Time to get back to the countdown after an unplanned hiatus. I feel like an idiot this week because I completely forgot about one of the biggest comedies coming out next year - Anchorman: The Legend Continues! Instead of leaving that movie out or kicking out a really awesome movie I want to see - I've simply added it as number 17A. I would have loved to put it much higher, but there's a great pairing with another comedy that works out really well and frankly, there's a lot of really kick-ass movies I want to see next year that I couldn't possibly bump down, even if it was for Ron Burgandy. So after feeling awful for being sick and busy at work the past few days, on top of feeling really really stupid, here's the next five (six, really!) movies!
Starring: Tina Fey, Paul Rudd
Director: Paul Weitz
Writer: Karen Croner
Release Date: March 8
This year's Friends With Kids came out of nowhere to surprise the crap outta me. It was smart, funny and thoroughly entertaining. I'm getting the same vibe from Admission. It has a respectable cast with Fey and Rudd and the underrated Michael Sheen! Plus you have the director behind About a Boy (such a wonderful movie) working behind the camera. I think this is a recipe for indie comedy hit! Paul Rudd is just great in these kinds of roles (see: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Clueless) and I can only assume he's going to be awesome. As usual, I suspect Tina Fey will be doing the same awesomeness in this movie - it's going to be great seeing where she'll go after 30 Rock ends. The trailer doesn't look particularly funny - but with movies like these, most of the funny parts are left in the actual movie. Plus the drama side of the this dramedy looks particularly good - I'm sure at one point I'll be emotionally moved (in a good way).
19. Red 2
Starring: Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich
Director: Dean Parisot
Writers: Erich Hoeber, Jon Hoeber,
Release Date: August 2
There is very little information about this movie. The original Red was pretty fantastic - it wasn't just some Bucket List meets The A-Team mashup, instead it was a highly entertaining and smart action flick with lots of comedy mixed in. It was a huge surprise and I expect more of the same because the same writers are on board. According to Wikipedia, the film will reunite the team of retired CIA operatives with some new friends as they use their 'old-school style' to take on new enemies in Europe. It's an exceptionally vague plot, but that doesn't bother me that much. What's exciting about this installment is the additional cast members: Anthony Hopkins plays the main villain and Professor Remus Lupin will play an information dealer named the Frog! As long as the movie doesn't mess with the formula, this should be more of the same, which is a good thing in this case!
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Sean Penn
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Writer: Will Beall
Release Date: January 11
Ruben Fleischer's follow-up to the awesomely prophetic Twinkie-less future zombie comedy, Zombieland was a disappointment. 30 Minutes or Less should have been really good - Aziz Ansari is hysterically funny, Jesse Eisenberg does play a good douchebag. But the movie fell flat - the jokes weren't funny and the premise of the movie was propping up the whole thing from start to finish. Sophomore slump's be damned - I think Fleischer is going to step up his game with this drama. This originally was number 43 on last year's list, but due to the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, the film's ending was re-shot. Instead of a major massacre in the theater, the scene reportedly has moved to an open-air shootout in Chinatown. Although I'm always the first to criticize knee-jerk reactions to real-life headlines like this (coughTheWatchcough), I completely understand the need to change this particular scene - the timing was just right enough where they could go back and re-shoot without compromising the integrity and creativity of the movie. Now that the movie has been pushed back to January - my excitement has only grown with a really suave and well-cut trailer. The cast looks fantastic - Emma Stone, Michael Pena, Giovanni Ribisi, Anthony Mackie and Nick Nolte all round out the cast and I'm a little bit frothy at the mouth for some crime and drama mixed together for some fun crama (or drime, if you will). This movie looks a lot like L.A. Confidential (the movie that should have won Best Picture that year. Curse you, James Cameron for lowering the bar before you raised it!), which is a compliment. If Gangster Squad can come even close to replicating that wonderful movie - we'll have a solid hit in January.
17B. The Hangover, Part III
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms
Director: Todd Phillips
Writers: Todd Phillips, Craig Mazin
Release Date: May 24
Here's where things got dicey for me. Originally I only had one movie at 17, but didn't realize that Anchorman was coming out (the fact that it's not on IMDb and Wikipedia as a 2013 release has a lot to do with this) until after I had published most of the bottom 25! Yikes! So this is really 51 movies that are most anticipated, but eh, semantics, really. Now that's out of the way - let's focus on the actual movie! The Hangover Part II was number 4 on my list two years ago and I was a largely disappointed with the sequel. It was almost cut and paste from the first one - replace the baby with a monkey and make sure to have somebody important from the wedding go missing! All of the surprise was mostly not there from the original. But I have faith - Todd Phillips has gone on record saying, "It's certainly not in the same template that you've seen these movies. The third would be very much a finale and an ending." I like the idea of closure (even in comedies franchises!) and I hope this movie goes out with a bang. Apparently the movie will involve a road trip of some sorts and the gang breaking out Zach Galifianakis' character from a mental institution. And if anything is needed in this sequel it's a break from the norm. Despite all that optimism, the film is going back to Vegas this time around and Ken Jeong and Mike Tyson will reprise their roles. So more of the same? Next summer we'll find out.
Starring: Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner
Director: Adam McKay
Writers: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
Release Date: October 19
This was a mistake - I can't believe I forgot about probably the biggest comedy in recent memory. I have a feeling this movie will break a lot of box office records. There's only a handful of comedies that are constantly being quoted that still make people laugh (Airplane!, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Big Lebowski) and Anchorman is one of them. So it's got that going for it, which is kind of a big deal (see what I did there?). The movie hasn't even started filming yet and we already know it's going to be huge. I cannot wait to see what Ron Burgandy and crew are up to now. There's absolutely zero info on the story or who is all going to be in it (Christina Applegate is confirmed, as well as Vince Vaughn), but suffice it to say, it will be epic. There's really not much more to say other than this will be amazing and I will probably watch it ten or twenty times next year.
16. The Wolverine
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee
Director: James Mangold
Writers: Christopher McQuarrie, Mark Bomback
Release Date: July 26
What a tortuous development this movie has gone through. Forget everything you know about the other Wolverine movie (or the original X-Men trilogy for that matter!), because this is going to not reference any of those, even though it will still take place in the timeline. Instead, Hugh Jackman will reprise his role as the legendary mutant Wolverine and will travel to Japan where he confronts a mysterious figure from his past that has lasting consequences. The film is partly based on Frank Miller (300, The Dark Knight, Sin City) and Chris Claremont's limited series Wolverine. This film would have landed in my top 5 list if the original choice of director, Darren Aronofsky, was attached. However, due to filming out of country, Aronofsky had to bow out for family reasons. And although the vision has changed, the script has not and McQuarrie is one hell of writer (X-Men, The Usual Suspects), so not all is lost. And James Mangold is a director whom I've liked what he's done (Knight & Day, 3:10 to Yuma). It's also nice to see the cast filled with international stars, rather than Americans playing Japanese people - it's rare to see a studio take a chance like this on a summer blockbuster. The setting and original tale are what's got me juiced for this movie - it should end up better than the X-Men Origins film. The bar isn't very high for this picture, but I daresay this one could end up being one the summer's better movies.