In the lead-up to the unveiling of our definitive Top 50 Films of 2013 list, we’ve asked some friends of Paste to tell us their favorites of the year. Tune in for a different list each day. Today’s contributor is Paul Rachman, who directed American Hardcore (pictured), among others, and is one of the co-founders of the Slamdance Film Festival.
It was a pleasure to watch Spike Jonze lead the path for Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johanssen (in post) through his first writer-director sortie. The film had both an old Hollywood romance air to it while also forging thoughts about the very near future. Only Spike can do that.
First off I’ll admit that I was a mentor of sorst for this film for several years, but despite that I still think that Lucy Mulloy’s debut was one of the most exciting and accomplished indies of the year. The critics at large gave it high marks to boot. Lucy is a skilled director who will take on complex stories and deliver them with excitement, wait and see.
I was a college kid during this era. I remember people like this. David O. Russell nails it. Jealous it’s so good.
Only Lovers Left Alive
Comforting to see Jim Jarmusch come back to hang out with the exiles, losers and outcasts he knows so well. I feel comfortable with his characters In this film. I can hang there.
Inside Llewyn Davis
Another film that I can identify with. Loser musician in the village. They’re still around and I still hang out with some. Could feel, smell and touch it.
I never loved much of Noah Baumbach’s earlier work… eh, maybe Squid and the Whale a bit. But I loved this film — he and Greta Gerwig captured NYC and Brooklyn a la French New Wave and it worked for me, twice.
Blue is the Warmest Color
I have a special penchant for French Cinema. I was French educated until 10th grade. Even without the over hyped sex scenes this is a great film, gritty, personal, in your face and emotional. This is what indie film should be. Unfortunately the last American director to come close to anything like this was John Cassavetes.
Dallas Buyers Club
A pissed off, shit kicking, rodeo riding, promiscuous, drug addict takes on a rebellious quest for a cure and the fight for aids in Texas! WTF how could you not get into that for 90 minutes? Kudos to McCaughney and Jared Leto.
Hank and Asha
Last year’s audience winner at Slamdance is a great pure small indie film.
A simple modern romantic story. Perfectly executed by its filmmakers and performed by it’s actors. This is the perfect example of what you can do with no money. This is the most underrated film of the year by far.
August Osage County
Just saw this. Meryl Streep blew me away; she is so completely committed to her really fucked up matriarchal character in this movie. Almost every scene. It doesn’t matter how good the actors around her are — she crushes them all with the tiniest of actions. It’s so fun to watch. I’ll watch it again and she should easily beat Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) for Best Actress Oscar, again. Really.
Lists from other friends of Paste:
Director Lynn Shelton
Director Megan Griffiths
Producer Natasha Giliberti
Author Kayli Stollak
Actor Josh Radnor
Author Anna Goldfarb
Director Dan Mirvish
Director Karin Hayes
Producer Anne Hubbell
Director Stacie Passon
Actor Sophia Takal
Actor Beth Grant
Actor Tallie Medel
Director Adam Leon