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The Most Memorable Movie Moments Of 2013

by The Playlist Staff
December 24, 2013 12:40 PM
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Best Ensemble
Yes, the “Wolf of Wall Streeet” ensemble is pretty great, but make no mistake, Leonardo DiCaprio carries this movie and it’s hardly an “ensemble picture,” rather a movie where every supporting player in a little role (whether it be Spike Jonze or Shea Whigham) makes their moment count. A more true ensemble is “August Osage County.” Yes, it has a tacked on terrible Weinstein ending, but it’s replete with actors who bring their A-game. Meryl Streep is obviously the centerpiece but perhaps the secret MVP is “Boardwalk Empire” star Julianne Nicholson who plays Julia Roberts' young sister (Roberts is great too). Oh, did we mention Chris Cooper is terrific too?

Best Dennis Quaid Performance You Didn’t See
We’ll admit, indie director Ramin Bahrani’s first “mainstream” picture (though it’s hardly commercial, “At Any Price” was a little uneven. An American story about a son who wants to race cars and not follow his father’s footsteps in the corn industry, the movie took a twist that turned it into “Crimes & Misdemeanors” in the heartland, but Dennis Quaid was on point the whole time and delivered the performance of his career. Unfortunately, no one noticed the film and it was forgotten even before September hit.

The In-It-For-The-Beach-House Award For The Least Giving-A-Shit Performance In A Blockbuster
We like to imagine that as soon as Philip Seymour Hoffman was told he'd be playing a character called Plutarch Heavensbee in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," he sort of mentally checked out a bit. Absent the outrageous dress and facial hair of the rest of The Capital, he constantly has an energy like he was late to set, and just got there in time for the camera to start rolling without making it to wardrobe. The eventual reveal about his character makes the choices seem a little more valid, but it still feels a little like Hoffman is phoning it in. Runner Up: Due apologies to those who campaigned (successfully) to get "Man of Steel"'s Krypton sequence into Best Action Scenes, but outside of riding flying dragon thingies, Russell Crowe didn't really show up. He probably wasn't that crazy about being Daddy Exposition, but he could have made a little effort, right?

Most Obvious Stuntperson In A Movie
While “Catching Fire” was a huge step up from “The Hunger Games” in terms of production value, we still can’t believe the laugh-out-loud obvious stunt double for elderly tribute Mags. In order to maximize speed in the arena, her fellow District 4 Tribute Finnick tosses Mags on his back, piggyback style, and the two take off with Peeta and Katniss. But in long-shot, it’s so obvious that the woman on Finnick’s back is clearly a petite stuntwoman in a gray curly wig. No wonder Mags had her face buried in Finnick’s neck the entire time. It was really quite jarring and kind of took us out of what is probably the best YA adaptation adventure film thus far.

Most Overlooked Teenage Girl Performance Of The Year
Sally Potter’s “Ginger & Rosa” made a Oscar qualifying run last year so it took itself out of the running. It was also completely forgotten/slept-on because it was released in that neververse between years, but Elle Fanning is a goddess of an actor and mark our words, if she keeps this up, she’s gonna be Meryl Streep and will get all the Oscars.

Best Comedic Indie Ensemble You Didn’t See
What’s the best indie comedy you didn’t see in 2013? “It's a Disaster.” Yep, it didn’t look like much, but this comedy about a terrorism attack that hits L.A. and knocks out all communication, leaving a stranded group of brunch friends all alone to their own dysfunctional devices was a hilarious little picture. Directed by Todd Berger, what happens when the world’s about to end in this microcosm? Well, everyone turns into the either best or worst possible version of themselves. Starring the super underrated cast of Rachel Boston, David Cross, America Ferrera, Julia Stiles, Jeff Grace, Erinn Hayes, Kevin M. Brennan, and Blaise Miller, in a year of apocalypse comedies, this one was far too slept on.

Best Scene-Stealing Small Supporting Role
Matthew McConaughey steals every single scene he’s in opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Wolf Of Wall Street.” It’s probably because he’s playing the best/worst character of all time. A Wall Street scumbag who acts as a mentor and essentially teaches DiCaprio the tricks of the trade—jerk off a lot, do lots of cocaine and rip everyone off. It’s vile and yet hilarious and illustrates the insidious seductiveness of all these characters who will act as the fulcrum for a disgusting bacchanalia of American greed like you’ve never seen. Oh and Mac’s chest-beating humming mantra is just the best thing of all time.

Best Comeback No-One Cared About
Released in the dead months of January, “The Last Stand,” the comeback as a leading man of Arnold Schwarzenegger, didn’t look especially promising on paper, and was flat-out rejected by audiences. Which is a shame, because Korean director Kim Jee-Woon, making his English-language debut, actually turned out an enjoyable action-Western—taut, bloody, satisfying, and not as annoying as the trailers made it look. It’s probably Arnie’s best movie since “Terminator 2,” all told, and the former Governor’s even pretty watchable in it (he’s better still in “Escape Plan,” though the film is significantly worse).

Worst Miscasting (The Cameron-Diaz-In-The-Counselor Award)
It’s tempting to give this award to the performance that gives it its name (seriously, you could fix about 30% of the things that are wrong with “The Counselor” by swapping over Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz’s parts), but it’s just snatched away by Benedict Cumberbatch in “August: Osage County.” The British star is a brilliant actor, and we understand the temptation to cast him if you have the opportunity, but he’s never even remotely convincing as the sweet but simple Midwesterner here. Put it this way: playing a dragon in “The Hobbit” is a much more natural fit.

Worst Performance That’s Probably Getting An Oscar Nomination
There’s a ton of great performances in “August: Osage County” (see: Best Ensemble), but it’s sod's law that the performance most likely to end up with awards recognition is the one that we found the least compelling. I mean, of course if you give Meryl Streep the role of a acerbic pill-popping matriarch, she’s gonna end up with an Oscar nomination, but it’s far from the star’s finest hour—theatrical, broad, and not especially generous to her co-stars. She has the occasional moment where she shines (there’s a nice night time chat with her daughters in which you see what could have been), but it needed a stronger director than John Wells to tell Streep to tone it down.

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  • Me34 | January 6, 2014 11:06 AMReply

    If Redford, Blanchett, Lawrence, Hanks for "Saving Mr. Banks", Bullock, Whitaker, Isaac and/or Franco get nominated (or any of the possible combinations of that), Streep is way too far from being the worst.

  • FP | January 2, 2014 4:15 PMReply

    Wow, so many excellent takedowns of the risible films like MUD, SECRET LIFE OF WALTER, OUT OF THE FURNACE, COUNSELOR, WAY WAY BACK, while properly underlining Redford's cathartic expletive, Edge-of-Your-Seat PRISONERS, eyes aplenty in CANDELABRA, and GREAT BEAUTY's far more impressive party scenes. Hadn't even made that 'Great' connection, but as always, so right on target. Surprisingly worth the 8 pages of FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION ads. Well done and thank you.

  • Soren | December 30, 2013 7:11 PMReply

    When a person complains the sex scenes in Blue Is The Warmest Color are too long, I ask myself why are they not bothered that several of the scenes from that same movie are very lengthy. The café scene is almost 15 minutes long yet there are no complainst. Then I realize how prudish and how scared of sex on the big screen so many people are. Maybe a bit less watching movies and a bit more experiencing life would help?

  • kindred spirit | December 30, 2013 10:37 AMReply

    Not sure how this missed the list but one of the best scenes of the year for me comes early in AMERICAN HUSTLE - when Bale and Adams form their partnership, London Associates, and the montage played against "I've got your number" as they fall madly in love, is in short: PERFECT. They have some of the best on screen chemistry I've seen all year, and it's just a great compilation of scenes.

  • Erik | December 28, 2013 5:04 PMReply

    Best final shot? James Gray's THE IMMIGRANT. Breathtaking, gorgeous, stunning... And by a mile !

  • Liam | December 27, 2013 8:02 PMReply

    My gosh, I disagree SO MUCH.

  • boda | December 23, 2013 12:06 PMReply

    it is a good article

  • Candra Aditya | December 21, 2013 12:26 PMReply

    You guys didn't get a chance to watch Snowpiercer yet. Evans deliver some amazing, creepy monologue towards the end of the movie. And the movie is better than over-the-top Gravity.

  • LOlZ | December 20, 2013 6:59 PMReply

    See ya on your drive by tmw, pal.

  • Alissa (Ha, give me a break) | December 20, 2013 1:18 PMReply

    Lol, hilarious Alan. If The Playlist is a house that puts up new decorations each day, Alan is the guy who claims to hate each one of them and yet everyday after work drives by to see what new decorations went up.

  • Jeff G. | December 20, 2013 12:01 PMReply

    Drake's Cameo is probablt due to in some of his early songs Using and praising Will Ferrell films and movie characters. Particularly Ricky Bobby,Or maybe they were filming in Canada and helps with crossover appeal?

  • Oliver Lyttelton | December 20, 2013 7:07 AMReply

    More complex minds, of course, are amused by reading every word of a movie website that they profess to hate, and then endlessly posting comments on it.

  • Gerard Kennelly | December 20, 2013 2:04 AMReply

    i have been posting comments about At Any Price on sites like this all year

    it is my favourite movie of 2013

    i was afraid nobody else saw it

    but a lot of people love this site
    and this article will inspire them to search for /and watch it

    dennis quaid has never been better /more fearless on screen

    mcconaughey /hanks will more than likely win best actor
    but Quaid deserves it

  • Lucille | December 19, 2013 10:34 PMReply

    I agree with all of these, although I think for "Best Final Shot" The Bling Ring should have been in there, Emma Watson turning to the camera and talking about her website was truly chilling and captivated the entire essence of the film I thought.

  • James | December 19, 2013 8:43 PMReply

    The final portion of The Counselor is actually set in London, so it's logical that it was shot there. The first two thirds, set in Texas, were all shot in Spain, but I think they did an amazing job of selling it as the US.

  • James | December 20, 2013 12:30 PM

    Interesting, I didn't know so many interiors and other scenes were shot in the UK. Still, the recognizably London bits that I noticed were all for scenes actually set in London, as far as I remember. I'm an American who's usually bothered by one location obviously subbing for another, like all the movies that used to film in Vancouver, with mountains visible in the background, and try to pass it off as cities nowhere near mountains. However nothing stood out to me in The Counselor. I'll have to see it again though to be sure. And I think the Ciudad Juarez exteriors and the exterior airport stuff with Penelope Cruz was also Spain.

  • Ade | December 20, 2013 8:03 AM

    The first two thirds were mostly shot in the UK too, except the Reiner party exterior,the cheetahs, the septic tank and the wireman. All Brad Pitt's scenes were shot in London.

  • Travis Bickle | December 20, 2013 1:58 AM

    the sex scene was too silly
    but the brad pitt bolito scene was easily one of the best of the year

  • Leigh Richert | December 19, 2013 3:46 PMReply

    In "Gravity", in regards to the dead guy you talk about, he's brains were not "sucked out". That's one of the stupid myths about space that "Gravity" so beautifully shows is NOT TRUE. What happened to the dead guy was that he got hit in the head with satellite shrapnel that was going REALLY fast, then he froze. No "sucking". If there was sucking, his head would not have stayed so intact...nor would have the rest of his body, or anybody else in the space shuttle who were shown frozen but still intact.

  • El Hanso | December 19, 2013 3:43 PMReply

    Come on. If you write as a collective, Playlist Staff, try not to manipulate the collective's divisive opinion on a film by suggesting there's a right(er) opinion to be had. Re: The good half/bad half stuff regarding "Stoker."

    But thanks for singling out "Ginger & Rosa." Seriously underrated and underseen that movie.

  • NewYorker | December 19, 2013 3:39 PMReply

    my 20 favorite movie moments of 2013 are defently
    1-james franco sucking the gun like it was a dick lol in Spring Breakers
    2-Kane Hodder ripping Derek Mear's skull out of his body in Hatchet 3
    3-Hugh Jackman with balls on his chin in Movie 43
    4-Dwayne Johnson beating the shit out of the convicts in Pain and Gain
    5-Loki turning into Captain America in Thor: The Dark World
    6-Michelle Rodriguez and Gina Carano's cat fight in Fast and Furious 6
    7-the Bus Scene in Man Of Steel
    8-the whole fight scenes in Grown Ups 2
    9-the News Team Anchor brawl in Anchorman 2
    10-Johnny Knoxville getting his dick stuck in a vending machine in Bad Grandpa
    11-Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger fighting in Escape Plan
    12-Matt Dillion torturing poor frodo aka Elijah Wood in Pawn Shop Chronicles
    13-the end credit scene in The Wolverine
    14-Michael Shannon scene with James Franco
    15-Chloe Mortez making those girls throw up in Kick-Ass 2
    16-Chloe Moretz using her powers to destroy Portia Doubleday & Alex Russell in Carrie
    17-Josh Brolin cutting up Sam Jackson's throat in Oldboy
    18-James Franco and Danny McBride arguing about who gets to cum in This Is The End
    19-Nathan Fillion calling himself an ass in Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing
    20-the axe fight scene between Sylvester Stallone and Jason Momoa in Bullet To The Head

  • Gerard Kennelly | December 20, 2013 1:56 AM

    my 10 favorite movie moments of 2013
    01-customer appreciation day -- At Any Price
    02- Julian saves the girl --Only God Forgives
    03-bilbo meets smaug --Hobbot Desolation of Smaug
    04- gosling calls from the strangers house --Place Beyond The Pines
    05-Hugh Jackman paul dano hammer --Prisoners
    06-Michelle Rodriguez Gina Carano's cat fight --Fast Furious 6
    07-tell him come down and stop me --The Iceman
    08-the med exam --Captain Phillips
    09-Chloe Moretz using her powers to save judy greer --Carrie
    10-axe fight Stallone Jason Momoa --Bullet To The Head

  • Dan | December 19, 2013 3:37 PMReply

    I'm a bit disappointed, I was looking forward for this year's best movie moments by ThePlaylist for some weeks now. I liked better the way you did it on previous years (enlisting the movie moments themselves, or like you did the Music Moments and Action Sequences this year). This was harder to read, and a much less interesting format for me.

    Still, congratulations on all your other lists, they are great.

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