Category: My Favorites

Yeah, I know the idea is to do a top ten, but f*** you, this my list.

And I know it’s super late to be doing one of these, but just because a few months have gone by doesn’t mean I like them any less.

There were so many great ones last year that there was no room for movies that I thought for sure would make it the cut. Although The Hobbit and The Hunger Games made my list last year (Hunger Games at #2) neither of the follow-ups made it near the top.

And although there were several more movies I really enjoyed last years, there were a few that just missed the boat, like Birdman, The Theory Of Everything, The Rover, Only Lovers Left Alive, Fury, The Fault In Our Stars, and a little known film called The LEGO Movie.

Now, let’s get into it.

Selma20. Selma

This powerful and expertly crafted recount of Dr. Martin Luther Kin Jr.’s march through Selma, Alabama is bolstered by an outsanding lead performance and an equally powerful song by Common and John Legend that I can’t stop listening to. Also the feels. Oh, the feels. It may be low on this here list of favorites but, objectively speaking, I believe this to be one of the 5 best movies of 2014.

Begin Again19. Begin Again

Who saw this movie coming? Despite receiving accolades for different performances last year, Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley each give one of their best performances to date in this musically fueled, lighthearted drama. And not to mention great soundtrack, but it has a great soundtrack.

Ice Cube;Jonah Hill;Channing Tatum18. 22 Jump Street

How often does a comedy sequel come along that might actually be better than the first film? Well this might be one of them. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum have better chemistry than couples in most romantic comedies and they show that in full force in this hilarious movie.

The Guest17. The Guest

Whoa. Another movie that came out of nowhere and knocked the f***ing roof off the place, this crazy throwback to the B action and horror movies of the 80’s is bananas.

John Wick16. John Wick

Oh, my God, the scene in the club where he’s like BAM BAM BAM and Theon Grejoy runs like a  bitch and Willem Dafoe is all *thwip*thwip* with his sniper and Keanu Reeves is shooting people in the face with gun-fu and the guy from Fringe  is like “‘Ello, Mistah Wick” and then Keanu Reeves is all “whoa” and then he blows up a car and it’s awesome! Baba yega!

Snowpiercer15. Snowpiercer

Where are these movies coming from!? A  brilliant sci-fi thriller with great style, terrific performances, and smart social overtones, this movie is worth it for Tilda Swinton’s bonkers performance alone.

How To Train Your Dragon 214. How To Train Your Dragon 2

The first film surprised me by how earnest and exciting it was and this film brought it even further by showing these characters further down the line and facing new challenges. Surprisingly emotional and just as visually stunning with a boisterous score to boot, this is a worthy, if not better, follow-up.

Tom Cruise Edge Of Tomorrow13. Edge Of Tomorrow

Remember when we all saw the trailer and thought it would be as generic as Jai Courtney in everything? Boy were we wrong. This sci-fi action film in which Tom Cruise must relive the same day over and over to defeat and alien invasion is exciting, smart, and even has a great sense of humor as well as heart.

Tom Cruise Edge Of Tomorrow13. Edge Of Tomorrow

Remember when we all saw the trailer and thought it would be as generic as Jai Courtney in everything? Boy were we wrong. This sci-fi action film in which Tom Cruise must relive the same day over and over to defeat and alien invasion is exciting, smart, and even has a great sense of humor as well as heart.

Chef12. Chef

(drools) It’s a good thing my dad is a chef because I wouldn’t be able to live if I couldn’t eat like the characters in this movie. Full of passion, heart, humor, and an amazing cast, this comedy from Jon Favreau is impossible not to like.

K72A3451d.tif11. Nightcrawler

What a delightfully unsettling film. With a fully committed performance that reminded me of Patrick Bateman and others of Travis Bickle, this is not a film that you won’t forget any time soon no matter how hard you try.

The Raid 210. The Raid 2

Oh, my God, the scene where the guy with the bat is like *whoosh* and the hammer is like *thwop* and Rama is kicking people in the face and the guy in the kitchen with the Riddick knives and Asian Joseph Gordon-Levitt is like “respect me!” and the mobs are like BAM BAM and the prison brawl and the kitchen fight again, my God the kitchen fight, and the chase scene and it’s so amazing!

guardians-of-the-galaxy-zoe-saldana-chris-pratt9. Guardians of the Galaxy

OR as I like to call it: 70’s Soundtrack: The Movie. A crazy off the wall space opera that basically felt like Tarantino’s Star Wars, this movie made me love a tree and root for a raccoon. That alone is worth praising it. But with a cast, a soundtrack, and action like that, there’s almost too much to love about it.

Boyhood8. Boyhood

It’s almost difficult to explain why I loved this movie. Sure it has a loose structure and almost no plot, but that’s the beauty of it. A beautifully un-cinematic look at a person’s journey through adolescence without some unnecessary plot shoved in there. The real-time journey of the characters through the film also gives it a realism and a relatability that is absent from other films.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes7. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Boy, that title is a mouthful. Look, forget all the performance capture stuff for a minute. This is still a great, smart, intense film about trust and understanding among other things with a touch of Shakespeare and “Animal Farm” thrown in there. The humans may not be as interesting as last time, but with killer lead performances from Andy Serkis and Toby Kebbell, who gives a shit?

Captain America The Winter Soldier6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

“When Captain America throws his mighty shieeeeld!” I wasn’t a huge fan of the first Captain America. I thought it was a serviceable movie that brought us closer to The Avengers, in which Cap still wasn’t my favorite character. And then this movie blasted through and became the best stand alone MCU movie as a neo-political espionage thriller with a slant on the grey area of global affairs and the fear brought on by the faceless enemy of terrorism. Who would have thought that the most politically intelligent film of the year would be a comic book movie? Take that, fake baby in American Sniper!

FOX_3750.psd5. Wild

I haven’t seen this on many top ten lists and I don’t know why. The book destroyed me emotionally and the film matches it in the capacity. With a career best performance from Reese Witherspoon as well as the incomparable Laura Dern, this film is a powerful look at grieving in a most extreme way with gorgeous locations to boot. It was the first “non-event” movie I ever saw more than once in theaters.

X-Men Days of Future Past4. X-Men: Days of Future Past

First Class was a nice way to whet our appetites after the mediocre Last Stand and the embarrassing Wolverine in ’09, but it wasn’t until the previous year’s The Wolverine that I felt like we were getting back to what I loved about the first two films. And Days of Future Past didn’t disappoint. Overflowing with fan favorites, the action almost takes a backseat to the characters in this film more so than we’ve seen before, but you almost don’t notice because you’re so invested in the characters.

Interstellar3. Interstellar

What would happen if you set one of McConaughey’s Lincoln ads in space? You get Interstellar. Screw the haters, I loved this movie. Sure Matt Damon threw me for a loop, but it was visually stunning, original, heart-pounding, and emotionally satisfying. Plus, that score by Hans Zimmer is orgasmic.

Whiplash-5547.cr22. Whiplash

Why is JK Simmons always yelling at me? To say the brilliant JK Simmons steals the show undercuts the brilliance of Miles Teller’s performance and Damien Chazelle’s storytelling. It poses the question of how far you’re willing to go and what you’re willing to give up to achieve greatness and gives you an answer that may not feel right, but you can’t help but root fr him. Plus that last ten minutes is every bit as intense as any action scene last year.

Gone Girl last shot1. Gone Girl

Rosamund Pike. (drops mic)


friday-13th-crocsAdmit it, at least once you’ve caught yourself watching one of the Friday the 13th movies and enjoying it. And what’s not to enjoy? They’re awesome… OK, most of them are awesome… some of them are awesome… they’re actually pretty stupid.
But by God, they’re entertaining!

Long before Rebecca Black, there was one person who struck fear into our hearts when we heard “friday” mentioned- and that person was none other than Jason Voorhees.
I grew up with these films, so they’ve always meant a lot to me, even if I never actually thought they were any good. Or scary. Or original. But there’s something to be said about the series’ tenacity, constantly trying to reinvent itself, failing miserably, and yet still thriving for 10 movies before a spin-off and a reboot. No matter how old or smart I get and no matter how much I realize how absurd these films are, well, in the words of Whitney Houston: IIII-e-IIII will aaalwaaays looove yooooouu!

Leading up to Halloween, I’ve been appropriately binge-watching the aforementioned horror franchise starring our second favorite masked killer. It would probably be more appropriate to binge-watch the Halloween movies, though. Well, maybe if there’s time.

But for now, here’s a blow-by-blow analysis of the series from 1980 to 2009. Yes, 2009. I didn’t leave out any movies.

Ki ki ki, ma ma ma…

"Here I come to wreck the daaaaay!"

“Here I come to wreck the daaaaay!”

1. Friday the 13th (1980)
Before I ever saw any of the Friday The 13th movies, I was a Boy Scout in New York (long after Jason “took” it) . One of my very first camping trips was to a campgrounds in New Jersey called Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco, where they apparently filmed the first movie. Yeah- I didn’t sleep that weekend. When I got home, I had to seek out the movie. And I did. And it rocked. The twist had long been spoiled by one of my other all-time favorites, Scream, and I had ended up seeing a couple other Friday the 13th movies before I ended up seeing this one, but I still loved it. Here we learn of Jason Voorhees’ origins of how he was a mentally challenged boy with a physical deformity who drowned at Camp Crystal Lake when the counselors weren’t paying attention. And what does his mother do? Well, she does what any loving mother would do under the circumstances, she grieves and forgives the counselors, going on to lead an otherwise uneventful life… ha, just kidding. She slaughters everyone. Happy Mother’s Day! The film was clearly banking off the success of John Carpenter’s masterpiece, Halloween, even using another scary day as the title/ setting. Despite not being very good and actually being pretty slow at times, audiences ate it up when other films around the same time failed to do so. While still decent and much more solid than most of the sequels would be, the film lacked what Halloween had however in a scary villain with an iconic image (among other things like interesting characters, provocative ideas, but I digress) but that would soon change… in Part 3.
And it gave us Kevin Bacon… so that’s cool…

friday the 13th kevin bacon

Easily his best role until “Wild Things”

2. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
Now we’re talking. After the first film ended with the surprise that Jason was alive the whole time, he ages rapidly from a little boy to a full-grown man in the course of two months to be the villain in this film. Because characters in these movies never learn, they decide to open a camp on the same lake that Camp Crystal Lake was situated with even more victims- I mean counselors. One of which is Ginny, a character finally worthy of the best “final girls.” More likable and realistic than anyone in the first film, Ginny takes the time to try to figure out Jason’ psyche, which is what this film actually does the best of any of the films: it treats Jason like an urban legend come to life. They really got the campfire story tone down with this one, complete with an actual scene where a character more bland than mayo on white bread tells the tale of Jason and his *ahem* unique relationship with his mother. They treat Jason as if he was a real, developmentally challenged man who was sheltered by his mother and then snapped after her death. And not really understanding what death is, he continues his mother’s work as a killer dressed up as the guy from The Town That Dreaded Sundown. What an odd homage.
So this horror franchise is doing pretty well. I guess it’s time to shit the bed. After all, what could be worse than wearing a potato sack on your head?

My mama told me I could be anything I wanted for Halloween... so I'm a potato.

My mama told me I could be anything I wanted for Halloween…
so I’m a potato.

3. Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982)
Oh crap, it’s this one.
In the 80’s, Hollywood thought it would be a good idea to take all their upcoming horror movies and release them in 3D. Why? Who f***ing knows. The point is, there’s a lot of long, awkward shots of random objects coming into the foreground for no reason like TV antenna, a yo-yo, farm equipment, and then eventually an eyeball on a string.

"Eye" see you! Thank you, I'm here all week, my wife won't let me come home...

“Eye” see you! Ha! Thank you, I’m here all week… my wife won’t let me come home…

This movie sucks. This is when the franchise went from mediocre into the realm of lazy. Here we start to see the one-dimensional character tropes that we will get used to seeing in the films to come: the nerdy character who likes a hot character but dies before anything happens, the dickhead, the character who inexplicably has a dark past involving Jason despite having no other relation or connection, and the sex-crazed couple whose only personality trait is an active libido. I know that last one is common for any slasher flick, but Jesus, do they really hammer that one in. Not to mention the film’s cheap effects, even by franchise standard. The noticeable padding on the actor playing Jason, the thugs lifted straight from a bad music video, and the overall lack of creativity. Even without 3D effects, this is the plainest looking film of the series.
I could forgive the film for being lazy if it weren’t so dull, which is really the film’s biggest crime. The best thing this film has to contribute is the introduction of Jason’ iconic hockey mask… yay.

Did I mention this movies was in 3D!?

Did I mention this movies was in 3D!?

4. Friday the 13th: Crispin Glover and Corey Feldman are in this one! (1984)
No, seriously. Crispin Glover and Corey Feldman are in this one, look it up!
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter made a promise in its title that it obviously didn’t keep, but I give it credit for trying. In this one we have the obligatory group of teens coming out to the lake to stay the weekend (even though they get there on a Tuesday, seeing as this film takes place right after Part 3 which takes place right after Part 2, but whatever. Details aren’t important in this franchise) but we also have a family that lives next door, one of which is a fresh-faced Corey Feldman before he became this Corey Feldman:

I’m sorry you had to see that…
Anyway, this film, like that previous film, doesn’t do anything to advance the Jason mythology other than introduce Feldman as Tommy Jarvis who will be our lead character for the next two films as well. But it’s still a fun film with the distinction of having the most nudity of any of the Friday the 13th films, so imagine how happy the 12-year-old me was upon discovering this film.
I’ll also say that, before Kane Hodder showed up and completely owned Jason, this was the first film where I feel they really nailed the physicality of Jason. In Parts 2 & 3, he was just a big guy who killed people. But Ted White created a unique physicality that would carry over onto other films, making him more interesting than just a masked killer.
Speaking of physicality, I wasn’t lying. Crispin Glover is in this movie and it’s everything you ever dreamed it would be.

5. Friday the 13th: Ha- Just Kidding, There’s More (1985)
After I got home from Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco, before I ever saw the first one, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning was the first Friday the 13th movie I ever saw (and on HBO too, with all the violence and nudity intact, so that was cool). I was so ready to see Jason Voorhees kicking ass! And guess what? Jason isn’t even in this one… God damn it…
I love how they brought the franchise back, not after several years of failing to make a buck, but the very next year. It’s still one of the better films, though. It has high hopes of character development by showing Tommy years later joining a halfway house, still haunted by that night that happened an unspecified amount of time ago. He says no more than 30 words in the entire movie, instead relying on facial expressions and kicking the shit out of people with karate… seriously. Uncommonly for these films, I found myself kind of rooting for some of these characters which made the finale, dare I say, actually a little intense? Of course there’s a shitload of peripheral characters who exist solely to become butcher meat, which takes away from the film. When you introduce a character at a random point in the movie only to be immediately killed, it feels like a waste of time. The other films did this of course, but when you have characters with such potential that get less screen time because you have to introduce two hillbillies who are so cartoonish that they were almost two-dimensional (although to be fair, the hillbilly woman in question was f***ing hilarious) it becomes distracting. I just wish we had more time with these characters, especially when they’re characters who we have established have flaws or serious issues. More time with good characters would have made the film more forgivable when you find out that Jason this whole time was actually a paramedic who was the absentee father of one of the boys at the halfway house who was killed by another boy at the house for being way too Goddamn annoying (but also sort of endearing. RIP Joey). I still love it though for its generous amount of nudity, some more creative kills, and the coolest dance scene/ death scene you’ll see all day:

6. Sorry About That, We’ll Bring Back The Real Jason (1986)
The idea with the last one was that Jason was actually killed in Part IV and the next film would feature Tommy taking over as the killer due to childhood and current trauma. I’m glad they went back to form because Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI is, in my opinion, the best film in the series. And not just for bringing back Jason, it’s actually a good movie. Despite the initial silliness in the way Jason is brought back to life by being electrocuted by lightning after his corpse is impaled with a fence pole, the movie is actually pretty good. The lead characters are likable and well acted, the plot actually moves forward with little to no distractions, there are cool stunts (and even a car chase) and, most importantly, a kick-ass soundtrack. We find Tommy, no longer following the “Ryan Gosling School Of Acting With No Dialogue,” who is now a more energetic, proactive hero. He meets up with Megan, one of the counselors at the newly reopened camp, and who also happens to be the daughter of the sheriff of the town that has since changed its name from Crystal Lake to Forest Green. They manage to make the sheriff strict, but also understandable in his actions and later even likable. The chemistry between Tommy and Megan is remarkably strong for a film like this, and even the other counselors are more likable than most of the other franchise’s counselors. Plus, Jason is back! In the other films, you could still believe he was just a persistent mortal if you suspended disbelief. This time, he’s in full-on zombie mode and this would go on to create some of the cooler moments in the franchise. Of course the film still has the clichés of two characters having sex while the power goes out and then one of them is killed while the other listens to loud music, but this time it works because the scene ends with an RV flipping over a fallen tree followed by Jason punching the door off and walking out as it catches fire. F*** yeah!

"Mad it, ma! Top o' the world!"

“Mad it, ma! Top o’ the world!”

7. Friday the 13th: The One Where Jason Fights A Telekinetic. I’m Not Even Kidding (1988)
Oh, Jeez. Another example of the franchise trying something new and failing, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood is one of the more tedious entries. This time, the lead character is a telekinetic who feels guilty over the death of her father which she was responsible for when she was a little girl. Now she’s all growed up and it’s time to go back to their house on (you guessed it) Crystal Lake with her doctor who thinks it’s a good idea to face the problem head on where it started. Of course we find out later the doctor is a selfish dick who only wanted to provoke and study her telekinetic abilities. But that’s not all, we have a group of friends getting together at the house next door for a surprise party only to all end up being murdered… surprise! All of these characters include the tropes I mentioned earlier. The nerdy guy who’s into film or costumes or something who likes a girl who’s only personality trait is sex who tries to get into the pants of the main guy who likes the main girl who turns out to be a telekinetic. You know, the usual stuff. Not to mention the other characters where they just double up on the tropes. We have about an hour of this bullshit before Jason finally faces off against our resident telekinetic, Tina. So it’s basically Jason vs. Carrie. Because that’s what we all wanted to see. There’s not much else positive to say except that some of Jason’s stunts at the end are impressive considering they were all done by Kane Hodder himself (the best Jason who makes his debut in this film) and at the end we’re treated to a sweet explosion following Jason’s unmasking which, by the way, is also sweet.

"You know, gingivitis is the number one cause of all tooth decay." -Ace Ventura

“You know, gingivitis is the number one cause of all tooth decay.”
-Ace Ventura

8. Jason Kills People On A Boat And Eventually Makes A Brief Stop In Manhattan (1989)
If the last movie’s reinvention of the series didn’t work, don’t worry, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan doesn’t work either. In an attempt to take Jason out of the rural setting and put him in an urban setting, they center the films around a graduating class who takes a cruise from Crystal Lake all the way to Vancouver doubling for Manhattan. Yeah, seriously, f*** Vancouver. You get the gist already, shy girl with past relating to Jason, nerdy guy, hot girl, girl with guitar, black guy, dick teacher, and a partridge in a pear tree. The draw of this film though was to see Jason in Manhattan, but when your film is an hour and a half long and Jason doesn’t even step foot on Manhattan until and hour and two minutes into the movie, you know something’s wrong. The glaring lack of NYC was due to budget constraints, but that’s not all that suffered due to low-budget. Jason’s makeup looked like a cheap rubber mask which is even more upsetting considering how awesome his face looked in the last movie. There’s the obligatory scene in Times Square to show that they actually filmed for a few hours in NYC, and that’s about as authentic as you get. As a resident of NYC, it was clear that the writer had never been to the city. The characters were cartoons, everyone they run into is either a rapist, a mugger, a junkie, or all three. Not to mention the whole finale revolving around toxic waste that floods the sewer at midnight (and turns old Jason into little boy Jason again. Um… OK…) despite the fact that it looked less like a sewer and more like the hallways under a dam or something, and that this doesn’t actually occur in the city. The whole movie was a cheap ploy to get people’s butts into seats after box office returns started taking a serious dive. Overall it’s a real waste of time, save for one moment involving Jason and a few thugs in Times Square.

Jason boombox kick

“F*** yo boombox!”

9. Jesus Christ, Another One? (1993)
The producers remembered how disappointed you were when you found out Jason wasn’t actually Jason in Part V, so in Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday, the producers decided to makes sure Jason was in the whole thing,,, even if you never actually see him until the last five minutes. Son of a BIIIII-
Sorry about that, I blacked out. Where was I? Oh, yeah- this movie sucks. They thought it would be a good idea to randomly introduce Jason’s sister and concoct some poppycock about how only a Voorhees can kill a Voorhees. Sure. I’ll take the word of a shady motive-less bounty hunter who takes payment in the form of broken fingers. He also says only a Voorhees can save a Voorhees, so Jason is looking for one of the three remaining Voorhees to transfer his soul into. A soul int the form of a weird black worm gremlin that transfers from body to body throughout the film, causing the murders not to be done by Jason, but by random, out-of-shape supporting characters possessed by Jason. Super. Honestly the film might have worked as a standalone B-movie, but as a Jason movie with no Jason that waited 9 Goddamn movies to introduce this mystical mythology, it falls flat on its face. Even the stuff with Jason at the end isn’t that great because he’s constantly throwing the hero around instead of killing him because the director told him not to.
There’s a cool cameo from Freddy’s glove at the end but the movie isn’t worth it to get to that point and you can YouTube it anyway.

And that’s it. The final Friday, so to speak. Jason would never live to kill another day…

humor funny jason friday the 13th calendar friday jason voorhees 1920x1080 wallpaper_www.wallpaperhi.com_54

Just kidding! There’s still more money to be made!

10. Jasonnn Innn Spaaaaace! (2001)
Imagine you’re watching a bad episode of Babylon 5 and Jason Voorhees shows up. That’s Jason X.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear: Jason X is not the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but it is the dumbest movie I’ve ever seen. This is the moment where the producers threw up their hands and said “f*** it, let’s remake Alien: Resurrection but with Jason Voorhees.” “Brilliant,” said another producer as they plummeted to their deaths because they were driving while stoned off their ass. Fortunately for us, we still got Jason In Space, and by God it’s miraculous. This movie knows what it is probably better that we do. In a move that screws up the entire timeline set by Jason Goes to Hell and Freddy vs. Jason, Jason is cryogenically frozen by the government after every attempt to kill him has failed. After a mishap at the lab, he is frozen along with Rowan, the impossibly hot, young scientist. When both of them are thawed out in the future, all hell breaks loose and it’s Goddamn glorious. There are fights with cyborgs, there’s naked holograms, there’s future technology that makes no sense, and that guy from 300 who is informed that this is, in fact, Sparta- right before being kicked into a giant hole. Not only is there all of that, but after a particularly nasty fight with a cyborg, Jason is brought back by future technology and turned into Uber Jason! That’s- that’s not even my name for him, that’s his actual designation. I don’t know if it’s on purpose or accidentally, but the film is also really funny, which unfortunately undermines any attempt at tension or horror… but who gives a shit? It’s Jason Voorhees iiiin spaaaaaccee!!!! Easily the best of the “horror icon in space” genre, this film is in no way great, but it’s still one hell of an entertaining film.
P.S. There’s a moment where a female cyborg’s nipples fall off. You can’t make this shit up.

Jasooon innn spaaaace!

Jasooon innn spaaaace!

11. Finally! Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
This movie may have come 15 years too late to an audience who no longer gave a two-shilling shit about Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees, but it still delivers the goods… I think. I’m not actually sure if this movie is good or not. I still haven’t figured out if this movie follows the same tired formulas because it’s a poorly written piece of crap, or if it follows the same tired formulas in a satirical fashion. The film sort of reuses the setup of (the far superior) New Nightmare of Freddy losing his power because he’s been forgotten, only this time he releases Jason Voorhees from hell to start killing again so he can take the credit and people will remember him. And then they go their separate ways until the end. Huh… OK. Either way, it definitely still has its moments. Working as both a Nightmare On Elm Street ad Friday the 13th movie simultaneously, this movie gives us the stuff we’ve come to love (or rather tolerate) from both franchises until the final showdown between the two titans of horror. Was it a solid fight? Of course it was. Would it have been even cooler if it took place in Freddy’s dream world and we got to see both Freddy and Jason at their strongest as opposed to just Jason who is clearly bigger and stronger? Definitely. But it’s still a passable film that satisfied our thirst, even if it didn’t completely quench it.

The film we deserve, but not the one we need right now...

The film we deserve, but not the one we need right now…

12. “Is It A Remake Or A Reboot?” “Does It Matter?” (2009)
Michael Bay has made a habit of remaking horror movies that no one wants to see remade that end up actually being halfway decent. The Texas Chainsaw remake was actually not half bad, I actually prefer the Amityville Horror remake, and Jackie Earle Haley was well cast as Freddy Krueger. Unfortunately for Friday the 13th fans, this was not exactly what we were looking for. This remake was far too modern to speak to the sensibilities of the original franchise. The originals, while violent and full of nudity and flat characters, had a kitschy quality to them. Never to be taken too seriously and never unreasonably dark. This film took itself a little too seriously and I found myself having a hard time enjoying this film. I do however like the idea of the mash-up of the first four films. The first film is the flashback (where Pamela Voorhees is the killer and is beheaded), the second film is the prologue (where Jason starts killing wearing the burlap sack on his head), the third film is the main portions (where Jason has his signature hockey mask), and the small throwback to the fourth film with the male character looking for his missing (translation: dead) sister. Unfortunately, it’s hard to root for anyone in this movie. It’s one thing to not care if a character dies like in the originals, but when you’re hoping for the characters to die, that’s something altogether unforgivable. Plus it seems that every female character is topless at one point and they all end up dying, proving yet again that the Friday the 13th franchise is an allegory for abstinence. Bottom line: you have sex, you die. It’s like these movies were written by the gym teacher from Mean Girls.
Not to mention the dialogue- dear Lord Jesus, the dialogue. There’s a sex scene near the middle of the movie where the male character says, I shit you not, “Your tits are stupendous.” That’s an actual line from this movie. And he doesn’t stop, he continues to compliment every detail of her breasts. Now I did like Jared Padalecki’s and Danielle Panabaker’s characters simply because they’re talented, likable actors, but that wasn’t enough to make up for the rest of the characters.
I do however have one glowing praise for the film and that’s Jason. Derek Mears, who has made a career as a stuntman and physical actor, created a Jason unlike the previous Jasons but just as effective. He moved with more speed and agility than previous Jasons, creating a more threatening Jason than we had seen in most previous films.

Crouching Jason, Hidden Tiger

Crouching Jason, Hidden Dragon

The Friday the 13th franchise is a confusing mess of a series ranging from good, to bad, to silly, to “what in all f*** is going on?” and yet we still watch them year after year. Maybe it’s the gratuitous violence. Maybe it’s the copious amount of nudity. Maybe it’s because we like familiarity and every Goddamn movie is exactly the same. Or maybe it’s the most heartwarming mother-son relationship since Norman Bates and his mother. Who knows?

"Mama always said, life is like a box of murder..."

“Mama always said, life is like a box of murder…”

Until next time, lock your doors, don’t go camping, and see you next Friday the 13th.

Ki ki ki, ma ma ma…

drive-angry-3d-explosion-nicolas-cage-hair-highlights-carSweet bacon and eggs, there were some good ones this year. Picking my favorites of the year always feels harder than picking what I think are the best of the year. While some films are arguably better than others (like every Nicolas Cage movie ever made), there’s always those movies that stick with you in a certain way. Movies that make you laugh, cry, or just leave you entertained for two hours. Even if it’s a film I responded to emotionally or otherwise to, there might be another movie that has more rewatch value. If you’re stuck on a desert island, are you bringing The Place Beyond The Pines or Furious 6? I could have made a list of my thirty favorite or even forty favorite movies of last year and still felt some were missing. Of course, some major disappointments would have been absent like American Hustle or A Good Day To Die Hard. Really? I mean, really?
But on a positive note, there were some films this year that just made me happy to be a movie-goer. There are those movies that come out of nowhere like 42 or Fruitvale Station which I adored. Those movies that you expect to be horrible and leave you thrilled afterwards like World War Z or Olympus Has Fallen. Then there’s always those sequels that pop onto the screen and actually surpass their predecessor like Riddick or The Wolverine. Then there’s those little films to balance out your year like PhilomenaBlue JasmineSaving Mr. Banks, and Nebraska, which all just missed the cut by a hair.
Special shout out to Sharknado which is technically a TV movie. It doesn’t mean I love you any less, you ridiculous piece of shit.

EDIT: Had I seen Frozen before I initially made this list, it probably would have found a spot somewhere. What a wonderful movie.

Here we go!

theconjuringposter13. The Conjuring: Lucky 13. After scaring our socks off in 2011 with Insidious, which felt like an homage to more inventive horror films like Poltergeist, director James Wan came out swinging with The Conjuring, which felt more like classic 70s horror movies like The Amityville Horror or The Exorcist. A film based on tension and atmosphere, it’s the only horror movie I can think of that, for me at least, felt scarier the second time around. Focusing on the alleged true story of Ed and Lorraine Warren, most famous for investigating the aforementioned Amityville house, taking on a small family in the middle of nowhere with a malevolent force making their life a living hell. Rated R despite having no nudity, and no violence or language found in anything above a PG-13, The Conjuring earns its adult rating for being classically unsettling, and boy does it earn it.

lone_survivor_xlg12. Lone Survivor: A spot I was sure another favorite, Captain Phillips, would take, Lone Survivor is another tension filled, recent true story of survival with a palpable sense of humanity. We follow a group of four SEALS played by Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Taylor Kitsch, and Emile Hirsch, who are sent out into the mountains of Afghanistan to take out a high-ranking Taliban leader. But when their position is compromised, they find themselves outnumbered in a fight to survive. It’s a relentless action thriller that never forgets what it is, a film about brotherhood and the will to do what is right and what is necessary. Whether or not the film is completely realistic, I felt myself thrown into the situation and feeling the dread that the characters were feeling. Having trekked similar terrain near where the film was shot, I can only imagine how much harder it would have been if I were being shot at. Now the film at times feels overtly patriotic, which is obviously from director Peter Berg’s deep respect for the military. And whether or not it’s truly earned, is honoring our troops a bad thing?

thor the dark world poster11. Thor: The Dark World: Coming only a few months later and removing Man Of Steel as my favorite superhero movie of the year, Thor: The Dark World also replaces The Avengers as my favorite Avenger movie. Building on Thor’s growth as a character and as a leader, and Loki’s complex nature and absurdly likable villainy, as well as their dynamic together, this movie throws them into a much more immersive, creative, and ultimately more exciting film than its predecessor. While Thor was bound by the formula of an origin story, this film is free to explore the world of Asgard as well as its history and many enemies. There’s much more depth in this film than in any of the last few Avengers movies, finding its voice in its unique world. Not to mention some seriously kick-ass action ending in a fight to rival even Superman vs. Zod in Man Of Steel. And one more thing… dat twist.

Hobbit_the_desolation_of_smaug_ver15_xlg10. The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug: I haven’t seen every movie dragon of all time, but I’m pretty sure Smaug is up there with the best. Now the film may not be as tight or memorable as a whole as Lord Of The Rings, and it may have been too long (no “may have been,” it was too long) but to say I was ever bored would be a gross falsity. The film only fed the flame that is my love of Middle Earth and all these films have to offer. Introducing new parts of the world I would have never imagine being part of this world, yet making it seem like a natural extension, it works as a solid installment. Not to mention some familiar faces as well as some welcome new ones, like Tauriel, a warrior elf played by Evangeline Lilly who just walked into my life. She may have been the standout, even with her Partner Legolas being a badass in ways we haven’t seen before, but that doesn’t take away from Martin Freeman’s unfailingly great portrayal of Bilbo. Then throw him in a scene with Benedict Cumberbatch playing a dragon and a chase down the river involving barrels and you have some of the most exciting action scenes in recent years.

prisoners-poster9. Prisoners: Damn. Replacing The Place Beyond The Pines as my favorite gritty drama of the year, Prisoners is a dark, intense tale of two men and their families coping with e abduction of their daughters, and the cop who’s dedicated to finding them. Television has been overly saturated in the last twenty to thirty years with shows that deal with this subject matter, so some elements may feel familiar, but that doesn’t stop this movie from being an emotionally draining experience with no sure outcome. With outstanding performances from the cast, a confident script, steady direction, and beautiful photography from Roger Deakins, Prisoners left me breathless. And that last thirty seconds brilliant.

0001_mud_poster8. Mud: Another film that not only came out of nowhere, but I had no clear idea what it was, Mud joins Warm Bodies as one of my favorite surprises of the year. Although very different in style, Mud is the story of 14-year-old Ellis who, with help from his friend Neckbone, helps a fugitive named Mud evade the police and reunite with his true love, whore- I mean Juniper. Speaking of, Reese Witherspoon is such a good actress that she made me hate Reese Witherspoon. Now the film’s marketing was based around Matthew McConaughey as the prominent supporting character, Mud, but this is young Tye Sheridan’s movie as Ellis. A remarkably subtle performance for a young actor, he shows an innocence underneath his blind confidence. Ellis’ young ideas of love are what motivate him to help Mud and are ultimately what lead to devastation. The film is almost nothing like the crime thriller that the ads would certainly lead you to believe it is, but it works even better at what it really is, a great coming of age story.

the-way-way-back-poster17. The Way Way Back: Another coming of age story, although very different from Mud. Whereas Mud is more in keeping with some harsh truths with rays of light here and there like The Spectacular NowThe Way Way Back is more in keeping with The Kings Of Summer which is more rays of light with some harsh truths here and there. Now The Way Way Back is a very good, very entertaining film about another 14-year-old who, Duncan, goes with his mom and her boyfriend to a beach house for the summer. He’s your typical awkward kid who’d treated like shit by her mom’s boyfriend and hid daughter, but you feel for him. His mom doesn’t quite pick up on the problems that her son is facing even though she tries, and her boyfriend doesn’t care or realize that he is the problem. So Duncan takes refuge in a water park where he meets Owen played by Sam-good-God-damn-give-this-man-an-award-Rockwell. Rockwell steals the show and give this movie the edge over Mud for me. Owen helps give Duncan the confidence to get a job, meet a girl, stand up to his mother’s boyfriend, and not be such a sad sack all the time. Plus, with a supporting cast like Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Allison Janney, Amanda Peet, Rob Corddry, and Maya Rudolph, how can you not like it?

1322166. The World’s End: I’m not gonna lie, when I first saw it, I liked it, but I didn’t think it stacked up next to their last two films, Shaun Of The Dead or Hot Fuzz, or even the year’s earlier end of the world comedy (and another favorite) This Is The End. But, much like with Shaun and Fuzz, when you watch it again, you pick up on little things and the film starts to appear tighter and tighter and just that much better. Simon Pegg, in my favorite performance of the year, plays Gary King. When Gary gets his old friend back together to complete a pub crawl they didn’t finish in High School, things don’t seem to be able to get worse… until they discover the town has been taken over by alien robots. You know, typical night out drinking stuff. The film is unfailingly clever, full of detail, fun, funny, full of heart, and even sad at times. The unsurprising amount of depth in the film set off by its relentless comedy make this easily one of my new favorite comedies.

star_trek_into_darkness_poster_enterprise5. Star Trek Into Darkness: Simon Pegg, keep being in stuff so I can keep putting them on my list. After blowing our socks off with the fresh and genre revitalizing Star Trek, JJ Abrams is at it again with Star Trek Into Darkness. While suffering from sequel-itis, the film doesn’t quite feel as fresh as the first one, but it still retains all the same fun and great characters of the first film. While the characters have certainly found a groove as far as operating the Enterprise, they’re still learning and continue to figure out each other. Friendships are strained or even lost at times, and its made even worse when they go after terrorist John Harrison. Screw it, he’s Khan. Can I call him Khan? Spoiler: he’s Khan. But if you didn’t know that by now, Edward Norton and Brad Pitt are the same person and Snape kills Dumbledore. A great villain and some great action scenes including a sequence that involves two characters navigating a debris field in space and two Starships facing off against each other. Sign me up for part 3.

ff6-new-movie-poster4. Furious 6: Don’t judge me, I’m only human. I don’t care what you say, I love these movies. And what’s even more, I love them on a legitimate level as well. I’ve grown to care about the characters, I like the different directions the series has taken, and the chemistry between the cast is a lot of fun to watch. But let’s not beat around the bush, the reason most people go to see these movies is for the actions scenes. And Holy tits on a pancake are they good in this movie. As far as practical action scenes go, these films are certainly among the best of the last decade or so for the sheer skill involved and the excitement they emit. That one sequence in particular everyone is talking about, final chase scene involving the Antonov on the longest runway on the planet, was not only breathtaking, but I had to pee the whole time. Talk about tension. Now having grown attached to these character and caring about them on a legitimate level, I was deeply saddened by the passing of Paul Walker in a way I had never felt before with a celebrity death. But to find a happier way to look at it, with the level of enjoyment I felt with this film and the boisterous energy of the theater crowd, Furious 6 was the best theater experience I ever had I like knowing that he was a part of that. Speaking of, I really did have a great crowd, that one stunt in particular at the end of the tank chase had people going f***ing bananas. You know the one. And that cameo at the end has me pumped for the next film.

MV5BMjIxMjgxNTk0MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjIyOTg2MDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_3. The Wolf Of Wall Street: Something tells me that D.A.R.E never told Jordan Belfort to “just say no.” The Wolf Of Wall Street is an excessive, debaucherous film about excessiveness and debauchery. So I guess you can call it a success. The film could have been a very intelligent, serious film about Wall Street in the 90s, but Martin Scorsese’s decision to keep the film more in keeping with the proper tone of the story and characters and make it as wild and offensive as possible, was not only the right call, but a dangerous one as well. Under a less gifted filmmaker, the film could have been nothing but the type of parties and wildness you see in Seth Rogen movies, especially considering Jonah Hill pops up eventually, but the film has a clear point to it. This film had me laughing every bit as hard as I did during films like The Heat, but never forgot the dramatic, human side of the story. Throw on top of that Leo’s electric performance that feels like a one man stadium rock band, and the film is not only a great, smart film, but easily the fastest three hours of 2013.

thehungergams-catchingfire-ukposter2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: Forget Katniss Everdeen, Jennifer Lawrence is The Girl On Fire. In a performance that is far superior to her overrated turn in American Hustle, Jennifer Lawrence brings the character to life again in what is easily, for me, the most satisfying movie of the year, based on expectation and previous disappointment. Not that I didn’t like the first film, I did very much, but it was missing a few things. Things that this film got right. Francis Lawrence, a director not exactly known for making great films, expands upon Gary Ross’ vision in the first film and makes this one darker, heavier, and ultimately much more tragic. The actors are in top form, the tension is high, the action is exciting, the tone much scarier and daunting, and the set and costume design can rival even those of the visually stunning The Great Gatsby, another film I highly enjoyed. I absolutely loved this film, which is saying a lot. I often am more critical of adaptations than I want to be, even having problems with great films such as The Shining. But any film that garners such a profound emotional response from me deserves praise.

gravity_xlg1. Gravity: There were times in this film where I found myself hyperventilating, sucking in as much precious oxygen as I could. Before I go any further, I have to get very serious right now and look you in the eye. This film… is a masterpiece. Despite the emotional and thematic weight of the film, the three-dimensional characters, Bullock’s intense and heartbreaking performance, and the visual metaphors that people either don’t see, see and appreciate, or see and call obvious, the film is such a technical achievement that even me, someone who frequently studies behind the scenes of films, was left wondering, “how’d they do that?” I spent the money to commute into the city, and then plopped down even more so I could see it in IMAX 3D, and prepared myself to be blown away. And guess what? I felt like I was in space. Even with extremely high expectations, I was not let down. The film was beautiful to look at, made my palms sweaty, and made my eyes water. It’s a seemingly simple film about two astronauts who survive the destruction of their space shuttle and have to find their way home. Similar in ways to the one man show and dialogue free All Is Lost in its simple premise but expert execution. Thrillers nowadays have to have multiple twists and turns or have to try to be something unforgettable or profound and usually fail. This film shows that sometimes the simplest story can be the most engaging, and that the characters themselves and subtle visual elements can be what make is unforgettable and profound. Alfonso Cuarón has created a groundbreaking film that has set the bar the same way Avatar did several years earlier. It pushes the boundaries of what is possible with film, but never forgets to connect with an audience and boy does it do it. Gravity is a wonder to behold and is, in simplest terms, why we go to the movies.