FAVORITE FILMS OF 2013
Made this list because I think it helps me collect my thoughts on what I saw this year and figure out what these movies meant to me and I really like lists. This year’s films are so powerful and wide and varying, it’s kind of mind-blowing. Every movie on this list knows what it wants to say and is able to say it in beautiful and concise statements. I’d say that every one is probably one of my favorites of all time. And there’s so many I didn’t get to see!
I actually originally ended up writing way too much so i just took mostly blurbs from what I wrote and put em together, except for the last one, so they might not even make any sense. It’s not a ranked list, I actually think a lot of the time ranking just takes away from actually talking about them.
Let me know what your faves are too! Watch more movies 2K14~
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
Fucking Scorsese. Knows exactly what each shot needs, a whip here a fast forward pan there, and knows when to hold back and let shot speak for itself (country club scene!). Sinks it’s teeth in from getgo. Film understands that to really hold these people responsible it has to make us feel what the pursuit of power is like: primal + blinding. Has to make us culpable. Distills thrills and dangers of allure and addiction right onto the screen into one huge punch of a film. Intoxicating and important.
Like watching a great pop song: fresh, full of youthful energy, ephemeral, but revels in the moment. Gets how transitionary periods in life feel like, when you’re trying to figure out the person you’re going to be, when you’re trying to figure out how to be happy socially, creatively, and financially. Modern day, but feels ageless in silvery digital black and white as French New wave film (lots of Truffaut) scores move it along. One of the sweetest movies about a female friendship, and the special bond and sadness of best friends in general.
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
Singular, purposeful and separate from any other Coen film. Asks what artistic instinct is worth in cold world that might never recognize it, may never care. About how loss can be a thing of utter isolation, incommunicable. Losing someone means losing something inside you too, and film interested in trying to get just what that thing is. Title says it all, it’s about what’s on the inside. Sad but maybe one of the most hopeful Coen films (outside Raising Arizona + Hudsucker Proxy maybe.
+ hilarious. Adam Driver scene had me and my brother in stitches in the theater
THE WIND RISES
One of the best explorations of the beauty + inherent selfishness of artistic pursuit. Visually stunning, saw it on huge screen @ Lincoln Film center and animation just sings. Ends up being Miyazaki’s bittersweet meditation of his own life and work, if it was worth it all, if it means ultimately means anything. Places these feelings into the highest stakes, Jiro Horikoshi creator of Zero Plane @ the height of WWII. Never backs away from unsavory aspects, never glorifies, but reminds us why we’re so obsessed with creating in the first place.
Plus casting Hideaki Anno, person who has always been self aware of his role as artist, as Jiro is perfect
THE ACT OF KILLING
One of the wildest things I’ve ever seen in a theatre. Film ended and I was physically shaking as audience sat in silence through all of the credits. Comes from a place of the deepest empathy. Easy to simply pull back and vilify, but there are no heroes or villains. Vilification makes them caricatures, takes away power of their crimes, and distances us from them. Film is more interested in the circumstances that lead to people committing evil. Never seeks to pass judgement, just to show the whole picture of a person, the whole context, socially or otherwise.
Letting warcamp generals recreate their executions somehow also becomes about how we use art to alleviate our anxieties. Either as a way to further escape from our demons or to face and understand them.
So many scenes where I couldn’t believe what I was seeing was really happening, that it could be really captured on film. Somehow seems like this is exactly what movies are made for.
Woah. Feels like Shane Carruth figured out a different way to tell a story, a shorthand that. It’s cyclical and smooth, about how the smallest things can affect things in far reaching ways and what happens when we’re stripped of all the things that have shaped us into who we are. And he did everything himself, directed, acted, edited, scored, designed the poster, self distributed the movie, even held the fucking camera in the scenes he’s not in. It’s singular in every sense of the word. A film that never stops moving towards something new and of it’s own.
Amy Seimetz is lovely
SHORT TERM 12
This is the one that really got me. About a short term care facility that fosters children in difficult circumstances, kids who may gone through terrible abuse and trauma. It handles the subject with utmost care, with beautiful shots, patient pacing that knows how to let scenes breathe, and acting that just rings so true.
The actual circumstances aren’t something a lot of us have ever gone through but the film gets at something at universal. You don’t need to have gone through the same circumstances to understand trauma. How can wreck you, can reduce you to nothing. It can ruin all facets of your life and sabotage every relationship.
It can get so bad and you just want to be ok, for it to go away, to get better. And to get better you need to let it out. But how can it when you can’t even tell anyone about it?
How do you put it into words? What happens if you tell someone what’s going on inside and the words that come out aren’t able to convey just how awful it feels. The enormity of it. Because when something is so constantly painful you need to make sure they understand that. You need to make someone understand that it’s larger than anything to you. That it’s reduced you even being able to be a functional human being. You need people to understand because if they don’t then it’s like it never even mattered. It means the thing that has wholly consumed you can just be brushed away like it never even mattered.
And that’s terrifying.
You become afraid of even the possibility of healing. The very idea that you could ever be ok again is terrifying because you need the pain you’ve felt really mean something. What does it mean if it can just go away? If you can just be ok again was it ever really that big a deal anyways?
It has to matter.
You become obsessed with it mattering. You can try to hide it, to make it seem like you’re ok on the surface, but it becomes the only real thing in you. You become nothing but your trauma. It has to matter. But when it becomes the only thing that matters, everything that you are doesn’t.
You disappear. You become broken.
That’s why this movie is important. Because Short Term 12 gets what it feels like when you’re that desperate and isolated in yourself. When reaching out to a person becomes the most difficult thing and it’s unimaginable that you could just be ok.
It knows that talking about it has power. When you let it out your trauma loses its power. And it knows that when in stops consuming you it still matters.
It knows that there are people that want to understand, that want to get you through the toughest ordeals. Other people go through trauma but that doesn’t mean that yours matters any less. It always matters. Instead of running away from it these people make it matter by wanting to be there for you. Sometimes they’re a partner sometimes a short term facility employee but there is always someone that will care about you. They want to help because they know what it’s like to be at your lowest. It doesn't mean that it’s the same trauma, we all go through pain but your pain will always be yours and it always be real.
And It knows that it takes real strength to be able to tell someone how broken you feel. Trusting someone comes the highest of stakes because there’s a chance that your words mean end up meaning nothing, changing nothing, never mattering. It’s the biggest risk of all. It knows how hard that is and believes that even at your lowest you can be strong enough to be ok again. Because sometimes by letting someone know what lies in the depths of your heart comes true healing.
Short Term 12 is a film about long term trauma, dealing with it and not letting it define you. It’s a small film that feels bigger than anything, because it is. And it means the world to me.
OTHER FILMS I LOVED BUT DIDN’T WRITE ABOUT
The World’s End
Much Ado About Nothing
12 Years a Slave
STILL NEED TO WATCH
The Great Beauty
Post Tenebrus Lux
Fast & The Furious 6
Blue Is The Warmest Color
Stories We Tell
Behind The Candelabra
Cutie and The Boxer
The Spectacular Now