If you’re like me, you have insane enthusiasm the mainstream and the independent. The monsters within and the literal monsters. The artsy and the fartsy. I’ve ranked the fifty films I’m most looking forward to this year, provided one line descriptions, and listed the notable people involved that have me so gung ho about my future attendance. No further description necessary: usually what plants me in an opening night chair is strictly the talent involved, or, on rare occasions, an enticing brief plot description. The order of this list changes with the hour, but the selections generally remain the same. Join me in my enthusiasm.
50. To The Wonder
Talent involved: Terrence Malick. Some good actors who may or may not have been cut.
Description: Love. Longing. Spinning women. Probably blades of grass.
49. Blue Jasmine.
Talent involved: Woody Allen. Louis CK. Cate Blanchett. Michael Emerson. Sally Hawkins. MICHAEL STUHLBARG.
Description: My yearly Woody Allen film.
48. Thor: The Dark World.
Talent involved: Alan Taylor, director of six episodes of Game of Thrones. Chris Hemsworth. Christopher Eccleston. Anthony Hopkins. Idris Elba. ADEBISI.
Description: Hemsworth vs. Eccleston. Hopefully Stringer Bell vs. Adebisi. A giant hammer.
47. Machete Kills.
Talent involved: Robert Rodriguez. Danny Trejo. Every actor of Hispanic, Puerto Rican, or Mexican descent alive. MEL GIBSON. And Cuba Gooding Jr. as “El Camaleon.”
Description: Danny Trejo violently kills people with a machete while other actors violently chew scenery.
46. White House Down.
Talent involved: Roland Emmerich. James Vanderbilt. Channing Tatum. Richard Jenkins. Jason Clarke. Lance Reddick. JAMES WOODS.
Description: The White House has been taken over. Channing Tatum must save the President. James Woods probably betrays someone and talks quickly.
45. The Wolverine.
Talent involved: James Mangold. CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE. Hugh Jackman. Lots of Japanese people.
Description: Wolverine trains with a samurai warrior. Probably to seek out and kill Gavin Hood.
44. They Came Together.
Talent involved: David Wain. Michael Showalter. Paul Rudd. Amy Poehler. Jason Mantzoukas. Max Greenfield. Christopher Meloni. MICHAEL SHANNON.
Description: You’ve Got Mail with a Stella twist. Rudd/Poehler the new Hanks/Ryan. MICHAEL SHANNON.
43. The Young and Prodigious Spivet.
Talent involved: Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Judy Davis. Robert Maillet a.k.a. GIANT DUDE WITH SLEDGEHAMMER FROM GUY RITCHIE’S SHERLOCK HOLMES.
Description: Probably something whimsical and awesome with lots of crazy visuals. It’s Jeunet.
42. Prince Avalanche.
Talent involved: David Gordon Green. Paul Rudd. Emile Hirsch.
Description: David Gordon Green getting back to his quaint Southern roots and making me forget I saw The Sitter.
41. Ender’s Game.
Talent involved: ORSON SCOTT CARD. Gavin Hood. Harrison Ford. Asa Butterfield. Abigail Breslin. Hailee Steinfeld. Viola Davis. Ben Kingsley.
Description: Gavin Hood, don’t you dare mess this one up.
40. Man of Steel.
Talent involved: Zack Snyder. David Goyer. Henry Cavill. Amy Adams. MICHAEL SHANNON. Diane Lane. Christopher Meloni. MICHAEL KELLY. HARRY LENNIX. And Russell Crowe as Fat Brando.
Description: Superman vs. Michael Shannon as Goateed Zod.
Talent involved: James Gray. Marion Cotillard. JOAQUIN PHOENIX. And Jeremy Renner as “Orlando the Magician.”
Description: An immigrant is tricked into prostitution by Joaquin the Pimp until the magician tries to save her. James Gray, you’ve done it again!
38. A Most Wanted Man.
Talent involved: Anton Corbijn. John Le Carre. Rachel McAdams. Philip Seymour Hoffman. WILLEM DAFOE. Daniel Bruhl.
Description: An immigrant gets caught up in the war on terror. The American plus Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy plus Willem Dafoe.
Talent involved: Danny Boyle. James McAvoy. Rosario Dawson. Vincent Cassel.
Description: An art auctioneer teams up with a hypnotherapist to recover blah blah blah, it’s Danny Boyle.
36. Dead Man Down.
Talent involved: Niels Arden Oplev. Colin Farrell. Noomi Rapace. Terrence Howard. Isabelle Huppert. ARMAND ASSANTE. ARMAND ASSANTE. ARMAND ASSANTE.
Description: A woman is victimized by Terrence Howard and Colin Farrell helps her exact revenge. Awesome trailer bumped this up the list.
35. The Grandmaster.
Talent involved: WONG KAR WAI. Tony Leung. Ziyi Zhang. Cung Le.
Description: It’s Wong Kar Wai telling a tale of a martial arts master.
34. The Man Who Sold The World.
Talent involved: Bill Condon. Josh Singer. Benedict “The Batch” Cumberbatch. Daniel Bruhl.
Description: A Social Networkesque take on Julian Assange. Awesome subject matter.
Talent involved: Alexander Payne. Bruce Dern. WILL FORTE. Stacy Keach. And Devin Ratray a.k.a. BUZZ MCCALLISTER FROM THE HOME ALONE FRANCHISE.
Description: An alcoholic father takes a road trip with his son to claim a Publisher’s Clearing House prize. Also, Buzz McCallister.
32. August: Osage County.
Talent involved: John Wells. Tracy Letts. Meryl Streep. Julia Roberts. Benedict “The Batch” Cumberbatch. Ewan MacGregor. Abigail Breslin. SAM SHEPARD. Chris Cooper. MARGO MARTINDALE.
Description: A Chekhovian family drama, Pulitzer Prize winner. A great play hopefully not overcooked into shameless Oscar bait.
31. Can A Song Save Your Life?
Talent involved: John Carney. Keira Knightley. Mark Ruffalo. Hailee Steinfeld. MOS DEF. Cee-Lo Green. Catherine Keener. JAMES CORDEN.
Description: A failing music exec bonds with a young musician and hopefully captures one tenth of the magic Carney captured in Once.
30. The Past
Talent involved: ASGHAR FARHADI. Berenice Bejo. TAHAR RAHIM.
Description: Farhadi described it as an “emotional social thriller.” He could’ve just said, “Did you SEE A Separation?”
29. Twelve Years a Slave.
Talent involved: Steve McQueen. Michael Fassbender. Brad Pitt. Benedict “The Batch” Cumberbatch (again?!). Paul Dano. PAUL GIAMATTI. Garrett Dillahunt. Chiwetel Ejiofor. TARAN KILLAM. Alfre Woodard. QUVENZHANE WALLIS AND DWIGHT HENRY. MICHAEL K. WILLIAMS.
Description: A man is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the 1800s. There he meets Hushpuppy, Wink, and Omar from The Wire. Meanwhile, Paul Giamatti plays a character full of self-loathing.
28. A Good Day To Die Hard
Talent involved: John Moore. BRUCE WILLIS. Jai Courtney. Mary Elizabeth Winstead. COLE HAUSER.
Description: As long as there is blood pumping through my veins, I will be excited about another Die Hard flick.
Talent involved: Jeff Nichols. Matthew McConaughey. Reese Witherspoon. MICHAEL SHANNON. Sarah Paulson. SAM SHEPARD. JOE DON BAKER.
Description: Two teenage boys help a convict, as this young man eagerly anticipates every step Jeff Nichols takes.
26. Upstream Color.
Talent involved: SHANE CARRUTH.
Description: SHANE CARRUTH.
25. Last Days on Mars.
Talent involved: Ruairi Robinson. Liev Schreiber. Olivia Williams. ELIAS KOTEAS.
Description: A group of astronauts are on Mars and start succumbing to a malevolent force. From the guy who at one point was chosen to direct the live-action Akira. You had me at “group of astronauts.”
24. The Counselor.
Talent involved: Ridley Scott. Cormac McCarthy. Brad Pitt. Michael Fassbender. Javier Bardem. Penelope Cruz. John Leguizamo. DEAN NORRIS.
Description: A man is in over his head in a savage world, a.k.a. Cormac McCarthy.
Talent involved: BONG JOON-HO. Chris Evans. Jamie Bell. JOHN HURT. Alison Pill. Ed Harris. TILDA SWINTON.
Description: In 2031, something’s going down on a train carrying the only survivors of a nuclear holocaust. Watch The Host and tell me you aren’t excited for more Joon-Ho sci-fi.
22. The Look of Love.
Talent involved: Michael Winterbottom. STEVE COOGAN. STEPHEN FRY. Imogen Poots. Anna Friel. LITTLE BRITAIN.
Description: The biopic of a London porn baron. Winterbottom is by far at his best doing comedy, so this could be a dark horse candidate for funniest film of the year.
21. This is the End.
Talent involved: Seth Rogen. Jay Baruchel. Danny McBride. James Franco. Paul Rudd. Emma Watson. Jonah Hill. Michael Cera. Craig Robinson. MARTIN STARR.
Description: The Apatow gang plays themselves facing the apocalypse. This bunch hasn’t had a big hit together since Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I’m thinking this turns it around.
20. Spring Breakers
Talent involved: Harmony Korine. Selena Gomez. Vanessa Hudgens. Franco.
Description: Young girls in bikinis committing crimes. James Franco rocking cornrows. Existence of a benevolent God.
Talent involved: Joseph Kosinki. CRUISE. Morgan Freeman. Olga Kurylenko. Melissa Leo. JAMIE LANNISTER. CRUISE. CRUISE.
Description: Tom Cruise running from aliens and other bad guys. If you need to know more, I should smack you upside your head.
Talent involved: Bennett Miller. Steve Carell. Mark Ruffalo. Channing Tatum. ANTHONY MICHAEL HALL. Sienna Miller. VANESSA REDGRAVE.
Description: Carell plays a billionaire schizophrenic who murders a wrestler. The director of Moneyball helming a Carell-led dramedy? In.
17. The Zero Theorem.
Talent involved: TERRY GILLIAM. CHRISTOPH WALTZ. Matt Damon. Ben Whishaw. David Thewlis. TILDA SWINTON.
Description: let’s be honest, I could’ve stopped at Gilliam/Waltz.
16. Queen of the Desert.
Talent involved: WERNER HERZOG. Naomi Watts. Robert Pattinson. Jude Law. WERNER HERZOG.
Description: WERNER HERZOG.
15. Pacific Rim.
Talent involved: GUILLERMO DEL TORO. STRINGER BELL. Charlie “Jax” Hunnam. Rinko Kikuchi. Charlie Day. RON PERLMAN. CLIFTON COLLINS JR. Robert Maillet a.k.a. GIANT DUDE WITH SLEDGEHAMMER FROM GUY RITCHIE’S SHERLOCK HOLMES.
Description: Giant aliens vs. giant robots. Something tells me Del Toro won’t mess up them visuals.
14. Maps to the Stars.
Talent involved: DAVID CRONENBERG. Rachel Weisz. Robert Pattinson. VIGGO (Mortensen, not the painting from Ghostbusters 2).
Description: on iMDB, it says, “Complex look at Hollywood and what it reveals about Western culture.” I’m busy drooling over the Cronenberg/Pattinson reunion.
13. The Wolf of Wall Street.
Talent involved: SCORSESE. Terence Winter. LEO. Jonah Hill. Matthew McConaughey. Jon “Shane” Bernthal. Jon Favreau. COACH TAYLOR. Jean Dujardin. Shea Whigham. ETHAN SUPLEE. SPIKE JONZE.
Description: A stockbroker is involved with corruption, banking, the mob, etc. It’s Scorsese and Leo, the description doesn’t much matter.
12. The World’s End.
Talent involved: EDGAR WRIGHT. Simon Pegg. Nick Frost. Martin Freeman. Rosamund Pike. Paddy Considine. EDDIE MARSAN.
Description: Wright is three-for-three, and his fourth involves funny people on a pub crawl with sci-fi implications. Sounds like the streak will live.
11. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
Talent involved: PETER JACKSON. Martin Freeman. Ian McKellen. Richard Armitage. THE BATCH. A billion dwarves.
Description: More awesome epic Hobbit adventures with more frames to make more critics angry.
10. Before Midnight.
Talent involved: the triumvirate of awesome– LINKLATER/HAWKE/DELPY.
Description: Go see Before Sunrise and Before Sunset if you haven’t. Then return to this article.
9. Star Trek Into Darkness.
Talent involved: JJ Abrams. Chris Pine. Sylar. Zoe Saldana. THE BATCH. Simon Pegg. Anton Yelchin. KARL URBAN. Bruce Greenwood. PETER WELLER!!
Description: Like the first one, but an even better villain. Plus, PETER WELLER!!
8. Only God Forgives.
Talent involved: NICOLAS WINDING REFN. GOSLING. KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS.
Description: Remember how awesome Drive was? Now think of those people doing a movie about Thai boxing. You’re welcome.
7. The Monuments Men.
Talent involved: Clooney. Grant Heslov. Matt Damon. Daniel Craig. Cate Blanchett. Jean Dujardin. BILL MURRAY. JOHN GOODMAN. BOB BALABAN.
Description: Art historians and museum curators try to save art stolen by Nazis before Hitler destroys it. It’s a “race against time.” Plus, Bill Murray and Bob Balaban will have a deadpan-off.
6. Iron Man 3.
Talent involved: SHANE BLACK. Robert Downey Jr. Gwyneth Paltrow. Guy Pearce. Don Cheadle. BEN KINGSLEY. REBECCA HALL. WILLIAM SADLER. JAMES BADGE DALE. DALE EFFING DICKEY.
Description: He’s a hero. Iron suit. Ben Kingsley’s gonna throw some superpowers at him. Dale Dickey shows up and acts creepy.
5. Anchorman: The Legend Continues.
Talent involved: Adam McKay. Will Ferrell. Paul Rudd. Christina Applegate. Steve Carell. DAVID KOECHNER.
Description: One of the funniest movies of the last fifteen years gets a sequel with all of the original cast back.
4. Inside Llewyn Davis.
Talent involved: JOEL COEN. ETHAN COEN. Oscar Isaac. Carey Mulligan. Garrett Hedlund. JOHN GOODMAN. Justin Timberlake. Adam Driver. F. MURRAY ABRAHAM.
Description: JOEL COEN. ETHAN COEN.
Talent involved: NEILL BLOMKAMP. Matt Damon. Jodie Foster. SHARLTO COPLEY. Alice Braga. Diego Luna. WILLIAM FICHTNER. FARAN TAHIR.
Description: Science fiction from the guy who made District 9. Epic states. Fichtner undoubtedly hamming it up. Front-runner for most fun film of 2013.
Talent involved: SPIKE JONZE. JOAQUIN. Amy Adams. Olivia Wilde. Rooney Mara. SAMANTHA MORTON.
Description: A writer sparks a romance with an operating system designed to meet his every need. Yep, Spike’s back and he’s weirder than ever. GOOD.
Talent involved: ALFONSO CUARON. Clooney. Bullock.
Description: The guy who did Children of Men is doing something that sounds 2001ish. The end.
What are your most anticipated films of 2013? Any films I royally snubbed or egregiously misranked? Did I commit an enormous error in judgment by not putting Spring Breakers 50 times? Should I have included more awesome Eddie Marsan photos? Please leave feedback in the comments below!