Posts Tagged ‘the great gatsby’

The Best Movies of 2013

The Theme of Movies in 2013: Rick People Suck

The Theme of Movies in 2013: Rich People Suck

Before I start, I want to address how silly a ranking like this is bound to be. It’s not that lists are inherently dumb—we at NPI (and the Internet writ large) LOVE presenting things in list form. But listing the best movies of 2013 IN 2013 (or, technically, immediately after 2013) feels misguided. It takes a while for feelings about a movie to settle. I saw five of these movies in the last two weeks; who knows how I’ll feel about them in a month? It’s not always clear which movies will be remembered well, or suffer on a rewatching. Looking back at my list from last year, I see about a dozen changes I would make. So consider this list somewhat provisional.

With that said, I saw a lot of movies this year, and lists can be a helpful way of organizing your thoughts on those movies. I’ve borrowed some of my category ideas from Josh’s ranking, but unlike Josh I find the distinction between “independent” movies and studio films to be arbitrary to the point of distraction. Plus, it’s a little pretentious. If a movie is good, it’s good; if it’s bad, it’s bad. Who cares who made it or what the budget was?

Anyway, here are the movies I saw in 2013, in order from worst to best…

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Monday Medley

What we read while celebrating Veinte y Nueve de Abril…

  • Read this, and you’ll never have to read anything else about Tim Tebow again.

Monday Medley

What we read while definitely NOT working for Bain Capital…

Got a Secret? About PLL’s “Careful What U Wish 4” and “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Lie, Lie Again”

Since I was too “busy” last week to go over “Careful What U Wish 4,” we’re rolling the last TWO episodes of Pretty Little Liars into one mega-review.

This combination is made more difficult, of course, by the divergence in the episodes’ respective quality. “Careful What U Wish 4” was, for the most part, bland, especially when compared to the summer’s “There’s No Place Like Homecoming”—the other episode focused on a Rosewood High School dance. But most of the missteps from “Careful What U Wish 4” were more than made up for in Monday night’s “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Lie, Lie Again.”*

*These episode titles are getting unwieldy.

Let’s dive in:

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Got a Secret? About Monday Night’s “Pretty Little Liars”

“I couldn’t forgive him or like him but I saw that what he had done was, to him, entirely justified. It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made….”

Pretty Little Liars had been a bit light on the intertextuality over the last few episodes, but it came back big-time in “Salt Meets Wounds,” or as I will forever know it as, The Gatsby Episode.

PLL, of course, executed its Gatsby theme with subtlety and class. Its thesis statement—Nick Carraway’s concluding analysis of the Buchanans reproduced on Mr. Fitz’s chalkboard and in the epigraph—wasn’t revealed until a quarter of the episode was through, and it was largely obscured by Ezra’s head:

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Monday Medley

What we read while admittedly forgetting…

Netherland and the Failure of Ambition

In the grand tradition of Louis XIV and certain characters in The Wire, Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland declares its own ignominious eulogy. In its final pages, as Hans van den Broek wishes to remember the best in his deceased friend, he casually lets on, “We all disappoint, eventually.”

The novel that Hans narrates suffers that same unfortunate fate.

Netherland begins so auspiciously and evocatively that one can’t help but be disappointed by a stagnation in both style and, more alarmingly, plot. Truth be told, not all that much happens in the 256 pages that constitute Netherland, and that which does tends toward the mundane and the overly introspective. In this manner, the novel fails to build a meaningful connection between its characters and its readers, leaving its eventualities—and many of the events do evolve into eventualities as the novel transpires—flat and unemotional.

Netherland has been compared, at least by The New York Times, to The Great Gatsby—heady territory indeed. O’Neill’s prose doesn’t necessarily disappoint: His descriptions of New York, particularly of its transitional, post-9/11 stage, are nothing short of spectacular:

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