1. Enough Said
Poignant—and not just because costar James Gandolfini died suddenly prior to its release—warm, funny and wise, Enough Said is amazingly just like real life.
2. Dallas Buyers Club
This is a wise and compelling story of perseverance, with what is undoubtedly one of the greatest performances (by Matthew McConaughey) of the year.
3. Before Midnight
What at first seems something of a gimmick is, in actuality, an almost subversive yet groundbreaking examination of what happens to love after romance, marriage, careers and children. Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke give staggeringly raw, real performances.
A stellar coming of age story that plumbs the depths of adolescent heartbreak and awkwardness, with what is arguably one of the greatest performances (by Matthew McConaughey) of the year.
5. Fruitvale Station
This is a heartbreaking true story that bravely tells a story of a black man’s death by a subway cop without resorting to stereotypical clichés.
6. The Place Beyond the Pines
Not perfect by a long shot, but it’s a daring, far-reaching and haunting look at fathers and sons.
7. Blue Jasmine
A Woody Allen film that steps out of the movie maker’s usual milieu. Fearsome performances by Cate Blanchett as a Ruth Madoff-type widow and Sally Hawkins as her much-maligned sister.
8. The Heat
The buddy cop film, for chicks. Melissa McCarthy is fearless and Sandra Bullock channels perfectly her quirky, off-putting persona.
9. The Way, Way Back
Being stuck in a beach house with your mother and her obnoxious boyfriend never looked better.
10. The Spectacular Now
Oh, the sweetness and sorrow of first love. As funny as it revealing and wise.
11. The World’s End
More hilarity from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, but this time it’s laced with surprising insights into aging and status.
12. Fast & Furious 6
Seriously, and not just because co-star Paul Walker died tragically, and horrifically, this year. The series doesn’t much go for trying new things, other than how to make cars and other moving vehicles do bat shit crazy stunts. But it was well-done and enjoyable with, of course, one of those endings that let you know 7 isn’t far behind.
Worst of 2013
1. The Fifth Estate
Even if you think Julian Assange’s Wikileaks activities were a good thing, this movie is quite the opposite. The word boring fails to get at the enormity of how bad this film was.
2. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
I love fairy tales and keep fairly current with Once Upon a Time and such, but whoever had the ridiculous idea to turn the Grimm siblings into kick-ass witch hunters may well have been under an evil spell resulting in complete lack of judgment and poor screenwriting.
3. A Good Day to Die Hard
Utterly embarrassing on so many levels. And this from a Die Hard and a Bruce Willis fan.
4. The Lone Ranger
5. The Hangover III
Sometimes you just gotta stop at two.