Top Ten Movies of 2013

Top Ten Movies of 2013

I'm of the opinion 2013 was a great year for movies overall, but at the same time it wasn't necessarily a great year with a ton of great movies, thus making my top ten of 2013 a little harder than I'd expected to put together. Before finalizing the list I attempted to watch and rewatch as many movies as I could fit in while at the same time hoping to create some distance from those experiences, expecting a certain grouping of films to eventually bubble to the surface as the most memorable and emotional affecting in what really ended up being a rather dark and melancholy year at the cinema.

For me, a year end top ten is about the films I want to watch again. Films that, as soon as they end, you could watch them all over again immediately, not wanting whatever connection to what you just saw to go away. This obviously creates something of a contradiction.

While I consider the following ten films to be the "best" the year had to offer for reasons such as personal preference and emotional attachment, they are probably best described as my favorite films. If we're talking absolute best, from what I saw in 2013, 12 Years a Slave (my review) is probably the best combination of pure cinema and emotional storytelling the year had to offer, but at the same time it's an unbearable watch... Such films I hold a special place in my heart for their powerful filmmaking, but my want to watch a film again has become a major factor in its placement on any of my year-end lists.

2013-honorable-mentionIn rewatching several films, some fell just short of making my top ten -- Rush, Fruitvale Station (I can't wait for more from Ryan Coogler), The Past and The Wolf of Wall Street -- while others revealed themselves to be a little less than what I remembered them being.

Only a couple days before finalizing this list I rewatched Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha and once again recognized and enjoyed all the French New Wave inspirations, but Greta Gerwig's pixie-like character irked me more than she did upon first viewing. The first time I saw it, her struggle was one I could, somewhat, feel pity for, this time I just wanted her to get her shit together.

Additionally, while absent from my top ten, I don't want to discount the enjoyment I found in Dallas Buyers Club (Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto were outstanding), August: Osage County (acidic and often wonderful), Ernest & Celestine (the animated film I wish I'd seen earlier), Behind the Candelabra (the TV movie that should have been in theaters), The Way, Way Back (small, but great), This is the End (Michael Cera stole the show), Blue is the Warmest Color (Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux yelling and loving), Mud (don't forget Tye Sheridan), 2 Guns (the movie few saw, but more should) and there are more, but we only have so much time.

The most noticeable disappointment in 2013 was the lack of quality blockbusters. It was a year where Fast & Furious 6 comes away as the most memorable blockbuster for me and World War Z walks away as the best. Yet, I tried watching Fast 6 again and couldn't finish it and World War Z is pretty much only half a movie... maybe the sequel will make it whole.

All of this is to say on the following pages is my list of the top ten movies of 2013. Many changed positions as I wrote it up, some moved around even minutes before I officially posted the list, which is to say it's flexible, though I'm quite confident my top three will always be within my top three for 2013 as I love each of them so very much and for entirely different reasons.

Let's begin...

Short Term 12

Top Ten Movies of 2013 - Short Term 12
Photo: Cinedigm

Short Term 12 was a bit of a surprise for me. You hear how great a film is and a lot of the time that can end up taking away from the magic. It often means you'll have to watch it once within the confines of all you've heard and know only to have to watch it again several years down the line, divorced from any outside opinion.

There is such authenticity to the storytelling in Destin Cretton's film I found it instantly appealing. Performances from Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Rami Malek and Keith Stanfield all stood out. Occasionally the film would dip its toes into the cliche, but as I said in my review, Cretton knows "how to deal with the more heightened dramatic beats in ways that don't cause the film to lose that well-earned realism and he found just the right cast to pull it all together."


Certainly the issues the characters in Short Term 12 are elevated above those most of us face on a daily basis, but the actors' ability to create sympathetic characters and Cretton's ability to portray them as real people rather than stereotypes places their concerns on our shoulders. By the time the final scene fades into a sun-kissed run across the home's front lawn, you can't help but feel you've seen something special... Because you have.

Read my full review here.

  • Joseph Bridges

    After seeing the trailer and seeing who and what were going on in Lone Survivor, I really was just blase on what would be presented. This really has me intrigued now to see what is so good. I guess now I'm hoping for a Fast and Furious style roller coaster ride of a movie.

  • G-Man

    Awesome list, Brad. I too think 2013 was a great year for movies. Still have a bunch to catch up on before creating my top ten list, but I enjoyed reading yours.

  • deerhunter

    Brad, what was your take on the Paul Dano character? I think he was merely a plot device. Okay, so he abuses animals (tries to hang his own dog) and is a weirdo. In the end, the character just disappears. No pay-off. I think that may have hindered the film a little for me. But still a very good film, if not a "great" one. What do you think?

    • Jake17

      I have my share of issues with Prisoners, and it certainly will not make my Top 10 (it may, in fact, be the most overrated film of the year), but Paul Dano didn't actually choke his dog, IMO. Remember in the scene at the police station, when Keller claims Alex whispered something to him? You're seeing what Keller wants to believe, not what is actually happening. It's partially Keller lying to himself, and maybe part fatigue from the long days and nights of searching for his daughter and dealing with his own issues.

      I would argue Melissa Leo's performance and character are the biggest problem in the film, along with a plot contrivance that had me rolling my eyes and some ridiculous motivation for the antagonist.

      • Fox

        Alex did whisper something to him at the police station. He said "They didn't cry until I left them.", which makes complete sense given the rest of the plot.

  • deerhunter

    So glad to see The Hunt on your list. Perhaps no other film solicited an emotional response from me as high as this one did. I was angry at the film and the events that were happening. Films are supposed to make us feel and react. This one did. Probably should be even higher! But job well done!

  • Bertram J. Krogh

    I would have said that this is an amazing list, but then it hit me once again; how is a list “good”? Nevertheless, I adore your choices and the thoughts you have on cinema.

    It makes me happy that you chose The Hunt as one of the year’s best films. I wholeheartedly agree. This is a film that’s been seen by few, but enjoyed by almost everyone. Mads Mikkelsen delivers what I consider to be the performance of the year.

  • GregDinskisk

    I've been wanting to see HER with a passion since its trailer was released... It doesn't open in my area until January tenth. I CANNOT wait to see it.

    Inside Llewyn Davis is phenomenal, going to see that one tonight again, actually. Reaaaally hoping it hits as hard the second time as it did the first. I'm completely agree about Carey Mulligan's character... Deserves more acclaim than she's received. Same with Oscar Isaac.

    That quote broke me.

    I consider the Before franchise to be the best trilogy of all time, so Before Midnight being as fantastic as it is, is a given.

    I love me some Xavier Dolan. I've grown to fanboy over him a little bit, thanks to you and andyluvsfilm.

    I missed All is Lost in theatres, unfortunately. I tried going to see about about ten times, never got to it. I'm still upset about that. I adore Margin Call. Same situation with Short Term 12. Destin Cretton's first feature, I Am Not A Hipster is pretty great, despite an awful title. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.

    I haven't seen Lone Survivor yet, still debating whether or not I should... Your review is making me think I should, though...

    The Hunt is really good, Mads Mikkelson's best, I think.

    Side Effects... Gah. I'm going to miss Soderbergh. Plus the Roons is fantastic

    Prisoners is currently my #3 of the year, so I'm a big fan. Denis Villeneuve is going to be huge one day.

    • GregDinskisk

      In other words... Fantastic job, Brad! I can't wait to see what the new year brings!

    • andyluvsfilms

      re: Xavier Dolan, i see Brad got top billing, thanks bud!

      • GregDinskisk

        Well I saw Brad's review of Laurence Anyways long before we started talking about it. Sorry, bud!

        • andyluvsfilms

          You're just a corporate kiss ass!

          • GregDinskisk

            Fair enough!

  • Adnan Ahmed

    Really solid list Brad..I was really happy to see Prisoners in there...that was one hell of an experience as far as I'm concerned.

  • deerhunter

    Do you think Her may be the spoiler and win Best Picture? The Picture race is wide open.

  • Winchester

    I'm just going to do one long boring post to cover the year so far because I think it's easier keeping everything in once place. There's still too much to see from 2013 but I'll probably still be catching up on it by the time 2014's Top Ten comes around.

    I'll start by grouping every 2013 release film I've seen into categories.

    The Great -

    All is Lost, Gravity, Rush.

    The Good -

    Behind The Candelabra, Captain Phillips, The Counsellor, Ginger & Rosa, The Hunt, Much Ado About Nothing, Mud, Oblivion, Pacific Rim, Prisoners, Star Trek Into Darkness, Stories We Tell, Unfinished Song, What Richard Did, World War Z.

    The Inbetweeners -

    Ender's Game, Iron Man 3, Jack The Giant Slayer, The Lone Ranger, Now You See Me, The Place Beyond The Pines, Populaire, Side Effects, Simon Killer, Thor: The Dark World, The Wolverine, To The Wonder.

    The Bad -

    Byzantium, Dead Man Down, The Great Gatsby, Olympus Has Fallen, Oz The Great and Powerful, Fast and Furious 6, Man of Steel, Spring Breakers, White House Down.

    The Ugly -

    Elysium, Gangster Squad, G.I Joe - Retaliation, Stoker.

    If I had to choose a top film for the year just now it would be a tie between 'Rush' and 'Gravity' and worst film of the year would be 'Elysium'.

    On the blockbuster front (it's a bit like asking whether one prefers McDonalds or Burger King most of the time though) I felt 'Star Trek Into Darkness', 'Iron Man 3' and 'Pacific Rim' were among the better options and even the unfairly maligned 'The Lone Ranger' served it's function well enough.

    I haven't seen any of this year's comedies primarily because none of them looked funny from their trailers.

    I'd like to have seen more of the end of year glut of Oscar hopefuls before the year was out but it's just numerically not possible, therefore if we were basing a Top Ten of the year on what I would be inclined to want to watch over again for whatever set of reasons then I guess I would list mine at this point as follows (listed alphabetically).

    All is Lost
    The Counsellor*
    The Hunt*
    Much Ado About Nothing*
    Star Trek Into Darkness*
    Stories We Tell*
    What Richard Did*

    *These titles would be at risk of removal once I've seen more from the year. The other three are probably safe.

    • User15dreamer

      Gravity was okay.

  • deerhunter

    Some of my favorites include The Place Beyond the Pines which I feel took narrative risks and most of them (not all) paid off. I also admire Dallas Buyers Club and 12 Years a Slave. Surprised to see those not on the list here. But I also loved Short Term 12 and The Hunt. Both excellent films. Gravity was very good. Still have to see it a 2nd time..Where is Captain Phillips? Absolutely thrilling drama (and as realistic as you can get) with a brilliant ending.

  • deerhunter

    The year's most underrated film? Disconnect. Scary expose about cyber bullying. I was totally captivated by its premise and performances.

    • gp1086

      I really wanna see this one.

  • Carlos.

    Most of the films hasn't been released yet where I live but so far these are the ones I've seen I'm pretty sure will make the cut:

    Side Effects
    Frances Ha
    American Hustle
    Before Midnight

  • TheLastEquivocationofBrist

    Great list Brad. The few I haven't seen yet, I'm really looking forward to.

    I'm not ready to make a full personal top ten yet, but I'd probably swap Prisoners and Side Effects for Frances Ha and Blue is the Warmest Color.

    There were a few scenes in Frances Ha where I identified even more with Gerwig's character on the second (and third) viewings. It definitely feels like a movie where who you are determines how much you'll like it. So even though it might end up my #1 film of the year, it's not one I can necessarily recommend to everyone.

  • Ryguy815

    Right now, my top 10 of the year is only temporary as I still have a lot of Movies to see. But anyway, here it is-

    HM: The Hobbit, The Desolation Of Smuag, 2 Guns, The World's End, The Hangover Part 3, The Internship, Mud, The Conjuring, The Heat, The Great Gatsby, Iron Man 3, R.I.P.D., Now You See Me, The Place Beyond The Pines, Star Trek Into Darkness, Side Effects

    10. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
    9. Pain & Gain
    8. The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones
    7. Kick-Ass 2
    6. We're Ther Millers
    5. This Is The End
    4. Carrie
    3. The Way Way Back
    2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
    1. Prisoners

    • andyluvsfilms

      Kick Ass 2 is an abomination, my #1 worst of the year, sort your life out Ryan!

  • Hudsucker

    Here's my Top 3:

    1. All is Lost
    2. The Way Way Back
    3. Upstream Color

    I love All is Lost because I feel so much more connected to the character the less I knew about him, the direction was wonderful, and Redford gives an amazing performance. I loved The Way Way Back because of how relatable it was, the humor, and, of course, Sam Rockwell. I loved Upstream Color because it fascinated me, moved me, and give me a truly cinematic experience that I will never forget. Also, very well written list Brad!
    P.S. I find it funny how Upstream Color is in the related links section, but not in the article itself.

  • m1

    I don't really want to make a top ten yet as there's so much left to be seen, but I'll work with what I have. Before I begin, I'd like to say that I have not seen Captain Phillips, 12 Years a Slave, Nebraska, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, In a World, The Spectacular Now, Dallas Buyers Club, Rush, Saving Mr. Banks, Prisoners, Short Term 12, All Is Lost, and countless others that I'm sure I will enjoy once I see them. So, here's what I have. Honorable mentions go to Star Trek into Darkness and Side Effects.

    The Place Beyond the Pines

    Derek Cianfrance's triptych certainly has its flaws but overall it is a captivating, emotionally moving film about fate and fatherhood. The acting is wonderful, with Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper as the standouts.

    The Conjuring

    The most pleasant surprise of the year. I enjoyed Insidious but had no idea that James Wan could deliver something familiar but gleefully old-school. The scares in this are remarkably effective even when the storytelling is predictable.

    The Wolf of Wall Street

    I cannot imagine this movie holding up on repeat viewings, but a single viewing sure does wonders. DiCaprio gives one of his best performances yet in Martin Scorsese's scathing if overlong satire of American greed and debauchery. The supporting cast is also strong, with Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey delivering memorably funny moments.


    Brad says in his article that 2013 was a disappointing year for quality blockbusters. I would argue that it was an even MORE disappointing year for quality animated movies, as only Monsters University and this wonderful wintry fairy tale delivered on any sort of promise. The songs are wonderful, and the ending is one of the more subversive things I've ever seen in any animated movie. Hopefully it will win the Oscar.

    Blue Jasmine

    Cate Blanchett has deservedly received most of the praise for her amazing performance in Woody Allen's darkly comic critique of American social class relations, but the rest of the cast also turns in magnificent work. Allen has been hit-and-miss in recent years but this is certainly one of his successes, along with Midnight in Paris.

    The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

    The best franchise movie of 2013 by far is an improvement on last year's solid first installment. The action is much more thrilling, and the themes are much better fleshed out. It is also yet another reminder that Jennifer Lawrence is one of the best actresses of her generation.


    This summer was also the time for the coming-of-age flick and this Huckleberry Finn-esque drama stands out for me. Strong career work from Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon as well as a promising young lead performance from Tye Sheridan carry this thrilling, beautifully shot movie across the finish line.

    American Hustle

    One of David O. Russell's strengths as a filmmaker is finding the humanity in even the quirkiest characters, and that has never been more clear than in this wildly entertaining and funny crime drama. It is easily the best of his last three movies and demonstrates that he can outshine even Martin Scorsese with a movie that channels Scorsese but still has flashes of his own style. Oh, and the performances are simply exceptional.

    Before Midnight

    Who cares if this movie loses its power if not watched with Before Sunrise and Before Sunset? It's a sequel. You're supposed to watch the first two before watching this one. Duh. Anyway, this is a beautiful, at times painful look at romance and a summary of it does not do it justice. You need to see the movie to be won over by its engaging dialogue and naturalistic performances from Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke. See this movie as soon as possible...AFTER watching the first two, of course. I hope that Linklater continues to make these movies.


    If anything is going to unseat Alfonso Cuaron's spectacular outer space thriller as my favorite movie of the year, it would need to be something quite amazing. Propelled by a career-best performance by Sandra Bullock and some haunting, creatively used visual effects, this movie is a masterpiece and an experience like no other. I think it will hold up just fine on a smaller screen without 3D.

  • Driver

    Pretty cool list, It's a pity I haven't had the chance to see some of the big titles yet. I'm surprised Frozen isn't even in the article, I think it deserved at least a mention.

    I guess the only thing I can come up with at the moment is a Top 3:
    1) The Hunt
    2) Before Midnight
    3) Prisoners

  • m1

    And that "Worst of 2013" is going to be pretty easy to put together. Such a multitude of options for that list. I don't think I even managed to scrape the bottom of the barrel. Can't wait to see what that ends up looking like. But let's not dwell on the negative. So many of these movies look wonderful.

  • kathrynlynn

    I was surprised to see side effects made it to your year end list, pleasantly. I think it's easy to get caught up in all the movies coming out now and how fresh they are in our minds, it's a good comprehensive look at the full year in cinemas.

    I like the way you're approaching your list, and want to adopt a similar mindset when creating my own. Not that my top 10 list matters at all, but when i make recommendations to family and friends...

    Prisoners is one that has given me a lot of reason to come back to it, and I don't think I was expecting that when I left the theater. It's a really heavy, layered film. And as you pointed out looks fantastic.

  • Ian

    I feel like the last few years have settled into a fairly predictable pattern in terms of quality. Four months of garbage new releases with the occasional good movie popping up (Side Effects and The Place Beyond the Pines this year), followed by three months of comic book / franchise garbage with the occasional good movie popping up (Before Midnight, Fruitvale, Blue Jasmine this year), August, which is as horrid as January but with bigger budgets, and then the quality slowly increases over the last four months of the year, peaking in November and December where the art / indie films are more ubiquitous in number than the blockbusters. Then January is a catch-up month for me. The problem is with no good, let alone great, blockbusters there just isn't any quality at other times of the year. Unfortunately I'm afraid it'll be quite a while until we get another 2008 or 2010 where there was quality spread across the year (winter/spring excluded, they're almost always dead).

    So overall 2013 felt pretty much the same as the last two years. Better than 2011 for sure, but probably a bit below 2012 if only because 2012 at least had entertaining blockbusters and its year-end hits were more rewatchable. And unfortunately this seems like it'll be the pattern going forward.

    I knew Her would be your #1. I'm planning on seeing it when it goes wide Jan. 10, but I just can't come up with much enthusiasm for it. Maybe it's because I'm remembering how much you and Laremy both adored Silver Linings Playbook last year whereas I found it to be predictable, sentimental, and thematically empty. I guess my opinions on romantic movies just differ from yours, though Before Midnight will be very high on my top ten.

    I can't do a top ten yet, too many movies left to see. Hopefully I'll have it done by the time the ROS Awards are announced. From your list I still need to see Inside Llewyn Davis (as soon as it reaches my area), Lawrence Anyways, The Hunt, and Short Term 12. Before Midnight and All is Lost will be in my top ten; Prisoners and Side Effects will get honorable mentions. I will never see Lone Survivor. My lists are based on a combination of artistic merit (which I guess is a combination of the apparent thematic resonance and technical craft), and overall enjoyment. But I can find enjoyment in a film with great artistic merit, which is why I've seen 12 Years a Slave in theatres twice and hopefully at least once more.

  • Beautifulm

    Good list Brad, I can't really make mine yet. There is still quite a few I have to see. I also agree that All is Lost is superior to Gravity. The way you felt about Frances Ha was how I felt about Inside Llewyn Davis.

  • Ritwik99

    This should be a Ten Favorite Movies of 2013 list. It is absurd for 12 Years a Slave to receive an A+ and not be on this list LOL

    • themoviewatcher

      He explained in the introduction why.

  • Alex Bauman

    Out of curiosity, where would you rank 12 Years a Slave? I was REALLY surprised to not see it on your list since you gave it an A+. I thought it would be in the top 3. Also, where would you rank Fruitvale Station since you gave that an A.

  • Andrew S.

    Good list, Brad. I've still yet to see Her and Inside Llewyn Davis, but I've already made my Top Ten. Here's my top Five:

    5. Before Midnight
    4. Nebraska
    3. Captain Phillips
    2. 12 Years a Slave
    1. Gravity

    For the full list, check out my blog at

  • Xarnis

    My (tentative) top 10 - note: I haven't seen Her yet.

    10. Prisoners
    9. The Great Beauty
    8. Gravity
    7. Upstream Color
    6. Nebraska
    5. The Counselor
    4. Inside Llewyn Davis
    3. Before Midnight
    2. 12 Years a Slave
    1. The Wolf of Wall Street

  • the dude-o

    This is a solid list, Her was also among my favorite films of the year. My personal favorite of this year was The Wolf of Wall Street, some my other favorites of this year were Dallas Buyers, Enough Said, Her, and Prisoners. I still don't have a top ten yet but those were a few that might make it.

  • JN Films

    My Top Ten
    1. 12 Years a Slave (A+)
    2. The Great Gatsby (A-)
    3. Fruitvale Station (A)
    4. Before Midnight (A)
    5. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (B+)
    6. The Place Beyond the Pines (A-)
    7. The Wolf of Wall Street (A-)
    8. Gravity (A-)
    9. Behind the Candelabra (A-)
    10. Frozen (A-)

  • andyluvsfilms

    We haven't had a couple of your titles released over here yet and i've not seen All Is Lost, nice to Laurence Anyways and The Hunt make it though. Prisoners and Before Midnight were decent but the second half of Side Effects had me shaking my head im afraid.

    Here's my list, it's great

    1) The Hunt

    2) The Crash Reel

    3) The Great Beauty

    4) The Wall

    5) Upstream Color

    6) You Will Be My Son

    7) Stories We Tell

    8) Laurence Anyways

    9) Paradise:Faith

    10) A Hijacking

    • GregDinskisk

      Glad to see The Hunt, Upstream Color, and Laurence Anyways on your list. All of those are fantastic.

      Haven't seen the rest because they look sooooo laaaaame.

      Except The Wall. I'm watching that in about five minutes.

      • andyluvsfilms

        My list is exceptional, there's no bloated yankie flim flam in it for a start. As for The Wall, that's about the eighth time you've said im about to watch it #C'mon!

        • GregDinskisk

          Upstream Color is an AMERICAN film, y'know??

          And I started The Wall last night, made it through the first act, but it was too late for me.

          • andyluvsfilms

            Yes but it's not bloated AMERICAN flim flam, there's no Shield Agents or Cosmic Cubes in this one. Makes a change.
            As for The Wall, finish it!! but also enjoy it!!

            • GregDinskisk


    • Hudsucker

      Sorry if this a bit last second but do you want to a box office draft? email:

  • GothamCity151

    I still want to see Her and The Past before I lock down my list 100%, but here is what I have right now:

    1. 12 Years A Slave
    2. The Spectacular Now
    3. The Wolf Of Wall Street
    4. Inside Llewyn Davis
    5. Short Term 12
    6. American Hustle
    7. Frozen
    8. Blue Is The Warmest Color
    9. Gravity
    10. The Way, Way Back

    HM: Six By Sondheim, Stories We Tell, Dallas Buyers Club, All Is Lost, The World's End, Drinking Buddies, Frances Ha, Much Ado About Nothing, Upstream Color, Before Midnight

  • Grissom

    Best: 10. Lone Survivor
    9. Man of Steel
    8. 12 Years a Slave
    7. Gravity
    6. The Wolf of Wall Street
    5. Saving Mr. Banks
    4. Rush
    3. Nebraska
    2. Prisoners
    1. The World's End

    • Grissom

      Worst: 10. The Wolverine
      9. Don Jon
      8. After Earth
      7. Movie 43
      6. The Host
      5. Paranoia
      4. Oldboy
      3. Identity Thief
      2. 47 Ronin
      1. A Good Day to Die Hard

  • kinokabir

    Great list. Nice to see Laurence Anyways getting some love.
    Dolan is one hell of a talent. I saw I Killed My Mother earlier in the year, and it's a great first feature. Everybody should check it out while it's on Netflix Instant. it's a little gem of a film. Inventive, funny and perceptive.

  • Gautam Anand

    Haven't finalized my Top 10 yet, since I have couple of movies to catch upon, but if I have to name Top 10 as of now, it will look like this :

    1. Her
    2. Upstream Color
    3. Gravity
    4. Before Midnight
    5. The Wolf of Wall Street
    6. 12 Years A Slave
    7. Blue is the Warmest Color
    8. The Spectacular Now
    9. The Hunt
    10. Nebraska

    Truly, great year for films. I don't know where this year will stand in history of cinema, but personally I think 2013 has been the best in last 10 years.

  • Gautam Anand

    Where's the mention of Upstream Color Brad ? Did you forget that again ?

  • Art

    Great list Brad. Here is my list with television included as well:
    10. Star Trek: Into Darkness
    9. The Sapphires
    8. Frozen
    7. Mud
    6. Hunger Games: Catching Fire
    5. Game of Thrones
    4. 12 Years a Slave
    3. Breaking Bad
    2. The Place Beyond the Pines
    1. Gravity

    Am still hoping to catch American Hustle and Inside Llewyn Davis.

  • User15dreamer


  • Travis

    Great list Brad! As for my list, yes there are ties,which I know Brad hates, but it is based on the way I determine it, and I always make sure there is only one #1. Also, I still need Her and August: Osage for this list to be complete, and will hopefully fix this from being 11 films to the proper 10, but as for now, here we go.

    10. Inside Llewyn Davis
    10. Prisoners
    7. Saving Mr. Banks
    7. Fruitvale Station
    7. This Is The End
    6. Twelve Years a Slave
    5. Before Midnight
    3. The Way, Way Back
    3. American Hustle
    2. Frozen
    1. The Wolf of Wall Street

    Honorable Mentions for Spring Breakers, Blue Jasmine, Nebraska, All Is Lost, Gravity, and The Conjuring

    Thanks for reading! I'm excited to see yours!

  • Jake17

    The two films most likely to dethrone Before Midnight are the two I still must see (Her and ILD), along with a host of indie and foreign films I couldn't catch in my city, and a few Oscar contenders. As it is, I'm not sure I have a definitive Top 10 as of yet, though I do have many possible contenders.

    The Top Contenders (alphabetical order):
    12 Years a Slave
    Before Midnight
    Drinking Buddies
    The Hunt
    Spring Breakers
    Upstream Color

    The Fringe Contenders:
    All Is Lost
    American Hustle
    Dirty Wars
    Fruitvale Station
    The Kings of Summer
    The Spectacular Now
    The Wolf of Wall Street
    You're Next

    The Others You Think I'm Missing That You and Most People Liked More Than Me:
    Frances Ha
    The Great Beauty
    Only God Forgives
    The Place Beyond the Pines
    Side Effects
    The World's End (my biggest disappointment of the year)

  • Criterion10

    Excellent picks, Brad. For some reason I had a feeling you were going to go with Her after seeing it recently.

    Her is the last film I need to see in theaters before compiling my list, although I do also have to rent a few films (The Hunt, The Act of Killing, etc.).

    • Jake17

      Think you're really gonna like The Hunt. The more I think about it, the more I find to love and admire.

  • jessied44

    Glad to see Prisoners on your list. I firmly believe that if it hadn't been released so early in the year, that it would have garnered several nominations, certainly for Gyllenhaal and Jackman. It is a movie that sticks with you, not just for the story but for the background of the characters and requires multiple watches to get all the pieces. It easily outclasses many of the so-called "Oscar Bait" films from year end.

    • Adnan Ahmed

      Couldn't agree more.

  • yrabadi

    Nice list. Really happy to see Prisoners on there.

    Can't believe Pacific Rim didn't make the cut. ;)

    Happy New Year y'all!

  • mitchell Burns

    Brad, a great, great list! I've yet to see about 4 of these but I'm working my ass off to see them. I saw The Hunt a long time ago and it will most likely be my favorite movie of 2013, I'm so glad to see someone else champion it as well because it's impeccable. How amazing would it be to see Mads in the Best Actor category... Wow!
    Great list Brad, can't wait till I can review it again after I've seen all of these

  • JessicaChastained

    My ranked list for the year is a tentative one so far, as The Wolf of Wall St, Inside Llewyn Davis, Her, 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club etc aren't released here yet, and I might do a bit more fiddling.

    Here it is though: :)
    Thanks for an incredible year of film watching everyone!

    Top 10 (as of today):

    1. Before Midnight- "There's no better way to describe my feelings about these films than that they've changed my life, my thinking, and have been such a wonderful presence in my life as of late. I just want to write how amazing and fitting and how much love I have for them forever. In fact, it's not just a film. It does something very few have done- I feel like I've gotten to know Celine and Jesse this year, and that they're my friends. I can't wait to meet up with them as I rewatch these many, many times, and hopefully catch up with them again in nine-or-so years."

    2. Frances Ha- "Say hello to my first Criterion."

    3. Short Term 12- "It's this fearlessness to show 'both sides' that is what's really unique and special about Short Term. It's not scared to confront the audience with reality, to give the characters stories that are rarely committed to film. In many other films, Grace would not be given the back story she is, or would not do what she does. She'd stay detached, or just not be a character that is constructed at all. There would be no moments like hitting Jayden's father's car with a baseball bat, no trying to make sure Jayden doesn't go back to her father after she reads Grace the story, no telling Jack of her suspicions. Instead, she'd stick to what she told Nate at the beginning: "You are not their parent, you are not their therapist, you are here to create a safe environment, and that's it". Real people contradict themselves when the situation becomes close and personal to them, and that's something that Cretton definitely understands."

    4. Stories We Tell- "How do I begin to describe exactly what I loved and what is so amazing about this film? It was just perfect, even though saying that is contradictory to the whole idea that people have secrets and have multiple ways they present themselves to the world. It fits into something that Polley says that really creates a 'bigger picture' of how everything that was revealed came to be- which is that "the truth about the past is often ephemeral and difficult to pin down"."

    5. What Maisie Knew- "It's incredibly touching without being schmaltzy, funny and dramatic without being uneven, it teaches just how valuable families and life are...just captures the child's perspective perfectly."

    6. Mud- "How do you follow up Take Shelter? Jeff Nichols somehow did."

    7. Blue is the Warmest Colour- "Blue Is The Warmest Colour is totally unique. I certainly haven't, and I don't think many people have, seen anything like this before, neither has a film like this (from memory) ever garnered such wide attention. But for all it's uniqueness for creating a 'relationship film' unlike anything I've ever seen, with a couple that would probably never been seen this widely, something that I really appreciate about it is the fact that it is treated like any other love story, and shows everything that is shown in any other 'relationship film'. It is not played for comedy or mocked, it does not hide anything that a usual love story would- sex scenes and otherwise. It doesn't just pull the curtains back, it throws them wide open. This couple is treated no differently to any other you see on screen each day, whether that be Jesse and Celine in theBefore films or Jack and Rose in Titanic. It asks the audience, "if they can show it, why can't we?"."

    8. The Past- "Upon reflection, it is evident that Farhadi has had a much bigger budget to work with here. Among other things, there are more elaborate settings and more technology involved (which is also a factor of the film being set in a different country), but the elements of what made A Separation so incredible are still present: intimacy, crowdedness and tension through most of the film being set inside, or, when characters are outside, they are not shown being in a wide open space, rather they are always held back by something, be it a car, fence or trees; and naturalism through the absence of artificial lighting, music, and the muted colour scheme of browns, greys, dark blues, and off-whites; which immediately draw attention to the events taking place within the settings, rather than the surroundings."

    9. Stoker- "I was so caught up in it that afterwards it was surprising when I realised this- the audience is kept at almost arm's length from India almost, in that she doesn't speak her subtext. The only interior monologue we get from her is at the beginning of the film, which makes more and more sense as the film progresses. After that, we aren't let into her head again, even though we are witness to many scenes by herself. But somehow, we still sympathise with her and kind of start to root for her or like her almost...even though she turns out to be a murderous psychopath. But it's kind of through no fault of her own, we're lead to believe. She hasn't had the most normal life- a hostile, unpredictable mother, being taken on hunting trips to prevent herself from "doing something worse", which manifests itself in the spellbinding finale."

    10. Much Ado About Nothing- "What a little gem of a film, the best 'modern Shakespeare' I've seen. The characters are not just plonked in a modern setting, reading the lines, they're adapted and acted perfectly. The actors look like they're having so much fun! Something is actually done with the source material (I'm looking at you, Coriolanus). This is a genuinely entertaining film, it's a great comedy, and one I will certainly be revisiting in the future."

    (I'm counting Only Lovers Left Alive as 2014)

    • GregDinskisk

      Frances Ha is a wonderful Criterion. Have fun with it!

      • JessicaChastained

        It is! Definitely worth the money. I love it so much :)
        Thank you, and I hope you have a happy New Year!

        • GregDinskisk

          Thank you, same to you! Cheers!

    • TheLastEquivocationofBrist

      Frances Ha was my first Criterion too :)

      • JessicaChastained

        Yay! It's such a great one to start with. As you can tell, I absolutely adore it, so it was definitely worth the extra money and trouble it took to get it :) Happy New Year!

        • TheLastEquivocationofBrist

          Thanks, hope you had a nice New Year as well :) I definitely think Frances Ha will remain one of my all-time favorites.

          • JessicaChastained

            Thank you! Same here :)

  • ashdurdin

    Still have some left to see (Her, Llewyn Davis and Saving Mr. Banks being the main three) so I haven't done a complete top ten yet. Five that I know will be on it are Much Ado About Nothing, Frozen, Rush, All is Lost and 12 Years a Slave. Those were the top tier films I saw, and I have about 15 others that may crack the back end of the top ten.

  • Gautam Anand

    Glad to see Upstream Color in so many of commenter's list. Hail Carruth !!

  • Cordia

    Very good list Brad, was very hard for me to make my own top 10. Such a geat year in film

  • jaime ruiz

    just wondering, does ot your reviews lose all the credibility when an a+review movie did not make it into the top ten but instead of that a b+review finally make it? Just wondering...

  • Cordia

    My Top 10:
    10. Captain Phillips 4.5/5
    9. The place beyond the pines 4.5/5
    8. American Hustle 4.5/5
    7. Before Midnight 5/5
    6. Inside Llewyn Davis 5/5
    5. Gravity 5/5
    4. Her 5/5
    3. 12 years a slave 5/5
    2. Blue is the warmest color 5/5
    1. The Wolf of Wall Street 5/5

  • maja

    I've listed below a provisional top 10. Please bear in mind that I have yet to see Wolf of Wall Street, The Past, Lone Survivor, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, Short Term 12 and Dallas Buyers Club.

    1. Rush
    2. Before Midnight
    3. Captain Phillips
    4. Prisoners
    5. The Place Beyond the Pines
    6. Mud
    7. Blue Jasmine
    8. Blue is the Warmest Color
    9. Philomena
    10. Side Effects

  • Michael Norris

    I hated All Is Lost. I really don't think Chandor did his research, because "Our Man" was a complete idiot, and most likely would've died very quickly.

  • jake_w

    My top 10 for the year:

    1. Saving Mr. Banks
    2. Gravity
    3. Lee Daniel's The Butler
    4. 12 Years A Slave
    5. Despicable Me 2
    6. The Spectacular Now
    7. Star Trek Into Darkness
    8. The Conjuring
    9. Blue Is The Warmest Color
    10. Frozen

    Honorable Mentions - All Is Lost, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Wolf of Wall Street

  • Newbourne

    Wolf and 12 Years are both my #1 and #2 respectively. I wouldn't call any of them "an unbearable watch". Great list nonetheless. I think I'd dump Prisoners and Short Term 12 for these two though. Haven't seen HER, I'm hoping it's as good as you say it is.

  • yao21

    Nice top 10 Brad! Really excited to watch Short Term 12 and Her.. And happy to see Side Effects in the list!

    Happy New Year from Portugal!

  • Rasmus Puggaard

    Since I live in Denmark, and most great movies are only beginning to pop up over here, my top 10 is far from finished and I'll keep working on it until the Oscars. But for now it looks like this:

    10 Gravity
    09 Fruitvale Station
    08 Captain Phillips
    07 Rush
    06 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
    05 The Act of Killing
    04 Blue Is the Warmest Color
    03 Before Midnight
    02 The Way Way Back
    01 The Hunt

    It's being updated in here:

  • Risa

    The Hunt
    Inside Llewyn Davis
    Dallas Buyers Club
    Captain Phillips
    12 Years A Slave
    All Is Lost
    Captain Phillips
    Blue Is the Warmest Colour
    The Lone Survivor
    These 13 will fit into my "Top 10"

  • Jennifer

    I haven't seen a few movies I still want to catch like Gravity, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, August: Osage County, Fruitvale Station, Rush and The Wolf of Wall Street. From the movies I have seen I came up with this list:

    1) Lone Survivor
    2) Captain Phillips
    3) Saving Mr. Banks
    4) Drinking Buddies
    5) The Way, Way Back
    6) Dallas Buyers Club
    7) This Is the End