Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013: PTA's year in movies!


Hey all! Time for the 2013 PTA movie round up! I thought it was a pretty good year for movies.  Anyway, it was better than last year. Here are my top 10 movies of the year!

1. Gravity. This was one of the most stunning and perfectly crafted movies ever made. I don't know that I've ever had this immersive of an experience in a movie theatre. I felt like I was in space. I wanted to throw up. It was amazing. I genuinely think this movie is a masterpiece.

rounding out my top ten...

2. Before Midnight: the best written and acted movie in years.
3. American Hustle: style and substance.
4. Nebraska: Bleak, funny, touching.
5. Blue Jasmine: Cate Blanchett is astonishing.
6. Saving Mr. Banks: Made me cry.
7. The Heat: Super funny on a day that I needed it.
8. The Bling Ring: Really overlooked - but an amazing commentary on our times.
9. The Saratov Approach: A solidly crafted film by some great and talented friends.
10. Blancanieves: Rent this right now! The Spanish Snow White.


I love when going to the movies feels like an EVENT! I know you know what I mean. When you've
walked out of the movie theater and your perception of movies is heightened, you notice your senses have been to a party, etc. I remember feeling that when I was 6 years old and went with my family to see Star Wars. I remember that in the original Superman. In Raiders of the Lost Ark. In Jurassic Park. And this year, in Gravity. I saw it in 3D, and then in 2D. And I am not a big proponent of 3D…but man….in 3D, it was an EVENT. 

Like the rest of the world, I also was captivated by Captain Phillips - especially Tom Hanks' performance in the last few minutes of the film. Admittedly, there are a number of films I have not seen yet. But I will be controversial and state for the record that while I loved the sister-theme and songs in Frozen, I am still more partial to Tangled. Throw things at me if you must. 


I'm sure that for my best movie of the year I should be picking something deep and thinky like Inside Llewlyn: Osage County or something directed by someone famous that is really long and dramatic and has lots of swearing and is probably set in the 70s or 80s with crazy costumes. But I am just too, too tired to see movies like that. I want my movies to be short, entertaining, and preferably TV shows. So for my money, the best movie of the year was The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. I think the movie did a good job of not just dissolving to an action fest, but exploring, on a Hunger Games appropriate level the idea of revolution and change. And I thought it was fun to see how many ways the movie tried to pretend that Josh Hutcherson isn't 4'9" and could LITERALLY ride on my shoulders all day without tiring me out. 

Just so you don't think I am a total pop-corn movie junkie, I also loved The Spectacular Now which I don't think anyone else on earth saw. It's about a boy and girl, approaching the end of high school and the boys refusal to grow up and face adulthood. It's charming and entertaining and has some great, believable performances. And it has Kyle Chandler as a dead beat, which is always fun to see. 

Also on the list: Frozen, The Conjuring and Gravity. Thus concludes the list of every movie I saw this year. 


Admittedly, I'm the dad of two kids under four.  So it's gotta go to Frozen.  But my reasoning is shallow and selfish: One, there is some mean singing in this show...B'way Style...

I love Belle from B&tB, but Idina would eat her for breakfast. 

Also, I love Kristen Bell, but only really because of Ronnie Mars...but I thought she was real good and had to sing next to Idina Menzel and so she did.

I did see 12 Years a was heart breaking and too much for me to take ever again...but you should see it.  It's real and painful, a true story and one we should remember.  The movie is hard to watch for all the reasons you think it will be, but the amount of time spent beautifully dragging out things that were dragged out in real life is so powerful and effective.

One more thing:  The best thing on Netfix right now is: Black Fish.  
I don't know what happened but this Documentary about the Killer Whale that killed that trainer at SeaWorld...and ultimately it's about SeaWorld its self rocked me to my core. It made me question how I treat my dog.  It's only an hour and 20 mins and everyone should watch it...though it would put SeaWorld out of business..but it would create a booming whale watching business where we all take our kids to see these incredible (smarter then human...they have an extra part in their brain) animals in their natural habitat.    


If I go off of pure event film experiences, I'm with Ken. It's got to be Gravity. I saw it in IMAX 3D and it completely engrossed me.

But overall, I think I still have to go with A Place Beyond the Pines for the top honor. It's different than anything I've seen because of the way the stories are told. The soundtrack was hauntingly juxtaposing. Great performances from Gosling and Cooper. The story really hit me where my longing for past youth and freedom intersects with the honor and pride of fatherhood.

Another one of my favorites was World War ZMy favorite action movie of the year so far. And that's what it is. Don't be fooled. It's a political action thriller. Not a zombie movie. It launches you right in with one of the most gripping first 20 minutes ever and then takes you on an exploratory journey of moral, political, domestic, and ethical considerations. If you've read the book, it's not the book. But it still does the flavor of the book justice.

Honorable mentions: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Saving Mr. Banks, American Hustle, The World's End, The Conjuring, The Heat, Anchorman 2, The Saratov Approach, Byzantium, and Frances Ha.

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