In a year with Scorsese and Coen, David O. Russell reigns supreme.

Overall, 2013 killed it. What was one of the best years for rap and hip hop was also a stellar year in film. Dominated by everyone’s #WomanCrushWednesday – Jennifer Lawrence, this year’s film selection is sure to create some tension and unpredictability at the Academy Awards. Between another Coen Brothers spectacle and an over the top Scorsese flick, I narrowed a list down to the top 5 movies of 2013 that I had the pleasure of viewing. Let’s go backwards to add a little drama.

gravity

5. Gravity

Bullock was great, Clooney was just as good, and Cuarón has a knack for visually stunning films. That’s exactly what this film was to me…more of a moving art piece rather than a true film with a complex story and dynamic characters. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but not what I particularly look for in a film. The perfect film has depth of story and characters that have actual…you know…character, in addition to being visually stimulating. Gravity had its moments of brilliance, definitely eliciting all of the oscar buzz. I, however, will be disappointed if it wins any of the major awards besides a best actress nod to Sandra. I’m on the boat of saying that parts of it were definitely snooze worthy, even after spending a fortune to see it in IMAX 3D. It’s a top 5 movie, but nothing more.

nebraska

4. Nebraska

I’m guessing you didn’t jump off your rocker to get your butt into a theater to watch this black and white silver screen dark horse, did ya? Well my friend, that is your loss. You see Will Forte’s name and immediately think MacGruber. That’s what I thought at least. What is Will Forte doing in a serious movie about an elderly man trying to walk to Nebraska? Don’t worry, I’m not spoiling anything. This movie has a lot of heart and while it’s lacking in actual story line, it makes up for it in authenticity. Forte actually does a great job being a serious, quiet character. Him and Bruce Dern are great together and seem to convey a true father/son dynamic. Bruce should undoubtedly get a best actor nom (but probably won’t win thanks to some actors soon to be mentioned). There is something truly genuine about this movie and I’d say that’s why it’s a top 5 flick for 2013. P.S. If you are weary on the topic of black and white films…this one works.

insidel

3. Inside Llewyn Davis

You know how awesome soundtracks can sometimes be the best part of an awesome movie? For example, 500 Days of Summer was great and the soundtrack was even better. Luckily for Inside Llewyn Davis, it’s a movie about music so the soundtrack being killer is probably a good thing. Most of the soundtrack is made up of original recordings anyway, so yeah, go ahead and give the original score and original song oscar to the minds behind the music on this one.

The Coen Brothers continuously prove to be, what I think, the most versatile and brilliant writer/directors of our time. They killed it again with this one. The directors were graced by the powerful performance of Jake Johnson (Nick from New Girl) look-alike Oscar Isaac aka Llewyn Davis. He’s a true dual threat in this and will surely put him on the forefront of Hollywood. Like its predecessors on this, it has some slow parts, but don’t let that stop you from sprinting to the theater to enjoy this movie about the folk music scene in 1960s Greenwich Village. If anything, go for the music, man.

wows

2. The Wolf of Wall Street

I’m under the age of 40 and fairly liberal, which is how this movie made it on my list. What movies 3-5 sometimes have, number 2 certainly lacks; a dull moment. This incredibly over the top movie is best described as an energetic, entertaining roller coaster of sex, drugs, and wealth. This Scorsese piece apparently broke records with its use of the F-bomb, like only Scorsese could. Did you see The Departed? I didn’t know a movie could squeeze in that many curses. Wolf is a fun movie that benefits from great performances and wonderful direction. It is not for the faint hearted like I’m sure you’ve heard, but if you can handle lots of nudity, lots of drugs, and lots of partying, then you’ll enjoy this one. It’s one of those movies that you gotta see to believe. And when the old dude walks out after 45 minutes and yells “this is a horrible movie!” you can just laugh and enjoy your youth while watching this visual masterpiece. Oh yeah, I think 150 minutes would’ve done the trick instead of the 180, but that is a small price to pay.

Christian Bale;Bradley Cooper

1. American Hustle

Let’s see…I can think of 6 big time academy awards that could potentially go to this film. Best actor/actress, supporting in both, best director, and best picture. Basically the 6 biggest awards could all go to this film. The least likely would probably be Best Actress because, while pretty dang good, Amy Adams is up against some slightly more deserving competition. In a year where Scorsese and Coen put out films they might not win the oscar? Blasphemy, but yes, David O. Russell should beat them. Bale should get best actor, Cooper should get best supporting, Lawrence should get supporting actress and, you guessed it, this is my choice for film of the year.

What doesn’t this movie have? It’s the best story, has the best acting, is an appropriate length, had me entertained from beginning to end and is just the best movie I saw all year! It even has Louis C.K. in it. What more could you ask for?

Go see this movie. That’s about the best review I can give it. I whole heartedly recommend this movie to anyone that likes movies. Simple. You’ll love it.

 

– Movies that might’ve made this list had I seen them: 12 Years a Slave, Fruitvale Station, Dallas Buyers Club

I really don’t think any of these would beat American Hustle, however.