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 Anne Hubbell, who produced Gayby (pictured) and Lipstick & Dynamite, among others, and is a founding partner of Tangerine Entertainment.
I thought this was a great year for movies. Granted, I didn’t see everything. But all of these films made me excited about the art of filmmaking and hopeful for the industry. Sadly, only three movies in my top ten of 2013 were directed by women. (Even sadder, is that my 30% is more than 3 times the average of female-helmed projects represented at the US box office each year!)
Here is the Hub top ten for 2013 in alpha order…
12 Years a Slave
Don’t let the devastating subject matter overshadow this fantastic piece of filmmaking. It is extraordinarily acted and beautifully shot by Sean Bobbit. Steve McQueen managed to make an accessible Hollywood movie and not lose his unflinching art world style.
It is hard to believe this is Stacie Passon’s first feature. She directs an incredible performance by Robin Weigert. What I love about this movie is its exploration of class, identity and what it is like to be in a long term, suburban relationship. The fact that the protagonist is a lesbian is secondary, and yet opens the movie up into a world most audiences haven’t seen before.
This movie made me so happy. It’s a slice of life about the kind of person that society so commonly and easily dismisses. Insightfully directed by Sebastian Lellio, with a super winning performance by Paulina Garcia. Here’s to more screen time for beautiful, average middle aged women!
How did Spike Jonze do it? Her is high concept and yet so natural, nuanced, layered and uncanny in it’s understanding and treatment of relationships, not to mention how we see technology. Genius casting and use of Joaquin Phoenix, who gives his best performance yet while mainly acting alone. This movie was really a surprise to me and probably my fave of the year.
**Extra points to Jonze for checking all the Above The Line boxes in 2013 – writer, director, producer, actor, and being a top ten triple threat (he produced Bad Grandpa and acts in Wolf of Wall Street). What a year!
Inside Llewyn Davis
A sheer gift to Coen Brothers fans and New Yorkers like me! The music is fantastic, Bruno Delbonnel paints the time period beautifully, and Oscar Isaac is totally compelling. I find all the Coen-isms comforting. I even like the cat!
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
Let’s face it, Johnny Knoxville is a genius. I laughed so hard, I nearly snorked my Diet Coke (and Bacardi) into my popcorn. The filmmakers are smart enough to be sentimental under all the extreme humor. Young Jackson Nicholl holds his own with Knoxville and is odd and natural and hilarious as Billy.
This movie is stunning. It’s quiet and deep and made me ruminate about truth in art and friendships. As a long time fan, I can only say that Jem Cohen’s work keeps getting better and more varied. 2013 was another prolific, successful year for him with this beautiful feature and the extraordinary installation/performance, We Have An Anchor, presented in September at BAM.
Stories We Tell
Sarah Polley’s first foray into non-fiction is entertaining, brave, innovative, and a refreshing twist on the traditional “personal documentary.” She is such an exciting filmmaker. I love that this film is garnering so much (very deserved) attention without being a caused based doc. Just goes to show that good storytelling can trump “important” subject matter.
It’s amazing that a woman is the first to direct a film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia! Haifaa Al-Mansour’s sure-handed debut is a simple, strong and even risky, feminist story featuring natural, emotional performances by Waad Mohammed and Reem Abdullah. And as great a piece of storytelling as it is, it is also a fantastic feat of low budget, clandestine film production.
Wolf of Wall Street
Next to Bad Grandpa, the funniest movie of 2013. Leonardo DeCaprio’s physicality is a revelation. The “Lemon 714” scene alone makes this worth seeing twice. Heavy hitters prove they are worth all the accoloades – Robbie Robertson’s soundtrack, Rodrigo Prieto’s cinematography and Thelma Schoonmaker’s editing are all spot on and keep up the kinetic absurdity of this crazy American story. Remarkably, Martin Scorsese still has the vision and audacity of a newcomer.
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 Paul Rachman
Director Karin Hayes
Director Stacie Passon
Actor Sophia Takal
Actor Beth Grant
Actor Tallie Medel
Director Adam Leon