best of '13

This is my 10th year doing my "best of the year" post and in celebration of that I saw 60 movies released in 2013, the most I've ever watched in a year.

This is a simple list. I'm not the Academy, nor am I the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. I am but a man who enjoys watching movies. I'm still not sure if this is a "favourites" or a "best" list, but I would say it's somewhere in between, which is why I provide explanations. 

I rate every movie I see out of 5. I'm not sure how relevant this is. I may change my rating system next year. 

Here is my criteria for 
  1. I need to have watched the entire movie.
    (I fell asleep during The Comedy)
  2. The movie needed to be released in theatres (or on demand) during the 2013 calendar year.

Total Movies Seen: 60
(58 in '12, 44 in '11, 57 in '10, 43 in '09, 40 in '08, 32 in '07, 55 in '06 and 53 in '05)

# of Movies I Gave 5/5; 19

Notable Movies Not Seen; 

  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Philomena
  • August: Osage County
  • The Butler
  • Captain Phillips
  • The Butler
My 10 best movies of 2013;

10. The Place Beyond The Pines
9. 12 Years A Slave

8. Gravity
7. The Spectacular Now
6. The Wolf of Wall Street
5. Upstream Color
4. Her
3. Short Term 12
2. The Dirties
1. Before Midnight

Honourable Mention (a.k.a. Movies I loved, but didn't make the Top 10)

Star Trek Into Darkness
Man of Steel
The World's End
Don Jon
Fruitvale Station
Drinking Buddies

American Hustle
List Overview
Let's start from the bottom, like Drake

The Place Beyond the Pines was such an underrated movie. It's final act is so divisive that it took me a few weeks to come around to the movie. The movie doesn't really have any heroes, but it feels very honest and deals with what we're willing to do for family. 

12 Years A Slave was just a very good film. The actors were on point, along with the costumes, settings and everything else. It was just too perfect for me. A technical achievement across the board, it's a great movie.

Gravity didn't even feel like a movie to me. The movie is just an experience. It was arguably the most engaging movie I've ever seen in theatres. It's not really about the acting or the plot at all, it was just a treat to watch. 

The Spectacular Now is a coming-of-age film about a boy finishing high-school. He's basically an alcoholic, and he's really popular, but he's growing up and dealing with issues. I've always liked these types of movies, but this one could be my favourite of all time. It seemed very realistic for this type of movie. The acting and cinematography had a big part of that. 

The Wolf of Wall Street was insane. It was like a roller-coaster ride. A 3-hour roller coaster ride. I would vote for Leonardo DiCaprio if I could vote for Best Actor. 

Upstream Color was a trip. A love story at heart, it deals with being connected in the emotional sense of the world. . This was the most original movie I've seen in a long time. 

Her was lovely. The setting was perfect, the acting was perfect and it felt like an honest representation of what could come to be with technology and love. Aside from falling in love with an OS, it feels like an honest representation of what men want in relationships and love. Amy Adams was really good in this, also.

Short Term 12 deals with some serious issues, but also has comedic moments. While you're watching this movie, I think you get a real sense of the day-to-day issues inside of this group home. It's extremely, extremely, extremely well acted movie for a group of young actors. 

The Dirties was disturbingly realistic, dealing with the disturbingly realistic subject of school shootings. This is a must see by anyone. It just feels too real. It's also a Canadian flick. It's like a movie inside of a movie. 

Before Midnight is as realistic as they come. If you're not familiar with this trilogy of movies, educate yourself. If you think two people talking for 90 minutes is boring, well, you're probably right, but this feels so authentic. The issues are real, the tension is real and I've never felt such an insightful perspective into relationships. It's a beautiful movie. 

Biggest Surprise; The Dirties (check the trailer here >> )
I watched this movie on a whim, but it blew my socks off. 

Check here for the full list of movies I saw in 2013 >> 

Thanks for reading!


best of '12

Another year gone by and this was a pretty good movie year. There were better original movies than in the past, I believe. Even with Avengers, Bond and Dark Knight Rises as very good movies that were sequels, movies like Amazing Spiderman and Dredd brought fresh and fantastic reboots to previous film renditions. That's always a big complaint of mine; that there is no originality left in movies. That reason is why films like Looper and Moonrise Kingdom stand out so much to me. 

This is my 9th year doing my 'best of' and I will run through the criteria for this list;
  1. I need to have watched the entire movie.
    (I fell asleep during The Comedy)
  2. The movie needed to be released in theatres during the 2012 calendar year.
    (part of the reason for the delay of publishing this year was that Zero Dark Thirty came out here January 11, 2013)

Total Movies Seen; 58
(44 in '11, 57 in '10, 43 in '09, 40 in '08, 32 in '07, 55 in '06 and 53 in '05)

# of Movies I Gave 5/5; 14

Notable Movies Not Seen; 

  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  • Les Misérables
  • The Master
My 10 best movies of 2012;

10. Dredd
9.  Wreck-It Ralph
8.  Chronicle
7.  Jeff Who Lives at Home
6. Cosmopolis
5. Argo
4. End of Watch
3. Looper
2. Moonrise Kingdom
1. Zero Dark Thirty

Honourable Mention

Dark Knight Rises
Silver Linings Playbook
Django Unchained
The Amazing Spiderman

List Overview
This year I considered just putting out a 10 Best list and not ranking them, but I had to stay true to my original format. 
The most difficult part of this is taking the 14 movies I rated 5/5 through the year and refining the list to 10. There is one movie on the list that I gave a 4.5 and that's Chronicle. This movie was great and I can't remember why I gave it a 4.5, but there was so much to love that I had to put it in my Top 10. Maybe I just liked the kids getting super-powers, or that it's a found-footage film shot mostly in South Africa, but the movies is just plain cool and the acting is great. It just seemed very realistic. 

Jeff Who Lives at Home should have received a lot more attention than it did. The cast was amazing in this and it was all very believable. I just think a movie starring Ed Helms and Jason Segel should get some more buzz. It's sort of like Cedar Rapids in terms of pace, setting and story, which are all very good things.
Wreck-it Ralph was easily one of the best animated movies I have ever seen. The originality of the movie alone is worthy of being on this list, but it's really one of those animated movies that doesn't feel like it is targeted at kids.  

Cosmopolis was a movie I almost hated after I watched it... but the more I thought about it, the better it became. This movie was so contained, so detailed and particular, that you couldn't do a character based movie any better. It's scope was small, but done to perfection. 

End of Watch was a powerhouse indie film and was definitely one of the best 'cop' movies I've ever watched. A lot of attention was paid to the characters and their bond, which worked so well for the style of the film. Also, the integration of the 'found footage' into the film was really cool. 

Looper and Moorise Kingdom were always battling for 1-2 until I saw Zero Dark Thirty. Looper was so original, cool and well-acted that it couldn't be denied. It was like Inception on a smaller scale (kinda). 4-7 is essentially a wash. They're all great movies and even Argo was a little better than I expected, but I didn't find them to be on the same level as my Top 3 (maybe even Top 4). There was nothing spectacular about Argo, aside from the great story and accuracy of which it was captured. Ben Affleck is just a cool, humble and honest dude. I genuinely believe he just wanted to share this story in an accurate way and he ended up with a great film.  Even that sentence would be enough to warrant The Impossible showing up here (which I did give 5/5). 

Zero Dark Thirty was such a show. It had everything except for sex. Which it didn't need. All the sex you needed was the Canaries dominating that house at the end of the movie. I can't say enough about how good it was, but when you take a 2hr47min movie and make it so perfect that you don't know how long it was, that's a thing of beauty. 
Biggest Surprise; Dredd (check the trailer here >> )
There was so much to love about this movie. It was tight a tight and compact story, with gritty visuals and on-point characters. Everything meshed together so well. 

2nd Biggest Surprise; Moonrise Kingdom (check the trailer here >>)
I admit I was getting sick of Wes Anderson movies, but this might be his best. The story was amazing, the characters were lovable and the story was just the perfect amount of quirky. This really held the top spot for a long time. 

Honourable Explanation; In short, Amazing Spiderman, Dark Knight Rises and Skyfall were GREAT movies. I just favour originality more than these 'blockbusters'. Lincoln was really great, but Daniel Day Lewis is probably the biggest part of that. He deserves all the Best Actor Awards.
Silver Linings Playbook was very good, but I think a little overrated. Same goes for Django. 

Check here for the full list of movies I saw in 2012 >> 

I think I need to have an explicit review for each movie I see in 2013. 




best of '11

Another year gone by. Another mad struggle at the end of December to see as many movies as possible.

This is my 8th year doing my 'best of' and I will run through the criteria for this list;

  1. I need to have watched the entire movie. (yeah, I fell asleep during 'The Greatest Movie Ever Sold', so it won't count) 
  2. The movie needed to be released in theatres during the 2011 calendar year. 

That's it. Sadly, I didn't get to see a few movies this year that I really wanted to ...

  • Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • Shame
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • A Dangerous Method

but that's the problem with being a regular dude with a full time job, trying to creep on all these movies.

In total, I watched 44 movies that were released this year.
Not bad compared to previous years
(57 in '10, 43 in '09, 40 in '08, 32 in '07, 55 in '06 and 53 in '05).

Without further ado, the list.

10 Crazy, Stupid, Love
9 Attack the Block
8 Like Crazy
7 X-Men: First Class
6 Moneyball
5 Cedar Rapids
4 Margin Call
3 Super 8
2 Bellflower
1 Drive

Biggest Surprise; Bellflower (check the trailer here >> )

2nd Biggest Surprise; Margin Call (check the trailer here >>)

Honourable Mention; Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Hobo With a Shotgun Contagion, Warrior, Paul, Hanna, Forks Over Knives

These are the most honourable mentions I've ever given out. Mission Impossible was exactly what it wanted to be, which is great. I actually really like the honesty of Crazy Stupid Love. It was well acted and the story was solid, so that's why it got the nod over the honourable mentions

Check here for the full list of movies I saw in 2011 >> 
Don't forget to check my Rotten Tomatoes/Flixster profile for all my ratings. However, I'll try and update this blog for everything in 2012. Oh yeah.




best of '10

Pretty good year, as I got to see 57 movies that were released in theatres in 2010. It was one of the more difficult years to create the Top 10 list. I really wanted to show love for Easy A and True Grit...heck, I even had the Social Network at #4 on my list, but there were some really original movies that seemed to catch my eye this year. Below is the final list, after a few weeks of contemplation.

Top 10
1 Black Swan
2 Inception
3 Animal Kingdom
4 The Town
5 Cyrus
6 Somewhere
7 The Fighter
8 The Social Network
9 Catfish
10 How to Train Your Dragon

Other movies that were in the Top 10 at one point or another -- The Social Network, Greenberg, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Scott Pilgrim, Easy A, True Grit and The Kids Are All Right

Best Comedy and Surprise of the Year - She's Out of My League

The full list of movies I saw in 2010;
Alice in Wonderland
Animal Kingdom
Black Swan
Casino Jack and the United States of Money
Date Night
Dinner for Schmucks
Due Date
Easy A
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Get Him to the Greek
Grown Ups
Harry Brown
Harry Potter Deathly Hallows
Hot Tub Time Machine
How to Train Your Dragon
Human Centipede
I'm Still Here
Iron Man 2
Jackass 3D
Just Wright
Knight and Day
Morning Glory
Ramona and Beezus
Remember Me
Robin Hood
Scott Pilgrim
She's Out of My League
Shutter Island
Solitary Man
The A-Team
The Fighter
The Karate Kid
The Kids Are All Right
The Last Airbender
The Other Guys
The Social Network
The Switch
The Town
The Trotsky
The Wolfman
Toy Story 3
Tron Legacy
True Grit
Valentine's Day

happy new year.


best of '09

All right, so, looking back I didn't think the year was that great, but I did see 43 movies, which is 3 more than last year.
This year may actually be more difficult to compile a top 10. To me, nothing is clearer than 1 and 2, but 3-10 are all very close and were all excellent in my opinion.

Sadly I did not see - Sherlock Holmes, Invictus, Moon, Dr. Parnassus, The Blind Side and 9.

On to the next ones!

10 - Where The Wild Things Are
9 - Inglorious Basterds
8 - Up in the Air
7 - Funny People
6 - Up
5 - (500) Days of Summer
4 - District 9
3 - Fantastic Mr. Fox
2 - Avatar
1 - Brothers

Honourable Mention - Watchmen, The Hangover, The Hurt Locker and Star Trek

There were a lot of really original movies this year. I think that describes 2-5 quite well. Brothers was just super powerful. I've never been so emotionally attached to a movie while watching it. It was deep and very moving. Also, the movie didn't seem to get much love...and it was the first movie I could stand Tobey Maguire.

I know The Hurt Locker is the best reviewed movie of the year, but I'm not really into war movies, and the talk that it's a modern day "Full Metal Jacket" is true, it's not my cup of tea, but I did enjoy it.

All right, another hot one.

On to the next decade.

(I considered a top 10 of the decade, but I'm just a young buck.)

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