As usual, I am always way behind on posting my top 10 list. I always want to make sure and see all the movie that I was most anticipating and because of obstacles such as limited releases, I usually never get to making my list until March. Hey look…it’s March! Though my top 10 hasn’t changed since probably December, I was still too lazy to put it up. As usual, these are my favorites of the year, not what I necessarily think were the best. If you would like to see all the movies I saw in 2013 ranked in order of favorite to least, you can look here: http://letterboxd.com/fitzgeraldgrant/list/2013-ranked/
10. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
No one could be more surprised than me that this made it into my top 10. With such a great year as 2013, I expected this to be nowhere near my top favorite. What Catching Fire did better than the first film was telling an emotionally engaging story that helped me really love, understand, and feel for the characters. The first film left me emotionally unattached, which was it’s downfall in the end. The new direction by Frances Lawrence worked much better for me in terms of storytelling and visual style. Though I loved this movie, it doesn’t make me anymore excited for the terrible third book being made in two parts, but I will be interested to see if they will be able to make an intriguing film out of a first half of a book where almost nothing happens.
9. Saving Mr. Banks
This was one of my most anticipated films from last year. I was especially intrigued to be told the story behind the making of Mary Poppins, one of Walt Disney Pictures’ best films. What Saving Mr. Banks did was tell an emotionally engaging story about art, life, and fantasy. There was a great spiritual presence that my mom and I found very appealing. The story of P.L. Travers travels from London to Hollywood is both comic and sad. We really get to dig deep into both her and Walt Disney’s psyche.
No film made me think more this year than Spring Breakers. So many form 2013 hit on the theme of the American Dream, (The Bling Ring, The Wolf of Wallstreet, This is the End, etc.), but I found Spring Breakers to be the essential film pushing this theme. I have written decently in depth about it in my review and on a recent re-watch over Spring Break, I found that it held up in every way. Everything from the colors to what I believe is wonderful acting by James Franco as Alien and even what I thought was a surprisingly fascinating performance by Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson. It even had one of my favorite shots of the year. The truck perspective tracking shot of the diners robbery. Spring Breakers is truly a fascinating film and there is no doubt that I will be watching this one at least once a year. Spring Break Forever.
7. Before Midnight
The Before Trilogy snuck its way into my heart in late summer of 2013 when I watched the first two films (Before Sunrise and Before Sunset) with my girlfriend. I found them both to be fabulously written and shot films about relationships. Before Midnight continued this same conversation style of storytelling. Each film has been about this couple in certain periods of there lives, none seemed more true this third film. It touched on some hard emotional subjects that many couples would face during this time of their relationship. Though Before Sunrise is my favorite (Right Now) I can see my favorite changing over time as I grow to understand and become more in tune with how this fictional couple act and react in each film.
6. The Place Beyond the Pines
Watching a movie with a great group of people can often make the film/experience that much better. This was definitely the case when I saw The Place Beyond the Pines with some truly passionate film lovers. The discussion I had about The Place Beyond the Pines was the best I had from 2013. We stood outside the theater for 15 minutes touching on anything related to the film we could. On the half hour ride home we continued to talk about how deep, and beautiful it was. The Place Beyond the Pines had a lot of mixed responses, many liking only the first third or 2/3 of the film. But I thought it was a near masterpiece as a whole.
I thought Her was a tremendous accomplishment, one of the undisputed best of the year. Sadly the row of girls behind me thought differently, laughing and scoffing almost non stop from start to finish. I was appalled at their reaction to such a beautiful and timely film as this. What they thought was utter nonsense, I saw a reflection of life as we know it. Maybe someday they will come to realize it. Her is an exceptionally written, acting, and photographed sci-fi romance drama. One of the best of 2013.
4. 12 Years A Slave
12 Years A Slave deserves it’s Best Picture win. Though I was rooting for Gravity and wished it had won, I think it is great they they honored such a well crafted film. I believe that it will be seen as the essential film on slavery from here on out. Until this time, I don’t believe we have ever seen such a humbling and truthful telling of this terrible time in history. Not only is it successful in terms of historical film making but it terms of its craft. This had three of my favorite performances of the year as well my a number of my top cinematic shots of 2013. 12 Years A Slave deserves all the credit it has earned.
3. Short Term 12
Isn’t it interesting that two movies with the number 12 made it into my top 10? Short Term 12 is one of the most emotionally taxing films of the year, (This The Spectacular Now and 12 Years). I fell in love with all the characters in this film. I had never heard of foster communities like this before and was completely engrossed by how the worked and operated in this film. Short Term 12 was one of the most acclaimed of the year, but sadly by the time the year came to a close, I felt that it was sorely forgotten. How the main character Grace lives and learns through these foster children is beautifully written and acted. Short Term 12 is a diamond in the rough.
Gravity was the cinematic event of the year. If there was one movie you had to see in your local theater or IMAX, this was it. I can honestly say was the best experience I have ever had in the cinema. I feel terribly for all the people who will be watching this for the first time at home on there little 32inch TVs. Please, please, please, hold off watching it until you can project or watch it on something around 60inches or bigger.
There was not one thing I didn’t love about this film, The cinematography was mind blowing, the Special Effects were engrossing, Sandra Bullock gave the best performance of her career in her emotionally and physically draining role. Did I mention the score or that fetus shot? Oh, and did I mention that Clooney in space is my favorite thing ever.
1. The Spectacular Now
To get an adequate telling of how much i loved this movie you should read my review. But I will say this, The Spectacular Now grabbed my by the heart, ran away with it, and never looked back.