Top 10 2013 – Adelaide’s List
I don’t watch a lot of new films because I am middle-aged and grumpy, and I want to watch things when I want to watch them, not when they are in the theaters. So every year my “best of” list is about what I watched in a given year, not what came out. The only rule I have is the films must be new-to-me, otherwise anything goes. I was surprised to note that over half my picks this year came out in 2013, but it was a good year for movies and I’m not going to complain. It was hard to pare my list down to just ten, and the runners up are That Uncertain Feeling (1941), The Muppet Movie (1979), Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay (2012), The Solid Gold Cadillac (1956), and Birth of the Living Dead (2013).
10) The Punk Singer (2013) Directed by Sini Anderson, The Punk Singer outlines the career and life of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre front woman Kathleen Hanna. She is an ardent feminist and performer who worked tirelessly over the years to create a space for women in the independent music industry. She also seems a little difficult (which is what we always say about feminists, but I didn’t like her much for the first half of the movie), and the film does not shy away from showing a complete person; she’s not just a manufactured personality. The real heart of the story, however, is the revelation of Hanna’s long-term mystery illness and the trials she went through to get a diagnosis of Lyme disease. It’s a heartrending tale shown without false sentimentality, and I’ll admit it, I had more than one teary moment.
9) We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (2013) I can see why Julian Assange doesn’t want people to see this film because he comes off as kind of a jerk. But director Alex Gibney does not let Assange and his personality get in the way of telling a story that shows both the importance of WikiLeaks and the foibles of the man behind it. It’s a fascinating story that deals not only with the history of WikiLeaks, but also with the relationship of the site to Chelsea Manning (who was still using the name Bradley Manning at the time of the film.) Manning is a complicated figure, and the film could have benefited from interviews with both her and Assange, but their absence doesn’t irrevocably hurt the movie.
8) Mad Love (1935) My favorite movie creeper, Peter Lorre, stars as Doctor Gogol, who is in love with the beautiful singer Yvonne Orlac, who—much to Gogol’s dismay—is married to the talented pianist Stephen Orlac. When Stephen looses his hands in an accident, Gogol comes to the rescue and reattaches them. But not really. The hands he gives to Orlac are really those of a murderer, and as one might guess, mysterious high jinks ensue. It’s a lovely, atmospheric film, and Lorre is wonderful as the tormented paramour. He would later do another film about possessed hands—The Beast with Five Fingers—but this film is the better of the two.