Looking Back: Joey Picks His 20 Favorite Scenes from the Films of 2013

December 24, 2013

My Favorite Scenes from the Films of 2013: SCENES #20 - #11

(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.)

#10. The opening sequence in Gravity


I know many folks really love this scene more than any other in 2013, but for me it's at least Top 10 worthy. We're introduced to Sandra Bullock and George Clooney working on the Hubble Telescope during one amazing, nearly 20-minute long shot. It loses a little something when not seen in full-on IMAX 3D, but still, this is one of the most visually stunning scenes of 2013, so it completely deserves a spot on this list. Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity is a visual feast, particularly this opening sequence right at the beginning.

#9. Theodore meets Samantha in Her


I adore the final scene in this movie just as much, but there's something even more beautiful about watching Joaquin Phoenix's Theodore "meeting" Scarlett Johansson's Samantha - his new operating system. It's one of the more creative meet cutes in movie history, take my word for it there. I don't want to over explain it, but merely assure you that it's a sequence that stays with you throughout the rest of the film. Spike Jonze's Her is the best movie of 2013 to me, so this scene was a surefire inclusion on this list.

#8. The dinner table scene in August: Osage County

August: Osage County

Up until this moment, I was lukewarm on the movie - a familial drama adapted from Tracy Letts' play. Then, Meryl Streep's character starts tearing into her family and things really do pick up. As good as the scene is on its own (and it's brutally funny in a real dark way), the fact that the film continues to improve from there on out shows me how crucial this sequence is. Without it, I can safely say that the flick would be a big old failure. With it, August: Osage County actually becomes a modest success.

#7. The opening tracking shot in The Place Beyond the Pines

The Place Beyond the Pines

One of the most beautiful shots in Derek Cianfrance's mesmerizing triptych film, we follow Ryan Gosling's character as he walks through a carnival to his motorcycle to perform a stunt. Staying in tight on him, we begin to form a bond with Gosling's Luke, which comes into play later on in the movie. It's a brilliant choice in the overall brilliant movie that The Place Beyond the Pines is.

#6. Bob Dylan comes on stage in Inside Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis

Like ships passing in the night, when Bob Dylan comes on stage to perform after Llewyn is kicked out, the hopelessness of his plight comes in with full force. He's trying to make a living in a field that's about to change forever and leave him in the dust. Llewyn might not realize what's happening, but we do, and it's absolutely heartbreaking. Anyone who's struggling to make it in a business that's likely never going to embrace you like you want will feel for Oscar Isaac in a big way here. Inside Llewyn Davis is full of quietly powerful moments, but this one takes the cake for me.

#5. Solomon is reunited with his family in 12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave

I'll admit to not being amazingly affected on an emotional level with parts of this film, but when Chiwetel Ejiofor's Solomon Northrup is reunited with his family and actually apologizes for his absence, I nearly broke down. It's the welcome release that you need for this not to be an overwhelmingly depressing experience. If the movie winds up winning Best Picture, it will be at least to some degree because this scene is in the film. Without it, I don't think 12 Years a Slave would have any chance of winning.

#4. The hotel room fight in Before Midnight

Before Midnight

An extended argument between Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke shows their character's relationship and dynamic in a way that we've never seen before (despite two wonderful films about them in the past). Brutally realistic in every sense, anyone who's been in a long term relationship will find something recognizable in this fight. I won't say what happens to them from then on out in Before Midnight, but it's a whole new world for this franchise.

#3. Jordan tries to get into his car in The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street

The funniest scene of the year sees Leonardo DiCaprio's Jordan Belfort struggling to open the door of his car without most of his motor skills after taking too many Quaaludes. It's a ridiculously funny bit of physical slapstick comedy on DiCaprio's part, and it continues right up until the Popeye inspired climax back at his house. I haven't laughed that hard in a very long time, so kudos to Martin Scorsese and The Wolf of Wall Street for getting that kind of reaction out of me.

#2. Richard Phillips breaks down in Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips

After keeping his composure throughout his whole hostage crisis, Tom Hanks' Richard Phillips finally releases his emotions while being examined by a doctor on an aircraft carrier. It's an Oscar moment if ever there was one, and one of the finest moments in Hanks' rather esteemed career. I liked the movie a lot, but I absolutely loved this scene. It's a perfectly captured moment and the highlight of Captain Phillips.

#1. The car ride home in The Spectacular Now

The Spectacular Now

I don't know if I can completely explain why this is the scene of the year to me, but it is. Seeing Miles Teller finally realize who he is in the car with Shailene Woodley after spending time with his father, the emotional outburst by Teller takes you completely by surprise, and that's before we even see what's to come moments later. This sequence takes the movie to a whole new place and an even more brilliant level. It's just an absolutely perfect few minutes of cinema. My hat is off to James Ponsoldt's The Spectacular Now.

My Favorite Scenes from the Films of 2013: SCENES #20 - #11

Those are the scenes that I loved from the films of 2013, but there were plenty more to love that made this a great year for cinema. Over the next few days we'll look at some more of 2013 on film, including posters, soundtracks/scores, comedies, horror and some of the staff's picks for the best films of the year. Be sure to check out my picks for the best performances from an actor and the best performances from an actress from earlier this week. In the meantime, what do you think of my picks? Did I miss some of your favorite scenes of 2013? It's your turn to tell us your favorite scenes on the big screen were this year. Sound Off below!

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Find more posts: Editorial, Lists, Looking Back



Good lists @Joey Magidson, ignore those hate comments you're getting especially when all they can do is play the race card. Most people probably have't seen most of these films which inclines them to support only the movies they've seen or heard much praise for.

Fidel Reyes on Dec 24, 2013


It's all good, no worries...

Joey Magidson on Dec 24, 2013


Joey dude i love you man , but that's too soon for spoiling some of major points in that movies dude. I didn't see some of this movies. Good for you anyway. For me most REVOLUTIONARY scene of this year was that f-ing 17 minutes without cut in opening of gravity.

Ehsan Davodi on Dec 24, 2013


I didn't actually spoil anything. Which ones are you referring to? Thanks though...

Joey Magidson on Dec 24, 2013


I know your enthusiasm man. Don't Worry

Ehsan Davodi on Dec 25, 2013



Joey Magidson on Dec 25, 2013


I have to agree some of these were a tad spoilery, luckily I've seen almost all of these films.

Chiroptera Exsanguination on Dec 25, 2013


Which ones?

Joey Magidson on Dec 25, 2013


absolutely agree with that no.1 pick

me on Dec 24, 2013


Very pleased that I'm not alone there...

Joey Magidson on Dec 24, 2013


Cool list! Can't wait to check some of those out 🙂

DavideCoppola on Dec 24, 2013


Definitely do...

Joey Magidson on Dec 24, 2013


This made me actually want to see a few of these.

Kim on Dec 24, 2013


I'm glad!

Joey Magidson on Dec 24, 2013


I saw Prisoners and liked that one. Did a scene from there come close?

Kim on Dec 28, 2013


Yes, one would have been next in line...

Joey Magidson on Dec 29, 2013


I really wish I'd seen more of these movies. Completely agreed on Gravity, Spring Breakers, and Place Beyond The Pines.

mylesedwardhughes on Dec 24, 2013


Much obliged there...

Joey Magidson on Dec 24, 2013


Wow, I have only seen two of the twenty. Such a Philistine.

mooreworthy on Dec 24, 2013



Joey Magidson on Dec 24, 2013


Can't wait to check some of these films out. This was a great year, and I still have so many spectacular-looking films left to see: American Hustle, Lone Survivor, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Nebraska, Don Jon, The Spectacular Now, Captain Phillips, The Wolf of Wall Street, Before Midnight, 12 Years a Slave, Inside Llewyn Davis and Her. My favourite scenes so far include: +The Bathroom Fight from The World's End +Heart Surgery & Shingen vs. Yukio and Logan Fight from The Wolverine (Unrated Extended Cut) +The Climax/Twist from Trance +David and Eric vs. possessed Natalie Fight in Evil Dead +Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey meet for the first time in 42 +Enterprise gets shot out of warp from Star Trek Into Darkness +Superman stops the world engine (in a Christopher Reeves inspired shot) from Man of Steel +Jack Wilder vs. Dylan Rhodes in Now You See Me +Chopping Thor's Hand Off in Thor: The Dark World

thejon93rd on Dec 24, 2013


Some nice picks there...

Joey Magidson on Dec 24, 2013


Nice, varied selection! Some of my favorites from the little I've seen so far: The drive through the blizzard near the end in Prisoners. The scene in the car between Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman in Prisoners. The final scene in Evil Dead. Pretty much everything from Gravity. The "Wanna Fight" scene from Only God Forgives. The final big action scene in The Lone Ranger. The spine rip in Hatchet III. The crucial scene where Superman has to make a critical decision in Man of Steel. The Tokyo fight scene (especially the ship used for slamming purposes!) in Pacific Rim. The plane crash scene in Iron Man 3. The opening tracking shot in The Place Beyond the Pines.

Isildur_of_Numenor on Dec 24, 2013


I do what I can! Very solid choices...

Joey Magidson on Dec 24, 2013


the bridge scene between Bale and Zaldana in OUT OF FURNACE

carrie on Dec 24, 2013


It's one of the better scenes in a movie that should have been better...

Joey Magidson on Dec 24, 2013


Man, I can't wait to get my teeth into some of these movies... Agree with the scenes from the only ones I've seen however (This is the End and Don Jon).

Guy who comments on things on Dec 24, 2013


Some great stuff there. Be sure to check back when you see the other ones...

Joey Magidson on Dec 24, 2013


So many scenes from 12 Years a Slave. Not a dry eye in the house at the very end.

Chiroptera Exsanguination on Dec 25, 2013


Also I just saw Capt Phillips today, same reaction. And as for Spectacular Now, that ride home scene for me is tied with the scene near the end with Teller's character and his mother. Just wow.

Chiroptera Exsanguination on Dec 25, 2013



Joey Magidson on Dec 25, 2013


The end is one of the few scenes that actually got to me, hence its inclusion here...

Joey Magidson on Dec 25, 2013


What a boring list

Onechi on Dec 25, 2013


Sorry to disappoint...

Joey Magidson on Dec 25, 2013


But none of these are sex scenes

Micheal Kinane on Dec 25, 2013


No, they're not, that's accurate...

Joey Magidson on Dec 25, 2013


Now that's what I call a disappointment! 🙂

Isildur_of_Numenor on Dec 25, 2013


Maybe next year...

Joey Magidson on Dec 25, 2013


Yep some of Prisoners' scenes very pretty amazing as well!!!

dawko on Dec 25, 2013


I almost included one, so consider your favorite one my #21...

Joey Magidson on Dec 25, 2013


Man, yeah I would say def. one of Hugh Jackmans screaming scenes in Prisoners was some of the finest acting he has ever done and just moved me in terms of moments of the year. I haven't caught some of these movies on the list though, so I will have to check them out.

Hershey Maxwell Barber on Dec 27, 2013


He does some excellent work there, yes.

Joey Magidson on Dec 27, 2013


I found the This is the end scene you chose to be the most childish and unfunny the movie had to offer. I enjoyed the scene with Whitney Houston wailing as the light comes down to beam Seth Rogan up to be much better. But that's just my Opinion .

Jon Odishaw on Dec 29, 2013


Fair enough for sure. There's no shortage of scenes in that movie though that I could have chosen...

Joey Magidson on Dec 30, 2013


Some phenomenal scenes!

Moriah Kreppein on Jan 11, 2014


Most certainly.

Joey Magidson on Jan 12, 2014


I've got a lot to catch up on.

Marty on Jan 15, 2014


I recommend them all...

Joey Magidson on Jan 15, 2014

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