2013 Herald Movie Yearbook
One last, highly irreverent look at the best and worst of year in film.
Best movie that deserved a bigger audience: Writer-director Destin Cretton’s Short Term 12.
Dumbest movie of the year about men: Grown-Ups 2.
Dumbest movie of the year about women: Baggage Claim.
Dumbest movie of the year about body snatching aliens caught in a tragic love triangle: The Host.
Best evidence J.J. Abrams was the perfect choice to direct a new Star Wars: The race through a red jungle at the start of Star Trek: Into Darkness.
Funniest description of marital discord: “She was the Picasso of passive-aggressive karate,” Christian Bale about his loose-cannon wife Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle.
Sex scene most likely to make you look at your car in a whole new light: Cameron Diaz’s windshield rendezvous in The Counselor.
Most graphic sex scene: Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos go at it — and go and go and go — in Blue is the Warmest Color.
Least graphic sex scene: Her.
Best sex scene in which everyone keeps their clothes on: Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Scarlett Johansson in Don Jon.
Best climax in an action movie: Simon Pegg harangues and annoys and debates alien invaders so much, they give up and destroy civilization in The World’s End.
Most disappointing climax in an action movie: Man of Steel. Hey, Superman, those skyscrapers you’re flattening have people in them, you know?
Best trilogy released in a single year: Ulrich Seidl's discomfiting Paradise: Love, Paradise: Faith and Paradise: Hope.
Best sustained shot: In Antonio Campos' Simon Killer, is-he-or-isn't-he psychopath Brady Corbet dancing and dancing to LCD Soundsystem's Dance Yrself Clean.
Biggest tempest in a teapot: The online uproar over the identity of the villain in Star Trek: Into Darkness. Yeah, he was Khan. Get over it.
Strangest pickup line: “I don’t need signage,” Shane Carruth to Amy Seimetz in Upstream Color.
Best imitation of a bad Tim Burton movie: Sam Raimi’s CGI-choked Oz the Great and Powerful.
Best use of breaking the fourth wall: Late in 12 Years a Slave, Chiwetel Ejiofor stands alone in the forest, taking in the sounds of nature while processing all the horrors he’s endured, then looks directly into the camera, bringing you into the scene with him.
Best party: The surreal bash at the start of The Great Beauty. You wanted to jump in there.
Worst party: Any of the horrific, over-the-top celebrations hosted by Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) in The Wolf of Wall Street.
Best catch-phrase: "Look at my shit!" - the deranged rapper/gangster Alien, played by an other-wordly James Franco, in Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers.
Best cameo: Channing Tatum in This is the End. Um.
Biggest jump-in-your-seat scare: A pair of hands clapping in The Conjuring.
Most beautiful-looking movie: Wong Kar-wai’s exquisite martial arts epic The Grandmaster.
Most unexpected performance by a familiar actor: Tom Hanks in the last five minutes of Captain Phillips.
Best performance by a relatively unknown actor: Brie Larson in Short Term 12.
Best performance by an actor you had probably forgotten about: Bruce Dern in Alexander Payne’s bittersweet Nebraska.
Best supporting performance by someone everybody had forgotten about: Andrew Dice Clay in Blue Jasmine.
Best genre: The adolescent coming-of-age tale, eloquently explored in different ways by four movies (Mud, The Kings of Summer, The Spectacular Now and The Way, Way Back).
Best proof the Beat poets weren’t as boring as you thought: John Krokidas’ feverish, evocative Kill Your Darlings, starring Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg.
Funniest comedy: This is the End.
Worst comedy: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.
Unintentionally funniest movie: Two women decide to sleep with each other’s son in Adore. Because yeah, that will definitely work out well for everyone.
Funniest sequence: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill suffer the delayed effects of high-grade quaaludes in The Wolf of Wall Street.
Unfunniest sequence: The entirety of We’re the Millers. How did this movie gross $260 million?
Most nonsensical movie: Now You See Me. Say what?
Most annoying sidekick: Selena Gomez in Getaway. Alvin and the Chipmunks would have been less irritating.
Funniest/saddest calamity: The Xanax-popping Cate Blanchett gets a job as a receptionist and then has to fend off the advances of her lecherous boss in Blue Jasmine.
Worst movie: Pedro Almodóvar’s nails-on-chalkboard comedy I’m So Excited!
Best sequel: Star Trek: Into Darkness.
Worst sequel: The Hangover III.
Best cliffhanger ending: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
Worst cliffhanger ending: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
Best guilty pleasure: The made-in-Miami Pain and Gain. Offensive, politically incorrect and mean, yet still fun.
Best animated film destined to show up on Broadway in a couple of years: Frozen.
Best Miami homeboy made good: Guatemalan-born Oscar Isaac, breaking through to the big time with Inside Llewyn Davis. The man’s got talent.
Best movie that would have benefited from a tiny bit more gore: The zombie epic World War Z.
Best example of how tone can affect a movie: The lighter, more comical White House Down was far more fun than the bloody, dead-serious Olympus Has Fallen, even though they had near-identical plots.
Most effective use of the director’s really nice house as a set: Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing.
Most overrated movie: J.C. Chandor’s All is Lost.
Most underrated movie: Nicolas Winding Refn’s much-maligned Only God Forgives.
Best proof Stanley Kubrick will live forever: In the documentary Room 237, a group of obsessive fans of The Shining spout wild theories about the film’s secret meanings.
Best comic-book movie: The Wolverine.
Worst comic-book movie: Iron Man 3.
Most exhilarating flight of fancy: Greta Gerwig dancing and leaping through the streets of Manhattan to the tune of David Bowie’s Modern Love in Frances Ha.
Most sadistic villain: Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave.
Wimpiest villain: Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin in Iron Man 3.
Chattiest villain: The dragon that wouldn’t shut up in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Full of hot air — literally.
Most venomous villain: Kristin Scott Thomas monstrous mama in Only God Forgives.
Most distracting casting: Oprah Winfrey in Lee Daniels’ The Butler. Oprah will always be Oprah, no matter which character she’s playing.
Most harrowing scene: In The Act of Killing, A former Indonesian death squad leader revisits the killing floor where he executed thousands of people and his long-buried guilt finally manifests itself — physically.
Subtlest homage to Psycho: Blood on white tile in Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects; loonies in the house.
Best movie buried inside a boring one: The Lone Ranger. Shave an hour off and then you’d really have something.
Most convincing evidence it may be time to give up on M. Night Shyamalan: After Earth.
Most convincing evidence it’s not yet time to give up on Ron Howard: The unexpectedly stylish and exciting Rush.
Irrefutable proof it's time to give up on Brian De Palma: Passion.
Best science lesson: Upstream Color. Who knew the things you can do with earthworms?
Best two-hour commercial for Google masquerading as a comedy: The Internship.
Best example of too much of a good thing: Pacific Rim. There is only so much you can take of robots fighting giant monsters, no matter how cool they look.
Best opening shot: The impossibly long take of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney repairing the Hubble telescope high above Earth in Gravity. Was this movie filmed in outer space?
Best closing shot: A camera floating through a crowd of dull, faceless people into eternity in The Wolf of Wall Street.
Most harrowing closing shot: An interminable shot of a man on a rowboat in After Lucia - suppressed grief erupts into murder.
Best musical number: In Spring Breakers, James Franco sings a soulful piano version of Britney Spears’ Everytime while three girls in bikinis and pink ski masks dance around him, wielding shotguns.
Best opening credits: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
Best closing credits: Thor: The Dark World.
Most ineffectual remake: Spike Lee’s Oldboy. Not bad, exactly, but what was the point?
Best meta moment: In The Family, Robert De Niro, playing a mobster in the Witness Protection Program, is invited by a film club to attend a screening of Goodfellas.
Best use of pop songs in a movie: American Hustle.
Most suspenseful moment: Oscar Isaac sings his heart out in an audition for a poker-faced F. Murray Abraham, then waits for his reaction in Inside Llewyn Davis.
Most ominous sign of trouble on the horizon: “This is how people start breaking up,” Julie Delpy to Ethan Hawke during a casual conversation on a long car drive in Before Midnight.
Funniest romantic comedy that still gives your heart a tug because of real-life loss: Enough Said, starring the late James Gandolfini.
Most appealing odd couple: Steve Coogan and Judi Dench in Philomena.
Book adaptation most likely to send you back to the source material to remember it wasn’t a cartoon: The Great Gatsby.
Movie most likely to make you appreciate your mother (tie): Only God Forgives and August: Osage County (opens Jan. 10).
Most devastating line: “I don’t think I love you any more,” Julie Delpy to Ethan Hawke in Before Midnight.
Rene Rodriguez’s most anticipated movie of 2014: Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice.
Connie Ogle’s most anticipated movie of 2014: Director Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, based on a screenplay by Joel and Ethan Coen and the bestseller by Laura Hillenbrand (Seabiscuit).