Looking Back: Joey Picks His 20 Favorite Scenes from the Films of 2013
by Joey Magidson
December 24, 2013
With only a matter of days remaining in 2013, I find myself having seen all of the year's releases that I felt compelled to see. That realization led me to start considering which films this year had particular scenes that really struck me. Just about every single film of note this year had some sort of memorable scene that will stick with me for years, though I'm sure not everyone will find the same scene as powerful as I did. In fact, while many of the scenes cited are from my favorite films of the year, believe it or not, nine of my top ten flicks have a scene listed below, so it wasn't ten for ten. But sometimes all it takes is just a single scene.
Narrowing down a list like this is always difficult, but what I've found is that if you step away for a bit and then think about a movie quickly, you'll find that one particular scene comes to mind. That's one of the methods that I used in order to whittle down a long list to something a bit more manageable. Honestly, it's really just a gut feeling too in the end. For example, right up until the last moment while writing this I had the scene in Iron Man 3 where we find out the truth about The Mandarin on the list, but in the end other scenes this year were just a bit more memorable for me.
Below you will find what I thought to be the 20 best individual scenes of 2013. Of course, your choices may differ, even just in terms of a different scene from the same film, but that's part of the fun. You can share your thoughts in the comments, for now, here are my Top 20 Favorite Scenes from the Films of 2013:
(Note: we would love to embed a video for all of these scenes, but most aren't available online yet as many of these movies are still playing in theaters right now! Catch them on the big screen while still you can.)
#20. The final scene in Some Velvet Morning
An intriguing chamber piece that completely changes the game in the final minutes, Neil LaBute's Some Velvet Morning ends on a note that I'd never spoil, so I can't really explain it, except to just urge you to seek it out. I have a feeling you'll be as stunned as I was. Trust me there, it changes the entire film in a big way.
#19. The diner scene in Blue is the Warmest Color
After well over two hours spent watching the relationship between Adèle Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux, a pivotal sequence in a diner represents a point of no return for each of their characters and an amazingly powerful moment in a powerful flick. The scene involves a graphic sexual act, tears, and heartfelt conversation, much like the rest of the film. In many ways, it sums up Blue is the Warmest Color perfectly.
#18. The opening scene in Short Term 12
Right from the beginning, this movie pulls you right in by having John Gallagher Jr. tell a story that's both amusing and very telling. It's only the tip of the iceberg for the amazing movie, particularly Brie Larson's character as well as her performance on the whole, but it's an ideal beginning to a movie that you never actually want to end. Short Term 12 is chock full of strong scenes, but this one is my favorite.
#17. Arguing over the porn magazine in This is The End
Easily the funniest moment for me in an absolutely hilarious comedy - watching apocalypse survivors James Franco and Danny McBride fight over a Playboy is just absurdly amusing. You can't print any of what they say, but you're dying laughing the whole time. I almost laughed so hard I cried the first time around. It's not some big "important" cinematic moment, but it's just a laugh riot. This is The End is one of the funnier movies of the year, partially due to this scene alone.
#16. The result of the con in American Hustle
When the fallout of what Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Bradley Cooper have done is revealed, we hear as Bale's character explains what happened to everyone. It's when he talks about "his friend Carmine Polito" (Jeremy Renner) that I was struck by the sad undercurrent of the story. It's a line in a scene that not many will reference as one of the best of the year, but it's stuck with me in a surprisingly big way. In many ways, it's the emotional payoff in American Hustle, subtle as it may be.
#15. The final scene in Lone Survivor
Technically also the credits sequence, when we see the photos and videos of the actual men depicted in this movie, I dare any of you out there not to cry. I'm man enough to admit that I did, and more than a little too. Filmmaker Peter Berg may be somewhat manipulating you here, but it's damn effective. Few endings have made me sob like this one was able to, which is partially why Lone Survivor has stayed with me like it has.
#14. Walter sees the final LIFE magazine cover in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
After all of the hullabaloo over the perfect photograph that Sean Penn's character has sent Ben Stiller's Walter Mitty, to finally see what the image is, well, it's a welcome emotional release for everyone involved. I won't spoil what it is, but it's worth the wait, I can assure you of that. It might not be a hugely popular moment in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, but I know that I loved seeing it.
#13. The gang sings "Everytime" in Spring Breakers
I'm not sure it has any bigger meaning, but watching the girls and James Franco sing and dance to the Britney Spears song is pretty much an iconic moment at this point. Franco's speech in Spring Breakers about his "shit" is up there too, but this one is a little more distinctive and worthy of a citation on this list.
#12. The cemetery scene in Nebraska
The comedic high point of the movie, when June Squibb lifts her dress while standing over a headstone, I completely cracked up. The flick doesn't have too many big laughs, but this is 100% the biggest one to be found. Bruce Dern is the best part of the film, but Squibb's scene here in Nebraska is top draw.
#11. Jon describes the difference between porn and real sex in Don Jon
Joseph Gordon-Levitt brilliantly has a scene that shows his character Jon comparing the sex he has in real life with the sex he watches online when he surfs the web for porn. It's not a subtle message, nor is his comparison between porn and romantic comedies, but this sequence is not only clever, but very amusing as well. JGL knows what he's doing here in Don Jon, his feature writing and directing debut.
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