365 Movies By Day Reviews of Movies I Watch that I Feel Like Writing About


Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

Emma Thompson (Howard's End, Remains of the Day) got hosed out of an Oscar nomination! I had made it a goal to see all of the nominees in all of the major Academy Award categories, but I didn't see the snubs or the next in lines for Best Actor, Best Actress, etc. unless their movie was nominated in one of the other major categories. It's been awhile since I did a review on all of the really good movies of 2013. I'm pretty sure I had already replaced Amy Adams (American Hustle) with a more deserving candidate. I just don't remember who I replaced her with at the moment and don't feel like going back and looking. I say that I'm pretty sure I did do this though because I believe I replaced the Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor for this movie because I didn't feel like any of them were deserving. I think I did keep Jennifer Lawrence as a nominee because the nominees in the Supporting Actress category in 2013 were not overly impressive. But this review isn't about the underwhelming American Hustle. It is about the under-appreciated Saving Mr. Banks, a movie that I had written off as a lame little kids movie after a single trailer. It was one of those movies that I told myself I would eventually see because it had so much hype surrounding it and I have yet to talk to a person who didn't, at least, really like it. It was also the most snubbed movie when the Academy Award nominees came out. While Saving Mr. Banks wasn't one of my ten favorite movies of the year, I very well think it should have been the tenth movie nominated for Best Picture (there were only nine nominees this year). And Thompson absolutely should have been nominated for Best Actress. So for argument's sake and assuming I already replaced Adams with an actress from a different movie who did not get nominated, I will give Meryl Streep's (August: Osage County) nomination to Thompson, even though I thought Streep was fantastic in her role. Streep's role was by no means as complex as Thompson's. Plus Streep has been nominated more than any other actor or actress ever.


The Great Gatsby (2013)

To say that Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic, The Departed) killed it 2013 would be an understatement. Prior to his Academy Award nominating role as Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street, DiCaprio portrayed Jay Gatsby, one of the most legendary characters in literary history, in a most sincere an intense way. It was a performance that F Scott Fitzgerald himself would be proud of and would almost make him forget all of the other sub par attempts to recreate his work of fiction that almost all of us have read in high school.


Lone Survivor (2013)

It took the entire year to find it, but I the last must see movie of 2013 proved to be the most emotional and tear-jerking movie of the year. With apologies to 12 Years A Slave which was very gut-wrenching at times, Lone Survivor is the movie that plays with your heart strings like no other. Mark Wahlberg (The Fighter, The Perfect Storm) gives the performance of his lifetime as Marcus Luttrell, the only surviving member of a four person Navy SEALs team on the now infamous failed Operation Red Wings mission of 2005. The covert mission is simple enough. The four SEALs are to find notorious Taliban loyalist Ahmad Shah, a man currently residing in a village of Afghanistan who is responsible for killing 20 US marines a week earlier. Intel has informed him of his location and the team knows what to look for because Shahd has no ear lobes. They are informed of the terrain, the dangers of the mission, and the rules of engagement. The main goal of the mission was for reconnaissance and surveillance of  Shah and then inform the waiting military team, who then had the authorization to launch an air strike on the village to take out Shah and his men.


The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

The Wolf of Wall Street is the fifth collaboration between Academy Award winning director Martin Scorsese (Raging Bull, Taxi Driver) and leading Hollywood man Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic, Revolutionary Road). With apologies to Gangs of New York, this is arguably their most daring work together. I would rank this as the third best movie the duo has combined for. 2010's Shutter Island is in my all-time top 15. This movie was magnificent in its storytelling and captivating in its ability to draw you in and keep you totally hooked for its duration. In my opinion Shutter Island is Scorsese's best work and, arguably, DiCaprio's too. I know I am in the minority and there are lots of people who laugh at this notion, claiming that Shutter Island doesn't even come close to cracking Scorsese's all-time top five. I would rank The Wolf of Wall Street slightly below the departed and slightly above Gangs of New York. In my opinion, The Aviator is the worst of the bunch. Scorcese has eight Best Director Oscar nominations to his name and one win (2006's The Departed). The Wolf of Wall Street very well could earn him a ninth nomination, but it will not earn him a second win.


Her (2013)

I imagine there were some parts during the filming of Spike Jonze's (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich) Her where everybody on the set wondered What the heck are we doing with this movie? or something similar to this using much more profane words. The premise for this movie is weird. The trailer was weird. The movie was weird. I remember seeing the trailer the very first time and thinking that there was no way that this movie could succeed. There was no conceivable way that any right man was going to fall in love with his operating system. That is one of the most unbelievable things I have ever heard of. But as I watched the trailer a few more times and started hearing some of the praise associated with the movie, I began to wonder if maybe this could be one of those rare treasures you find at the end of the calendar year. The first reason was because it reminded me of the Ryan Gosling movie Lars And The Real Girl, a movie that I had convinced myself beforehand that there was no way I would enjoy but ended up loving. The second reason was because of how Joaquin Phoenix (Walk The Line, Reservation Road) was portrayed in just the trailer alone. He has played so many serious/dark characters recently that seeing him flash that smile with that goofy mustache over and over in a two minute trailer made me curious to see a side of him that we haven't seen in a very long time. Phoenix was a PERFECT for this character as I will mention later in this review.