So here we are at the beginning of 2014. What a fast and furious road 2013 was to get here! As we look in the rear view mirror, we can clearly see the good, the bad, and the ugly of films this year. It was truly an entertaining year as the types of films varied as much as the landscape from Chicago to Colorado. There were comedies, documentaries, thrillers, dramas, horror flicks, and sometimes a combination of these genres! Whether the film was from a large studio, an independent or foreign film, the film road was an exciting one to travel this year. Everyone’s must-see or top list varies, and the criteria by which it is judged also swings a wide arc, but I am sure there will be a few consistent films at the top of everyone’s list.
2013 was a profitable one for the film industry world wide. According to Variety Magazine on-line, final totals are estimated to be more than 10% up over last year. What exactly does this mean? It means over $10 billion! With films like “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” skyrocketing with over $391 million just in the US, it’s a big boost to the overall bottom line. Let’s not forget all the prequels, sequels, and pre-sequels as well as the “reboots” made this year. These films are low risk and automatic audience draws. Films such as “Iron Man 3,” “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” “Man of Steel,” Thor: The Dark World,” and others were huge box office hits raking in a ton of greenbacks for the studios. But money doesn’t always equate with top quality films.
As many smaller towns appear to be hosting more and more independent films, it’s refreshing to see that we are able to view these types of movies as well as the mainstream blockbusters. But what truly allows everyone to see all movies out there is Video on Demand, aka VOD. With amazon, iTunes, and Netflix among many other outlets, you can see what a film reviewer sees, almost. Luckily, I have the good fortune of attending film festivals both big and small. From Sundance to the Waterfront film festivals and everything in between, a more complete list of top quality films from the year can be compiled for your reference and enjoyment. The criteria used to produce this list is quite simple: 1. Is it a good story? and 2. Is it entertaining? Now, that’s not to say that all of these movies will appeal to everyone. For example, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is on the list, but I know that this one will not appeal to teens. That being said, the list has a little bit of everything for every type of movie fan. Complete reviews can be found on Reel Honest Reviews website at www.reelhonestreviews.com
Here’s the list you’ve all been waiting for. Even if you haven’t been waiting for it, here it is anyway. According to Reel Honest Reviews, The Top Films of 2013 are (in no particular order):
DRAMA: PHILOMENA, ENOUGH SAID, RUSH, GRAVITY, SOME VELVET MORNING, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, NO, THE HUNT, BETWEEN US, BREATHE IN, BLUE JASMINE, NEBRASKA, THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, AMERICAN HUSTLE, THE WAY, WAY BACK, THE KINGS OF SUMMER, MUD, DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, FRUITVALE STATION, THE EAST, LE WEEK-END, and LABOR DAY
COMEDY: EAT SPIRIT EAT, IT’S A DISASTER, IN A WORLD, STRUCK BY LIGHTNING
HORROR: FAVOR, SIGHTSEERS, ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW
ROMANTIC: ABOUT TIME
DOCUMENTARY: MISTAKEN FOR STRANGERS, BLOOD BROTHERS, HONOR DIARIES, 20 FEET FROM STARDOM, ELAINE STRITCH: SHOOT ME, THE GENIUS OF MARIAN, THE PROJECT, MUSCLE SHOALS, MY NAME IS FAITH
FOREIGN: THE PATIENCE STONE, WADJDA, NORTHWEST, BANKLADY, STARBUCK, THE HUNT, INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED, THE HUNT
It’s been a fun and fast-paced ride along the movie highway. (Although, it does concern me that I only have one Romantic movie on my list!) With many of the films being big money makers, there were an equal number of films that did not have a huge profit margin (or one at all), but were wonderfully entertaining. When you get frustrated and think that Hollywood doesn’t seem to produce quality films anymore, take a little closer look. There are a lot of fantastic films out there that perhaps didn’t get as much press. 2013 was a great year in film with both small and big budget films. And with a record breaking income for studios’ bottom lines, the year just got even better for some. Enjoy these films and be sure to stay tuned for the next adventure along the 2014 Film Highway.
Cheers to another wonderful year ahead!