2013. 365 days. 163 films. 326 hours. That’s 13.58 days I’ve dedicated this year to watching new releases. 2013 was a great year for film – and I’m pretty comfortable with this list I’ve put together, even if I have missed a few releases here and there. The art of list-making is fluid – you can never cover as much ground as you would like, and it’s possible I’ll continue discovering this year’s great films well into 2014.
The annual ritual of narrowing down hundreds of titles to just 25 is a cruel but necessary discipline as a film critic. There are a lot of movies I wanted to include here, but couldn’t find room for – films like Prisoners, Maniac, Spring Breakers, The Bling Ring, About Time, and Before Midnight all appeared on this list at one point or another.
Anyway, let’s get down to the business of celebrating the cinema of 2013. Here are 25 moving pictures that moved me this year.
Pop Quiz, Hotshot: There’s a bomb on a bus. Once the bus goes 50 miles an hour, the bomb is armed. If it drops below 50, it blows up. What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?!
Whoa. Wait. Sorry, that isn’t the question I want to ask – I just got carried away thinking about Dennis Hopper in Speed. What I really want to know is: how many movies have you seen this year?
Me? I’ve seen 89. That’s 89 movies in a little over six-and-a-half months, which means out of the 210 days of the year so far – I’ve spent 7.4 days devouring new movies. With less than six months left in 2013, I decided to do a top ten list of my favorite films of the year so far.
There are still tons of highly-anticipated films on the way – Elysium, Gravity, Ender’s Game, Anchorman: The Legend Continues, The Wolf of Wall Street – but, until then, consider checking out the films below. OK, enough talking, let’s get on with the show. Without further ado, here’s my list of the 10 best films of 2013 so far”¦
Mud Written and Directed by Jeff Nichols
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Michael Shannon, Sarah Paulson
Rated PG-13 | 130 Minutes
Released April 26, 2013 (Limited)
As we are about to begin the big summer movie season, I decided to head out to my local independent movie theater, and luckily for us folks in Milwaukee, we have two to choose from. I headed to the Downer and after hearing that they finally converted to digital projectors, I got my popcorn, frozen Junior Mints, and soda, then headed into the theater for Mud.
It seems there are a few movies coming out that deal with kids on their summer breaks or something along the lines of Stand By Me or Adventureland. And in Mud, which was written and directed by Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter, a movie worth checking out and I would suggest checking out the numerous episodes and discussions on the /Film podcast about it, after seeing it of course).
Mud Director: Jeff Nichols
Screenwriter: Jeff Nichols
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Reese Witherspoon, Michael Shannon, Sam Shepard, Sarah Paulson Lionsgate Films
Rated PG-13 | 131 Minutes
Release Date: April 26, 2013
Written and directed by Jeff Nichols, Mud stars Matthew McConaughey as the title character, a charismatic desperado on the run from ruthless bounty hunters.
“Galen said it’s been here awhile. He thinks the last flood did it.” Neckbone, an adolescent boy in camouflage pants and a Fugazi t-shirt, and his friend Ellis are exploring a small island on the Mississippi River where they discover a motorboat stuck in the branches of a twisted old tree.
Like Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) and Ellis (Tye Sheridan) are two poor boys on a great adventure through the American South. After investigating the motorboat, the two encounter Mud, a drifter with a gun in his waistband and crosses in his heels – nails in the shape of crosses – that protect him from evil spirits.
This year’s South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW) (03/08 – 03/16) features a lineup of 109 films, including 69 world premieres, as well as 14 North American and 5 United States premieres, with 68 of those titles from first-time filmmakers. Every March, the SXSW Film Festival attracts thousands of fans, filmmakers, press, and industry leaders to Austin, TX, to revel in the celebration of cinema by enjoying a gauntlet of new, exciting movies with the best film audiences in the world.
This year I’ll be covering SXSW for Geeks of Doom and plan on seeing around 20 films during my time in Austin. I’ll be updating Geeks of Doom daily with reviews, exclusive Skull-Face Island podcasts, daily journal entries, and filmmaker interviews including director Josh Johnson of the VHS documentary, Rewind This!.