As I graduate to the rank of Toddler Belt in the back-breaking, eye-gouging, shin-splinting school of Dadjistu, I still feel more than comfortable dropping the ol’ “I’m a daddy and have no time” card to justify my growing lack of commitment to the theatrical cinema experience. With 2013 now safely packed away with the rest of the holiday decor, the time is nigh to celebrate the year that was in moving pictures.
Per my disclaimer, I didn’t get out to the Cineplex as often as, say – – my faithful old chum, Zaki Hasan – – but I did rack up a whopping 12 talkies in the past 12 months. That allows me to truthfully say “one movie a month” which doesn’t sound half bad for a hard working , home owning, hubby and dada.
Since there were at least one, two, three. . . well, more than twelve movies to hit the big screen in ’13, there is a considerable pile “big’uns” I have yet to dive into. The Wolverine? Missed it. Wolf of Wall Street? Haven’t seen it. American Hustle? I’ll get to it. Fast and Furious 6? Nuh-uh. The New Hobbit Movie Who’s Name I Refuse To Say Because It Sounds So Stupid? Alas.
And to be honest – – I hope to see Captain Phillips, Rush, 2 Guns, Elysium, and Cloudy With a Chance of Smaug (dammit!) 2 before making time for any of those.
So rather than rank the Coyle’s Twelve in any particular order, I’d simply like to give a few nods to the ones that stood out the most.
Click here to indulge yourself in my 1300 word love-letter to the Alfonso Cuaron-directed space thriller. But simply put, Gravity was one of the most amazing cinematic experiences of this or any other year. Breathtakingly beautiful and soul shatteringly intense. It is as inspiring as it is frightening. Truly a film that begs to be seen on the big screen.
THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY
The Ben Stiller-directed tale of a timid daydreamer who finally grabs life by its big brass ones was a most unexpected and pleasant surprise. It is sweet. It is thoughtful. It takes you places you never knew you wanted to go. Conceptually, metaphorically, musically, visually, everything-ally, Stiller, as star performer and helmer, delivers an inspiring tale of love, faith, and courage that speaks to the aw shucks-er in all of us. Kristen Wiig is charming as hell in role more subdued that her usual cute, goofball-ish quirkiness. The soundtrack, which features a beautiful score by Theodore Shapiro and Jose Gonzalez, and tracks from artists like Of Monsters and Men, Jack Johnson, and David Bowie, was so wonderfully and meticulously woven into an already vibrant journey that it became a character in the movie. In fact, the use of Bowie’s “Space Odyssey” provided one of the most important, and memorable moments in the film.
MAN OF STEEL
Though the fourth act suffers a bit from “what the hell am I looking at?!” syndrome, Zack Snyder successfully delivered the one thing I wanted most from a Superman movie. He made the character interesting. Man of Steel is, in a sense, an underdog story about a boy who doesn’t fit. Cast away from his home world and raised by human parents, Clark Kent (fantastically portrayed by Henry Cavill) , the man who could literally destroy the Earth if he wanted to, grows to understand humanity in ways even we humans haven’t been able to. He sees something in us worth saving and vows to dedicate his life to defending it, even if it means duking it out all super-smashy-like with his own kind. And why does he do it, you ask? Because Kevin Coster freakin’ rules.
I laughed. I cried. I cried because I laughed so much. I laughed because I couldn’t believe I was crying. Any of that make sense? No? Well neither does Anchorman 2. The sequel to – – yep, you guessed it – – Anchorman, is every bit as weird, overstuffed, and disjointed as the original. Probably a bit more. But it’s freakin’ funny! And – – that’s pretty much it. The one thing I do want to stress though is how 100% necessary the first film is. Part 2 is really more about spending time with characters you fell in love with in part 1. The sequel doesn’t break any new ground, but the humor relies so much on knowing who these people are. By the beard of Zeuss! If you haven’t seen Anchorman 1, go now!
THE WORLD’S END
The World’s End is easily my least favorite film by Edgar Wright. But that’s like saying Donatello is my least favorite Ninja Turtle or that the fourth time I won the lottery was my least favorite time winning the lottery. Edgar Wright has a sense and style all his own and I look forward to every project he is involved in (C’mon, Ant-Man!!!). Teamed up once again with the incomparable Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, The World’s End is an action-comedy romp about five friends reuniting after 20 years to finally finish the mother of all pub crawls, only to find their old hometown has been overtaken by alien robots hell bent on assimilating humans into their collective. Yessir and Aye’. ‘Tis every bit as fun as it sounds.
And there you have it. Five really good flicks from 2013. I’d also like to quickly mention, honorably of course, Iron Man 3 (a fun and fitting end to the trilogy, and welcome back Shane Black!) GI Joe Retaliation (it doesn’t aim too high, and that’s why it felt juuuust right), Star Trek Into Darkness (enjoyed on a purely superficial, lens flare-addicted, the story sucked but I really like these characters, sorta’ way), and about 35 minutes of The Heat (Bullock and McCarthy had their moments, just not enough of’em).
Thanks for tuning in.
Happy 2014 to one and all!