The Best Movies of 2013: #20 – #1
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.