Eppler: The 10 best movies of 2013 (and one more)

Reported by: James Eppler
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Updated: 1/14 11:38 am

On Twitter: @JamesEppler

It was a great year at the movies, and pretty tough to narrow down a top 10 list. I wrestled with a few ("Wolf of Wall Street, ""This is the End," "Dallas Buyers Club" barely missed out) but in the end, I'm satisfied that these are the best movies of the year.

1. 12 YEARS A SLAVE
It's rare we see a movie as vital as this one - a film that will be studied and remembered for years to come as a classic. While director Steve McQueen's film is an unflinching look at our nation's greatest sin, it's not like taking your medicine. This is exceptional entertainment - a thrilling triumph with a beautiful screenplay and some amazing performances.

2. HER
A movie about a man falling in love with his computer could have been a goofy mess, but instead, it's an intimate examination of the human condition with Joaquin Phoenix magnetic in the lead. It also raises interesting questions about our society's reliance on technology over human contact.

3. MUD
A coming-of-age story about two boys who go to work for a mysterious stranger played by Matthew McConaughey about the heard lessons we learn growing up. McConaughey is having a career renaissance with another great performance this year in "Dallas Buyers Club." "Mud" is the better movie, but he'll be nominated for the other.

4. BEFORE MIDNIGHT
The third film in a series about a couple that met cute and fell in love. Now the harshness of real life has set in, and this film features some of the most blistering dialogue uttered in any movie this year.

5. THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES
A saga about the sins of fathers visited on their sons with stellar performances from Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper. Maybe it's because I had a son this year, but this movie cut deep.

6. GRAVITY
A technical game changer for what director Alfonso Cuaron was able to accomplish, but it's also a terrific adventure with a brave and emotionally raw Sandra Bullock performance at the center of it.

7. THE GREAT GATSBY
Baz Luhrmann's stylish re-imagining of the classic novel feels fresh, yet it's still unmistakably F. Scott Fitzgerald's book. No movie had this kind of beauty and energy this year.

8. AMERICAN HUSTLE
A tightly-plotted caper movie with some great characters. It features one of the best ensemble casts of this, or any year.

9. FROZEN
Disney returns to its roots with its best animated musical since the heyday of the mid-90s.

10. DON JON
The directing debut of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who also wrote a funny and touching script about addiction and romance.

Honorable Mention:

BEHIND THE CANDELABRA

One of the year's best movies didn't open in theaters. HBO's Liberace drama featured dynamite performances from Michael Douglass and Matt Damon. It would have been an easy Oscar contender.



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