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by Indiewire Staff
December 25, 2013 9:03 AM
9 Comments
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Indiewire's Editors and Bloggers Pick Their Top 10 Films (and In Some Cases TV Shows) of 2013

"The Wind Rises"


Jerry Beck, Animation Scoop

Since my beat is animated films I'll stick to doing a top ten that are primarily or entirely animated, hand drawn or computer generated.

1. "Gravity" Director: Alfonse Curon - It won't be nominated in the Animated Film category, but who can deny this was the best "animated" film of the year. A spectacular state-of-the-art use of the medium to tell a human heartfelt story. Bravo.

2. "The Wind Rises" Director: Hayao Miyazaki - Miyazaki closes his career with a masterpiece of storytelling, using all he has learned as a filmmaker and sticking to his hand drawn style - which he has truly mastered.

3. "The Day Of The Crows" Director: Jean-Christophe Dessaint. This feature film hasn't been released (yet) in the U.S., but I saw it at the Toronto Animation Arts Festival International in June. It's about a boy raised in the wild who encounters civilization when he brings his unconscious father into town for aid. Hand drawn, from France, and one of the best animated stories I'd seen in years.

4. "Get A Horse" D: Lauren MacMullan  This Disney short was certainly one of the best - and unforgettable - films I'd seen this year. A thrilling "theme park ride" cartoon that unites the beginnings of the Disney studio to its present day sensibilities with charm, humor and technical innovation. Walt Disney would have been proud.

5. "Frozen" Directors: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee. If the goal was to combine Disney traditional storytelling  with modern computer graphics techniques, Frozen nailed it perfectly. With memorable characters, settings and songs, and a twist ending that satisfied, Frozen was fresh and funny - and finally, a modern classic.

6. "The Croods" Directors: Kirk De Micco, Chris Sanders. Funny cavemen cartoons preceded The Flintstones, but The Croods was a fresh take on the stone-age modern-family dynamic. A top-notch voice cast, a funny story (with a message) and the gorgeous prehistoric visuals make this one of the best of the year, without a doubt.

7. "Despicable Me 2" Director: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud. I wasn't crazy about the first film, but the second times the charm - and there's no denying the appeal of the Minions. Entertainment counts - and Despicable Me 2 had it from the first frame to last.

8. "Monsters University" Director: Dan Scanlon. I had a smile on my face the entire time. Fun, pure fun. Pixar maintains their standard here - didn't exceed it, which disappointed the critics - but a solid picture nonetheless.

9. "Ernest and Celestine" Directors: Stephane Aubier, Vincent Patar, Benjamin Renner. The story of an unlikely friendship between a bear, Ernest, and a young mouse named Celestine. This cute hand drawn French film reminded us that animation can look and feel any way the mind imagines. Sweet, sentimental and gorgeous to watch. We need more films like this. 

10. "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2" Directors: Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn. The first film was a surprise - fresh, funny and "cartoony". The sequel didn't drop the (meat)ball - it maintained the original film's look and silly point of view - with wonderfully "delicious" art direction and funny "food animals". I ate it up.

Women in Hollywood

Best Women-Centric Films of 2013, by Melissa Silverstein and Inkoo Kang
Best Women Directed Documentaries of 2013, by Melissa Silverstein and Inkoo Kang

The Playlist

The Playlist's staff top 10 films of 2013 -- Click HERE
The Playlist's staff most memorable movie moments of 2013 -- Click HERE

9 Comments

  • michael reeves | December 31, 2013 11:04 PMReply

    top 8 in no particular order (still need to see a few that might make the top 10)

    1. Spring Breakers
    2. The Wolf of Wall Street
    3. The Bling Ring
    4. Only God Forgives
    5. Frances Ha
    6. Blue is the Warmest Color
    7. The Counselor
    8. American Hustle

  • Indie Film Minute | December 27, 2013 1:36 PMReply

    We take issue with the oft spoken "this was a bad year for films". It was hard for us to winnow down this list and there is still more than ten. BTW, our one nod to Hollywood Machine art, Captain Phillips (which grabbed us from beginning to end but doesn't meet our unique criteria for consideration), ultimately was left off the list.

    In no particular order, consider . . .

    Blue Jasmin (Woody's on a roll), Fruitvale Station (important and so much more relevant than "12 years", Short Term 12 (surprisingly rewarding), Dallas Buyers Club (who would have thought we would live in positive anticipation of the next MM film?), American Hustle (OK not perfectly rewarding but virtuoso film making for sure and perfect performances all . . .), Before Midnight (has to be mentioned for the acting showcase - what nuance!), Place Beyond the Pines (tonally perfect and two good films for the price of one), Enough Said (good laughs and a sentimental goodbye), 20 Feet From Stardom (so entertaining and informative), Mud (there's that MM again!), The Attack (an example of how film can be so important in understanding the world), The Past (life's complexities respected in film), What Maisie Knew (I know - no one saw it. Too simple and sentimental to gain great respect, but overall worthy we argue).

    Come on. Not a bad year right?

  • Chris L. | December 26, 2013 6:04 PMReply

    What, no Bogdanovich?!

  • Kendra | December 26, 2013 12:16 PMReply

    Top tv dramas I watched this year in no particular order: The Americans, Nikita, Suits, Scandal, Reign, The Originals, Emily Owens Md, Parenthood, The Vampire Diaries, Nashville. Honorable mentions: Shameless, Glee, Elementary, Once Upon A Time In Wonderland, Covert Affairs, Burn Notice.

    Comedies: Mindy Project, Neighbors, Awkward., Ben and Kate, New Girl, Happy Endings, Parks and Rec, Community. Honorable mentions: The Office, 30 Rock, Modern Family, The Middle.

  • Kendra | December 26, 2013 12:05 PMReply

    Since I only watched two films that were theatrically released this year I am going to pull a Stephen King, in Ew, and put the top films I have watched in 2013. They may also have been the only films I watched this year. In no particular order: Ruby Sparks, Celeste and Jesse Forever, Frances Ha, American Hustle. Honorable mentions: Womb (or Clone) and Pitch Perfect.

  • Helen | December 26, 2013 11:18 AMReply

    My Top 10
    1. Before Midnight
    2. Blue Jasmine
    3. 12 Years a Slave
    4. Her
    5. Frances Ha
    6. The Great Beauty
    7. Fill the Void
    8. No
    9. The Selfish Giant
    10. Stoker

  • Ed Kargir | December 25, 2013 11:50 PMReply

    My top 10
    1. 12 Years a Slave
    2. Inside Llewelyn Davis
    3. Gravity
    4. Her
    5. Before Midnight
    6. Fruitville Station
    7. Blackfish
    8. Nebraska
    9. American Hustle
    10. Short Term 12

  • PF | December 25, 2013 10:12 AMReply

    Final assessment: 2013 was one sucky year for movies.

  • Bucky O'Hare | December 25, 2013 3:53 PM

    Great comment! Insightful. Can you direct me to an RSS feed for all your comments? I'd hate to feel like I was missing out.