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The 85 Days of Christmas- The Top 25 Movies Still to See in 2013

Summer has ended and so has the season of “blockbusters”.  It was a great summer of movies, as it pretty much always is now. But one thing I think that people don’t realize is that over the past several years, the fall and early winter season of movies has been just as big or bigger than the summer season. Not only do we get the big movies still, we are also approaching the award season movies. Most of what will be Oscar and Golden Globe nominated movies will come out between now and Christmas. Just look at last year during this season, when the likes of Argo, Lincoln, Life of Pi, and Django Unchained were released.  This is looking to shape up even better and I could not be more excited. But not everyone has a detailed calendar list of when every major movie is coming out (don’t judge me).  But that’s what I’m here for! Here are the top 25 movies to see in 2013 taking you from now until Christmas.


October 4



GravityAs an avid space exploration fan, I am a bit torn about this one. If she isn’t dead at the end of the movie, I will be upset. There is NO coming back from what happens to here. Either way, Gravity looks to be a visual masterpiece from director Alphoso Curan. Much like Life of Pi last year, this is the one movie that you definitely want to see in 3D. It stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney and it documents what happens to Bullock after her shuttle is destroyed while she is on a space-walk. I have no idea how the story of this will play, but you can bet it will be breathtaking to watch.





Runner Runner

runnerrunnerI’m a bit biased on this one. My love for Justin Timberlake knows no bounds. Not far behind is my love of Ben Affleck. I’m one of those people that is not upset at all that he is playing Batman. And never, ever forget, Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms. Every few years we get an amazing movie centered around either poker or blackjack, such as 21, Shade, or Rounders. Director Brad Furman attempts to bring Runner Runner to that table. The story is about Timberlake, who plays a genius ivy league college student, that is using online poker to pay for school. He gets cheated and loses his money, and travels abroad to confront the company which is headed by Affleck. He is offered a job and a lifestyle that he has never imagined, and is forced to choose between it and the closing in FBI. It’s not going to be a movie that makes you think, or ever surprises you. But I do think it has a great cast and will be a ton of fun to watch. That’s enough for me.





October 11


Captain Phillips

captain-phillipsBased on a true story and the book “A Captain’s Duty”, director Paul Greengrass brings us a non-stop thriller that also examines the cultural influences of American globalization and economic growth.  If you watched the news in 2009, then you know how this one ends. However, as always, it’s about the journey, and Captain Phillips looks like it will be worth every second of your time. Somali pirates take control of the US container ship the Maersk Alabama and their leader takes Captian Richard Phillps hostage aboard a lifeboat. Tom Hanks returns to Oscar form and was the perfect man for this role. The thing I find most interesting is the focus on the relationship between Phillips and his captor, Muse. I have a feeling we will be hearing about this movie again during awards season.




Machete Kills

Machete KillsIs this going to win any awards? No. Is this going to be a blast to watch? Hell yes! Have you seen the first Machete?!? It’s awesome. Danny Trejo stars as Machete and is joined by Michelle Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard, Antonia Banderas, Lady Gaga, Cuba Gooding Jr., Mel Gibson, and Carlos Estevez (Charlie Sheen). That is the most random cast ever and it’s going to be great. Know going in, this movie is going to be ridiculous. I’m not even going to explain the story to this, because it doesn’t matter! The laws of nature and physics will be ignored. Sofia Vergara does have a machine gun that fires from each breast. But this is a Robert Rodriguez movie. He has his own unique style, and if you have enjoyed any of his other movies, you are going to have a blast watching Machete Kills.




October 16


Kill Your Darlings


This one isn’t widely known to the public yet, but it has been a hit at virtually every major film festival. Yet another film based on a true story, this focuses on some of the most important literary figures in the 20th century. Its the story of Allen Ginsberg and his early years at Columbia University, and the murder investigation that surrounded him and his fellow classmates/authors Lucien Carr and William Burroughs. It is the directorial debut of John Krokidas and his describes the film as a story about obsession and murder. It is a fine display of some of the best young actors around. Dane Dehaan, who plays, Carr is going to be a star. Michael C. Hall is great as always and Ben Foster is already one of my favorite up and coming actors. It looks as though this is the movie that the public finally sees that Daniel Radcliffe can do much more than look like Harry Potter.



October 18



CarrieYou will know her name. I love that tagline, and I adore this movie. I am a MASSIVE Stephen King fan, and have read this book three times. I have seen the original movie more times than I can remember. I honestly believe that this remake from director Kimberly Pierce could be better than the original. My favorite young actress Chloe Grace Moretz stars as Carrie White, an outcast young teenager that is pushed to far by her peers and her deeply religious mother played by Julianne Moore.  Carrie discovers she has telekinetic powers, and when she finally snaps, they are unleashed on her small town. This movie would play well at any time, but with a public focus on bullying at the moment, the timing of the release is perfect.








The Fifth Estate

The Fifth EstateDirectors Bill Condon and R.J. Cutler bring us another true story based movie. So far critics hate this movie, and it is said to be inaccurate on what really happened, but that doesn’t change the fact that it still looks pretty damn good. The story is about Julian Assange (played by the amazing Benedict Cumberbatch) and the rise of his website WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks is one of the most controversial sites in history, as it was pretty much a Facebook for whistle blowers to post information or corrupt organizations. It started off as something amazing, but quickly turned when Assange and his partner (played by Daniel Bruhl) split over differing opinions when they get their hands on classified US government documents. Assange leaks them and becomes one of the most polarizing figures in recent history. I think it will be an interesting look at free speech and the conflicts between journalism and morals. If for no other reason, I will go see just about anything with Cumberbatch in it these days.





12 Years A Slave

12 years a slave

This movie has Oscar nomination written all over it. Based on the life of Solomon Northup, acclaimed director Steve McQueen tells the story of this black man that was born free in New York in the 1800s. He was kidnapped and sold into slavery on a plantation in New Orleans and forced to survive in a life he has never known. Northup is played by Chiwetel Ejiofor and he is already generating Oscar buzz. Michael Fassbender stars as the plantation owner and Brad Pitt co-stars as an advocate for Northup’s freedom. It’s an amazing story, and it looks to be an amazing movie.






October 25


The Counselor

the counselor

Talk about an all-star cast. Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, and Brad Pitt. Oh, and also legendary film maker Ridley Scott directing and Pulitzer Prize winning author Cormac McCarthy, who wrote No Country for Old Men, penned the scipt. The story follows Fassbender, who plays a respected lawyer who comprises his morals one time and makes a deal with a criminal, played by Bardem. We see the consequences of that decision and what compromising your morals just once can lead to. Do you really need any more reasons to go see this movie?






Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

bad grandpa

Say what you will, this movie is going to be hysterical. Johnny Knoxville is back to play one of the most iconic characters from Jackass in 86-year old Irving Zisman. This is a movie with a fake story, in which Zisman is taking his 8-year old grandson Billy, played by Jackson Nicoll, across country to see his father. What isn’t fake is the footage. It’s all hidden camera and real peoples reactions, like what you have seen in Borat or Bruno. I can’t watch this trailer without laughing, and I’d say its a safe bet that the movie keeps it up.







November 1


Ender’s Game


It seems that if you have gone to the theater in the past six months, you have probably seen this trailer. I may be tired of the trailer, but I’m still really excited for the movie. The movie has a great cast in Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, and Abigail Breslin.  Based on the best selling novel and directed by Gavin Hood, this is the story of Ender Wiggin. A hostile race of aliens known as the Formics attacked and nearly destroyed the Earth. We were saved by two brilliant commanders (played by Ford and Kingsley) and we have been preparing for another attack ever since. Ender shows uncharted strategic ability and is thrown into the fire as humanity’s greatest hope.  I have heard nothing but great things about the books, and it’s time to see if the movie can live up to the hype. I think it will.





November 8


Thor: The Dark World

thorI am an unapologetic Marvel fanboy, so you know I’m excited for this one! Directed by Alan Taylor, the sequel looks to stay true to it’s title as it takes on a much darker tone than we have seen. In the aftermath of The Avengers and the first Thor, an ancient evil has awoken and threatens Asgard and the nine realms. Chris Hemsworth returns as Thor, along with Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, and Marvel’s breakout star, Tom Hiddleston as Loki. This movie will be great standing on it’s own, but it will introduce more of a cosmic aspect to the Marvel Universe, which will help lead to Avengers 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy.





November 15


The Wolf of Wall Street

the wolf of wall streetWhen Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio team up, it’s just gold. Probably my favorite director/actor combination, this movie looks like it will have no trouble living up to expectations. DiCaprio stars as Jordan Belfort, a crooked banker and stock broker, and his almost unbelievable life. Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey also star in this piece, which is set in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Easily in my top 5 most anticipated movies of the year.










November 22


The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

HG Catching Fire Everyone thought that The Hunger Games would be big last year, but nobody knew it was going to be as huge as it ended up being. Anticipation for this sequel has ran rampant and it’s finally almost here. Catching Fire is my favorite of the books so I’m really looking forward to this one. All of the main cast returns, and with Jennifer Lawrence now bigger than ever with her Oscar win, I can only imagine this movie is going to be even bigger. Not to mention, fellow Oscar winner Phillip Seymore Hoffman has joined the cast. I am a bit biased however, as plants from my family’s nursery are used in the movie. So if nothing else, go see my plants!





November 27



oldboySpike Lee directed movies are usually pretty hit or miss with me. I have no doubt in my mind that this remake of a Japanese hit is going to be great. Starring Josh Brolin and Samuel L. Jackson, Brolin plays a man who was kidnapped and secretly imprisoned in a room for 20 years. While in there, he was framed for his wife’s murder and nobody knows the truth. After 20 years, he is let out. He must learn why he was imprisoned for so long, and why he has now been released. Yeah, this movie is going to kick ass.





December 6


Inside Llewyn Davis


I literally cannot wait for this movie. Written and directed by the Coen brothers, Inside Lleywn Davis is the story about a struggling  folk musician trying to get his big break in New York and overcoming all the obstacles that come with it. It looks like a story about hope, ambition, and love. It looks great. Oscar Issac stars, and is already being talked about for the Oscar. Joining him is an amazing cast in Carry Mulligan, John Goodman, and Justin Timberlake. I love the story, I love the cast, and I love folk music. This might just be my most anticipated movie of the year.






Out of the Furnace

out-of-the-furnace-poster1From director Scott Cooper (CrazyHeart), Out of the Furnace is a story about family and justice. Russell Baze is a hard working blue collar guy struggling to get by while taking care of his terminally ill father. His younger brother returns from the war and is caught up in a ruthless crime ring. When he disappears, Russell must take matters into his own hands when the police won’t help. In yet another stellar ensemble cast, this movie stars Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, and Forrest Whittaker. We have seen stories similar to this one, but rarely one that is this finely acted. I’m looking forward to this.





December 13


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

hobbit_desolation_of_smaug_posterOne long year I have waited, and it’s almost here! Critics and fans were mostly split on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but I am one of those that thought it was amazing. The Hobbit story isn’t quite as epic as Lord of the Rings, and I think people went in with the wrong impressions. It’s just a different sort of story. In The Desolation of Smaug, I truly believe there will be no room for complaint. The action and the stakes are higher and more intense than ever. Orlando Bloom makes his return as fan favorite Legolas and Evangeline Lilly and Benedict Cumberbatch join the already stacked cast. I cannot wait to return to Middle Earth!





Saving Mr. Banks

Saving Mr Banks When his daughters were young, Walt Disney promised them that he would turn their favorite book, Marry Poppins, into a movie. He had no idea what he was in for. This is the story of the 20 year long process that Disney went through with the book’s author P.L. Travers to keep this promise. It’s such a unique and untold story that it instantly captivated me. It has an amazing cast in Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Paul Giamati, Colin Farrell, and Bradley Whitford. This seems like the perfect movie during the holiday season.





American Hustle

american hustleFrom acclaimed directed David O. Russell, American Hustle is a period piece that explores the excess of the lifestyles at the time, and depicts a fictional story set during one of the greatest heists in history. We will follow a con man and his crazy wife as they get wrapped up with a corrupt government agent and a mafia boss with an even crazier wife. The tension builds as the stakes quickly become life or death. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper team up once again, and are joined by Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Jeremy Renner. This movie will definitely not let you down.






December 18




Her is definitely one of the more unique films of the year. It should come as no surprise seeing how it’s a film by Spike Jonze, who also did Being John Malkovich and Adaptation. It’s a film that explores human sexuality and social norms, as well as the ever changing landscape with technology today. Staring Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, and Amy Adams; Phoenix plays a recently divorced introverted man that is struggling to connect.  Then the world’s first A.I. operating system is developed and we follow the relationship between the two as it progresses. Think Lars and the Real Girl, but hopefully way better. This one definitely has peaked my curiosity.






The Monuments Men



This is the film is based on one of the most incredible true stories I have ever read about. A platoon of eight men, all museaum curators or art historians, that are put together to form a WWII platoon. Their mission is handed down straight from FDR, and they are to go behind enemy lines and keep the Nazis from destroying all of the valuable art and history they have gained control of. George Clooney directs and stars in the film, and he is joined by Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, and Cate Blanchette. Even if I didn’t know the story of this movie, I would go see it just for the cast.




December 20


Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues


Ron Burgandy is back! Everyone’s favorite news anchor is returning with the whole news team in a time where 24-hour cabal news was just starting to take off. I’m not one of those that thinks every Will Ferrell movie is gold. I think he is hilarious, but several of his movies have been terrible. Anchorman isn’t one of the bad ones, and I don’t believe the sequel will be either. The entire gang is back together and I can’t wait to watch them again.





December 25


47 Ronin

47-RoninFinally, the one (pun intended) and only Keanu Reeves makes his long awaited return to a major motion picture. This movie is about a group of samurai that set out to avenge their master’s death at the hands of a deadly shogun. This is a mix of a martial arts movie with a fantasy movie, because as you can see in the trailer, there is a decent amount of magic and monsters. I like this blend and think that director Carl Rinsch has created something that is going to play really well on the big screen. Should be a really fun way to spend Christmas.






The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

the secret life of walter mitty


I’m not the biggest Ben Stiller fan. He has had his moments, but for the most part I haven’t cared for his movies. That being said, this movie looks amazing. It’s the story of a man that lives in a fantasy world in his own head through his vivid daydreams, where he can romance his co-worker he has a crush on. He goes off on a adventurous journey when both of their jobs are threatened. To me this just looks like an amazing tale of self discovery told from a unique perspective. Ben Stiller directs and stars in the film, opposite of Kristen Wigg. It looks to be the perfect film to close out an amazing year of movies.


About Evan Swafford

Evan Swafford
Evan is a semi reluctant insomniac, who has used his extra time to watch way more TV than is healthy for a normal human being. All his other time is devoted to movies, gaming, and being a sports fanatic and stat geek. Evan has a degree from MTSU in Electronic Media Journalism which he now uses to grow some of the best trees and shrubs money can buy. You can hear his useless knowledge every week on the Free For All podcast.