No matter what your taste in movies is, if you go see whatever is playing at the moment or if you only watch them if Rotten Tomatoes says so, I think we can all agree on one thing: 2013 was an amazing year for movies.  For every garbage put together, there was a well-done motion picture waiting right besides it.  This made my Top 10 of the year a particularly hard one, since it was almost impossible for me to choose what great movies I would have to leave out.  In the end, I was able to be fair with my decisions, and here it is for all of you to see!

Note: I’m a college student, which means the amount of money in my bank account is probably less than or equal to a 6-year-old’s piggy bank.  So basically, I can’t be going to the movies that often while I’m at school.  There are a lot of movies that have amazing ratings and that I know would probably make my top 10 list that I have yet to watch.

 

1. The Wolf of Wall Street

Before I actually watched this film, I was certain it was going to end up being one of my favorite movies of the year.  It’s Martin Scorsese directing a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, with supporting roles from Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler,  Jean Dujardin, and so many other amazing actors.  Then I saw it.  At 2 hours and 59 minutes, I cannot think of one moment in which I was distracted or not entertained.  This movie is the definition of pure cinematic perfection, and it is Scorsese’s best film to date, along with Goodfellas.  The Wolf of Wall Street, based on the real life accounts of Wall Street fraudster Jordan Belfort, is filled with as much sex, drugs, partying, and language (the word “f*ck” is used in this movie 569 times, the most ever in a non-documentary movie), which has brought a lot of criticism from critics and media likewise, even being banned in some countries.  The fact that Scorsese was asked to cut the movie by almost an hour to avoid an NC-17 rating can pretty much tell you what to expect.  But it is this extreme excess that makes this movie so real and perfect; it accurately tells us the story of Jordan Belfort, the most powerful person that Wall Street may have ever had, from his rise all the way down to his fall.  And, by the love of the movie gods, GIVE DICAPRIO THE DAMN OSCAR!!!!

2. 12 Years a Slave

Never in my life had I had such a hard time watching a movie.  It is  the most disturbing, realistic, and honest movie about slavery to have ever come out, and I am thankful that I had the chance to watch it.  Usually in other movies, I can feel a connection to the main character; in 12 Years a Slave, I felt as if I actually was Solomon Northup.  I could feel his sorrows; his pains; his angers; his nerves.  This is thanks to the amazing direction by Steve McQueen and the unbelievably superb acting by English actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, who is, in fact, the only actor this year to measure up to Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street.  Along with all this, we have an excellent ensemble cast which includes Michael Fassbender, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, and newcomer Lupita Nyong’o, who has already been given an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.  12 Years a Slave is definitely not a movie for the faint of heart, but if you can handle watching a movie that truly depicts the horror that was slavery, this movie is an absolute must-see.

3. Philomena

With so many great movies to choose from, audiences were surprised when Philomena got an Oscar nomination for Best Picture of the Year.  I can definitely see why it did.  No other movie has touched my heart like this one since I saw The Intouchables last year.  Led by the most likable leads of the year, Philomena is a dramedy that follows Philomena, played by a marvelous Judi Dench, as she looks for her lost son 50 years after he was put into adoption by the mean Irish nuns that were in charge of the monastery where Philomena lived.  To help her with this is writer Martin Sixsmith, played equally well by Steve Coogan.  The movie is perfectly written (Steve Coogan actually co-wrote it), and knows exactly when it should be sad, serious, or just simply funny.  What I actually found most pleasant about this film was its take on religion.  The movie can sometimes seem to be mean against either atheists or Catholics, though it never really means to be plain offensive.  The movie definitely criticizes the way the Irish Church nuns used to treat the younger ones, who were mostly put there by obligation and not by their own will, along with other criticism of a few ideals that might not be generally accepted in the present day.  However, it never forgets to be respectful to those who follow Catholicism, and clearly states the idea of how forgiveness and mercy are the values by which we should live.

4. American Hustle

American Hustle is one of the best times I had at the movies this year, and you can tell that the cast had a great time filming this movie too, which makes it even better.   Though not as much of a masterpiece as The Wolf of Wall Street, this movie is equally entertaining as it is eye-catching, with such great direction from David O. Russell.  The movie is impeccably cast, with Christian Bale and Amy Adams giving the best acting they have done in their entire careers (which are full of great movies) and an amazing supporting cast that includes the actress of the moment, Jennifer Lawrence, along with Bradley Cooper, and Jeremy Renner.  Even better is the fact that this movie will keep you guessing until the end, where everything falls into place and you are pretty freakin’ amazed by what just happened.

5. The Way Way Back

In a year filled with coming-of-age stories, The Way Way Back was the best one out of the bunch.  It follows Duncan, played extremely well by Liam James, a kid who has more problems in his life than the usual kid his age, and whose summer is not off to a good start until he meets water park manager Owen, played by the always-great Sam Rockwell.  What I particularly loved about this movie is the fact that it is much like in real life.  Duncan’s main problem is that he wants to like himself, but having a not so supportive stepdad (Steve Carrell) and stepsister, plus a mom (Toni Collette) who means good but doesn’t really show it, it can be pretty hard to have all his problems fixed in one summer.  Instead, the movie shows you how he progresses, thanks to his new friend Owen, who gave him a job at the water park for the summer, which coincidentally shows how Duncan has grown up mentally during that summer, being able to face problems on his own.  The Way Way Back is an extremely entertaining movie, and an extremely well executed movie all in all.

6. Blue Jasmine

Every year, Woody Allen releases one movie.  Every year, I am looking forward to it.  After 2012’s To Rome With Love, which was good but not great, I was expecting to see a better film, and I was not let down.  Blue Jasmine is, along with Midnight in Paris, my favorite Woody Allen movie.  And it is so completely different from his previous work.  It is not much centered in a love study, but in one person in particular whose love story is nothing but depressing, and you can tell by her way of being.  Jasmine is one of the most interesting characters of 2013, and this is mainly thanks to the Oscar-deserving acting done by Cate Blanchett.  She is able to portray to perfection the unstable Jasmine, making the movie that much better.   To this, add the great supporting cast, led by Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, Louis C.K., and other wonderful actors.  Blue Jasmine is the type of movie that does not come along that often, but when it does, you are extremely glad you had the chance to watch it.

7. The World’s End

I hated this movie.  I absolutely hated it.  I hated it because it is literally the end, the end of the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy.  The World’s End was the last film of this unintended trilogy, and it was the absolutely hilarious and amazing.  Seriously, in how many movies do you get to see the heroes completely wasted out of their minds while they save the world?  Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost have been working together for years now, and have made three of the most brilliant comedies of the 2000s, and quite probably of all time.  This one is no exception to that.  In a year filled with apocalyptic after apocalyptic movies, this one takes the prize for being the best and most original one.  And to add to all this, The World’s End actually has a great level of maturity; it is not all about getting drunk and killing robots/aliens, to say the least.  Still, it is hilarious and entertaining from start to end, and you will love watching these comedic geniuses doing something slightly different from the first 2 films of the Cornetto Trilogy.  And then, in the end, you will hate it for being the end of it all.

8. Oldboy

This movie was criticized a lot  for being basically the same thing as original version and for not adding any new elements to it.  I have not watched the Korean version yet, and maybe if I had, I would have not felt as strong about this movie as I do.  But the fact remains, this is the one I watched, and even knowing that apparently around 40 minutes were cut from the film without Spike Lee’s approval, I thought it was a masterpiece.  What Spike Lee did in this movie has not been done often: he has given us a movie that touches themes that no one else has dared touch because of the heavy criticism it might receive.  Spike Lee got this criticism,  criticism for daring to do new things, which in my opinion, is completely unfair.  This is a heavily gruesome, cruel, violent, mind-blowing movie that had me at the edge of my seat at all times, and completely and utterly impressed with what was going.  Added to this, Josh Brolin gives a performance for the ages as Joe Ducett that, in my opinion, was one of the best performances of 2013, along with a great cast which includes Samuel Jackson, Elizabeth Olsen, and a twisted Sharlto Copley.  I still want to watch the original version of Oldboy, but even if I do end up liking it more than this one, it does not take away the fact that this version was perfectly executed.  Oh, and if you do end up watching this one, and you have not watched the Korean version, get ready for an ending that will leave you more astonished than any other movie you have ever seen.

9. Mud

I think it is fair to say that Matthew McConaughey absolutely killed it this year.   He appeared in 3 movies, and in those three movies he was absolutely perfect.  Mud was the first one to come out.  From the moment during last summer, I was already thinking of where it would land in my Top 10 list of 2013.  Another coming-of-age story, Mud stars Tye Sheridan as Ellis, a kid with a troubled family who befriends Matthew McConaughey’s Mud, a man wanted for a crime he committed.  Through this friendship, Ellis learns more about himself and grows, while Mud finds someone who truly cares about him.  This movie keeps you completely interested throughout the whole time, making you create a connection with the main characters, for one knows what they must be feeling at every second of the movie.  The writer and director, Jeff Nichols, beautifully crafted this movie, showing us a bit of comedy, tragedy, drama, and action, all at the right time.  Mud is a film that derails from the usual coming-of-age story, taking risks that not many other movies of this style might take, and the ending result is spectacular.

10. Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Now here is a movie that I definitely expected to bring a lot of nods for the Oscar and was extremely disappointed that it did not.  Lee Daniel’s The Butler is a marvelously executed film that tells the story of a butler who worked for three decades in the White House, going through seven different Presidents.  Lee Daniels direction is beautiful, always setting noticeable differences for each Presidential term so that you can get a feel of the time that has passe by.  And maybe if there are some faults in the narrative, the cast makes up for it.  This movie lets us see in action what for me was one of the Top 5 casts of 2013.  Forrest Whitaker gives his best performance in years.  However, the most surprising of all for me was Oprah.  I knew Oprah was a decent actor, but this movie makes me think of her as a top notch actor.  Her performance in incredible, and to be real, it makes me kinda mad that she did not receive an Oscar nomination.   In conclusion, Lee Daniels’ The Butler is an excellent and affecting piece of work, one that makes use of its incredible cast and that deserved more nods at the Oscars.

Honorary Mentions:

11. Gravity

12. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

13. This is the End

14. Iron Man 3

15. Kings of Summer

What would your Top 10 look like? Share it in the comments section!

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Comments
  1. David M. says:

    Hello, Ricardo! It’s your cowboy cousin David!

    If you liked the U.S. version of “Old Boy,” then there’s no doubt that you’ll be thrilled to go over the same journey in the Korean version. Haven’t seen Spike Lee’s rendition, but I also heard the same about how it borrows most of its elements from the original. Nevertheless, I’m sure it’ll be no less exciting.

    Looking forward to exploring the site and seeing more!

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