2013: What I Loved
In what is probably the oddest assortment of favorites I've had yet on this irregularly updated blog, 2013 seemed destined to be a year of "meh" movies, ones that didn't particularly move me one way or another, especially after 2011 and 2012 had clear standout productions. My worries were maximized as anxious flicks like Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness failed to resonate with me all that much. But this was really the year of surprises, as I'll explain below.
At the time of this writing, there's still some films I would like to have seen that remain unseen, thanks to Mankato's unfailing repertoire of not playing anything that isn't a big budget wide release. The likes of the Inside Llewyn Davis and Blue Jasmine, for example, have yet to hit around here, and I've been quite interested in Lake Bell's In a World (which at least hits DVD soon). So below remains mostly unfinished, but for now, it's as complete as it could be.
One honorable mention I want to bring attention to is Blue is the Warmest Color. It's one of the most raw and real portrayals of young and adult love that I've ever witnessed, and boasts scenes (e.g., the emotional whirlwind of a diner scene) that won't leave the mind anytime soon. But for all its exceptional character building and accomplished realism, it simply didn't grab me in a wholly positive note. Without hesitation, I'd recommend it to any interested party, but the film left me, regrettably, indifferent.
The below list is in no numerical, ranking order. They are simply the movies that I cherished in 2013, with small explanations why. Some of these will be on many lists released for the year, while others, not so much. Enjoy!
The Way, Way Back
I am a sucker for coming-of-age stories, I absolutely am, and The Way, Way Back, written by the guys behind The Descendants, is one of the better releases in this subgenre I've seen in a while. 2013's much celebrated The Spectacular Now failed to make much of an impact on me, compared to this work. Perhaps it's the different approaches each film took. Spectacular Now aimed for gritty realism, and The Way, Way Back favored a whimsical, cheeky (but still noticeably dark) tone that made it a more fun enterprise to watch. The main lead may not have been able to match the wit of the script, in the films only real drawback, but the phenomenal work of Sam Rockwell and the shockingly layered turn of Steve Carrel definitely catapults this flick to a real favorite. Watching Duncan pushed into situations he's uncomfortable with, and eventually growing into his own and even displaying confidence, it's a fun journey, and with a script full of witticisms, it's hard not to constantly blurt this title out as a recommendation.
Man of Steel
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The Wolf of Wall Street
Short Term 12
The World's End