December is a wonderful time of year, filled with holiday cheer, delicate snowflakes, warm nights next to crackling fireplaces and, my favorite, best-of lists. And looking back on 2013, I had my work cut out for me. It has been a truly fantastic year for cinema.
Sure, things started off slow with a certain amount of the typical drivel throughout January, February and March, but even then, Hollywood mixed in some truly interesting and compelling films. You won’t see Park Chan-wook’s deliciously sinister Stoker, Steven Soderbergh’s hair-raising psychological thriller Side Effects or Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl’s excellent doc Sound City here, but in a weaker year, all three could have easily made the cut.
As 2013 progressed and summer set in, cinema picked up steam with a sprinkling of surprisingly good blockbusters (The Great Gatsby, Fast & Furious 6) and smart, character-driven indies (The Kings of Summer, Drinking Buddies). Nothing, however, could have prepared me for this fall, throughout which studios dished out countless terrific films in each and every genre, so many that this critic kept waiting anxiously for the other shoe to drop. But, do you know what? It never did. 2013 has been a year packed with a range of high-quality films. I don’t envy the Academy this year – whatever they choose, there will be many critics who’ll loudly decry their picks and point to various other deserving actors, actresses and filmmakers.
Coming up with a top 10 list this year was tricky, but I’m happy with my picks. I can’t claim to have seen every movie that came out this year – Captain Phillips, Rush, American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street all evaded me. That said, my hope in constructing this top 10 list is that readers will uncover some hidden gems, take a closer look at some of the more popular picks and gain a broader picture of what cinema looked like in 2013 as a whole.
Some excellent films that didn’t quite make the cut:
20. The Great Gatsby
18. Fast & Furious 6
17. Side Effects
16. Only God Forgives
15. Drinking Buddies
14. Sound City
13. Pacific Rim
11. The Kings of Summer
And now to the list! Happy reading!