Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased as punch to share with you the 10 movies from 2013 that pushed me to the limits of emotional investment while sitting and / or laying in my bed! It’s been a damn great year in film. It was tough to pick just 10, but here we go!
10. STORIES WE TELL: Sarah Polley’s documentary about her mother and the people who loved her starts off as a personal memoir then slowly becomes an exploration of the subjectivity and bias of memory. Great movie to watch with your family if you’re comfortable with uncomfortable silences with your family.
9. BEHIND THE CANDELABRA: If this is actually Stephen Soderbergh’s last film then it’s a damn shame. Michael Douglas and Matt Damon are absolutely phenomenal in this love story gone freak-show, and let’s not forget there’s Scott Bakula with a moustache.
8. Tie: SPRING BREAKERS and THE WOLF OF WALL STREET: Understandably nauseating for some but these two films were a large Tim Horton’s double-double of filth and debauchery for myself. Not something I would want every day, but when the time is right, when I need that extra kick, these two films will get me through to the end of the day with a helping of reckless abandon. Spring breakkkkkkkkkkkkk.
7. CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: Tom Hanks went full Hanks on this one.
6. BEFORE MIDNIGHT: The third film in Richard Linklater’s incredible BEFORE series, BEFORE MIDNIGHT catches up with Jessy and Celine 18 years (EIGHTEEN DAMN YEARS) after the first film and continues to explore themes of life, true love, and the importance of walking.
5. SHORT TERM 12: This film is such a damn home run on almost every level. It could have so easily slid into unbearable, noisy melodrama, but it always stays connected. Troubled teens? Bummer of a topic, sure, but Brie Larson and company guide it home with a gentle authenticity that invites you in (and then makes you weep).
4. INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS: The Coen Brothers’ film about a musician who just can’t catch a break and is considering leaving his music behind him felt like an unwritten classic American novel. A perfect depiction of the fog an artist can find themselves in when a crisis of confidence arises. Oscar Isaac, you laid down one of the finest performances of the year, mixing drama, comedy and music, you my boy.
3. A FIELD IN ENGLAND: I don’t think I’ve ever had a film invite me into it’s madness in such a way as this. Absolutely poetic and insane. I’ll let Martin Scorsese tell you what he thinks of the film “Audacious and wildly brilliant – a stunning cinematic experience.” Marty’s on board, so why aren’t you?!
2. HER: If you can agree to meet HER on it’s not-really-that-far-fetched premise, then you’ll be in for one helluva fascinating exploration of modern love. I feel for anyone who decided to laugh this one off, because it has so much heart and soul. Joaquin Phoenix, give me your powers (and your agent and manager’s contact information too, plz).
1: THE ACT OF KILLING: Between 1965 and 66 in Indonesia, there was a government takeover where death squads brutally murdered between 500,000 and 2 million Chinese and anyone suspected of being Communist. The people who committed these acts are still in power and have never been held accountable for their actions.
THE ACT OF KILLING catches up with a group of these men, in their 50s and 60s, celebrated as war-heroes, and the documentary filmmakers encourage them to re-enact the murders and re-create them on film, and they agree to do so, hoping that the Indonesian public can see how heroic they were.
This film took me everywhere, I was mortified, shedding tears, and literally slapping my knee laughing a minute later. It’s a tough watch, and puts you through the ringer, but it’s finale is perhaps the most compelling thing I’ve ever seen put to film.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Enough Said, Sightseers, This Is The End, Frozen, Thor 2, and other stuff.
Movies are fun, right guys?