The Best of 2013: The Best Around, Nothing's Gonna Keep Them Down
This is it - the final countdown! Cue the music! (Europe is playing in the background somewhere) I have to say, I was excited to get this list started and I had a hard time getting the top 5. Any one of these movies could have been number one. But I had to make choices which were very hard. These movies are worth repeat viewings for sure!
One of the most emotionally satisfying movies of 2013, Star Trek Into Darkness managed to not only pay homage to the original Star Trek canon, but created something unique and more modern than the old Star Trek's never had. When I say emotionally satisfying, I mean it hits all the right notes - there's enough depth of character (especially between Kirk and Spock) but the action is phenomenal. And who can forget Cumberbatch? He's one of the main reasons to see this movie over and over again. A performance worth of Khan. This was my favorite movie walking out of the theaters that day and it probably would have held up if not for the following four movies.
Yes, a schmaltzy romantic comedy made the top 5. But hear me out! The trailers may be entirely misleading for the pessimistic viewer - this is more than just a romantic comedy. There is actually a lot of depth to each character and this story is mostly about a father and his son. Bill Nighy delivers, as usual, a fine performance as the wise father who bestows upon his son the knowledge of time travel. The time traveling aspect is a small part of the story but effective and certainly makes Tim, the son, come to realize the important things in life. It's a very uplifting and joyous movie that will make you feel good about life and people. Which sometimes I think critics like to dismiss as anything but valid for a movie - especially with this year's nominess mainly involving depressing narratives.
Spike Jonze has kind of transcended above the fray of other directors with Her. At once a simple story about finding someone special, but also a much more deeper and complex take on human love and relationships. Joaquin Phoenix delivers the performance of his career and sadly won't get any major awards for it. The best thing about this movie is the attention to detail - Jonze certainly has fleshed out this future world where high-waisted pants are the norm and everything is connected. The attention to detail is astonishing and the movie is better for it, leaving Jonze to focus more on the development of budding love between Theodore and Samantha. A film worthy of endless discussion, Her was one of the best last year.
The year's funniest movie, This is the End, may seem like annoying at first glance, but is one of the most clever and fun comedies. Set against the backdrop of the Biblical rapture, six Hollywood actors/comedians (who play themselves) find themselves alone in James Franco's house with nothing but their big egos for survival. Things get hairy quick and it was fun to see all of these actors skewering themselves for the sake of comedy. Nothing is sacred here and I found myself in tears plenty of times. There's a couple of fantastic cameos at the end and the movie is just plain fun. And on top of all the Hollywood shenanigans, This is the End manages to be a great parody of post-apocalyptic survival movies. This is certainly a comedy that won't wear out its welcome anytime soon.
Alfonso Cuaron's masterpiece is worthy of best picture simply from it's technical brilliance and beautifully cut scenes. But there's more to it than just the cinematography - there's a wonderful story about survival and being truly alone. Space isn't just a metaphor - it's a character in this movie and Sandra Bullock deserves credit for pulling off an amazing performance with what little she had to work with. This soundtrack is loud and pulls you in - it's exhilarating and worth seeing more than once in my opinion. Hands down this was my favorite movie - I could see this movie over and over again - just dim the lights and blast this thing on your TV - it's well worth it.