Before I begin the countdown, I’d like to disclose a few things. Unfortunately, I was not able to see most of the summer movies this year due to my crazy work schedule. Some of the most beloved movies of the summer went by without me in their auditoriums, and I really regret that. The worst missed opportunity was The World’s End. Edgar Wright’s had a perfect record with his last three films, and I was looking forward to seeing it, but I just never had the time.
With this in mind, my choices for my Top 5 Films of Summer are more limited than I’d like them to be.
5. Man of Steel
Readers may remember that this was the movie I was anticipating the most this summer. Superman is my favorite hero, and I’ve been displeased with how the public has perceived him for the past decade or so. I was really hoping that this new film would deliver the change that I so desperately wanted. In retrospect, I think I hoped for too much too soon. It would have been an extremely difficult feat for one movie to change the world the way that I hoped it would. Heck, even The Dark Knight had Batman Begins as a trial run before it changed our culture.
To be quite honest, even though I gave both Man of Steel and its novelization a good rating, I still can’t say that I loved the story, its execution, or its philosophy on Superman. But even though I have misgivings of the film as a whole, I can’t deny that I saw it twice in theaters, which is something I rarely do anymore.
4. The Bling Ring
This is another film from my Most Anticipated list, but I ended up liking it even more than I thought I would. I thought that I knew what to expect when I sat down to watch it, but I never expected to be quite as enthralled. Sofia Coppolla is certainly an extremely talented director and she weaved a fascinating story.
The Bling Ring chronicles the crimes of the real life group of high-school age criminals who burglarized the homes of several of Los Angeles’ most famous celebrities, like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. The story itself is unusual, but the idea that it’s based on real events makes it even more unsettling. The film shows one of the darker characteristics of the Millennial generation, the obsession with fame, and how it could easily go wrong. These children, and they are children, seem to be enamored with the lifestyles of the rich and famous, and jump at the chance to have their own version of that lifestyle, even though it’s dangerous and illegal.
While the entire ensemble does an excellent job with their roles, Emma Watson is a show-stealer. She was my first celebrity crush when she played Hermione Granger, and she surprisingly was able to make me completely despise her character in the film. Her character, Nikki, is a brainless, fame whoring valley girl, and though she is as beautiful as ever, she performed in a such a way that I found her completely repulsive. She’s increased my respect for her already obvious talent.
3. Star Trek Into Darkness
When Quentin Tarantino sat down to watch J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot of Star Trek, he was coming off a string of film festivals that offered some very challenging films. As the film progressed, he realized that for the first time in a while, he was having a good time at the movies. He claimed that seeing Star Trek was like eating ice cream. Abrams and company all returned for this year’s long-awaited sequel, and they brought us a second helping of ice cream.
The sequel’s single best attribute is the man who was chosen to play the film’s villain. Benedict Cumberbatch was able to steal the show with his chilling portrayal of the film’s villain. Cold, calculating, and nigh-invincible, his character is the perfect cerebral predator. Cumberbatch’s magnetic presence became the film’s lightning rod. It’s clear that he fully embraced the role, and this helped him become the most memorable part of the film, not unlike Ricardo Montalban’s portrayal of Khan in Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan.
I do have my issues with the film – chief among them being the bungled third act – but it was easily one of the most enjoyable experiences I had at the theater this year, warts and all.
2. Pacific Rim
Like I said before the summer began, “Giant robots killing giant monsters in a film directed by Guillermo Del Toro? How could that go wrong?” Thankfully, Del Toro has proven himself to be one of the most trustworthy directors of the last few years when it comes to delivering entertaining films, so I was proven right.
Del Toro’s latest directorial effort was successfully able to provide audiences with a fresh concept, thrilling action, and engaging characters and story to go along with it. The film’s cast was able to ground the fantastical story by giving their characters plenty of vulnerability and humanity, and they did so very effectively. Charlie Hunnam seems to have finally gotten his breakout role, since he landed the lead for the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey adaptation not long after.
From the effects to the direction and the performances, Pacific Rim was a much needed breath of fresh air, and it ended up being my favorite Hollywood film of the summer.
And my favorite film of Summer 2013 is……
1. The Little Tin Man
Some may consider it cheating that I’d choose a little-known independent film like The Little Tin Man as my favorite summer film, but I’m pretty sure those people haven’t seen The Little Tin Man yet, so they don’t know what they’re missing. For those that have never heard of the film, or read my review for it, I’ll offer a brief summary.
Herman, an actor who also happens to be a little person, is informed that Martin Scorsese is remaking The Wizard of Oz, and his agent wants him to try out for a role as the Mayor of Munchkinland. Herman is reluctant to try out for another typecast role, and is persuaded by his friends to try out for the part of the Tin Man. Unfortunately for Herman, the idea doesn’t go over well with the casting directors. Despite the setback, he still pursues the opportunity to get the role of a lifetime.
I chose The Little Tin Man because the film just deserves it. Funny, honest, smart, charming, and full of heart, it was easily the most fun I had in any movie theater this summer. That should tell you a lot about how poorly Hollywood is making their own wares these days, but more importantly, just how much you’ll love this little movie. If you can catch a screening, or find it when it goes to On Demand or online, do so. You won’t be disappointed.