It’s the time of year when film critics dread all year round and release their lists of the year’s best films. A lot of great movies were released this year, but the Marvel Iron Man threequel sits comfortably at the top of the top ten grossing movies followed by big budget sci-fi action flicks and animated adventures in this order: 2) Despicable Me 2, 3) The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, 4) Man of Steel, 5) Monsters University, 6) Gravity, 7) Fast & Furious 6, 8) Oz the Great and Powerful, 9) Star Trek Into Darkness and at 10 we have World War Z.
On the other side, based on third-party critic ratings, the best reviewed 2013 feature film releases collected by Rotten Tomatoes are: 1) Before Midnight , 2) Mud, 3) Short Term 12, 4) Enough Said, 5) The Selfish Giant, 6) A Hijacking, 7) American Hustle, 8) Inside Llewyn Davis, 9) The Dallas Buyers Club, 10) Fruitvale Station.
I like these two lists because they are really pretty different. And, of course, my gut says the second one. If you missed, here’s a quick rundown of what you can watch from the comfort of your own sofa.
1) Before Midnight
The latest winning chapter in one of the most emotionally honest film series ever is filled with sharp, inspired dialogue that echoed real-life situations.
Jeff Nicholls‘ Twain-esque movie is the second of two Matthew McConaughey films on this list (the other: The Dallas Buyers Club, at No. 9) and it’s an absolutely wonderful bit of Southern-fried storytelling.
3) Short Term 12
A drama film written and directed by Destin Cretton, told through the eyes of a twenty-something supervisor at a foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers.
4) Enough Said
A romantic comedy film directed and written by Nicole Holofcener, which stars James Gandolfini in one of his final film roles. The plot centers on a woman who befriends a woman and starts dating a man at the same time, only to find out that her two new acquaintances are former spouses.
5) The Selfish Giant
A British drama film directed by Clio Barnard is a modern-day adaptation of the Oscar Wilde story, about two boys who work for a scrap merchant.
6) A Hijacking
A 2012 Danish thriller film written and directed by Tobias Lindholm was subsequently made into the film Captain Phillips, but they are as different in execution as they are similar in subject matter. A Hijacking, however, presents more dispassionate story, the moments of repressed fear and anger resulting in a steady, building, cumulative intensity, which is both involving and sometimes frustrating for a viewer.
7) American Hustle
Sometimes, it’s all about having fun. Writer/director David O. Russell and his great cast did just that in making this movie through director’s fast and loose re-imagining of a real-life FBI sting.
8) Inside Llewyn Davis
In this story of a 1960s Greenwich Village folk singer, the Coen brothers once more show why they’re among the most talented American filmmakers working today.
9) The Dallas Buyers Club
Thanks to fantastic performances and a script that manages to be touching without being cloying, director Jean-Marc Vallee‘s film is one of the reasons that 2013 will be remembered as one of the best years on record for New Orleans-made movies.
10) Fruitvale Station
2013 will in all likelihood be remembered as the year of the civil-rights film, due largely to such searing movies as this debut feature from Ryan Coogler, a fact-based portrait of a young black man, played by Michael B. Jordan.