Best films of 2013: Jake’s personal picks
Published: Thursday, December 5, 2013
Updated: Thursday, December 5, 2013 16:12
Best superhero movie: Iron Man 3
Man of Steel absolutely face planted this summer, retelling the tale of the herculean alien as if it took place within Michael Bay’s Transformers universe. Iron Man 3 ranks in the first class of superhero epics, along with the first Iron Man entry, Spiderman 2, The Dark Knight, Watchmen and the first two Superman films with Christopher Reeves. Robert Downey Jr. (The Avengers), much like Woody Harrelson, brings that quirky motor-mouth quality to him that glues your focus to the screen. He’ll try anything for a laugh while managing to remain in character and sustain credibility to the role. This time, Tony Stark faces off against Aldrich Killian (Guy Pierce, Breathe In), who must be the evil doppelganger of The Human Torch. Killian is a great villain, driven by his lust for scientific innovation, like Doc Ock in Spiderman 2. Stark has post-traumatic stress from the events of The Avengers, and Downey Jr. portrays a darker, more conflicted man this time around, which may include him in the Oscar conversations.
Worst film of 2013: Movie 43
For some time to come, when discussions are had about the terrible movies, those who partake in said discussions need to make a pet name for this film, like It-That-Must-Not-Be-Seen. From now on, when we talk about bad movies, we must stand in awe of the new species of atrocity discovered in Movie 43. This movie made me nostalgic for Lay the Favorite, the worst film of 2012. No remorse will be shown for those involved in this project. They should have been aware of the disaster to come when the script was released. Anyone who signed his or her name to make this movie is mentally adrift. My emotions flat lined when I saw the skit of Apple executives trying to market the iBabe – a naked woman in a box. Then came the story of parents who verbally and physically abuse their mentally handicapped son. Finally, when we think the storm has subsided and the credits begin, the last and worst skit involves an ugly animated cat barfing and dropping feces all over the place. If you ever see Movie 43, you can never read an issue of The Spectrum again.
Best film of 2013: The Place Beyond the Pines
I may change my mind after December when more films are released, but so far nothing has acted upon me more than Derek Cianfrance’s elegant The Place Beyond the Pines. Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) interconnects three stories that linger on through the years. He understands and replicates how we live our lives. Life is an intangible variety that involves destruction, rebirth, tragedy, regret, revenge, blissfulness and acceptance, and everything comes full circle when that final shot of a motorcyclist riding through the hills mirrors the opening sequence at the carnival. We are told that life is what we make it out to be, and while we do affect certain aspects by certain decisions, there is a universal balance that keeps the gears cranking. Our choices alter the lanes for the fates of ourselves and people of future generations.
You’ll notice I didn’t reveal much of the story here. This film is special, and providing too much will lessen the quality of watching it. The Place Beyond the Pines is one of the best films of the decade so far.