The Vern’s Top 10 Underrated Performances of 2013.

best-of-2013Well it’s the end of the year movie fans and instead of simply listing what I consider to be the best movies. I thought I would try something a little different and write up a list of some very good acting roles that were overlooked by the general majority. These are my top 10 underrated performances of 2013.

10. Charlie Day as Dr. Newton Geiszler in Pacific Rim  (Click on Title to read full review)

Pacific_Rim_38847Yes, yes I know the main draw to see this movie was the fights between the giant robots and the giant monsters, I know. But I still gotta give some credit to Mr. Day for putting in a performance that was indeed cartoonish at times, but never once felt unreal. Most scientists in these kinds of movies know how to solve the problem, but are soon killed off so that our main hero can flourish and save the day. Dr. Newton Geizler was the only character who felt more alive then the others, and had more of a personality.

9. Adele Exarcharpoulous and Lea Seydoux as Adele and Emma in Blue is The Warmest Color    (Click on Title to read full review)

Blue is WarmMany of you are going to think that I’m putting this on here, strictly for the very hardcore sex scenes in this movie. I’m not denying those scenes were not a little hot, but it wasn’t the main reason for me putting both actresses on this list. I really admired their bravery in letting their emotions with everything(not just the sex) take over. It’s probably the most honest portrayal of a relationship I have seen since Celine and Jesse in the “Before” series.

8. Paul Dano as Alex Jones in Prisoners

Paul Dano PrisonersI know there are a few movie bloggers out there who have a problem with this actor, and don’t like many of his films. For me he is the one guy that continues to surprise me with each role I see him in. In this thriller he plays Alex Jones, a man accused of kidnapping Keller Dover’s(Hugh Jackman) daughter. He obviously has some mental problems and at times could very well be the man involved with these crimes. There were moments where I had my doubt he could be the guy, and then he would do something really abrupt that made me think he was the actual guy. Then something would happen to him by Keller that made me switch my opinion, only to have it switch back again a few scenes later. A character that constantly keeps me on my toes with trying to figure out his true intent gets a worthy recommendation from me.

7. Onata Aprile as Maisie in What Maisie Knew

What maise Knew OnataThis heartbreaking drama stars some very established actors like Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan, but the one who steals the spotlight from everyone is the little girl who plays the title role. This is a very serious drama about a child being caught in the middle of a divorce by her parents. What makes it stand out is that it’s all done from her point of view. Miss Aprile holds her own in some very heartwenching scenes with the cast, and is one to look out for in the upcoming years.

6. Jude Law as Jonathan Banks in Side Effects    (Click on Title to read full review)

side-effects-jude-lawJust like Paul Dano in “Prisoners“. Jude Law’s portrayal of Jonathan Banks was one that also kept me questioning his true motives. In this Steven Soderbergh thriller he plays the psychiatrist to Emily Taylor(Rooney Mara) who prescribes these drugs that have an odd side effect. All through out this feature. I was debating if this person was merely a victim or one that helped put these events in motion. A really good performance.

5. Mia Wasikowsa as India Stoker in Stoker  (Click on Title to read full review)

Mia-Wasikowska-in-Stoker-2013-Movie-ImageWhat if the girl from Hitchcock’s “Shadow of a Doubt instead of being scared that her uncle could be a serial killer. Became very interested and somewhat obsessed by that notion. This is a very dark coming of age story and I really admired Miss Wasikowsa’s quiet portrayal of a character who could very well be following in the same footsteps as her uncle. She is both innocent and very menacing at certain points, and it was a complete blast trying to figure out her true motivations.

4. Andrew Dice Clay as Augie in Blue Jasmine.   (Click on Title to read full review)

Andrew DIceThe awards circuit seems to be praising both Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins for their performances and rightfully so. They are both amazing in this, but the one that gets overlooked is the role by the Dice Man himself. I was surprised that this once misogynistic, racist, homophobic comedian was even cast in a Woody Allen picture to begin with. In it he plays the ex husband to Jasmine’s sister who was swindled out of cash by his then brother in law(Alec Baldwin). It’s a role where he does display a bit of the same cockiness I have seen in roles like “The Adventures of Ford Fairlane” but he also has these moments with Cate Blanchett where he also has a bit of heartbreak too. I hope he follows in the footsteps of other comedians who can do drama and doesn’t just go back to his usual routine.

3. Emma Watson as Nikki in The Bling Ring   (Click on Title to read full review)

Emma-Watson-Dance-The-Bling-RingI watched interviews with the real person that Miss Watson is portraying and yes she is really that dumb and fame obsessed. Many people think that this movie is making celebrities out of these teens who once broke into the homes of other famous actors and reality stars . But in actuality the movie is poking fun at the media for turning these criminals into celebrities.Nikki is a lot like other teens out there in that they want to be famous and live that kind of lifestyle without having to work very much. They admire people like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian and they want to have that same type of experiences too. It doesn’t help matters much when Nikki’sown mother(Leslie Mann) seems to be more interested in how her daughter looks for a TV interview. Rather then what she is being accused of.

2. James Franco as Alien in Spring Breakers  (Click on Title to read full review)

spring-breakers1One of the most disgusting but equally fascinating and memorable characters of the year. James Franco’s portrayal of the rapper/gangster who seduces the girls is both very charming and also very sleazy. He has this aura of confidence that on the outset my appear to be nice. But there is this hidden layer that something is not quite right about him. Alien is a character who can be considered to be both a villain and a odd sort of hero as well. The “Look at my shit” scene and the one he has with Selena Gomez are among the best in this movie. This is a movie I hated when I first watched it, but like “The Big Lebowski“.  It got a much bigger response from me the second time I did

1. Michael B Jordan as Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station    (Click on Title to read full review)

fruitvale-station-michael-b-jordanI rarely cry at movies, but at the end of this one. I could not keep the tears from flowing out of my eyes. This tragic tale of a young teen who was shot by transit police brought us one of the most underrated performances of the year. What stands out the most from this performance for me was that Oscar himself was not a perfect person. The man cheated on his wife, has been in jail for selling hard drugs and has had some anger management issues too. He was a person who was really starting to turn his life around when this unthinkable crime happened. He was a guy who also loved many things. The moments he has with his daughter and the other people in his life are heartbreaking especially after you know the outcome. A truly great performance that was overlooked this year.

What do you think of this list? Do you agree, not agree. Was there ones you think should have been on here. Let me know in the comments below.

About The Vern

I love movies and I enjoy writing about them too. They both go pretty much hand in hand with each other and it's fun to discover new classics. I co host the podcasts The Film Pasture, ScreenTrax, and soon Cinema Recall. While also contributing reviews and articles to other great sites when I can.
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27 Responses to The Vern’s Top 10 Underrated Performances of 2013.

  1. Nice assortment of actors/films, Vern. As always, I have a lot of catching up to do with 2013 titles. At least now, I know where to start. 🙂

  2. CMrok93 says:

    Wonderful list, Vern! Loved the inclusion of Exarcharpoulous as I think she gave one of, if not the, best performance of the year by a female. Hands down. Take that Sandy Bullock!

    • The Vern says:

      Yeah Exarcharpoulous was good in the movie, but I’m afraid you won’t see her be nominated for any big awards. Not because of the content, but because her name is difficult to pronounce. I would rather have Bullock get nominated for Gravity vs The Blind Side. Thanks for visiting Dan.

  3. This is an excellent list – I’m a particular fan of What Maisie KNew and all of the performances in it – maybe because, despite good reviews, no on seemed to go and actually see it! But all of your choices are spot on… except Charlie Day! C’mon!

    I’d also add in Mads Mikkelsson for THe Hunt, which was an amazing film and a phenomenal performance.

    • The Vern says:

      Thank you Justin. Yeah looking back. I could have chosen Dwayne Johnson in “Pain and Gain”. I went with Charlie Day, because it was such a big departure from his role in “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. I wasn’t watching the wacky Charlie from that show. I was watching a full fleshed out character. Mainly I wanted to “Pacific Rim” another plug, because that movie was a lot of fun.

  4. jjames36 says:

    I have not yet seen Fruitvale Station. Will be changing that in about a week, when its finally released on digitial rental. But I agree with everything you name. I don’t like all of these movies, but the performances are very good. Especially Aprile’s. And those in Blue is the Warmest Color.

    • The Vern says:

      Oh Fruitvale Station is a good one. It’s one I wished more people would have seen. I agree that sometimes a bad movie can have a great performance, but in turn does that still make it bad movie. Maybe so, but I can find that’s a good reason to watch it again. Thank you for visiting James.

      • jjames36 says:

        Good reason to watch it again? Sometimes.

        Though I have no interest in seeing Spring Breaker ever again, no matter Franco’s skill. 😉

  5. elina says:

    I have all the faith in Jude Law, even though I still haven’t seen Side Effects -nor most of the other films here. I’ll fix that ASAP. Great list, Vern!

  6. table9mutant says:

    Nice choices. 🙂 I still need to see a lot of these movies, though! I’m so behind on films this year…

  7. Nice to see mention of What Maisie Knew. Just saw that one recently — surprisingly good film!

  8. thesquonk says:

    Very interesting list Vern. Since I am always behind on new releases, I haven’t seen most of them. The performance that I would like to see get some love…but I fear will not…is Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey in 42.

  9. mhofmeyer says:

    Fantastic list! Glad to see Michael B. Jordan. I love The Wire and Friday Night Lights. I still need to see Bling Ring and Prisoners.

    • The Vern says:

      With prisoners you got Cinematography by Roger Deakins. That’s always a win for me. Bling Ring you got Emma Watson in a Sofia Coppola picture. Double win.

  10. ninvoid99 says:

    Emma Watson was great in that film. She was so hot and so full of herself. I love that film.

  11. I need to see more “regular” movies. I’ve only seen one of the performances listed. I’ll give you three guesses, and the first two don’t count.

  12. Chris says:

    Good choices Vern! Nice to see Paul Dano get a challenging role where he completely transforms. In other movies, I somethimes find him a bit samey, but in Prisoners he blew me away.
    Emma Watson has a promising career ahead, I think she nails that American accent so well, when you consider she’s a Brit.

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