I don’t have much to say about this Blood Orange album except for that I really like it and put it on my Pazz and Jop ballot this year (shouts to Drew Millard for joining me in the “Hey Porsche” mafia).
I figured I’d use this space—since this is one of my favorite albums of 2013—to run down my favorite movies of 2013. I think it’s possible I saw something like 60 movies in theaters this year, and here’s my favorite 20.
20. Act of Killing- Because it ends with a mass murderer suddenly realizing that what he had done was wrong, and you get to watch a man realize that he’s a monster.
19. Rush—Because for 2 hours it was able to convince me that two insufferable people driving cars really fast was worthy of my attention, no small feat.
18. Blue is the Warmest Color—Because this was a really great capturing the arc of new love to no love, even if it was overlong.
17. Drinking Buddies—Because no romantic comedy has ever been this real, and also ended how things usually happen in real life: you flirt with making the gigantic romantic move towards the partner it would be the least rational to pair off with, and you never do.
16. The Great Gatsby- Fuck the haters; this was better than the Redford version. The book I’ve read the most gets the over the top, overblown movie edition it deserves.
15. Wolf of Wall Street—This was lowkey 2013’s greatest endurance test and wish fulfillment movie, as you got to spend 3 hours imagining what and who and what drugs you would do if you had untold millions and Leonardo DiCaprio’s face. Watched old people flee the theater during this, and saw it with Dave Reyneke in Raleigh, good times.
14. Room 237- Because never has a movie made me feel higher when I wasn’t high. And also make more sense while being completely crazy. And also I watched it drunk once and it made even less sense.
13. The World’s End—Because no movie has captured how epic the nights with your 20 year old friends feel, and how nostalgic you are for them, even if you are now 27 (or 40, in the case of the guys in this movie) and you realize it’s dumb to be nostalgic for the time you threw up in a gas station parking lot.
12. Pacific Rim—Because it turns out watching giant robots punch giant aliens for 2 hours fucking rules.
11. This Is The End—Not so secretly the best comedy of the year by a wide margin. Aspire to behave like Danny McBride’s intro scene every morning when I wake up.
10. Place Beyond the Pines—Because it’s a movie about how dads kind of shape everything dudes are, and it’s beautiful, and it has a great left turn in that Ryan Gosling—the person you expect the movie to be about—dies ½ the way in.
9. Spring Breakers—Because no movie had a better character (James Franco’s Alien) and because Matt, Danielle and I saw it together opening weekend along with only 2 other people in the screening, and me and Matt were the only 2 who realized that it was meant to be a hilarious comedy. Gucci Mane’s scenes have become so overrated, they might be underrated now.
8. Her-I don’t think I buy the criticism that this movie is about how a man chooses to jerk off to a computer instead of dealing with the (admittedly written as shrill) women who occupy his life. Mostly I think this is about how being able to replace the loneliness that has become part of modern society—and to avoid the real emotions you have when other people are in an IRL relationship with you—with a computer screen is probably not a net positive, and that maybe the computers are making us feel less connected and more alone than ever. Also I mostly think you were supposed to read Joaquin Phoenix’s character as a fucking asshole, not as a hero, which is hard for people to do. I wish I could have fallen as hard for this as some of my peers, but I still greatly enjoyed it.
7. Behind the Candelabra-Because it should have been in theaters and Michael Douglas should be winning Oscars, and it led to me and my mom arguing for an hour about whether or not Liberace was a tragic figure (she said he was a sex predator, I said he was so sad).
6. Don John- Because the scenes when he looks at porn are so well acted, so true to life, hit so close to home (sorry mom) and because for a week it made me and all my friends wonder if maybe we have been fucked up by our Internet proclivities.
5. Blackfish—Because I’ve seen this 10 times now—shouts out to Netflix—as it’s become my dinner default for something to watch. It bothers me how I never thought of Sea World as a shitty circus until this movie, and it bothers me that people would think that whales killing people because they are bored is anything other than an incredible tragedy.
4. Fruitvale Station—Because no movie has made me feel like I needed to make a march on something like this one, no movie has made me feel as shitty as this one, and no movie in 2013 made me feel like being a sobbing mess more than this one.
3. 12 Years a Slave—I don’t know what I can say here other than that it’s powerful and Steve McQueen deserves all the awards.
2. Frances Ha—Because no movie captures what it’s like to be 27, what it’s like to be overwhelmed by adulthood, what it’s like to be struggling to make a career in the arts, what it’s like to feel alone together, what it’s like to feel abandoned by more “mature” friends, what it’s like to realize being an adult sucks, what it feels like to worry about that $2.00 ATM fee, what it feels like to struggle, what it feels like to go home as an adult and what it feels like to feel like you’ve peaked better than this one.
1. Inside Llewyn Davis—This is the only movie I’ve paid to see twice in the theaters since There Will Be Blood in 2007, and coincidentally, it’s the first movie since that one that I walked out of thinking was a stone cold, brilliant, instant classic. It’s about how “authenticity” is a trap, it’s about how hard it is to be a musician, it’s about how maybe being an asshole doesn’t get covered by being a “genius,” it’s about how folk music was a weird uniform for people, it’s about selling out, it’s about not selling out, it’s about how no matter how together you think your life is shit will still hit the fan, it’s about how cats are horrible animals to keep as pets, it’s about how ultimately everything you do in life is determined by how much money you can make someone else, it’s about a crazy era in popular culture, it’s about how Justin Timberlake is great in everything always, it’s about how your life is really just a series of repeating events, and it’s about the ultimate futility of existence, really. I just got back from seeing it the second time, and was bowled over, again. Hang me, oh hang me.