Final List of 12

To put a cap on it, here’s the final tally of HE’s Best Films of 2013 (but only numbering twelve): (1) Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street — the year’s finest film and the most audacious Fall-of-the-Roman-Empire metaphor flick of all time; (2) Steve McQueen‘s 12 Years A Slave; (3) Joel and Ethan Coen‘s Inside Llewyn Davis; (4) Spike Jonze‘s Her; (5) Jean Marc Vallee‘s Dallas Buyer’s Club; (6) J.C. Chandor‘s All Is Lost; (7) Abdellatif Kechiche‘s Blue Is The Warmest Color; (8) David O. Russell‘s American Hustle; (9) Alfonso Cuaron‘s Gravity; (10) Asghar Farhadi‘s The Past; (11). Richard Linklater‘s Before Midnight; and (12) Noah Baumbach‘s Frances Ha. Add Shane Carruth‘s Upstream Color for an even 13.

  • JoeS

    A few of the films haven’t been shown to us ‘civilians’ yet, so I’ll hold off on those. Most of the films that have been publicly released are worthy. I don’t get the extreme love for DALLAS or, certainly, the cutesy FRANCIS HA.

    And, isn’t GRAVITY too much of a meaningless “ride” to qualify that high? I read that somewhere…………. :)

    • SmaugAlert

      I think JW has to include it on his list so that he doesn’t look completely out of touch when it wins Best Pic.

  • Adam Lapish

    Is The Hunt a 2013 film? It’s Denmark’s submission for the Oscars so I guess it is. I would wager it would easily place in your top 12 I’d wager if and when you see it.

    • JoeS

      As is NO, but, Jeff seems to categorize it as a 2012 film. I go by L.A. & NYC release dates, not the Foreign Film Oscar deadline. NO came out in Feburary 2013.

      • Little Jake

        There was also the Romanian drama BEYOND THE HILLS, which premiered in Cannes in 2012 and was released in the US a year later. Jeff supposedly admired it a lot but failed to mention it in both the 2012 and 2013 lists. Will that happen again next year with Nymphomaniac (in case he likes it, of course)?

        The commenters are right in mentioning that the list is not enough adventurous for such an independent spirit. Too much Oscar bait, too few non-American titles. A self-proclaimed fan of Antonioni, Bresson etc., should’ve come up with a somewhat more “cinephile” list. Every film blogger can type a list of ten or so Oscar contenders, but not everyone can really convey a worldview of their own in choosing the ten best films of the year.

        Also, I can’t help but feel that the list is just a tiny bit insincere, too calculated. How can someone continuously trash Gravity on a daily basis and then place it 9th, ahead of movies he proclaimed much more love for (like The Past, Before Midnight, Frances Ha and so on)? The same goes for Nebraska, which is now likely around number 17 or 18. Jeff had so many qualms about it, and yet it’s higher on the list than many of the films he expressed much more adoration for. Even his reaction for Mr. Banks was “uh, sorry, no”, but he still found place for it in the top 26 (now probably top 28). Maybe that’s because he flew all the way to London to see it. Or maybe just because it will be a major player in the Oscar race. Which seems to be true for Gravity and Nebraska, too.

        All I’d really like is for Jeff to be more strong-willed when it comes to his opinions. He should not let himself be influenced by Oscar hype. He should trust himself more. If he REALLY loved The Counselor and Lone Survivor and Beyond the Hills, then he should’ve put them in his top 30 list. He shouldn’t take into consideration, for example, the low RT and Metacritic grades and zero Oscar chances of The Counselor. In the end, the greatest treasure a movie connoisseur possesses is his/her strong, independent, honest and sincere opinion, based on experience, knowledge and intuition. In other words, what matters most is the “gut feeling” that sometimes CAN develop a change of heart, but that change of heart (sometimes seen in the form of calculation from the very beginning) should not happen under any kind of outside pressure (or even self-censorship).

    • Dan Tayag

      Jeff didn’t like The Hunt.

      • Adam Lapish

        Wow. Shocked at that.

  • fahrenheit290

    Frances Ha is out on a Criterion blu-ray already. That was fast. I haven’t seen it, but it sure made the Criterion Collection rather quickly.

    • Jesse Crall

      It’s on Netflix Instant as well and held up nicely on re-watch.

  • berg

    add the foreign films The Attack and Drug War

    • JoeS

      Yeah, THE ATTACK has been getting sideswiped because its home country BANNED it rather than pushing for or submitting it for Oscar consideration (Lebannon).

      And, sadly, most critics seem to have forgotten all the high praise it got when it came out during the summer (90% on RT – higher than many films which are winning year end awards and places on Top 10 lists). Was August really that long ago?? NEVER understood why many critics don’t keep running lists of their top favorites throughout the year. Instead, many get caught up in the whole ‘It was released in December, so it must be important’ brain-dead thinking.

  • Michael

    Wow, amazing: Apart from Blue, your Top 9 will probably be identical to the Oscar Best Picture nominees…so much for your independent spirit, so much for the Oscar voters being old farts, completely out of touch….Seriously man: How can you claim to be anything but completely middle-brow????

    • Steven Gaydos

      Jeff just choked. Couldn’t join Scott Foundas in putting The Counselor on the best films of the year list. Cue the Matt Monro version of “Softly As I Leave You.”

    • GigglesForGigli

      Doubtful this is his real list. His livelihood depends on raking in the cash from the studios during Oscar season, so he obviously needs to be seen pushing the contenders.

      The movie and Oscar blogging business has taken on the dirtiness of the whole payola thing back in the old radio days, but these days it is done out in the open with no controversy.

  • Davie

    Wells this list is boring, coventional and unbecoming of you. You are better than this. It looks like a list Peter Travers would come up with.

  • Jesse Crall

    All the movies on Jeff’s list that I’ve seen are quality works of art. Who gives a fuck if they’re middlebrow? Better that than calculated contrarianism.

  • Mechanical Shark

    Not a particularly surprising list, but mad props for mentioning Upstream Color.

  • Perfect Tommy

    No “Pacific Rim”? Someone’s not getting invited to the next sleepover at the del Toro house.

  • kwisatzhaderach

    I’d have ‘Captain Phillips’ way ahead of ‘Gravity’.