So I started doing this last year and I’m kind of in love with it. It’s a personal snapshot of my takeaways from the year in film. It’s more of a surface level kind of thing, less about what films are doing or not doing, and more about immediate pleasures or displeasures both broad and specific. Hope you enjoy! What were your takeaways from this year?


Wishing we could live in a world where all blockbusters could star Vera Farmiga and Lili Taylor (The Conjuring)

Discovering the music of Death via A Band Called Death

One step forward for films about female relationships (Frozen, Frances Ha, Byzantium etc.) and one step kind-of-back for having said characters spend most of their screen-time separated. 

It’s a Disaster for making me crave more low-budget chamber piece ensemble comedies

Marisa Tomei overacting like nobody’s business with her interpretation of Marilyn Monroe writings (Love, Marilyn)

For endless American Dream think-pieces and accompanying films (Spring Breakers, The Bling Ring, Pain and Gain (haven’t seen), The Great Gatsby, Wolf of Wall Street)

In which further proof came to light that Paul Dano continues to get the shit kicked out of him, completely with weasel-squeals (can’t forget the weasel-squeals), in Every. Single. Film. (12 Years a Slave, Prisoners)

Everyone proclaiming 2013 was a great year for film; while I think every year is a great year for film depending on what you see, this year actually brought far more disappointments than normal (Sightseers, The Place Beyond the Pines, Gravity, From Up on Poppy Hill, American Hustle, Antiviral, You’re Next, Stories We Tell, Prisoners, Much Ado About Nothing, Room 237, Blue Caprice, etc.)


Seeing a better ‘silent film’ (not to mention more attuned to formalistic trends of the time) than The Artist (Blancanieves)

Berberian Sound Studio using sound effects to squishy and crunchy effect

The breakdancing scene in The Way Way Back for winning the title of worst five minutes in 2013 film

Drug War and New World putting other action/crime films in their place for different reasons

Proof that Caleb Landry Jones is my generation’s Crispin Glover (Antiviral)

Juno Temple’s silky and out-of-body hypnotized dance in Magic Magic

Thinking that if Pacific Rim was refreshing to people (clearing the bar for original franchise piece and refreshingly diverse cast aside) then I give up on life

New sides of Michael Cera (Magic Magic, This Is the End)


So…the bigger the asshole Leonardo DiCaprio plays, the more attracted I am to him? Is this the trajectory I’m working with? OK; just checking (The Wolf of Wall Street)

The year Ryan Gosling’s presence and acting abilities bored me into oblivion (The Place Beyond the Pines, Only God Forgives)

Because it always bears repeating; Olivier Assayas has better taste in music than anyone working in film. I will pay you heaps of cash to make me mixes Good Sir. Abba Zaba Zoom (Something in the Air)

The outrageously entertaining archival footage that populates No

Being okay with having only one foot on the Spring Breakers bandwagon; ever-so-close to love with reservations regarding its pedestal-placement-outweighs-the-text status

Last year was the year Léa Seydoux became one of my favorite actresses with Sister and Farewell, My Queen respectively. This year was the year I became head over heels attracted to her from her general appearance and character in Blue is the Warmest Color.

Brutal post-breakup denouements in Blue is the Warmest Color and Laurence Anyways

Two films, two wonderfully inventive films, shot on period accurate video! (Computer Chess, No)


Being reminded that nobody does composition like Cristian Mungiu and Abbas Kiarostami (Beyond the Hills, Like Someone in Love)

Suzanne Clément making the entrance to end all entrances, accompanied by new wave, sparkle, wind machines, and revolving floors in Laurence Anyways

Catching up with familiar faces (56 Up)

Existential film lover crisis in the form of my ambivalence towards Leviathan. Does it make me a shitty cinephile? (Answer: no)

Jena Malone as Johanna Mason being the most electric presence onscreen this year and making me want her in everything from now on (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire)

Seeing enough of Lola Creton and Caleb Landry Jones to consider them new favorites of mine (Bastards, Something in the Air, Antiviral)

Being reminded that Katharine Isabelle is severely underrated and deserves to be a full-fledged star (American Mary)

Finding Only God Forgives to be the most visually captivating film of the year, while frustrating in its macho-art-gore-study (and yet my feelings towards it are still more complicated because there’s a lot I liked about it) 


Can Mary McCarthy come back to life and be my best friend? (Hannah Arendt)

Being unable to figure out why Computer Chess and Upstream Color held me at an unaccountable distance despite liking them both

You know a movie is bad when your favorite character is a monkey voiced by Zach Braff (Oz the Great and Powerful)

Jake Gyllenhaal’s slicked back hair that always manages to somehow be in his face in Prisoners

The woefully misguided and naïvely executed student protest captures by Frederick Wiseman in At Berkeley. Eek. Eek. Eek.

My first visit to Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn (saw Spring Breakers with my sister and her friend)

Matt Damon’s physique in Behind the Candelabra. Oh, and his performance. Yeah, that too

Wishing that Byzantium was an adaptation of a highly acclaimed novel so I could gobble it all up

Top of the Lake

More feminist noir please! (Top of the Lake)

Peter Mullan proving once again why he is one of my favorite working actors with his portrayal of Matt Mitcham, perhaps the most compelling performance and work in the whole of 2013. Everyone should still be talking about it, and we’re not (Top of the Lake)

The near-futuristic portrait of insular experiences and soothing pastels in Her

The most indelible image of the year; Lola Créton, naked but for a pair of click-clack heels and streaked blood, haunting the streets of Paris in Claire Denis’ Bastards

Living in a world where the term guerilla filmmaking is reduced to rubble, pitifully tacked onto the existence of Escape from Tomorrow

Having the honor of seeing James Gandolfini as a romantic lead in Enough Said

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