The Best Top 10 Movies of 2013 List Ever

Cockiness is craziness. To be cocky is to assume that your opinion is better than everyone else’s. I don’t think that way. But since this post will inevitably receive comments such as “your [sic] a dumbass” and “you should go back to f**king movie critic school,” I figured what the hell. So I’ve put together the best Top 10 Movies of 2013 list you have ever and will ever read, because who is to say otherwise?

Other than that anonymous commenter who is probably my grandmother.

Heading into 2013, it was looking like a banner year, even more so than every other year tends to look in January. And in many ways, the year didn’t disappoint. I often struggle to fill my top ten list with truly worthy movies, but nearly 30 films made the shortlist this year. But to make the best Top 10 Movies of 2013 list you have ever and will ever read, a movie has to be more than “very good.” It has to be great.

And frankly, there were very few movies that jumped out to me as great. Award frontrunners 12 Years a Slave  and American Hustle didn’t make the cut, nor did other critical favorites like Blackfish, Stories We Tell or Before Midnight. All but one of those I would consider “very good,” but not great. This paragraph is almost certain to result in comments that say “f**k you, you f**king you.”

Oh well. Here’s the best Top 10 Movies of 2013 list you’ll ever read:

10. Prisoners

Unpredictability is a rare thing in movies these days, especially in police procedurals. And yet Prisoners is an exceptionally captivating thriller that keeps you guessing from beginning to end. It doesn’t bow to convention and shifts direction more than one. Hugh Jackman gives one of his finest performances, and Jake Gyllenhaal is even better.

Sure, it could have been a little shorter and took greater advantage of its supporting cast – most notably Paul Dano – but Prisoners is an underappreciated gem of 2013.

9. Side Effects

Speaking of unpredictability, the twisting psychological thriller by Steven Soderbergh is a unique, deliciously slick thriller that, like so many Soderbergh movies before it, refuses to give into cliché or expectations. It isn’t for everyone – it is slow paced and Soderbergh’s indifference to convention sometimes dilutes some pretty amazing plot turns – but Side Effects is worth the possibility of diarrhea, balding, stomach pains and cancer.

8. Rush

A drama about Formula One cars and European accents? Ugh! Once you get past the oh-so-American-friendly premise, you’ll realize that Ron Howard has assembled one of the most entertaining movies of the year, and in my world, that counts for a lot (“you put Rush on your list, and not American Hustle??? You are the worst movie critic in the world!”). Featuring high-octane racing action and a terrific performance by the leads, especially Daniel Brühl, Rush is fast, furious and gripping.

7. Inside Llewyn Davis

As I began Inside Llewyn Davis, I was determined not to like it. All my movie critic friends had been fighting for months for the opportunity to give the Coen brothers a hand job; I don’t think the filmmaking duo is that great. And the movie trailer was boring as hell.

But there is something alluring, even intoxicating, about this drama that is hard to pinpoint. It’s not for everyone – I can’t imagine a majority of my friends truly appreciating the picture, and I wouldn’t blame them – but Inside Llewyn Davis is arguably the Coens’ most complete picture to date. Not their most entertaining or memorable, mind you, but a beautifully constructed and engaging piece of celluloid.

6. August: Osage County

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, August: Osage County is one strange film. It is either the funniest depressing movie or the most depressing comedy I’ve ever seen, but one thing is obvious: Meryl Streep is a bitch. And it’s also entertaining as hell, even though you want to punch, strangle or murder every character.

In all seriousness, Streep is about as good as she’s ever been, which is scary considering the woman has been nominated or won 17 Oscars. The rest of the cast shouldn’t be ignored either.

5. The Way, Way Back

This lighthearted drama-comedy isn’t groundbreaking. It’s a coming-of-age story about an awkward teenage boy who gets his first crush while on summer vacation with his mom (Toni Collette) and her douchebag boyfriend (Steve Carrell). But thanks to an inspired performance by Sam Rockwell and a funny, moving screenplay, The Way, Way Back is a smart, deftly written film that works on many levels.

4. Her

Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with his operating system, but can you blame him? It’s voiced by Scarlett Johansson, and she is great at phone sex. A better question, one posed by writer/director Spike Jonze in the movie Her, is… what makes us human? It’s such an intriguing question, and one that Jonze explores with masterful strokes.

Her didn’t hold me in the end as it has some fellow critics, but its grasp loosens only slightly. The movie is an incredibly acted, written and directed production and one of the best movies of 2013. Now where can I buy this Scarlett Johansson-voiced operating system?

3. The Wolf of Wall Street

Awesome. Simply awesome. Those are the words that raced through my mind as I watched the craziness director Martin Scorsese was throwing at me with The Wolf of Wall Street. And then the movie kept going.

In my movie review, I point out three problems that keep this Martin Scorsese/Leonardo DiCaprio comedy-drama from being the best movie of the year; despite these flaws, it is one of the most entertaining, hilarious and absurd movies of the year.

2. Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips is not a movie I expected would make the best Top 10 Movie List ever, or at least rank in the top five. But after careful consideration, I realized few movies held me the way this one did. It’s essentially an action-thriller, but one that maintains a high level of tension and excitement despite the fact I knew exactly how it was going to end (it’s based on a true story that made worldwide news only a few years ago).

Furthermore, if I were to make a list of the most lasting scenes of the year, the final moment where Tom Hanks finally breaks down would rank right up there near the top. The scene almost made me cry, and I never cry. That has to mean something.

1. Gravity

Like Captain Phillips, I didn’t expect Gravity to rank high on this list. But very few movies – including most of the films on this list – grabbed hold of me the way Gravity did. It doesn’t have the year’s best performances, nor is it the most emotional. Its plot is simple, almost rudimentary when you think about it.

Gravity is also one of the most intense movies to grace the silver screen in a long time.  It is a visual spectacle, breathtaking, beautiful, frightening and the closest thing to a masterpiece all year. This is a movie that has to be seen on the big screen to be experienced, because that’s exactly what it is: an experience.

A small percentage of people were underwhelmed by Gravity. Perhaps it was the hype, or maybe they couldn’t get past the minor reality lapses (“Never let go, Rose! Never let go!”), but I honestly don’t get how someone couldn’t be enthralled this movie. Maybe they need to go to f**king movie critic school (for my critic friends who didn’t like this movie, I joke, of course).

For a full list of 2013’s best and worst movies, go here.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Action Movies, Comedies, Drama Movies, Featured, Thriller Movies, Top 10 Movie Lists
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