Alright, alright. I know we’ve grown tired of those top 10 lists. I know, we’re completely over it. But forgetting the end-of-the-year list stigma glued to our brains, here (in no particular order) is my well-thought out top 14 movie picks of 2013 (like I was going to choose just 10, pshhh).
1. Nebraska (Alexander Payne)
Ahh yes, the great American road trip with the flawed nature of growing old captured beautifully in the monochromatic wonder that is Nebraska.
2. Dallas Buyers Club (Jean-Marc Vallée)
I mentioned before this was probably my most anticipated film of the year, but it’s the rawness of Matthew McConnaughey alongside an unrecognizable Jared Leto whose chemistry ignites the screen in an unforgettable story in Dallas Buyers Club.
3. Prisoners (Denis Villeneuve)
This was the scariest movie I saw all year (and yes, I saw the Carrie remake). A story that hits close to home, Hugh Jackman takes on a pretty intense role with Jake Gyllenhaal at his side cracking a suspenseful case in Prisoners.
4. The Iceman (Ariel Vromen)
The Iceman is one of those movies you see and leave the theater saying W-T-F! First time director Ariel Vromen never fails in capturing every detail in the 70s era story of Michael Shannon as serial contract killer Richard Kuklinski.
5. SOMM (Jason Wise)
Fact: I knew close to nothing about wine before I saw SOMM. Wise’s inspiring documentary follows four ambitious guys as they finish embarking on their long and strenuous journey of wine weeks before taking the Master Sommelier Exam (also: it’s funny!).
6. 12 Years A Slave (Steve McQueen)
Nobody said really good movies were going to be easy to watch. Bringing to life a buried-deep-in-the-past American history, McQueen’s intricate and emotional film re-tells Solomon Northrup’s 12 year slave captivation after being kidnapped as a free man.
7. Rush (Ron Howard)
Even if you think racing cars is stupid or that James Hemsworth is a total dick, Rush was cool. Like, so cool you might even consider watching the Grand Prix. A true story of formula 1 rivalry, Howard makes sure we see the nitty-gritty life of guys doin’ it for the rush.
8. Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach)
Remember when Adam Driver was the best in everything he does? And Greta Gerwig can literally do no wrong? Well that’s why Frances Ha is absolutely amazing from the start, but this is a young person’s Manhattan and watching it will make you happy. Very happy.
9. Austenland (Jerusha Hess)
You don’t have to be a die-hard Jane Austen fan to enjoy this hilarious movie. Kerri Russell, as always, is a perfect little delight as all of her Mr. Darcy dreams come undone spending a week abroad in Austenland. Oh yeah, and Jennifer Coolidge (need I say more?).
10. Kill Your Darlings (John Krokidas)
Yes, your eyes are seeing correctly: that is Daniel Radcliffe starring in something other than Harry Potter. Kill Your Darlings proves we need more of this out-of-the-ordinary casting with Radcliffe as young Allen Ginsberg, falling HARD into the beat gen scene when he meets Lucien Carr (the new heartthrob Daniel DeHaan). As cliche as it all might seem, Krokidas’ 10 year-long project is worth it.
11. Blackfish (Gabriela Cowperthwaite)
Just how important is this movie? VERY important. Like, go watch this movie somehow NOW, because when you do your heart will break and you’ll be hungry for a change (or it will scar you forever and your childhood will be totally ruined, either way).
12. The Way Way Back (Nat Faxon and Jim Rash)
Ohh to relive that awkward teenage in-between stage where boys are too scared to talk to girls and summer usually means being forced into whatever your parents are doing. In Duncan’s (Liam James) case, he just so happens to meet the coolest and funniest Cape Cod local Owen (Sam Rockwell) who ends up changing his life forever.
13. Behind the Candelabra (Steven Soderbergh)
Technically this never made it to theaters, but it’s probably best that HBO produced Behind the Candelabra anyways. And the very bedazzled experience of Michael Douglas as the famous performer and Matt Damon as his lover is probably the best thing you’ll ever see in life.
14. The Kings of Summer (Jordan Vogt-Roberts)
OK whatever, indie films will forever triumph. And The Kings of Summer proves you don’t need a million dollar budget or a Hollywood studio to make an incredibly awesome movie (the majority of the film was made in Ohio). Oh, and some of the cast of Parks and Recreation is in it so you already KNOW it’s funny.