52- Elysium
53- Mortal Instruments- City of Bones
54- The World’s End- 3x
55- Closed Circuit
56- Jobs
57- Getaway
58- Spectacular Now
59- Riddick
60- You’re Next
61- Despicable Me 2
62- Butler
63- The Family
64- Instructions Not Included
65- Room 237
66- Bullet to the Head
67- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
68- Baggage Claim
69- Thanks for Sharing
70- Prisoners
71- Rush
72- Runner Runner
73- Don Jon
74- Insidious Chapter 2
75- Gravity
76- Saratov Approach
77- Pulling Strings
78- Crystal Lake Memories
79- Captain Phillips
80- Machete Kills
81- Enough Said
82- Hatchet 3
83- Carrie
84- Escape Plan
85- Last Vegas
86- Ender’s Game
87- All is Lost
88- Counselor
89- Thor Dark World
90- About Time
91- Diana
92- 12 Years a Slave
93- Dallas Buyers Club
94- Delivery Man
95- Hunger Games: Catching Fire
96- Frozen- 2x
97- Homefront
98- Philomena- 2x
99- Out of the Furnace
100- Drew- the Man Behind the Poster
101- Book Thief
102- Black Nativity
103- Rapture-Palooza
104- Company You Keep
105- Drinking Buddies
106- Anchorman 2
107- Hobbit- Desolation of Smaug
108- American Hustle
109- Saving Mr. Banks
110- Pain & Gain
111- Parker
112- Secret Life of Walter Mitty
113- Wolf of Wall Street
114- Epic
115- 47 Ronin
116- Mama
117- Byzantium
118- Behind the Candelabra
119- Grudge Match
120- Broken City
121- Great Gatsby
122- Beautiful Creatures
123- Mud