Summer 2013: The Best and Worst Movies
With Labor Day past us many people consider the summer to be over. The summer of 2013 was a big one in world of movies. We saw a lot of big name sequels to some of our most significant movie franchises. We saw a large number of indie films that made a lot waves. A ton of the A-List celebrities were on show at some point, and some had great success while others were not quite so lucky. With so many movies coming out, Movie Melt would like to present its suggestions for what are the best and worst movies of the summer in 2013.
Now, I’ve seen a lot of lists out there use the box office performance to judge this but here at Movie Melt we will use our own opinion only, and not box office numbers. We will mention them however, as it is certainly interesting to see how much money a truly bad movie can make, if marketed well enough and if the cast is big enough.
BEST: Before Midnight
Richard Linklater’s third installment and sequel to Before Sunset and Before Sunrise was a film that was always going to be good. The first two movies were just so perfect, that you just couldn’t see a way that reuniting Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy one more time wouldn’t equal success. However, they still had to go out and get it done. They did just that, and Before Midnight is just as good, if not arguably better than its predecessors. With flawless interaction and dialogue, great comedy and at times heartbreaking poignancy, this was a perfect movie (check out REVIEW).
I mean let’s be honest here. I love Jeff Bridges to death and his recent surge has been great to watch. I like Ryan Reynolds too. But did anybody actually think this movie would be good? Did anyone see the trailer and just say, “holy shit, this movie is going to be BAD ASS!” No. Not a single person over the age of 8 said that, and probably nobody in that age bracket did either. It was destined to be bad, and boy was it. The box-office reflected this.
BEST: This Is The End
The end of the world plot is one that has been done a million times. The end of the world comedy isn’t brand new either. This isn’t even the only one of the year (The World’s End just came out). But when you take a huge plot formula like this and plug in basically every famous and successful american movie-comedian in existence into it, you’ve got something there. Having them actually play themselves was a fantastic idea, and from James Franco to Seth Rogen to Jonah Hill, they were all fantastic. Hilarious cameos didn’t hurt either. The laughs come often and they come big, Nobody won’t find this movie funny.
WORST: After Earth
Will Smith is the man. Nobody here will ever try and deny that. It’s a simple fact of life. It’s probably in the Constitution or the Bible or something somewhere. But nobody is perfect. Not Jesus. Not Will Smith. Seeing him team up with his son Jaden didn’t really resonate with me as a good idea, although I didn’t really know why. Turns out I was right, although I’d say the movie’s failure had less to do with them than the movies awful plot and lack of any real substance. A bunch of special effects and no suspense. Actually, Jaden isn’t very good either. Ever seen a movie that is completely ridiculous, but doesn’t seem to know it, and acts like it is dead serious. This is that film.
BEST: The Conjuring
Great and scary horror movies are so difficult to come by these days. All torture-porn and gore-fest’s filled with disgusting scenes that are so extreme they don’t even strike chords with the audience. Then somehow they think it’s ok to make claims like ‘this is the scariest movie ever’ (ehem – Evil Dead….). But right from the get-go The Conjuring seemed like it might just have a little more. First, it is directed by James Wan, whose name is attached to most of the best horror films in recent memory (Saw, Insidious). Then it promises old fashioned scares done properly. We know he can do this, and with The Conjuring it upped the ante. Finally.
WORST: The Hangover Part 3
Ok, I am a little ashamed of this one. I mean, I flat out knew it would be bad. It lived up to my expectations. It was bad. But if I’m honest, I laughed. I won’t deny that. But all the while, I was realizing that it was a bad movie. It really wasn’t that funny. If it had been a standalone film, it would have been horrific. It was almost like, when they did something stupid, it didn’t make me laugh, but it reminded me of the stupid stuff they did in the original movie, and that memory made me laugh. So all in all, no good. It made a crap ton of money though, so jokes on me. Wayner reviewed it here.
Jeff Nichols is responsible for one of my favorite films in recent years, ‘Take Shelter,’ so I was really excited to see him team up with Matthew McConaughey, one of Hollywood’s best actors at the moment. He did not disappoint in the slightest, delivering a masterful coming of age story that was heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. It also showcased a potential Oscar winning performance by McConaughey, and also an excellent showing by young actor Tye Sheridan. If you didn’t see Mud yet, you need to.
WORST: Grown Ups 2
The first one was pretty decent I guess. It was ok. I like all of the guys in it, although Adam Sandler’s brand of comedy is not all that funny to me. I’m a much bigger fan of Chris Rock and Kevin James than I am of Sandler. While the first effort was decent, this one was just bad and unnecessary. The humor was complete brainless, unoriginal and just not delivered all that well. It was almost like no effort was put into the film at all, because the writers knew that they didn’t need to try and the actors knew they’d get paid regardless. They were right, as it sold a lot of tickets. Why, I do not know.
BEST: Star Trek: Into Darkness
Following up to a massive blockbuster success that nailed it both critically and commercially is not easy to do. I mean, the commercially part might be, but not the critically. Many big sequels are just out there to sell tickets but just aren’t as good as their predecessors. With Star Trek: Into Darkness, J.J Abrams was able to not only match the first film. but surpass it. Into Darkness took the same formula and upped the stakes. It was darker, more intense, on a bigger scale and added more talent. This was an absolutely fantastic film in every way.
If you looked at the cast for this film, other than Liam Hemsworth, you might just think it would be a pretty serviceable thriller. Gary Oldman. Harrison Ford. I love them both. Oldman in particular has done some great stuff lately. But this one. By goodness. To be honest, I don’t even know how or why I have seen it. There is not much else to say other than don’t make the same mistake I did.
Other Good Ones:
- Iron Man 3 – A fantastic and exciting thrid installment in the Iron Man franchise. Robert Downey Jr. nailed it as usual.
- The World’s End – The only reason this end of the world comedy isn’t on my list is that I already put This Is The End on the list. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost repeat their usual success.
- Fruitvale Station – A thrilling, sad and eye-opening take on a horrible and unfortunate event, this film does a great job not being too overly one-sided with a topic where it could easily happen.
- World War Z – A huge surprise for me, everyone said this was doomed from the start, but Brad Pitt and company made a really, really good zombie movie.
Other Bad Ones:
- The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones – Not every young adult novel turned movie becomes a hit.
- Jobs – Biopics have been disappointing lately. This one was too.
- Getaway – This was going to be bad from the get go, and it hit its mark perfectly.
Surprises (Good or Bad)
- Man of Steel was only ‘pretty good’ and not amazing, despite having Christopher Nolan’s name attached. It was a good film though, don’t get me wrong.
- The Lone Ranger did not do very well. With Johnny Depp in a lead and all that Disney action, I thought it would at least sell, if not get rave reviews.
- The Heat actually turned out pretty good, despite looking horrible in it’s trailers.
- Pacific Rim was more of a critical success than it was a box office success. What the hell is going on? Global warming or something? Makes no sense.