Posted by: ckckred | March 8, 2014

The 10 Best Movies of 2013


2013 started out with a whimper and for a long time it looked as if it could be the worst year for movies since 2000.  But in the last fourth of the year, directors and studio executives unleashed their most ambitious and boldest works, turning 2013 into being a strong time for cinema.  Below are my ten favorite films of the past year.

10. Blue is the Warmest Color/Computer Chess/Mud/To The Wonder/Upstream Color

There were so many great movies in 2013 that I decided to tie five films for tenth place. While none of these pictures is flawless, all break off from conventional storytelling to deliver daring, heart-wrenching, or aspiring tales, a commendable feat in my opinion (and yes, I do realize a few of these movies may get me some heat from fellow bloggers).

9. The Great Beauty

An ode to Federico Fellini, The Great Beauty contemplates over the bleak position of Rome told through an aging author unable to accept the passing the time.  The picture is miraculous and surreal portrait that won this year’s Best Foreign Film at the Oscars.

8. Nebraska

Alexander Payne moves from the Hawaiian beaches to the Great Plains, yet Nebraska shares The Descendants’ keen perception of a dysfunctional family.  Filmed in beautiful black and white cinematography, Nebraska feels nostalgic in its viewpoint and like Bruce Springsteen’s album of the same name is melancholic and harmonious of an older generation.

7. The World’s End

Edgar Wright’s comedy may be the outlier on my list, but it’s one of the year’s best pleasures and the strongest of the Cornetto trilogy.  Like its predecessors Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, The World’s End mixes genres but also adds a lot of heart and maturity, providing emotional subtext that’s rare in most comedies today.

6. The Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese’s wild comic romp is certainly one of the most controversial pictures of the year with some critics accusing the director of glamorizing the subject matters.  No matter which way you look, there’s no denying that Scorsese hasn’t lost his edge and this is most energetic picture since GoodFellas.

5. 12 Years a Slave

This harrowing drama could have had the same fate that hit other movies about race (Driving Miss Daisy, The Help), but director Steve McQueen avoids dipping in unabashed sentimentality, instead preferring a brutally real depiction of slavery.  12 Years A Slave is hard to sit through but it’s an experience I shall not forget anytime soon.

4. The Past

While I wouldn’t call Asghar Farhadi’s The Past underrated as it has received positive reviews overall, it’s been overlooked by audiences and award shows overall.  Which is a shame because The Past is a deep and intricate family drama that’s almost as good as A Separation and marks Farhadi as a major talent.

3. Before Midnight

The finale of Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy features Jesse and Celine entering their early forties, though they’re still the same people we first met back in 1995.  Their love is put to the test in Before Midnight, featuring a heart tugging third act that feels completely real and horrifying.  The beauty that Linklater achieved with his three movies shows that he’s one of today’s most overlooked and underappreciated filmmakers.

2. Inside Llewyn Davis

Much like Larry Gopnik of A Serious Man, Llewyn Davis is an unlucky guy who goes from misfortune to misfortune.  But unlike Larry, Llewyn’s ill fate is due to his unsympathetic nature, showing the difficulty of maintaining artistic integrity in the marketplace.  Joel and Ethan Coen’s masterful Inside Llewyn Davis is a poignant statement that reaches deeply in their heart and their strongest movie since No Country For Old Men.

1. her

Since Being John Malkovich, Spike Jonze has demonstrated an interest in emotionally frail characters searching for meaning in their lives.  her is Jonze’s finest accomplishment that successfully combines sci-fi with romance.  Equal parts a commentary of contemporary technology as it is about love, her is funny and tragic, ending on an ambiguous note that is either a bleak or hopeful look at protagonist Theodore’s future.  Whatever the case, her is the best movie of 2013.


  1. Great list, man. So glad to see Her as your #1. It was the best film of year for me too. I’ve yet see The Past, The Great Beauty and Blue Is The Warmest Colour. I’ll be checking them out when I can.

    • Thanks! It was difficult to make this list but her stood out the most as the year’s best picture. The Past is excellent and The Great Beauty and Blue is the Warmest Color are good as well.

  2. Nice list! There are several here which I haven’t managed to see unfortunately.

    • Thanks! I recommend them all, 2013 was a very good year.

  3. Really strong list mate. Some brilliant films there and good to see Her at the top. Plenty I haven’t seen here though, so I’ve got some catching up to do!

    • Thanks! All of these are great pictures.

  4. What an excellent selection, lots of my favourites! Love that Her won out over the rest. Time to watch Linklater’s trilogy methinks.

    • Thanks! The Jesse and Celine trilogy is really great. The third’s my favorite but all are strong movies.

  5. This is a great list. I wasn’t a fan of Before Midnight, and I don’t quite agree with the positive buzz for The Great Beauty, but otherwise everything here is quality filmmaking (at least of those I’ve seen – I still need to catch Computer Chess and The Past).

    Anyway, great work!

    • Thanks! Definitely try seeing The Past and Computer Chess (the latter you can see on Hulu).

      • I have Computer Chess queued in Netflix actually. Just haven’t set aside time for it quite yet. And The Past is on my “have to see that” list, once it becomes available.

  6. Fun list to read my friend. For me Her and Before Midnight were disappointments. Loved Nebraska and Llewyn Davis. Great to see Mud, Upstream, and To the Wonder get a mention as well. I think you and I are two of the only people who really championed To the Wonder.

    • Thanks! Yeah, few people really talked about To The Wonder, which was a shame because I think it’s one of the most existential movies of the year. Really under-appreciated.

  7. Nice list of movies. I plan to see The Past very soon because I did enjoy a Seperation. Inside Llewyn Davis was a tough one for me to get through because the main character was not very likable or interesting. Before Midnight was one of the best sequels of the year and Im glad that Her got your top spot.

    • Thanks! I was very lucky to be able to see The Pact in theaters. Glad you enjoyed her and Before Midnight as well.

  8. Yay to find The World’s End on a Best of… list. Wonderful collection, ckckred.

    • Thanks! Best comedy of 2013.

  9. A lot I haven’t seen, as we tend to get many titles late here in the UK. Must see the Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davies and hearing many good things about Blue Is The Warmest Colour. Great list!

    • Thanks! Llewyn Davis is great and a close second to her. Blue is the Warmest Color is strong as well.

  10. Love that Inside Llewyn Davis is so high on this list, can’t believe it got snubbed at the Oscars, such tripe! Excellent post :).

    • Thanks! Llewyn Davis was unfairly ignored by the Oscars, I think Isaac’s performance was the best of the year.

  11. Where is Gravity?

    • I really liked Gravity on my initial viewing but after seeing it again it didn’t live up to my original thoughts.

  12. Very fair list buddy. Each entry is nicely argued and it’s great to see so many of my favourites in there.

    • Thanks! There were a lot of good films in 2013.

  13. Brilliant list. It was great to see The World’s End in there. A great an underrated fin in my opinion. It’s also great to see Mud there I feel people have forgotten about that film.

    • Thanks! Mud hasn’t been getting enough credit as it should, which is unfortunate since it’s one of the year’s best.

  14. Great list, I’ve seen 5 out of your top 6 and all of them are very worthy picks! Her is my personal fave too.

    • Thanks! Can’t go wrong with her.

  15. I have absolutely no complaints with Her ranking in your number1 spot; it came in at number3 for me, and it surpassed all my expectations along the way. Nice list here…2013 was a VERY slow start, and 2014 is rocking on the same boat it seems…

    • Thanks! 2013 really improved within the last few months of the year. The schedule for 2014 looks pretty strong as I’m eager for the releases of Inherent Vice and Malick’s newest film.

  16. That’s a good looking group 😀

  17. Some strong picks here. Nice to see Blue is the Warmest Color and Mud just make the cut, too. Good stuff. 🙂

    • Thanks! I liked Blue is the Warmest Color more in retrospect and Mud’s pretty solid as well.

  18. Fantastic list here!

  19. Nice List!! I very much appreciate Gravity not being on there. I have not see al these films, but totally agree with nebraska, Wolf on wall street, Her and 12 years a slave being on there 🙂

    • Thanks! I really enjoyed Gravity on an initial viewing but after a while found it a bit overrated. Wasn’t in the same league as her or 12 Years A Slave.

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