December 22, 2013


Every website and blog dedicated to movies trucks out their annual year-end lists, so why should FKMG be any different? We tried to do something a little different than the usual 10 best and worst, especially since we spend most of our time on this site living in the past. At any rate, here's our 2013 year-end wrap up of the good, the bad and the ugly...

BEST MOVIE (given the limited tastes and finances of your humble FKMG staff): I hate to admit this, but considering all of the films I couldn’t wait to see (World War Z, Star Trek into Darkness, Man of Steel, Monsters University, etc.), The World’s End was the most fun I had at the movies all year.

TWO HOURS OF MY LIFE I’LL NEVER GET BACK: 21 and Over was the most painfully pandering and laughless movie of the year. Simply a dumb-ass rip-off of The Hangover (written by the same guys), this is the kind of movie that’ll appeal to anyone who simply thinks seeing someone vomit in slow motion is the height of humor.

DISNEY WALLET DRAINER OF THE YEAR: I have two kids, both girls, which means (when you count my wife) I was outvoted 3-to-1 when it came to choosing a film for a recent night at the movies. Hence, we went to see Disney’s Frozen. Don’t get me wrong…Frozen was a fine film, but as any loving parent will confirm, with Disney movies comes Disney toys. Since my kids loved it, the cost to me doesn’t stop with movie tickets & popcorn. Guess how much I spent Frozen-related shit for Christmas this year?

A SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER THAT DIDN’T INSULT YOUR INTELLIGENCE: While not exactly subtle with its message, Elysium is the kind of adult dystopian sci-fi we get precious little of these days.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Despite lots of flash, spectacle and CGI action, Man of Steel was so dull, by-the-numbers & uninspiring that I actually fell asleep a few times. Considering the talent involved on both sides of the camera, this was a huge letdown. The final act is more like enduring a Transformers sequel than an updated origins story (which we didn't actually need in the first place).

MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE: Based on the trailers alone, I’d have preferred eating glass than enduring The Croods, which looked like cynical, regurgitated crap with blatant stunt casting. However, it turned out to be beautifully animated and pretty damn funny. In my humble opinion, this was the best animated movie of the year, and the ‘fire’ scene alone is worth the price of admission.

MOVIES WHICH WERE BETTER THAN THEY HAD A RIGHT TO BE: Olympus Has Fallen, The Wolverine, This is the End, The Heat, The Last Stand, Evil Dead.

BIGGEST JACKASS: The old bat who sat behind me during The Heat and wouldn’t shut the hell up. She was oblivious to everyone around her, even the people she came with…just talking at the movie for the sake of hearing her own voice. Every time she opened her mouth, all I pictured was a cock-eyed Pomeranian with its tongue hanging out the side of its mouth.

BEST DIE HARD RIPOFF: White House Down is gloriously stupid, but also fast-moving, loaded with action, intentionally funny and closer in spirit to the original Bruce Willis classic than A Good Day to Die Hard (ironically the worst Die Hard rip-off).

SCARIEST MOVIE: Few modern horror movies are truly scary, but The Conjuring provides more tension, suspense, dread and jolts than any movie since Poltergeist. This is fun, old-school horror from start to finish. Since the language, violence and nudity are kept to a minimum, I don’t recall another movie given an R rating simply because of how scary it is.

BEST GRATUITOUSLY VIOLENT MOVIE: Dark, bloody and nearly CGI-free, Evil Dead is loaded with enough cringe-worthy moments to placate even the most jaded gorehound. One of those rare remakes which not only pays homage to the original, but surpasses it in many ways. This one also deserves an award for the BEST POST-CREDIT SCENE, which any fan of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead series will love.

MOST BLATANT CASH-GRAB (tie): XD, which stands for ‘Extreme Digital Cinema.’ This wallet-drainer, Century Theaters’ answer to IMAX, has been around for awhile, but my first experience was when I was forced to pay $13 for a matinee screening of A Good Day to Die Hard. What I got for my extra cash was a bigger screen, something I could have accomplished a lot cheaper simply by sitting closer. Equally-obnoxious is The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the bloated second installment of a franchise that has no business being a trilogy. When all is said and done next year, Middle Earth die-hards will have shelled out a total of $30-40 to watch a nine hour movie based on a 300 page book (and that’s if you go alone). Suckers.

BAD TASTE AWARD (PENDING): Actor Paul Walker died just before Fast and Furious 6 was scheduled to be released on home video, at which time we were saturated with commercials magnanimously touting that portions of the disc sales would be going to Walker’s charity, Reach Out Worldwide. I don’t want to pass undue judgment, but exactly how much of the proceeds are going to said-charity? Maybe it’s because I’m cynical, but unless 100% of the profits go to Walker’s charity, this smacks of a tasteless attempt to capitalize on his death to boost DVD sales. I truly hope I’m wrong.

EPIC FAIL AT STARTING A NEW FRANCHISE: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones plays like a greatest hits collection of young adult movie tropes, yet I seriously doubt if even the most undemanding teenagers are anxiously awaiting the next installment (if there even is one).

WE’LL MISS YOU: Peter O’Toole, James Gandolfini, Paul Walker, Joan Fontaine, Roger Ebert, David R. Ellis, Michael Winner (director of Death Wish), Blockbuster Video, Ray Harryhausen, Richard Matheson, Dennis Farina, Karen Black, Ed Lauter, Hal Needham.

BEST GEEK DEBATE: My oldest daughter loves the Thor movies because of Tom Hiddleston as Loki, while her BFF loves Chris Hemsworth as Thor. Let the battle of teen lust begin.

BEST NEWS: 1) John Williams will be composing the score of Star Wars Episode VII. 2) The upcoming remake of Robocop is beginning to look like it might actually be pretty good. 3) We here at Free Kittens don’t give a damn about the general consensus…casting Ben Affleck as the Caped Crusader in the highly-touted/feared Batman vs. Superman mash-up is intriguing. The guy directed and starred in Argo, for chrissakes…it’s time to forgive him for Daredevil.

WORST NEWS: 1) Even though it‘s mostly finished, George Miller’s long-awaited fourth film in the Mad Max franchise (Mad Max: Fury Road), isn’t scheduled to be released until mid-2015. 2) James Cameron has announced his three sequels to Avatar will be filmed back-to-back, a bold and tremendous undertaking, especially since the novelty of his use of 3-D has since worn off to the point where few movie-goers really remember the original film all that fondly. 3) A reboot of The Naked Gun franchise was recently announced, staring Ed Helms. Really?

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE STOP: Tyler Perry, Adam Sandler (and all his friends), M. Night Shyamalan, Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer, Peter Jackson (or at least consider leaving Middle Earth), Vince Vaughn, Marvel Studios (before you run your brand name into the ground).

SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE: Despite being hated by damn-near everybody, Grown Ups 2 made more money than 12 Years a Slave (one of the most-lauded films of the year).

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