In any other year they’d have been contenders: Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” the year’s most ridiculous idea for a film that somehow, when you saw it, looked like the excessive folly Jay Gatsby himself might have made; Zat Batmanglij and Brit Marling’s newest political fantasy “The East”; Denis Villeneuve’s vigilante nightmare “Prisoners”; Sofia Coppola’s dark, inside look at spoiled brat Hollywood “The Bling Ring”; Louis Lettrier’s cool major fantasy “Now You See Me”; Abbas Kiarostami’s “Like Someone in Love.”
Sometimes Actors Need to Let You Know How Seriously They Take Their Jobs: Just look at what both Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto did in “The Dallas Buyer’s Club.”
OK, So There Was Another White House Invasion Movie in the Same Year: “White House Down” was still a lot of fun anyway.
Most Tragically Predictable Hollywood Death: Paul Walker, star of the ridiculously entertaining “Fast and Furious” series, dead when his Porsche supercar cracked up on the road.
Most Tragically Unpredictable Death: James Gandolfini, at the age of 51. “Enough Said” showed everyone what he might have done in the career he never had.
Funniest Apocalypse Comedy No One Saw Coming: “This is The End.”
Most Passionate Encounter With an Automobile Windshield in Film History: Cameron Diaz’s gymnastic affair in “The Counselor,” the movie by Ridley Scott with a script by Cormac McCarthy that was literary in the worst possible ways. Never let it be said that Cameron Diaz doesn’t commit 100 percent to her job.
When a Cheerfully Junky Idea Turned into Cheerless Junk: Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete Kills.”
Read the Book, Ignore the Movie: What happened onscreen to J.D. Salinger in the documentary “Salinger” violated everything he ever stood for. The companion book, though, was revelatory and insightful about a great deal, especially his traumatic record in World War II which was so much more heroic and less calculated than, say, Norman Mailer’s.
Did We Need This Genius in a Biopic?: It wasn’t Ashton Kutcher who was so ridiculous as Steve Jobs in “Jobs.” He wasn’t all that bad. It was the film itself that was pointless.
The Ultimate Megaplex Mano a Mano for Worst Big Budget Blockbuster of 2013: In this corner, wearing red trunks and blue tights, we have Zack Snyder’s superhumanly tedious “Man of Steel.” Never has urban destruction been more plentiful and more tiresome. In that corner, wearing an unbecoming movie-long frown that, to put it mildly, doesn’t serve him, we have Will Smith, whose son Jaden is front and center throughout M. Night Shyamalan’s “After Earth,” the 2013 champ for Movie That Should Never Have Been Made. Ever. A tough contest in the Waste Sweepstakes, but I think the Smiths and Shyamalan walked away with it. No contest, really.