Films in 2013 Review

I don’t have a lot to say for the introduction of this post, just that it’s been another fun year in movie-watching. I also managed to watch at least one new-to-me film a day, which was sometimes tough to do in between my coursework but I was up to the challenge and did it! Anyway, onto my past year’s film statistics.

New-to-Me: 452

Re-Watched: 58

Total: 510

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1920s – 14
  • 1930s – 57
  • 1940s – 104
  • 1950s – 87
  • 1960s – 63
  • 1970s – 25
  • 1980s – 29
  • 1990s – 18
  • 2000s – 21
  • 2010s – 34

List of Films I Saw in Theaters (in italics marks a re-watch):

  1. Django Unchained
  2. Life of Pi
  3. Oz: The Great and Powerful
  4. Spring Breakers
  5. Jurassic Park
  6. The Place Beyond the Pines
  7. Iron Man 3
  8. The Great Gatsby
  9. Star Trek Into Darkness
  10. Man of Steel
  11. Before Midnight
  12. Monsters University
  13. The Way, Way Back
  14. Fruitvale Station
  15. The Wizard of Oz
  16. Gravity
  17. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  18. Frozen
  19. The Wolf of Wall Street

Goals for 2013

  • Watch all the Oscar Best Picture Winners I haven’t seen. Like I said in my December post, I met this goal! I watched 3 a month to complete my goal.
  • Finish Stanley Kubrick’s filmography. Prior to 2013, I had seen half of his films, and this year I watched 7 that I hadn’t seen and met my goal.
  • Watch more silent films. I did watch more, but not as much as I would have liked. I only watched about one a month, next year I hope to watch more.
  • Watch more foreign films. Did a pretty good job with this, and watched 43 foreign films this year.

Thirteen Other Favorite Discoveries in 2013: There were a ton of movies that I enjoyed immensely this year, but I decided to narrow it down to 13 to talk a little about, and these were some films that nearly made the top of a few of my monthly wrap-up posts. Other favorites can be viewed on my Letterboxd account here.

Django Unchained (2012)

Django Unchained (2012), directed by Quentin Tarantino

Definitely my favorite of the Best Picture nominees this past year! It has the usual Tarantino humor and violence, and all in a Western. One thing I really loved was the movie’s soundtrack, it features some good artists as well as the talents of Ennio Morricone. Great performances all around too, this movie was a lot of fun to watch on the big screen.

Groundhog Day (1993)

Groundhog Day (1993), directed by Harold Ramis

This movie really exceeded my expectations. Prior to seeing it, I just knew it was a comedy starring Bill Murray. But it is a lot more than that, showing how Murray’s character grows into a better person as he relives the same day over and over (and over and over…). Murray gives a heartfelt performance in this, and I just really love how the film was written.

Jules and Jim (1962)

Jules and Jim (1962), directed by François Truffaut

I really enjoyed this the first time I saw it in February, but it wasn’t until a recent re-watch for a film class that I really loved it. I love Jeanne Moreau’s complicated character, Catherine, in her exploration of life and love. The film also features some great camerawork, and the film’s score has become one of my all-time favorites.

The King and I (1956)

The King and I (1956), directed by Walter Lang

I watched plenty of musicals this year (it’s one of my favorite genres), and this was one that I didn’t expect to stay with me long after seeing it. I love the songs and Alfred Newman’s score. The production design is a feast for the eyes, I especially loved seeing all of Deborah Kerr’s dresses and gowns. Kerr and Yul Brynner work so well separately and together in this too.

Volver (2006)

Volver (2006), directed by Pedro Almodóvar

This is the only Almodóvar I’ve seen, but it definitely made me want to check out more of his work (though I haven’t gotten around to it since seeing this…). Penélope Cruz gives an amazing performance in this, under great direction from Almodóvar. The cast as a whole works very well together, giving emotional performances in this captivating story.

Barry Lyndon (1975)

Barry Lyndon (1975), directed by Stanley Kubrick

Aside from Paths of Glory, this was my favorite Kubrick discovery this year, and I wasn’t expecting to love this so much. It’s not quite like other typical period pieces, as it subtlety satirizes the 18th-century aristocracy. It’s also a real visual treat with stunning cinematography and beautiful costumes.

Design for Living (1933)

Design for Living (1933), directed by Ernst Lubitsch

Ernst Lubitsch puts his famous touch on another delightful movie and a pre-code no less. The three leads work very well together and are constantly engaging. Also features one of my favorite character actors, Edward Everett Horton!

A Matter of Life and Death (1946)

A Matter of Life and Death (1946), directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

One of the most remarkable movies I saw in the past year. Powell and Pressburger present an interesting depiction of heaven, especially in comparison to life on Earth. Heaven is filled with really spectacular sets (the escalator to heaven is especially impressive), but it’s all filmed in black and white, which starkly contrasts the luscious Technicolor on Earth. It features great performances by David Niven and Kim Hunter, and together they do a good job of showing how in love their characters are, despite having just met. And of course, cinematography by Jack Cardiff!

The Freshman (1925)

The Freshman (1925), directed by Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor

A really funny silent from Harold Lloyd. I had a great time watching Lloyd’s comedic gags. Also filled with some sweet moments too, I especially loved the scenes with him and Jobyna Ralston. I can see how this movie inspired other sports and college-set comedies.

The King of Comedy (1982)

The King of Comedy (1982), directed by Martin Scorsese

One of my favorite performances from Robert De Niro, and certainly one of his best. I expected a black comedy going into it, but it turned out to be a little more unsettling with Rupert Pupkin’s obsession with both fame and his idol, Jerry Langford (played by none other than Jerry Lewis)! Scorsese and De Niro once again create a fine film together.

3:10 to Yuma (1957)

3:10 to Yuma (1957), directed by Delmer Daves

One of my favorite Western discoveries this year. The tension for this film builds and builds as the characters come closer to the designated time and destination, and both Glenn Ford and Van Heflin give excellent performances as an outlaw and a rancher (respectively) that are always battling each other through great dialogue and physicality. It’s also one of the more visually appealing black-and-white Westerns I’ve seen.

Unfaithfully Yours (1948), directed by Preston Sturges

Unfaithfully Yours (1948), directed by Preston Sturges

A hilarious black comedy from the brilliant Preston Sturges! Rex Harrison works really well in comedy, this is probably my favorite performance of his (though I’ve only seen him in 2 other films). I enjoyed seeing the character’s criminal fantasies, especially when juxtaposed later with the reality of the situation. Linda Darnell is also very charming as the possibly unfaithful wife.

Pickup on South Street (1953)

Pickup on South Street (1953), directed by Samuel Fuller

Another favorite noir that I discovered in Noirvember. What I probably love most about this film is Thelma Ritter’s supporting performance, which may just be my favorite of hers (it’s too bad she didn’t win an Oscar for it!). She gives a really heart-wrenching performance as a friend of thief Richard Widmark, but who also works as a police informer as a way to get by. The rest of the cast is pretty solid too, and the film features some great camerawork, especially in the film’s opening on the subway train (as shown in the screencap).

Goals for 2014

  • Finish Martin Scorsese’s feature filmography. After seeing The Wolf of Wall Street, I just wanted to watch more Scorsese movies. There are about 10 of his feature films that I have yet to see, including After Hours, The Color of Money, and New York, New York, I look forward to finally checking them out!
  • Finish the Coen Brothers filmography. Just 5 left that I need to see, including their recent film, Inside Llewyn Davis.
  • Watch more Best Picture nominees.
  • Watch more silent films!
  • Watch more foreign films, especially more outside of Europe.
  • Try to finish my AFI Challenge. Some movies on the lists don’t interest me a lot, so I don’t think I’ll finish it…but we’ll see.

I expect that this year I’ll be watching fewer movies, as I’ll have a busier schedule. On top of my college courses, I’m working as a city reporter and the assistant city editor for the university newspaper for the spring semester (and probably the fall semester too). I would like to eventually update this blog more (hopefully during Oscar season especially), so we’ll see if I can set aside time for that.

5 thoughts on “Films in 2013 Review

  1. Is my addition correct? 510 movies this past year? Good lord, I was lucky to get 51! Out of the 13 you listed as your favorites, I’d say ‘Unfaithfully Yours’ is mine…I just love, and the ending ‘reality’ sequence cracks me up every time. And what are the four Coen films you still need to see?

    • It was hilarious seeing Alfred try to apply his fantasies in real life, I got a kick out of that!

      The other Coen films I need to see are Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, Intolerable Cruelty, and The Ladykillers. I’ve heard good things about the first two, so I might just save those for last.

  2. Congratulations on reaching your goals. I’m glad to see some love for The Freshman. That’s my second favorite Lloyd film (after Safety Last). Django Unchained was also my favorite among last year’s Oscar nominees. For Almodovar try All About My Mother and Talk to Her. Of the four Coen movies you mentioned in the comment above I consider Millers Crossing to be the best. Barton Fink requires some patience but about 70 minutes in suddenly takes off. The last two aren’t horrible, but they’re not as good as the Coens usually do.

    • Thanks Chip, and thank you for the Almodovar suggestions! I look forward to seeing more from him, as well as from Harold Lloyd (after only just watching The Freshman and Safety Last! in the past year). It looks like I’ll have to save Miller’s Crossing for last then…I’ll probably get around to Intolerable Cruelty first since it’s available at my library.

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