The best of 2013: Film and television

Don’t you love this time of year, when ever web site, publication or dufus with a website publishes their year end “best of” lists? Yeah, me neither, but that still isn’t enough to keep me from doing mine, and rather pretentiously splitting it up over two days to boot. Film and television today, with the much more difficult music lists later this week, including the ever anticipated best of 2013 playlist.


One caveat here: I don’t get to as many movies as I used to (and when I do I often have two 10 year old boys in tow), so this is simply the best of what I saw this year. I often end up not seeing many of the critically acclaimed pictures until a year or two later when they hit Netflix or On Demand. Calibrate your expectations accordingly. The good news is, when I do make it out to a non-Pixar or franchise movie, it’s usually a guarantee that it will be worth your time and money.

10. Thor: The Dark World (sneaks into the top ten purely out of respect for Tom Hiddleston)

9. Zero Dark Thirty

8. Much Ado About Nothing

7. Mud (Btw, when did Matthew McConaughey secretly become the most money actor in Hollywood. Dude is on a serious hot streak.)

6. Star Trek: Into Darkness (Don’t care if the diehards didn’t like it I thought it was great and the Cumberbatch was downright awesome.)

5. Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me

4. Iron Man 3

3. Rush (May end up going down as the best sports movie ever.)

2. The World’s End (Absolutely love this movie, and believe it’s the best of the Cornetto trilogy when all is said and done.)

1. Gravity (Here’s all you really need to know about Gravity. I didn’t think there was any way possible that a movie was going to keep The World’s End from being my favorite film of the year, but Gravity did it. Truly amazing stuff, and the only time I would ever tell you to see a film in 3D vs. standard projection.)


Another caveat. I actually don’t like a lot of what is on TV and don’t watch much of it. Your typical Chuck Lorre sitcom makes me want to hurl myself off a bridge. Again, calibrate your expectations accordingly.

10. Downton Abbey (Thought it slipped a bit from previous seasons but was still pretty darn entertaining, If nothing else it’s still a joy to watch Maggie Smith lay the smack down. Reason to be optimistic for next season: happy Lady Mary was dull and boring, but now she’ll have all the reason to rage and snark against the world)

9. The Daily Show

8. The Returned (I’ve only seen a handful of episodes so far, but it’s still cracking my top ten. It’s that good. A special award should go to Mogwai for creating an amazingly creepy vibe with their soundtrack alone.)

7. Colbert Report (Really upped their game with the quality of musical guests this past year.)

6. The Americans (Somehow this incredible show was not my favorite new show of the year, but not for lack of real quality.)

5. Gravity Falls (Yeah, it’s a Disney Channel cartoon but it is really brilliant and often hilarious. At its best it is on par with a first decade of the Simpsons mixed with some David Lynch. I refer you to the Time Traveler’s Pig and Fight Fighters episodes for proof.)

4. Sherlock

3. Mad Men (It got seemingly off track a couple of times this year, but the season finale placed Don in such an unexpected position and it opened multiple possibilities to the show that seemed impossible to contemplate before. I mean, Don might not die a miserable, old, forsaken wretch now, right?)

2. Orphan Black (My favorite new show this year by a pretty wide margin, featuring some truly mind blowing acting by star Tatiana Maslany.)

1. Breaking Bad (It really couldn’t be anything else, could it? This season gave is perhaps the finest, but most gut-wrenching hour of television ever made – Ozymandius, and that’s still not even my favorite episode of the show – that honor will always go to Dead Freight.)

You’ll notice one very noticeable exception from that list. I’m looking at you, Walking Dead. So you finally gave us the season finale we deserved last year, which basically means that the half season that just finished was, while admittedly being some of the better episodes of the show in recent memory (at least until Gov. Snooze showed up again), completely unnecessary. You frustrate me, Walking Dead. Here’s hoping you get yourself together now that the slate has been wiped clean of the Governor’s stain.

What were your favorites this year (i.e., what will I be binge watching on Netflix and cursing that I missed a couple of years from now?) If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go narrow down a pretty great year for music into one playlist.




Posted on December 2, 2013, in Movies, TV and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Enough Said was sooooo good. House of Cards was better than Downton Abbey. And no Parks & Rec love?

    • I felt too underwhelmed by House of Cards ending. I never bought Francis would actually kill anyone, and the more I thought about the more it bothered me.

      Parks and Rec sits at #11. I had it in the top ten but had to bump it when I started watching The Returned.


  2. I forgot Fruitvale Station. And the Red Wedding ep of Game of Thrones. And Sam Rockwell in Way Way Back.

  3. Just saw American Hustle & Inside Llewyn Davis. American Hustle is glorious. Probably my overall favorite movie of the year. Inside Llewyn Davis has an awesome soundtrack. You will probably adore “Please Mr. Kennedy”. Find it on You Tube.

    • I’ve got both of those, plus Wolf of Wall Street, on the wish list for this holiday. I’ve heard the L David soundtrack, it was good, but sounds like they are trying just a bit too hard to recreate the O Brother buzz with a different genre.

      • So I have a love/hate relationship w/the Coen Bros. Music for both (O Brother & Llewyn) courtesy of T Bone (natch). But the Llewyn music is def 60s folk, NOT bluegrass. And I always leave their movies trying to wrap my head around the give & take between the dichotomy of religious symbolism & fatalistic secular cynicism that is always their main theme.

      • No I get that it’s not bluegrass. I just meant it sounded that they were trying for another revival album, just a different genre. I’ll take anything the Cohen’s do. Love those guys.


  1. Pingback: The best of 2013: The music | Fables of the Deconstruction

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