Sunday, January 12, 2014


As recently mentioned, this year I’m going to be doing the inaugural annual Film Tome Awards (FTAs), specifically as a post or series of posts here on the site. Last year Trent and I did a version of this on the podcast and we are planning on doing so again next month.

When will the FTAs be?
Sometime between now and the Oscars, but February 24th is my goal.

Why am I waiting so long when every other cinephile under the sun has already posted their Best of 2013 lists?
My reasoning is two-fold: 1) I have no deadlines (other than striking when the iron is hot I suppose) and 2) I feel that the more you have seen of your potential nominees, the more respectable your list is.

Fill the Void (2013

Thus, between now and that aforementioned date (6 weeks’ time) I hope to see as much as I can of the following films. No, I will never see all of 2013’s films. I take misery-loves-company comfort knowing nobody on the planet will either. (In fact, when the FTAs roll around I’ll make it a point to list some of the following films that I still have yet to see.) No, I have not listed all of the 2013 films I haven’t seen below. For every Fill the Void there’s a Scary Movie 5. I could have also made a list of the “2013 Films I Do Not Feel the Need to See Before The Film Tome Awards,” but I didn’t. You should not (ultimately) judge a film that you haven’t seen in it’s entirety, so what I’ve done here is what we all do before we decide to see a certain film. I’ve stuck my ear to the filmic ground on each of these titles to hear if the rumblings are enough that they merit serious consideration. I’m sure there’s something out there that I’m passing on that I may have really responded too. My tastes are such that I’m often on my own crazy island (who isn’t sometimes?). For all I know I might have truly enjoyed R.I.P.D.

Oxford University Library (Source: Google Images)

It all takes me back to an overwhelming visual of a man entering a library with bookshelves stretching as far up as the eye could see. What he doesn’t see is the clock above the door he just walked through. That’s life. That’s life for any thing (whatever your thing is). Being a completionist (or in this case, an adequately dabbled cinephile) matters pretty little in the grand scheme of things. Remember when in Defending Your Life Albert Brooks’ character learns that the worthwhileness of his mortal sojourn was entirely dependent on how much money he made, satirically sticking a fork in the money grubbers amongst us. What if when a cinephile dies you're judged based on how many movies you saw? Quantity over quality. It’s a shame if it’s come to that. I try to remember that’s not what it’s about. It’s about each and every film. And most importantly, when I take a step back from where I’m standing in the library (or better yet, turn around and acknowledge the all-powerful hands on the clock - far more mighty than those of any man’s) and look around at who else is in the room - that’s what’s life. I hope to see you all in there. Oh yeah, here’s that list:

* = documentary
NI = currently streaming on Netflix
T = currently in theaters
O = Oscar-nominated
'14 = Technically a 2014 U.S. release but featured herein for Oscar-nominated purposes
Must See (simply based upon Awards consideration and/or overwhelming praise or personal bias)

All the Light in the Sky
As I Lay Dying - NI
At Any Price
At Berkeley*
Behind the Candelabra
The Book Thief - O
The Butler
The Canyons
Centro Histórico
Deceptive Practice* - NI
Ernest & Celestine - O / '14
Fast and Furious 6
Fill the Void
First Cousin Once Removed*
Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners*
Gallowwalkers - NI
Grudge Match - T
Hannah Arendt
The History of Future Folk - NI
I Used to Be Darker
Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?*
Lenny Cooke*
Les coquillettes
Let the Fire Burn*
Lone Survivor - T / O
Made in America*
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom - T / O
The Missing Picture* - O / '14
Money For Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve*
More Than Honey* - NI
Omar - O / '14
An Oversimplification of Her Beauty
Paradise: Faith - NI
Paradise: Hope
Running Wild: The Life of David O. Hyde* - NI
Sound City*
Sun Don’t Shine
The Square* NI
These Birds Walk*
Tim's Vermeer* - T
Touchy Feely - NI
Una Noche - NI
We Cause Scenes*
You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet - NI

Curator's Note: This list entirely consists of feature-length films and does not include a good number of short films I want to see (esp. those with Oscar nominations). I may not be coming back to this post on a daily basis and updating it (and certainly not two months from now), but between now and the FTAs I will remember it weekly. Half of the battle will be crossing some of these off, but the other half (and I do hope you can help me with this) is adding to it. Without a list of films I have seen I don’t see how you could help - I may be adding that below soon - but still feel free to comment below with some of your suggestions and recommendations for 2013 films, especially those that you feel others have overlooked or especially ought to check out. And, if you’re in a cinefessional mood, pray tell what 2013 films you still want/need to see.

Updated on 2/9/14

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