2013 Recap

“Writing these types of posts is what the commercial breaks of the Golden Globes are for. Who knows, maybe I’ll throw in some show commentary. But it is kind of fitting that I reflect on the past year in entertainment at the same time that those films and entertainers are being honored. With the help of the handy dandy spreadsheet I was good at keeping up this year, let’s look at the numbers:

101 trips to the movies
minus 2 repeats
equals 99 distinct new movies
11 different theaters
across 4 states
63 (!) films at Loews Boston Common
11 at Somerville Theatre
10 at Kendal Square
5 at the Regal Fenway
3 at Apple Cinemas
3 at Jordan’s Furniture IMAX in Reading
2 at Showcase North Attleboro
1 triumphant return to Coolige Corner
1 at LA’s El Capitan Theater
1 in Lincoln RI
29 films rated \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/
18 rated \m/ \m/ \m/ \n
21 rated \m/ \m/ \m/
17 rated \m/ \m/ \n
10 rated \m/ \m/
3 rated \m/ \n
1 rated \m/
12 in January
6 in February
9 in March
3 in April
10 in May
11 in June
9 in July
8 in August
4 in September
6 in October
13 in November
10 in December
I did not keep track of how many gallons of Vitamin Water Zero I must have consumed

For some quick reflections. Not as many films as last year. And while I hit my initial 100 goal, when you leave out the repeats (only Monsters University and Stark Trek Into Darkness this year), it technically wasn’t 100 movies. I was dir staffing two shows this year, so that cut into my movie watching (and you can guess which months those shows went up). I’m also always switching up my routine, and lately I’ve been more about weekend films and not filling in during the week. I did try to be a bit less generous when rating some of the more subpar films. It always hurts me to give a movie a bad score, but I want my high marks to count for something too. There was a lot of good, but nothing really stand out. Well we’ll get into that. Oh and of course, the year is defined by watch date not release date. Here’s the full list first

The Guilt Trip, Zero Dark Thirty, Promised Land, The Impossible, Rust and Bone, Gangster Squad, The Last Stand, Broken City, Amour, Movie 43, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Parker, Warm Bodies, Stand Up Guys, Identity Thief, A Good Day to Die Hard, Side Effects, Beautiful Creatures, The Last Exorcism Part II, Jack the Giant Slayer, Stoker, Oz the Great and Powerful, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Spring Breakers, Admission, GI Joe Retalliation, The Croods, Evil Dead, The Place Beyond the Pines, Trance, Pain & Gain, Iron Man 3, The Great Gatsby, Mud, Star Trek Into Darkness, Aftershock, Fast & Furious 6, The Hangover Part III, Now You See Me, After Earth, The Purge, The Internship, Man of Steel, This is the End, Much Ado About Nothing, World War Z, The Bling Ring, Monsters University, White House Down, The Heat, Despicable Me 2, The Lone Ranger, The Way Way Back, Pacific Rim, R.I.P.D., RED 2, The To Do List, Fruitvale Station, The Wolverine , Elysium, 2 Guns, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, jOBS, We’re the Millers, Kick Ass @, The World’s End, Rush, Prisoners, Riddick, Don Jon, Gravity, Runner Runner, Machete Kills, Escape from Tomorrow, Captain Phillips, Carrie, The Counselor, All is Lost, Kill Your Darlings, 12 Years a Slave, Ender’s Game , Bad Grandpa, Thor: The Dark World, Dallas Buyers Club, Blue is the Warmest Color, Oldboy, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Frozen, Homefront, Philomena, Nebraska, American Hustle, Out of the Furnace, Saving Mr Banks, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Inside Llewyn Davis, The Wolf of Wall Street, Her,

Now for the best. So usually I rank my top ten, but I found that kinda tough to do. I made a first pass at marking faves and ended up with exactly 10, and then couldn’t really rank them. Don’t even get me started on how ambivalent I still am towards picking my Oscar faves, but I’m still got time for that. I guess this year we’re just listing them in alpha order.

American Hustle – I’m actually hoping for this one to pick up some more steam going into awards season, because it was some of the most fun I had at the movies this past year. The fact that that fun was had at a film with such dark undertones makes me even happier. And I still can’t get over the awesome that is J-Law

Dallas Buyers Club – When I was trying to figure out rankings, I actually considered giving this one the top spot. I remember walking out of there just needing to share the experience. It was such an affecting film, with such an unexpected impact. And I expect to see the face of the most beautiful man on earth, Jared Leto, on many award stages this year because he absolutely deserves it.

Elysium – My list wouldn’t be complete without a good sci fi. I love that Blompkamp is able to take such a shiny futuristic movie and lace it with weighty subtext. That seems to be his MO, and it is not a bad one to have.

Fast & Furious 6 – The fast franchise continues to defy all logic by being the one anomaly that actually gets better with each installment. I continually get more invested in each of the characters, and am more and more amazed as the stunts get flashier. They’re rooted in adrenaline and fun, and I can’t get enough.

Gravity – Okay maybe there’s room for two scifi movies, although this one transcends the genre. You hear films described as breathtaking, but I don’t think I’ve ever used that to also mean that I didn’t breathe during the whole thing. This film is just amazing in so many ways.

Much Ado About Nothing – Oh c’mon, did you actually expect me to leave off Joss Whedon’s offering from the year? Please.

Oldboy – Reception for this movie was rather mixed, but all I know is that it easily gave me the most visceral reaction all year, maybe ever. I like my movies messed up, and few mainstream (ish) films have the balls to go where this one went.

Side Effects – Another necessary entry on my list: the psychological thriller. This was probably my favorite movie released before summer. The twists and turns give you whiplash and make your skin crawl.

The Wolf of Wall Street – Really saving the best for last and worth the wait. Like Hustle, the perfect Dawn-approved mix of dark and comic and just wtf.

This is the End – While I will enjoy many straight up comedies, it takes something special for me to enjoy it enough to make this list. I enjoy each of those actors invidually, and with their forces combined they put together more wonderfully offensive humor than I could dream of.

But not all films are winners. That brings us to (also just in alpha order)

After Earth – OMG so boring. A whole lotta nothing happened, and Will Smith opted for a robotic interperation letting his son take the spotlight. But sadly Jaden didn’t pick up that Smith charm that could have saved this movie.

Broken City – I just remember two things about this movie. It didn’t go anywhere, and Catherine Zeta-Jones overacted. Thank God Mark Wahlberg had other, better movies this year.

Good Day to Die Hard – Why why why would you do this to a franchise. None of the classic elements that make these films so great were there. Instead we just had a poorly thrown together unimaginitive action movie. Broke my heart.

Man of Steel – But Superman broke my heart even more. A rehashed origin story we all know, that was formulated to emulate certain other successful superhero movies and failed miserably. None of what makes Superman super was there.

Stand Up Guys – This film did have the unfortunate disadvantage of being one of the first clunkers of the year, right after I’d resolved to not be afraid to give bad ratings. I just found it boring beyond all reason. But at least it didn’t devastate me like some of those other heartbreakers.

And that’s a wrap! Here’s to even more in 2014″

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