The 10 December Movies You Either Should See, Or You're Probably Going to See Whether You Want to Or Not
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The 10 December Movies You Either Should See, Or You're Probably Going to See Whether You Want to Or Not

By Dustin Rowles | Seriously Random Lists | December 2, 2013 | Comments ()


10. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty — Reviews, so far, have suggested what many of us have suspected: The movie is not nearly as good as the phenomenal trailer portends. Expect another slickly packaged, feel-good movie that follows a predictably empty studio template and makes a mockery of the original. But hey! Adam Scott has a terrible moustache, and it’s nice to see Kristen Wiig again.

9. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug — Look: No one is really that excited about the second part of Peter Jackson’s trilogy of films that have no business being a trilogy, but we’re all going to see it, because we can’t help our damn selves. Plus, Benedict Cumberbatch is in this one, which should offset the presence of Evangeline Lilly and her made-up love interest. I feel like we’ve been watching the same trailer for six months, though, and the appeal of the dragon has completely lost its novelty.

8. Saving Mr. Banks — It doesn’t look, at least to me, like a strong Oscar contender (save for another Tom Hanks’ Best Actor nom), but reviews of the film — which concern the backstory of how Walt Disney convinced P.L. Travers to allow him to adapt Mary Poppins to the big screen — suggest that the movie is a simple, sugary delight. That’s exactly how the trailer looks.

7. Out of the Furnace — Scott Cooper’s follow-up to Crazy Heart hasn’t been getting as much buzz as it deserves for a cast that includes Willem Dafoe, Forrest Whitaker, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Casey Affleck, and another brilliantly sleazeball Christian Bale performance. The positive reviews so far make it compelling, plus the Pearl Jam song in the trailer practically makes Out of the Furnace a must see.

6. August: Osage County — Huge terrifically talented ensemble that includes Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor, and Margo Martindale, plus it is based on a Pulitzer Prize winning play adapted by the play’s author, Tracy Letts (familiar to many of you as Senator Lockhart on Homeland). It basically has everything going for it, except a lot of interest from anyone who is not an affluent, NPR-loving snoot, but 99 percent of that demo will see it.

5. Her — I can’t get a beat on Her, the Spike Jonze romantic comedy in which a character played by Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with his operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. The premise is intriguing, but I do hope that there’s more to it than the conventionally whimsical indie rom com we’ve come to expect. It seems so obvious that it’s not what it seems that what it seems may actually be the subversion. Now I’ve confused myself. Where’s Siri? Help me out with this, sweetheart.

4. The Wolf of Wall Street — Leonardo DiCaprio, working with Martin Scorsese once again, continues his mid-career foray into unlikable, unsympathetic characters, and while the trailer suggests a hilarious change-of-pace for Scorsese, the three-hour runtime and words like “devastating” that I’ve seen associated with the film also suggests something deeper and more typical of Scorsese.

3. Anchorman: The Legend Continues — You know you won’t be able to resist, and you know it won’t be nearly as good as the original, because the original was something of a deranged fluke that could never truly be replicated. The sequel will trade on too many references to the original, and probably overplay its hand when it comes to Brick, and the entire enterprise will feel familiar, unlike the original, which felt exciting and new and confusing. But, you will see it, and there will be a few sequences in it that will make you laugh so har your gut will ache, which will drown out the mediocrity that will dominate the rest of the film.

2. American Hustle — David O’ Russell is on a nice winning streak with The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, and in American Hustle, he smashes together much of the cast from those two films, puts them in the 1970s, outfits them with insanely unflattering fashion choices, and will undoubtedly make another run for an Oscar.

1. Inside Llewyn Davis — The Coen Brothers + T. Bone Burnett (and a soundtrack that will likely be an entire generation’s entry point into folk music) = Most Anticipated Film of 2013. If you’re not at least a little excited by this, you’re on the wrong site, folks.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Walt Jr

    Props to Christian Bale, he got that accent DOWN. Loved these previews, they made me all happy inside

  • e jerry powell

    I'm not affluent, and I haven't listened to NPR since I stopped working at an NPR station (in 1997). Probably still going to see August: Osage County, simply because I haven't gotten to see it onstage.

  • Uriah_Creep

    Regarding "Her", I think Siri would tell you that she shares your reservations, but she's confident that Joaquin Phoenix wouldn't do a "conventionally whimsical indie rom com".

  • Pitry

    How to avoid watching the Hobbit in a few easy steps:

    -Oh, the Hobbit movie is coming out! I loved the LOTR trilogy when it was out and I watched it in cinema. I realised since then that these movies are way too long and not nearly as exciting as they were then, but, y'know, Hobbit! I actually like the book better than I liked the LOTR book.
    -I don't have anyone to go with. Although, that hasn't stopped me from going to watch a few other movies. Next week for sure!
    -But really, I'm not sure. Not today. Not in the mood. Maybe next week.
    -What, the Hobbit has been playing in cinemas for more than a month?
    -I really am less excited about this than I was about LOTR. Not this week. Maybe next week.
    -They say this new frame rate thing is a huge issue, plus I hate 3D. Maybe next week.
    -What, the Hobbit has been playing in cinemas for almost three months?
    -Buuuuuut I really am not in the mood for another Peter Jackson epic. Really, LOTR weren't SUCH great movies. Maybe next week.
    -The Hobbit isn't playing anymore in cinemas. Huh. Has it really been this long since December?
    -Look at all those movies coming out in December!!
    -Oh! The second part of the Hobbit is about to open in cinemas! But I haven't even watched the first part yet. Maybe I'll go after I've seen a bunch of other movies I'm way more excited about. I mean, doesn't American Hustle open the same day? Maybe I'll watch the Hobbit next week...

  • Robert

    FYI: Out of the Furnace is marketing their film with a whole bunch of lies about my town and its native population, including publishing racial slurs against the people and lying about their living conditions. The area they're naming specifically is not a trailer park. The roads are paved. The people are friendly but protective of their property. It's all urban legends and that should be quite clear from the producers having to shoot the film in West Virginia instead of rich suburb, NJ (with nary a trailer in sight). It's a work of fiction trying to create buzz with a really hurtful campaign about the native population of NJ that can't even get its facts straight.

    This obviously has nothing to do with the merits of the film, but it is worth keeping in mind how low studios will sink to market films in the overloaded Oscar season.

  • GDI

    Well, I might as well get this out of the way now; there is/was no Heisenberg in Albuquerque, and you can't buy meth from the Dog House, no matter how fancy you are dressed.

  • carrie apparently Harrelson's character name is too similar to a real person

  • Keith Welch

    Not excited by any of these, unfortunately. Maybe if the price of theater popcorn plummets...

  • Arran

    Out of the Furnace looks like an exec saw Winter's Bone and said "I thought it was okay, but did it REALLY need a girl in the lead?"

  • Michelle

    I'm not sure that Inside Llewyn Davis is the most anticipated film of December for most folks. For me, it's definitely one of them, in large part due to that fantastic soundtrack, but I think it might miss the mark for some folks and that's pretty understandable.

  • TheAggroCraig

    I hope Her turns out to be a full-length version of the Twilight Zone episode "From Agnes - With Love".

  • Robert

    "No one is really that excited about the second part of Peter Jackson’s trilogy of films that have no business being a trilogy."

    Lies. I'm super excited. I loved the first part of The Hobbit. It easily made my Top 10 films of 2012 list. Martin Sheen fell just outside my Best Actor lineup. Same with the adapted screenplay. I'm sorry people wanted LotR 4 and got the fluffy feel good adventure The Hobbit instead. Yes, The Silmarillion‎ was a bit out of place in the film, but I accepted that the Silmarillion‎ will play a much bigger role in the other two films and went with it.

    And I wasn't even a huge fan of the first trilogy. I liked the first film for what it was, thought the second was the best, and didn't care for the third at all. So it's not even a sense of duty or nostalgia driving me. I'm genuinely excited for it.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Meh. I wanted a fluffy feel good adventure OR LOTR4. Instead I got an amusement park ride that wasn't particularly amusing.

  • kbenton

    This, exactly. There was nothing at all wrong with the acting or the concept or even splitting it into multiple movies. I'll even allow the stupid white super-orc, but damn if the whole thing didn't feel just so on rails. By the time we got to the escape from the goblins, I was exhausted. And bored.

  • jollies

    When you say that you "loved the first part of The Hobbit," are you saying you loved the entire first hobbit movie or that you loved the first part of the first movie -- the real-time dinner party with dwarves that was the worst part of any movie ever (or at least one featuring singing dwarves)? Also, I think you've got it backwards -- people wanted a fluffy feel good adventure (one movie adapted from a children's book) but instead got LOTR4.

  • BWeaves

    I try not to leave the house for the entire month of December. I'm not snowed in. I live in Florida, and the weather is beautiful this time of year. I'm just trying to avoid all the shoppers and insane drivers.

    That said, I'm unexcited to see the second Hobbit movie, but I will go see it in 2D, because I loved the LOTRs so much. It's sad that I'm going to see 3 movies because they are in the same world as 3 other movies, even though I hated the first Hobbit.

    It reminds me of the review of the first LOTR's movie, "At least Jackson didn't fuck it up." I can't say the same for the Hobbit.

  • Uriah_Creep

    "At least Jackson didn't fuck it up."

    I'm guessing that wasn't Roger Ebert's review.

  • BWeaves

    I think it was the Wall Street Journal. It was the only other newspaper I was getting at the time, and I know the review in my local paper didn't say that.

  • I am really trying to be all non-objectifying and shallow, and that header/preview pic of JLaw is is helping all the wrong things.

  • - Every time I see a trailer for 'Walter Mitty' it makes me want to burn down the theater.

    -I saw the trailer for 'Her' when I took my fiancee to see 'About Time' (on the strength of Dustin's review. As much I disagree with him, on this one he was right.) A pathetic schlub falls in love with a computer. I don't need to go to the movies to see that, I can just go on Reddit.

    -'American Hustle' looks like it will be more than worth my time, as does 'Out of the Furnace.'

    -Of course I'm going to see the 'Anchorman' sequel. 'Anchorman' and 'Talladega Nights' are his two best movies.

    -'Most Anticipated of 2013?' Really? By who, people who are still into folk music? I think that might be an even tinier demographic than the snooty NPR lovers mentioned earlier, although I imagine there is also somewhat of an overlap.

  • emmalita

    I'm interested in Inside Llewyn Davis because of the Coen Bros. Which is also a huge NPR listener overlap. But I just can't work up interest for August Osage County.

  • My fiancee wants to see 'Llewyn Davis' which, much like Sam Jackson being a vegetarian in 'Pulp Fiction' means I'm probably going to see it too. My ability to avoid chick flicks and indie nonsense has taken a severe hit over the last year or so. Maybe Dustin will let me write a new columm for Pajiba: 'Movies I Was Dragged To And/Or Bribed With Sexual Favors To Attend: Reviews From A Disinterested Party.'

  • emmalita

    It will have John Goodman, which is always a good thing.
    edited to add: I would also read those reviews.

  • Aaron Schulz

    Id read that column and enjoy it immensely. Proceed to writing sir.

  • Kim Stephens

    Me neither. That trailer just looked like my family's Thanksgiving and I already did that once this year.

  • Jamie Tye

    im excited about the desolation of smaug. i find it actually impossible not to be excited about going back to middle earth. i saw the lord of the rings trilogy when i was about 10 and doubt i will stop watching jackson's films until i die.

  • Aaron Schulz

    like you saw the peter jackson movies at 10? jesus christ im old and i hate you, sorry.

  • ed newman

    I saw the LOTR when I was about ten too. Only it was the Ralph Bakshi cartoon version. And it sucked, Phantom Menace level sucked. The internet would have exploded had it been released 30 years later.

  • Aaron Schulz

    The hobbit animated one is pretty damn awesome, but that LOTR one is confused crap.


  • emmalita

    Overheard at the movie theater yesterday - "Nothing says Christmas like Keanu." "Jesus is the reason for the season, and Keanu is proof that Jesus existed."

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Hahahaha. 10 movies in one month. I'll definitely get to Hobbit, because of family, but hopefully I'll also get to American Hustle with friends. And maybe sneak into Anchorman 2.

  • Al Borland's Beard

    No 'A Madea Christmas'?!? You just wait, Pajiba. Years from now, this movie will be placed amongst other holiday classics like 'Silent Night, Deadly Night 2' and 'Survivng Christmas'.

  • zeke_the_pig

    As a rule I like to keep my expectations healthily in check, but, yes, this line-up has me all aflutter. You ever seen a pig aflutter? It ain't a pretty thing.

  • Mrs. Julien

    If you flutter enough maybe you could fly.

  • eag46

    If you read about PL Travers and the making of Mary Poppins, odds are the movie will be *thickly* sugar-coated. The real story is much more acidic. Travers was so pissed at Disney's version that when a stage version was proposed, she mandated that no Americans were involved and especially none of the Disney songs should be used. Honestly, Travers comes off as kind of a crabass.

  • cicatricella

    to be fair, as much as so many people have a nostalgic soft spot in their hearts for the movie, I read the book first and I pretty much agree with her.

  • logan

    So you're saying the Disney movie about the Disney movie has been Disneyfied?! I'm shocked! Shocked.

  • Cowtools


  • Stephen Nein

    Get this anonymous person a Daffy Duck avatar!

  • eag46

    I know, right?

  • Kane Leal

    Even Emma Thompson says she was incredibly irritating.

  • Fruity Fonzie

    i'm watching all of those (except for Walter Mitty and Out of Furnace)

  • psemophile

    I caught inside Llewyn Davis at a fest and it's as good as you expect it to be

  • zeke_the_pig

    I'm gonna choose to interpret that as the die-hard Coens fan that I am.
    *closes eyes, blocks ears and hums contentedly*

  • Mrs. Julien

    That was a prose poem of equivocation, psemophile. Kudos!

  • "Faith, here's an equivocator, that could swear in both the scales against either scale, who committed treason enough for God's sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven. O, come in, equivocator."

  • Mrs. Julien

    But this place is too cold for hell. I'll devil-porter it no further.

  • e jerry powell

    Had I but died an hour before this chance, I had lived a blessed time...

  • Mrs. Julien

    I've been on the wrong site this whole time? GOD DAMN IT! You could have told me sooner, Dustin. I thought I kind of fit in. People tolerated me. I've managed not to be banned, not even for the Snowman Debacle or the time I pretended I was Jesus, or even for posting as Active Misogyny, but I was on the wrong site the entire time. Is this an age thing? Is is because I don't understand all the Parker Stevenson Can't Lose references? There goes my social life, too. I don't have friends in the outside world, for obvious reasons. So no longer can I open the CBR site, Pajiba, and Hotmail when I get to work to see if anything is happening?

    YEARS. I've wasted years.

  • pajiba


    It's Lewis, Julien. LEWIS.

    It's like I don't even know you.

  • BWeaves

    Well, Parker Stevenson was married to Kirstie Alley, so take that as you will.

  • e jerry powell

    Well snapped.

  • Mrs. Julien


  • logan

    Ummm I guess I'm on the wrong site because I never heard of #1.

  • TheAggroCraig

    You are not alone.

  • Kane Leal

    Same here. I don't want to be oversensitive, but I think that may have been a little elitist or something.

  • e jerry powell

    teeny bit.

  • Me neither. And is that Timberlake in a Coen brothers movie? Dammit people, this is what I've been warning you about.

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