Overstreet’s Favorite Films: 2013

It’s time to publish my list of the movies that inspired, impressed, and moved me most in 2013.

Annual Disclaimer: Notice, I didn’t say “the best films of 2012.” Nobody, not even the most experienced and devoted film scholar, can claim to report that. We experience, interpret, and remember art as individuals with particular strengths, weaknesses, memories, loves, and fears. When we share what moves, inspires, challenges, discomforts, and offends us, we reveal a lot about ourselves. I share this list so you know what meant the most to me in 2013. And if you want to understand why these films made an impression… well, that’s why I write reviews.

There are a lot of important films I have yet to see.

The first list is the World Premieres Edition: Films that played anywhere in the world for the first time in 2013.

The second list is the American Release Edition: This list includes only films that had their first commercial releases in the U.S. in 2013.

One more thing: If you want to understand the color-coding of the titles, as well as what this list really represents, read my introduction to the Looking Closer Favorite Films lists.

So, here they are: The films that inspired, moved, challenged, and intrigued me in 2012.

Red = Treasures, Purple = Favorites, Blue = Achievements, Gray = Decent/Noteworthy, Green = Unseen or Undecided



(Movies that played for audiences for the first time in 2013, festivals and foreign countries included, according to IMDB.)

  1. This Is Martin Bonner (Chad Hartigan)
  2. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater)
  3. Upstream Color (Shane Carruth)
  4. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)
  5. Short Term 12 (Destin Cretton)
  6. Her (Spike Jonze)
  7. The World’s End (Edgar Wright)
  8. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen)
  9. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)
  10. The Kings of Summer (Jordan Vogt-Roberts)
  11. Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass)
  12. All is Lost (J. C. Chandor)
  13. The Counselor (Ridley Scott)
  14. Computer Chess (Andrew Bujalski)
  15. American Hustle (David O. Russell)
  16. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Francis Lawrence)
  17. The Great Gatsby (Baz Luhrmann)
  18. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Adam McKay)
  19. Stoker (Chan-wook Park)
  20. The Way, Way Back (Nat Faxon, Jim Rash)
  21. 20 Feet from Stardom (Morgan Neville)
  22. Monsters University (Dan Scanlon)
  23. Byzantium (Neil Jordan)
  24. The Lone Ranger (Gore Verbinski)
  25. The Grandmaster (Kar Wai Wong)
  26. Prince Avalanche (David Gordon Green)
  27. The Spectacular Now (James Ponsoldt)
  28. Closure (Bryan Tucker)
  29. Prisoners (Denis Villeneuve)
  30. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (David Lowery)
  31. Warm Bodies (Jonathan Levine)


  1. This Is Martin Bonner
  2. Museum Hours
  3. Before Midnight
  4. Upstream Color
  5. Leviathan
  6. Like Someone in Love
  7. The Wolf of Wall Street
  8. Short Term 12
  9. Her
  10. The World’s End
  11. The Act of Killing
  12. Frances Ha
  13. To the Wonder
  14. Stories We Tell
  15. 12 Years a Slave
  16. Inside Llewyn Davis
  17. The Kings of Summer
  18. A Hijacking
  19. Captain Phillips
  20. The Counselor
  21. The Great Beauty
  22. Wrestling for Jesus: The Tale of T-Money*
  23. All is Lost
  24. Wolf Children
  25. Mud
  26. Fill the Void
  27. Lore
  28. Computer Chess
  29. American Hustle
  30. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  31. The Great Gatsby
  32. Stoker
  33. The Way, Way Back
  34. 20 Feet from Stardom
  35. Much Ado About Nothing
  36. From Up on Poppy Hill 2011
  37. Monsters University
  38. Byzantium
  39. The Lone Ranger
  40. The Grandmaster
  41. Prince Avalanche
  42. The Spectacular Now
  43. Prisoners
  44. Philomena
  45. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
  46. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
  47. Warm Bodies