Now that I’ve shared my favorite books of the past year, it’s time to move on to movies. This list is a little bit different than my favorite books list. This is because last year I did not track what I watched in the same way that I tracked what I read. So I also cannot tell you the total number of movies I watched last year – because I do not know. Therefore, this list will only contain movies that came out in 2013. However, these are also only movies that I watched in 2013, but keep in mind that these are only the movies that I got a chance to watch – not a definitive list of what I think are the best movies of that year overall. Just the best of the ones I saw. So without further ado, here are my favorite movies of the last year!
Honorable mentions: These didn’t quite make the top ten list, but I still really enjoyed them.
World War Z
I love a good zombie story – especially when it’s set in an apocalyptic world. This movie was fast-paced and exciting, leaving me on the edge of my seat. Brad Pitt was strong in the lead role, and I mean, who doesn’t love Brad Pitt? The story is definitely a little far-fetched and unrealistic – even for a zombie flick – but I didn’t go into it expecting it to be a serious film. Which is exactly why I was able to enjoy it so much.
Star Trek: Into Darkness
I’ve never been a Trekkie, so I don’t know how true Star Trek fans may feel about the Star Trek reboot, but I happen to love it. This sequel manages to live up to its interesting and exciting predecessor and offers an equally awesome second chapter. Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain is great, with a deep voice that can make your skin crawl, and leads Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto do not disappoint.
Drumroll please…here’s the official list:
10. The Spectacular Now
Going into this film, I expected it to be another sappy high school love story. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that it was so much more. This is a coming-of-age film that depicts realistic, well-rounded characters. I sympathized with each of the main characters’ teenage struggles and understood their actions throughout the film. This was a sweet film that made me laugh and cry and was filled with such sensitive emotion and depth that I couldn’t help but love it.
9. The Place Beyond the Pines
This film is divided into three parts, showing the perspectives of three different characters who are all connected to one another through one defining event. Ryan Gosling’s section is by far the strongest, with the other two following and steadily decreasing in greatness. Overall, the film is interesting, thought-provoking and comes across as a work of art, with the director and actors painting a vivid picture of fathers and sons and the consequences your actions can have on those around you.
8. Warm Bodies
Another zombie film! This time, a zombie love story – I mean, really. How could I not love it? Both the movie and the book (which appeared on my favorite books list) were one of my favorite finds of the past year. The movie is weird and quirky and maybe a little creepy – but still completely charming. Nicholas Hoult plays his zombie character in such a lovable way that I almost fall in love with him too. The movie is lighthearted and fun and one that I am sure I will continue to love for a long time.
7. Blue Jasmine
It seems like Woody Allen comes out with a new film every year, and every year I go to see it and every year I love it. Woody Allen is definitely a filmmaker you either love or hate, and I just happen to love him. His real strength lies in his characters. This is especially true in this film as Jasmine, played formidably by Cate Blanchett, is a character with a capital C. She has a big personality with strong opinions and swinging moods, making her a difficult character to like – which is exactly part of her appeal.
6. About Time
I have to admit – I am a sucker for sappy romcoms. They may not be the greatest films but I really do love them. This romcom offered a little bit more though – with a bigger focus on family relationships than love. Domnhall Gleason in the lead role is exceedingly charming, reminding me of a ginger-haired Hugh Grant. There may have been some issues with the time travel aspect, but in the end I really didn’t care. I left the movie theater feeling so warm and happy because this movie is just so adorable.
5. The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books of all time, so I walked into the movie theater already loving this film. It’s been criticized for its focus on spectacle over substance. This may be where the film falls short about; however, that spectacle is truly the best thing about this film – besides Leonardo DiCaprio’s perfect performance as Gatsby. So the film may not live up to the book but I really wasn’t expecting it to. It may not quite hit the mark but it still produces an entertaining and visually dazzling story.
4. American Hustle
This cast, people, this cast. The strength of this film clearly lies in its four main actors who all deliver such strong and poignant performances. David O. Russell does a fantastic job in creating such interesting and rich characters and crafting a story around them instead of characters around the story. The film overall is vibrant and energetic - and loads of fun. I’m confident this movie will be a big winner at this year’s Oscars.
3. Saving Mr. Banks
Speaking of the Oscars, I’m really sad at the snub this film received from the Academy. Especially considering how beautiful and entertaining it truly was. Emma Thompson shines as the stubborn and grumpy Mrs. Travers. As the film goes on and the layers are pulled back, we see exactly why she is the way she is and how much Mary Poppins means to her. The film is heart-warming and emotionally moving, even if the real events have been sugar-coated.
2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
I don’t think I have ever seen a more perfect book-to-movie adaptation than this film. The film followed the book almost identically and not only that – but it stayed completely true to the original source’s tone, mood and story. Jennifer Lawrence is a flawless human being of course, and her second turn as Katniss is just as strong as the first – if not stronger. This film really shows exactly why this franchise is such a hit.
And here it is, folks – my number one movie!
Seeing this movie I was completely spell bound. Not only is it visually spectacular, and not only is it exciting and suspenseful, but Sandra Bullock delivers a beautifully nuanced and strong performance in the lead role. She carries much of the weight of the film, as the only actor on screen for the majority of the film, and accomplishes the feat with ease and grace. For me, this film completely lived up to the hype. The visuals are just as jaw-dropping as you think – and even more so. What I really find so attractive about this film is its uniqueness. I can honestly say I have never seen another film like this. And I believe this is what makes Gravity a true masterpiece.