The Cinema in 2013

2013 was a good year for movies. A lot of movies seen, and still a lot to go. Early on in the year, I didn’t get out much to see a lot of movies between being at the radio station and doing other things. Late in the year, there has been so much out in theaters, that I still need to catch up to what is out.

Here is my list of movies from best to worst from 2013. To explain my movie going experience and thought process, I don’t think a movie has to be deep to be good. If a comic book movie is well done, then it’s well done. The one problem I’ve always had with the Academy Awards is that they never seem to appreciate the work that goes into a movie of epic proportions, such as Star Trek, or Pacific Rim. The movies looked so great, and that is part of what made them good movies in my opinion. You go to movies to be entertained. If I’m entertained more, then the movie is better. So here are my top movies of the year.

After that list, the movies I still haven’t seen, but really want to (in order of how excited I am to go see them). I went through and counted, and I have seen 36 movies from this year, and this is the top 25. I then have 15 that I still want to see.

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1. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

I have to say, I had low expectations for this movie, but it’s definitely my favorite of 2013. I think one reason it tops my list is because the moral of the story hits so close to home. Through all of the stuff I’ve been through this year, and that I’ve seen other people go through this year, it tells a message that is 100% true. The daydreaming is something I often do, although not to that extent, but I think it’s something we all do, but is never really shown in cinema. I had not seen the original movie, and I really didn’t know much about the story going in, so that made this movie a great journey that I thoroughly enjoyed.

2. Elysium

I thought District 9 was one of, if not the best movie of 2009. Neill Blomkamp hit a home run by bringing together science fiction and real life issues. Never before had I watched a movie about aliens, but didn’t feel like I was watching a movie about aliens. The same holds true with Elysium. It was a solid movie, with Matt Damon playing a solid role (and I had just watched Behind the Candelabra like two days before seeing this). Despite all of the futuristic stuff in the movie, it was a real movie about the troubles and hardship for lower class citizens compared to the “1%”.

3. Star Trek: Into Darkness

Everyone will think I’m crazy for saying this is a top 3 movie of 2013, but it was a movie that kept me entertained the whole time. One thing that drives me nuts in movies is terrible CG, but this had great CG, great acting, and really introduced me to Benedict Cumberbatch for the first time. He is what really made this movie for me.

4. The Wolf of Wall Street

Yes, this movie could have been rated X. Yes, they dropped quite a few F-bombs. All that aside, Leonardo DiCaprio was outstanding, Jonah Hill was hilarious, and the movie just worked. Rarely do I go see a three hour movie, no matter how good it is, and not check my watch at some point. I did in this movie too, but only because someone texted me. It didn’t seem as long as it was, and it was solid throughout. And yes, there were lots of naked women.

5. World War Z

Anyone who knows me, knows that I hate horror movies. Especially with zombies. But Brad Pitt and Marc Forster did it right. I haven’t read the books that this was inspired by, but I am extremely interested to see where they may go with a sequel for this one. It was a very well done zombie movie that didn’t embellish on the things that usually make zombie movies work – blood and guts.

6. American Hustle

Despite it’s nominations for picture of the year, the story of American Hustle didn’t really do it for me. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad, it is #6 on the list after all. The acting was great, and the music was outstanding. Reminded me of the original Anchorman soundtrack and how good that was. But the script just didn’t do it for me.

7. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The Hunger Games trilogy is something that I thought originally was going to turn into a Twilight series. A trilogy of books that girls read and fell in love with. However, they have both been solid movies, and as someone who hasn’t read the books, I am genuinely intrigued on what will happen in the next two movies. Jennifer Lawrence has been great in these movies as much as the ones she’s been nominated for Oscars for.

8. Now You See Me

A movie I was unsure of at first, but turned out to be a pretty good film. A good group of actors, young and old, which did an outstanding job. When a movie that tries to keep you guessing until the end, actually surprises you with who actually “did it”, then it did a good job.

9. The Host

Now this was definitely a movie that was played up as a chick flick. And I can see how it would be. But it was actually not bad. The love triangle in it was a little too “Twilight-y” for me, and yes, I know it was written by the same person. But the alien/sci-fi story works better into a good movie for the average movie-goer such as myself than the whole vampire/werewolf thing does. I have to admit, I actually really liked this movie, so much so that it makes my top 10. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you give it a try and be open minded.

10. Oblivion

This movie really intrigued me from the first preview I saw of it. It lived up to the hype, and it was a good sci-fi movie with pretty good acting from Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman among others.

11. Pacific Rim

Outstanding visually, and I appreciate the look of the film and the CG of the robots/monsters. Only problem I have with it was the final scene, but I won’t spoil it for you.

12. Fast and Furious 6

Probably one of the better in the series. I am a Fast and the Furious fan, and have been since the beginning. Growing up around drag racing my whole life (legally of course), it is an interesting franchise which has evolved from racing movie to heist movie.

13. 42

A good pic on Jackie Robinson, and a lot of good history in the movie. Not to mention a good chunk was filmed in Alabama.

14. The Hangover Part III

I actually liked the final movie, and am glad it wasn’t more of the same. I seem to bee in the minority though.

15. Thor: The Dark World

The problem with Thor was too much humor. I would expect that out of Iron Man, but it seemed to be a bit much. Other than that, solid Avenger movie.

16. We’re the Millers

Hilarious movie, and probably close to the Hangover for the best comedy this year. Jason Sudeikis was great.

17. The Internship

It wasn’t quite Wedding Crashers (which is my favorite comedy of all time if you didn’t know), but still a solid effort from Vaughn/Wilson.

18. Jobs

This movie didn’t really do much for me. It was good, but it wasn’t great.

19. The Wolverine

Much better than the first attempt at a Wolverine centered movie, but barely.

20. Iron Man 3

Just wasn’t as impressed with the latest installment as the originals.

21. Man of Steel

Please don’t ruin Batman forever when you join forces next year. Go more the route of The Dark Knight than Man of Steel.

22. Identity Thief

It was funny enough, but I’m not a huge Jason Bateman or Melissa McCarthy fan.

23. Anchorman 2

Why.

24. Olympus has Fallen

All this movie tried to tell me was that our military isn’t good enough to stop this from happening.

25. GI Joe Retaliation

The Rock blowing things up – what else do you need?

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Now there are some big movies missing from that list. Here are the movies I still have to see from 2013, with the ones in bold being movies I think could be solid enough to break my top 10 for the year.

1. Her

2. 12 Years a Slave

3. The Fifth Estate

4. Hours

5. Frozen

6. Captain Phillips

7. Gravity

8. Rush

9. Dallas Buyer’s Club

10. Nebraska

11. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

12. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

13. The Butler

14. Don Jon

15. The Counselor

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Jon Lunceford is a sports media broadcaster and digital professional. Jon is a graduate of the University of Alabama school of journalism, and played football at Birmingham-Southern College. He has also won two AHSAA Football State Championships while at Homewood High School and was a two-time World Cyber Games Team USA representative. He currently hosts Primetime on WJOX 94.5 and runs the high school athletics site JoxPreps.