The Honorable Mention Movies of 2013

29 Dec

I’m pulling a list together for SOWP, but this isn’t a best or worst of list. I tried to a make a list of movies that were better than expected and deserved more attention than they got but not movies that were solely independent or underground films. I also tried to include a range of genres so there’s something for everybody. The term “Honorable Mention” seems to fit best, so in no particular order here’s my Honorable Mention movies of 2013.

The conjuring

The Conjuring – Mostly I think scary movies are junk, they never scare me and are just stupid, predictable, formulaic, and boring. But if you ignore the “true story” bullshit that The Conjuring wants us to believe it’s the best scary movie of the year. It builds suspenseful, genuine creepy moments without CGI or other big budget toys. The best of these moments simply involve clapping hands (shudder) I never want to hear clapping while my eyes are closed after that. Now toward the end it went over the top but I was surprised by how good The Conjuring was. The eerie moments during the build up to the third act,  along with Vera Formiga’s performance make it well worth viewing.

Oblivion – I’m not a big Tom Cruise fan but he’s at his best when he does Sci-fi and despite this movie using just about every sci-fi trope there is it doesn’t feel like a cliché but more like a highlight reel. It has everything you want from sci-fi; post-apocalyptic setting, lasers, robots, bubble-ships, gorgeous computer readouts, aliens, clones, and at the end I was like “Well hello there Hal”. Just accept that there’s always something stupid in sci-fi, it’s part of what makes the genre. Instead focus on the stark beauty of the Icelandic locations, the cool looking special effects, and the other cast members like Oscar winners Melissa Leo and freaking Morgan Freeman.

This Is The End – I was getting pretty tired of seeing Seth Rogan and Jonah Hill everywhere. When I heard this movie was just that whole crew of people playing themselves, I half expected self-indulgent ass kissing. But they were making fun of themselves a little in the previews, so hoping to see more insult based humor I watched it. It was really funny at attacking the celebrity culture and making fun of the World Ending scenario that’s so popular now. Highlights include Danny McBride being who I think he is in real life, a coked up Michael Cera, a dominated Channing Tatum, and the biggest dick joke ever. I do think it is weird that grown ass straight men equate The Backstreet Boys with heavenly paradise, but whatever.

Black Fish

BlackFish – This isn’t a Hippie-dippey save the Whales documentary. I actually learned some stuff about the Orca’s biology, social structure, and how smart they really are. I was also fascinated at how these traits are exploited to train these animals for aquatic parks. This story isn’t presented by extreme animal rights activists but rather by the former employees of Sea World and even the guy that captured the whales from the ocean in the first place. This documentary is important, but why people should watch it is that we all remember Sea World and Shamu when we were younger and have recently heard about the death of a Sea World employee caused by the Orca she’d trained. This is an in depth journalistic investigation of what you haven’t heard about that story.

Grabbers – A small town in Ireland develops a slight problem with bloodsucking alien parasites, so logically the thing to do is poison your blood so they won’t attack you. Bottom’s up, turns out the aliens are less tolerant of low blood-alcohol levels than M.A.D.D. (I exaggerate M.A.D.D. is worse, and more frightening). Grabbers has a couple funny moments but really it is a throwback to those monster movies from the 70’s and 80’s. It is a little U.K. movie with Irish charm and a seriously designed horrifying monster. A perfect movie to drink to if you’re like me, because just like the characters in the movie, I have to drink to survive.

Rapture-Palooza – Another comedy about the apocalypse but the reason I liked this one is because it’s as if the movie about the end of the world went on a diet, it’s like “Apocalypse Lite”. The characters treat Armageddon like they’re stuck at a bad job “And now it is raining blood… gross.” Craig Robinson plays The Beast / Anti Christ as a man who knows he has power but doesn’t know what to do with it, he sings songs about how sexy he is and talks about going to the bathroom to seduce women. The best performance might be Tom Lennon as the only guy to fulfill the prophecy that says the dead shall rise again, he comes back from death to mow his lawn. I like how this movie is original and toned down, it almost makes the apocalypse cute.

Europa Report

Europa Report – I hate found footage movies but this one works because it all takes place in a confined disconnected setting, a space capsule bound for the Jupiter moon Europa. The astronauts cope with technical difficulties that get worse and worse but they’re determined to find evidence of microbial life on the surface despite the mysterious blue lights that flare up now and then. I think this movie suffered from it’s weird distribution; first it was only online for months, then pay per view, then a few theaters carried it for like 2 weeks. Anyway check it out if you like sci-fi horror movies.

Disconnect – Let’s face it we all spend a fair amount of time alone in a room staring at a computer screen ( I Bet you’re doing it right now) but you never see that portrayed in a movie. Disconnect explores how we’re using the internet to effect each other and what sort of consequences that may have. This movie is not anti-technology or anti-internet, it just shows how this new form of human interaction creates consequences that didn’t even exist a decade or 2 ago and how these characters are struggling to adapt to a wired world.

So long 2013 it was kind of a disappointing year for movies but that just means we have to look a little harder to find them.

Carl Wells

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One Response to “The Honorable Mention Movies of 2013”

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  1. Stupid Oscar Predictions | Stupid Opinions Written Poorly - February 24, 2014

    […] win – BLACK FISH I think this movie was one of the highlights of the year but it didn’t even get nominated. But 20 FEET FROM STARDOM was the most entertaining of the […]

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