Counting Down the 40 Best Summer Movies

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Looking back on the 2013 summer movie season, one could say that there were a number of films that fell into the “good movie” category. One could also say that a few of these movies might end up breaking out the champagne once the Best Picture nominees are announced during Oscar season.

Sadly however, one could also say that a number of these possible cinematic success stories were not amongst the list of films

Olde English forty bottle

Get it My “40” favorite films… forget it. Ahhh, Olde English. Brings back terrible memories.

that I ended up seeing between the months of May and August.

That being said, I can say I’m still fairly confident that I can put together a pretty solid list involving my favorite movies from

the summer of 2013.

THIS is that pretty solid list, which even includes some of the straight-to-VOD films I saw… or didn’t see.

Nevertheless, before I get to my list, I’ll start with the films (only the important ones, mind you) that I did NOT get a chance to take in during the course of this summer season.

(*In alphabetical order* – *with the quality or widely-released films ones in bold*)

“20 Feet From Stardom,” “100 Bloody Acres,” “A Hijacking,” “The Act of Killing,” “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” “Aroused,” “As Cool As I Am,” “Assaulted: Civil Rights Under Fire,” “Austenland,” “Before Midnight,” “Behind the Candelabra (HBO),” “Berberian Sound Studio,” “Between Us,” “Bidder 70,” “Black Rock,” “Blackfish,” “The Bling Ring,” “Blood,” “Blue Jasmine,” “Byzantium,” “The Canyons,” “Closed Circuit,” “Cockneys vs. Zombies,” “Computer Chess,” “Crystal Fairy,” “Cutie and the Boxer,” “The Deep,” “Desperate Acts of Magic,” “Dirty Wars,” “Drift,” “The East,” “The English Teacher,” “Erased,” “Europa Report,” “Evidence,” “Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie,” Far Out Isn’t Enough: The Toni Ungerer Story,” “Frances Ha,” “Free the Mind,” “Fruitvale Station,” “Girl Most Likely,” “The Grandmaster,” “The Hangover Part III,” “Hey Bartender,” “The Hot Flashes,” “The Hunt,” “I give it a Year,” “I’m So Excited,” “Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp,” “The Iceman,” “In a World…,” “The Internship,” “Jobs,” “Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain,” “Killing Season,” “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “The Look of Love,” “Love Is All You Need,” “The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear,” “Maniac,” “Monsters University,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “Mud,” “No One Lives,” “Now You See Me,” “One Dimension: This is Us,” “Only God Forgives,” “The Painting,” “Paradise: Faith,” “Peeples,” “Planes,” “The Prey (La Proie),” “Prince Avalanche,” “Random,” “Rapture-Palooza,” “Sharknado,” “Sightseers,” “Spark: A Burning Man Story,” “The Spectacular Now,” “Still Mine,” “Stories We Tell,” “Storm Surfers 3D,” “Stuck in Love,” “Syrup,” “Tiger Eyes,” “The To Do List,” “Venus and Serena,” “Violet & Daisy,” “The Way Way Back,” “We’re The Millers,” “What Maisie Knew,” and “Wish You Were Here.”

Like I stated before, there are quite a few good films and some popular ones (not to mention, quite a few bad ones that I didn’t even list) that I’ve yet to see.

That being the case, here is the list of “My 40 Favorite Flicks of the 2013 Summer Season” – starting with Number 40 and moving towards Number 1. I also included the US box office numbers for each I film (courtesy of, simply for your benefit. Aren’t I a swell guy?


40: “The Haunting of Helena” (Domestic Box Office Gross – N/A)

39: “Grown Ups 2” ($129.1 million+)

38: “Getaway” (N/A)

37: “Paranoia” ($6.7 million+)

36. “The Colony” (N/A)

35: “Devil’s Pass” (N/A)

34: “Red 2” ($51.7 million+)

33: “R.I.P.D.” ($32.7 million+)

32: “After Earth” ($60.5 million+)

31: “Percy Jackson & the Sea of Monsters” ($50.1 million+)

2013 summer movie collage

Is your favorite film in this picture? Get out your magnifying glass and check.


30: “Lovelace” ($344,703+)

29: “Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” ($16.7 million+)

28: “The Purge” ($64.4 million)

27: “The Lone Ranger” ($87.9 million+)

26: “The Smurfs 2” ($63.8 million+)

25: “2 Guns” ($66.4 million+)

24: “Aftershock” ($58,510+)

23: “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s” ($518,342)

22: “Epic” ($107.3 million+)

21: “Elysium” ($71.3 million+)

20: “The Wolverine” ($125.8 million+)

19: “Turbo” ($78.9 million+)

18: “White House Down” ($72.2 million+)

17: “Man of Steel” ($290.3 million+)

16: “Clear History” [HBO] – (N/A)

15: “Despicable Me 2” ($351.6 million+)

14: “V/H/S/2” ($21,833+)

13: “Star Trek Into Darkness” ($227.4 million+)

Summer Movies al Fresco

Isn’t this adorable? I thought so. It’s from New Zealand, so it’s automatically hip and cool.


12: “Kick-Ass 2” ($24.1 million+)

11: “The Great Gatsby” ($144.8 million)

10: “You’re Next” ($8.8 million+)

  9: “Fast & Furious 6” ($238.5 million+)

  8: “Pacific Rim” ($99.3 million+)

  7: “The Heat” ($156.5 million+)

  6: “The Conjuring” ($132.2 million+)

  5: “Iron Man 3” (408.5 million+) – This was one of the first movies I saw this summer season and also one of the best. It blended comic book action with snarky humor almost seamlessly, with most of the laughs coming courtesy of Robert Downey Jr. (returning in the titular role) and Ben Kingsley (as the nefarious Mandarin). Guy Pearce turned in a stellar performance as the main villain, while the storyline kept my interest throughout. The special effects (especially during the final battle sequence) were top notch. In my opinion, it’s the best “Iron Man” movie out of the three. 

 4: “World War Z” ($198.9 million+) – Besides the super-disappointing “Lone Ranger” movie, this was one of the most troubled films, production-wise, of the season; with location problems and rumors of reshoots. Plus, the film had to cater to moviegoers like me – people who’d read the book and were skeptical as to how they would turn a novel filled with out-of-order segments into a linear storyline. Well, it worked. Brad Pitt delivered as the reluctant hero and the film’s final act delivered some of the most tension-filled minutes of the summer.

 3: “The World’s End” ($11.1 million+) – This was a tough one to call. It was a virtual toss-up with “This is the End,” for the second and third spot, in terms of their interchangeable names and thematic elements, but in the END, this film finished ever-so-slightly behind it. In fact, this would’ve been Number 1, that is, if I based the list on only the first halves of each movie. The opening 30 minutes of “The World’s End” happened to be the most entertaining half hour I spent in a movie theater all summer long… period. The first act also might’ve been the closest thing to a hypnotic, symphonic, cinematic experience one could ever have. That being said, as soon as the sci-fi element reared its ugly, alien head, it just wasn’t as fun anymore. A worthy entry into the Simon Pegg/Edgar Wright/Nick Frost “Three Flavours Cornetto” trilogy, but not the best film out of the three… nor was it the best of the summer either.

 2: “This is the End” ($96.7 million+) – It might have had the same apocalyptic backdrop as “The World’s End,” but it sure did attack it differently. Directed by and starring Seth Rogen, the movie meshed the events of the rapture with the snobby sensibilities of Hollywood and took great glee in swallowing up the sin. The fact that all of the actors in the film played themselves (ie: Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Jay Baruchel, etc.) made it that much more fun to eventually see cartoonishly violent things happen to them. Some of the unexpected cameos are the most amusing scenes of the film, so don’t blink. Needless to say, I’ll bet you never look at Hermione quite the same way again.

 1: “The Kings of Summer” ($1.3 million) – What a fitting title for MY FAVORITE FILM of the season. It followed the exploits and antics of three good friends from the suburbs of Ohio, who run away from their overbearing parents to trade in

Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias an Nick Robinson in "The Kings of Summer"

My favorite film of the summer. You could say that it’s the “king” of summer (cue rimshot).

their repressive environments for a homemade fort in the woods. First-time director Jordan Vogt-Roberts showed the ability to take everyday people, places and things and add a layer of pixie dust to them, therefore transforming an average coming-of-age story into an American fairytale. The three talented, young actors who play the runaways (Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso and Moises Arias, respectively) all insert their own flair to the roles. However, it’s Arias that steals the show as the enigmatic and downright weird Biaggio. Nick Offerman also does a solid job as main character Joe’s (Robinson) sarcastic and out-of-touch father. Features the second best scene ever involving a game of Monopoly – next to the scene where Bobby Baccala sucker punches Tony in the “Soprano’s Home Movies” episode from the final season of “The Sopranos.” I expect great things from director Vogt-Roberts and the three youngsters (especially Arias) in the future.

 So, there you have it. I went through all 40 movies that I sat through this summer – some good, some very good, and many not-so-good – and laid them out for you: from number 40… all the way to number 1.

I’m sure that you agree with all of my selections from top-to-bottom.

Or not.

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