In the midst of awards season and with the Oscars right around the corner, it seems like all the talk around COM has been about movies, so I thought I should be a good film student and make my “Top 5 Movies of 2013” list.
5. Captain Phillips
Pretty much anything with Tom Hanks gets my stamp of approval, but this movie really stands out. Going in, I was a little worried the story was going to get the Hollywood treatment and seem too over the top. I was surprised though; while Tom Hanks does come off as a hero, they don’t make him a saint, and I actually even felt bad for the pirates at some point. Barkhad Abdi makes his film debut as the leader of the pirates, and gives one of the best performances I’ve ever seen. The director Paul Greengrass’ shaky-camera style from the Jason Bourne movies is in full effect here, and it works perfectly with the cramped shots inside the boat. For a movie where you know the ending going in, there’s an incredible amount of suspense.
4. Inside Llewyn Davis
I’m usually not a huge Coen brothers fan. I liked True Grit but beyond that, I feel like I just don’t get their movies. Inside Llewyn Davis was another pleasant surprise for me. The music alone is great, featuring Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake, and Marcus Mumford. Some of the tracks are depressing (fair warning, the whole movie is pretty depressing) but some are a lot of fun, like “Please Mr. Kennedy,” JT’s protest song asking JFK not to send him to the moon (yes, it’s as strange as it sounds). The movie is slow, but I was never bored. Personally I feel like it got shorted at the Oscars and deserved to at least be nominated in a lot more categories, if not win them.
Frozen is fun. There’s no other way to put it. The songs are catchy, the characters are goofy, and I haven’t talked to a single person who didn’t like it. It’s a new take on the Disney princess formula, and the characters are all so quirky and odd instead of being fairy tale perfect, and they completely pull it off. I guarantee you’ll walk out of the theater with a smile on your face, and at the end of the day, that’s what movies are about.
2. American Hustle
I’ve heard a lot of mixed things about American Hustle, people seem to either love it or hate it. I thought it was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. The dialogue was quick and funny, a lot like David O. Russell’s last movie, Silver Linings Playbook. The cast is a who’s-who and everybody does a great job, most of them taking on roles that completely contradict their usual roles. (When’s the last time you saw someone go from Batman to a potbellied comb-over wearing con man so well?) There are lots of twists and turns, and the movie moves so quickly it doesn’t give you time to try and stop to figure out who’s conning who. Think Ocean’s 11 with goofier 1970’s hair.
1. Much Ado About Nothing
Ok so I know putting a black and white Shakespeare movie as my number 1 looks really pretentious but hear me out. Joss Whedon is about the only guy who could go from writing and directing the Avengers to a small project like this, and have both of them be so great. The story behind the movie is almost as good as the movie; coming off the Avengers, Whedon wanted to make a movie with some friends, so he got together with actors he had worked with before and in 12 days they shot the entire movie at his house. The whole movie feels like that too, it just seems like everyone is having a lot of fun instead of worrying about making a nose-in-the-air Shakespeare movie. I’ll be honest, I had to look up some Sparknotes at the beginning, but once it gets going it’s actually really easy to follow and a great movie.