Now that we have put a close to 2013 and rung in the new year with parties, drinks, McDonalds, other things that probably weren’t public health, I can reflect on all 102 movies I watched for the first time ever this year and filter out the ones that were solely released in 2013. Then I can filter out a top 10 list of those 2013 movies. Now please bare in mind that A) I did not see every single movie that came out in 2013. I am just playing with what I’ve got. Don’t yell at me because I didn’t see Pacific Rim or The Smurfs 2; and B) This is completely biased and just because I think it does not mean it is necessarily right. It’s all opinion from here on out.
So without further adieu, here are my top 10 films of 2013:
10. The Conjuring
I’ve never been a fan of horror films but this one took my by surprise. It was written and shot very well and did not play off like any normal horror film with a bunch of teenagers having an orgy in the woods before they get sliced and diced by a masked man thought to be dead after they bullied him in 4th grade and caused him to kill his whole family and then light his house on fire only to be spared by the powers to be to haunt said bullies and other bullies ’till the end of days (Imagine that was all said in one breath).
9. The Place Beyond the Pines
This movie came out early last year so people kind of forgot about it except for me and my three friends who quote it nonstop. The movie is split into three parts and plays off the whole, “Sins of our fathers,” ordeal. Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper are great in this movie and there are a lot of connections that can be made between characters and audience.
8. Monsters University
Pixar lost a step in the past few years with movies like Cars 2 and Brave, but I felt like they really came back to form with Monsters University. I just went through a year of college so I got what a lot of these characters felt in this movie. Pixar has always been about succeeding and finding a happy ending; but this one is different. It tells you that you are destined to fail at somethings in life, and that you should not dwell on that because it is perfectly fine. Billy Crystal and John Goodman bring back the essence of Mike and Sully, and despite not necessarily living up to the first one, it still warms your heart to see these characters on the silver screen one more time.
Not as much of an impact as Neill Blomkamp’s first take on sci-fi, District 9 (2009), but certainly entertaining nonetheless. The action is abundant and the special effects are great. Sharlto Copley kills it in this movie and I commend him for playing basically the exact opposite of his character in District 9. The plot is one of your generic, “Everyone is equal,” kind of plots; but with a sci-fi spin to it, you can’t help but appreciate the efforts of Blomkamp, who wrote the film as well.
6. Star Trek into Darkness
I didn’t think JJ Abrams was gonna be able to top the first Star Trek movie he directed back in 2009; and I could not be any happier to say I was wrong. From the opening scene in the volcano down to the last chase between Spock and John Harrison (played BRILLIANTLY by Benedict Cumberbatch). The special effects are outstanding and the sound mixing I feel should see some love when nominations come out. I only hope that Abrams takes the magic he brought to this franchise and brings it to Star Wars Episode VII (2015).
5. 12 Years a Slave
I didn’t think this movie would make it that high on my list but the more I thought about it, the higher I placed it. By far the most depressing movie of the year, 12 Years a Slave is a very difficult watch. Between the torture, the shattered dreams, the false accusations that don’t see justice, to even just the facial expressions of the very talented Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender. I give Fassbender props for playing arguably the most evil character of 2013. Director Steve McQueen certainly outdid himself this year and has even inspired me to view more of his work.
4. Dallas Buyers Club
Another relatively sad movie but not nearly as sad as 12 Years a Slave. Matthew McConaughey gives a powerful performance as the homophobic HIV victim, Ron Woodroof. Jared Leto will most assuredly get a nomination for supporting actor and in all likelihood, win. You try playing a transvestite as well as he did, I dare you. This was certainly the year of McConaughey’s career and also the year I figured out how to spell his name right without looking on IMDB.
3. Don Jon
I have been excited for this movie ever since I discovered the idea of Joseph Gordon Levitt movie to the director’s chair. The story is one that any man can relate to (Spoiler: It’s about porn), and despite writing and directing it, JGL still gives a great performance as a typical New Jersey Italian. Scarlett Johanson is still as beautiful as ever despite my hating her character by the end of the movie; and Tony Danza gives as good a performance of an Italian father from Jersey as JGL gives of his son. The editing style is new and original as well. All in all, the movie screams, “This is my directorial debut,” but regardless, it’s a fun time. Kudos, Mr. Levitt.
It just goes to show how film authorship can go a long way to get people to see movies these days. When I first heard about Gravity, I thought to myself, “That sounds dumb, who would see that?” Then my buddy told me, “Oh but Alfonso Cuarón directed it!” (Director of Children of Men (2006)). Now I’m thinking, “Oh never mind, it’s gonna be great! Let’s go see it!” The opening shot of this movie is about 11 and a half minutes long and it not only sets the tone for the movie, but already has you gripping your seat. It’s a great survival movie and the technical achievement of the year. The sound editing and sound mixing is remarkable and even the performances from Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are of note. There really is nothing scarier than the thought of being lost in space… Of being lost in nothingness.
1. The Wolf of Wall Street
Hands down, it wasn’t even a question that this was going to be my number 1 pick. I could have told you in January of last year it was going to be my number one. Leonardo DiCaprio gives the performance of his life as stock market mastermind, Jordan Belfort. Martin Scorsese is still one of my favorite directors of all time and this was, in my opinion, his second best movie yet, behind The Departed (2006). Jonah Hill gives his best performance yet and now I’m torn between him and Leto for best supporting actor. I’m honestly leaning towards Leto but that’s besides the point. Hill is amazing in this movie and I’ve never seen him own a role like he did this one. Even the minor roles played by Matthew McConaughey and Kyle Chandler are of note here. The writing and dialogue are as quotable as any Scorsese picture, and there are probably more drugs in this movie than there have been in all of Hollywood in the past five years. It was the fast three hours of my life and as of now, I’m pushing for it to win Best Picture.
So there it is. I’m still looking forward to seeing other potential Oscar contenders such as Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, and Nebraska. Who knows, maybe those movies and others would have been on this list, maybe they wouldn’t. Anyway, if you wanna critique me on my choices, feel free to comment below or shoot me an email. If you don’t know my email, feel free to browse the website for the “Contact us” page and you can find it there.