Most Enjoyable & Most Disappointing Movies of 2013
are my lists of the most enjoyable and least enjoyable/most
disappointing/most overrated films I saw during 2013. The negative
category includes some films that, while not the worst, were
disappointing or overrated, or, while enjoyable, had huge flaws. The
positive category is just how much I enjoyed them, not rated as I would
rate an Oscar®-winner. The "Most Disappointing" are listed by rank of
how much I loathed them with #1 the most loathsome. There weren’t as
many this year, but there were more truly despicable movies than any
year since I’ve been writing this column.
A fitting testament to
Jackie Robinson, one of the most courageous Americans of the 20th
Century and one who influenced American society more than any other,
showing what he had to go through and endure to break the color
barrier in baseball. The word “hero” is thrown about pretty easily
these days. Jackie Robinson was a true hero, in the strictest sense
of the word and this movie captures that.
Lots of fun
surrounded by lots of bouncing breasts.
One of the most
realistic war movies ever made, a fine tribute to the Navy SEALs and
what they have to go through in Afghanisatan.
Inside Llewyn Davis:
A fine, if
depressing, examination of the Greenwich Village folk scene just
before Bob Dylan, with very good music.
Mind-boggling special effects.
cinematography displays Hitchcockian influence in one of the best
auto racing films with exceptional performances.
A terrific Liam Neeson
thriller only it stars Aaron Eckhart.
Woody Allen scores
again; this time in San Francisco.
The Great Gatsby:
remake of the Fitzgerald novel that wasn’t nearly as good as this
Stuck in Love:
Greg Kinnear gives
a wonderful performance in an excellent movie that was so little
publicized nobody knew anything about it or even when or where it
Love is All You Need:
rare film that gets me to laugh and cry within the space of 110
minutes. Trine Dryholm validates Alec Baldwin calling her the best
This is a brilliant noir that would have felt right at home in ‘40s
documentary on the elusive over-publicized author of one good book
that became a classic. He had a good reason to go underground.
Supports the thesis
that the best movies are generally made by foreigners, with a
terrific performance by
Mads Mikkelsen and a
little girl, Annika Wedderkopp.
Ignore what any other
Ashton Kutcher becomes Steve Jobs in this exceptional biopic.
An enjoyable film
with Robert DeNiro giving a fine comedic performance as a mafia
A bunch of old geezer
operatives kill more people and spew more bullets while creating
more laughs than any film this year.
half hour more than makes up for the slow first hour that had me
wanting to bolt.
An entertaining film
with good pace and sparkling performances especially by fellow Wahoo
Johnson once again
shows he is not just a pretty face with the ability to lift one
eyebrow. In fact he’s an actor of acceptable range who can take on
disparate roles, like this one where he gets beat up rather than
doing the beating.
A neat little
thriller that starts out as one thing and completely turns 180° in
the middle and becomes something else; thoroughly entertaining.
Even if a movie
isn't wonderfully terrific throughout, if it contains a line that
can make me laugh uncontrollably I will probably give it a good
rating. This movie, however, has both. It is wonderfully terrific
throughout, and it does contain one line that had me laughing
uncontrollably and still had me laughing long after I left the
theater. I wasn’t a Melissa McCarthy fan until I saw her in this.
Rachel McAdams and a time warp movie? What’s not to like?
Ginger & Rosa:
expose of existentialism and kind of a roman à clef of the
Bloomsbury Group. Alice Englert although not stunningly beautiful,
exhibits a unique steamy sexuality that marks her as a star in the
Scatter My Ashes at
informative, educational, and highly entertaining documentary about
the 111-year history of the iconic New York department store
is one of the best mountain climbing movies ever made.
A fine, tension-packed, rewarding thriller about a 911 operator.
If you can suspend
your incredulity and accept the premise, this is a gripping
At Any Price:
view of farm life that shows it to be far from what most people in
the city imagine it to be, abetted by outstanding performances of
the entire cast.
This answers the
question of whether Amanda Seyfried, 21st Century
sweetheart equivalent to Doris Day, can appear topless playing a
notorious porn star effectively without wrecking her career à la Meg
Ryan. The answer is an Oscar®-worthy performance.
Thanks for Sharing:
film of words and emotions, the type in this day and age of special
effects and idiotic cartoon characters one generally only finds in
art houses specializing in foreign films.
A movie with
mounting tension, not an easy one to watch, but one that ends with a
thud. Up until the last five minutes, though, this is thoroughly
Based on an idea
pretty clearly taken from Robert Henlein’s 1950 radio program
Universe without any credit whatsoever, this is still an
effective entertainment, even though it’s the kind of major studio
film I usually loathe.
The only thing
off-putting about this film about a serial killer is the graphic
violence. Many of the murders are shown in relatively explicit
detail. But the story is so well told that even if you have to avert
your eyes a couple of times, it’s an entertaining film.
Weekend of a Champion:
This documentary of Jackie Stewart as he prepared to drive in the
1971 Monaco Grand Prix could be the finest auto racing movie of them
They didn’t entitle it “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” for nothing
because this is not the story of the real White House butler, Gene
Allen. It is almost 100% fiction, the most blatantly racist movie since
“Birth of a Nation” in 1916.
Malick has finally gone a road too far with this, an incoherent jumble
of scenes, each of which is totally unrelated to what precedes and what
This Spike Lee
film is so morally depraved that it is fit for nobody.
despicably graphically violent film that has no raison d’être.
Grown Ups 2:
Dugan continues on his quest to make the worst movies in the world, ably
abetted by Adam Sandler.
21 & Over:
audience was applauding when it ended. I did, too, to express
appreciation that it had, in fact, finally ended.
Incredible Burt Wonderstone:
The only magic in this
movie is that it actually got made and distributed.
This film was scheduled to be released in June, 2012, but when Paramount
received dismal feedback from screenings it was yanked for some reshoots,
apparently to build up the role of Tatum Channing who dies at the
outset. But he still dies at the outset and it’s still mind-numbingly
Down: The only
thing that separates director Roland Emmerich movies from a Roadrunner
cartoon is that the characters are not animated (although there might be
some question about star Channing Tatum).
III: It’s not
close to being as good as the first, but it’s not nearly as bad as the
second. In fact, it would be almost impossible to write a film as bad as
the second. The fact that it might be better than the second, though,
doesn't mean it's not dreadful.
not possible to make a tasteful movie about a subject as distasteful as
masturbation, but this movie doesn’t even try. Written and directed by
star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, it is not only misogynistic, it’s got
misandry thrown in, too. Whatever was intended, after only five minutes
I started looking at my watch and continued to urge those hands to move
faster throughout the rest of the film.
the film ended I said to the person sitting next to me, “How do they get
money to make things like this?” The reply was that they might have made
it for a tax loss. My response was that they knew what they were doing
because this was a real loser.
Channeling the idiotic 2007 groaner, Lars and the Single Girl,
films like this make a critic’s job worse than hard labor on a rock
The only possibly
interesting part of this movie “based on real people” (the dopes who
defined The Beat Generation) came before the end credits when graphics
indicate what really happened to the characters. I could not have cared
supposition about Charles Dickens’ 13 year relationship with his young
mistress makes one sympathize for poor Charles if it was as boring as