Best and Worst Film Families of 2013
Best Family to Ride With: Dom Torretto's criminal organization has been called a "family" ever since the first Fast and the Furious movie. With Fast 6 as the best film of the series, that family has expanded to include all corners of the Fast franchise, and we've spent enough time with them that their interpersonal concerns (Letty's alive?!?! Han and Gisele want to retire to Tokyo?) are just as compelling as the car chases now.
Worst Family to Brunch With: The family featured in The Heat would probably give you a fist to the throat for even using the word "brunch," actually. It's breakfast, and breakfast is an Eggo waffle and brown-and-serve sausages, and if you're suddenly too good for Eggos and brown-and-serve waffles, Miss Federal Bureau of A Stick Up Your Ass, you can get you can get the hell out.
Best Family to Play 'Name That Tune' With: If you've seen 20 Feet From Stardom, you're probably already in love with the Waters family, who spend their time in the movie, sitting around the dining room table, singing hooks at each other like it's a game they play even when the cameras aren't on. Which it very may well be.
Worst Family Prescription Drug Plan: The Adderall-popping Moore family in The Bling Ring features mom Laurie, who keeps the family on a strict regimen of The Secret affirmations, and daughters Nicki and Sam, whose boring lives of auditions and planning to be President one day are easily left behind in favor of super fun crime sprees.
Most Expensive Family Squabbles: Don't let anyone tell you that the Duchannes family of witches in Beautiful Creatures doesn't know how to argue in style. A simple tiff between cousins Lena and Ridley often devolves into a table-spinning, wine-spilling, mortals-scarring affair, and that's just for a regular weeknight dinner.
Worst Family Support System: The sisters played by Lake Bell and Michaela Watkins in In a World... are actually pretty great. They're supportive, they really seem to enjoy spending time with one another, and they'll go out of their way to help each other. Too bad their dad, played by Fred Melamed, is such an egotistical, insensitive, often actively malicious monster.
Best Family Reunion to Attend: Sarah Polley's family in Stories We Tell — her brothers and sisters and father, not to mention new family discovered through the film's revelations — all add up to a family who sound like they're a lot of fun to be around. Good storytellers, willing to give each other crap, smart and worldly and movie fans. Watching each of them interact with Sarah through her camera is one of the film's chief delights.
Worst Family Boundaries: The Stokers in Stoker are just all kinds of inappropriate. It's bad enough when Nicole Kidman starts getting frisky with her brother-in-law Matthew Goode. But when Goode starts making eyes at his own niece (Mia Wasikowska)? Park Chan-wook's English-language debut is creepy in a dozen different ways, but no more so than when he deals with family.
Best Family of 2013: When we visit Mason's (John Gallagher Jr.) family in Short Term 12, we don't yet know what drew him to work at the foster care center. Once we join him and Grace (Brie Larson) back at home we get to see it, Mason as part of a sprawling, loving family of foster kids brought together by his parents. It's a lovely note in a film full of them, telling us so much about Mason and Grace and the lives they've carved out for themselves.