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The Best Movies of 2013: #20 – #1

January 31, 2014

Congratulations, my players and playerettes! You finally made it, the big day has finally arrived! For those just tuning in, here’s what you’ve been missing:

Day 1: #85 – #66
Day 2: #66 – #51
Day 3: #50 – #36
Day 4: #35 – #21

Now that that’s out of the way, what do you say we get down to it?

20. Cutie and the Boxer
Those awesome opening credits. The unexpected weight of Ushio’s drunken, emotional breakdown. There’s just a lot to like about this gorgeous, honest, complex portrait of two aging, starving artists as they come into their own. Didn’t hit me right away, but it’s been lingering like a mother ever since.

19. V/H/S/2 (Full Review)
In light of its (mostly) disappointing predecessor, I can’t stress enough what an improvement this was every single way. Love what these guys are doing and, holy hell, that segment by Gareth Evans featuring the charming gent up yonder? That was something else.

18. Blackfish
Yup. SeaWorld is the worst. Awesome to see a doc create such a real-world impact like this.

17. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
As one of the six people people on Earth who actually liked the last one, this made for three awfully well-spent hours. Still pales in comparison to the book (because of course), but I just love coming back to Middle-Earth like this. That is far and away one of the nerdiest sentences I’ve ever written.

16. Stories We Tell
Proof that some of life’s most interesting stories are the ones we call our own. Big ups to Sarah Polley for sharing this with the world and to her family for making it happen. Takes guts.

15. Man of Steel (Full Review)
Fully aware that I’m in the minority here, but I’m sticking to my guns on this one. As a big fan Supes, it’s been far too long since he got his due on the silver screen. Can’t say the criticisms aren’t warranted as things do get a bit overkill there, but, for me, the shortcomings were easy to overlook. Consider this my mulligan for the year.

14. This is the End (Full Review)
I can’t remember the last movie that had me laughing this hard from the beginning to end. ‘Tis is a special, beautiful thing.

13. 12 Years a Slave
Isn’t much to say that hasn’t already been said. There’s no shortage of good reasons for why it’s probably gonna win Best Picture.

12. The Gatekeepers (Full Review)
As sobering as it was enlightening. Glad I watched it, deserves to be seen.

11. American Hustle
Nothing against his last few gigs, but this was David O. Russell’s best movie since Three Kings. First time in a long time where I couldn’t venture a guess as to how the story would play out and it wound up playing out wonderfully. Bonus points for the best trailer of the year.

10. Gravity

9. You’re Next (Full Review)
For a year that had its fair share of noteworthy horror movies, this was the one that did everything right. Great sense of humor given everything that goes down, just the kind of heroine that this industry (let alone genre) needs and some very memorable villains sporting some very memorable getups. Just a total blast all around that breathed some serious life into a tired formula.

8. This is Martin Bonner
As understated as can be, there isn’t much that actually happens and I’m guessing you haven’t heard of it. BUT, I’ve always said that my favorite kind of movies are the ones about real people with real problems, and This is Martin Bonner is one of the great examples. Such a satisfying, simple, moving story that got so very much out of very little with ease. If only we had more movies that didn’t insist on over-complicating things.

7. Muscle Shoals
One of the best rock docs that I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. One of those rare things that renews your faith in the magic of music.

6. The History of Future Folk (Full Review)
Folks, I’ve been championing this movie all damn year and I’m not gonna stop ’til your granny’s running down the street with a bucket on her head yelling “Hondo!” I can’t imagine how anyone who gives this a shot wouldn’t be just as enthusiastic. The History of Future Folk is everything that’s great about going to the movies all at once and it is a sure thing for anyone looking to watch anything. For the love of god, do yourself a favor and watch this immediately. Granny can thank me later.

5. Dallas Buyers Club
One of the year’s best scripts, two of the year’s best characters and two of the year’s best performances to boot. This one was firing on all cylinders, folks, and I could not get enough of it. What a freakin’ year for Matthew McConaughey, huh?

4. Mud (Full Review)
Seriously though, what a freakin’ year for Matthew McConaughey. 2013 had its fair share of coming-of-agers, none of which came close to everything great about Mud. The cast, script, the story – everything, especially those kid actors. Reason No. 3 why Jeff Nichols continues to be one of the best film makers out there (see Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter for reasons No. 1 & 2).

3. The Act of Killing
The banality of evil is a jaw-dropping thing to behold. Unbelievable in nearly every sense of the word; the most important thing cut to film last year.

2. Before Midnight (Full Review)
Best trilogy ever? Best trilogy ever. I’ve already rambled enough about this one, but, believe me, I could keep going.

1. her
Knew this would be my No. 1 within the first five minutes. The one movie last year that truly reminded me why I love movies, that movies are so much more than mere escapism, that movies are art. One of those movies that’s so significant and true to who we are, where we are and where we’re going as a people that they should probably just preserve it in the National Film Registry already. I know, some seriously high praise going on up in here, but even if you don’t agree, even if you find it stupid, depressing or funny in the all the wrong places, it’s so rare to find a movie that invites those kinds of responses. So many feels with this movie. This is one that society will remember.

And that’ll do it, folks. Hope you enjoyed this year’s rundown, and even if you didn’t, feel free to let me have it.

Until next time, stay groovy, y’all.

49 Comments leave one →
  1. January 31, 2014 12:56 am

    I haven’t seen the gate keepers yet but it’s a nice list.

    • January 31, 2014 8:21 am

      Thanks! Definitely worth checking out, especially if your fuzzy on the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Important stuff, yo.

    • January 31, 2014 1:36 pm

      I need to check these movies out..!

  2. January 31, 2014 3:12 am

    Some awesome picks here. But I am really happy to see Muscle Shoals so high on your list. I programmed that at a film festival I work on and absolutely love it. Have seen it about three times, and loved it each time.

    • January 31, 2014 8:23 am

      Thanks, man! SO glad to see some love for Muscle Shoals. That one was totally unexpected, had never even heard of The Muscle Shoals Sound or Fame Studios before. That movie gave me chills, man. What a freakin’ story.

  3. January 31, 2014 3:52 am

    Great to Her so highly, man. Interesting list!

  4. January 31, 2014 3:58 am

    Great list! Plenty of awesome films and plenty I haven’t seen yet. Her hasn’t even come out here yet, can’t wait to see it!

    • January 31, 2014 8:29 am

      Thanks! Oh man, well now you’ve GOTTA see Her. Keep me posted when you do and it’s also worth mentioning that a handful of these are on Netflix Instant. So yeah, give ’em a look!

  5. January 31, 2014 4:27 am

    Great list! Still have to wait for her to be released much its been everywhere regarding top films! Blackfish was my favourite documentary, whilst I enjoyed the likes of the hobbit, gravity, you’re next (although the latter maybe wasn’t that good) good list! I’ve been reading throughout 🙂 Dallas Buyers Club was a good choice too, watched it a couple days ago and was impressed!

    • January 31, 2014 8:31 am

      Why thank you! Keep me posted once you check out Her, Blackfish was some super sad, eye-opening shit, and while You’re Next was great, I probably did like it more than most. And glad you liked DBC, that movie did a lot of things really well, man. Thanks for tuning in!

  6. January 31, 2014 5:48 am

    I like your picks. Made for a great list and nice to see you don’t follow the herd. Like that you like Before Midnight.

    • January 31, 2014 8:38 am

      Thanks! Before Midnight had been my No. 1 all year until I saw Her last weekend. Can’t wait for the next one in nine years.

  7. January 31, 2014 7:06 am

    Some outstanding movies in this part. A handful I like a lot less than you, but also some I too really enjoy (Mud, Her, etc). Great list.

    • January 31, 2014 8:37 am

      Thanks, man! And thanks for tuning in! We’ll always have Her and Mud…

      • January 31, 2014 8:42 am


        And we’ll just pretend you don’t have Before Midnight rated so highly. (Or that I don’t have it rated so poorly, whichever.) 🙂

      • January 31, 2014 8:47 am

        Hahaha. To each his own, but I’ll just pretend I didn’t read that.

  8. January 31, 2014 7:45 am

    Worthy number one. Great list, man.

  9. Terry M. permalink
    January 31, 2014 7:48 am

    Nice list. But I have to ask…what is it about Gravity that’s worth seeing? I just keep envisioning Cast Away and Tom Hanks talking to Wilson…lol. Please tell me there is more to it than that?

    • January 31, 2014 8:36 am

      Haha. There’s definitely more to it, but it’s one of those movies that’s a lot more effective on the big screen. Worth checking it out, the hype is warranted.

  10. January 31, 2014 8:49 am

    Nice list man. I loved Her as well, and I feel it should win the Best Picture if it weren’t for 12 Years. Got a review blog now, check it here if you like

    • January 31, 2014 8:51 am

      Thanks! You called it for Best Picture, would be surprised if it played out differently. And thanks for the heads up, will stop on by.

  11. January 31, 2014 9:36 am

    Nice list! I cannot wait to see Her 😀

  12. January 31, 2014 2:59 pm

    2 4 5 10 11 13 14 18

    Those are the ones I agree with you on 100%. Amazingly I haven’t seen any of the rest. That kind of agreement, I really need to stop here more often and also see “Her”. I didn’t think it’d be so great.

    So glad to see I’m not the only one who put Man of Steel on my list for best of the year. That was such a polarizing one!

    Envoyé de mon iPhone


    • January 31, 2014 3:02 pm

      Tell me about it! I had to defend that sucker to the teeth last summer. Glad we’re on the same page here. We gotta stick together, man.

      Definitely check out Her. If we’re on the same page thus far, something tells me it won’t disappoint. Thanks for stopping by!

  13. January 31, 2014 5:58 pm

    I KNEW IT! I KNEW IT! I KNEW IT! I knew as soon as you saw Her, that it’d be your baby, man! I loved it too, and it’s funny, we have the same two top picks, but switched around. Great minds think alike, eh? Anyway, this has been great, Aiden. Keep up the good work and hope to see some more reviews from you in the near future because it’s been too long, bro!

  14. February 1, 2014 4:24 am

    Reblogged this on melissafergusson.

  15. February 1, 2014 10:03 pm

    Totally agree with Her being number one such an amazing movie. So much better than I had excepted. A real masterpiece.

  16. February 5, 2014 11:28 am

    I agree her was a damned good film. Mind you, we didn’t get it until 2014 in the UK so it didn’t make my 2013 list.

  17. February 7, 2014 5:03 pm

    Well, look who finally reappeared! Where the fanarkeling hell have you been, sport?

  18. lukepiazzon permalink
    February 8, 2014 9:08 am

    Great post! Very interesting seeing where you put some of the films

  19. March 1, 2014 6:00 pm

    Yes! Finally someone giving Act of Killing and Before Midnight some coverage! Both utterly different but equally fantastic films, first one especially needs to be seen by all. But wouldn’t you want a more generic list of Oscar nominee reviews with some cringey attempts at comedy shoehorned in? Well then give my blog a visit.

  20. March 24, 2014 2:44 am

    Totally agree with you about Her. Loved it. Unlike anything I’ve seen in awhile.

  21. April 8, 2014 1:53 am

    Cool list by ctmr, i have to check some movies now…….

  22. April 8, 2014 4:40 pm

    Overall, this is a great mix of different genres of movies. Great job on putting that together.

  23. April 9, 2014 3:01 pm

    Wow ! It’s a very nice recap of the best movies of 2013 ! I have to check some movies in your list 😉
    Thank you 😉
    I also offer recap of movies and series 😉
    Good luck for the next :p

  24. June 22, 2014 2:39 am

    Her is number 1. A valid rank because the movie was strong and original in story .

  25. July 13, 2014 5:12 pm

    Totally agree on Her. It was, in a word, stunning.

  26. July 22, 2014 11:09 am

    It’s been half a year since you have post, please update soon

  27. grogwarne permalink
    July 31, 2014 3:10 pm

    Great list. Her was so amazing

  28. November 29, 2014 5:26 pm

    Yes, yes, yes. Her, Before Midnight, and The Act of Killing is a brilliant top three. Can’t agree on Man of Steel, but good for you for sticking with it.

  29. Hacky permalink
    February 6, 2015 6:21 pm

    So I guess this blog died, then? That’s too bad, as I really enjoyed your take on movies. I would have loved to read your Interstellar review. Please come back when convenient 😀


  1. The History of Future Folk (2013) – What the Hell Should I Watch on Netflix?

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