Saturday, August 31, 2013

Summer 2013 in review

Summer 2013 is over. The pool that I went to about twenty-five times this summer is about to close, the baseball season is winding down, school has started back up (hello, high school!) and the blockbuster season is over at the movie theater. This weekend is one of the biggest dumping grounds of the year, with One Direction: This is Us, the infomercial about the band, and Getaway, a car thriller with a 2% RT score the only films opening. And then, like that, the summer season is officially over. Now, this is my wrap-up of Summer 2013, but I haven't seen everything. This weekend I plan on seeing Lee Daniels' The Butler, Blue Jasmine, and The Spectacular Now, but I don't really consider any of those films to be summer movies.

In total, I saw fourteen movies this summer which is a pretty good total. As I said, there's a lot of stuff that I wanted to see that I didn't but that's okay. Here we go with my rundown of the summer, including some of the things we learned, what went wrong, some awards, and a final summer 2013 ranking.

SUMMER 2013 AWARDS

Best Picture- FAST AND FURIOUS 6

While I thoroughly enjoyed Elysium and truly considered The World's End as the best film of the summer, I always go back to Fast and Furious 6, a popcorn blockbuster in its essence, it's far and away the best film this summer and so far the best film of the year. Fast and Furious 6 is fun from beginning to end; it's like a mix of The Avengers and The Dark Knight with everything that you expect from the Fast franchise. A lot of people consider Fast Five to be the crowning achievement of the franchise, but I think that Fast and Furious 6 outdoes that film with pacing, wit, action, and characters that you care about. It's the best film of the summer and one of the best action films in recent years.

Honorable Mentions: ELYSIUM, THE WORLD'S END

Best Actor- Simon Pegg, THE WORLD'S END


Look, summer isn't known for performances, but I felt that I needed to hand out some performance awards. For best actor, I considered Robert Downey Jr. and actually wrote a paragraph about why I chose him. But instead, I went back to Simon Pegg, who is just great in The World's End. He's hilarious, and while I didn't feel that he stood out among all the stellar performances in that film, he definitely stood out as one of the best leading actors during the whole summer. The World's End is something that I will be watching for years to come and that's all thanks to Pegg, Nick Frost, the script and the supporting cast.

Best Actress- Rinko Kikuchi, PACIFIC RIM


Pretty much by default, Rinko Kikuchi was the only female actress that I saw during the entire blockbuster season in which their character had a leading role. She was fine but nothing special. So, yeah, Kikuchi gets the award by default.

Best Supporting Actor/Actress- Wagner Moura, ELYSIUM


This is a more personal choice than any other that I will make this whole list, I thought that Wagner Moura was fantastic in Elysium. If you don't know, Moura played Spider, Max's friend who is constantly trying to make Elysium available to the public. I thought that Moura was incredibly charismatic and did such a fantastic job in the movie. I was always so interested in his character and he made Matt Damon's character, who was slightly under-written feel complete. Wagner Moura's name is now on my radar and I'm happy about that.

Honorable Mentions: Anybody in Pacific Rim

Best Director- Edgar Wright, THE WORLD'S END



If you didn't get that Fast and Furious 6 was my favorite movie of the summer yet, you need to learn to read. But I'm not going to give the director award to Justin Lin. I felt that he did a good job, but I'm not sure that he put enough of a directorial stamp on it. However, Edgar Wright certainly did. The World's End is interestingly directed, fast paced and funny throughout. It's incredibly well edited and well made with some great fight scenes. Fast and Furious 6 delivered off the fun of the characters, and was also well directed, but Edgar Wright's unique style blows it out of the water.

Honorable Mentions- Justin Lin, Shane Black

Best Screenplay- Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, THE WORLD'S END


Edgar Wright wins again. The World's End undoubtedly had the best script of the summer, as it mixed comedy with real issues and some dark subject matter. In addition, it's the funniest movie of the year, and possibly one of the funniest ever. It's so well scripted and so funny that there is absolutely no way that it doesn't win the award for best screenplay.

Honorable Mentions: Iron Man 3

Best Action Scene- The Final Hour of FAST AND FURIOUS 6


As I said, Fast and Furious 6 was a blockbuster in its essence and it delivered the battle scene of the end. Honestly, this summer was weak on finales. Pacific Rim had some fight scenes that were awesome, but none that stood out as great. Elysium's climax was entertaining, but more in a story way. The World's End had some great fight scenes, but none that were show-stopping. However, Fast 6 delivered. That whole runway thing was awesome, I don't care what anyone says.

Honorable Mentions: The World's End

Best Visual Effects- PACIFIC RIM


I thought about giving this award to Man of Steel, but it's not a very good film. And I'm really not sure how many visual effects were in Elysium. But Pacific Rim is a fully realized visual world and has fantastic special effects from beginning to end. I truly believe that they are some of the best ever.

Best Ending- ELYSIUM

SPOILERS


Elysium kills its main character. The end of the movie results in the end of Max's journey: both his journey to Elysium and the journey of his life. I love it when movies kill characters, especially main ones. It just shows guts and just shows that you don't want to make a franchise out of your movie. Elysium's ending is satisfying, gratifying and gives closure. There's no loose ends to tie up that relate to the main characters. It's perfect.

Best Franchise Starter- WORLD WAR Z


A movie that surprised the heck out of me, World War Z was really, really good. Although it sags into standard thriller territory with its second act, it bounces back with some great action sequences and some really dark stuff. It's a thriller that delivers best when it doubles as a horror film and it frequently does. This is a franchise that we will be seeing for a while and one that I think will deliver time and time again with Brad Pitt in charge.

Biggest Disappointment- MAN OF STEEL


Man of Steel was at one time my most anticipated film of the year. As it approached its release date, I became less and less confident about the film. But I couldn't have expected what I got. It's a flat out bad movie, one that doesn't even work as a standard superhero film. It just proves that Superman is not a hero that can fit well in this generation, Man of Steel puts tons of destruction on the screen in the hope of making you like the film. But it ends up failing on so many other levels. It's a misstep in terms of tone and an action extravaganza that never comes to fruition.

Worst Picture- THE GREAT GATSBY


The Great Gatsby is far from great, it's ghastly. A terrible film in every respect, I have never seen anything that bored me as much as The Great Gatsby did. It puts me in a state of disbelief that I gave this movie a C on its initial release. There's nothing redeeming in The Great Gatsby, not even the presence of some of my favorite actors like Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire.

Now, for my final ranking of the summer 2013 films:

1. FAST AND FURIOUS 6
2. THE WORLD'S END
3. ELYSIUM
4. IRON MAN 3
5. WORLD WAR Z
6. STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS
7. PACIFIC RIM
8. DESPICABLE ME 2
9. MONSTERS UNIVERSITY
10. NOW YOU SEE ME
11. THE WAY, WAY BACK
12. MAN OF STEEL
13. THE WOLVERINE
14. THE GREAT GATSBY

Alright, so that's it for my end of summer wrap up. We saw four movies that I would put on my best of list for the end of the year, so now, I turn to the fall with the hopes that we get a bit more substance. Overall, I consider summer 2013 to be good, far superior to 2012, but not as pitch-perfect as 2011. But still, an impressive season nonetheless.

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