By D.G. McCabe
Well 2013 is drawing to a close, so let’s talk about who had a good year, a bad year, some predictions, and a couple good-byes.
2013 was a good year to be:
1. The Walt Disney Company
Four of the top eleven highest grossing films of 2013 were released by Disney (Iron Man 3, Monsters University, Thor: The Dark World, Oz: The Great and Powerful). Add this to the fact that Star Wars Episode 7 production seems to be moving ahead smoothly, and they’re probably feeling pretty great.
2. Robert Downey, Jr.
Iron Man 3 could have moved him to a bigger house, but the next two Avengers movies can move him to his own private continent. Get ready Antarctica!
3. An Experienced Actress
Take a look at “best actress” nominees for the Golden Globes. Their average age is just under 50. This is great news for everyone.
2013 was a bad year to be:
1. An A-List Actor
There was a time even crappy movies featuring Johnny Depp, Harrison Ford, or Will Smith would crush it at the box office. This year…let’s review:
I guess this is what happens when you: 1) still let M. Night Shyamalan make movies for some reason; 2) dig up properties that haven’t been popular since TV’s emitted that weird buzzing noise; and, 3) try to make films based on thirty year old, niche science fiction novels who’s author can’t cool it with the racist/homophobic rants2. 3D!!!!!!
The late Roger Ebert thought that 3D was a fad, even after Avatar (2009) made the most money ever by basically remaking Dances with Wolves (1990) with weird, blue aliens. The cancellations of the 3D re-releases of the Star Wars movies and the death of 3D television seem to bear this out.
None other than the inventors of the form, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, are thinking that we might hit “peak blockbuster” in the near future. The disappointing to terrible returns of After Earth, Ender’s Game, The Lone Ranger, Elysium, Pacific Rim, The Wolverine, The Smurfs 2, White House Down, RIPD, and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters seem to agree with this theory. Let’s see what happens over the next couple of years.
Not so Bold Predictions:
1. Best Picture Oscar: 12 Years a Slave. Actual Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave – because even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
2. Will Smith no longer has the ability to make a film profitable just by being in it. I predict that unless he joins a super hero franchise his days of $100 million opening weekends are behind him.
3. The new “giant robots fighting each other” movie will be the #1 film at the box office in 2014. Thankfully, the role of whiny, annoying, pointless human has been apparently written out of the film, as Shia LaBeouf is not going to be lending his “talents” to this one. Mark Wahlberg will be in it instead.
Eight Scenes from that Great Alehouse in the Sky:
1. Peter O’Toole – now sharing a drink with Richard Burton in a corner table.
2. Roger Ebert – Sitting nearby, telling them that as good as O’Toole was in Lawrence of Arabia (1962), that’s how bad Burton was in Cleopatra (1963).
3. Annette Funicello – Waiting for open mic night to start.
4. Ray Harryhausen – Figuring out how to make the chairs dance to the cheesy 1960’s surf pop that Ms. Funicello will perform.
5. James Gandolfini – Trying to avoid being typecast in whatever gangster movie James Cagney is bending his ear about.
6. Dennis Farina – Trying to avoid being typecast as a cop in the same movie.
7. Karen Black – Setting up the open mic night, trying to avoid Burton.
8. Paul Walker – Waiting for Steve McQueen to come by so that they can compare notes.
And that’s our 2013 Year in Review! Bring it – 2014!
(c) D.G. McCabe