Archives for posts with tag: Best

It’s no secret, I did not see that many movies in 2012. I’m not sure why, it just seemed to happen that way. This year I realized that I truly do love movies and decided that I wanted to make sure that I saw a whole lot more in 2013. The result was seeing a total of Fifty-Six different new films in theatres and attending a total of Sixty-Nine screenings. What follows is my top ten films from those 56 unique films viewed in theatres. Agree? Disagree? Let me know how you feel about my choices.

Top Ten

10. About Time

9/26/2013 with William Fournier

11/5/2013 with Kevin Thibault

11/6/2013 with Dorothy “Mom” Decker

I had a bit of a struggle when it came to picking the tenth movie in my list. At the end of the day though it came down to the fact that I saw Richard Curtis’ film three different times in theatres  and was willing to see it at least two times more if scheduling had permitted.  While the premise is delightfully fantastical, “About Time” is really a story about making sure you make the most of every single moment you have on this earth. In reality, most of us don’t have the ability to go back have a do over when we mess something up, and seeing how Tim had to try certain events over and over again in order to make them perfect, was a fascinating way to tell the viewer that you have to make sure you live your life the way that you want to live it. If you want to have a piece of cake, then have the piece of cake. Want to strike up a conversation with a lovely looking young lady at the bar, then you might as well do it, because if you don’t then that opportunity will more than likely be lost to you for the rest of your days. In addition to tackling such a heavy philosophical message, the film also weaved a beautiful tale about family, and making sure you treasure your loved ones and not take the time you have together for granted. Plus it gave the world the ability to joke about how Rachel McAdams seems to exclusively be taking parts now where she is involved in relationships with time travelers, after doing this film on the heels of “Midnight in Paris” in 2011 (my top pick for the year) and “The Time Traveler’s Wife” in 2009. Personally I feel it is in an effort to keep the world from recognizing that she herself is in fact able to travel through time, but I don’t know if I should bother bringing that up. Since if it is true then she with use her chronologic abilities to prevent such a thing from ever being broadcast to the public.

9. 47 Ronin

12/28/2013 with Dayle Decker

I left the theatre after seeing “47 Ronin” turned to my sister and said “that movie will be on my top ten.” Don’t misunderstand, that isn’t the only reason why it’s on the list, it’s just being shared because it was such a good movie that I knew right away that it would be recognized by me for that fact. While a lot of people focused on the fact that Keanu Reeves was in the movie and how many jokes they could make about that fact, what they should have been doing is actually taking the time to watch this modernization of the ancient Japanese folk tale. The film makers were able to breathe new life into  well-trod territory while maintaining the sense of seriousness present in the original story.  Not only was the combination of fantasy and history well handled,  but the performances that were on display by all of the actors were truly top notch. Special acknowledgement should go to Rinko Kikuchi for her portrayal of the witch. She was so off the wall and crazy that every time she appeared on screen you were waiting with bated breath to see what insanity she was going to put on display. Seriously, don’t believe the hype on this film, go in with an open mind, and judge it for yourself. I think you’ll wind up pleasantly surprised.

8. Delivery Man

12/31/2013 with Dayle Decker

Going in I was expecting the kind of laugh out loud, easy comedy which the world has come to expect from Vince Vaughn. Don’t misunderstand, I was still quite excited to watch the film, I just didn’t expect it to be something that would stick with me. Luckily, I had underestimated this film and was treated to one of the most heartfelt and touching films from Hollywood in 2013. While it could be very easy to have made a 105 minute film about a man reacting to the absurdity of having over 500 biological children, they instead decided to approach it from all the available angles. Not every child was going to be a mini-Vince and thus prone to the same comedy pitfalls as him. In fact the majority of the children whose stories we hear are very difficult to handle as an audience member, let alone as the biological father of the person living with such issues. “Delivery Man” was a great film that brought a sense of realism to an otherwise absurd premise. It also delivered some truly memorable moments which I have found myself referencing many times since I viewed it. It also put Chris Pratt on my radar and made me that much more excited to see “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

7. The Spectacular Now

8/24/2013 with Kevin Thibault

“The Spectacular Now” was a film that I didn’t know a lot about going in, outside of the title. While, it would be easy to account for my love of this film on going in with no expectations, that would take away all the credit that is due to the actors for bringing such a hard story to life. In fact after seeing how well Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley handle such a heavy script with relative ease I can honestly say, that until they burn me, I will be going to see any film either one is attached to. Which yes, for those pundits in the crowd, does me I will be going to see “That Awkward Moment.”  Outside of the great acting, the film was so well made that I found myself deeply invested in the proceedings and as a result found myself hit that much harder by some of the moments presented in the film. I fully admit that I left the theatre with tears still in my eyes even after the credits had rolled. In fact this film was so good it was able to reinvigorate my love of going to the cinema, which briefly waned after a terrible experience at a theatre during the advance screening of “The World’s End.” If that’s not a testament to a film being worth seeing I’m not sure what is.

6. The Kings of Summer –

7/10/2013 with Dayle Decker & Dorothy “Mom” Decker

The award for film I traveled the furthest to see goes to the indie gem that is “The Kings of Summer.” Going in I knew nothing more than the fact that it was only offered in limited release and featured Nick Offerman and Moises Arias as actors. I’m glad that those three facts were enough to convince my mother and sister that driving ninety minutes from how to see a film was a good idea. “The Kings of Summer” is one of those rare movies that treats fictional teenagers like actual teenagers.  The anger and regret of these actors were put right out there on display, and in a medium where teenagers are often treated like children, the three young men in this feature showed that in spite of the age difference teenagers are really no different from adults. To top it off all of the actors gave fantastic performances and made this one of the most memorable films I saw in 2013. Not only that but the film was so good that I was fully willing to take a car load of friends to that same theatre to see it again a week later. Unfortunately, by that time it was no longer showing. Basically if you have had the chance to see “The Kings of Summer” yet (and let’s face it, you probably haven’t) I highly suggest you find yourself a copy and see a truly inspirational piece of independent cinema.

5. Fast & Furious 6

5/27/2013 with Dayle Decker

As much as I loved this installment of the beloved franchise, I find it hard to say that it was better than “Fast Five” and that is why like its predecessor it has landed solidly at the number five spot of my top ten.  Aside from finally convincing me that the events which took place in “Tokyo Drift” were actually canonical, this film did the impossible, and ramped up the action from the heist story of the last. People can nitpick and complain all they want about how long the runway was at the end of the movie, and can point out every little thing that were too absurd to happen in real life, but that isn’t why I go to the movies. Me, I go to the cinema to be entertained and “Fast & Furious 6” delivered in the entertainment department in spades. I am extremely excited for the next picture and again my give credit to a series that is six movies deep and still is able to create a sense of shock and awe every film and leave the viewer wanting more.

4. The Purge

6/7/2013 with Dayle Decker

I initially saw “The Purge” because I thought it had an interesting premise. By no accounts did I think I would leave the cinema feeling like I had just seen a great film. While it would be easy to think it may have something to do with my love for Ethan Hawke as an actor taking the foreground this year. I believe it has to do with the fact that film fully immersed me into the world it was creating. For 85 minutes I was transported to a world where every year for twelve hours all crime is legal, and after the film I wanted to continue the discussion about the further reaching effect such an event might have in the real world. Still I was disappointed when I heard that there was going to be a sequel to this film and I initially imagined it would wind up with a much lower ranking on my list. Luckily, while eating supper with some strangers recently the after dinner conversation turned to “The Purge” and it struck me that while a sequel in the same vein as the original would be terrible, if I instead focused on how other people spent the night without law and order and told more tales from a world where “The Purge” exists then there is a chance that my love for the original would only grow as we get to spend more time in the universe that was so beautifully constructed in the original. Plus that fact that I was able to engage in such a deep conversation about a film I had seen seven months prior, indicated to me that this film had earned the spot of fourth best film of 2013.

3. Escape Plan

11/26/2013 with Dayle Decker

As I was driving home from seeing “Escape Plan” I remember clearly saying that it was “a shame it won’t win any Oscars,” considering most people hated the film I could see that being a very polarizing comment. Still the performance given by Jim Caviezel, as the warden of the prison, was so clearly deserving of a nod from the Academy in the category of Best Supporting Actor that there was no other place on the list I could have ranked this underappreciated gem. A big part of my enjoyment of a feature is how deeply the actors are engrained in their characters. While Caviezel clearly gave the best performance and is the first reason I will cite when telling others to view “Escape Plan” kudos must also be given to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone for also committing so completely to their characters. Even as these two men embark on becoming septuagenarians it is clear to see why they were do representative of the action genre and that they should still not be counted out when it comes to making a great film.

2. Before Midnight

6/18/2013 with Dayle Decker

The joke has been made that I am the unofficial official president of the Before Trilogy Fan Club Which is unfortunately an accurate summation of my love for the series, which is pure video store employee gold. At least that is how I look at the now twenty year old experiment performed by director Richard Linklater and actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Perhaps that’s because I was only exposed to the series while working at Blockbuster when “Before Sunset” was released. Hearing it was a sequel, and with the luxury of free rentals, I naturally took home the store’s copy of “Before Sunrise” and instantly fell in love. I had no idea that “Before Midnight” was even a movie, until I saw it on the marquee when I went to see “Man of Steel.” That same night I tracked down DVD copies of both “Sunrise” and “Sunset” and proceeded to submit my sister and myself to watching the films in anticipation of seeing the new film that coming Tuesday. Our reward was seeing a film that perfectly reflected where these characters would be after so many years of being in love. A film ripe with dialogue and moments that I can call to mind at a moment’s notice and be brought to a place of pure joy or utter sadness. This film is truly a cinematic achievement and only misses out on the top spot for requiring the viewer to watch two other films to truly enjoy its magic.

1. Fruitvale Station

9/10/2013 with Dayle Decker

It is a rare film that causes a person to get so caught up in the narrative that they forget they are already aware of the ending. While I have heard many critics critique the fact that they heard other audience members wishing that Oscar Grant III wouldn’t be killed in the end of the film. I personally feel that the ability to create such a likable and engaging story where audience members are willfully hoping that a well known outcome will be changed in the end, is something that should be praised not chastised. It would have been very easy to go into a film like “Fruitvale Station” knowing the ending and letting that dictate the viewing experience. Yet, the product which the director was able to create is so engaging you let go of the facts and just allow yourself to enjoy. In addition to the script the film also had exceptional cinematography and acting which is why as soon as I left the theatre the only phrase I was able to use to describe it was “Fucking Exceptional.”

In having seen so many movies this year I decided that I had also collected enough evidence to name the five movies of the year that I kind of wish I had passed on. Without further ado here are the worst films I feel I saw in 2013

 

Bottom Five

5. Frozen

11/28/2013 with Dayle Decker & Dorothy “Mom” Decker

I have been looking forward to putting “Frozen” into my bottom five films of 2013 since I left the theatre. The reason is simple dear reader, I went in expecting to see a movie and instead was greeted with a musical. Granted this is the kind of thing one may come to expect from Disney, but in the past while the films have included songs those songs were used in an effort to enhance the story, not outright tell it. “Frozen” put all of the storytelling into the music, which is why I made my earlier statement, to make matters worse none of the non-singing scenes really did anything to enhance the characterization of the cast, leaving them feeling hollow and one dimensional. I was truly disappointed by “Frozen” and after rewatching “The Princess and The Frog” and “Tangled” over the past two weeks I definitely feel that the responsibility falls squarely on it falling short as a film.

4. This Is The End

6/11/2013 with Dayle Decker

I went to see this film for exactly zero dollars and I still feel like I was ripped off. I especially felt let down considering the film was filled with actors that I originally fell in love with in the failed Judd Apatow television series “Freaks and Geeks” and “Undeclared.” I think where the disconnect really began was the fact that the actors were supposed to be playing exaggerated versions of themselves, I think if instead they were portraying characters then it would have been easier to become invested in the story. The fact that the actors kept referring to one another by name took me out of the film each time. Combine an inability to lose yourself in the movie with a weak story and a poorly written script and you have a recipe for disaster, that couldn’t even be saved by the reunion of the Backstreet Boys in the final scene.

3. Evil Dead

4/6/2013 with Kevin Thibault

I love “The Evil Dead,” it’s one of those movies I remember having people over to the house on the weekend and watching over and over when I was in High School. It’s a piece of cinema that has had a huge impact on me as a lover of the art, but most importantly it has come to represent a pretty amazing time in my young life. I watched every film in the trilogy hundreds of times, I bought and read the comic books, and I even played the admittedly mediocre video games. Every year, we would hear rumours that a sequel was in the works and every year we would find that these rumours were false. Then this picture came along and we finally thought that the prophecy was going to be fulfilled. While it wasn’t the sequel we had all dreamed of “Evil Dead” as a remake still had me excited to revisit a world where the Necronomicon Ex Mortis is a real threat and demons would be waiting around every corner once the book bound in flesh was read, threatening to possess any foolish enough to do so. Unfortunately while I was hoping for an original take on the premise in the remake, we instead got a movie that for the first 80% was basically the exact same thing (with an added addiction plot point) and 20% a complete expectorating in the face of what they had already done. I admittedly was kind of alright with the film when it was just a crappy rehash of what had come before, yet when the script flipped and the formerly possessed sister became the heroine. I was left with such a sour taste in my mouth that this film lost all chance of being remembered fondly. While there is talk that this will be threaded into the original trilogy somehow. The downright terribleness of this film, have caused me to lose all interested in The Evil Dead series.

2. Enough Said

10/9/2013 with Dorothy “Mom” Decker

This movie was terrible… enough said. All joking aside, this was in fact a pretty awful example of entertainment. The script was contrived and unbelievable, there was nothing that interesting that happened within that stuck with me, and above all the best twist in the film was betrayed in the first few moments of the trailer. I was hoping that with such great leads a Julia Louis-Dreyfus and (RIP) James Gandolfini even knowing the central crux of the conflict going in wouldn’t keep it from being an uninteresting film to watch. What I was counting on was the film being so boring that I would instead find myself sitting in the theatre waiting for the big reveal and for the other shoe to drop. The worst offense was that they stuff the film so full of half delivered on side plots that the entire proceedings became ungainly to manage. Perhaps if the action had been more focused on the main plot this film would have been a bit more enjoyable. That or perhaps the director was so busy apeing Woody Allen’s style that it kept reminding me of his film and making me question why I hadn’t just watched “Annie Hall” again.

1. RIPD

7/29/2013 with Dayle Decker

That’s it after all that we have finally reached my least favorite movie for the year 2013. Is anybody really surprised? I hope not, since after seeing this abortion of modern cinema I was very vocal regarding my feelings about it. “RIPD” was such a mess of a movie, every single thing about the film felt half finished, whether it was plot points, recurring jokes, and even characterization. If it had been an original property, perhaps such transgressions would be easier to understand. Unfortunately, this film is based on a comic book, and having read that story I am at a complete loss as to how this is what they wound up with for the film. “RIPD” is a film that you should never… ever… ever  watch, seriously it is that bad. The single glimmer of light in this train wreck was Kevin Bacon, but even his appearance as a major player in the film wasn’t enough to gloss over all of the awfulness present within.

And there you have it my top ten and bottom five films of the year 2013. Just so you can see the other films that were eligible here is a list of all the films I saw in 2013.

1.            Identity Thief – Dayle

2.            A Good Day to Die Hard – Dayle

3.            The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

4.            Evil Dead – Kevin

5.            G.I. Joe Retaliation – Kevin

6.            Trance – Kevin

7.            42 – Mom, Dad, Dayle

8.            Pain & Gain  – Kevin

9.            Iron Man 3 – Dayle

10.          The Hangover III – Dayle

11.          Fast & Furious 6 – Dayle

12.          Run It

13.          Now You See Me – Kevin, Dayle

14.          The Purge – Dayle

15.          After Earth – Kevin

16.          The Internship – Dayle

17.          This is the End  – Dayle

18.          Man of Steel – Kevin

19.          Before Midnight – Dayle

20.          Monster’s University – Dayle

21.          My Little Pony: Equestria Girls  – Dayle

22.          The Heat – Mom, Dad, Dayle

23.          White House Down – Kevin / Geny, Mom, Dayle

24.          The Lone Ranger – Dayle

25.          The Kings of Summer – Mom, Dayle

26.          Pacific Rim – Kevin

27.          The Way Way Back – Michelle, Kevin / Dayle

28.          The Wolverine – Dayle

29.          RIPD – Dayle

30.          RED 2 – Dayle

31.          Turbo – Dayle

32.          Smurfs 2 – Dayle

33.          We’re The Millers – Dayle / Michelle

34.          Blue Jasmine – Dayle

35.          The World’s End – Dayle / Kevin

36.          The Spectacular Now – Kevin

37.          Kick-Ass 2 – Dayle

38.          Star Trek Into Darkness

39.          World War Z

40.          Fruitvale Station – Dayle

41.          In A World… – Dayle

42.          About Time – Will / Kevin / Mom

43.          Gravity – Dad / Dayle

44.          Enough Said – Mom

45.          Ass Backwards – Kevin

46.          Thor: The Dark World – Kevin

47.          Bad Grandpa – Kevin

48.          12 Years a Slave – Kevin

49.          Escape Plan – Dayle

50.          Frozen – Mom, Dayle

51.          Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 – Dayle

52.          Dallas Buyer’s Club – Kevin

53.          Philomena – Mom

54.          Nebraska – Kevin

55.          Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues – Dayle

56.          47 Ronin – Dayle

57.          Grudge Match – Dayle

58.          American Hustle – Kevin, Sejohn

Day Three and due to the storm I had to turn in my Mother card far earlier than I had intended. Still considering the theme she has cooked up for me it may be a blessing in disguise. See she has asked me to write about my best memory, which takes these fun little blog posts I’ve been doing and makes the whole thing feel a lot more like homework.

I suppose that’s not really fair. I don’t think she did it maliciously (Note: I know she did it maliciously). Still when it comes down to memories I don’t really hold onto them, whether good or bad. I guess its part of learning to let the bad memories go, rather than try to hold onto any memories at all I just flush them away never to be heard from again.

I’m sure those out there who have had to sit through me telling the same overlong, overblown, and occasionally difficult to believe stories are yelling at their computer screens right now, but the distinction lies in the fact that while I have stories, I tend to categorize events in my life as either victories or defeats. Certainly I have a bit more fondness for the ones where I came out ahead, but when asked to look through the things that I have done through a completely different filter, a filter which forces me to rank all of the millions of memories I have made, over my twenty-seven years of life, from worst to best. The whole thing starts to reek of effort and effort is truly all homework is built to measure.

At this point if this was actually homework, the teacher would be angry because I have subverted the actual topic of the paper as a way to both increase the length and tell them exactly what it is I think of their stupid assignment.  Which is unfortunate because I think all of that backstory and rigmarole is not only important, but necessary to truly explain how difficult it was for me to focus on exactly one memory to write about today, and to fit the entire answer to the question into the realm of context.

Without further ado, my favorite memory:

My favorite memory happened on March fourteenth 1998. For those not blessed with the insane ability to calculate the day of the week, 3/14/1998 was a Saturday. I know this because Yoshi’s Story released for the Nintendo 64 on March 10th and I was able to rent it the following Saturday. Back before the new millennium, the Decker family was in the habit of doing Trailer Checks every weekend for the company, Theatrical Entertainment Services. Basically, we would go and record the audience reactions to the trailers that aired before an assigned feature and then as a bonus we would get to stay and watch the film. It wasn’t glamorous but it is definitely the reason why I have a love of the cinema today and why as a child I was exposed to so many different films.

That night the assigned film was an independent feature playing at the Avon Theatre in Providence. The title of the feature was “The Winter Guest” and it was the feature film directorial debut of Alan Rickman now best known for his role as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, but always Hans Gruber in my heart. The film was given an R rating by the MPAA and since my parent’s didn’t start letting Dayle watch R rated movies until she was five, my Father told my mother to take me and he would stay at home with the little one.

This was pretty damn exciting for me. Of course as the age of twelve I had been to Providence before, but tonight was different, tonight we were going to Thayer St. which was just in its infantile stages of becoming the Hipster Haven it is today. We arrived early and walked around the stores and made fun of the stuff that we saw. Then we went into the Avon Theatre and I swear that was when I knew that deep in my heart I was truly in love with cinema.

See the Avon is an old style movie house. They still have a curtain over the screen that stays closed until it’s show time and then opens. The popcorn is freshly popped, the ushers dress in the little uniforms with the caps. The whole experience (at least back in 1998) felt like an old time visit to the movies, like you had not stepped into a movie theatre but instead had taken a step back through time to when seeing a film was an event and not just another part of your day.

The film was alright. Honestly, fifteen years later I couldn’t really tell you anything that had actually happened in it. What I do remember is that it was a film where there were four sets of main characters and each of them had a story to tell. The one I remember the best is the story of two children. who were roughly my age at the time I was viewing it, skipping school and having a good time. These two boys swore themselves hoarse and even had a great moment when they found a tube of Bengay on the beach and rubbed it on their genitals because they had heard it felt like having sex.

After the film, my mother and I crossed the street to try a new food restaurant that was making headlines across Rhode Island, Spike’s Junkyard Dogs, where I got a flatbread pizza and my Mother got a plain hot dog. Then we went back to the car. Once we were in the car, that is when the night truly became memorable and why it has achieved the glory of my best memory. My Mother and I the entire drive back from Providence spoke in English accents and swore like sailors. It was just such an action of the moment and something I don’t think could ever be achieved again without feeling fake and forced (like Doug on Disney).  Sure it might not seem like much but when asked to think of my best memory that was the one that came flying to the front of my mind, “My first night on Thayer Street.”

Sure it might not seem like much but it was  excellent at the time and something that admittedly I have tried unsuccessfully to emulate every night out since.