Home > Update, Year in Review > 2013 IN REVIEW: It Begins

2013 IN REVIEW: It Begins

World War Z - Brad Pitt

Hello, everyone who reads this blog, and Happy New Year! I haven’t written in a couple weeks, mainly because, well, I really needed a vacation and was visiting with family. But I’ve actually been really looking forward to getting back to writing (even if my lazy mindset often convinced me of doing otherwise), and I’m ready to start blogging again. It being January, that means it’s time to look back at the past year in film and, at least for me, reflect on the movies I liked, loved, hated, and, yes, didn’t even see. That’s right — I start off my year in review with a look back on the films I managed to not see and comment on why that was. (If you’re thinking that this involves quite a bit of blind judgment on my part, then I’m willing to admit that, yes, that is indeed the truth in many cases, but never without reason, however sound, but, more often than not, it’s just because money and time did not allow for it.)

Before I get into all that, however, I figured I’d use this opportunity to reflect publicly about what the year 2013 in film meant for me, specifically. 2013 was a pretty big year of changes for me, after all. One of the biggest factors that took place in my life was the fact that, at the beginning of March, I not only remained a bachelor, I also became one without a roommate, as my best friend moved back to our mutual hometown to be closer to his family after his grandmother had passed away within the last year. Fearing change already but also having a very steady job I was not inclined to leave, I faced the challenge of staying where I was while simultaneously moving on in another way. This being a movie blog, I’m not so inclined to talk too much about how this impacted me emotionally and all that schmaltzy stuff, it did nonetheless inspire a special review of what is perhaps the “bromance” comedy of my generation, Superbad, a movie I note again that I unapologetically include on my list of films that have made me cry, and one that my friend and roommate for the better part of 6.5 years had given to me as a Christmas present not long ago on Blu-Ray (he got my DVD copy, which I was more than happy to bequeath, since that movie is actually quite beautiful to behold in HD).

Superbad - I love you!

Part of living alone (apart from two cats) is the fact that, suddenly, things become more expensive. My one room apartment is certainly cheaper than the total of our two bedroom one, but I’m personally paying more. I also have to cook all my own meals now, even when I’m tired from work, or otherwise obtain it in some other manner, whereas before my ex-roommate and I had a system of alternating halves of the week where one of us was responsible for providing both of our meals. This meant that, by Thursday, I was already either tired of the one thing I cooked in large portions so that I wouldn’t have to cook again or I opted for eating out — a factor that not only contributed to some unfortunate weight gain, but also an impact on my wallet.

The Twilight Saga - Bella's Revenge

And that’s why this happened…

How does this relate to movies? Well, I was certainly less willing to go to the theatre for just any movie for a good portion of the year (I got promoted midway through, so that helped), and I began relying upon Netflix delivery (thanks to my closest Blockbuster closing down — you know, before they all closed down) and streaming to fulfill most of my needs, renting at Redbox whenever I came across free rental codes and buy-one-get-one coupons… or a movie I just really, really wanted to see. The impact this had on my blogging was a lot of theme month reviews for me. Girly Movie Month. Guy Movie Month. I even had a period of doing friend suggestions that resulted in my first TV movie review in Ballet Shoes, wound up reviewing a TV special in It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown (which I’m actually pretty proud of), and did nearly end up doing a Christian Movie Month due to some annoyances I was having regarding the state of Christian entertainment, but I only popped out a couple reviews — Johnny, Fireproof, and Chariots of Fire. I even contemplated Controversial Movie Month and had even watched a few films in preparation (Brokeback MountainMysterious Skin, The Woodsman, and was also planning on including The Last Temptation of Christ). Let’s also never forget my binge review of The Twilight Saga, borne of morbid curiosity and my giving my willingness stepsister the films for her Christmas and birthday gifts over the years when no one else in my family would. Hell, I even wound up reviewing two Tyler Perry Madea movies this year, including one I had doomed myself to reviewing early on, as if it were some kind of bad omen to look forward to for nearly 12 months.

Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas - Larry the Cable Guy, Tyler Perry, and Kathy Najimy

… Never forget. Never again….

This limitation did, however, also result in my first anime reviews — Macross IIPerfect BlueFrom Up on Poppy Hill, and Tokyo Godfathers — and I think I’ve finally gained a better appreciation for the medium’s potential, even though I never really outright hated it before. Overall, I think the financial limitations ultimately resulted in some solid personal growth for me as an amateur film critic. Luckily, I also happened to have gotten some theatre gift cards at the end of the year (which I’m still using up on some late year releases) from some friends and family, so while my movie habits have not exactly been as current as years past, I felt like I’ve been able to make up for lost time, more or less, so I should still be able to build a sizable list of films I saw, films I hated, and films I loved.

Pacific Rim - Jaeger drop

Awesome…

Regarding the films of 2013 in general, I do have to admit that it was an up-and-down year, but, overall, 2013 turned out to be way better than I expected. With films like The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises coming out in 2012, what we had to look forward to in 2013 seemed to be a bunch of cash-ins and sequels: Star Trek Into Darkness, Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, Thor: The Dark World… heck, even Twilight fans had to deal with The Host. And yet those actually turned out to be pretty good (well… except for The Host, which I currently still have no clue about), with Marvel’s films in particular proving that Phase 2 of The Avengers Initiative is going to continue to be quite entertaining, at the very least. But we also got several original surprises out of the year, as well. Pacific Rim and Gravity were phenomenal sci-fi spectacle films on polar opposite ends of seriousness, and dramas like Mud and The Wolf of Wall Street showing us that even formerly seemingly-irredeemable actors like Matthew McConaughey could, in fact, redeem themselves with great performances. I wouldn’t want to spoil any surprises, but, overall, despite all the downs, the ups certainly made up for much of it, and I was certainly happy for it.

Mud - Jacob Lofland, Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan

And, so, that’s my introduction to my third annual year in review. I look forward to going back in time with you all and exploring both those highs and lows. Just so you know, I’m going to be following the same model as my 2012 in review, only in how it actually ended up. In other words, here’s the order I will be following:

Hope you enjoy the next few weeks! Here’s to an awesome 2014!

* …in order of my favorite
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