It’s that time of year again. It’s list making time! You know, The Best of, The Worst of and all that jazz. Well since I don’t like doing what everyone else does, I’m giving you the Best Under the Radar DVDs/VODs of 2013. Wow I’m having crazy déjà vu over here, oh that’s right I did this last year too, but it was a lot of fun and a big hit so let’s do it again!
This time around I’m separating it into two categories. The first is the more mainstream movies with big name casts, “Hollywood Indies” I like to call them. For whatever reason they didn’t get big releases or did the VOD route. Second is the more Indie, straight to DVD, nobody has heard of type films. All of these films will get repeated plays for years to come at my house and if you haven‘t seen them, you should. In no particular order.
The Way Way Back – My favorite movie of 2013. The best coming of age film I’ve seen in years. Great cast, an amazing performance from Sam Rockwell. Oscar winners Jim Rash & Nat Faxon’s directorial debut is a gem of a movie. Water parks never looked so fun!
Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing – Whedon assembled a cast of his regulars and tackled the Bard flawlessly. Nathan Fillion is great as usual, but it’s the combination of Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof that truly shines. Old English never sounded so great.
Drinking Buddies – In a few years when VOD is as popular as going to the movie theater, it will be films like this that caused the shift. The Olivia Wilde/Jake Johnson movie talks friendships, relationships and beer with honest dialogue and believable characters. Going VOD BEFORE hitting theaters, these Hollywood Indies are changing how we watch movies.
Hell Baby – I know a lot of people who didn’t love Hell Baby, but I had a lot of fun with it. Rob Corddry and Leslie Bibb are cute together, but it’s the random popping up of Keegan Michael Key that I loved. Plus Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Grant as priests is a no brainer.
Scenic Route – Whoever thought to put Dan Fogler and Josh Duhamel in a film together is a genius. A lot of times these “lost/trapped together/survival” films can be more miss than hit to me, but I liked this one a lot. Fogler and Duhamel have a great back and forth together.
Sound City – The best documentary of 2013. Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters/Nirvana) directs the story of Sound City, the fabled recording studio in Van Nuys, California that produced albums from Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, Fleetwood Mac and more. Plus an amazing soundtrack!
The Kings of Summer – Someone in the marketing department at CBS Films should lose their job for not promoting this more. Another great coming of age film with three kids actually being kids and great supporting roles from Nick Offerman and Alison Brie.
Now for a few films you might not have heard of.
Jug Face – Part horror film, part hillbilly love story, Lauren Ashley Carter is the entire movie. Pretty in beat up rags, one of the best performances of the year from someone I wasn’t familiar with.
3 Days of Normal – Cute fish out of water story starring the adorable Mircea Monroe as a Hollywood starlet trying to escape the limelight in rural town New Hampshire. Great chemistry between Monroe and Jace McLean. Out on VOD and made to order DVD.
Darnell Dawkins: Mouth Guitar Legend – Ross Patterson made the list twice last year so he has to make this list too. Dawkins is a hilarious take on Jimi Hendrix’s arch nemesis/friend, but it’s Michael Raymond-James explaining what a sexual Eiffel Tower is that floored me.
Starbuck – A little French Canadian movie about a guy who ends up fathering over 500 children through sperm donation got remade starring Vince Vaughn (known as Delivery man and from the same writer/director). This film is surprisingly good. It’s quite funny, but also very touching at the same time. Patrick Huard gives a great performance in a DVD that hit the States in July.
Fairhaven – The cast (Rich Sommer, Sarah Paulson, Chris Messina) might make you think it belongs in the top category, but the film played only Boston and NYC for a weekend before it started its run on VOD and made to order DVD. A great character piece about friendship and loss, it’s one of the most realistic films I’ve seen in a while not to come from Edward Burns.
The Fitzgerald Family Christmas – And speaking of Burns, his family holiday film is a must own for any Burns collector. An all too realistic Irish family movie, it almost made this cyborg tear up. Great chemistry between Burns and Connie Britton and a great supporting cast. Hit VOD end of 2012, but dropped on Blu-ray/DVD November 2013.
Frankie Go Boom – Charlie Hunnam and Chris O’Dowd star as brothers who get caught up (thanks to O’Dowd) in making a movie, trying to find a home movie and dealing with a cross dressing Ron Perlman. The film caught me completely off guard in a good way.
The Iceman – I don’t know how under the radar The Iceman is, but I know a lot of people who saw it on DVD after its limited theatrical release. Michael Shannon is great, but it’s Chris Evans who steals the film.
Deadfall – With a cast featuring Olivia Wilde, Eric Bana, Charlie Hunnam, Kris Kristofferson and Sissy Spacek, I have no idea how this movie wasn’t big. I also have no idea if it got any type of theatrical release, but it hit DVD February of 2013. Solid heist flick.
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