2013 Rewind: 20 Great Movie Moments

Last year, creating our end of the year lists was one of the most exciting processes. This year, it was the most difficult challenge. Over the past months, we’ve come out of press screeners raving about the movies we saw over and over again, so much so that numerous friends have chided, “Is there ever a movie you don’t like?” The fact of the matter is that 2013 will go down in history as one of the most remarkable years in movie history, with new classics being dropped every other weekend thanks to likes of Steve McQueen, Alfonso Cuaron, the Coen Brothers, Spike Jonze, David O. Russell, Paul Greengrass, Alexander Payne, and many, many more. While our friends may have grew tired of our never-ending praise, we were just as shocked that so many movies this year left us in wondrous cinematic highs. As you might expect, narrowing down all the great films we saw this year into finite lists has never been more challenging, but it’s a testament to this exceptional year that there are so many vibrant performances, moments, and movies that even narrowing down a list to 20 names has proven troublesome. Over the next several days, we’ll be rolling out our “Best of 2013” articles, and we continue today with our favorite movie moments of the year, from a thirteen-minute opening long take set in space to James Franco belting out Britney Spears. Check out the full list below:

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1. Saving the Captain (Captain Phillips) – For about 80% of Captain Phillips, Paul Greengrass shows off his Bourne-series-muscles and crafts an enormous oceanic set piece. Even with Tom Hanks playing the eponymous captain very reservedly, there remains a fine layer of tension through acts one, two, and even into three. However, in the lurking final twenty or so minutes, Greengrass’ impeccable directing skills are revealed. Our bodies abruptly switch gears – our eyes widens, our hearts begin racing, and all of sudden the commercial action movie becomes a heart attack thriller that makes Argo look like Homeward Bound. And with the swift pull of a trigger – pull, pop, splash – we are overtaken by enveloping silence. The confusion, the anxiety, it all rains over Captain Phillips, and a swell of emotion rings out as Hanks finally breaks his concentrated outer layer and wraps himself up in the finality of the situation. He’s ushered into medical care on a Navy SEAL freighter but he struggles to remember his name, he can’t remember if he’s hurt, he stutters trying to recall the traumatic experience that’s just relinquished both him and us. As Hanks shakes, the film relaxingly fades but our emotions coincide with those of Phillips. We are thankful to be alive, but we will never forget the trauma that we have just vicariously endured. – M.M.
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Lone Survivor ss 182. Operation Red Wings (Lone Survivor) – Peter Berg’s Lone Survivor is like a highly contained Black Hawk Down; four Navy SEALS (Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Taylor Kitsch, and Emile Hirsch) are sent into the Afghan Hindu Kush in search of an al Quaeda leader, but when their covert Operation Red Wings is compromised by Afghan civilians, a swift moral decision snowballs into a harrowing, seemingly endless firefight that leaves three of the four mortally wounded and a wave of reinforcements dead on arrival. Lone Survivor stomps into jingoistic territory, and for a percentage of the start plays like a military advertisement, but once Berg submerges us into the bullet-ridden depths of the Hindu Kush, we’re caught by the balls for the remainder of the picture. While Lone Survivor is the name of Marcus Luttrell’s memoir of which the film is based, ‘Operation Red Wings’ would have been a fitting film title given about three-quarters of the film a long-winded recreation of how the mission was a devastating failure. It’s a gripping, emotional punch to the head and the heart that is sure to leave you reeling. – M.M.
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3. Opening Long Take (Gravity) – Alfonso Cuaron has always been known for his love of long takes, but he out did himself with the opening shot of this year’s blockbuster, Gravity.  Lasting an entire thirteen minutes, the opening shot alone takes up almost a seventh of the entire film, simultaneously setting up the characters, their relationship, the context for the story, the look of the film, their approach to the cinematography, and the jaw-dropping special effects.  All in one shot.  Let me stress that again, the entire film, from the story to the acting to the effects to the direction, is all set up in a single, unbroken shot.  That’s mind-blowing. Regardless of your opinion on the film itself, there’s no denying just how incredible of an achievement it is.  The fact that Cuaron and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki were able to execute such precise and specific camera movements while never losing focus on the characters and the story is just as impressive, as hundreds of different things could’ve gone wrong within those thirteen minutes.  I can’t even imagine the amount of takes they had for that shot, as it must’ve required months to get it just the way they wanted it.  It’s a truly breathtaking accomplishment, one that will be remembered for years to come. – J.H.
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12 Years a Slave4. The Whipping of Patsey (12 Years A Slave) – A former visual installation artist, director Steve McQueen knows how to create bold, provocative images that are emotionally and physically stimulating. 12 Years A Slave is full of harrowing moments, none more so than the whipping of the tormented Patsey (the revelatory Lupita Nyong’o), who only wanted a bar of soap to stay clean. McQueen films the brutal whipping in an unrelenting long take, his camera spinning around and around from action (both Solomon and Master Epps take turns whipping her, their horrified expressions showing just how detrimental slavery is to both the oppressed and the oppressor) to reaction (Nyong’o’s painful shrieks and acceptance of death). In keeping with the film’s historical honesty, McQueen doesn’t shy away from showing the grotesque results of whippings and when the camera spins and shows the lashes piercing through Patsey’s flesh, it’s one of the most transcendent and visceral uses of violence I’ve ever seen in a movie. It’s a moment where powerful acting and masterful direction unite for reasons far greater than cinema – it forces us to reopen a dialogue with our past and to wake up to the atrocities of human history. A powerhouse scene indeed. – Z.S.
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5. The Death of Queen Jane (Inside Llewyn Davis) – Functioning more as a sum of its parts rather than significant individual scenes, Inside Llewyn Davis is a magnificent portrait of the early 60’s folk scene thanks to the Coen Brother’s sharp writing and pointed direction and a terrific performance by Oscar Isaac.  When looking back on the film it’s tough to pinpoint a specific moment that really hit home, with many different moments worthy of recognition.  I could talk at length about the haunting beauty of the opening/closing of the film, featuring Isaac’s gorgeous rendition of “Hang Me Oh Hang Me”.  But if we had to pick only one moment, it has to be Davis’ audition in Chicago.  After a brutally long cross-country road trip with John Goodman and Garret Hudland from New York City, Davis finally arrives at what may be his last shot at being a successful musician.  Put on the spot, Davis has to perform for the manager of the club, played by F. Murray Abraham, the minute after he arrives.  What follows is a beautiful and melancholy ballad named “The Death of Queen Jane”, with Davis clearly putting all of his torment, depression, and frustration into his performance.  Unfortunately, the manager isn’t convinced and only offers him a back up singing gig (his line after Llewyn’s audition is one of the year’s best – no spoiling it here), of which Davis is too proud to accept.  It’s a simultaneously gorgeous and heartbreaking scene that brought tears to my eyes, and was a clear standout in a year filled with countless memorable movie moments. – J.H.
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6. Single Shot House Robbery (The Bling Ring) – It’s pretty self-explanatory. The most creatively staged and composed shot of Sofia Coppola’s directorial career thus far is a standalone scene where Rebecca and Marc (Katie Chang and Israel Broussard) rob a celebrity’s cubic, window-heavy household in Hollywood. Coppola situates the viewers atop a hill looking diagonally downward at the house as she very, very slowly pushes in from afar. The scene lasts a number of minutes and is void of any sound other than diegetic noises. These tiny dots, that eventually manifest into noticeable human beings, scurry about the house, going from room to room and raiding drawers and closets, taking money and jewelry and clothes, stuffing them into their bags, and even wearing some of the apparel as they leave. It feels as if we are spying on them, foreshadowing the trouble they will soon find themselves in once they abuse their desire for excess. While the other robberies are shot from the interior, this one extended sequence shows everything we need to know, masterfully blocked in order to last the full duration of Coppola’s slow but simple camera movement.  – M.M.
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'Dallas Buyers Club'7. Ron’s Realization (Dallas Buyers Club) – Between You’re Next and The Conjuring, 2013 has been a pretty good year for horror movies.  And yet nothing in either of those films has anything on Dallas Buyers Club, in particular the scene in which Matthew McConaughey’s Ron Woodroof finally realizes and accepts that he has AIDS.  After first being diagnosed as HIV positive, Ron goes into a drunken spiral of denial, using alcohol and a variety of different drugs to dull the pain and hide from his disease.  However, after continuing to get sicker and sicker, Ron finally decides to do some research for himself, going to the library and looking up articles and books on the history of HIV and those inflicted with the deadly disease.  It’s while he’s looking into old news clips about HIV that he comes across the information that the disease can be transferred through unprotected sex and sharing needles.  It’s at this moment that Ron comes to a realization, flashing back to an unspecified moment in time in which he had condom-free sex with a prostitute, who took little to no effort to hide the heroin track marks all over her arms.  After coming to this insight, Ron lets out a bloodcurdling scream that rocked me to my very core.  We’ve all had those moments when we’ve put two and two together, where we were finally able to put all the puzzle pieces together and understand that we’ve made a mistake and we’re wrong, but few can claim it’s involved anything so serious.  It’s an amazing moment that is simultaneously relatable and horrifyingly foreign, and by itself, should earn McConaughey a statue come Oscar night. – J.H.
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THE SPECTACULAR NOW Clip – “First Kiss”8. The First Kiss (The Spectacular Now) – Director James Ponsoldt uses numerous long takes in The Spectacular Now that allow the conversation-heavy script to pop with unshakeable authenticity, none more tender or delightful than the first kiss between Sutter Keely and Aimee Finicky. Starting at the beach where a party is taking place, the camera faces the budding couple and proceeds them as they make their way from the beach into the woods. The sight of people and the noises of the party slowly fade away in the distance as the yellow hues of the sun and the green shades of leaves create a fever dream of a moment. By never cutting, Ponsoldt is able to capture the fleeting nature of reality (represented by the beach) as Sutter and Amy walk into the only place they could share a first kiss: a natural, dream like forest made all the more sweet by the film’s charming, upbeat score. – Z.S. 
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9. The Prison Flashback (Fruitvale Station) – A huge reason why Fruitvale Station is such a remarkable movie is that it possesses a stirring level of humanity. Never once do writer-director Ryan Coogler and star Michael B. Jordon turn the slain Oscar Grant into a symbolic saint of racial injustices; instead, they portray Grant as humanly flawed, and in this tour-de-force flashback, Oscar goes head-to-head with his mother (played with maternal grace by the incredible Octavia Spencer) after she chides him for going to prison and leaving behind his young daughter. Oscar’s arrogance blinds him from realizing how destructive his lifestyle can be to those around him, but as Spencer’s eyes swell up and burst into emotional fireworks, Oscar can’t help but wake up to how detrimental his actions can be to the ones he loves most. By the time their argument erupts into Spencer storming out of the prison while Jordon pleads for one last hug and is restrained by the guards, you’re stunned speechless. This is one of the year’s most emotionally vibrant moments. – Z.S.
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He was awesome in This Is The End. I'd like to think that's how he really is.

10.  “Wanna Sip?” (This Is The End)This Is The End begins at a house-warming party for James Franco that shows the Apatow gang (sans Apatow’s involvement) at their most audacious. In tow are the six main comics (Rogen, Baruchel, Robinson, Franco, McBride, and Hill), as well as Kevin Hart, Jason Segal, Mindy Kaling, David Krumholtz, Aziz Ansari, Paul Rudd, Emma Watson, Rihanna, and a coked-up, lunatic variation of Michael Cera. This is not the scrawny, whimpering Cera from Arrested Development or Superbad or Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, this is a total inversion of Cera’s comic image. From the moment he takes on a mountain of coke Tony Montana-style and smacks Rihanna’s ass, Cera’s commitment to this ruthless alpha-Cera dominates the short percentage of the movie he’s featured in. The most hilarious clip of this early segment features Jay Baruchel walking into a bathroom only to find Michael Cera receiving oral sex from two chicks while he coyly sips on a Capri-Sun. The stunned Baruchel attempts to apologize but is cut off by Cera who politely asks, “Wanna sip?” Next to a later sequence featuring Danny McBride waking up in a haze, perfectly set to Cypress Hill’s “When the Shit Goes Down,” and a must-have-been-improvised argument about respectfully masturbating, Cera’s delivery of “Wanna sip?” is a This is the End highlight that signifies all the hilarity to come. – M.M.
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11. Hide-And-Clap (The Conjuring) – This summer, James Wan’s The Conjuring was an unexpected box office blockbuster and, to me at least, the scariest movie to hit theaters in a long, long time. In the film’s standout sequence, Wan follows Lilly Taylor’s mother as she plays a game of hide-and-clap (essentially hide and go seek but the seeker wears a blindfold). After cutting around the house, Wan settles into a long take as the mother heads to the dark, spooky basement. Of course! As the floor creaks louder and random objects begin banging and falling, the camera never cuts to show us what’s taking place and instead focuses in on the mother, her quivering lip and horrified expression growing more anxious and dire as the seconds pass. Even when the mom turns and screams, the camera ferociously moves with her; it’s a nifty trick, one that turns The Conjuring into something we haven’t seen in quite some time – a horror movie where you’re constantly on a tormented, nerve-wracking edge. – Z.S.
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James Franco Spring Breakers Everytime Britney Spears12. Alien Sings Britney Spears’ ‘Everytime’ (Spring Breakers) – To have neglected any of the many blistering scenes in Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers would have been a crime, but the robbery scene laid over Britney Spears’ ‘Everytime’ has been a favorite sequence of ours since we came out of our press screening back in March. “Play something inspiring,” the breakers ask of James Franco’s Alien. “You wanna see my sensitive side,” he hisses, and outcomes a smokey rendition of Spears’ “Everytime” on piano. Spears herself slowly pours in over Franco as we dissolve into a slow-motion break-in. Franco is an inferno, catapulting himself into the air, tongue flapping and eyes stapled wide open, bringing down a violent heat upon three rival drug operators. The sequence flips back to Franco on the piano, Spears’ voice coming from his mouth, and the three breakers – donning neon pink ski-masks and holding shotguns – play ring around the rosy. Alien performs like a murky, pop-influenced Billy Joel. It’s one of the many moments in Spring Breakers where you laugh at the insanity on display but can’t help the nervous crack that follows the terrifying juxtaposition. And, of course, it concludes with Franco’s creepy “Sprang Breeeeeeak” catchphrase before Spears is cut off by an orchestra of gunshots. Safe to say you’ve never seen a sequence quite like this one. – M.M.
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13. Hong Kong Battle (Pacific Rim) – Say what you will about the quality of Pacific Rim’s acting, dialogue, and story, but the one thing you can’t deny is the awesomeness of the action sequences.  If you, like me, grew up on Power Rangers, Voltron, and Transformers, then the prospect of giant robots fighting killer monsters surely made you as giddy as an eight year old on Christmas.  Luckily, Guillermo Del Toro’s film has robots versus monster in spades, with each fight managing to upstage the last.  No doubt the highlight of the film is the climactic action set piece, in which multiple Kaiju descend upon Hong Kong in an explosion of destruction.  What starts out as another ocean based fight slowly turns into a devastating attack on downtown Hong Kong, forcing the Jaegers to battle the enormous monsters amidst the towering buildings of China’s port city.  It starts out innocently enough, a few robot-rocket punches here, some monster style lunge bites there, but as the fight progresses it becomes clear that these are the least of both sides abilities.  Freight ships become viable weapons, Kaiju start sprouting wings, and the Jaegers finally utilize their badass swords.  In what’s got to be the most jaw dropping moment in a blockbuster this year, a freshly winged Kaiju picks up Gipsy Danger, the main Jaeger, and starts ascending as far up as possible, only for Gipsy Danger to wipe out its freshly minted sword and impale the winged beast midair.  In a film that elicited many gasps, the audible awe from the audience was never louder than in this moment. – J.H.
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Christian Bale AH

14. The Comb Over (American Hustle) – With an ensemble as vivacious as that in David O. Russell’s exhilarating American Hustle, there are numerous moments that pop off the screen as the characters’ relationships with each other twist, bend, break, and boil over. After watching the film, the silent opener depicting Christian Bale’s Irving Rosenfeld putting on the worst comb over in movie history reveals itself as one of the film’s most clever and brilliant moments. In a film all about how we project our identities onto others and onto ourselves, watching Irving slap on that horrific hairdo takes on a whole different meaning. As the camera moves from Irving’s reflection in a mirror (a sly visual metaphor for the divide between self and self-image) down to his hands and back up to his greasy scalp, the opening shows us the repetitive, systematic process and lengths we go to in order to show the world exactly what we want it to see. In a film as manic as Hustle, this hilariously uncomfortable opening is as potent as a movie thesis you’ll see this year. – Z.S.
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15. Runway Climax (Fast and Furious 6) – I often refer to the hugely entertaining Fast & Furious franchise as the Citizen Kane of mindless blockbusters and the Runway Climax that culminates the sixth entry is the perfect example why. Director Justin Lin revs up the crazy in ways he never has before, staging a finale on such a large scale with so many moving parts that you have to give the man an energized standing ovation for even pulling it off. It’s a gonzo sequence set on an airport runaway as a huge plane races to talk off and it’s one of the most impressive acts of absurdity I’ve ever seen, a ferocious orgy of car races, hand-to-hand beat downs, and nonsensical explosions that culminates in an orgasm of epic proportions. If that sounds ridiculous (which it obviously should) just wait, you haven’t seen anything until you witness this slam-bam climax for yourself – it’s an action moment that Michael Bay only wishes he could make. – Z.S.
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A guide to the celeb cameos in the ‘Anchorman 2′ fight scene16. The Anchorman Brawl 2.0 (Anchorman 2) – One of the best things about Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is that it never tries to one-up its predecessor. It also doesn’t rely on bringing back older jokes or a succession of callbacks to try and keep up with the generous decade-long growth Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy has been blessed with. It jaunts along with fresh jokes, all in the same irreverent vein instrumental to the Anchorman universe, but there is one very clear callback that builds upon the preset foundation and eventually soars to rollicking new heights. As Ron runs from the news station in a desperate attempt to see his son’s piano recital, he encounters rivaling GNN anchor Jack Lime (James Marsden) and his news team in Central Park, each of them holding weapons. He tries to reason with Lime and is even backed by his own weapons-wielding new team (yes, Brick does have a trident). As the feuding teams prepare to skirmish, BBC, MTV, Entertainment News, ESPN, Canadian News, and the History Channel all appear eager to rustle, with each network led by a different cameo, ranging from Sacha Baron Cohen to Will Smith to Liam Neeson, with so many more in between. Even Kirsten Dunst appears atop a skyscraper and blows a horn allowing the melee to begin. Like the original Anchorman, which featured Tim Robbins, Ben Stiller, and Luke Wilson amongst its cameo-filled repertoire, this is the only moment that the sequel tries, and succeeds, in topping the original. – M.M.
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17. Luke Meets Avery (Place Beyond The Pines) – Derek Cianfrance’s triptych narrative drama, The Place Beyond the Pines, centers on fatherly sins, fateful interactions, and legacy. For the first forty-five minutes, Pines develops itself with a central narrative about a motorcyclist, Luke (Ryan Gosling), who learns that he has a son in Schenectady, New York. He quits his traveling job in an effort to be more available to his son, despite the boy’s mother (Eva Mendes) questioning his involvement. He soon appears with a bag full of money, which she of course questions its origin, but Luke refuses to admit that he acquired it by robbing local banks. As Luke’s determination to be involved in his son’s life darkens, he gets ahead of himself and robs a bank without any assistance or proper preparation. He’s soon in a heated pursuit with the authorities and, totally by chance, ends up in an altercation with a rookie cop named Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper). It is in this moment that Pines totally changes and organically blossoms into something greater, totally original, and wildly ambitious. This single interaction operates as a climax and an exposition and is without question the most important moment in Cianfrance’s epic tale. The best way to enter Pines is without any prior knowledge, and for those lucky enough to do that, this scene will surely be a stunner. It was for us. – M.M.
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Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke in BEFORE MIDNIGHT18. The Hotel Sequence (Before Midnight) – This might come as a surprise to you, but I have to admit that I’ve never been in an eighteen-year plus long relationship, so it’s safe to say that I’m not the best authority on realistic depictions of long-term relationships on screen. But if I had to base my assumptions of what an enduring relationship entails, I’d base it off Celine and Jesse in Before Midnight.  Through their relationship, I’ve learned what it means to devote your life to another person, the ups and downs that come with such dedication, the everyday struggles to maintain the romance and intensity, along with the closeness and understanding that comes with all the drama.  All three of the Before films create such a vivid and realistic portrait of different stages of a relationship that I feel like I’ve been a part of the union alongside Celine and Jesse.  It’s for this very reason that their extended, climatic fight in their hotel room is so devastating.  For a couple that seems so in tune much of the time, there’s a clear undercurrent of resentment and frustration throughout Before Midnight, which eventually all comes to a head once the couple receives a romantic evening away from their children.  Instead of a cliché scene in which fists are thrown after emotional yelling, we’re privy to a much more raw and intense argument, in which both characters rip into one another, expounding on their many flaws and how much they piss one another off, and about their fears of their love for one another fading as they grow older.  It’s as emotionally raw of a scene as I’ve ever witnessed, and it is a highlight of the entire trilogy. – J.H.
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19. The Whistle (Prisoners) – Not since Zodiac has there been a thriller as dense and emotionally wrought as Denis Villenueve’s Prisoners. The dreary feature starts dark and continues to dim over its staggering two and a half hour runtime until it nails you to your seat with a stunner of an ending. For Warner Brothers to give Villenueve that much creative freedom is very impressive, and thankfully Villenueve doesn’t sacrifice any of his European sensibilities in his American debut. It’s hardly accessible, but I think a great deal of the film’s lingering success comes from the director’s prime execution of the ending. From the start, the whistle has been an important image. It’s a resource used to command attention, a signal for help, and it happens to be the item that two young girls go searching for on Thanksgiving afternoon before they are kidnapped. As the mystery is unpeeled like an onion, our morally bent protagonist (Hugh Jackman) finds himself in the very pit that his daughter spent days in. Along the edge of the hole, he discovers something: His daughter’s whistle. Is she alive? Where is she now? Will I ever get out of this hole? We know the answers to the first two questions, but the other is the final mystery that Prisoners leaves with viewers. Jake Gyllenhaal’s Detective Loki meanders on the premise, only a couple of feet away from where Jackman is being held, and he hears something faint. A whistle? One time, then again, then again. What is that sound? We know what it is…but Loki isn’t so sure. He brushes off the sound before he hears it one more time. He stares into the darkness, and we cut to black. Chilling…absolutely chilling, as the fate of our protagonist becomes nothing but a whistle in the cold night. –  M.M.
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T20. Quaalude Overdose (The Wolf of Wall Street) – Martin Scorsese’s grand lunatic opera is one of the year’s most divisive films, with some praising it and others, like us, finding its relentlessness a bit thin come the end of its extremely lengthy three hour runtime. And yet regardless of any gripes we have with it, Wolf is still one of the most ferociously entertaining films this year, and the scene in which Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jordan Belfort and Jonah Hill’s Donnie Azoff overdose on powerful, old-aged Quaalude’s is easily the funniest scene of Scorsese’s illustrious career. To spoil any of it would be a tragedy, but when the “cerebral palsy” stage of the drug trip hits, the typically dramatic DiCaprio shows physical comedic chops we never knew existed and the film’s comedy shoots up to howling, knee-slapping, audience screaming extremes. Throw in several challenges (getting down a flight of stairs, driving his car a few blocks home), a vile of cocaine, and some killer editing of Popeye getting high on spinach and you have the best, most out-of-control moment in a movie jam packed with them. – Z.S.
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LETDOWNS:

1. Epilogue (Man Of Steel) – You would think that after a large number of buildings have come crashing down in an eruption of rubble and dust, with thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people dying in the cataclysmic event, it would be reason enough for a moment of silence, or at least some sort of somber reflection.  Well Man of Steel says fuck that, and instead gives a quick scene with Clark and Martha Kent as they continue to morn the completely unnecessary death of their father and husband, Jonathan, followed by a hurried follow up with Clark showing up for his first day of work at the Daily Planet.  Immediately this raises some issues.  First off, how is the Daily Planet building still standing after pretty much every other building around it has been completely and utterly demolished? Second, how does no one recognize that this new reporter is clearly Superman? Don’t get me wrong, Superman’s entire approach to keeping his secret identity has always required some suspension of disbelief, but at least in other stories he wears extremely baggy clothes, slouches as if he was a hunched over gorilla, and messes up his hair.  In Man of Steel, they literally slap on a cheap pair of glasses and assume no one is going to recognize him.  In the age where almost everybody has some sort of camera or video recorder on them at all times, I find it hard to believe that his disguise is going to last more than five minutes.  Now you might be saying that I’m nitpicking, but for a film that bashed you over the head with how grounded and realistic it was trying to be, you think they’d put more effort into, I don’t know, actually being realistic.  Instead we get lazy filmmaking. – J.H.
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2. Car Sex (The Counselor) – We won’t delve into the countless things that are wrong with Ridley Scott’s The Counselor, instead we will focus on one single instance that is so terribly indescribable, so wildly vivacious and uncomfortably nauseating, it must be seen in order to be believed…or understood for that matter. But I will do my best. During one of the many tangents in Cormac McCarthy’s self-indulgent script, Reiner (Javier Bardem) recalls a frightening instance to his partner, the Counselor (Michael Fassbender), in which he girlfriend, Malkina (Cameron Diaz), has sex with his car. That’s right, Malkina has SEX with an AUTOMOBILE. How you may ask? That’s the beauty of this sequence; it’s unflinchingly memorable for all of the wrong reasons, and showcases unsettling commitment from Diaz. To sum the scene up clearly – and vulgarly – just as Reiner himself did, I would say “It was gynecological.” – M.M.
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Lady Gaga

3. Lady Gaga Cameo (Machete Kills) – For anyone who was a fan of Robert Rodriguez’s gleefully trashy B-movie exploitation homage Machete (2010), it’s sequel wasn’t just a big letdown in the way most sequels are, it was an absolute slap in the face. The horrendous second installment became the very thing the original hilariously skewered: an awful, awful movie. B-movie? Machete Kills is a Z-movie. And in a film stuffed with bottom of the barrel scenes, none were more horrendous than the Lady Gaga cameos as the films shape-shifting villain, The Chameleon. Over reading her lines as if it were bad theater, over acting as if she were a poor woman’s Norma Desmond, and acting in front of apparent green screens that reveal the filmmakers shot her scenes anywhere just so they could have a big name musician cameo in the film, the Lady Gaga cameo was a lethal bomb to a movie that had already committed suicide within the first 10 minutes. With lousy album sales for her latest release, Artpop, and this cameo nightmare, 2013 is a year Lady Gaga most likely wants to forget. – Z.S. 

What are your favorite movie moments of 2013?

Article by Reel Reactions Critics

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