2013 in review…

2013 imageWelcome to 2014 everyone! I hope you all had some amazing new year celebrations and that everyone has been recovering nicely. Today I’ve been reflecting on 2013 in film, and have chosen some favourites (and disappointments) of the past year, plus some sneaky television picks. 2013 had a lot of highs, but a bunch of lows as well, and I’m looking forward to a tip-top 2014 filled with happiness and more excellent films to watch!

 

 

 

 

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Best film released in 2013: Gravity
I feel like this is a very popular opinion, but that’s okay because this was one of the most amazing cinema experiences I’ve had in recent times. I don’t know if this one’s still in cinemas, but if you didn’t catch it during its cinema run, you definitely missed out. Watching it on a big screen, with surround sound, immersive music and beautiful visuals is the best way to enjoy it. I was transfixed the whole way through, and for that, I choose it as my favourite 2013 film. (For more reasons why I loved this, feel free to read my review linked above.)

Runner Up: Blackfish
Amazing documentary. Has to be seen to be believed, and I encourage everyone to see this one.

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Best non-2013 film watched in 2013: Funky Forest: The First Contact (2005)
I’d been meaning to watch this one for a long time before finally watching it in 2013, and it was well worth the wait. A 2.5-hour-long exercise in randomness and surrealism, Funky Forest isn’t just a film, it’s an experience. The strangest ideas and visuals are thrown at you, giving you almost no time to comprehend what you’re being served. I loved it, but I don’t think it’s for everyone.

Runner Up: The Three Colours Trilogy (1993; 1994)
Technically three films, but they are so interrelated that I’m including the whole trilogy as one big film. Simply beautiful cinema that everyone should watch at least once.

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Most disappointing film released in 2013: Tie between American Hustle and World War Z
I was admittedly hyping up American Hustle quite a bit before I saw it, so the disappointment was probably inevitable. I’ve found out since my review that my opinion isn’t that unpopular, but whilst the film is receiving so much Golden Globes and Oscars buzz, I find myself asking – was it really that great? I tend to think of that film in terms of its memorable moments as opposed to a complete whole, and that’s how it felt watching it in the cinema. As for World War Z, there were moments that were exciting and inventive, but the storytelling was flawed and it was full of plot devices and holes. I was really disappointed by it. I didn’t have my blog back then so maybe I’ll write a post on it later on in order to elaborate my feelings.

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The absolute worst film of 2013: Movie 43
I initially had this down as a runner up to the most disappointing film of 2013, but then the wonderful Hypersonic55 convinced me in the comments below that it’s not just disappointing, it is just overall THE WORST, and it deserves its own category. It’s just the worst, that’s all I’ll say. For further information, feel free to read my (very brief) review linked above.

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Best Australian film watched in 2013: Animal Kingdom (2010)
The first time I watched this (in 2010 or ’11), I fell asleep halfway through and totally missed the point. I watched it again last year and found that it was way better than my previous sleepy self remembered. Loosely based on events surrounding a crime family that operated in Melbourne in the 1980s, this film is so gritty and creepy. Jacki Weaver is incredibly menacing as the matriarch of the family. Not sure what else to say about this one, but I’d definitely recommend it as a good true crime film to watch.

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Best television show watched in 2013: Breaking Bad
I am a massively passionate fan of Game of Thrones and Mad Men, and I was tempted to do a triple tie between these three shows. However, Breaking Bad ended on an AMAZING note in 2013, so much so that it tops my trifecta of favourites overall. I occasionally find myself staring into the air and pondering its greatness. The final episode was the perfect way to end the show. What I loved most was that it tied everything up before the show became too ‘old’. The writers/creators knew exactly when to let a good thing go, and how to go about it in the most satisfying way possible. Which leads me to my next category…

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Most disappointing television show watched in 2013: Dexter
Dexter‘s ending was not so good. In fact, it felt like a big slap in the face. I wonder if all fans of the show feel this way. Very disappointing indeed. The final season was one ridiculous moment after the other, and the final episode was filled with so many WTF moments that it just ruined the whole thing. It probably should have ended about two seasons before the final one, and as a result, what could have been an explosive and shocking finale turned into me yelling at the television for about half an hour. Not cool.

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Favourite actor in 2013: Bryan Cranston
Love him. Love him in Breaking Bad, Argo (2012), Seinfeld, random vintage commercials on Youtube, interviews, his Reddit AMA, I just love everything he does. The finale of Breaking Bad was icing on the cake. If he doesn’t win anything for his role as Walter White this year, I’m going to have to write some very stern letters.

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Favourite actress in 2013: Jennifer Lawrence
She’s just great. I loved her performances this year in both American Hustle and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, as well as her feisty and natural personality outside of her films. She’s just such a talented actress that I’m looking forward to seeing her in whatever movie she’s involved with. I’ve never been disappointed by any of her performances.

Thus ends my mini-review of 2013. Short and to the point. Hopefully I didn’t miss out on anything major. I have to note that I haven’t seen 12 Years a Slave because it hasn’t come out here (Australia) yet, nor has Blue is the Warmest Colour, both of which I am so looking forward to seeing. So maybe they’ll feature in next year’s review! Let me know what your favourites of the year were in the comments below! 🙂

27 comments

  1. Cool list. I heard of Funky Forest, must check it out!

    1. Thanks! You have to see Funky Forest! It’s one of the strangest films I’ve ever experienced.

  2. Great post!

  3. I haven’t watched the final season of Dexter, precisely because everyone hates it. No interest in subjecting myself to such crap, especially since I don’t like the last couple seasons either.

    Otherwise, I take no real issue with your lists (I wouldn’t Gravity the best of the year, but I certainly see why you do).

    1. I’m the kind of person who needs closure to my favourite shows, so I would definitely suggest finishing Dexter if you have that mindset as well, but it really isn’t good. Not even the amazing Charlotte Rampling could save that sinking ship. I wish the original writers had stayed on, because there was a significant quality shift after they’d left.

      1. Agreed that the show lost steam with changes in creative teams. Though I did like the 5th season a lot.

        I tend not to need closure, really. Once something sucks, I’m happy not wasting my time on it. 😉

  4. Howdy there nice summary there. As for film I thought 2013 was a decent year for film but was disappointing overall because I expected so much and got so little. Gravity was a great film but I mainly loved it for the visual/cinematic experience, that was a film I expected more from. Also even if American Hustle is a disappointment I’m gonna have to check it out because of the cast and director because his last 2 films have been some of my favourites of that year. Movie 43 was still the worst of the worst, don’t know how anyone can say differently haha.

    As for TV Breaking Bad was the one. It was PERFECT! Loved every moment of it, so much drama and tension, just incredible heart-stopping TV. Also enjoyed the hell out of Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire too.

    1. Thanks! You’ve actually inspired me to edit this post and give Movie 43 its own category, since I wasn’t disappointed by it, but it was definitively THE WORST. I think American Hustle was only a disappointment because I wanted so much more from it, it’s not a bad film overall. I feel bad for including it in the same paragraph as Movie 43 in this comment.

      I have to get back in to Boardwalk Empire! I haven’t seen past the first season, which was amazing. Game of Thrones is the best though. As a big fan of the books, I am so very very looking forward to the next season.

    1. Thank you Vinnie! 🙂

  5. Love your choice of Gravity – honestly this is the finest movie I’ve seen in a long time. Lawrence really starts to annoy me – it’s not her fault she is overhyped but her Oscar win left a bad taste in my mouth and her work in AH, for me, was very uneven.

    1. I think I want to test out watching Gravity at home to see if it has the same effect as it did on the big screen. But it was such an amazing cinematic experience that I had to give it top ranks for the year.

      I also think 2014 might be the year I finally tire of Jennifer Lawrence, but until then, it’s the blindest of love from me!

  6. motenai sankyoudai! that caps alone made me want to watch that film! XD
    I haven’t watch a lot of japanese films last year but i used to enjoy their odd quirkiness a lot.
    I have not seen Dexter yet, but i have been underwhelemed by the last few seasons so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise for me. But thank god for it finally come to an end then.
    American Hustle did not live up to the hype for me either. I like seein Jennifer Lawrence but i felt that role is a miscast for her. I felt the entire film to be like an O’Russell orgy. Even though i like what he did previously this one seemed messy and rather indulgent.

    1. “An O’Russell orgy” – never before has American Hustle been so aptly summarised! That’s perfect, I’m passing it on to everyone! I would suggest finishing Dexter if you really really want to see how it ends, but otherwise, it’s too disappointing!

  7. I’m curious if you saw Jane Campion’s TOP OF THE LAKE and if so what you, being an Aussie, thought of it. Even though it’s a mini-series it made my runner-up list of the best films of the year.

    1. I actually haven’t seen it yet! I’ve always meant to because I love Elisabeth Moss in Mad Men and the story sounds so intriguing. I’ll let you know what I think when I get around to it! 🙂

      1. Top of The Lake is probably one the best TV experiences of the year but is still relatively unknown but it is gaining much deserved momentum lately. Luckily it is a mini-series so it would take much time to binge watch it once you get around to it.

        And to save from adding another comment, Jennifer Lawrence can do no wrong.

        1. I’m planning to binge-watch it ASAP! It looks really amazing. And agreed on Jennifer Lawrence, she’s pretty much flawless!

    2. I saw it when it was released. It’s a film by New Zealand director Jane Campion which starred australian/american/british and new zealand actors and was shot in New Zealand. I enjoy most of the main actors work and have been following it for some time apart from the leading lady who i american. Anything Jane Campion directs is worth watching. Being a fan of crime drama I quite enjoyed it and was glad to see good use made of David Wenham, who is no stranger to that particular type of role and Peter Mullan who I believe is largely underused and is a great talent.

      I enjoyed the series, it was evenly paced and I didn’t see the ending coming. 🙂

      1. Thanks for the reply. I saw it when it played on the Sundance Channel here in the States and it ended up on my top 20 films of the year list.

        1. Interesting, here is my list for 2013 http://wp.me/p3Epzs-Om it’sstill in progress but I did not include any television series in my list. Where is yours?

          1. I included Top of the Lake because it had its world premiere in a single marathon session at the Sundance Film Festival (in much the same way that Behind the Candelabra bowed at Cannes). It seems like the lines between T.V. and film are becoming increasingly blurred.

            From your list, I really loved Stoker, The Bling Ring, Spring Breakers and Frances Ha. I thought Blue Jasmine and Blue is the Warmest Color were overrated. I really need to see The Act of Killing, The Great Beauty and Her. I’ve never heard of Electrick Children!

            My own list can be found here: http://whitecitycinema.com/2013/12/30/top-ten-films-of-2013/

  8. I really disliked American Hustle and I don’t understand the high ratings it’s got (but unfortunately my boyfriend wrote the review for that movie on our blog, and gave it a high 8/10). And Movie 43 is so awful, I have no words to describe it!

    Silvia

    1. I really thought I was crazy for not liking American Hustle that much, so I’m glad I’m not the only one! I initially wondered if I saw a different film to everyone else. As for Movie 43, I think I’ve repressed all memory of it. What a waste of time that was.

  9. I agree with your thoughts about American Hustle and World War Z. They were a major disappointment to me as well. Although Jennifer Lawrence was great in it. Thanks for recommending Funky Forrest. I’ll have to watch out for that

    1. Funky Forest is a fine piece of work! I’d love to hear what you think about it!

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