18 February 2014
I saw 90 movies in 2013 (or shortly thereafter, if we’re being honest- I don’t know how anyone is expected to see all the Christmas releases in one week!). 90 is a lot of movies, or at least it is for me (I head up My Theatre and My TV, My Cinema is Rachael’s problem). I think 90’s a lot for anyone (to clarify- that’s 90 movies that came out in 2013, not movies in general). It’s especially a lot in a year that was something of a disappointment film-wise. Following up the greatness that was 2012, 2013 left me feeling a little uninspired. There were some highlights, certainly- some tiny movies, some huge, some blockbusters, some critical favourites, some flops that got a bad rap- but little of the excitement that I felt the previous year.
To recap the year, I decided to replace a top 10 list (or top 15, if you’re 2012) with a full ranking of My Cinematic 2013. All year long I kept tabs on what I saw, jotting down a few notes and fitting each film into the ever-growing list wherever I instinctively felt it should go. With the perspective of time, some have moved up or down a few spots but both #1 and #90 have stayed firmly in their hard-earned territory as the best and the worst.
Let’s start with the truly ugly: #80-90, the ten worst films of the year (okay, to be fair let’s just call them my ten least favourite films of the year).
Incredibly annoying because its existence will likely deter the Sorkin version from ever getting made. Josh Gad is great as Wozniak and Ashton Kutcher is clearly trying very hard as Jobs, but no one thought to put in the flash of genius a Jobs biopic desperately needs.
81. Movie 43
Whose idea was this and how did they get it greenlit? A series of vignettes linked extremely loosely by an increasingly absurd framing device wherein Dennis Quaid (in a gloriously vanity-free sendup) pitches to movie executive Greg Kinnear. Amazing cast of prestigious people doing the weirdest things I’ve ever seen on film but did the world need the image of Hugh Jackman with balls on his neck? That’s the important question.
82. The Host
I’ve never seen Twilight so this was my first Stephenie Meyer encounter and it was… odd. She wrote a strong sci-fi story but it makes for a crazy cheesy film. Saoirse Ronan is as eerie as ever (perhaps unintentionally) and Max Irons is a stick-in-the-mud love interest. But Jake Abel is an engrossing love interest so it sort of balances out.
83. Pain & Gain
The saving graces of this completely ridiculous film are three-fold. 1) Rebel Wilson because she’s always splendid. 2) The Rock because his take on absurd humour is truly magical. 3) The fact that it’s a true story. Because this would be the worst storytelling possibly ever if it wasn’t real.
84. Oz: the Great and Powerful
A laugh or two, some good effects, fantastic costumes, and that’s it. The main Witch of the West twist is too obvious and the whole cast of heavy-hitters phone it in way more than they should (except Zach Braff as the monkey; he brought his A game). I liked the magician-trick battle sequence though.
85. The Look of Love
What a genuinely weird film. Anna Friel is amazing in it and there are moments of really genuinely moving sadness around Imogen Poots’ melancholy portrait of a lost girl. But the plot meanders and Steve Coogan’s Paul Raymond is never someone to root for.
It’s okay, I guess. The technology is cool but the twists are about as predictable as a bus crash on Grey’s Anatomy. No one can say Tom Cruise is getting too old for this shit because he seems to be ageing backwards, but he’s always been too good for this shit and, as he ages, he seems to be getting even more mired in it.
87. Geography Club
So many great ideas badly executed this year. Somewhere in this movie lies an important movie… covered in cliché melodrama and questionable acting. The highlight was 90210 macho man Justin Deeley as a tortured closet case/football star.
Cool in theory but in practice nothing more than the most heavy-handed political metaphor of the year. It’s about immigration, we get it, but not a good enough sci-fi film to support the weight of its own lack of subtlety.
89. The Right Kind of Wrong
A sweet concept that could have worked if it hadn’t been constructed terribly, predictable, and full of characters too awful to root for (the exceptions being Raoul Bhaneja and his gorgeous, clever little kids). Also, the point of Captain Awesome was that he’s not the privileged douchebag post-modern culture has taught us to believe that someone who looks and sounds like that will be. This movie made Ryan McPartlin be, well, not Captain Awesome; he deserves better.
90. The Counselor
What Was this thing? It’s not just that Cameron Diaz had sex with a car, I actually fully understood that moment in the larger context of her character and I liked how much it freaked out Javier Bardem (“it was so…gynecological” is actually a great line) but the dialogue was melodramatic, the characters cartoonish, and the plot made Zero Sense. The most total and complete mess of the year.