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Mouse Trap

Disney's terrible year in film

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EPCOT ETHER 'Escape from Tomorrow' was the best Disney-related film of 2013.
  • EPCOT ETHER 'Escape from Tomorrow' was the best Disney-related film of 2013.

My favorite films of 2013 include Captain Phillips, Her, Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, Nebraska and The Grandmaster. But the worst film of 2013 was The Lone Ranger.

What a bad year for Disney. Watch them try to burnish their image with the lie-filled Saving Mr. Banks, where they imagineered the story of starchy Brit P. L. Travers (Emma Thompson), author of Mary Poppins, learning to lay back and enjoy market penetration. Cut to The Lone Ranger, a Disney franchise that no one knew how to launch. Who was that movie for? Psychotic kids?

And then there was 2013's Revolt of the Disney girls. Defenders of Spring Breakers (I'm not really one) claim the transgressive qualities of this thang were proved by defecting Disneyites Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, going down and dirty. (And Spring Breakers came out even before the former Hannah Montana decided to twitch her undernourished hams at that awards show.)

But I preferred Randy Moore's all-out attack on Sleeping Beauty's castle. Escape from Tomorrow, filmed guerrilla-style inside Disney World and Disneyland without permission, even has a counter on its website ticking off the time until the filmmakers are sued by Disney. Moore added to the encouraging black-and-white revival of 2013: Frances Ha, Much Ado About Nothing, Nebraska and the charcoal-and-snow-tinted colors of Inside Llewyn Davis. While proving the viability of monochrome, Moore also snatched his movie out of one of the most heavily monitored places on earth. You'd rather steal chump change from Smaug.

My favorite movie of the year was Blue Is the Warmest Color, with its two mesmerizing leads, but I also loved the two unfortunate women facing religious mania (or is it religious solace?) in the Romanian tragedy Beyond the Hills. And the troubled friendship in Frances Ha, and brave Beatrice sticking up for her kinswoman Hero in Joss Whedon's typically feminist take on Shakespeare in Much Ado About Nothing.

It's the reason why the Bechdel Test means so much as I get older, and why male buddy films mean less to me.

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