Tag Archives: The Place Beyond the Pines

Movies in 2013: A Weakness For Drama

This was a pretty good year for movies and there were surely a lot of good ones I didn’t see or haven’t seen yet. But these are the ones I liked the most from the past twelve months. I guess I had a weakness for dramas this year…

1. The Place Beyond the Pines: I loved how ambitious this movie was with its multi-generational tragedy. A fully realized and thrilling story told with a blood-pumping tempo.

Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes in The Place Beyond the Pines.

Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes in The Place Beyond the Pines.

2. Fruitvale Station: Michael B. Jordan owns this heartbreaking true story of Oscar Grant’s death at the hands of BART police on New Year’s Eve night in 2009.

Michael B. Jordan and young star Ariana Neal.

Michael B. Jordan and young star Ariana Neal.

3. Dallas Buyers Club: If Matthew McConaughey doesn’t win the Oscar for this (he may lose to Leo–see #5 below) then I hope Jared Leto wins for Best Supporting. Amazing performances and a very moving film.

Leto and McConaughey transformed themselves for their roles in Dallas Buyers Club.

Leto and McConaughey transformed themselves for their roles in Dallas Buyers Club.

4. Prisoners: I was blown away by how tight this story was. The tension is turned up way high and emotions boil over, so proceed with caution if you’re sensitive to kidnapping, violence, and revenge.

5. The Wolf of Wall Street: This movie is abrasive, decadent, satirical, and brilliant. A lot of people are upset by it but I think it’s a pretty strong cautionary tale. Leonardo DiCaprio is spectacular.

6. Before Midnight: One of the best talkie movies in a while. So good and real and gritty and beautiful. Moral: Relationships are messy!

7. Frances Ha: It has the feel of a classic. A great meditation on friendship and how a person becomes the person they need to be. The opening screening I went to included a wonderful Skype Q&A with Gerwig after the film.

Mickey Sumner and Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha.

Mickey Sumner and Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha.

8. The Motel Life: Based on the Willy Vlautin novel, this movie captured a lot of the bittersweet melancholy of two brothers on the run after a tragic accident. Beautiful performance by Stephen Dorff.

9. Alien Boy: A grueling but enlightening documentary about the tragic death of James Chasse at the hands of the Portland police, directed by Brian Lindstrom.

alien-boy-poster

10. The Spectacular Now: A profound story about a high school senior facing adult life and the disconnection between parents and their kids.

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Also great: The Punk Singer, Blue Is the Warmest Color, Nebraska, Prince Avalanche, Captain Phillips

Prince Avalanche, directed by one of my favorites, David Gordon Green

Prince Avalanche, directed by one of my favorites, David Gordon Green

Movies I’d still like to see: 12 Years a Slave, The Act of Killing, Spring Breakers, Only God Forgives, Her

Movies that got hyped up that I think were just okay…or less than okay: To the Wonder (one long perfume commercial), American Hustle (Good female characters and bad hair cancel each other out in this one), Inside Llewyn Davis (the best parts were the cat and John Goodman’s character), The Way Way Back (like someone who wants to be Noah Baumbach directed a Lifetime movie), The Conjuring (sometimes creepy, but mostly laughable).

Better than expected: Mud, This Is the End, The To Do List (which was probably the funniest movie of the year).

Oh, hey. Happy New Year!

A Few Steps Closer

Friends! An update on the novel. It’s coming out in November! I finished the copy edits recently (about 14 hours of work–made me realize I still have a few things to learn) and my editor (Hi, Masie!) and I have been receiving some ultra-sweet blurbs from beautiful folks like Jillian Lauren, Patrick deWitt, Davy Rothbart, Lidia Yuknavitch, Amelia Gray, and Jess Walter.

You can see info about it on Goodreads already.

Go add it to your “to-read” list.

Next up, Tin House will print up some review copies and give them to some folks at Book Expo (May 29th-June 2nd) in New York. I will also be there! In fact, I’ll be doing a reading on June 1st while I’m there. More details to come on that. My friend Polly Bresnick is setting up something killer.

Here’s what the review copies will look like…

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What have I been reading lately?

The amazing new Nick Flynn memoir, The Reenactments, the strange short stories of I Want to Show You More by Jamie Quatro, the new Future Tense Scout Book series 😉 and The Stud Book by Monica Drake.

What I can’t wait to read next:

TAMPA by Alissa Nutting and Big Ray by Michael Kimball.

And what I’m watching:

I thought The Place Beyond the Pines was ambitious and awesome.

The addictive and delicious TV show, Nashville.

I will be at the retrospective of my friend Vanessa Renwick’s films. (I talked about her recently on this blog for Oregon Movies, A to Z).

And I missed it the first time around, but I hope to see Brian Lindstrom’s powerful documentary, Alien Boy, asap!

Scarlett and Gunnar = <3

Nashville’s Scarlett and Gunnar = ❤