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.
Nebraska Director: Alexander Payne
Screenwriter: Bob Nelson
Cast: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Stacy Keach, Bob Odenkirk Paramount Vantage
Rated R | 110 Minutes
Release Date: December 6, 2013
“I told him I ain’t fiddlin’ with no cow titties.”
That’s no-nonsense June Squibb (About Schmidt), who plays a salt-of-the-Earth Midwestern wife in Nebraska, an affectionate and resonate comedy-drama about family dysfunction.
Directed by Alexander Payne (Sideways, The Descendants), the black-and-white film stars Bruce Dern as Woody Grant, a man with dementia from Billings, Montana who is convinced he’s won a million dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize.
His son, David (Will Forte, MacGruber), begrudgingly agrees to drive him to Lincoln, Nebraska to claim his winnings. Along the way, father and son visit Woody’s birthplace for an impromptu family reunion where David learns all about his estranged father’s troubled past.
Beautifully shot and brilliantly written, Nebraska is a devastatingly authentic portrait of fathers and sons and the space between them. Alexander Payne is a humanist filmmaker; he cares deeply for his characters no matter their flaws. You know these people – they’re your parents, your siblings – they’re part of your life, for better or worse.
As his latest film, The Descendants, continues down its much deserved, award-laden path to likely Oscar gold, Alexander Payne isn’t resting on his laurels, as he already has an actor in tow for his next film, Nebraska.
Earlier, it was revealed that the director was looking at a variety of leads for the film, ranging from Gene Hackman to Robert Forster. However, in an interview with ComingSoon, the director revealed that he can’t tell us who will star in Nebraska at this moment “because I don’t even think the actor has received the script yet, but it’s in the process right now.”
While he may not have the pull of a bigger named director, Alexander Payne sure as hell will try to pull his weight to get one of the greatest actors around to jump back into the game.
Vulture is reporting that Payne is set to shoot his upcoming film, Nebraska, in black and white, but must cut his budget to $10 million, and find a big name to grab the lead role.Â Who does he have his eye on? Amongst a list including the likes of Jack Nicholson and Robert Duvall is the one and only Gene Hackman.