Jeff & Sara's Top Ten 2013: Number 10

The Heat

With 2013 nearing an end, it's time to list out our best movies of the year. Without further ado, here is Jeff and Sara's choice for number 10: The Heat.

The Heat stars Sandra Bullock as FBI Agent Sarah Ashburn, who has to team up with Melissa McCarthy's foulmouthed and violent Boston cop Shannon Mullins to bring down a drug kingpin. As with buddy comedies, it's the clashing of personalities between the leads that make these kind of movies work.

Here are some facts about The Heat: It's relatively well-reviewed, with a Tomatometer of 66%. Not great, but still good. The box office split says The Heat plays better here than overseas -- $160M vs $70M, respectively.

Here is the trailer:

Binh: So tell us, Jeff. Why do you have The Heat as one of the best movies of 2013?

Jeff: If it did nothing more than give us a pair of female action heroes with nary a romantic complication in sight, I think The Heat would merit some kind of special mention. But it's also a raunchy comedy that manages to be consistently funny -- a rarity in the overlong Apatow era -- and it also proves that Melissa McCarthy's bull-in-a-china-shop energy can be maintained over the course of a feature-length film. (Take that, Identity Thief.)

Binh: So Sara, you also have The Heat at number 10. Why is it on your list and not, say, Mark Wahlberg’s teddy bear comedy Ted?

Sara: I HATE TED SO MUCH!!! I should be nice, though. I follow the writer on twitter. Ted was crap but I think your question is more about why The Heat was so memorable as to be on my 10, and my answer for that is the same as my answer for almost every other film on the list: I loved the hell out of it when I saw it and I didn't forget about it after.

Jeff: I couldn't even finish Ted. Not funny at all.

Sara: Ditto. The dirty jokes are only funny 25% of the time.

Binh: What was the most memorable scene for you in the movie – the one that closed the deal for you?

Jeff: I think the most memorable scene is probably the botched tracheotomy in the diner, but I guess the one that sealed the deal for me was probably the one where McCarthy gives Buster Bluth a verbal beatdown.

Sara: The phrase "messy vagina" could steer me away from children forever.

Binh: Sara, what about you?

Sara: You know, I was most impressed during that little bit of gun-porn when the ladies were bonding over the Melissa McCarthy's refrigerated weaponry. Firstly this is the funniest reboot of the old "girl hides romance novels in the oven" joke and it's smart on so many levels. Already we're in the house of a woman who calls curtains "window blankets," showing her slovenliness indicates more than a passing failure with the generic stuff of femininity, but the fact her energy is instead poured into the meat and potatoes of her work felt so fresh. That kind of thing is usually a dick joke, but here, it's The Heat's version of shoe shopping. It's funny too that they don't make a bigger deal about using the weapons, but their orientation to the work isn't as playful as if they were giddy over things going "boom." These ladies suffer mightily when "sh*t gets real" (thigh stabbing!) so stakes are higher.

Plus, most baffling, their chemistry is so believable that when McCarthy figures out Bullock's "cat secret," I bought it. Those ladies are incredible together--you really believe in them and, either by chance or design, girl buddy teams aren't usually so easy to buy.

Binh: Michael Bay is arguably the reigning king of cinema for the masses. If The Heat was a Michael Bay movie, how would this movie be different? Please work in the air conditioner.

Jeff: I guess the air conditioner would be used for blowing dry ice into the nightclub scene, which is where two-thirds of the movie would take place, and Sandra Bullock would spend the entire film in her ripped-up short shorts. Also, Melissa McCarthy would be played by Dwayne Johnson.

Binh: And for you, Sara, what would Bay do?

Sara: He'd suck the fun out. I think The Heat is perfectly broad, but what Paul Feig has that Bay doesn't is friends--let me clarify. I don't know if Bay is popular, what I know is that Bay has a terrible time representing relationships. He can show two hot people messing around on the hood of a car but if their "union" is meant to have any dimensions beyond a centerfold, he's lost. If Bay had made The Heat it'd have a lot more fat jokes and a lot fewer reasons for those women to be friends.

Paul Feig accomplished 2 related things Bay couldn't: 1. he downplayed the obvious body issues between McCarthy and Bullock. We haven't had a Laurel/Harvey body dynamic in women's buddy films EVER and for many strong reasons. But he doused the political fire that could cause by 2. creating a plausible intimacy between the women. Granted, some stuff grossed me out--the bar scene was downright hard to watch--but Bullock was the physical comedian most frequently with McCarthy towing the line with verbal gags, and if this had been reversed that man might never work in Hollywood again.

Also--truly great moment--Bullock says spandex 'keeps everything in place' and McCarthy, downright scared, replies 'what happens when it's not there?!'

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