Top Ten: Summer Movies of 2013


Summer 2013 was a wild ride. Kids are now headed back to school, and thus the summer movie season is coming to an end. This is one of those strange summers that depending on where you live – and what kind of access you have to movies – this could easily be a great movie season, or a terrible one.

Though there were plenty of fun films to see, keeping this list down to 10 was rather easy. This is a list of some of the best films that Summer 2013 had to offer.

summer-610. This Is The End
[Jamie's review] [Daniel's review]

That’s right, the most outrageous movie of the summer that has comedians playing themselves in an over the top end of the world scenario that’s made up of at least 30% dick jokes, manages to be one of smartest, most heartfelt comedies to come out this year. This is one of those films that’s so ridiculous on the surface it’s bound to cause walkouts all across the country and make people consider it merely a guilty pleasure. It’s unfortunate that people will dismiss this film because if you can look beyond This Is The End’s shocking exterior you can see a true story of friendship and morality.

9. The Way Way Back
[Mel's review] [Derek's review]

Now Oscar winners Nat Faxon and Jim Rash take on the cliché summer coming-of-age story, and do so with so much wit and charm it’s hard to not smile through the whole thing. This film has many layers of well-observed truth that make it a pleasure to watch. This is as loving and hilarious as a coming-of-age narrative gets. The story doesn’t stray away from the clichés but indulges in them and, combined with the strong direction and performances, this film will have you fantasizing of a carefree summer. Wickedly funny, wonderfully entertaining and loaded with lessons in respect and understanding, The Way Way Back is without a doubt the best coming-of-age film this year and the movie I will now turn to when I want to dream of the summer.

summer-58. Short Term 12
[Ronan's review]

Brie Larson steals the show in this modest drama about troubled foster-home teens. The movie never gets in your face when its pulling at your heart strings, and best of all it takes its time allowing the audience to sink into the movie even deeper than most would expect. It’s a gritty, realistic character-driven film that’s definitely a must-see.

7. Iron Man 3
[David's review] [Jason's review] [Mel's review] [Doug's review] [Umar's review]

The third installment in the Iron Man series presents us with less Iron Man and more Tony Stark. Any superhero movie that spends time with the actual character, rather than just the costume, is an automatic win in my books. Iron Man 3 is the kind of blockbuster we always dream of: smart, funny, witty and emotional. It was daring in its plot and it paid off big time; it’s one of Marvel’s greatest accomplishments in their franchise so far.

summer-46. Blue Jasmine
[Mel's review] [Soheil's review]

What’s the pattern again? That every other Woody Allen film is fantastic? If my math is correct it was Blue Jasmine’s turn to fantastic, and boy oh boy was it. Deep, beautiful characters, snappy dialogue and an overall remarkable performance from Cate Blanchett allow this film to extend even farther than Allen’s usual work. This is Allen’s most thoughtful film in years.

5. The Conjuring
[Julian's review] [Jason's review] [Mel's review]

Who would’ve guessed that the director of Saw would end up being the most inventive horror filmmaker working in the industry? James Wan brilliantly takes us back to the retro days of horror, delivering an extremely stylistic, visually striking horror film that stands tall amongst the classics. With virtually no sex, no gore and no cursing The Conjuring earns its R-rating on scares alone.

summer-34. Before Midnight
[Soheil's review]

Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy and Richard Linklater are back again to make us feel things. There’s no other way to describe the Before ______ trilogy than an emotional exercise. Every time another one of these movies comes out it’s “how long can you make it without shedding a tear?” and it’s a game you’ll always lose. As far as romances go, Before Midnight is one of the best. It’s a relationship study that’s rich with passion; a truly thought-provoking piece of art.

3. You’re Next
[Mel's review] [Craig's review] [Julian's review]

Unfortunately sometimes a movie can be too clever for its audience, and there’s a creeping feeling that this is one of those movies. Part of its ingenuity derives from its ability to appear stupid all the while being witty. You’re Next will keep you at the edge of your seat, delivering the brawn you’d expect, and dishing you the brains - bashed and beaten - as a friendly reminder that there’s more to being scared than psychos in masks. This bloodbath is so enjoyable that it should keep everyone energized right until the end.

summer-22. Only God Forgives
[Alex's review] [David's review] [Jordan's review] [Mel's review]

In Nicolas Winding Refn’s highly anticipated follow-up to Drive, he delves into themes of morality, spirituality, perversion and religion (obviously) in the most stylistically explosive piece of art to hit theatres this year. With every frame handled with sheer artistic precision Only God Forgives is undeniably Refn’s least accessible film, but those able to see beyond its rough surface are in for a visceral experience like no other.

1. The World’s End
[Jordan's review] [David's review]

In a summer filled with mindless action and cheap laughs, Edgar Wright’s final installment in the “Cornetto Trilogy” is a direct violation of everything we’ve seen so far, and in the best way possible. The World’s End is so beautiful it’s almost difficult to describe. It’s clever, funny, action-packed, heartfelt and above all personal. With so much passion and love behind the movie, it’s hard not to feel it. This is one of those rare movies that show us why film is such a meaningful medium, and there’s no better place the “Cornetto Trilogy” could have taken us.

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Josh Lewis

Staff Film Critic
Josh is an independent Canadian filmmaker studying out of the Toronto Film School. In his spare times he combines his passion for writing with his passion for film, and contributes his voice to whoever is looking to listen.

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