15. The Place Beyond the Pines. Part of me wishes this had been a miniseries so that all those third act coincidences could've been given the development they deserved. But the single meeting of the two fathers is still a knockout, and the work that Gosling does with his tattoos and Cooper with his haircut are practically worth the price of admission in themselves. (K.H.)
36. Lovelace. A film so bad, I didn't even watch it. Maybe Matt has some defense? (K.H.)
It was supposed to be about porn. (M.K.)
35. Austenland. It's so unfortunate when such a comely and accomplished lady fails to live up to her potential. (K.H.)
16. What Maisie Knew – A quiet movie that comes so close to NOT working due to its need to sanctify Maisie’s saviors. But Julianne Moore’s ability to create something much more complex than a “monster mom” caricature turns what could have been a saccharine mess into a minor gem.
15. The Place Beyond the Pines - Melodrama, for good and for bad. In many ways, Cianfrance's commitment to creating mood and pathos overshadows the plot itself, which runs off the rails from time to time. But I like that this is such a sweeping, epic, novel-like story, and I like that it veers toward earnest dramatics over detached snark and irony. Sometimes appeals to emotion can be their own reward.
14. Give Me the Loot – Micro-budget indie film. I barely made it past the first few minutes due to amateur production values and acting that took a little time to adjust to. But I am very glad that I held strong. This is a fun heist/friendship movie that provides its racial/class commentary through observation, rather than heavy-handedness.
I was on a roll with my 2013 viewings until the very end, at which point I quickly lost steam. I ran out of patience with Chattanooga movie theaters and their 35 minutes of previews around the time of American Hustle (sorry Wolf of Wall Street, Her, and August: Osage County). I knew that my Iron Listing was done for the season when I settled an internal debate over whether to watch All is Lost, The Act of Killing, or Wadjda by opting instead for 30 for 30: The Price of Gold (VERY MUCH worth your time, but sadly not eligible).
You probably already know that Coach Taylor, the ultimate organization man, transferred himself out of the CIA and into the FBI for The Wolf of Wall Street. But did you know that before he was riding the subway on his way to meet Leonardo DiCaprio, he was riding the commuter train with Mark Wahlberg in Broken City?
I don’t know about you, but something just doesn’t feel right about Coach being so dependent on public transportation. My guess is that it contributed to his alcoholism in The Spectacular Now.
1. Her- I expected to hate this film, but I thought its messages about urban isolation outweighed the “hipster twee” aspects. I have haunting nightmares about the camera being 2 inches from Joaquin's face for 2+ hours, in what was a very intense performance. Plus extra points for including my favorite actress/ emotionally fragile waif Rooney Mara. I just want to wrap her in an afghan and buy her a meatball sandwich.
2. All is Lost – With a group of tense films this year, I found this one to be the most anxiety inducing. Beautifully shot and acted.
3. 12 Years as a Slave- Lupita! Fassbender!
4. Gravity –My Grandma told me that this movie made her decide that she never wants to go to space.
5. Spectacular Now – What Perks of Being a Wallflower wanted to be.
6. The Conjuring- Scary! The only movie since Mystic Pizza were I haven’t hated Lili Taylor.
10. "Blue is the Warmest Color: The Intersectionality of Class and Queer Identity Politics in Multiethnic France"
9. "Electrick Children: Mormon Fundamentalism, Blondie, and Hearing the Divine in the American West, 1994 - 1998"
8. "The Bling Ring: The Geography of Digital Youth Culture and Crime in Los Angeles, 2008 - 2009"
7. "Spring Breakers: A Causal Modeling Study on the Socialization Influences Impacting Adolescent Drug Use, Violence, and Intergalactic Pop Fantasy"
6. "Don Jon: The Masturbatory Practices of Guidos in New Jersey"
Kirk Michael at The White Tank Top, official Friend of the Iron List, weighs in with his official annual awards, including the top 13 Films of 2013.
A small taste, re: Film #13:
"St. Pete's beach is the most spiritual place of all, full of lizard brain GIFing, days coated in sweat and malt liquor, nights the color of Virgin America cabins with Gatsby lighting provided by an Outback Steakhouse at the end of a pier. And Britney, good Christ, the Britney."
Why y'all actin' ssssssspicious?
Of course, many other less essential films also receive the kindness of Kirk's attentions. Go check it out.
Fan favorite Billy Karp, aka Iron Uncle, is back with his top 10 films of the year.
Hugh Jackman (again) does the most angst-ian angst of the movie year as a man whose young daughter has vanished. His pain screams from his toes as he unleashes his own monster who is much more dangerous than the presumed kidnapper. The film is cool and exact and expertly depicts the old classic question of the end justifying the means. The answer is a mixed bag as the film’s end is not exactly happy, but Hugh is happy so we are relieved.
9. Movie 43
Ok, so this bizarre-o movie didn’t make much of an impact in the multi-plex and to be honest we didn’t see it until it arrived on DVD but what a raucous good time we had. Movie 43 is certainly the silliest movie of the year. It even out-sillied Bad Grandpa and the jokes are so low you have to scrape them off the bottom of your shoes. But I thought I would literally die of laughter during Naomi Watts and Liev Schrieber’s home schooling demo and the blind date between Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman, was so riotously funny that I can't even picture Sir Jackman without breaking into a zillion zany pieces.
8. 12 Years a Slave
This was probably the scariest movie of the year. The film grabs you by the short hairs and keeps on tugging and tugging. Every time you think there might be some relief another atrocity goes down and you sink even further. The pace is slow and deliberate and ultimately devastating. But the last 10 minutes of the movie practically upends the whole thing. As soon as Brad Pitt arrives the pace of the film suddenly speeds up as if there were a big red S stitched onto his blouse. You had this odd feeling that Mr. Pitt only had an afternoon to play and they just rushed the end as if Superman swooped in from Krypton and saved Solomon’s life.
7. The Place Beyond the Pines
Ryan Gosling sure did a lot of mumbling this year and he did some of his best beyond the pines. The story hinges on a lot of chance encounters but the movie manages to engineer an amazing shift in that moment Gosling and Cooper briefly meet and absolutely everything in the story and in the telling changes completely. I’m still impressed.
Lost in Space gets a grave updating without Dr. Smith and the lovable robot. Poor Dr. Sandra Bullock hasn’t had much luck in her life and this little foray into outer space with her literal and figurative baggage ends well for her but I couldn’t help wondering if a little stateside psychiatry might have been just as effective and a lot less costly. Whatever, the ride is spectacular even with all the extra sap.
Leading off Day Two of Iron List 2013 is Iron Mom Freddi Karp, who lets the titles speak for themselves.
16. The Kings of Summer
15. The Spectacular Now
13. Star Trek Into Darkness
12. The Wolf of Wall Street
11. Enough Said
10. Dallas Buyers Club