Saturday, January 25, 2014

Best of 2013

It's time to close the book on another film year and 2013 was a fascinating one indeed. The year got off to an underwhelming start, particularly with a slew of disappointing summer blockbusters. However, everything changed for me during an October trip to New York. While attending the New York Film Festival (as well as catching some regular screenings), I found a pair of masterpieces. Those two films eventually remained as my top 2 of the year, but many others came along after them that I also cherished.

Most notably, it became clear that it was an outstanding year for documentary films. Perhaps this perception was due to a more active engagement with the genre, but it's hard to remember such a strong slate. In fact, 2 of them landed in my top 10 and a few others were close behind too. Outside the docs, the list was more or less my usual mix of indies, foreign films and mainstream fare. As always, I've included all the films that received a 4.5 or 5-star rating. So without further ado, here are my favourite films of 2013. They are listed in ranking order, starting with my #1:

12 Years A Slave
Short Term 12
Blue is the Warmest Color
The Place Beyond The Pines
Life According To Sam
The Way Way Back
The Great Beauty
20 Feet from Stardom

Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Pacific Rim
The Selfish Giant
Iron Man 3

Bonus: Click for episode #202 of the LAMBcast where I discussed my Top 5 films in further detail.


  1. Didn't single out the foreign language films, but it was also a great year for that "genre" too.

  2. Good list Shane, quite surprised to see The Place Beyond The Pines, but definitely a solid choice.

    I've still have some 2013 films in watch list, I hope I'm done with them asap and then I'll post my top tens :))

    1. Cool, I'll look out for it. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Gravity, The Place Beyond the Pines and The Way, Way Back all made it onto my best of 2013 list too - great films!

  4. A couple of favorites for me were About Time and Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa but I also really enjoyed Iron Man 3 and Captain Phillips. Great to see The Selfish Giant make your list!

    1. I enjoyed About Time too. Alan Partridge hasn't released over here yet, but it also looks good. Captain Phillips very nearly made my list.

      Thanks for the comment.

    2. Keep an eye out for Alan Partridge, it's a very good cinematic extension to the TV series.

  5. Great list...I love the mentions for Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer and Iron Man 3. The former is such an underrated film, and, as you pointed out, is another reason why this was such a good year for documentaries.

    1. Thanks Ryan. I do wish the conversation about documentaries was spread further than The Act of Killing and a few others. There were so many noteworthy ones last year.

  6. Great choices! I especially love that 20 Feet from Stardom was listed.

  7. Nice list! Quite a few here I haven't seen but I'll get on it. Nice to see Iron Man 3 and Place Beyond the Pines there. Both underrated in my opinion.

    1. Thanks. I agree that those two are underrated. Especially Iron Man 3, which seems to have a lot of outright hate but it's so fun!

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