I had a mediocre movie-watching month last month. But that’s secondary to the fact that I have eviscerated my previous movie-watching numbers. With a few weeks left in 2013, I have already had the best year in terms of movies watched since I started tracking my viewing habits in 2007.
Check back in the new year for my final stats. As for now, here is a breakdown of the best and worst of the movies I viewed in the penultimate month of 2013. As always, don’t forget to follow me and the blog around the internet with the links below.
- Total Viewings: 14
- First Viewings: 9
- Theater Viewings: 2
Best First Viewing: Monsters University (2013)
You can hear me talk about Monsters University on the episode of The Intermission Podcast that I was a guest on last month.
I enjoyed the movie quite a bit. I’m an unrepentant Pixar fanboy and Monsters Inc. is one of my favorite Pixar movies. The world of Monsters Inc. was ripe for expansion and its prequel did an admirable job of organically fleshing out some of the finer details about the universe.
The real treat in the movie, however, was seeing the genesis of Mike and Sully’s friendship. The movie pits them against each other in a funny and surprising way that makes the movie feel like a stand-alone feature rather than simply a prequel.
I also really admired the themes of finding your place in the world even if it means letting go of dreams you’ve held onto. It’s something that fit the college setting perfectly.
Honorable Mention: Parkland (2013)
I had been looking forward to Parkland for several months. In fact, you can hear me talk about it in a very early episode of the podcast (History on the Screen). Now that I’ve finally watched it, it did not disappoint.
You can hear my thoughts on the movie on the podcast (Tragedy on the Screen). But suffice it to say. I was impressed with how the movie depicted a delicate story without losing itself in some wacky conspiracy theories. The narrative touches lightly on the conspiracies, but only as an afterthought.
The cast is great, the subject matter is brutal; I recommend Parkland.
Worst First Viewing: A Haunted House (2013)
The greatest pitfall facing the parody genre is its proclivity to recreate scenes and situations from the movies they’re lampooning almost verbatim. It sucks what little comedy there is in the movie when the audience is reminded of sequences from a demon possession movie.
I wasted my time watching this movie. I won’t waste more time writing about it.
Dishonorable Mention: The Internship (2013)
I kind of hate including The Internship in such a negative part of the roundup. It’s not a horrible movie but it’s not very memorable either. Part of the issues facing the movie was really the hype of it reuniting Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. While I’m glad they never cashed in on the success of Wedding Crashers with a sequel, I think they could have done a lot better.
At the movie’s best, it’s a decent background comedy that you can throw on with little mental commitment. At its worst, it’s a feature length Google commercial that almost makes you wish they had made Wedding Crashers 2 instead.
Biggest Surprise: Drinking Buddies (2013)
Drinking Buddies was another movie that I had been looking forward to for a long while. I posted a Trailer Tuesday about it in July and hadn’t been able to get it out of my head.
Something felt off about it when I finally watched it, though. The movie, in theory and in trailer, seemed like the perfect indie drama/romance movie. But I could almost immediately tell that the script needed extensive work. There seemed to be no “bridge scenes” (or whatever the technical term is). Characters meet and then in the next scene they’re spending a weekend in a cabin. It just felt disjointed.
It wasn’t until halfway through the movie that I found out there wasn’t a script. The entire movie was improvised. This not only completely altered my perception of the movie, it also made me respect the movie and the actors a bit more.
Drinking Buddies was an interesting experience. It wasn’t the perfect indie romantic drama I was hoping it would be, but it was fascinating watching a movie so dependent on its actors’ (admittedly very strong) chemistry.
Biggest Letdown: Thor: The Dark World (2013)
The first Thor was my least favorite movie of phase 1 of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. I liked it and loved the comic relief, but Thor just never really interested me that Cap, Iron Man or the Hulk did.
The sequel was a bit of a step down. The villain was really one-dimensional and the movie was way too dependent on what became really forced and awkward comic relief.
I’m hopeful Marvel will do better with Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Hear more of my thoughts on Thor: The Dark World on the podcast (Fall 2013 TV Season with Chris Spangle of We Are Libertarians)
Returning Favorite: Apollo 13 (1995)
Not much can be said about Apollo 13 that hasn’t already been said or won’t come across as obvious. It’s an incredible movie, in every respect. This was the first time watching it since I was in high school.
In my naïve youth, I never really grasped the sheer scope of the peril that the three men were facing. I knew they were facing death, obviously, but I didn’t realize how horrific it would have been for them to die; both to them and to the nation as a whole. Watching Apollo 13 as an adult really put the movie into perspective for me.
Hear more of my thoughts on Apollo 13 on the podcast (Space Movies Part I).