The best — and worse — of 2013’s movies


Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in “12 Years a Slave.” (Special Photo)


Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp star in “The Lone Ranger.” (Special Photo)

It’s time now for my annual year-end list of standouts and industry embarrassments. Some choices are obvious, most hopefully, are not. Thanks for reading and have yourself a great 2014!

Best lead actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor in “12 Years a Slave”

Best lead actress: Cate Blanchet in “Blue Jasmine”

Best supporting actor: Michael Fassbender in “12 Years a Slave”

Best supporting actress: Allison Janney in “The Way, Way Back”

Best ensemble cast: “12 Years a Slave”

Best director: Steve McQueen for “12 Years a Slave”

Best original screenplay: Woody Allen for “Blue Jasmine”

Best adapted screenplay: John Ridley for “12 Years a Slave”

Best animated film: “Despicable Me 2”

Best documentary: “Muscle Shoals”

Best foreign language film: “The Hunt”

My Top 10 favorite (though not necessarily best) films:

  1. “12 Years a Slave”

  2. “Blue Jasmine”

  3. “Muscle Shoals”

  4. “Enough Said”

  5. “Love is All You Need”

  6. “The Way, Way Back”

  7. “Parkland”

  8. “American Hustle”

  9. “What Maisie Knew”

  10. “her”

The remainder:

A bad sequel (“Kick-Ass 2”) and an unneeded remake (“Carrie”) will go far in ruining your once-excellent street credibility: Chloe Moretz

As it turns out, the Plains states are as dysfunctional as the rest of the country: “Nebraska” and “August: Osage County”

Best 3-D: “Gravity”

Best (sort-of) musical: “Oz the Great and Powerful”

Best action flick: “Rush”

Best against-type performance: James Gandolfini in “Enough Said”

Best cinematography: “12 Years a Slave”

Best cleavage: Amy Adams in “American Hustle”

Best creep: Peter Sarsgaard in “Lovelace”

Best crazy uncle: Matthew Goode in “Stoker”

Best date movie (clean): “In a World…”

Best date movie (risqué): “Don Jon”

Best disclaimer: “Some of this actually happened” — “American Hustle”

Best drag performance: Jared Leto in “Dallas Buyers Club”

Best editing: “12 Years a Slave”

Best film of the decade thus far: “12 Years a Slave”

Best film shot in Georgia: “A.C.O.D.”

Best filmmaking debut (writer, director, lead) by an actor: Joseph Gordon-Levitt for “Don Jon”

Best filmmaking debut (writer, director, lead) by an actress: Lake Bell for “In a World…”

Best footage from a trailer that wasn’t included in the film: Jennifer Lawrence’s bar entrance in “American Hustle”

Best final scene: “Enough Said”

Best guilty pleasure: “Bullet to the Head”

Best horror flick: “Stoker”

Best looking: “Gravity”

Best made-for-cable movie: “Behind the Candelabra”

Best Martin Scorsese imitation: David O. Russell for “American Hustle”

Best makeup: “Warm Bodies”

Best original song: “Please Mr. Kennedy” from “Inside Llewyn Davis”

Best modern-day resetting: “What Maisie Knew”

Best movie (almost) no one saw: “Muscle Shoals”

Best movie for AARP members: “Love Is All You Need”

Best multiple cameo appearances: “Anchorman 2”

Best performance by a juvenile (female): Onate Aprile in “What Maisie Knew”

Best performance by a juvenile (male): Liam James in “The Way, Way Back”

Best performance by a non-human: China Girl in “Oz the Great and Powerful”

Best prequel: “Oz the Great and Powerful”

Best recreation of a historical event: The JFK assassination in “Parkland”

Best retelling of a classic work of literature: “What Maisie Knew”

Best reworking of Shakespeare: “Warm Bodies” (“Romeo & Juliet”)

Best risqué chick flick: “The Heat”

Best rock ’n’ roll history lesson: “Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me”

Best romance: “Love Is All You Need”

Best scene-stealer: John Goodman in “Inside Llewyn Davis”

Best (meaning most blatant) scenery chewing (female): Meryl Streep in “August: Osage County”

Best (meaning most blatant) scenery chewing (male): Tommy Lee Jones in “Emperor”

Best sci-fi flick (only by default): “Gravity”

Best score: “12 Years a Slave” (Hans Zimmer)

Best sequel: “Despicable Me 2”

Best soundtracks: “American Hustle” and “Muscle Shoals”

Best special effects: “Gravity”

Best straight man: Justin Bateman in “Identity Thief”

Best stylistic throwback: “Lovelace”

Best subplot within an only so-so movie: The birth of 24-hour cable news in “Anchorman 2”

Best surprise: “The Way, Way Back”

Best swan song (?): Steven Soderbergh for “Side Effects”

Best trend (tie): Great romance movies for over-40 audiences and music documentaries

Best (uncredited) cameo performance: Robert De Niro in “American Hustle”

Best use of profanity: “The Heat”

Best villain (female): Sarah Paulson in “12 Years a Slave”

Best villain (male): Michael Fassbender in “12 Years a Slave”

Best voice-over performance in a live-action film: Scarlett Johansson for “her”

Best way to ruin a great memory: “Red 2”

Biggest disappointment: “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Biggest (and most deserved) flop: “The Lone Ranger”

Can anyone ever adapt this book into a good film?: “The Great Gatsby”

Clunkiest title: “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”

Dude, seriously — you need to switch over to decaf: Danny Boyle for “Trance”

Enough, already: “A Good Day to Die Hard”

From “Bridesmaids” to this?!: Melissa McCarthy in “Identity Thief”

Full frontal and then some: Rosario Dawson in “Trance”

Good timing gone bad: “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”

Great setups, horrible follow-throughs: “Gravity” and “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Grumpy Old Criminals: Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin in “Stand-Up Guys”

How not to make a movie about sexual addiction: “Thanks For Sharing”

It’s the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine): “This is the End,” “The World’s End”

Least-deserving highest-grossing movie of-the-year: “Iron Man 3”

Let’s talk about (and do) LOTS of drugs!: “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Looking great in not-great movies: Gwyneth Paltrow in “Iron Man 3” and “Thanks For Sharing”

Lounge Lizard Astronaut: George Clooney in “Gravity”

M.V.P. (female): Brie Larson (“The Spectacular Now,” “Short Term 12,” “Don Jon”)

M.V.P. (male): Matthew McConaughey (“Mud,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “The Wolf of Wall Street”)

Maybe there is no life after “Twilight”: Kristen Stewart in “On the Road”

Maybe there is no life after “Spider-Man”: Kirsten Dunst in “On the Road”

Maybe you have no life: Lindsay Lohan

Most accurate portrayal of the South: “12 Years a Slave”

Most awkward sing-a-long: Jennifer Lawrence — “Live and Let Die” in “American Hustle”

Most bizarre (and true!): “Pain & Gain”

Most blatant money-grubbing: “The Hobbit” trilogy

Most elaborate hairpiece and authentic beer-gut: Christian Bale in “American Hustle”

Most demeaning portrayal of a female character: Aubrey Plaza in “The To Do List”

Most fitting use of old pop songs: The entire soundtrack of “Muscle Shoals”

Most impressive weight gain: Christian Bale in “American Hustle”

Most impressive weight loss: Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club”

Most likely future train-wreck: Miley Cyrus

Most likely to be the subject of a 2014 movie: The Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi terrorist attack

Most needed new Oscar category: Best Ensemble Cast

Most obvious casting: Melissa McCarthy in “The Heat”

Most obvious whitewashing of history: “Saving Mr. Banks”

Most original concept: “her”

Most out-there (but it worked) casting choice: Louis C.K. in “American Hustle”

Most overrated film: “Gravity”

Most overrated performance: Sandra Bullock in “Gravity”

Most pointless sequel: “Machete Kills”

Most scandalous (and essentially ignored): “Adore”

Most underrated film: “Parkland”

Most unlikeable comedic protagonist: Steve Carell in “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”

Most unnecessary multiple use of the “F” word: “About Time”

Most violent for no reason: “Gangster Squad”

Most welcomed exit and Thank God it’s finally over: “The Hangover Part III”

Motion-capture animation takes two steps backward: “Jack the Giant Slayer”

Movies about attacking the White House are bad on so many levels: “Olympus Has Fallen,” “White House Down”

Odd presentation but it actually worked: “her”

Perfect abs and teeth will only get you so far: Ryan Reynolds in “R.I.P.D.” and “Turbo”

Perhaps you should … maybe cut back on the Botox: Sylvester Stallone in “Bullet in the Head”

Please knock my teeth out, break my eardrums and beg me to hate your movie: “Man of Steel”

Proof positive that a car chase movie can be boring: “Getaway”

R.I.P.: Karen Black, Eileen Brennan, Roger Ebert, Dennis Farina, Annette Funicello, James Gandolfini, Julie Harris, Peter O’Toole, Jean Stapleton, Paul Walker, Esther Williams, Jonathan Winters

Really, weren’t four sequels enough?: “Fast & Furious 6”

Sad, but oddly inspirational: “Lovelace”

Sexual without any actual depicted sex: “her”

Sexual without in any way being sexy: “Lovelace”

Smart, sexy and funny: Tina Fey in anything

Snake-bit: Colin Farrell in anything

Stay retired, please: Jane Fonda in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”

Stoner movie where no one actually smoked weed: “We’re the Millers”

Surprisingly, it wasn’t that bad: “Last Vegas”

The hardest working man in show business: Benedict Cumberbatch

The Little Engine That Could: “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”

This is what “Twilight” should have been: “Warm Bodies”

Three Former Disney Girls Gone Bad: “Spring Breakers”

“Transformers” too: “Pacific Rim”

We should all be this fit in our mid-to-late 70s: Robert Redford in “All is Lost”

Who knew there was rap music in the 1920s?: “The Great Gatsby”

Widest range: Jennifer Lawrence in “American Hustle” and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”

Worst reboot: “Man of Steel”

Worst continuing franchise: “Paranormal Activity”

Worst looking film shot in Georgia: “Prisoners”

Worst Martin Scorsese imitation: Martin Scorsese for “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Worst modern-day resetting: “Romeo & Juliet”

Worst movie based on an old TV show: “The Lone Ranger”

Worst movie of the year (tie): “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” and “The Lone Ranger”

Worst movie set fully or in part in Atlanta: “The Internship”

Worst movie with good intentions: “The Book Thief”

Worst movie with religious overtones: “The Host”

Worst retelling of a classic piece of literature: “Romeo & Juliet”

Worst performance by a previous Oscar-winner: Jodie Foster in “Elysium”

Worst prequel: “Monsters University”

Worst sequel: “Kick-Ass 2”

Worst stunt casting: The five guys who played past U.S. presidents in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”

Worst trend: Too many truly horrible summer movies

Worst waste of an otherwise great ensemble cast: “The Counselor”

Wow, he really can act: Dwayne Johnson in “Pain and Gain”

Wow, she really can act: Jennifer Garner in “Dallas Buyers Club”

Yes, it can get worse than “Twilight”: “The Host”

Yo! That ’60s angry/hippie/revolution thing ain’t workin’ no more: “The Company You Keep”

You’re a legend; quit selling-out: Robert De Niro in “The Big Wedding,” “The Family,” “Grudge Match” and “Killing Season”

Finally — to Carolyn Sloss and the entire staff at Allied Integrated Marketing for their tireless, often thankless behind-the-scenes efforts — once again, thank you very much.