The Best and Worst of 2013: Jordan’s Take

The Conjuring: James Wan's instant horror classic

The Conjuring: James Wan’s instant horror classic

The Best and Worst of 2013

By Jordan

When it comes to the quality of films produced, some years a better than others. In the case of 2013, a lot of years are better. Responsible for more sequels than you can count (Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Star Trek into Darkness… enough is enough you greedy industry moguls!) and enough big-budget disappointments to fill an entire weeks viewing, it was up to the work of independently minded maestros to save it from complete insignificance and give us cinema devotees reason to resist solely revisiting remastered classics on blu-ray. In this regard, Nicolas Winding Refn and Thomas Vinterberg did their part, while promising young directors Brad Anderson and Zack Snyder (responsible for the masterpiece that is Watchmen) failed miserably.

Ultimately, being a fan of cult and horror films, my top 5 of the year might be quite predictable, and my “worst list” is mostly full of disappointments as opposed to titles I knew were going to be rubbish beforehand. I’m sure many will disagree, and that’s quite alright, but if you plan on arguing your case just remember that I was debating champion in high school… and also, there really should be no arguing that Baz Luhrmann is a hack (I’m Australian, I’m allowed to say it).

Also included here are my picks for best and worst director, actor and actress, as well as my favourite tagline, quote and poster; I thought about including a category for best beard but thanks to Prisoners there’s no one that could really compare with Hugh Jackman… a film in which Jake Gyllenhaal also boasts the best haircut and facial twitches of the year, Maria Bello most time spent crying and Terrence Howard most whipped.

So without further ado, enough of the silliness and let’s begin!

Disclaimer – please note many films will be absent from this list due to Australian release dates and lack of cinema showings around the country. Films that cannot be judged due to this include – 12 Years a Slave, Wolf of Wall Street, Inside Llewyn Davis, Philomena, Nebraska, Fruitvale Station, Great Beauty and Blue is the Warmest Colour.

The 5 Best Films of 2013

Gravity. Not perfect, but quite remarkable

Gravity. Not perfect, but quite remarkable

1. The Hunt

Thomas Vinterberg’s heartbreaking tale of the effect of a solitary lie is simply remarkable, featuring a stunning central performance from Mads Mikkelsen and an even better one from young Annika Wedderkopp. See my review here.

2. Only God Forgives

If you can rate a movie based on how much discussion it generates after viewing, Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling’s second collaboration can be viewed as nothing less than perverted perfection. See my review here.

3. The Conjuring

A wonderfully directed, superbly acted and scored classical horror tale. Proof that a masterpiece can be achieved in any genre. See my review here.

4. Gravity

A little weak in character but damn close to perfection on a technical scale, Gravity was the big-screen event of the year and should find itself with a bucket full of trophy’s come the end of awards season. See my review here.

5. Evil Dead

A remake making my top 5 is a rare thing indeed, but in my opinion Fede Alvarez’ Evil Dead exists in fact as a sequel, and in this regard enthusiasticly furthers one of horrors great franchises with gore galore and a cool heroin.  See my review here.

The 5 Worst Films of 2013

No, I will not cheers to this shallow, pretentious tripe

No, I will not cheers to this shallow, pretentious tripe

1. The Great Gatsby 

An absolute insult to the intelligence of film-goers and more embarrassing for Luhrmann than even Australia (2008) could dare being, The Great Gatsby is not only the worst movie of the year but an eternal blight on the careers of all involved. DiCaprio and Maguire are particularly shocking. See my review here.

2. Man of Steel

An utter disappointment from two of the leading voices in modern cinema,  Man of Steel is soulless, charmless and void of any creativity. Perhaps its worst crime of all though is completely misusing the beautiful Amy Adams. See my review here.

3. The Internship 

Do I even have to mention the product placement at this point? Its shameless, simple as that, and if that isn’t enough The Internship also fails at being even the slightest bit funny… just a mess. See Eddie’s review here.

4. Movie 43 

One word: Beezel. See my review here.

5. Aftershock

An astonishingly dire effort that casts serious doubt over the credibility of Eli Roth, Aftershock also features some of the worst acting and most lazy plotting in recent memory. See my review here.

The Best Director of 2013: James Wan

With The Conjuring and Insidious: Chapter 2, Wan furthered his reputation as a true master of genre film-making and fans can remain optimistic that he has many more great ideas still to be translated.

Australian director James Wan on the set of The Conjuring

Australian director James Wan on the set of The Conjuring

The Best Actor of 2013: Ryan Gosling

Growing every year as an important dramatic actor, 2013 saw the Australian release of two of his finest films so far in Only God Forgives and The Place Beyond the Pines.

Ryan Gosling in Only God Forgives

Ryan Gosling in Only God Forgives

The Best Actress of 2013: Sharni Vinson

Representing Australia as one of the coolest  and most talented young Scream Queens on the scene, the You’re Next and Patrick star is possibly also helped by being so darn attractive.

Proof that Australia is the breeding ground for a lot of great acting talent

Proof that Australia is the breeding ground for a lot of great acting talent

The Worst Director of 2013: Baz Luhrmann

What a hack, seriously, assaulting viewers ears with Lana Del Rey and their eyes with an abundance of glitter and horrible performances from an ill-directed cast was just too much for this amateur critic to handle…

Baz. Successfully undoing all his good work on Romeo + Juliet one disaster at a time

Baz. Successfully undoing all his good work on Romeo + Juliet one disaster at a time

The Worst Actor of 2013: Vince Vaughn

More of the same by the famous-by-association, dull actor, with The Internship the nadir of a forgettable career.

Remember Swingers? Na, neither do I

Remember Swingers? Na, neither do I

The Worst Actress of 2013: Chloe Grace Moretz

A vastly derided, scorned sequel (Kick-Ass 2), a needless remake (Carrie) and a certain “comedy” involving an unexpected period and some of the worst ideas ever put to film… see my worst films list… make this selection inevitable.

Carrie: needed like a punch in the head

Carrie: needed like a punch to the head

The Best Tagline of 2013: Inject Some Celebrity into your Life – ANTIVIRAL

The Best Quote of 2013: The Conjuring

Ed Warren: Diabolical forces are formidable. These forces are eternal, and they exist today. The fairy tale is true. The devil exists. God exists. And for us, as people, our very destiny hinges upon which one we elect to follow.

The Best Poster of 2013: Antiviral

Suggestive and vivid... and quite grotesque. Antiviral

Suggestive and vivid… and quite grotesque. Antiviral

How does this overview of 2013 compare to your thoughts? Let us know what was good and what was bad about the year in film.

43 responses to “The Best and Worst of 2013: Jordan’s Take

  1. Some good stuff here Jordan! I’m going to take my time in compiling my own little list here at the end of the month. Gosling has been impressive, but unfortunately we don’t see eye-to-eye on Only God Forgives, though I’m glad to see it struck a chord with others. Place Beyond the Pines, though, was fantastic, although i think he was better in OGF. Agreed about Chloe Grace Moretz. .. and then I’d might have to add, even though I never did see it, Selena Gomez. She was kind of annoying in Spring Breakers (though I enjoyed that quite a bit myself) and her role in Getaway was apparently nothing short of contrition. A very blah year indeed.

    • Cheers Tom, its always fun looking back at the year that was. I love how split people are on OGF, I was mesmerized from the offset and it never broke my attention, immediately I preferred it to Drive and place it alongside Valhalla Rising as Refn’s best. Good point about Gomez, although I’m not sure I respect her career enough to even include her on a “worst” list yet, ha, didn’t she date Beiber or something? Enough said if that’s the case…

      • Oh gawd. Yeah if that’s the case, fuh-get about it. And you’re completely right, she’s not talented enough for to be seriously considered for a list I guess. haha she just happens to appear in some bad films. (Spring Breakers not included)

  2. Glad to see ‘Only God Forgives’ and ‘Evil Dead’ in there as they’ve both been very under-appreciated films. OGF drips with atmospheric bliss and ‘Evil Dead’ is actually a pretty enjoyable addition to the series.

  3. I’m going to read this is just make comments as I got because I find it fun and YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT.

    – I’m going to have to revisit Only God Forgives because while I found the film GORGEOUS and worthy of discussion, I also could literally see Refn smelling his own farts.
    – I also really enjoyed The Conjuring. It has been a gem in nearly a decade of sh*t horror films.
    – That’s it. I’m watching The Great Gatsby so I can either join the bashing or wonder why the bashing occurs.
    – James Wan was great this year but my god. Red highlights? Come on man…
    – Gosling was fantastic in Pine but I think you need to hose yourself down if you found him good in Only God Forgives. He basically just looked handsome and said a few words.
    – Yeah I don’t understand the Chloe Grace Moretz thing either.

    I hope you guys start getting the Oscar films soon. There’s still so much to see.

    • I have to take time to just say – sometimes it sucks being an Aussie film fan, waiting literally months and sometimes literally years to have films being released can get old fast. Makes end of year lists a slight more difficult to.

    • Haha, I can deal with it.
      I do seriously think Gosling is one of only a few actors who could’ve pulled off Refn’s material without it coming across as pretentious or uninteresting, and that he did a great job in conveying so much by saying and doing so little!
      And yes, to cut to the most pressing matter, those red highlights are ridiculous…
      Cheers, Jordan

    • Haha, I must’ve been blinded due to how lackluster that film was… Jackman really brought the anger which made the beard really command the screen.
      Absolutely everyone that hasn’t seen The Hunt needs to amend that ASAP.

    • What worked with Shakespeare wasn’t guaranteed to work with Fitzgerald. Lurhmann can convey a linear plot in an extravagant fashion, but since Gatsby is more about ideas and themes than tangible story it was just a complete shambles from beginning to end…

  4. I don’t think I’ve seen enough new releases this year to put my own list together but I enjoyed reading yours, and I’m very glad to see The Conjuring on your “best” list!

  5. Movie 43 was really the worst movie of the year, and maybe even one of the worst movies ever. I also agree upon Ryan Gosling. I have watched so many movies of him in the last few months and years, and there was none I disliked!!! He is really someone who has taste. Gravity already is on my cinema-list since weeks now. I am so curious about it now and only heard positive comments.
    I am actually sad that so many people disliked The great gatsby, since I have enjoyed it. Of course, literary adaptions are not easy, maybe even the hardest genre of movie making. It was also not the best literary adaption, but it was okay. The book is way more better, and you really have to read it 🙂 It’s very thin and easy to read.
    And I also have to admit that I loved the Internship so much. For me, it was even the best comedy movie this year. Sense of humour is always different of course, and I also think that comedy movies are one of the hardest genres to film, because you can never make everyone laugh.

    • I actually couldn’t believe just how bad Movie 43 was… surely they realised it wasn’t in the slightest bit funny when they were editing it? I’m glad you agree on a few of my choices! and appreciate that you liked a few on my “worst” list, as that is what film appreciation is all about; Gatsby is in my pile of books to get through!
      Just the fact that The Internship finished with a nicely cropped and completely unsubtle shot of a Google sign ignited anger for me, in my opinion they showed complete disdain for the audience by doing that and putting the story and characters second to overt marketing.

  6. So glad you liked Only God Forgives! it got so much hate which I don’t understand :/ I think it got too much hype from Drive, people went in thinking it was some sort of sequel. It is also one of my faves of the year 🙂 great list!

  7. Great works as always guys. Interesting thoughts about Only God Forgives. The film was shot beautifully and the visuals were truly groundbreaking. Gosling and Kristen Scott Thomas were both great, however I found that the characters could have used a bit more rounding out. Your thoughts?

    • Thanks mate. I guess I preferred that the characters weren’t completely rounded out; in my opinion they act as representations of good and evil, and personifying them would be in complete contradiction of the overlying themes Refn was trying to convey. It’s less about the motivations than the ferocity of the actions, in my opinion…
      Cheers, Jordan

  8. Very well put. I can definitely see where you’re coming from. Based on pure action and reaction, the film proved very entertaining. However, I feel as if it was difficult for most to suspend that critique and enjoy the film for what it was. I’m guessing that’s where the criticism might have come from.

  9. Although I disagree with your inclusion of Evil Dead 2013 (thought it was really terrible), everything else sounds good. I don’t know if it’s just me but Superhero films seemed to have run out of steam and they have gotten so predictable, like the same story with different characters – so I’m glad there weren’t any in your best list.

    • Ah that’s a shame that you didn’t like it! I really appreciated the direction it took, and loved the ending.
      Mate I’m just so over them now… they’re made-by-committee 2 hour advertisements duping everyone and taking their money.

  10. There are some films, (not on that list), that have bee released this year that I really enjoyed or are looking forwards to viewing). I do agree however that 2013 was not an excellent year for ilm, but for a few exceptions. It was a good year to explore films from the past and that is what I have gained, a better catalogue of films to watch that I missed or films that I am rewatching. So It’s not all bad 🙂

    • Cheers! Ha Eddie’s list will be up on Friday, expect to see at least one of those on there… I couldn’t put myself through watching a lazy, disillusioned Willis collecting his paycheck again.

  11. I cannot emphasise enough how much I agree about Vince Vaughan, the man is simply a terrible ‘actor’. Likewise Baz Luhrmann and his head ache inducing visuals. The Hunt was a great film but was on my 2012 list. I have to say that I found Only God Forgives to be one of the most disappointing films of the year, i absolutely hated it.

  12. I have yet to make my list. I greatly approve of the Great Gatsby making the worst films of the year list. Don’t agree with Man of Steel but we’ve had this conversation before. Nice to know I’m not the only one who thinks Vince Vaughn is bland.

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  14. Great list. I haven’t seen the new Carrie yet nor Only God Forgives. I totally agree on The Conjuring and Evil Dead. Unfortunately my mom gets motion sickness from IMAX and 3D movies so I didn’t see Gravity the way it was intended and was disappointed. Movie 43 was so embarrassingly awful. How did so many people sign-on to that?! My pick for best horror goes to V/H/S 2, specifically “Safe Haven”. I know there is tons of hype for it and that often puts me off, but the hype was real! THE HYPE WAS REAL!

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