No year-in-review of mine would be complete without a list of superlatives. As I’ve stated previously, credit for this idea goes to my friend and Miami Herald critic Rene Rodriguez. Make sure you read his list here. So without further ado… 2013: In Superlatives:
Most unexpected plot twist: Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper meet in The Place Beyond the Pines.
Most predictable plot twist: Star Trek Into Darkness. Enough with the box crap, J.J. Abrams! It’s not cute anymore.
Dumbest plot twist: Now You See Me. What a crock of shit!
Worst plot twist: The preposterous supernatural-tinged twist ending of Safe Haven.
Most plot twists: Steven Soderbergh’s cinematic swan song Side Effects was ridden with delightful plot twists.
Biggest cash-grab: The Hangover Part III.
Most pathetic cash-grab: A Good Day to Die Hard.
Most perplexing cash-grab: Oldboy. What was the point of remaking an ultra-violent Korean classic with an A-list director and cast if you’re not even going to bother playing it in over 500 theaters?
Best movie based on a fairy tale: Blancanieves. Now that’s how you make Snow White fresh again!
Worst movie based on a fairy tale: Jack the Giant Slayer. Oh, to be a fly on the wall during the pitch meeting for this one.
Proof that there are people who’ll eat any shit-show Hollywood excretes: The success of Grown Ups 2, We’re the Millers, Now You See Me and Identity Thief.
Proof that movies with female leads are just as potent as male-led films: The wild success of Frozen, The Heat, Gravity, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Proof that women can be as raunchy if not raunchier than men: The To-Do List
Proof that Hollywood is still pulling from the 80s Movies bucket: The Heat (Lethal Weapon), The To Do List (16 Candles), White House Down (Die Hard), Monsters University (Revenge of the Nerds).
Best stunt casting: Kevin Costner as Papa Kent in Man of Steel.
Worst stunt casting: John Cusack as Richard Nixon in Lee Daniels’ The Butler. John Cusack? Really Lee Daniels, really?
Most blatant disregard for logic: The outrageous climax of Fast and Furious 6 in which a cargo airplane is chased by six cars for 15 minutes on what has to the longest runway in the world.
Most blatant disregard for human life and property: Zack Snyder and David Goyer for reducing Superman to a fart-brained Wreck-it-Ralph during the abhorring destructo-porn last act of Man of Steel which according to analysts resulted in property damage worth $700 billion and fatalities at over 129,000. Heroic!
Biggest guilty pleasure: White House Down. Nobody crafts stupid fun the way Roland Emmerich does.
Biggest self-plagiarizer: Hans Zimmer for blatantly remixing cues from his Inception and The Thin Red Line scores for 12 Years a Slave.
Biggest disappointment: The Counselor. Ridley Scott, Cormac McCarthy, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and even Cameron Diaz – this should have been a slam dunk!
Biggest surprise: Rush. A 1970s-set movie directed by Ron Howard about the Formula One rivalry between a drunk Brit and a stuck-up Austrian starring Thor and the seventh lead from Inglourious Basterds. It tanked at the box office but ended up being one of the year’s best. No one could have predicted that!
Best older film that I watched for the first time in 2013: The Wages of Fear.
Cutest Couple: Denzel Washington & Mark Wahlberg in 2 Guns. Their sizzling on-screen chemistry brought a whole new meaning to the title.
Best Terrence Malick movie: Ain’t Them Body Saints
Worst Terrence Malick movie: To the Wonder
Fictional Los Angeles I’d most want to live in: The awe-inspiring world of Los Angeles created by Spike Jonze in Her.
Fictional Los Angeles I’d least want to live in: The favela-infested Los Angeles landscape of Elysium.
Best opening credits sequence: The black-and-white opening credits of Oz, the Great and Powerful.
Best end credits sequence: The creepy transparencies-laced credits of The Conjuring.
Best after-the-credits scene: The amazing reveal at the end of The Wolverine perfectly sets up this summer’s Days of Future Past.
Worst after-the-credits scene: Thor: The Dark World. Both of them! What the hell was that?
Best reason to skip the entire movie for the end credits: The outrageous end credits scene in the putrid The Hangover Part III.
Movie I wish more people saw: About Time
Movie I wish less people saw: Now You See Me
Best sequel: Before Midnight
Worst sequel: A Good Day to Die Hard
Most pointless sequel: Red 2. There were people clamoring for this?
Most overrated: Frozen
Most underrated: Trance
Best comedy: The Wolf of Wall Street
Worst comedy: The Hangover Part III
Best science fiction film: Her
Worst science fiction film: The Purge
Most violent scene in an otherwise family-friendly film: A man cuts out and eats another man’s heart in Disney’s The Lone Ranger.
Most gratuitous nudity: Rosario Dawson in Trance. Uh, did we just see a…
Most likely to start a franchise: World War Z
Most likely to end a franchise: The Hangover Part 3
Most likely to rejuvenate a franchise: Fast and Furious 6
Most deserving of a franchise: Pacific Rim
Most likely to kill plans for a franchise: The Lone Ranger
Most satisfying ending: Before Midnight. Movie magic!
Least satisfying ending: August: Osage County. What? That’s it?
Most likely to inspire a fashion line: The alluring costumes of Her.
Proof that Tom Hanks still has “it”: The gut-wrenching finale of Captain Phillips.
Proof that Johnny Depp has lost “it”: The Lone Ranger.
Proof that M. Night Shyamalan never really had “it”: After Earth
Funniest scene: Leonardo DiCaprio and the Quaaludes in The Wolf of Wall Street.
Saddest scene: “The Shark and the Octopus” in Short Term 12
Most likely to be featured in a Spelling Bee contest:
Class of 2013: Adèle Exarchopoulos
Class of 2012: Quvenzhané Wallis
Class of 2011: Michel Hazanavicius
Best coming of age film: Mud
Worst coming of age film: The Kings of Summer
Most literal depiction of coming of age: Mia Wasikowska takes a shower and literally “comes” of age in Stoker.
Best coming out anthem: “Let it Go” from Frozen. No, seriously.
Most suspenseful sequence: Meeting Victor Tellegio in American Hustle.
Most elegant heist sequence: The stunning single take in which two teenagers break into and raid socialite Audrina Patridge’s swank Hollywood Hills home in The Bling Ring.
Most harrowing sequence: The scene in which a slave is whipped in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.
Most promising actor-turned director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt for Don Jon.
Most promising actress-turned-director: Lake Bell for In a World…
Most elaborate grooming technique: Christian Bale’s labyrinthine combover in American Hustle.
Best accent: Daniel Bruhl’s dead-on portrayal.
Worst accent: Jodi Foster’s preposterous French-German-Gibberish hybrid in Elysium.
Best intentionally bad accent: Amy Adams’ fake British accent in American Hustle.
Best character intro: Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jay Gatsby gets the Baz Luhrmann razzle-dazzle treatment in The Great Gatsby. Oh, the grandiosity and sheet absurdity of it.
Best character death: A certain A-lister meets the “Bolito” in Ridley Scott’s otherwise forgettable The Counselor. If the writing gig doesn’t pan out, Cormac McCarthy should look into designing torture devices. He’ll make a killing! (Pun sadly intended).
Best career advice: Matthew McConaughey teaches Leonardo DiCaprio the tricks of the trade over lunch in The Wolf of Wall Street.
Trashiest sex scene: Cameron Diaz gives Javier Bardem’s windshield the catfish car wash in The Counselor.
Classiest sex scene: A black screen in Her.
Longest sex scene: Blue is the Warmest Color, which also wins this year’s Energizer Bunny award.
Best character name: Hannibal Chau (Ron Perlman) in Pacific Rim
Worst character name: Cypher Raige (Will Smith) in After Earth. Goddamn M. Night Shyamalan, you suck!
Best hero: Sandra Bullock’s Ryan Stone in Gravity
Best villain: Woody Harrelson’s gnarly Harlan DeGroat in Out of the Furnace.
Best performance in a bad movie: Dwayne Johnson in Pain & Gain.
Worst performance in a good movie: Brad Pitt in 12 Years a Slave.
Best scene-stealing performance: Tom Hiddleston as Loki in Thor: The Dark World
Wackiest performance: James Franco in Spring Breakers.
Best on-screen chemistry: Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley in The Spectacular Now
Worst on-screen chemistry: Steve Carrell & Olivia Wilde in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.
The Scott Rudin Producer of the Year award: Brad Pitt. For transforming World War Z from a bad buzz-plagued would-be fiasco to a box office smash, and also for sticking up for Steve McQueen vision and allowing him to bring 12 Years a Slave to the big screen.
The Kanye West Biggest Bitch of the Year award: Writer-director Abdellatif Kechiche – for being a cry-baby during the publicity tour of Blue is the Warmest Color.
The Nicolas Cage Prostitute of the Year award: Bruce Willis – for starring in not one, not two, but three cash-grabbing shit-fests (A Good Day to Die Hard, Red 2 and G.I. Joe: Retaliation)
The Samuel L. Jackson Hardest Worker award: James Franco – who appeared as a sleazy magician in Oz: The Great and Powerful, a sleazy gangbanger in Spring Breakers, a sleazy movie star in This is the End, a sleazy director in Interior. Leather Bar, a sleazy kiddie porn director in The Iceman, a sleazy Hugh Heffner in Lovelace, a sleazy drug peddler in Homefront, and a destitute SOB in As I Lay Dying. How’s that for versatility?
The Matthew McConaughey Career Turnaround award: Matthew McConaugey – for continuing his amazing streak of excellent performances with Mud, Dallas Buyers Club and The Wolf of Wall Street. 2014 looks to be even more promising with roles in HBO’s True Detective and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.
The Gary Oldman Versatility award: Benedict Cumberbatch – who played a conflicted slaver in 12 Years a Slave, a wimpy simpleton in August: Osage County, Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate, a freakin’ fire-breathing dragon in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Alan Rickman in The Simpsons, and of course, Khan in Star Trek into Darkness. Awww… my bad y’all… spoiler alert!
Best acting ensemble: The cast of American Hustle (Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, Louis CK, Jack Huston, Michael Peña, and Robert De Niro).
Best Cameo: Is that… Channing Tatum? in This is the End
Most disturbing sequence played for laughs: Jonah Hill gets sodomized by a demon, Rosemary’s Baby style, in This is the End.
Most disturbing scene not played for laughs: Mass murderer Anwar Congo comes to terms with his sins at the end of The Act of Killing.
Best opening: The first 13 minutes of Gravity – which was a single take.
Best ending: The slow-motion chase in Short Term 12.
Most memorable shot: A man hangs from a tree in 12 Years a Slave.
Strangest musical moment: Alien (James Franco) and the girls perform Britney Spears “Everytime” in Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers.
Funniest musical moment in a musical: Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake and Adam Brody perform “Please Mr. Kennedy” in Inside Llewyn Davis. Outer… space… outer… space… outer…
Funniest musical moment in a non-musical: Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) drunkenly performs Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die” in American Hustle.
Best montage: Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s smug Jon takes us through his daily routine at the start of Don Jon. “My body, my pad, my ride, my family, my church, my boys, my girls, my porn”
Most uncomfortable family dinner: Ryan Gosling takes his “girlfriend” to visit his mom (Kristen Scott Thomas) in Only God Forgives. Awkward!
Best Argument: James Franco and Danny McBride have a “jizz-off” in This is the End.
Best fight: Forget the Kaijus, Tony Stark and Wolverine! The best fight of the year was the one between Jesse and Celine in Before Midnight. They fought for our pleasure and it was unforgettable!
Scariest scene: The clapping hands in The Conjuring.
Most heart-breaking scene: Out of the Furnance. Two old lovers reunite on a bridge
Goriest scene: The “abomination” gets a face-full of chainsaw in Evil Dead
Most likely to score a job at Guantanamo Bay: Hugh Jackman in Prisoners
Best “1% vs. the 99%” Allegory: Blue Jasmine
Worst “1% vs. the 99%” Allegory: Elysium
Worst “Life sucks and you can’t do anything about it” allegory: The Counselor
Best “Life sucks and you can’t do anything about it” allegory: Inside Llewyn Davis
Best opening ruined by the utterly pointless bullshit that followed it: Riddick. The terrific near-wordless opening 15 minutes hinted at something really exciting. Unfortunately, everything that followed it was the same ‘ol generic crap.
Most uncomfortable threesome: Her
Most endlessly hyped movie: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Well that… was disappointing!
Worst marketed movie that ended up making a fortune anyway thanks to sterling word-of-mouth: Frozen. Nobody who watched the trailers could have told you this was a movie about two sisters.
Most creative use of chopsticks: Only God Forgives. Ouch!
Worst customer service: The grocery store employees in The Hunt
Best poster: Spring Breakers
Saddest excuse for a human-being: Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine
Best monologue: “Look at my shit” by Alien in Spring Breakers
Most inspirational speech: Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) charms the socks off of P.L. Travers and somehow manages to get her to endorse his big fat corporate movie in Saving Mr. Banks.
Least inspirational speech: Idris Elba’s corn-tastic “Tonight, we’re cancelling the apocalypse!” speech in Pacific Rim. No wonder those Jaegers keep getting mashed.
Most inspirational speech (for douchebags): Leonardo DiCaprio’s energetic “Pick up the phone!” speech in The Wolf of Wall Street.
Most intentionally cartoonish performance: Sean Penn in Gangster Squad. Edward G. Robinson would be proud.
Most unintentionally cartoonish performance: Meryl Streep devours all her co-stars in August: Osage County.
Shameless Oscar-baiting that failed: Diana, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Jobs
Shameless Oscar-baiting that succeeded: Saving Mr. Banks, August: Osage County
Most embarrassing use of symbolism: The dead dog in Fruitvale Station.
Best action set-piece: Gravity. The entire movie.
Best action set-piece that isn’t Gravity: The thrilling Rube Golberg-style train chase at the end of The Lone Ranger scored to the William Tell Overture. If only the rest of the movie had been this exciting.
Biggest reason why Peter Jackson should get working on that Tintin sequel already: The barrel chase in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
Best trailer: The teaser trailer of The Wolf of Wall Street
Best quote: “I don’t see a lot of money here.” – Bud Grossman’s reaction to Llewyn’s touching audition in Inside Llewyn Davis perfectly captured why money is the antithesis of art.
Best insult (non-profane edition): “You are the mayor of crazytown” – Jesse to Celine in Before Midnight.
Best insult (profane edition): “Why don’t you climb back into your rocket and fuck off back to Legoland, you cunt!” – Gary King (Simon Pegg) gives the alien bad guys an ultimatum in The World’s End.
Most eager to remind you that their movie is based on true events: The “THIS IS STILL A TRUE STORY” tag in Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain.
Least eager to remind you that their movie is based on true events: The “some of this actually happened.” tag in David O. Russell’s American Hustle.
Most effective use of the F-bomb: Robert Reford barely speaks a word in J.C. Chandor’s All is Lost. When he does open his mouth, it’s to let out a gigantic F-bomb.
Most uses of the F-bomb: The Wolf of Wall Street which has 544 instances of the F-word. That’s an average of three-a-minute and a new world record.
Dumbest excuse for a documentary: Room 237 in which a bunch of crackpots over-analyze Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.
Best thematic trend of 2013: The corruption of the “American Dream” – as seen in American Hustle, The Bling Ring, Blue Jasmine, The Great Gatsby, Pain & Gain, Spring Breakers and The Wolf of Wall Street
Best plot trend of 2013: Survival stories – as depicted in 12 Years a Slave, All is Lost, Captain Phillips, Gravity and Lone Survivor
Worst plot trend of 2013: The unwritten rule that every summer blockbuster must include a scene of pornographic-level destruction in which millions of people lose their lives. Culprits include Man of Steel, Star Trek Into Darkness, Pacific Rim, White House Down, Olympus Has Fallen, World War Z. Michael Bay must be proud!
2014 movie I’m most excited for: Christopher Nolan’s cryptic Interstellar
Most dedicated reader: You! For actually making it to the end of this never-ending list!