The Top 10 Films Of 2013 So Far

Iron Man 3 We Got This Covered Review

By and large, 2013 has been a middling year for cinema. The first four months of the year offered exceptionally little in the way of truly interesting or compelling commercially-released content, instead delivering a long string of uninspired, unengaging material that, while rarely awful, only occasionally piqued my interest. I found myself skipping a lot more films than I normally would, in part because I was busy working on other projects, and in part because what Hollywood had to offer seemed almost aggressively dull.

Since May, though, the year seems to have turned a corner, and while the number of new films I outright ‘love’ remains limited, there have been a healthy number of movies I like, sometimes very much. And even in the midst of those early months of tedium, there were some real gems, often unexpected, that are absolutely worth mentioning.

Now that we have entered July and passed the halfway point of the year, it seems appropriate to reflect, as I did last summer, on the Top 10 Films of 2013 So Far. This was a much easier exercise to undertake in 2012, where I opened my mid-year Top 10 list by declaring 2012 “a fantastic year for movies,” and explaining that “never has my job been so enjoyable as it has been over the past six months.” That is not true this time around, but there are definitely 10 films I feel comfortable putting on this list, with a small number of honorable mentions to boot.

As always with this sort of list, some basic rules apply: I have to have actually seen the films in question, meaning that although there are several movies I have been kicking myself for missing (Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha comes immediately to mind, for instance), I obviously cannot include them on this list. I apologize if the countdown seems incomplete without them. This only reflects my personal experiences with the films of 2013, and is based in my own personal tastes. If you disagree, more power to you – please share your thoughts in the comments, but be polite, both to me and, more importantly, your fellow commenters.

Other than that, enjoy this list, and look forward to the ‘Worst of 2013’ equivalent later this week…

Continue reading on the next page…

Comments (44)

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  1. Donte-Aro Voltaire McNealsays:

    Definitely spot on with these films. Wasn’t even thinking of Spring Breakers being on the list, but I’m intrigued. I’ll have to check it out.

  2. Sal Tiricosays:

    Jonathan..I’m so glad I finally found a movie reviewer who completely nailed it on Man of Steel. I’ve seen a wide range of films over the years and am usually a nitpickingly tough critic of the movies that I watch (especially huge block-busters with a lot of hype). I walked out of Man of Steel and my first thought was that I had just watched a masterpiece. I went home and started reading reviews and was dumbfounded that the vast majority of critics were upset with the film. (One critic suggested that Zack Snyder should stop making films). Even positive reviews were begrudgingly luke warm at best. The fact that the film is so divisive, and has struck a chord (positively and negatively) with so many people hints to this film getting more and more appreciation as the years go by and the dust settles.

    1. merwanorsays:

      I will never understand why people don’t like Snyder as a director, he has made some of my favorite movies. I even like Sucker Punch, as I at least understood the movie. He is by far the best at making awesome looking action, and Watchmen is my favorite super “hero” movie of all time.

      You just can’t please people anymore, it has become more popular to hate on movies than to like them.

      1. weaselstompingdaysays:

        Get the fuck off of the internet

      2. merwanorsays:

        Right back at you, typical rude internet hater.

      3. Chrissays:

        Thank you for enlightening our lives with your wisdom.

      4. Chrissays:

        Watchmen was understatedly awesome. I like that he didn’t allow the film to disintegrate into mindless action like most super hero blockbusters seem to default to.

      5. DiaperFacesays:

        Like Man of Steel did? I liked Watchmen a lot, and enjoyed 300. But Man of Steel was very flat.

    2. Mikey Taubersays:

      I’m assuming this post is sarcastic. Because no way can anyone think man of steel was a masterpiece. I mean if you did than I guess you flew over the cuckoo’s nest.

  3. David Kirkhamsays:

    No way is Man of Steel the best movie so far! Just no way.

  4. merwanorsays:

    I have not seen most of the films in this list, for instance Pacific Rim is not yet available in my country. But I do agree with Man of Steel to be one of this years best movies, far superior than the train wreck that is Iron Man 3, it should not even be on this list imo. At least change it to Star Trek into Darkness, which is my favorite movie this year so far.

  5. Ryansays:

    Don’t get me wrong, I like most of Snyder’s work. But I’m sorry, Man of Steel is not Superman. They failed to capture the character and dynamic that made Superman what he is, instead opting for an action flick with a caped super person (I can’t even call a hero).

    Not once did the character “Save” anyone who wasn’t involved in the plot some way. Millions die as he battles the robot thing in Asia, rain’s damage throughout Metropolis in a pissing contest with Zod, and then breaks Zod’s neck so he wouldn’t kill the family in the train station (The only day players Superman even actively saves).

    I’m sorry the visuals were fun, but the story was terrible…almost as bad as the Green Lantern. At least that movie gave you a feel for who the character and explored generic character development.

    1. Chrissays:

      “Not once did the character save anyone who wasn’t involved in the plot some way”? So in other words you didn’t even watch the first half of the film.

    2. Shadowkingsays:

      He saved the whole planet Ryan…in his first week on the job.

  6. Arisays:


  7. U_R_CRAZYsays:


    1. Chrissays:

      You mean the best of the films that make you feel nothing except frustration at what might have been.

      1. mr. waltsays:

        Says the pretentious film goer hipster.

  8. Chrissays:

    Man of Steel was, almost inexplicably, and certainly completely unexpectedly, one of the most emotionally moving films I’ve seen in a long, long time. I am baffled by the mixed reviews. I’ve never doubted Zack Snyder on a technical level, and indeed he sets what I feel are new benchmarks for visuals here, but he defied what I’ve long believed to be the downfall of his films. They just don’t really pull you in and make you feel anything. Never could that be less true. This film is poignant and so moving and I never for a second saw that coming. Great job Zack. My level of respect for you just leaped over several very tall buildings.

    I hope things in the wake of this movie play out much they way they did for Batman Begins. At first, people didn’t quite know what to make of that film, but looking back, Christopher Nolan really broke new ground and to a certain extent reinvented the genre. Oh and absolutely nailed the film. In every way, and perhaps in some ways Nolan himself never quite managed, I really feel like Snyder has pulled off the same feat here.

  9. kaystielsays:

    sorry, as an old school Superman fan, you can’t have a Superman that engages in gratuitous violence and kills people.

    1. rubenmezsays:

      If you really are a fan, you should know that superman has killed before.

  10. Pa Kent Says Maybesays:

    Man of Crap, Crap, Crap. Stupid crap.

  11. mr.waltsays:

    You seriously thought Iron Man 3 was better than Star Trek 2? Wow. Just wow. that’s like saying 4 day old underwear is still good to wear to the gym.

  12. Jorgesays:

    Man of steel? Seriously? The best movie so far? It´s wrong in soooooo many levels….

  13. Todd Jensensays:

    Wasn’t Star Trek Into Darkness released this year?

  14. BLuhsays:

    I thought Gatsby was fantastic, and by far the best rendition yet.

  15. Sam Silbertsays:


  16. Jackie Jormpjompsays:

    This is one hilarious article…….wait you’re serious. Eww.

  17. Momussays:

    Wait… is this some kind of guerrilla ad campaign for Man of Steel? There is no way I believe that anyone – I mean ANYONE – thinks Man of Steel is the best movie of the year.

    ..and I’m not getting how exactly “The Dark Knight” threw out and rewrote the rule-book. It was a good movie, and one of the better superhero movies, but it wasn’t exactly revolutionary. It’s main claim to fame was resurrecting the murdered corpse of DC comic book movies which no one thought was possible after “Batman and Robin”.

  18. Jamessays:

    Man of Steel was not that good. I don’t want to go nuts and say it was terrible, but in no reality–this or any other–could Man of Steel ever qualify is good. Of course the effects were impressive, but the writing and really the story were of elementary caliber. It’s a real shame they wasted so much money and talent on such a poorly put together film.

  19. trulysays:

    where… in the fuck… is… THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES.

  20. John Taylorsays:

    Man Of Steel and Pacific Rim numbers one and two. You aren’t serious? MOS totally sucked. From the almost black latex supersuit right through the sacript that was borrowed from the animated series pilot movie. No? Get a copy and check it out. Word-for-word, we get whole sacenes worth of dialog. Rim looked like some perverted version of the Transformers.

    1. softouchsays:

      Are you sure you even watched Pacific Rim to begin with?
      Bay’s Transformers can be poop in Pacific Rim.
      Pacific Rim is how Transformer SHOULD be, but COULDN’T!

    2. Dude Pacific Rim deserves to be on the TOP 1

    3. chasesays:

      John, do me a favor and watch an action sequence in Transformers and one from Pacific Rim. Now tell me how long the average shot is between cuts on each. Michael Bay couldnt hold a shot for longer than 2 seconds in transformers, making each fight look like a hunk of metal flying and hitting another hunk of metal. Where as, Del Toro actually knows how to shoot and cut an action sequence so the anticipation is built going into the battle, he holds a shot as a fist goes back and follows through so the impact is felt, you get long shots of the jaegers and kaiju flying across/through city skylines.

      Rim looked like what Bay should strive for with transformers

  21. Shit diclsays:

    Where was World War Z?

  22. raygun1834says:

    Bullshit, Star Trek Into Darkness and Elysium are even better movies than these ones. Iron Man 3 should have been in 1st place.

    1. chasesays:

      Elysium was beyond fucking moronic. So the wealthy on Elysium had those drop ships that could easily cure everyone on the fucking planet of every illness with a 1 minute scan, which werent notably expensive or difficult to use, and just didnt want to share them….

      District 9 had poignant commentary about apartheid and immigration, where both sides could be understood and there was logic and reason to the story and character motivations. Elysium decided to make the wealthy just evil for the sake of evil with no rationality for their way of living. Dumbest movie of the summer.

      Note: if the scanner can rebuild a human head from nothing, why not just keep cutting a cow in half and put it in 2 machines. World hunger solved, boom. They needed to give some/any reason as to why the health machines were a limited commodity

      And why would Iron Man 3 be the #1 movie, when the main genius character decides to destroy all of his suits, which defend/protect him, literally 30 seconds after they just proved how useful and important they were. What if one of the Extremis guys had survived and just emerged from the rubble right after he self destructed his only protection(outside of pepper, who really doesnt have a full understanding/control over her newly acquired extremis powers). Fucking moron, I know its a nice gesture for Pepper, but it was also a nice gesture to be able to use your many suits to SAVE HER LIFE.

  23. the kingsays:

    Whoever made this list is a fucking idiot. Spring breakers is the worst movie ever made. And for that to be above so many good titles and the great Gatsby not be in here? Haha what a joke

  24. Pacific Rim deserves to be on the TOP 1 ;00

  25. Nam Mansays:

    Man of Steel as #1? That is laughable in so many ways. Jonathan R. Lack, I will remember your name and avoid anything that you are associated with, because your opinion has lost all credibility in my mind.

  26. Brian Sleidersays:

    This should be titled “my favorite movies of 2013”. Also IM3 sucked.

  27. Spencer Ssays:

    Aside from #3, this is pretty much a list of the 10 most mainstream films of 2013.

  28. ninja surfboardsays:

    man of steel is the best movie for me not just for this year but for coming years also..if people doesnt satisfies their taste with the story arc of the man of steel why dont you guys do some movie of youre own and prove that you can do better movies/film than zack snyder.. people nowadays are just dumb and love to hate what others can possibly do.. all marvel superhero for me were so lame. poor character creation and story.. the movie avenger was fun to watch but not cool as batman and superman.. haters gonna hate Justice League will excel in all aspect of superhero film,clark kent and bruce wayne will gonna lead them in their epic moment …and i can promise you the way to all haters of man of steel film out there…IM TIRED OF YOURE SHIT SHERLOCK =)

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