Best and Worst Films, Performances, and Creative/Technical Achievements of 2013

Films I wanted to see but haven't yet, and would no doubt factor in to my lists. In no particular order:



Captain Phillips

Blue Jasmine

All Is Lost

Dallas Buyers Club

You're Next

(Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to see many documentaries or foreign films that were released this year. 'Gonna make a conscious effort next year.)

From what I watched this year, in ranking order:

Best Films:

1. Prisoners

2. Her

3. Mud

4. The Spectacular Now

5. 12 Years a Slave

6. The Place Beyond the Pines

7. Fruitvale Station

8. Spring Breakers

9.  Ain't Them Bodies Saints

10. The Kings of Summer


Worst Films:

1. Gravity

2. The Purge

3. Man of Steel

4. Only God Forgives

5. Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus

6. Now You See Me

7. Side Effects

8. This Is The End

9. Warm Bodies

10. The World's End


Best Director:

Steve McQueen - 12 Years a Slave. 'Nuff said. His ability to control an environment consisting of the most dynamic group of characters compiled on screen all year (Prisoners comes close to rivaling this) is unparalleled. Intense, grieving performances blend with photography in mesmerizing fashion at this film's high points, achieving emotions that can only be felt as a result of brilliant direction. I did have problems with this film's structure and some of the female performances. These are the only reasons why this film doesn't rank higher on my "best of" list.

Jeff Nichols (Mud) does come in a fairly close second here. He achieved a lot of what McQueen did, but it was hard for anyone to match McQueen's intensity this year.


Best Screenplay:

Mud/Prisoners - This is pretty much a toss up for me between these two films. If I was forced to choose, it would be Prisoners. Mud's length was a bit of a problem, and the final act seemed to lose some control of what the film established. Although Prisoners was lengthy as well, the subtext established within each character throughout the film felt appropriate at all times. Particularly in the film's final shot. 


Best Lead Performances, in ranking order:

1. Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years a Slave

2. Matthew Mcconaughey - Mud

3. Jake Gyllenhaal - Prisoners

4. Brie Larson - Short Term 12

5. Michael B. Jordan - Fruitvale Station

6. Steve Coogan - Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

(Wish there were more females here, but I haven't seen many of the films produced this year with particularly strong lead female performances.)

Best Supporting Performances, in ranking order:

1. Michael Fassbender - 12 Years a Slave 

2. Shailene Woodley - The Spectacular Now

3. Paul Dano - Prisoners

4. Woody Harrelson - Out of the Furnace

5. Ben Foster - Ain't Them Bodies Saints

6. James Franco  - Spring Breakers

7. Rooney Mara - Ain't Them Bodies Saints

Worst Performance: 

Jodie Foster - Elysium (The fact that she was allowed to do what she did speaks volumes about Neill Blomkamp as a director. I am a strong District 9 fan, but not only was Elysium utterly vapid, Jodie Foster was abysmal.)

Miscellaneous ------

Guilty Pleasure: Pacific Rim (I'm still surprised that Del Toro co-wrote this script, but, robots versus Dinolizards...)

Creative Achievement: Escape From Tomorrow (See this if you get the opportunity and research how they developed and produced the project. I attended the Fantastic Fest screening of this film and took part in the Q&A. Very enlightening.)

Technical Achievement: Only God Forgives (A textbook on telling a story through visual communication. If only there was a story to tell.)

Can't wait to see what they do next: Dane DeHaan - Shailene Woodley - Michael B. Jordan (Dane Dehaan hasn't been anything short of excellent in everything he's done since graduating from The North Carolina School of the Arts. Shailene Woodley has completely shaken off, "The Secret Life of the American Teenager", and Michael B. Jordan has taken his talents from, "Friday Night Lights" and cemented himself as a determined actor with stunning range.