Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Above Average Awards: 2013 Comedy

This year, for the first time, I have decided to divide the Above Average Awards into two separate posts--one for comedic films and one for dramatic films. In the past, when I've crammed them all into one post, I found it to be a bit overwhelming. The dramatic list will be out in the next couple of weeks, so be sure to check back and see who topped that list for 2013. I know I am pretty much the last movie blogger to release his best list, but I wanted to give myself time to see a majority of the films that never made it to Hattiesburg, for accuracy's sake. Anyway, for now, here's to the guys (and gals) who made us laugh hysterically in 2013...

I am of the opinion that comedic actors and films are undervalued in the world of film criticism. As the Oscar predictions role in, comedy usually gets lost in the mix, and I really hate it. I know, true comedic films aren't really made to win awards. However, I believe there should be Oscar categories to further recognize comedic films, much like the Emmys. Sure, the Golden Globes have a comedy category, but the films in that category are pretty much limited to really, really dramatic films that may have contained a joke or two. Anyways, I will stop whining, but I just wanted to make it known why I take the time to really recognize the best work in comedic films. So, without further delay, here are my favorites in comedic films and comedic performances from 2013:
Best Actor

Honorable Mention: Kevin Kline (Last Vegas), Simon Pegg (The World's End)

#8 - Danny McBride
(This is the End)
Honestly, I am shocked that Danny McBride was able to make it on to any positive list of mine, but, each time I watch This is the End, he makes me laugh more and more. Typically, I'm not a fan of McBride's failed attempts at Will Ferrell humor, but his interactions with James Franco were so freaking funny in this film. Although I hope that McBride continues to impress me in the future... I'm not counting on it...

#7 - Johnny Simmons
(The To Do List)
Last year, The Perks of Being a Wallflower took home the top honor from The Above Average Awards, and Johnny Simmons' performance was probably my least favorite of the entire film. However, after watching The To Do List, I'm encouraged that Johnny might find himself a nice career in comedy. He was absolutely hilarious, and I hope to see him pop up in many more future comedies.

#6 - The Minions
(Despicable Me 2)
Need I say more than "Bottom"?
I will say that I am assuming that the Minions are mostly male, categorizing them in the actor category, but who really knows!?!

#5 - Will Poulter
(We're the Millers)
Although I am still amazed at the box office success of We're the Millers, there is no denying Will Poulter's amazing performance. In fact, I dare say that he is the most memorable comedic character of 2013. Regardless, Poulter is sure to have a bright future, and we will look back at We're the Millers, wondering how it possibly banked $150 million.
#4 - Moises Arias
(The Kings of Summer)
As someone who absolutely loves a good coming-of-age tale, The Kings of Summer was, as a whole, underwhelming. However, the hilarious presence of Moises Arias, throughout the entire film, kept a smile on my face. His character was so randomly funny, and that random humor ends to crack me up. Many of you probably remember Arias from his role on Hannah Montana, but let's hope that he continues to go for these goofy roles.
#3 - Steve Carell
(Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues)
Steve Carell has long been one of my go-to funny guys, ever since I first fell in love with his humor on The Office. And now, finally, I have an opportunity to praise him in my best list! In fact, Brick is one of the funniest characters that I have ever had the pleasure of watching, and I loved his inflated role in the Anchorman sequel. Of course, Steve Carell was dead on, and I think most everyone would agree that his was an amazingly hilarious character.

#2 - Michael Cera
(This is the End)
Of all the actors in This is the End, Michael Cera was obviously the least genuine in the portrayal of himself, and I must say that it was absolutely genius. Kudos to Seth Rogen and crew for coming up with the idea to turn Cera into a crack-induced pervert, and kudos to Cera for pulling off one of the funniest performances of 2013 (in less than 10 minutes of screen time).
#1 - Jonah Hill
(This is the End)
For the second straight year, Hill easily takes home my top spot for comedic performances in 2013, and, this time, he doesn't have to share it with Channing Tatum. While the entire cast of This is the End was absolutely brilliant, Hill just kept the laughs coming, and, like Michael Cera, he actually acted, compared to some of the other stars who played versions of themselves that were exactly like their true selves. Hill has quickly become one of my favorite actors, as evident by the fact that he is the only actor to make the Above Average list each of the three years that I have been blogging. His work in comedy and drama is amazing, and he is greatly deserving of craploads of recognition!

Best Actress
Honorable Mention: Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), Annette Bening (Girl Most Likely), Leslie Mann (The Bling Ring), Megan Mullaly (The Kings of Summer)


#5 - Glenne Headly
(Don Jon)
With the help of the great Tony Danza, Glenne Headly provided many great laughs throughout a mediocre film. Hilarious motherly figures tend to crack me up... so she had that going for her. Nevertheless, her performance is what made the character so great.
#4 - Sylvia Kauders
(Inside Llewyn Davis)
Of the great performances recognized on both my dramatic and comedic lists, no role was smaller than that of Sylvia Kauders, who played a secretary in Inside Llewyn Davis. Her screen time was probably less than three minutes, if I had to guess, but she certainly made good use of her time. In fact, I couldn't even find a picture of her in the movie. Regardless, I was rolling with every word that came out of her mouth, so kudos to this lovely lady!

#3 - Melissa McCarthy
(The Heat)
Melissa McCarthy is quickly becoming the queen of comedy, and she was able to provide a number of great laughs in The Heat. Unfortunately, Sandra Bullock's lack of humor brought the film down, as a whole, but McCarthy is worthy of much praise. This recognition marks her second time on my Above Average list, of which I am sure she is immeasurably grateful!
#2 - Greta Gerwig
(Frances Ha)
Ever since I first saw Greta Gerwig in Russell Brand's Arthur, I have been attracted to her free spirit and charm, but her performance in Frances Ha proved that she has a bright future ahead of her. Personally, I had a hard time deciding whether to put her in the dramatic or comedic list. Nonetheless, I decided to put her here, because she did a great job of making me laugh, although her film did a great job of making me think.
#1 - Allison Janney
(The Way Way Back)
I know I have talked about my affinity for The West Wing on multiple occasions, but I have never taken time out to give praise to the great Allison Janney. Luckily, her amazingly hilarious performance in The Way Way Back gave me a great excuse to give her some praise. In a movie that I was a bit disappointed in, Janney was consistently providing laughs and keeping me interested. She may have had only a minor role, but she certainly gave it her all! That's why I'm choosing her as my favorite comedic actress of 2013.
Best Film

Honorable Mention: The Heat, The World's End

#4 - A.C.O.D.

With an amazing cast and a hilarious topic, A.C.O.D. (Adult Children of Divorce) was able to sneak up on me and provide some great laughs. I would encourage everyone to check this one out at the Redbox. While I can't attest to its accuracy of portrayal (my parents are still married), I can attest to its hilarity, which is really what you want from a comedy.


#3 - The To Do List
I don't know how many awkward sex jokes you can fit into a single film, but The To Do List certainly tried to find out! Although it could have been waaay better, the film still managed to provide a ton of laughs, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I guess this means that I enjoy a mass amount of awkward sex jokes, but it is what it is.
#2 - Last Vegas
Of all 2013 movies, both dramatic and comedic, there was no film that was as surprisingly good as Last Vegas. What was sold to older moviegoers as "a dorky version of The Hangover" turned out to be one of the most hilarious films of the year. I have been waiting months to show this film to my parents, and I finally had the opportunity, the other day. If you missed out on Last Vegas, I promise it is worth your time.

#1 - This is the End
Contrary to what the Golden Globes may believe, I am of the opinion that a comedy's sole intention is to make you laugh. I know, I already ranted about this topic, but, as an "average" guy, I would never associate the comedy of American Hustle with the comedy of the aforementioned films! Never! So, don't worry... Those films will show up in my drama list. In 2013, the comedy field was not the strongest, but it was much better than 2012. However, there was one film that shone so brightly that I would easily dub it the best film of any kind in 2013, and that film is This is the End. Honestly, if I combined my comedy and drama best lists, This is the End would be number one, by a landslide! If you've yet to see this hilariously outrageous end-of-the-world comedy, you are truly missing out. My opinion may not be a popular one, but there was no 2013 dramatic or comedic film that I enjoyed anywhere close to as much as I enjoyed This is the End! If you want me to say that one more time, I can! The great performances, which have already been mentioned, mixed with the anything-goes attitude of the storyline, makes for one heck of a film that is sure to keep you laughing throughout.
So, there it is, folks! This is the End joins the likes of 21 Jump Street and Horrible Bosses, at the top of the Above Average. Let me know what you think, in the comment section, and be sure to check back soon for the release of my dramatic list...


  1. Some interesting picks here, Tanner. I actually haven't seen a number of these movies, though I do not disapprove of the inclusion of those I did see. This is the End was certainly a really good movie, and Jonah Hill definitely delivered in that film. And can I assume that you're counting his role in Wolf of Wall Street for drama? I suppose that makes sense, though I personally found his actual character to be quite comedic in that one. But either way, looking forward to the drama list! :)

    1. I did consider his Wolf of Wall Street role dramatic, but you're right in that it could really go either way. Glad you liked This is the End... Best movie of 2013. PERIOD!