The Year in Movies 2013: Top 10 Movies, Houston Style

The best movies this year that you had a chance to see.

Pain & Gain

That recent cold snap we've had here in Houston may simply be an earlier-than-usual ­arrival of the winter's first major cold front, or it might be the distant effect of hell freezing over because I put a Michael Bay movie on my top 10 list. It took a true story to make the Transformers director parody his own style, bolstered by real-life events Bay would be ridiculed mercilessly for had he made them up. Dwayne (are we allowed to call him "The Rock" anymore?) Johnson is also surprisingly excellent as a devout 12-stepper turned cretinous cokehead.

Short Term 12

Michael Fassbender, left, Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor bring 12 Years a Slave to vibrant life.
François Duhamel
Michael Fassbender, left, Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor bring 12 Years a Slave to vibrant life.

I don't watch as many movies as a number of my peers do, but I do sit through enough to sometimes wonder if I'm getting jaded about humanity's capacity to help itself. Dustin Cretton's affecting look at damaged people attempting to help at-risk teens is many things: upsetting, hilarious and compassionate, making us despair and hope at the same time. With what — in a just universe — would be a star-making performance by Brie Larson (no, I'm sure Emma Thompson needs another Oscar), Short Term 12 shouldn't be allowed to slip under your radar.

This Is the End

While there may technically be "better" movies than this hilariously vulgar effort from Seth Rogen and Evan Golderg, there isn't one that made me laugh harder (on a plane back from Germany, awkward) in all of 2013. From Emma Watson's surprising martial abilities to Danny McBride's wholly unsurprising character transformation, surely there has to be a place for a few dick jokes among all the real-life horror depicted elsewhere on this list?

Find out more about the year in film by checking out our feature The Year in Movies 2013: Joaquin Phoenix Returns and the Films of the Year.

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