The Best Movies Of 2013: James Hausman’s Top 10

Gravity Still - H 2013A year ago, in my Top 10 list for 2012, I stated that 2012 would go down as one of the best years for film.  Well, I’ve got to retract that statement, as 2013 has eclipsed last year in almost every way possible.  As both my fellow critics Zack Sharf and Mike Murphy stated in their respective lists, there are at least fifty odd films that are deserving of a spot on this list, but alas there are only ten open spots.  So, it is with great sadness that I have to resort to the old saying; I have to kill my darlings.

Just missing the cut by a fraction of an inch is Steve McQueen’s hauntingly powerful 12 Years a Slave, Dennis Villeneuve’s dark and dreary murder mystery Prisoners, and Steven Soderberg’s love letter to Hitchcock and De Palma, Side Effects.  Not to mention Derek Cianfrance’s ambitious and rewarding Place Beyond the Pines, the one-two acting punch by Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club and the ethereal, mind-numbing Upstream Color.  All of these were fantastic films that in any other year would have found tops spots on my list; further proof of just how fantastic year at the movies it’s been.  These following ten films however, are the special ones, the films that brought tears to my eyes, that made me swoon, that lifted me up and tore me down.  These are the films filled with white-knuckle excitement and poignant dramatics, with amazing acting and craftsmanship that may or may not find love come Oscar night.  Simply put, these are my ten favorite films from 2013.

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Best Movies of 2013: Zack Sharf’s Top 10

Killing your darlings is never easy, but in a year as bold, provocative, and exhilarating as 2013, it was damn near tragic. As Mike Murphy previously wrote, “Even if I had comprised a list of my Top 50 films of the year, some notable ones would still be left on the outside looking in.” That’s how brilliant 2013 was at the multiplex. With only 10 spots on a year-end-list (and only room for one tie), it was with great reluctance that I had to leave off the on-edge suspense of Captain Phillips, the hyperactive mania of Spring Breakers, the sensory thrill ride of Gravity, the ensemble-charged wonders of American Hustle, the head spinning mystery of Prisoners, the ferocity of Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine, and the stirring silence of Robert Redford in All Is Lost. But even without these remarkable works on my list, it’s a testament to what a great year of cinema this was that there are still 10 more movie classics to praise as the year’s very best. The following films, many full of romantic heart and coming-of-age honesty, brought me to cinematic highs and rekindled my faith in pursuing a career as a critic. Without further ado, the best films of 2013:

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The Best Movies Of 2013: Mike Murphy’s Top 10

12 years a slave

Wow, here we are again.

2013 was a true blessing for us movie lovers. While it stumbled at points – May’s blockbuster overload was too much too quickly and ultimately left much to be desired – the year was filled with so many strong films that it’s simply impossible to give them all the credit they deserve. As I headed into this final stretch with my co-critics, Zack Sharf and James Hausman, we wrestled with our year-end lists, fighting for films that each of us loved so dearly to get some kind of shout-out, no matter how brief. But, this year more than ever, we were forced to kill many of our darlings. It really came down to the wire, and while all three of us have covered a wide spectrum of 2013’s excellence, it needs to be said that even if I had comprised a list of my Top 50 films of the year, some notable ones would still be left on the outside looking in. That’s how fantastic 2013 has been for movies, topping last year’s surprisingly great turnout; we reveled in its riches and are truly sad to see it go. But before 2014 is officially upon us, it’s time for one final list – the list of all lists, in fact. I’ve narrowed it down to a cemented tally, with only a single tie and a plethora of honorable mentions that I feel obligated to present before really getting into the meat of what I thought made 2013 a phenomenal year for motion pictures.

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2013 Rewind: 20 Great Movie Moments

Last year, creating our end of the year lists was one of the most exciting processes. This year, it was the most difficult challenge. Over the past months, we’ve come out of press screeners raving about the movies we saw over and over again, so much so that numerous friends have chided, “Is there ever a movie you don’t like?” The fact of the matter is that 2013 will go down in history as one of the most remarkable years in movie history, with new classics being dropped every other weekend thanks to likes of Steve McQueen, Alfonso Cuaron, the Coen Brothers, Spike Jonze, David O. Russell, Paul Greengrass, Alexander Payne, and many, many more. While our friends may have grew tired of our never-ending praise, we were just as shocked that so many movies this year left us in wondrous cinematic highs. As you might expect, narrowing down all the great films we saw this year into finite lists has never been more challenging, but it’s a testament to this exceptional year that there are so many vibrant performances, moments, and movies that even narrowing down a list to 20 names has proven troublesome. Over the next several days, we’ll be rolling out our “Best of 2013” articles, and we continue today with our favorite movie moments of the year, from a thirteen-minute opening long take set in space to James Franco belting out Britney Spears. Check out the full list below:

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2013 Rewind: The Year’s Biggest Breakthroughs

Last year, creating our end of the year lists was one of the most exciting processes. This year, it was the most difficult challenge. Over the past months, we’ve come out of press screeners raving about the movies we saw over and over again, so much so that numerous friends have chided, “Is there ever a movie you don’t like?” The fact of the matter is that 2013 will go down in history as one of the most remarkable years in movie history, with new classics being dropped every other weekend thanks to likes of Steve McQueen, Alfonso Cuaron, the Coen Brothers, Spike Jonze, David O. Russell, Paul Greengrass, Alexander Payne, and many, many more. While our friends may have grew tired of our never-ending praise, we were just as shocked that so many movies this year left us in wondrous cinematic highs. As you might expect, narrowing down all the great films we saw this year into finite lists has never been more challenging, but it’s a testament to this exceptional year that there are so many vibrant performances, moments, and movies that even narrowing down a list to 20 names has proven troublesome. Over the next several days, we’ll be rolling out our “Best of 2013” articles, and we continue today with our favorite breakthroughs of the year, from several Sundance-conquering directors to a couple of fresh faced actors. Check out our full list below:

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2013 Rewind: Best Performances of the Year

Last year, creating our end of the year lists was one of the most exciting processes. This year, it was the most difficult challenge. Over the past months, we’ve come out of press screeners raving about the movies we saw over and over again, so much so that numerous friends have chided, “Is there ever a movie you don’t like?” The fact of the matter is that 2013 will go down in history as one of the most remarkable years in movie history, with new classics being dropped every other weekend thanks to likes of Steve McQueen, Alfonso Cuaron, the Coen Brothers, Spike Jonze, David O. Russell, Paul Greengrass, Alexander Payne, and many, many more. While our friends may have grew tired of our never-ending praise, we were just as shocked that so many movies this year left us in wondrous cinematic highs. As you might expect, narrowing down all the great films we saw this year into finite lists has never been more challenging, but it’s a testament to this exceptional year that there are so many vibrant performances, moments, and movies that even narrowing down a list to 20 names has proven troublesome. Over the next several days, we’ll be rolling out our “Best of 2013” articles, and we start today with our favorite performances of the year, from a homophobic AIDS patient to an inspirational slave and an astronaut stranded in space. Check out our full list below:

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Top 10: Merry Christmas!

Elf

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring as everyone was in their own rooms trying to avoid classic, seasonal familial disputes. Just Kidding (sort of)! The stockings have been hung, the milk and cookies have been left out, and there’s a snowman in the yard sporting a fetching top hat; yes, Christmas has crept upon us once again! Family time is important, especially during the holidays, and once the feast has been eaten and the presents unwrapped, what better way to keep the holiday cheer going than by sitting down to a festive family film. So here it is: our list (checked twice) of the Top Ten Christmas movies. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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