I am a fan of movies. I should tell you that before we begin. But I should also tell you that I don’t watch as many movies as I should. I try. I really do. But I certainly do not watch as many films as I should, and that is my own fault. I seek them out when I can, and I try to watch the movies generally regarded as the best of the year (plus a bunch of other trash that won’t be found on any lists), but I do not get to all of them.
With all of that said: this is a list of my five favorite films of 2013.
This is not a list of the best films of 2013. If you’re looking for something along those lines, you’re probably looking to get feedback from someone much smarter and much more well-versed than I. I am a fan of movies, once again, but I am not an expert in what makes a movie great. All I know are the things that movies make me feel, and these are the movies that made me feel more than other movies in 2013. I hope this makes sense, but we are continuing whether it makes sense or not.
Let’s go. Time is wasting.
1. Wolf of Wall Street
Is it ridiculous for me to name this my best movie of 2013? Probably.
Is the movie ridiculous? Absolutely
Do I care? Not in the slightest.
I love Martin Scorcese. Always have. Love all of his movies, and this one is no different. Leonardo DiCaprio is absolutely incredible here, and this is a shocking admission from a man who knows his girlfriend would absolutely leave him in a heartbeat if Leo came a’ calling.
I understand this. I am fine with it. And I cannot get enough of this movie.
Is it the best film? No, probably not. 12 Years a Slave, which I will discuss in the following entry, will have much more far-reaching impact than this tale of drugs, sex and more drugs could ever dream of having.
But I don’t care. This was my favorite movie to watch in 2013.
2. 12 Years a Slave
This was incredibly difficult to watch. I tend to empathize with people on a general level, and this movie made me empathize. A lot. So much so, that I will likely find it difficult to ever watch again, despite it being an incredible and moving and powerful and visceral film.
Chiwetel Ejiofor, the lead actor, has been on my radar for many years, ever since I first saw him in Serenity. Being a huge nerd, and especially a huge nerd for science fiction, I loved Serenity. And Chiwetel was easily the best performer in that movie, bar none. And he was the best in 2012, which remains one of my guilty pleasures due to my fascination with disasters on a global scale.
Let me state this again: this is a difficult thing to watch. It is incredibly realistic, or at least as realistic as I imagine these things to be. I am not certain I want to see anything more realistic or gritty. Or moving, for that matter. This was enough, and one time may have been enough. But that one time, man, it was an incredible experience.
I’m a sucker for romantic comedies. This is one of my deepest movie-watching secrets. And actually, it is not constrained to just romantic comedies; I will watch anything with the slightest hint of romance.
Which is why Her resonates with me. And look, this is not a normal movie. This is a movie about a man, at some undetermined point in the future, that falls in love with the artificial intelligence in his computer and phone and iPad or whatever the future equivalent of the iPad is. That’s weird. I know it is, you know it is.
And yet, it works. It works because Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson make it work. They are sublime, even though one is portraying a very weird and emotionally damaged human and the other is playing the part of a voice in a computer. It works.
Is Her the best romantic movie I’ve seen in years? Yeah. Is it the weirdest? By far. Does it matter? Not even a little bit.
I was supposed to see Gravity with my girlfriend in Florida last summer. And then I got sick. Sicker than I can ever remember being. Sweaty, dirty and not even a little bit graceful sick. The kind of sick where your significant other has to change the bedsheets of the guest bed you are sleeping because you have soaked the sheets with sweat.
So I didn’t get to see Gravity that night. But I did get to see it a month or so later, and I was blown away. Absolutely blown away. It had been a long time since a film had made me feel that uncomfortable, and I suppose it had something to do with the quiet. The space and the quiet. I love space and I love quiet, but the idea of space and quiet in space is absolutely unnerving. If I sit back and think about what is really happening in this flick, I can feel the whispers of an oncoming panic attack. And I don’t even have panic attacks.
I’ve seen Gravity roughly five times since that night, and it hasn’t lost the effect it had on me. If you are fearful of space and quiet, as I assume so many of us are, then this movie will wreck you.
5. Anchorman 2
You’re going to mock me for including this here. I don’t care. These are my favorite movies, and this movie was awesome.
Look, I’m like you. I was a fan of the first Anchorman, and I was terrified that the sequel wouldn’t live up to it. But it did. It did, and so much more. It didn’t just live up to the first one; it may have surpassed it.
Will Ferrell will always be a person that makes me laugh. His face alone, and this is not a knock on him, will always make me laugh. His smallest facial ticks are hilarious. They hit me right in the funny bone.
But this movie did not rely on Ferrell. His performance was strong, but his surrounding cast (and the script, most importantly) came through in a big way. I loved this. If you didn’t love this, you are stupid and have a stupid face.