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The Most Memorable Movie Moments Of 2013

by The Playlist Staff
December 24, 2013 12:40 PM
  • |
Channing Tatum, White House Down

Miscellaneous (Even More So Than Everything Else)
Worst Conversation With A Squirrel
Some of us are still trying to figure out how “White House Down” didn’t end up in our Worst Movies Of 2013 list. And yet, maybe it’s because this ungodly stupid movie has some absurd, idiotic pleasures (PREZ SHOOTZ BAZOOKA FROM LIMO ON LAWN). One of them however is not an early “character-building” scene where Channing Tatum warns a squirrel again (for what appears to be the umpteenth) time to get out of his boss’ bird feeder. This is screenwriting in 2013, people.

The “Flight” Award For Most Unrepentantly Pro-Drugs Scene/Movie
There's a certain moralism that comes with drug use in movies—if you use them, you can be pretty sure that something terrible is coming your way soon after. Obviously, drugs are bad and everything, but there was still something refreshing about Lynn Shelton's "Touchy Feely," which ends with the uncomfortable-in-his-own-skin dentist played (brilliantly) by Josh Pais taking an E, wandering out and, uh, having a really good time. His sister Abby also goes on an “E”nhanced walkabout, finally achieving her breakthrough to get past her body panic. It's frank, authentic and rather sweet, and a bold stance for Shelton to take. You can see some of Pais’ moment in our Best Music Moments piece.

Best Movie On Television
Some of the year's best movies won't be found on any Top 10 lists, because they actually aired on TV this year. Beyond "Behind the Candelabra," which we've already given a lot of love to, there was Jane Campion's "Top of the Lake," a masterful crime thriller that might just be the director's finest achievement to date. And, on the other side of the pond, there was "Southcliffe," from "Martha Marcy May Marlene" director Sean Durkin. It doesn't quite stick the landing, but for most of its four-hour running time, it's a devastating and finely tuned look at the lead up to, and aftermath of, a mass shooting, with some of the finest performances of the year.

Best Party In A Movie Beginning With The Words ‘The Great…. ‘
Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" comes most alive during its party scenes, but as far as lavish, indulgent films that begin with the words "The Great..." go, Italians do it better. Paolo Sorrentino's "The Great Beauty" has a number of crackers, but none quite as spectacular as the meticulously choreographed early scene: a raucous, decadent shindig on the terrace of the home of Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo). Luhrmann's parties are lavish and all, but you're not sure you'd really want to go to one, but this looks like a truly spectacular affair, even if, as the fourth-wall-breaking final shot proves, it doesn't seem to bring poor Jep all that much pleasure.

Worst Ending To A Dystopian Sci-Fi Movie
Matt Damon unplugs the mothership and hits reset on a button that essentially says, “ok, heal everyone actually.” The 99% wins! Really “Elysium”? Really?

The Wind Rises

Best Drinking Game To Play To An Animated Film
Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Wind Rises” is a beautiful picture (and anyone who thinks it's glossing over war probably didn’t watch the first five minutes or read the opening quote which basically says, “live our your dreams, even during the worst of times”), but it’s got a few funny elements to it. One is the perpetually perturbed boss of the lead character who’s always doing some variation of a frown. If you drank a shot everytime he scowled in the movie you’d be passed out in vomit before the movie ended. Also give ‘Wind Rises’ props for Best Earthquake Sequence (positively chilling), and Best Amusing Italian Man Who Always Shoves Butts Into Your Dreams.

Worst Mark Wahlberg Movie You Forgot Was Released
In 2013, Mark Wahlberg appeared in “Pain & Gain,” “2 Guns” and “Lone Survivor,” got the “Entourage” movie rolling, produced “Prisoners” and got his Wahlburgers chain (and soon to be reality show) launched. And they are all a nice distraction from “Broken City,” the lame, political drama/thriller you didn’t see in January. But don’t worry, there are about a half dozen “Law & Order” episodes with the same plot that do it much better.

Identity Thief Melissa McCarthy

Most Surprising Comedies To Make Over $130 Million At The Box Office
We know this year left people pretty starved for good comedies. In fact, the situation was so dire that early winter and late summer toss offs “Identity Thief” and “We’re the Millers” were shockingly, hugely successful, tallying over $130 million each. And they weren’t that good. In case you forgot, the price a movie ticket these days can pay for a month of Netflix with some cash left over. It might be wiser to stay in next time than to approve these forgettable laffers to the tune of potential sequel.

Best Movie About Vagina Grooming
Danny Boyle’s “Trance” was many things: a heist flick, a mind game and a twisty mystery. But at the center of it all was Rosario Dawson’s vagina, and somewhat absurdly, the maintenance of it becomes a crucial plot point. Points for originality we suppose.

Best Home Hardware Breakdown
"Another fire!" This superlative easily could have been Best Scene Stealing Supporting Actress In An Already Stellar Ensemble. Jennifer Lawrence kills "American Hustle" and almost runs away with it (though Amy Adams is pure gold). The science oven scene is one for the ages and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that she's no one-trick pony, YA flash in the pan. Bonus clip while it lasts, Jlaw singing Wings' "Live & Let Die."  

Best Find-And-Replace Movie That Most Obviously Followed The Die Hard Template
It’s one thing to rip off a movie, but it’s another thing to rip it off well. In 25 years, “Die Hard” has inspired more imitators than most, but those of us on staff that defend “White House Down” maintain that, while it’s a carbon-copy of the template of John McTiernan’s action-classic, it does at least (and unlike its close cousin, “Olympus Has Fallen,” and this year’s actual “Die Hard” sequel “A Good Day To Die Hard”), understand what made the original movie work—a vulnerable, salt-of-the-earth hero, a collection of villains with distinct characterization, a genuine odds-are-against-us feel. It doesn’t win any points for originality, but at least it knows the right bits to rip-off.

Best Beat Movie That No One Watched
While “On The Road” and “Kill Your Darlings” offered up younger, sexier casts and explored the most exciting, youthful times of the lives of the Beat poets who inspired a generation. It was the criminally ignored “Big Sur” that actually nailed the feeling the writers tried desperately to capture in print, while daring to show Jack Kerouac at his most vulnerable, cynical and fragile. And oh yeah, it boasts some of the loveliest cinemtography you’ll see all year too.

The Shia LaBeouf-Related Project That Everyone Should Be Yelling About Instead Of His Relentless Plagiarism
The Shia LaBeouf plagiarism scandal certainly deserves some outrage and discussion, but frankly, the actor’s biggest crime of 2013 was “Charlie Countryman.” A ridiculous, overwrought and nonsensical movie about a grieving romantic who develops an irrational attachment to girl he just met because he was sitting next to her Dad on the plane to Europe when he died…. Did you read what we just wrote? That’s just the first twenty minutes and it gets worse. Much worse. Can we all take a break from seeing what Shia copy and pasted to acknowledge how terrible this movie is?

Least Welcome Directorial Left-Turn
We're all for directors blowing away the cobwebs and trying something different, so a return to the broader comedy of Pedro Almodóvar's early career with "I'm So Excited" seemed like it could be interesting. That is, until we realized that we never liked those early comedies all that much anyway, and the broad sitcom feel of "I'm So Excited" just felt like a inconsequential fancy when put up against the brilliance of "Volver" or "The Skin I Live In."

The Way Way Back

Most Generic Sundance Movie
So the Sundance Lab is an actual lab? Coming of age: check. Cast-members from “Little Miss Sunshine”: check. Quirky mentor: check. Allison Janney: check. Indie-pop soundtrack: check. “The Way Way Back” feels more like the first screenplay by an advanced computer program developed to create movies that could play at the Sundance Film Festival than it does an actual movie.

Most Interesting Bad Movie
Richard Curtis’ “About Time” is by no stretch a good film, but it’s the kind of bad movie that you’re still glad you saw. For every treacly moment or scene where the female characters prove to have no agency whatsoever, there’s a lovely little performance, genuine, heartfelt moment of feeling, or intriguing time-travel related dilemma. It’s unlikely that you'll love the film, but it’s its own beast. Tasha Robinson of The Dissolve puts it better than we could, in this excellent piece.

Best Trailer
"Four in the morning, and I'm zoning
I think I'm possessed, it's an omen
I keep it 300 like the Romans
300 bitches, where the Trojans?
Baby, we living in the moment
I've been a menace, for the longest
But I ain't finished, I'm devoted
And you know it, and you know it

I mean, what else were we gonna pick, other than the killer teaser to “The Wolf Of Wall Street,” scored to Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead”? OK fine, it was a really close call between that and “Heaven Is For Real”

Thanks for reading this pre-Christmas blowout post! For any sticky, scratchy little movie moments that you need to exorcize, there's a capacious comments section waiting below. Meantime we're all off to make out with each other at the Christmas party, which this year has a "Wolf of Wall Street" theme. (Anyone know where we can score 6 kilos of coke?)

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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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