The Movie Date: Ten Movies I Want to See Before 2013

The Movie Date buttonThe Movie Date is a weekly feature where we discuss movies that may appeal to the YA audience. Andrew is The Reading Date’s resident movie critic and this week he’s counting down the movies he wants to see before the new year, and the ones he’s not too sure about. Andrew & I (Lucy) don’t always agree on what movies to see, but I marked with a * the movies I hope we can see together.

11/9 – Lincoln
I actually wasn’t that interested in this—more of a “should” than “want” to see—until I discovered the storyline: Near the end of the Civil War, Lincoln races to abolish slavery, knowing the amendment won’t pass once the South rejoins the union and votes it down. Always a fan of the ticking clock. Also, Sally Field brings some drive and pathos to the mad Mary Todd Lincoln. I missed Abe killing zombies earlier this year so I hope this will suffice.Silver Linings Playbook movie poster

11/21 – Silver Linings Playbook*
This just has “win” stamped all over it. Bradley Cooper as a nice guy recently released from an institution and living with his parents? The mighty Jennifer Lawrence getting to do comedy as an equally medicated mystery woman? Currently 8.2 on IMDb? Hells YEAH. This is being sold as a comedy but you know that there’s gonna be plenty of heartache and getting real in there too.

11/30 – Killing Them Softly
Brad Pitt stars as “Jackie Cogan … a professional enforcer who investigates a heist that went down during a mob-protected poker game.” (IMDb) I’m secretly a Pitt fan since Twelve Monkeys and Fight Club and he tends to choose pretty good projects. And I’m all over genre tropes like heists and card games. If this is any good it’s gonna be great.

12/7 – Deadfall
Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde as siblings on the run after a casino heist in the frozen north, after which they take part in some sort of “family reunion” with other characters. Unlike Kiling Them Softly above, I don’t think this will be an action pic or thriller, rather an indie with some action beats. The willowy but wise Wilde is the draw here.

12/14 – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
In the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson crammed three long books into three four-hour movies (looking at the extended editions), which seemed just about right. Here he’s expanding one book with a pretty simple storyline into three films, and I fear this may be glacially paced with a lot of unnecessary detail and subplots. Still, like millions of other movie and book fans, I’m dying to sign on for another tour of Middle Earth with Jackson at the helm. More than anything, though, I’m in it to watch the hilarious and talented Martin Freeman (BBC’s Sherlock) as Bilbo. Lead on!

Zero Dark Thirty movie poster

12/19 – Zero Dark Thirty*
Out of everything on this list, this is probably the one I’m most looking forward to. First, it’s based on the true story of the hunt for and killing of Bin Laden, so there should be some astounding espionage on display. Second, it’s directed by The Hurt Locker’s Kathryn Bigelow, who also gave us Point Break and Near Dark; nuff said. Third, it stars the talented Jessica Chastain (Take Shelter) as a woman somehow involved in the operation. Can’t wait for this one.

12/21 – The Impossible
An American family is separated during the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 and struggles to reunite. The core story sounds uplifting and positive, and the simulation of the disaster will doubtless be incredible. But surrounding our survivors will be a huge amount of tragedy and loss, making this a challenging film to watch. Frankly more of a “should” than a “can’t wait,” but sometimes emotional purging can be good during the holidays.

12/21 – On the Road*On the Road movie poster
Incredibly, this is the first screen adaptation of Kerouac’s Great American Novel (which I’ve never read) of a gang of Fifties hipsters searching for themselves on the highways and byways. Not fabulously reviewed, said to be a bit stoic and dull, but I’m still curious due to the novel’s revered status. Also for the presence of Kristen Stewart, a fascinating actress with great energy when she gets the right material, as in The Runaways.

12/25 – Les Miserables
Again, I know virtually nothing about the book, story (someone steals bread, French peasants revolt), or musical, only the title’s status as an icon of musical theatre. But again, I’ve always been curious about it and Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman look like they’re giving it their all (which is a lot). Also compelled to see this on behalf of a musical-theatre fan friend who passed away this year and would have loved it.

12/25 – Django Unchained
Of course I’ve seen all of Quentin Tarantino’s movies—it’s not hard to do, since there are only seven of them—but I’m more of an appreciator than a hardcore fan. Often the obtrusive style and frequent in-jokes take me out of the narrative flow. But this one, a Civil War/Western hybrid, has a great story hook: a rescued slave is persuaded to become a badass bounty hunter by the hope of reuniting with his kidnapped love. Sounds like great primal/mythic story material able to shine thru the Tarantino trappings.

Not sure about:
Life of Pi
I can see how the core idea of this story—shipwrecked Indian boy awkwardly shares a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger—could make for fascinating reading. It offers many opportunities for reflection, philosophizing, and rhapsodic descriptive prose. The whole thing seems like a nifty little parable of some sort. On screen, though, it all seems so… literal. I honestly can’t picture myself sitting through this. (On the other hand I loved 127 Hours, another “ordeal” film, so you never know.)

Hitchcock movie posterHitchcock
This is more of a “wait and see” rather than a slam-dunk for me, but very curious about this. Sir Anthony Hopkins playing the genius British director and Helen Mirren as his wife. All about the making of Psycho, also with Scarlet Johansson, Jessica Biel, etc. Oddly this emerges almost simultaneously with the HBO film The Girl, about Hitch’s infatuation with Tippi Hedren while making The Birds.

Rise of the Guardians
I haven’t watched a trailer so I don’t know the tone. But a film about childhood mythological characters—Santa, Jack Frost, the Bogeyman—that tries to take them seriously just seems silly.

Jack Reacher
I actually like Tom Cruise quite a bit. And I’m sure the Lee Child thriller novel franchise is all well and good. But Reacher is an ex-military drifter who solves and/or avenges crimes. That just sounds like a lot of guns to me.

The Twilight Saga – Breaking Dawn Part 2*
Please don’t hate me, YA enthusiasts, but I’m not a fan of the Twilight film franchise overall (and as you might guess, I’ve never read the books). I actually thought the first film was superb—nice compact story, and Catherine Hardwicke nailed the sweet, gently magical tone perfectly. The next two films I didn’t much care for, and I haven’t even seen Breaking Dawn, Part 1: I just don’t feel like I should be present at Edward and Bella’s wedding night, nor at the birth of their child, especially as both appear quite messy. And in Part 2, the idea of a rapidly growing Renesmee being imprinted on by Jacob just seems kind of twisted. I hope it’s good and a worthy conclusion to this groundbreaking franchise. Let me know… (Lucy’s note: obviously I’m a fan but we agree to disagree on this series :))

What movies will you venture out to see this holiday season?


28 thoughts on “The Movie Date: Ten Movies I Want to See Before 2013

  1. lucy – why is there not a * next to the hobbit? i totally can’t wait for that one. it looks soooo good. i love lotr and am very excited to get back to that world. plus, richard armitage.

    my friends and i were just talking about hitchcock the other day. we’re big hitchcock fans and this could be really interesting or really bad. needless to say i’ll be seeing it either way.

    and i agree about lincoln. it’s like i should go see it since it’s about lincoln and star ddl. but to tell the truth, it’s not something i am dying to see.

    i am on the fence about life of pi. i think i’ll go just because ang lee makes really interesting and diverse movies. i don’t always like them, but i always feel like they were at least worth my time. and this is another one that at least looks visually striking.

    great list, andrew! i hope you get to see all of these movies before the end of the year.

    1. wordsforthepictures says:

      Thanks Fishgirl! I doubt I’ll get to see all ten in theatres, even with $6 matinees at my local cineplex. Something to shoot for!

    2. Lucy says:

      I do feel the peer pressure about The Hobbit! Loved the book, but I never saw any of the LoTR movies. I think I gravitate more towards smaller films in general, but maybe I’ll go. Hope you like Hitchcock!

  2. Great post! Here’s my short list:
    LIFE OF PI – because it’s Ang Lee and a friend of mine worked on the art. I loved the book and am curious as to how Ang Lee will tell it without losing the flavor of the story.

    THE HOBBIT – I loved the LOTR movie trilogy. I was not a fan of the books (I only barely got through the first one). I know, sacrilege! sorry! 😉 (Hmmm, and are Viggo Mortensen and Orlando Bloom going to be in it?)

    LES MIZ – One of my all time favorite musicals ever. Love the music. Love that the cast did not record the music separately but they were filmed while singing, while acting. Great cast, too!

    ANNA KARENINA – I’m ashamed to say I’ve never read the book even though I’ve heard raves. I’ll see the movie. I adore Keira Knightly and Jude Law.

    HYDE PARK ON THE HUDSON – A period comedy drama with Bill Murray as FDR. It looked good in previews.

    THIS IS 40 – although I may wait til it comes out on DVD.

    (And like you, already loved and saw SKYFALL!) Is it too late to see ARGO?

    1. wordsforthepictures says:

      Wow, surprised I forgot to put This Is 40 on the list! Not sure it’s a slam dunk for me in the theatre but I’ll sure see it eventually.

      Interesting to see Bill Murray in a character role as a historical figure!

      Anna K is getting very mixed reviews at present but that’s one to keep an eye on too.

      Folks are loving Life of Pi, even the 3D aspect. Avatar for bookworms, perhaps?

      1. Unfortunately, I won’t get to see Life of Pi in 3D. Is it just me or my age or what – but 3D movies give me a headache. 🙁

    2. I think Argo is still playing in theaters. That’s definitely a good one. I’ve never read Anna Karenina either. 🙂

      1. Oh good, thanks! I’ll see if I can catch it this weekend!

      2. wordsforthepictures says:

        Argo is great, both entertaining and enriching. I reviewed it here a few weeks ago; if you dig around you can find my writeup.

  3. Hitchcock was very entertaining; one aspect didn’t work for me, but overall it was definitely worth seeing — esp. because Hopkins and Mirren are so, so good. Rise was also MUCH BETTER than I expected. Great list!

    1. wordsforthepictures says:

      Good to know about Rise, my daughter (not really the target age) is very curious too and annoyed I”m not more into it. She was right about Wreck-It Ralph so I’m likely to see this one regardless.

  4. Brittany says:

    I’m very interested in Lincoln! Usually I’m not a historical person but it looks really good and I was surprised to find out JGL is in it!
    I still need to see Breaking Dawn P2! Next week… Sigh.
    Silver Linings looks cute – But I will admit that I’m a little creeped out that JL just played a teenager and is now famous for it and in this movie she’s playing the love interest of a 30-something. Just doesn’t seem quite right to me! But I’m interested to see how it works out because maybe it works great on screen!

    1. wordsforthepictures says:

      Yes that is a little weird! But J Law is a superb actress so we’ll just have to trust in her to make us believe it’s all okay…

  5. I SO agree with all of your choices. I saw Lincoln this was good but it was quite long, think it needed editing! I can’t wait for Les Miserables!! Also the HOBBIT! SQUEE! I am a Hitchcock fan but I am not sure about this biopic as for Twilight I enjoyed the first three books, then the series went down hill for me.. I also am not a fan of the movies at all, badly cast IMHO. Breaking Dawn is my least favorite of the books as well!

  6. vmcarswell says:

    Wow, what a list! I don’t get to see many movies. I am actually seeing Breaking Dawn Part 2 today and since my friend’s husband is the manager at the movie theater, I get to go for free. I also want to see The Life of Pi, The Hobbit, Les Mis, Django Unchained (I love almost all of Quentin Tarantino’s movies) and Rise of the Guardians. Other movies I want to see that aren’t on your list are Red Dawn (I have a huge crush on Chris Hemsworth), Cloud Atlas, Sinister, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Cirque Du Soleil, but I know there is no way to see all of these! So many great movies are coming out 🙂 I really wanted to see The Great Gatsby. It was originally supposed to come out on Christmas, but it got pushed back until May. I love Baz Lurhmann, especially Moulin Rouge, which is my all time favorite movie!

    1. wordsforthepictures says:

      I reviewed Perks several weeks ago (spoiler alert: loved it!). Our daughter is a huge fan too and has seen it with friends FOUR TIMES. Certainly curious about Gatsby too and always enjoy Luhrmann!

  7. BermudaOnion says:

    We have plans to see Lincoln this week – I’m not sure about the rest of the movies.

  8. Candice says:

    I really want to go see Lincoln! Not really wanting to see The Hobbit, although I love Martin Freeman. What I’m really looking forward to seeing is Les Mis. i’ve never read the book, but have seen the Broadway play, which totally made me cry. Just watching the trailer for it makes me cry! Hope you get to see all of these and enjoy them!

    1. wordsforthepictures says:

      Thanks, we’ll see how I do seeing ’em all. Clearly I need to make a schedule…

  9. Ooooh, The Hobbit. I am curious too to how he will manage to extend that one book into three films. It’s gonna be some feat! However I am looking forward to watching it, and definitely because of the awesome Martin Freeman who played a brilliant part as Watson in BBC Sherlock.
    I’ve heard lots of people talking about Les Mis, so I think I need to take a look and maybe see it.
    Sadly, I will be a sucker and despite not liking Twilight the books all that much, I will go and see the last Twilight film at the cinema. Hopefully.
    Great list! 🙂

  10. shannonjoe says:

    Saw Breaking Dawn Part 2 Friday night and loved it. However, I was already a big fan! 🙂

    Want to see Lincoln. Oh, and since I’m twisted (because I love scary things) I want to see Sinister. 🙂


    1. wordsforthepictures says:

      I’m glad BDII is such a hit with fans; I really do support the franchise (in spirit) and am glad it’s going out on a high note.

  11. veganyanerds says:

    The Playbook one sounds good! And I just saw Breaking Dawn – I find the movies a bit cheesy but also entertaining and funny to laugh at. Renesmee looked weird, especially as a baby! Great list 😀

    1. wordsforthepictures says:

      As I just commented elsewhere, Playbook is awesome…

  12. kay says:

    Great list! I want to see On the Road (I didn’t know it was the first movie adaptation, I’m surprised!) and Silver Linings Playbook, too.

    1. wordsforthepictures says:

      Silver Linings Playbook was FANTASTIC – hubby, wife, and daughter all enjoyed it immensely. Insightful and very funny. Review to follow…

  13. bookgoonie says:

    I LOVE Movie Dating with you & Mrs Reading Date. You always widen my eyes to other movies out there, because I often have my head in a book & not on the screen. I anxiously await your reviews.

    I think Lincoln & Hobbit should take my movie money this fall.

  14. Most of these are on my list as well – I’m the most excited for Lincoln, I think. Absolutely can’t wait!

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