Every film on the first list to be considered today is at least ten years old. Michael O’Sullivan in the Washington Post: “The Library of Congress announced Wednesday the addition of 25 films to its National Film Registry, a growing archive of American motion pictures earmarked for preservation because of their cultural, historic or aesthetic significance.” The Registry has a few sentences on each of the selected titles, but even more briefly:
Billy Woodberry’s Bless Their Little Hearts (1984), a landmark of the Los Angeles Renaissance movement.
Stanton Kaye’s “simulated autobiography” Brandy in the Wilderness (1969).
Film Group, Inc.’s eight-minute doc on civil rights confrontations in Chicago, Cicero March (1966).
Norbert Miles’s 1920 silent Daughter of Dawn, featuring an an all-Native-American cast.
Bill Morrison‘s Decasia (2002), an ode to and lament for nitrate film stock.
Fred Wilcox‘s sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet (1956).
Charles Vidor’s Gilda (1946) with Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford.
John and Faith Hubley’s animated The Hole (1962).
John Murray Anderson and (uncredited) Paul Fejos’s 1930 musical King of Jazz.
Adam Davidson’s ten-minute The Lunch Date (1989).
John Sturges’s The Magnificent Seven (1960) with Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn.
Early dance films featuring Martha Graham made between 1931 and 1944.
Disney’s Mary Poppins (1964), which hardly needs an introduction this year.
Lee Dick’s Men and Dust (1940), a doc on diseases plaguing miners in the midwest.
Mitchell Leisen’s Midnight (1939), written by Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder.
Frank Stauffacher’s experimental Notes on the Port of St. Francis (1951) with music and narration by Vincent Price.
Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (1994). The briefcase. The gold watch. Ezekiel 25:17. All that.
John Ford‘s The Quiet Man (1952) with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.
Philip Kaufman’s adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff (1983).
Roger & Me (1989), the film that made Michael Moore Michael Moore.
Mike Nichols’s adaptation of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
William Wellman‘s Wild Boys of the Road (1933), a Depression-era tale of homeless teens hopping trains.
BEST OF 2013
“Film Comment has announced its highly anticipated year-end list of the best films released in 2013, with Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis (NYFF51) taking the top spot,” announces Nicholas Kemp. “Over 120 film critics and programmers weighed in with their votes, making this list among the most comprehensive to be published each year. Another NYFF51 favorite, Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, ended up at #2 on the list, with Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight close behind it…. The magazine also released a list of the top 20 films of 2013 without distribution, the top five spots all going to films that screened at the 51st New York Film Festival: Philippe Garrel’s Jealousy, Tsai Ming-liang’s Stray Dogs, Joaquim Pinto’s What Now? Remind Me, Hong Sang-soo’s Nobody’s Daughter Haewon, and Catherine Breillat’s Abuse of Weakness.”
Indiewire‘s year-end poll of critics is more than a poll; it’s a database. Which means there are countless journeys to be taken through this thing. Start with a film title, and a critic’s name might catch your eye—Jonathan Rosenbaum‘s, say. And look, Dan Sallitt‘s The Unspeakable Act is on his unranked list. And there’s Steve Erickson‘s name. His #1: Leviathan. And so on and on. At any rate, Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave appears on 140 of the 240 ballots cast, “making it the #1 overall choice for the Best Film of 2013.” Steve Greene and Eric Kohn break down a few more numbers, too.
In the 2013 Village Voice 2013 Poll, “96 critics from across the country voted for their favorite films, performances, and filmmakers in 13 categories.” Alan Scherstuhl: “As usual, the top slots go to the best of studios’ parade of holiday hams, especially from old reliables like the Coen brothers (No. 1) and Spike Jonze (No. 2), but I defy you to find many wide releases from the first half of the year on this list—or in your store of pleasurable memories. But the smaller films live on and still surprise—James Franco as best supporting actor? At spring break, anything can happen! And marvel at this: Andrew Dice Clay was in the running, too.”
And the Voice critics present their own favorites. Stephanie Zacharek‘s is “a very personal and thus idiosyncratic list of 11 movies.” #1: Gravity: “It’s harrowing and comforting, intimate and glorious, the kind of movie that makes you feel more connected to the world rather than less.” Amy Nicholson‘s #1: The Act of Killing.
Sam Adams, Mike D’Angelo, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, A.A. Dowd, Ben Kenigsberg, Nick Schager, and Scott MacDonald have submitted their individual ballots at the AV Club and, with the votes tallied, Before Midnight emerges at the top of the list of 20.
#1 on Atlantic film critic Christopher Orr‘s list: Her. “Subtle, moving, and immaculately constructed, Spike Jonze’s latest may be the closest thing to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind since Eternal Sunshine itself.”
Novelist Dennis Cooper lists his “favorite fiction, poetry, nonfiction, music, film, art & internet of 2013.” James Marsh introduces Twitch‘s gallery of the year’s best Blu-ray releases. Mondo’s Justin Ishmael and Mitch Putnam post their favorite posters.