5 for 2013 - My 5 Biggest Surprises of the Year - Told in GIF's

Thought I'd try something a bit different.  Here are my biggest surprises of the year (good and bad).

5.  The Last Stand

Directed by Kim Jee-Woon, Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Johnny Knoxville & Forrest Whitaker

When I first heard Kim Jee-Woon, director of the fantastic (and gruesome) I Saw The Devil was making his first American picture, complete with a returning Arnold Schwarzenegger, I was like


...and then I saw it.  Opening day, five of us went...for a total of seven people in the theater.  Now, although Kim Jee-Woon's Korean work didn't always have top notch writing, it was clever and fun (see The Good, The Bad & The Weird).  This script, however, was one of the worst written pieces I've ever seen, and the corn was off of the charts.  While I expected to walk out like


but I ended up walking out like


4.  The Way, Way Back

Directed by Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, Starring Liam James, Sam Rockwell & Steve Carell

When I saw the trailer for this, it looked like just about every coming-of-age story that I'd seen in the past ten years.  I was like


We only really ended up watching it because we love Steve Carell, but what a surprise.  I really connected with this one.  The story is heartbreaking and sweet, and really does feel like you're watching someone grow up during one New York summer.  Carell is barely in it, but Sam Rockwell oozes charisma and clearly steals the show.

When it was over, I was like


3.  Olympus Has Fallen

Directed by Antoine Fuqua, Starring Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman & Aaron Eckhart

When an action movie pops out in the first third of the year, you have to figure it's going to be bad.  If it was going to be good, they'd release it during the summer, right?  I thought that a plot featuring terrorists taking over the White House sounded interesting, but starring Gerard Butler?  I was like


What I ended up watching was a really fun action movie.  Although the script didn't deliver on all counts, it really felt like a toss back to the day of the regular guy's action movie - the Die Hard style, regular guy caught in a bad situation action movie.  When it was over, I was like


2.  Frozen

Directed by Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee, Voiced by Idina Menzel & Kristen Bell

When I first saw the teaser for Frozen, featuring a reindeer vs. a talking snowman, it seemed so, so corny.  Even my wife, who has an addiction to Disney, thought it looked hokey.  When the teaser was over, I was like


I knew that we would end up watching it anyway, and that we did.  There's a reason that it's got 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.  It's an enjoyable, charming Disney Princess story, in the same mold that the old school Disney stories reside.  I was surprised by how much I loved Frozen, and when it was over, I was like


1.  Only God Forgives

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, Starring Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas & Vithaya Pansringarm

Drive was my favorite movie of 2011, so when I heard that Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn were re-teaming for another movie, I was like


...and then I heard that it would be another ultra-violent epic, this time set in Thailand, I was like


...then I started hearing the reviews.  It was getting panned, and even mentioned many a walk-out during festival screenings.  I was worried, and like


Finally, I got to see it myself.  While I was watching it, I was like


but as uncomfortable as it was to watch, I was entranced.  The symbolism, the visuals...when the credits started rolling, it all clicked.  It was the first time in a long time that I could say that many, many people just didn't 'get' Only God Forgives.  I'm glad I did.  When it was over, I was like


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