Now that we’ve entered September, the Summer movie season has officially ended. My overall feeling on the Summer is an overall meh. I was blown away by a small selection of movies, but I felt inundated by a constant barrage of sequels. That is not going to change for years to come either, considering that several original tentpole movies that came out this past Summer were considered bombs. Now it’s time to celebrate the goodness and badness that the Summer 2013 movie season brought us.
Funniest Movie – The Heat
Director Paul Feig is on a roll after his success with Bridesmaids and now The Heat. He has revitalized Sandra Bullock’s career and taking advantage of the streak that Melissa McCarthy is currently on. Bullock and McCarthy have fantastic chemistry, and while McCarthy had the best lines in the female buddy cop flick, Bullock was able to play right along with her. Another contender, This is the End made me “gut laugh” quite a few times, but The Heat was the most consistently funny throughout. I’d be okay with a sequel as long as it’s not called The Heat 2: Cruise Control.
Will Smith Effect – Iron Man 3
Sorry After Earth, you weren’t even nominated. The Will Smith Effect takes place when you see an incredibly fun movie that is amazing the first time you see it. But if you ever choose to see it again, the magic is gone and the movie becomes average at best. I think that sums up Smith’s cinematic career. Iron Man 3 wins this award because it opened Summer with a bang. It’s still the highest-grossing movie of the Summer. The problem is, it isn’t all that good. Yes, we all love RDJ as Tony Stark but not necessarily in a movie with fire-breathing villains, Super Pepper, and Avengers PTSD. In terms of good movies, Iron Man is 1 for 3. If you’ve only seen this movie once, keep it that way. You’ll have fond memories of it. Please don’t watch it twice.
Best Animated Movie – Despicable Me 2
It seemed like a huge animated flick was being released every two weeks. There were average sequels (Monsters U), self-piracy (Planes) and even racing snails. The clear winner is Despicable Me 2. The story is nothing great, but this movie has a great combination of laughs for both kids and adults. This movie capitalizes on the Minions, who will soon wear thin, but for now they steal every scene. There’s a clear reason why this is the highest-grossing kids movie of the year. Pixar should be worried.
Best Indie Flick – Before Midnight
Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy star in one of the most realistic relationship movies/sagas ever. Before Midnight is the 3rd part in an apparent trilogy that has taken place over the past 20 years. The two leads in this movie deal with life in their 40’s, kids, and relationship monotony. While that may sound like the most dreary plot ever, it is fascinating to watch. Here’s hoping they make another sequel in another 9 years.
August Surprise – The World’s End
August is commonly known as the dumping ground for movies that weren’t good enough for May, June or July. But every August there is one shining movie that stands above the others. This year, that movie was The World’s End, the third part of Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost still have great chemistry and I would nominate them for best bromance of all time (Though JD and Turk would probably win). In this movie, they battle alien robots in a quest to drink at 12 pubs in their hometown.
Most Disappointing – Elysium
Neil Blomkamp came out of nowhere with his directorial debut, District 9 in 2009. There was a ton of hype for his follow-up, Elysium. While this movie doesn’t completely suck, there are obvious flaws. No movie this year has had more inconsistent character arcs. Also, you don’t exactly save the Earth from overpopulation with medical beds that heal ANY injury/disease/headache. Visually, it’s a great movie. However, story-wise this is mediocre. I just hope Blomkamp decides to make a movie that looks and feels different than another District 9 sequel.
Best Sequel – Star Trek Into Darkness
This movie is admittedly tarnished by using a retread of the Wrath of Khan. Though it’s a great deal of fun to watch. Each actor has completely become their character, especially Chris Pine. If nothing else, JJ Abrams knows how to nail pacing. Out of every Summer movie over 2 hours (which was all of them), this one kept the pace going strong throughout. This movie had a fantastic mix of comedy, action and drama. Into Darkness is a stronger movie than 2009’s Trek.
Worst Sequel – Grown Ups 2
Best Popcorn Flick – Pacific Rim
In a Summer full of senseless destruction, one movie stands above them all, Pacific Rim. Those who have not seen this, write it off as Transformers vs Godzilla. The difference between Pac Rim and Transformers, is that Pac Rim is actually fun to watch. It makes no apologies about its epic monster/robot battles and they are fascinating to watch. More than any other movie this year, this one made me feel like I was 14. You know, back when I loved movies…(half true)
Worst Popcorn Flick – White House Down
Roland Emmerich used to be the king of Summer. Now, he’s nothing more than a court jester. (Sorry) While it would have never been a great movie, White House Down could have been an over-the-top big budget buddy movie. However, everyone about this movie is wrong. It’s almost like Emmerich is a film student who watched mid-90’s Emmerich movies to study the blockbuster formula and made one of his own. This is the unintentional comedy of the year. So so bad.
Best Reboot – Man of Steel
I’m surprised by the amount of hate this movie gets. Despite a few flaws, I couldn’t have asked for a better Superman movie. I loved the sci-fi mythology of Krypton, the unconventional flashbacks and yes, even the long final battle(s). Finally, I was able to see Superman actually punch someone (a lot) instead of seeing him fight an island or spinning the world in reverse. This movie has the potential to launch a great series of Superman movies. I wish they focused just on Superman and not Bat-fleck.
Worst Reboot/Relaunch – The Lone Ranger
This movie had no idea what it wanted to be. It introduces a villain who eats the hearts of men to give the movie a supernatural vibe, but then had a capitalistic railroad tycoon as the big bad. Johnny Depp managed to finally able to wear out his welcome as a quirky guy who wears makeup. If this movie was an hour shorter and had some sort of focus, it could have been decent. The final 15 minutes are fun, it’s too bad the rest of the movie wasn’t. As the Summer’s biggest bomb, this will not get a sequel.