Continuing from my previous post counting down the first half of the Top 10 Films of 2013, here is part two featuring numbers 5-3 on the list.
5. “Saving Mr. Banks”: The second film in my top 10 starring Tom Hanks. He has become the James Stewart of his generation. A period piece focusing on the year 1961, when the Australian author of Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers first meets the man who will turn her novel into a film, Walt Disney. Hanks plays Disney reservedly against Emma Thompson’s P.L. Travers, who is heavily conflicted about her complex childhood in the early 1900s, and allowing Disney the rights to make the world aware of it. ‘Mr Banks’ was her father’s name, and may be the reason for most of the inner conflict.
4.“Mud”: Also a second appearance in my top 10 for versatile actor Matthew McConaughey. A coming of age story for two teenage boys who live along the Mississippi River, and discover an abandoned boat stuck in a tree. Careful research shows that someone is living in that boat, a human river rat. His name is ‘Mud’. Ellis and Neckbone (the boys) come from broken homes and adopt ‘Mud’ as a sympathetic character that needs their help. The disillusioned boys soon realize that ‘Mud’ is a wanted criminal, and they probably shouldn’t have been helping him. Excellent character development, and strong performances from all make ‘Mud’ a film you might want to slip into.
3. “Nebraska”: Veteran character actor, and long time distasteful movie villain, Bruce Dern has finally made the film of his career, ‘Nebraska’. Dern plays a crabby old Montana drunk with few social skills, and no concern about it. Upon hearing he has won a million-dollar mega sweepstakes, he travels to Nebraska with his long estranged son, played by Will Forte. It becomes a road picture, without the constant humor of “Planes Trains & Automobiles.” This is a breakout role for 77 year-old Dern, and I think he will finally be recognized at Oscar time after his 55 year career.
Check back Friday, Dec. 20 to see my final two picks for the Top 10 Best Films of 2013.