PGCMAs: Best Comedy, Best Animated Film, and Best Horror Film (2013)

Posted: January 30, 2014 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson PGCMA 2013*The above image represents 2012’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture Winner; Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master.

Best Comedy

It should be noted here that the focus isn’t just on what film is the funniest, but which one best mixes laughs with other elements.

American HustleIf you look at the story of the Abscam operation, there really isn’t much funny about it. Here, the comedy comes from the characters and their interactions. Bradley Cooper is especially playing for laughs and his bits with Louis C.K. are great. Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence also have some great comedic moments. Hell the term “science-oven” alone is enough to justify a nomination.

Inside Llewyn DavisThe tone is a lot more somber than the rest of the nominees, but Inside Llewyn Davis is still bursting with classic Coen Brothers wit. There are some brilliant gems of comedy here and I also love how seamlessly it blends with the drama.

This is the EndI wasn’t really sure how I was gonna take to This is the End, but the film ended up really working for me. Spoofing both apocalypse scenarios and more specifically celebrity culture, This is the End is a hilarious film which may stutter from time to time, but at the film’s best it truly is great comedy.

The Wolf of Wall StreetMany Martin Scorsese films have humour, but I never would have expected him to make an all-out comedy like The Wolf of Wall Street. This is a raunchy comedy with an emphasis on drug fueled adventures, copious amounts of sex, tons of vulgarity, and even some physical comedy. To see Scorsese apply his immense talent to a film like this really is a treat.

The World’s EndEdgar Wright is one of the best comedy directors to emerge in the 2000s and The World’s End makes it clear why. This is a film which is not only funny as hell, but also with interesting characters, a unique plot, and deeper themes. It’s a hard balance to hit and while it isn’t always maintained perfectly, it’s hard not to be impressed by the final package.

And The Winner Is…

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The Wolf of Wall Street

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Most years, I have to make some sort of compromise between the film I found funniest and the film I found to be the overall best. Not this year; The Wolf of Wall Street is both.

Best Animated Film

I only saw two animated films this year so the nominees list is a bit slim, however I’m a big fan of both and feel they deserved to be celebrated.

Batman: The Dark Knight ReturnsDC puts out a lot of animated adaptations of the work, but few have the gravity of The Dark Knight Returns. Adapted from one of the most celebrated Batman stories in history and split into two parts, The Dark Knight Returns is a bold and challenging work in addition to being a gripping Batman tale.

Monsters UniversityI had my reservations about Monsters University. The trailers didn’t do it for me and Pixar’s recent sequel spree has been disappointing, but Monsters University turned out to be pretty good. It’s funny, well-animated, the characters are good, and the story takes some interesting turns. Most importantly though, the film had the heart I was afraid it would lack.

And The Winner Is…

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Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

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With a budget of less than a 26th what Monsters University cost and made in a much smaller time span, The Dark Knight Returns lacks the polish of Pixar’s film. However what it does have is a riveting story, interesting themes, great characters, strong dialogue, and a plethora of memorable scenes.

Best Horror Film

Similar to comedies, I’m looking for the film which best combines scares with other elements.

The ConjuringI’ve criticised The Conjuring for its script, but I also can’t deny it’s a very well-crafted haunted house film which delivers the goods its audience wants very well. A decade of genre filmmaking has made James Wan pretty good at what he does.

Evil DeadIf nothing else, Evil Dead is certainly the most violent main stream horror film of 2013. This thing is loaded with gore and regular folks battling supernatural beings. It doesn’t reinvent the horror wheel, but it knows what it wants to be and achieves its goals well.

GravityIt doesn’t wear the badge of a horror film on its sleeve like the other nominees, but it is a film which plays on fear. In the broad sense, the fear of death as we watch Ryan Stone desperately try to survive. However more specifically, the film deals with claustrophobia (in terms of being trapped in a space suit) and agoraphobia (in terms of drifting into the emptiness of space).

Insidious Chapter TwoJames Wan’s second offering of 2013, Insidious Chapter Two trades in The Conjuring’s slow and subtle build for a bigger and more balls out horror experience. The film also expands on the mythology of the first film in interesting ways and I like the way the Lamberts’ story comes to a close.

ManiacThis remake of a semi-known 1980s film tells a pretty standard story, but it made unique by the camera almost constantly showing the killer’s literal point of view. Elijah Wood also gives an interesting performance and there are some grotesque kills and visuals.

And The Winner Is…

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Gravity

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I can hear the horror fans sharpening their Freddy Krueger-themed gloves now. Well, I’ll take on the hate; Gravity is the best horror experience of 2013 and it’s not just because it’s the best overall film of the nominees (although it is). Not only is the film able to mine classic fears (death and claustrophobia) in exciting ways, but it also deals with a fear I’ve never really seen depicted on screen in agoraphobia. The fear of open spaces is never really shown in media and I applaud Cuarón for making me feel a fear I haven’t before. And if that’s not enough consider this; outside of Gravity, the other nominees are either remakes or sequels. The one exception to this is The Conjuring, but even that film is guilty of using the same tropes every haunted house movie uses. So basically I was left with awarding one of four retreads of various degrees, or something altogether original. Easy choice.

Comments
  1. ianthecool says:

    Are you feeling limber? Cause you stretched that horror pick pretty good.

    • PG Cooper says:

      Ouch, I figured you of all people would back me :P

      Maybe it is a stretch, but A. It plays with a fear I’ve never seen done on film before and B. It’s a genuinely original work, which is more than I can say for the other nominees.

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