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12.23.2013by: Chris Bumbray

Top 10 Movies of 2013 (Chris Bumbray)

And so another year is in the books! It can't be denied that 2013 started off badly . The first two months of the year were a wasteland of crap, with us being deluged by some truly horrendous films like GANGSTER SQUAD, MOVIE 43, A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD, and worse. Luckily, the year redeemed itself in a big way, with great movies like THE WORLDíS END, BEFORE MIDNIGHT, UPSTREAM COLOR, BLUE JASMINE, MUD, THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES and more coming out before the summer's end. And guess what? Those movies arenít even on my top 10! Why? Blame the insanity of the fall movie season, which was kicked off in high style by the Toronto International Film Festival- in one of its best years ever. These last four months have been an oasis of brilliant films, leaving 2014 with a mighty fine year to live up to.

10. Dallas Buyers Club

DALLAS BUYERS CLUB is one of the few movies that came out in 2013 that I liked so much I had to watch it twice. When your job happens to be reviewing movies, there's LOTS to see. It's rare that I take the time to watch something recent for a second time unless I really loved it. Suffice to say, I really loved DALLAS BUYERS club. Matthew McConaughey has been on a roll this year, but as good as MUD was (and it was great) DALLAS BUYERS CLUB is something else. He lost an insane amount of weight to play a bigoted Texas good ol'boy dying of AIDS in the eighties, and he was absolutely extraordinary, as was Jared Leto as his transvestite- friend. Both men deserve to walk away with Oscars.

9. The Spectacular Now

THE SPECTACULAR NOW was one of the gems I saw at Sundance early this year. I was already impressed with director James Pondsolt's previous film SMASHED. This one actually has a lot in common with that, in that both movies are about young alcoholics, with Miles Teller's star-making performance as Sutter Keely, a kind of alcohol-fueled Ferris Bueller. Like last year's THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, this is the type of teen film that John Hughes would have been proud to have made.

8. Short Term 12

Destin Cretton's SHORT TERM 12 is probably too small of a film to ever get the kind of acclaim it deserves. In a perfect world, star Brie Larson, as the abused head of a shelter for troubled kids, would be on everyone's short-list as a sure fire front-runner for best actress. Truly, hers is one of the year's great performances. If you haven't seen this one, make sure to keep an eye out for it on VOD/Blu-ray. It's the kind of small film you're bound to fall in love with.

7. Out of the Furnace

The fact that OUT OF THE FURNACE came and went from theatres so quickly earlier this month in disheartening. I like to think that there's always going to be a place for dark, challenging fare like this in today's marketplace. Maybe the problem was that it came out opposite so many other quality films looking for Oscar buzz, that it just got lost. In any case, this is a dark, brilliant piece of work with a surprisingly subtle turn from Christian Bale, and an incendiary performance by Casey Affleck as his wounded vet brother.

6. Gravity

Alfonso Cuaron's GRAVITY was the ride of 2013. Even more than blockbusters like MAN OF STEEL, GRAVITY captured the public's imagination by giving them a film that- heck- made you almost feel like you were in space along with stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. In a marketplace that's increasingly filled with movies that seem optimized for home viewing, GRAVITY was defiantly theatrical, and the kind of big-screen spectacle that simply can't be done justice in someone's home theater- no matter how impressive their setup is. This is big-screen or bust.

5. 12 Years A Slave

Without a doubt, 12 YEARS A SLAVE is the most important film of the year. I think everyone would agree that as far as movies about the African-American slave experience goes, 12 YEARS A SLAVE is downright definitive. After HUNGER & SHAME, we already knew director Steve McQueen was a genius. Here, he establishes himself as an all-out master. More than any other film on this list, 12 YEARS A SLAVE is required viewing. Being at the TIFF world premiere of this was a special experience.

4. Prisoners

Iím disappointed that PRISONERS doesnít have more Oscar buzz as it goes into the awards season, as to me Denis Villeneuveís epic child-abduction drama is masterful. Throughout the 160 minute running time, I was on the edge of my seat as Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal each gave career-best performances. PRISONERS works on every level- be it a serious, adult drama, or a crowd-pleasing edge of your seat thriller. I gave this one a 10/10 and dammit, I stand by that grade.

3. Inside Llewyn Davis

Thereís something oddly perverse about the fact that- of INSIDE LLEWYN DAVISí beautiful song-score-the novelty tune ĎPlease Mr. Kennedyí is the one thatís broken-out and gotten so much award consideration. If youíve seen the movie, youíll know that Oscar Issacís titular character treats that silly song with contempt, and struggles to find an audience for his own soulful ballads. As it is on celluloid, as it is in life. To me, this is one of the all-time best films to come from The Coen Brothers, and itís one whose stature will grow and grow over the years to come.

2. American Hustle

AMERICAN HUSTLE may not be the ďbestĒ film of 2013, but itís easily one of the ones I had the most fun watching. An affectionate, Scorsese style period epic, turning a satiric eye on the real ABSCAM scandal of the late seventies, AMERICAN HUSTLE is an all-out blast. Remember what I wrote earlier about not watching films more than once? Before the film even got itís wide theatrical release I went out of my way to watch it twice. Thatís how much fun I had with it. HUSTLE feels like one of those rare movies Iíll be watching over and over again throughout the years to come.

1. The Wolf of Wall Street

But alas, there can only be one king, and that king is Martin Scorsese. This is the great man working at the very peak of his ability. Forming a loose trilogy with GOODFELLAS & CASINO, WOLF examines the real gangsters in modern day America- the guys on Wall Street. In a way, DiCaprio's Jordan Belfort may be an even more irredeemable creature than Jiimmy Conway, Tommy DeVito or Henry Hill in GOODFELLAS, or Nicky Santoro in CASINO. At least they have the sophistication to know they're not respectable. What makes Belfort such a chilling creation (I pray the real Belfort isn't as demonic as he's walking around a free man) is that it never even occurs to him that what he's doing is wrong. And the genius of Scorsese's film that that we get so wrapped up in the debauchery, neither do we.

To this end, what exactly Belfort is doing is deliberately left vague, and we're invited to revel in the chaos. WOLF is like being at an insane party. You'll have so much fun that at some point you'll be exhausted and worn out, and it's here- the sobering up period- when you realize exactly who Belfort is and that Scorsese has been leading you to this realization all along. Truly, this is the work of a man with a mastery over film that cannot be rivaled by many other (living) directors.

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12:54AM on 01/06/2014

in no particular order

The Conjuring
Wolf of Wall Street
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave
Prisoners
Stoker
American Hustle
Inside Llewyn Davis
BlackFish
Her
The Conjuring
Wolf of Wall Street
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave
Prisoners
Stoker
American Hustle
Inside Llewyn Davis
BlackFish
Her
Your Reply:



1:52AM on 12/26/2013
Well... this list turned to a farce the moment you didn't even give Madea, at least an honorable mention.
Well... this list turned to a farce the moment you didn't even give Madea, at least an honorable mention.
Your Reply:



+0
10:49PM on 12/24/2013

Meh

I do not see why this is being short listed for noms. I saw it a couple days ago, and it was just an okay film. Not a film I would want to see again. Not a compelling story or characters you really care about. I think Jeremy Renner and Louis C.K. are the best parts of the film.
I do not see why this is being short listed for noms. I saw it a couple days ago, and it was just an okay film. Not a film I would want to see again. Not a compelling story or characters you really care about. I think Jeremy Renner and Louis C.K. are the best parts of the film.
Your Reply:



5:18PM on 12/24/2013
Great film, but the reason "Please Mr. Kennedy" has gotten the awards recognition is because it is the only song in the film that is being considered original by voting groups. The Oscars, in fact, don't even consider it an original song. All of the rest are classic folk tunes redone for the movie.
Great film, but the reason "Please Mr. Kennedy" has gotten the awards recognition is because it is the only song in the film that is being considered original by voting groups. The Oscars, in fact, don't even consider it an original song. All of the rest are classic folk tunes redone for the movie.
Your Reply:



1:40PM on 12/24/2013

Saw it..PLACE THIS HIGHER!!!!

"The Spectacular Now" floored me. Holy shit, what a beautiful and true film that turned out to be. I am seriously pushing for Kyle Chandler for supporting actor. His screen time was brief but he made the most of it.
"The Spectacular Now" floored me. Holy shit, what a beautiful and true film that turned out to be. I am seriously pushing for Kyle Chandler for supporting actor. His screen time was brief but he made the most of it.
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6:28PM on 12/23/2013
Finally saw this today after reading this top 10 and wow... I could not agree with you more. What a fucking brilliant movie. Blew me away.
Finally saw this today after reading this top 10 and wow... I could not agree with you more. What a fucking brilliant movie. Blew me away.
Your Reply:



3:14PM on 12/23/2013

Good list

My personal Top Ten:
10. Inside Llewyn Davis
9. Dallas Buyers Club
8. Nebraska
7. Fruitvale Station
6. Kill Your Darlings
5. Prisoners
4. 12 Years A Slave
3. Blue Jasmine
2. American Hustle
1. Gravity
My personal Top Ten:
10. Inside Llewyn Davis
9. Dallas Buyers Club
8. Nebraska
7. Fruitvale Station
6. Kill Your Darlings
5. Prisoners
4. 12 Years A Slave
3. Blue Jasmine
2. American Hustle
1. Gravity
Your Reply:



2:34PM on 12/23/2013
Amy Adam's cleavage deserves an oscar. I'll never be able to see her in an innocent light again. hahaha
Amy Adam's cleavage deserves an oscar. I'll never be able to see her in an innocent light again. hahaha
Your Reply:



12:22PM on 12/23/2013

Not a transvestite

You should know that a transvestite is just a man who likes wearing women's clothing usually for sexual reasons, and Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club is a transwoman who wants to live her life as a woman. Big difference, wouldn't mix up the two.
You should know that a transvestite is just a man who likes wearing women's clothing usually for sexual reasons, and Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club is a transwoman who wants to live her life as a woman. Big difference, wouldn't mix up the two.
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10:45PM on 12/24/2013
Jared Leto himself referred to his character as a transvestite.
Jared Leto himself referred to his character as a transvestite.
8:28AM on 12/24/2013
Thank you! I was going to say the same thing when I saw that--glad someone beat me to it. I've seen a lot of critics refer to her as a transvestite, actually. It's sad.
Thank you! I was going to say the same thing when I saw that--glad someone beat me to it. I've seen a lot of critics refer to her as a transvestite, actually. It's sad.
+3
12:18PM on 12/23/2013
Great film. Deeper than any of 2013. Incredible acting. Top of my list for sure.
Great film. Deeper than any of 2013. Incredible acting. Top of my list for sure.
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10:55AM on 12/23/2013

I love my family dinners

But I wish we would skip Christmas Dinner and indulge in the world of greed instead..haha
But I wish we would skip Christmas Dinner and indulge in the world of greed instead..haha
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10:54AM on 12/23/2013

This film is getting the shaft BADLY

This was easily Jackman's best role. This is the role I feel he wanted since gaining popularity through X-men. It is such an amazing and heavy performance through the darkness of one man's mind. The ending was ok but everything else before that was extremely well done. Dano was also quite good in this too.
This was easily Jackman's best role. This is the role I feel he wanted since gaining popularity through X-men. It is such an amazing and heavy performance through the darkness of one man's mind. The ending was ok but everything else before that was extremely well done. Dano was also quite good in this too.
Your Reply:



10:52AM on 12/23/2013

I liked it

Really a incredible journey through hell for Solomon. Sarah Paulson was just as frightening as Fassbender.
Really a incredible journey through hell for Solomon. Sarah Paulson was just as frightening as Fassbender.
Your Reply:



10:51AM on 12/23/2013

Good spot for it

It isn't the best film overall of the year. The emotions weren't as strong as the effects. Now that I got that out of the way...this film was a masterpiece in directing. There were visuals in this film that I never have seen before and they instilled such feelings of joy to be a movie geek. I hope Cauron wins best director because he deserves it for conducting the set pieces in this film.
It isn't the best film overall of the year. The emotions weren't as strong as the effects. Now that I got that out of the way...this film was a masterpiece in directing. There were visuals in this film that I never have seen before and they instilled such feelings of joy to be a movie geek. I hope Cauron wins best director because he deserves it for conducting the set pieces in this film.
Your Reply:



10:49AM on 12/23/2013

Eh..

Good film but I didn't connect with it as much as others do. I am no way knocking it at all. Bale plays simplistic so well though in this film. I really though Harrelson was frightening in it too.
Good film but I didn't connect with it as much as others do. I am no way knocking it at all. Bale plays simplistic so well though in this film. I really though Harrelson was frightening in it too.
Your Reply:



10:48AM on 12/23/2013

I have this...

I got a copy and am going to watch it before I leave for the Christmas at my Aunt's house.
I got a copy and am going to watch it before I leave for the Christmas at my Aunt's house.
Your Reply:



10:46AM on 12/23/2013

Such an amazing film

Both of them are incredible in this film. I felt this was such an uplifting story in the time when AIDS was practically the grim reaper as opposed to how it is handled better today. This will be higher on my personal list but I am happy to see it here still.
Both of them are incredible in this film. I felt this was such an uplifting story in the time when AIDS was practically the grim reaper as opposed to how it is handled better today. This will be higher on my personal list but I am happy to see it here still.
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-1
9:01AM on 12/23/2013
Finally, someone I agree with. I can not believe the things ppl said about this movie compared to Avatar (especially when it's hard to find an original movie anyway). I have a somewhat famous screenwriter friend of mine who said this is what the movies were meant to be. And the movie is not bad by any stretch. It's just disappointing, and I guess my problem is that I didn't know what to expect from Children of Men - a real original film. I did expect a lot of the story in this, and I
Finally, someone I agree with. I can not believe the things ppl said about this movie compared to Avatar (especially when it's hard to find an original movie anyway). I have a somewhat famous screenwriter friend of mine who said this is what the movies were meant to be. And the movie is not bad by any stretch. It's just disappointing, and I guess my problem is that I didn't know what to expect from Children of Men - a real original film. I did expect a lot of the story in this, and I nearly hit every "plot" point in it. I mean, this is like a way souped up version of "Phone Booth." It deserves any win for special effects and Sandra and Clooney were good. I was thrilled when I watched it, but I don't care to ever see it again. I'd watch Speed before I'd watch this again.
Your Reply:



8:54AM on 12/23/2013
A showcase of the Art know as Cinema. My #1 of the year.
A showcase of the Art know as Cinema. My #1 of the year.
Your Reply:



8:40AM on 12/23/2013
REALLY can't wait for this. My ass will be in a theater on Christmas Day seeing this and will be loving the fuck out of it.
REALLY can't wait for this. My ass will be in a theater on Christmas Day seeing this and will be loving the fuck out of it.
Your Reply:



8:38AM on 12/23/2013
This is my favorite film of 2013. Brilliant and amazing on every aspect with a terrific story and powerhouse performances from everyone involved. An amazing soundtrack as well.

Can't wait to see it again.
This is my favorite film of 2013. Brilliant and amazing on every aspect with a terrific story and powerhouse performances from everyone involved. An amazing soundtrack as well.

Can't wait to see it again.
Your Reply:



8:36AM on 12/23/2013
Waiting for this to get wide release. I'm dieing to see it.
Waiting for this to get wide release. I'm dieing to see it.
Your Reply:



8:35AM on 12/23/2013
Flawless, powerful film. One of my favorites of the year and in my top ten too.

Jackman was scary in this and Gyllenhall was amazing as well. I really hope they and this film all get nominated at this year's Oscars.
Flawless, powerful film. One of my favorites of the year and in my top ten too.

Jackman was scary in this and Gyllenhall was amazing as well. I really hope they and this film all get nominated at this year's Oscars.
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8:33AM on 12/23/2013
This film was amazing. I was literally floored and drained by this film by the time that last frame came on.

This is also in my top ten as well.
This film was amazing. I was literally floored and drained by this film by the time that last frame came on.

This is also in my top ten as well.
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8:31AM on 12/23/2013
Great visuals, lackluster story. It's a good film, but not as good as I was expecting.
Great visuals, lackluster story. It's a good film, but not as good as I was expecting.
Your Reply:



8:30AM on 12/23/2013
Brilliant film and one of the year's most underrated films. It's also one of my favorites of the year and in my top ten as well. It's a tragedy this film didn't do better with audiences.

I just hope Bale and/or Affleck get nominated for their respective roles in this.
Brilliant film and one of the year's most underrated films. It's also one of my favorites of the year and in my top ten as well. It's a tragedy this film didn't do better with audiences.

I just hope Bale and/or Affleck get nominated for their respective roles in this.
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8:27AM on 12/23/2013
Been waiting to see this one.
Been waiting to see this one.
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8:24AM on 12/23/2013
While the acting was superb, I felt as though I had seen this story before. A good movie for sure but, at least for me, not quite top ten worthy.
While the acting was superb, I felt as though I had seen this story before. A good movie for sure but, at least for me, not quite top ten worthy.
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8:19AM on 12/23/2013
Missed this film in theaters. Have heard nothing but great things. Especially from McConaughey and Leto.
Missed this film in theaters. Have heard nothing but great things. Especially from McConaughey and Leto.
Your Reply:



8:02AM on 12/23/2013

Completely agree with you

By far, movie of the year. Period. I cannot wait to see it again on Christmas. Oscar worthy performance from both DiCaprio AND Jonah Hill. 10/10 DAMN good movie. I had so much fun watching it, the 3 hour run time flew by.
By far, movie of the year. Period. I cannot wait to see it again on Christmas. Oscar worthy performance from both DiCaprio AND Jonah Hill. 10/10 DAMN good movie. I had so much fun watching it, the 3 hour run time flew by.
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+4
7:35AM on 12/23/2013
I whole-heartedly agree!
I whole-heartedly agree!
Your Reply:



7:35AM on 12/23/2013
I did like the movie, but I didn't love it. I think Barton Fink is very similar and better, not to take away from ILD.
I did like the movie, but I didn't love it. I think Barton Fink is very similar and better, not to take away from ILD.
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7:29AM on 12/23/2013
I wasn't a big fan of this one.
I wasn't a big fan of this one.
Your Reply:



7:28AM on 12/23/2013
Yes, this one was really great. Larsen was amazing. She is definitely the tip of my list right now.
Yes, this one was really great. Larsen was amazing. She is definitely the tip of my list right now.
Your Reply:



7:27AM on 12/23/2013
Awesome entry. I got to see it early in the year too, and I am really happy people dug it when it finally got wider release
Awesome entry. I got to see it early in the year too, and I am really happy people dug it when it finally got wider release
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