I suppose this starts on a bit of cheat since I've already done my list for 2014, which you can find here (http://mrmoviesetc.blogspot.com/2015/01/my-top-10-film-list-for-2014-part-1.html) and here (http://mrmoviesetc.blogspot.com/2015/01/my-top-10-films-list-for-2014-part-2.html); however, I did have to put some thought in 2013 because I never ended up making a list for that year. I did rank the 2013 Oscar films, although I can hardly count that because a decent handful of those films did not make it onto this list. There were some difficult delegations I had to make, but all in all, I'm happy with this final cut and I hope you enjoy it as well.
10. MONSTERS UNIVERSITY
For well over the past decade, I have been an outspoken soldier for Pixar and have talked them up to anyone that would listen. Granted, Pixar has made billions of dollars so it's not to say they really need my opinions, but it still feels fulfilling to converse about a studio that had one of the biggest impacts on changing the shape of modern animation. I do concede slightly to the fact that the studio hasn't had a tip-top release since "Toy Story 3" in 2010. "Cars 2" is what it is, and "Brave" hit a majority of the aspirations they were aiming for, yet not quite all of them. "Monsters University" was Pixar's first attempt at a prequel, and putting aside that, no, it didn't need to exist, the film was a solid effort all the way through and nearly as enjoyable as the original. The same characters that made the first film great are all here and are just as dynamic, and some new characters are introduced as well to add enjoyable layers. While some films show all their colors too early, "Monsters University" easily saves its best for the Third Act, and for me, was well worth the journey getting there.
9. BEFORE MIDNIGHT
I would consider it impressive to make one film about a man and woman walking together in an exotic location and doing nothing but talking about life and love, and yet Richard Linklater does it three times over and, in my opinion, saves his best for last with "Before Midnight". This and the other two films do require some patience and are not for everyone, though Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy have such an undeniable chemistry that it's a special treat to watch their characters' lives unfold over the span of a decade and then some. The concept may sound somewhat familiar due to the Linklater's most recent release, "Boyhood". While that film's premise is something different entirely sans the timeline, it never connected the same way that the "Before" trilogy did. The latter at its bones was more ambitious, and certainly had more to say. No pun intended. Each production was well worth the wait, and "Midnight" was a cap that elegantly brought it all together.
7. THE CONJURING
6. BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR
I cannot deny the fact that I could be slightly biased towards "Nebraska" with it being my home state and all, but putting this in my Top 10, even Top 5 of the year, was an easy choice. I have a large soft spot in my cinematic heart for stories about the older generation telling the younger where to "stick it" when it comes to venturing out and finding a sense of purpose and independence. Alexander Payne has enough experience under his belt to find the right notes to hit as well to make this simple film about a simple man (played perfectly by Bruce Dern) going across multiple state lines to collect what he feels is his destiny. The subtle score and black and white filming was a nice touch, and really, the performances across the board made this quiet, yet mighty film a true pleasure to watch.
If any film caught me absolutely off-guard from 2013, it was "Prisoners". The film was twisted. The film was brutal. The film was outstanding. Hugh Jackman makes one of his most emotionally charged performances of his recent career, and Jake Gyllenhaal turns in a fine effort about a small time cop that cannot quite fill the lofty shoes that hero status requires. One thing is for sure, the film's gritty nature rubs off, and if you don't feel slightly dirty and paranoid when the end credits roll, then the film did not do its job. Thankfully, I can't picture that being an issue, because while no one is the "good guy" in this story, you almost cannot help but be sympathetic towards their desperate situation. "Prisoners" was certainly my big surprise of the year and one I'll be happily revisiting in the future.
3. PACIFIC RIM
After going to the theater and watching what I thought was easily the best action blockbuster of the year, I was also certain that no film could push "Pacific Rim" from #1. For the longest time, that did end up being true, but once Oscar season rolled around, I delved a little deeper into what 2013 truly had to offer, and obviously by its placement, I found a few more films that I enjoyed more as a whole. Don't get me wrong, "Pacific Rim" was Del Toro showing off what he does best. There's no deep meaningful messages here, just pure rock 'em/sock 'em bliss between giant robots and giant monsters. To see its performance at the box office fall short is puzzling to me to this day, especially since it did right in one offering that the "Transformers" series has still failed to do with four. I certainly wouldn't turn away a sequel because watching Del Toro go bananas is the definition of fun in many ways, but I would be content just the same if "Pacific Rim" was able to stand on its own mountain.
And finally, my Top Film from 2013.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Journey-Through-Film/897875193561061?ref=tn_tnmn), I won't go overly long here, but I will say that if you have yet to give this film a watch, I hope you can trust me when I say that you are missing out on not only what I felt to be the best 2013 had to offer, but one of the best of the 2010's.
See you next week for my Top 10 Films of 2012!