Best Movies of 2013


Grab your popcorn and drink and let’s talk.

by Waitsel Smith

I’m not particularly happy with this year’s selections. There is always promise at the beginning of a year; and then, once the films arrive, more times than not they’re disappointing. One of the exceptions is Saving Mr. Banks, which I found to be better than expected, and perhaps the best film of the year, though it is by no means a great film. Another surprise was The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, which is not like the story upon which it is based, nor is it like the Danny Kay original; but it is entertaining in its own right.

There were a lot of frustrating, victim-based films, including Gravity, Captain Phillips, All Is Lost and Prisoners. You had to have a lot of patience, some strong fingernails and, if you saw these in a theatre, some self-restraint to keep from yelling at the characters on screen; but some of these films do pay off.

There was a plethora of black social films, such as 12 Years As A Slave, The Butler and 42 – all, basically, paying homage to Obama’s presidency, which represents how far the black man has come in this country. 42 was the stand-out, in my opinion.

There was a handful of hero films, like Ron Howard’s Rush, Man Of Steel, Oblivion and The Wolverine – though the heroes aren’t always likable. Howard’s film is a masterpiece of filmmaking, but the characters and story left me flat. Man Of Steel was the highlight of the sci-fi offerings, breathing new life into one of DC Comics’ original heroes.

Of particular delight was the new Disney AnimationĀ film, Frozen, in which the animation begins to bump up against reality; but with incredible music and imagination, it stays firmly in the realm of make-believe. There was also a new entree into the world of William Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing, a perennial favorite of Shakespeare buffs, but with a very sophisticated twist. That’s my overview. Now, roll the film…

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