The Best & Worst Films of 2013 (My Choices)


2013 Best Films (Top 20)

Look, everyone does their end of year lists differently, and i found it too difficult to choose only ten. However, I’d like you to try and think of this as a Top Ten with 2 choices for each themed entry. Hey, it’s my list, I can do what i want!



I. Maturation: Mud & Kings of Summer.

2013 had a plethora of well crafted and heartbreaking dramas about teenage rites of passage. I was almost tempted to roll in Prince Avalanche and I Declare War, and possibly even a glimpse of Sam Rockwell in The Way Way Back, but of course that way indulgence and madness lies. Both of these films are just beautiful and spoke to me on a profound level.

II. Ambition: Cloud Atlas & Gravity.

Two insanely ambitious blockbusters that both managed to stick the landing. Isn’t it great when people keep pushing this storytelling art form to new peaks?

  • 3.Cloud Atlas 2012

    Ambition doesn’t come any bigger than this, thankfully it delivers too.


  • 4.Gravity 2013

    Lumière brothers, the bar has been raised my friends.





    III. Action: Iron Man 3 & Pacific Rim.

    IM3 was essentially a Shane Black Greatest Hits compilation, and i love it for that.
    Pac Rim, i was hesitant to add initially, but i’ve watched it several times now and it seems to just get better with every viewing – world building on an epic scale from the geeks’ favourite director.

  • 5.Iron Man 3 2013

    Unquestionably the standout blockbuster of the summer: witty, zippy and a great capper to the trilogy


  • 6.Pacific Rim 2013

    boys toys in the biggest & best playpit of the year.





    IV. Emotion: Behind the Candelabra & Before Midnight.

    Two unbelievably powerful stories of love, obsession, and potentially destruction. Barnstorming, tear-jerking performances the lot of them.

  • 7.Behind the Candelabra 2013

    Soda Bread signs out with a typically ostentatious & disturbing effort.


  • 8.Before Midnight 2013

    Another trilogy conclusion, and potentially the most gut-wrenching of the Before movies.





V. Revelation: The World’s End & This is The End.

Two of the finest and funniest comedies of the year both dealt with immature man children fending off the end of the world with schoolboy humour and substance abuse.

  • 9.The World’s End 2013

    The 3rd of 3 trilogy endings. 90s nostalgia and a realisation that all man-children need to grow up in their own different ways. Poignant.


  • 10.This Is the End 2013

    Dick jokes, self referential humour, smug hollywood celebrities lampooning themselves. great fun




VI. Decoration: Elysium & Oblivion.

Sometimes, all a film needs to do is be pretty. Very very pretty.

  • 11.Elysium 2013

    District 10. Damon is the Budget Iron Man.


  • 12.Oblivion 2013

    Derivative plot be damned; combined with Elysium, you have some of the most beautiful sci fi imagery seen onscreen in years.





VII. Inspiration: Upstream Color & Escape From Tomorrow.

Two indie flicks that were both made using daring and revolutionary techniques and practices, with spectacular (and disturbing) results.

VIII. Palpitation: The Conjuring & V/H/S 2.

A cracking year for horror, the spooky ghost house horror of Conjuring was duvet-tighteningly effective. Gareth Evans’ “Safe Haven” segment in VHS2 was visceral & terrifying enough to make the rest of the anthology seem irrelevant.

IX. Partridge Nation: Alpha Papa & The Look Of Love.

Two exceptional performances from Steve Coogan this year (probably 3 if you’ve seen Philomena). North Norfolk Digital’s most notorious host finally made his way onto the silver screen after nearly 2 decades of anticipation. Meanwhile, another sublime collaboration with Winterbottom brought us the heartbreaking Paul Raymond story in a flurry of knockers & knickers.

X. Confrontation: Man of Tai Chi & Only God Forgives.

2 doses of bone crunching Asian cinema brought to you by westerners. Keanu’s chop socky flick was a masterclass in old school kung fu, whilst Refn’s audience-baiting follow up to Drive boasted the mother of all Mothers, proving to be far more violent and destructive than any of the male players.


Notable omissions:

No animation, although Wreck It Ralph & Monsters University would be my top two choices there.

The next few:
Spring Breakers
Drinking Buddies
You’re Next
Man of Steel
John Dies At The End
Death Race: Inferno
The Battery
The History of Future Folk
We’re the Millers

And, seen (& loved) this year but not 2013 releases :
Django Unchained
Speed Racer
Sleep Tight
Searching for Sugar Man
Killing them Softly
Zero Dark Thirty
Side By Side

Inevitably, there’s stacks of Oscar-potential movies coming in the next few weeks, but to date I’ve logged 232 movies viewed this year, and this is a reflection of nights enjoyed rather than anticipated..



2013 Worst Films (Bottom 20)

Thankfully i have the freedom to avoid films that look dreadful, which is why The Internship isn’t on this list, nor are any franchise-starters based on a Tween Novel.

There are a few emergent patterns that i’d like to comment on and open up to the floor:

1. Melissa McCarthy’s great performance in Bridesmaids is increasingly proving to be a a fluke. I submit films 3-5 on my list as evidence.

2. Russel Crowe really shouldn’t sing, similarly Jaden Pinkett Smith shouldn’t do anything.

3. Remake / Reboot fatigue is really setting in now. I was somewhat heartened to see the remake of Carrie was essentially ignored.

4. Kick Ass 2 – what the HELL happened?

5. I’d be happy never to see Bruce Willis sleepwalk through another film – between Die Hard 5, Red 2, GI Joe 2, and god knows what else, he’s gone from the everyman hero living off his quick wits to a tedious bore who almost seems to be actively leaning out of the screen saying “I cant even be bothered to appear here, so why should you bother to watch me?”


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