Jeff & Sara's Top Ten 2013: Number 9

Posted 1:13 PM December 27th, 2013 by Binh Ngo
Pacific Rim

With 2013 nearing an end, it's time to list out our best movies of the year. Jeff and Sara both have The Heat as their number 10, but they differ on their number 9s: For Sara, it's The Conjuring, and for Jeff, it's Pacific Rim.

The Conjuring is a horror movie directed by James Wan and stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as paranormal investigators, who went to a Rhode Island farm house to see if an exorcism is warranted there. This movie is said to be inspired by the Amityville Horror book.

Directed by Guillermo del Toro, Pacific Rim is basically a modern take on the giant monsters movies of years past like Godzilla. The movies stars Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi as the pilots of one of the giant robots standing in the way of an invasion by giant alien creatures.

THE FACTS
Let's see how The Conjuring did with the critic. The movie has a Tomatometer of 86%, which is very decent for a horror movie. For comparison, Evil Dead is listed as 62% and Carrie is 48%.

The best thing about horrors movies is that they're relatively cheap to make, but the returns could be huge, like with The Conjuring. While the budget is around $20M, it made over $317M at the global box office. A sequel is in the works, by the way.

For Pacific Rim, the Tomatometer score is 72%, which is decent as well. The movie cost around $190M to make, but it only took in $407M at the global box office. It did better overseas than here.

Here are the trailers:
The Conjuring

Pacific Rim

WHY IN THE TOP TEN
Binh: Let's start off with you, Sara. Why is a horror movie in your top ten list?

Sara: I'd be surprised if I ever had a top ten list without a horror title on it. I like low budget best because when limitations are major people get creative and those are the best horrors--granted, next to my typical The Conjuring looks like Gone With the Wind. Unlike stuff like You're Next or House of the Devil (my last two top 10 horrors) Conjuring reminds us is that acting is where it's at. It looks absurd to see still images of Lily Taylor screaming in her chair or Vera Farmiga stunned silent, but in process that stuff really got me and I'm pretty hard to get.

Additionally some great editing and sneaky direction created memorable--even charming--scares. When a ghost is revealed as the wind carries a sheet off the clothesline it's miraculous and an almost joke about the fact ghost stories can only be based in "fact." I loved it despite the third act thuds Jeff and I discussed in our Buttercast on the movie.

Binh: Ok, Jeff, why is Pacific Rim at number 9 for you?

Jeff: I admit I felt a little funny putting Pacific Rim on my list -- narratively speaking, it's kind of a bumpy ride. But I keep coming back to the sheer filmmaking joy that powers the movie, from its caps-begging premise (GIANT ROBOTS VERSUS GIANT MONSTERS!!!) to Guillermo del Toro's typically stylish execution. As I wrote in my MwB review, it's just the kind of giddy cinematic gateway drug that I gobbled up as a 10-year-old film fan, and as much as I've started to reflexively shy away from clanking CG-fueled blockbusters, we need movies like this in order to cultivate the cineastes of tomorrow.

YOU HAD ME AT HELLO
Binh: Sara, what was the scene that sealed the deal for you?

Sara: MUSIC BOX!!! It was stupid as anything--if I explained it to someone they could laugh--but somewhere between her high collar and the amazingly cautious turning of her head she got me.

Naturally, when she falls through the floor and shards of floorboard look momentarily like fingers, also a good one. If a movie is so magical it starts me imagining thing, that’s powerful business.

Jeff: Which scene had me at hello? I suppose it was the one where one of the giant robots uses a cargo ship like a baseball bat. Coooooooooooooooooooool.

Binh: Yes, that cargo ship as a baseball bat certainly is memorable.

WHAT WOULD DAVID LYNCH DO?
Binh: If David Lynch was directing The Conjuring, how would it turn out?

Sara: I didn't think it was a very good film, but if you saw Haunting in Connecticut they did this thing where made the spirits--indeed it was more like the lubricant to facilitate the expelling of the demons--into this black, viscous ooze that sorts of travelled through air. I think if Cronenberg had directed The Conjuring, the spirits wouldn't have been quite so dried out...or so toothless.

Binh: And you, Jeff. David Lynch directing Pacific Rim.

Jeff: As far as I'm concerned, if David Lynch directed Pacific Rim in 2013, it'd be in black & white and make no damn sense. Auteur, my rear.

Sara: Ouch!!!!

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