Here (IMHO) are the ten best films of 2013. Having said that, I wanted to include an assortment of genres among the obvious Oscar bait – genres such as comedies and blockbusters. So could I have probably found a “better” movie than my number 10 choice? Yes, probably – and that’s why Her is missing from this list. However, these are the best movies of 2013 taking diversity into account.
10) The Hangover Part III
I’ll probably catch some flak for this one as I seem to be in the minority, but I thoroughly enjoyed the final chapter in The Hangover series. It was the darkest entry yet – working as both a comedy and a thriller – almost what you’d get if The Coen Brothers and Farrelly Brothers ever collaborated on a movie.
9) Spring Breakers
Although headlined by Disney Channel starlets like Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens – anyone familiar with the work of irreverent writer/director Harmony Korine will know not to expect a cute and fluffy movie about girl pals going on vacation. This is a warped, pitch black comedy/drama that is hilarious and disturbing in equal measure. It also features what is perhaps the best and weirdest performance that James Franco has ever given as a rapper/drug dealer named Alien – a role worthy of a Best Supporting Actor nomination.
8) Iron Man 3
The best blockbuster of Summer 2013, not to mention the best Iron Man outing to date. Sometimes all you can ask for is a fun time at the movies and this ridiculously entertaining action extravaganza delivers. It succeeds on all fronts – being a legitimate superhero movie, all the while comedically toying with the genre.
7) Inside Llewyn Davis
After immediately exiting the theater I wasn’t so sure how I felt about the Coen Brothers’ new film about a singer struggling in the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Then the film sunk in and I couldn’t shake it. Like most of the Coen’s work – Llewyn Davis is somewhat disconcerting on a first viewing but will most likely get better and better with repeated viewings. That’s not something that can be said of most films – Llewyn Davis is wonderfully original, weird and smart in only a way which the Coen Brother’s could have delivered.
6) Mr. Nobody
Apropos of the title, almost nobody has seen this undiscovered gem, let alone heard of it. Filmed in 2009, this $50 million dollar sci-fi drama has to be the most expensive indie of all time. Jared Leto is fantastic in the title role, playing the main character from his early 20’s to his early 100’s. Emotionally driven, allegorical, complex and fantastically entertaining – it’s a little bit Cloud Atlas, a little bit Benjamin Button and a touch of Blade Runner thrown in for good measure.
5) The Place Beyond the Pines
This is one of the most interestingly structured film in quite some time. Each act follows a different character and a seemingly different, yet related storyline, with all of it coming together beautifully in the end. Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper lead a strong cast in this original and powerful drama.
4) 12 Years a Slave
This might have been higher on my list, but it has to stay at number four if only for the fact that I never want to see it again. This is a superb piece of filmmaking but also incredibly difficult and harrowing to watch. With exquisite acting and directing, 12 Years a Slave is first-rate on so many levels in addition to telling a fascinating, yet appalling story.
3) This is the End
Mixing celebrity satire and non-stop laughs, all the while working as a legitimate horror/action/disaster movie, this is both the best comedy of the year and one of the most outrageous ones ever released by a major studio. This is the End is incredibly ballsy, original and refreshing – and even finds the time to infuse some heart and a nice message amidst all of its craziness.
2) The Wolf of Wall Street
Immensely entertaining and utterly enjoyable, Martin Scorsese proves yet again to be a master filmmaker – probably the best to ever handle the crime genre, now having delivered a crime comedy as opposed to his usual crime thrillers/dramas. The 71-year-old Scorsese is still at the top of his game having crafted a film with a zest and energy that puts his younger counterparts to shame. Stunningly acted, written and directed and a reminder of just how good a time at the movies can be.
1) American Hustle
It came down to this and Wolf for the number one spot and I almost considered switching them – but at the end of the day this one just resonated with me more. American Hustle fires on all cylinders with impressively stylistic direction, a consistently clever screenplay and the best ensemble acting in quite some time. It’s the type of engrossing and enthralling film that you’ll want to revisit for years to come and yes – the best movie of the year!