my favorite movies of 2013

Every year I try to follow in my father's footsteps and create a family Christmas newsletter that not only details the events of our lives from the previous year, but also preaches a little, gets gushy about books and pop culture, and makes cute jokes only insiders get.  We do it less for our friends' benefit and more for our own, believing (hoping) that ten and twenty years from now, we'll read back over these newsletters with warm nostalgia for things we'd nearly forgotten.

And hopefully this year I'll get to that.

But first.

All I really want to do is make an annotated list of movies, books, tv shows, and albums that I really loved this year.  I guess I've caught the end-of-year-list-making bug that all the magazines and websites have. As if the woefully uneducated and non-professional opinion of a mother of two preschoolers who rarely gets to go to the movies is worth your time.

Truth be told, though, I love reading these kinds of posts on my friends blogs.  So maybe you'll like mine.  And leave your favorites from the year in the comments, ok?

My favorite movies of 2013, best first:

1. Before Midnight (and the entire Before trilogy)
Over the summer, Jack and I re-watched Before Sunrise and Before Sunset with a couple of our best pals who are a full decade younger than we are, and had never seen them.  Then in July the four of us got to see the third installment, Before Midnight, in theaters.  These movies, told in almost real time and comprised mostly of walking and talking conversations between Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), are about a relationship, but they're also about what it meant to come of age in Gen X, and what it means to love, and what it means to grow up.  They're gorgeous and even better the second time around. (Jack and I co-reviewed this film for Christ and Pop Culture, too.)

2. Catching Fire
I'm a big fan of the Hunger Games trilogy of books, and this second film adaptation was even better than the first.  Watching Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) struggle to subvert empire truly inspired me to make decisions counter to a culture that values power, fame, luxury, and ease at the expense of the people on the margins.

3. Mud
Real talk: I wanted to see this movie because it was set in south Arkansas and it had Matthew McConaughey in it.  He is more than a pretty face, y'all, and this movie is perfect: a mythic coming of age story, in every way a boy's story, yet I loved it. (Runner up on this note: Kings of Summer. Another gorgeous movie about what it means to be on the cusp of adulthood in summer. All those feelings.)

4. Frozen
After reading sparkling reviews from Christians and feminists and six year old boys on the web, I was set on taking Rosie to see this one.  We had a mommy-daughter date on Saturday, and though halfway through she worried that it was too scary, I couldn't leave (don't worry- by the end she was glad she had stayed).  And I would like to go see it again, please. (P.S. - this guys says it's the best theology rich movie in years.)

5. Safety Not Guaranteed
Jack and I watched this cute indie comedy when it came out on DVD at the beginning of this year. It was surprising and sincere, and Aubrey Plaza was wonderful as always.  (I wrote a bit more about it in this post.)

Runner Up: The Great Gatsby

Have you seen any of these?  What can you recommend I add to my Netflix queue?

(Later this week I'll post books, tv shows, and albums.)