Top 10 Movies of 2013
10.The Battery – Took me a couple viewings to really like it. It’s slow. It drags in parts. The characters aren’t overly likable. But it feels like a realistic depiction of the impending zombie apocalypse. It’s a different look at the genre, so it’s something even Renfield may be able to appreciate.
9. The Last Will & Testament of Rosalind Leigh – If I ever finish editing the film club entry on this, you’ll see my full thoughts. Slow, but a good sense of tension throughout.
8. Star Trek Into Darkness – Exactly what I expected. Lots of fun. Great performance by Cumberbatch.
7. Best Friends Forever – Kind of cheesy in parts, but I really loved this. Had a great feel to it. Loved the interaction of the two main characters. A cool little apocalyptic road-trip movie. I adore this film.
6. World War Z – Nothing like the book, but I didn’t expect it to be. It starts fast and doesn’t let up. I could’ve done with less of the pointless cut-backs to Gerry’s family (because I’m a heartless fiend), but that didn’t really ruin it. Just a fun, fast-paced action movie.
5. The World’s End – The weakest entry into the Cornetto trilogy, but I still loved it. Much better the second time around.
4. Mama – I totally understand the complaints about this movie, but I didn’t have those same issues. I choose to overlook the ending and the glaring plotholes and look at the story and the performances of everyone involved. The final showdown on the cliff looked like something straight out of a Universal monster movie.
3. Evil Dead – I was so excited about this coming out that I figured I would be disappointed. That was not the case. I loved this movie (it helped that I went with a squeamish friend). It had a myriad of problems, but I really don’t care. It was crazy and bloody, and I had a lot of fun watching it.
2. Maniac – Gave a sleek makeover to the scuzzy original. Kind of felt like Drive, but with a more scalpy protagonist. I had no idea what to expect going in, and this absolutely blew me away.
1. Pacific Rim – MONSTERS AND ROBOTS FIGHTING! I felt like a little kid watching this. I giggled during every fight. I excitedly punched my knee during a few parts (“They have a rocket that makes them punch harder!”) I’ve seen this 4 times now, and I get excited every single time.
Honorable mentions: Kill Me Now, John Dies at the End, Grabbers, You’re Next, American Mary, Inside Shadows
I don’t have a hated list, but here are a couple I didn’t love.
Escape From Tomorrow – I had such high hopes for this. It just feels like a waste opportunity. Instead of a slow descent into madness at Disney World (which would’ve been amazing), we were treated to a middle-aged man trying to bang every woman he sees. Kind of surprised he didn’t use pick-up lines like, “Hey baby, you wanna see the real Magic Kingdom?” Then point to his johnson (“Johnson?”). Anyway, this movie was kind of terrible.
Lords of Salem – Decent idea. Absolute mess of a film.
Frankenstein’s Army – I heard this was good. “The creature effects are amazing.” They weren’t bad. The rest of the movie was wretched.
The Purge – Not horrible. Just really boring. Again, a really cool idea, but not a very good movie.
Top 10 Albums of 2013
10. Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse. Part of it may be the thick Scottish accent, but I really love these guys.
9. Jake Bellows – New Ocean. Former lead singer of Neva Dinova, a great and under-appreciated band from the early 2000s. Cool little pop songs occasionally dressed in noise.
8. Lissie – Back to Forever. She takes a step back from her folk leanings and heads towards a more 80s inspired path on this one.
7. Sigur Ros – Kveikur. The huge, thundering drums and dark chords make this a more sinister (yet more energetic) than some of their previous records.
6. Action Bronson – Blue Chips 2. Wasn’t a huge fan of his first Blue Chips record, but this is fantastic. Great production from Party Supplies, and top-notch rapping from Bronsilini. Catchy stuff.
5. Noah and the Whale – Heart of Nowhere. Upbeat pop songs with loads of strings. Honestly, I thought this was a bit cheesy at first, but I can’t stop listening to it now. Lovely little record.
4. Ghostface Killah – Twelve Reasons to Die. Produced by the great Adrian Younge – and taking inspiration from giallo films – this is possibly the best record of Ghostface’s career. Dark and slinky and a little terrifying. This record is amazing.
3. The Lonely Wild – The Sun as it Comes. Feels like a Western in a post-apocalyptic world. All open spaces and scorched earth and tumbleweeds.
2. Josh Ritter – The Beast in its Tracks. One of my all-time favorite songwriters deals with his recent divorce. It’s simultaneously heartbreaking and beautiful. Bitter and optimistic. In a career full of great records, this may be his best.
1. The National – Trouble Will Find Me. Probably my favorite band currently working. They deliver the goods here. I find something more to love about this album every time I listen to it.
Honorable mentions: The Next Day (David Bowie), Dig Here Said the Angel (Daniel Amos), Automechanic (Jenny O.), Long. Live. A$AP (A$AP Rocky), The Worse Things Get…(Neko Case), Departure and Farewell (Hem), Once I Was an Eagle (Laura Marling), Hold Back All My Dark (Minor Birds), MBV (My Bloody Valentine), Girl Talk (Kate Nash), In Rolling Waves (The Naked and Famous), The Silver Gymnasium (Okkervil River), Modern Vampires in the City (Vampire Weekend), Waiting For Something to Happen (Veronica Falls), North Americana (Leif Vollebekk), Cerulean Salt (Waxahatchee), Versions (Zola Jesus)
Catchiest Song of 2013
The 1975 – “Sex”.
This just narrowly edges out Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball”, of course.
Two bonus categories:
Most Disappointing New Show
Bates Motel. My problems with this are too numerous to list here.
Most Disappointing Ending to a Show