People are saying that 2013 was a great year for black movies, but it was a phenomenal year for film in general. We had acts of heroism in space, a makeshift family smuggle weed across the border, and Batman got fat and lost his hair. That’s Gravity, We’re The Millers and American Hustle – in case you’re keeping score.
We also got to know a new Superman, what it would be like if James Franco and Gucci Mane were friends, and discovered what would happen if aliens came from the ocean and got turnt up on Earth. Still, sadly enough, Man of Steel, Spring Breakers and Pacific Rim didn’t make our list of greatest movies of the year – but they are all worth mentioning.
The 13 movies that did make our list are the best of the best in pop culture today. Check it out and try your best to see them all – either in theaters or on DVD as soon as you can.
13: The Conjuring makes our list for mixing blood curdling screams, strange noises, and scary ass demons in a way that left us on the edge of our seats this summer. *clap, clap* Director James Wan proved that less is more and you don’t need a ton of fake blood and gore to leave movie-goers frightened out of their minds.
12: The Best Man Holiday gets the number 12 spot for being so good you’ll want to watch it 12 times. Malcolm Lee uses a formula we’ve learned to get familiar with: comedy, drama, God. Repeat! There’s Morris Chestnut and Terrence Howard for the ladies, Nia Long and Regina Hall for the fellas, and a New Edition routine for the win.
11: We’re The Millers was our sleeper hit this year, because we had no idea it was going to be so damn hilarious. Jennifer Aniston was believable as a mom and a stripper, and Jason Sudeikis had us wanting to roll up a fatty with him. Don’t go Jason Waterfalls on this one, or you’ll miss some of the best comedy scenes of the year.
10: Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom is number 10, but during a lesser year for movies, it could have easily made our top 5. Naomie Harris steals the show, but Idris Elba nailed the voice of Madiba, totally making up for the fact that the South African president had us wondering when Avon and Marlo were going to show up.
9: The Great Gatsby had us wanting to party our lives away while trying to wrap our brains around how people could blast Jay Z while drinking and driving in the Roaring Twenties. Great film, old chap.
8: Lee Daniels’ The Butler is a fantastic flick with a first-rate cast that chronicles the life of Cecil Gaines, as he goes from the son of slaves to the head butler at the White House. Oprah gets her drink on, Terrence Howard tries to get the booty, and David Oyelowo makes a name for himself as one of the top actors in the game. But it’s Elijah Kelley who steals the show.
7: Blue Caprice is the movie you’ve probably never heard about and we’re almost certain the majority of you never saw, but it’s worth changing that. It’s named after the car the DC Snipers, John Muhammad and Lee Malvo, used during their shooting spree that left the nation shook. Isaiah Washington’s performance is remarkably dark as he reenacts the manipulative ways of John.
6: Prisoners is the third movie starring Terrence Howard to make this list on the low. The dark film is set around two kidnapped little girls, which joins another revenge kidnapping after the cops let the only suspect in the girls’ disappearance go. This bloody psychological mindfuck will have you questioning your morals at the end, with more twists and turns then you can count.
5: Gravity with Sandra Bullock is visually stunning. And when you get stuck in space, the tension gets thicker than a KOD dancer. This flick has the best special effects of any movie all year and Sandra’s performance will find you preparing a special place in your heart for her.
4: American Hustle gets intense and very funny as two con artists get conned into helping the Feds – only to find themselves having to con the Feds in order to get out of another con that goes wrong. Phew. This is a brilliant comedy that shows you David O’Russell knows how to bring out the best of the best actors in the game.
3: Fruitvale Station is quite possibly the most important movie of the decade. It tells the real life story of today’s black men – even though we are so used to being reminded that we were all once slaves, butlers and thugs. Michael B. Jordan gives a flawless performance portraying the life of Oscar Grant, who was shot by cops on New Year’s Eve, simply for being black. Hopefully the tears shed while watching this film will go a long way to change the world.
2: The Wolf Of Wall Street is a wild ride of cocaine, white-collar crime, sex and money. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill give the performances of their lives in the retelling of the life of Jordan Belfort. It’s 3 hours long, but director Martin Scorsese crafts another masterpiece here.
1: 12 Years A Slave is easily the best film of the year. Steve McQueen pulls no punches as he recreates the dark and perverse reality of slavery, with brutal whippings, hangings, rape and injustice. This movie makes you question everything this country was built on, and proves that just because we’ve come so far, we still have a long way to go.