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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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Labor Day

The ‘At Least I Wasn’t Replaced By Rafe Spall This Time’ Award For Pointless Framing Device
Poor Tobey Maguire: reunited with Ang Lee for "Life Of Pi," only to have his framing-device scenes entirely reshot with the less-familiar Rafe Spall. Maguire doesn't suffer the same fate in Jason Reitman's "Labor Day," but he might as well have: the film's brief framing device isn't just extraneous, but it gives the impression that the whole movie is basically about how Maguire learned to make peach cobbler. Runner-up: "The Lone Ranger"'s kid-at-a-sideshow framing which just made an already aeons-long film feel even longer.

Out Of The Furnace

Least Original Plot
Not everything has to be a surprise—there's certainly a value in an inevitable, but well-told tale—but good lord, there's not a single beat in tepid '70s-style revenge movie "Out of the Furnace" that plays out any differently from how you'd imagine. It's very well acted, very well shot, very well scored, but is so by-the-numbers in its narrative that we checked out within about half an hour. Oh, hey, Casey Affleck's involved in a plot to throw a fight in a boxing match? I wonder if that'll turn out well..

Most Obnoxious Sub-Plot
Nicole Holofcener's one of our most talented painters of middle-class life, and for most of "Enough Said," she succeeds in making her characters feel earthy enough that it doesn't descend into 'white-people problems' territory. But the subplot involving how awkward Toni Colette finds firing her maid is just wildly ill-conceived. It's sort of implied, eventually, that Colette is in the wrong, but only very lightly, and long before that, you've rolled your eyes so hard that you're looking at the inside of your own skull. A painful misstep in an otherwise enjoyable film.


Most Obviously Invented Event In A Biopic (The Peter Morgan Award)
It's been a year where there's been plenty of based-in-fact tales that occasionally stretch credibility, but nothing was quite as implausible as the moment in "Rush" where James Hunt beats up a journalist who's asked an offensive question of his badly-injured rival Niki Lauda. You can see why you'd want the moment there—it makes Hunt twice as sympathetic as he was before. But it's an invented scene, and so obviously so that it pulls you right out of the film.

The ‘Ozu Wouldn’t Approve’ Award For Worst CGI-Riddled Third Act
James Mangold got some attention for "The Wolverine" in advance by putting out a list of influences for the film that included some surprises, most notably Ozu's "Floating Weeds," a film that's rarely name-checked in the context of superhero tentpoles. There's not much evidence of his artier touchstones in the first two-thirds of the film, but it's a relatively engaging and stripped-down take on the excessive genre, for the most part. Until it hits the third act, where we're greeted with a CGI-heavy mash-up of robot mech-suits, tongue-spitting villainesses, and disappointing action. So near, and yet so far.

Most Tonally Inconsistent Final Shootout
Jeff Nichols, we need to talk about your endings. We love so much of the director's films to date, but "Take Shelter" squandered much of its goodwill with a "Twilight Zone"-ish twist, and "Mud," while not that extreme, goes off the rails near the end too: a delicate little coming-of-age movie suddenly turns into an action flick, as Matthew McConaughey shoots it out with a bunch of people we barely know. Again, we mostly like the film, but it doesn't fit with what comes before AT ALL, and it's made worse by the way that it cops out and lets Mud live. Also, off-topic, the movie seemed mostly to be about how you can't trust women. Wait, maybe we didn't like it that much after all?

the Selfish Giant Arbor and Swifty

Most Tearjerking Ending
The film's only just opening now, but those of us who saw the film elsewhere are still in recovery from the ending of Clio Barnard's "The Selfish Giant." SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER It's bad enough when lead Arbor (Conner Chapman) wakes after cutting through a cable they're trying to steal to discover best pal Swifty (Shaun Thomas) has been electrocuted to death, and desperately tries to wake his charred, petrified body. But the waterworks really come when, after a devastated, repentant Arbor is forced to end his vigil after Swifty's house, the dead boy's mother (Siobhan Finneran) relents, and comes to his room with a forgiving embrace. God, we're about to start crying again now. END SPOILER END SPOILER END SPOILER

Best Final Shot
So many to choose from here, so we got stuck on a short-list. There's the Haneke-ish conclusion of Francois Ozon's undervalued "In The House," a curtain-twitching master stroke of voyeurism that we could have watched for hours longer. There's the chilling "Terminator"-esque final reveal of Andrew Bujalski's "Computer Chess," which turns a quirky comedy into something far more sinister (and which we genuinely had nightmares about after the fact). There's the perfect, enormously satisfying last shot of "Frances Ha," which finally makes sense of the title. And finally, there were blockbusters that went out with a bang too: the final close-up of Jennifer Lawrence in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" might have been a touch reminiscent of "The Matrix Reloaded," but worked far more successfully, a brilliant directorial choice matched with one of Lawrence's best bits of acting that had us unexpectedly champing at the bit for "Mockingjay."

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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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