10. Prisoners | Denis Villeneuve
Alright, my number 10 spot is going to the most underrated movie of the year, Prisoners. Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman are amazing and the movie is a real thriller. The situation feels real and is something that nobody wants to see happen, but Prisoners builds up and eventually bursts into a great ending. I think that this movie deserves more praise than it received, and Denis Villeneuve did a fantastic job directing this film. ό
9. Gravity | Alfonso Cuarόn
Seeing Gravity was definitely the best in theater experience I had in 2013. Seeing this movie in IMAX 3D was a really smart choice, because the entire thing is a visual spectacle. Sandra Bullock was good, but definitely didn’t give a mind blowing performance. For me, this movie was all about the visuals, and the reason it makes my top 10 is because Alfonso Cuarόn is a master at pushing the extremes of visual spaces in movies. With Children of Men, he delivered a very clustered and cramped space, yet was able to tackle the exact opposite with Gravity.
8. The Wolf of Wall Street | Martin Scorsese
The Wolf of Wall Street was probably the first motion picture that I’ve struggled so hard to not flip flop my opinion on, but there are just so many things that I hate and love about the film, which is why it lands so low on my list. Initially, I was very disappointed after walking out of the theater because I felt that the film was laced with too much sex, drug use, and unexpected comedy to get the point across; I just didn’t enjoy how likable they made Belfort seem. However, once I got over my feelings of expectation from a DiCaprio and Scorsese movie, I was able to enjoy TWoWS for what it was, an wild but enjoyable story that is depicting how messed up Wall Street is. Leo killed it, per usual, and Scorsese did a good job with directing, but in the end, to me, The Wolf of Wall Street could have been a great 2 hour movie rather than the good 3 hour version we received.
7. Nebraska | Alexander Payne
Nebraska was, for me, the most pleasantly surprising film that I saw in 2013. I didn’t know too much about the movie going in, but purposefully kept it like that on purpose. Nebraska was a really lovable and charming story about an old man’s last stand to prove something of himself before his time on the Earth is over. Bruce Dern was very good in his role as Woody, but I thought Will Forte and June Squibb were amazing. Nebraska was just a well-planned tale that brought together a great cast and displayed a very touching father-son story for many people to enjoy.
6. The Spectacular Now | James Ponsoldt
Sadly, I wasn’t aware that this movie was adapted from a book, which would have been nice to read before I saw the film. However, this really blew me away. I loved this movie a lot and thought it was a very realistic depiction of high school culture. In this coming of age story, Sutter (Miles Teller) is an alcoholic high school senior who has his life changed after getting to know Aimee (Shailene Woodley). This movie was really romantic and passionate, I thought that Miles Teller was fantastic and definitely put him on my radar going forward, while Shailene was also good yet again. The Spectacular Now had my heart aching, but left me feeling happy and very satisfied by the end.
5. Mud | Jeff Nichols
This year Matthew McConaughey has been the talk of the town. He has a chance to win the Oscar for his phenomenal performance in Dallas Buyers Club, but for me, the McConaughey movie of the year was Mud. This movie has a super creative story with a mysterious tone, all set in Arkansas. The two kids; Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland, were awesome as Ellis and Neckbone. Everything seems like a dream, these kids experience the adventure of a lifetime when they meet Mud, played by McConaughey, who seems somewhat fictional, himself. Mud can be enjoyable for many people, and it has this great storytelling aspect that almost makes it like a fairytale.
4. American Hustle | David O. Russell
American Hustle is another hit for director David O. Russell. Combining members of his previous Oscar nominated films, American Hustle had an all-star cast featuring Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jeremy Renner. Taking place in the early 1980s, two con artists get involved with a crazy FBI agent who eventually gets them all involved with the mafia. This movie was just an awesome story with power shifts, manipulation, and about the art of survival. American Hustle was one of, if not, the most fun movie of the year; the entire cast killed it, the plot was intriguing, and there was a surprising amount of comedy. American Hustle just seemed to have it all and was definitely one of the year’s best.
3. Rush | Ron Howard
I feel like Rush was one of the more underrated movies to come out this year. It was a fantastic film that covers the rivalry of two F1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Chris Hemsworth (Thor!) plays Hunt while Daniel Bruhl (Inglorious Basterds) portrays Lauda. The best part about this movie was that I felt like it covered three stories; Hunt’s life, Lauda’s life, and their shared time racing. Like a Venn diagram. Really though, Rush was paced very well and really gives a look into the lives of these drivers. Hunt drives with instinct while Lauda drives with technique; two opposites with a shared passion that evolves their rivalry into respect.
2. Inside Llewyn Davis | The Coen Brothers
When I first saw this movie, it finished, and I wasn’t blown away. I immediately loved the folk music, and thought it was a very well-crafted film, but for some reason it just didn’t initially wow me. However, after not being able to stop singing the songs and recalling numerous parts of the film and their significance. Yes, this is a melancholy tale, but Oscar Isaac is fantastic, and the Coen’s deliver another great movie. Inside Llewyn Davis is a beautiful tragedy that has a wonderful soundtrack and has plenty of depth.
1. Her | Spike Jonze
Her easily grabbed the #1 spot on my top 10 movies of this year because of how full it was. The movie was creative and futuristic, which is always a bonus for me, and was able to display a massive range of emotions, delivered through many real life situations. Spike Jonez really creates a unique setting that is the most realistic future I’ve seen to date. I also was blown away by Joaquin Phoenix and the fact that the majority of the movie depended on up close views of his face. He really nailed the emotional expressions and drove the movie. Her Just had everything I was looking for in a film and really just hit home.
Honorable Mentions: Dallas Buyers Club, 12 Years a Slave, The Way Way Back, All is Lost, This is the End, Fruitvale Station, Before Midnight, The World’s End
Well, there it is, my top 10 movies from 2013. There were so many movies this year that are top 10 worthy, but this list is what caught my attention and can be considered my favorite of the year. Hope you all enjoyed the post, and be on the look out for Ryan and Chris’s top 10 lists coming out soon as well!