Another year has gone by so I felt like figuring out my favourite games and films of 2013. Note the careful use of the word favourite. This isn’t going to be necessarily the titles that I felt were the best in 2013, just the ones that I enjoyed most or felt resonated massively with me. While I’ll be keeping 2014 pretty mainstream on a gaming level, I do intend to try to watch more indie films, although I think I do a pretty good job of that anyhow.

Oh and for those who want to judge just how readily I visit the cinema, at the bottom of this post will be a list (without comment) of everything I saw at the cinema this year. It’s certainly eclectic! Also, not entirely films that I would have chosen to see, more ones that seemed like a fair compromise to go see with others *cough* The Internship and The Hangover III.

Games of 2013
This list was delightfully simple to write up. In no particular order:
Ni No Kuni
Fire Emblem: Awakening
Saint’s Row IV
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Super Mario 3D World

supermario
There’s an honourable mention too for Gears of War: Judgment. I had a lot of fun with it, unlike other folks I know. One thing that stands out prominently is that Nintendo had a fantastic year, especially with the 3DS. I sunk literally hundreds of hours into Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and its oddly bewitchingly simplistic village life. Similarly, a significant amount of my time was spent with Fire Emblem: Awakening, one of my favourite games of not just this year but many years. Super Mario 3D World was a late entry to my favourites list, but it truly is brilliant. So good in fact that after I sent my review copy back, I had to immediately go out and buy my own copy. Something that really doesn’t happen for me usually.
ninokuni
Ni No Kuni wasn’t a perfect JRPG but it was everything I wanted it to be. The presence of Drippy, the Welsh fairy, really made it all the better too! Oh and Saints Row 4? Stupidly over the top. I loved every second of it.

Note: At the time of writing, I haven’t played enough of Assassin’s Creed 4, Zelda: A Link Between Worlds or Tearaway to consider them.

Films of 2013
My favourites are pretty mainstream which is a slight surprise given I’ve seen a few great indie darlings. That’s the problem though. Unlike with my games of the year, I really struggled to narrow the films list down. There were just so many great choices and even then, I’ve felt like I’ve missed out on some films that I suspect I would have adored. For instance, I missed out on a chance to see Blue Jasmine, although I reckon that will be a film that I’ll greatly admire but not necessarily love.

I started the year very much anticipating The World’s End as a big fan of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz so I still feel slightly bad that I don’t deem it worthy enough to reach the top five.

Anyway, again in no particular order:
Django Unchained
Iron Man 3
Captain Phillips
Don Jon
Saving Mr Banks
onlygodforgives
Honourable Mentions go out to Much Ado About Nothing and Only God Forgives. Only God Forgives is absolutely bizarre but I certainly appreciated it. It’s an acquired taste though. Much Ado About Nothing is delightful and a great reminder of how I really must read more Shakespeare. Whedon’s love of the original writing is evident throughout, and it’s just lovely. Simply put!

I hoped I’d love Django Unchained and early on in the year, I knew that it was almost certainly going to be one of my favourites of 2013. A hideous cameo from Tarantino himself damages it slightly but it’s forgivable as the rest of the film is just so good. It’s arguably the most brutal of Tarantino’s films and certainly unrelenting, but it also manages to be very darkly funny. Christoph Waltz, unsurprisingly, is the star here, but DiCaprio’s smaller role is a shining example of what a great actor he’s become.
ironman3
I think Iron Man 3 is the film of 2013 that I’ve seen the most times. The first time round, I was slightly unsure given it’s so different from any other superhero film. It’s brilliant though. Full of great acting, great action scenes, great writing, and oodles of Downey Jr’s charm. Its handling of PTSD is surprisingly touching too, and makes me love the film all the more. I wrote more about the PTSD here.

A double whammy for Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips and Saving Mr Banks are brilliant films for two very different reasons. Captain Phillips is gripping stuff from start to finish, proving immersive throughout, right down to the dying seconds. It’s genuinely a film that I felt on the edge of my seat for, and I can’t wait to see it again.

Saving Mr Banks is a very different film to that and, admittedly, Tom Hanks takes the backseat here. While his appearances are welcome, this is Emma Thompson’s film and she’s magnificent. Frequently deeply sad, it tells a great story of how Mary Poppins came to be a Disney film. Sure, it’s a little cutesy by the end, but that doesn’t stop it being full of pathos and sadness beforehand. It still manages a selection of laugh out loud moments too, with some snappy one liners and great musical numbers.
donjon
Don Jon rounds off the top five, being both thought provoking and entertaining. Joseph Gordon Levitt has demonstrated once again that he’s more than just a (very) pretty face and this is a great tale of how easy it is to objectify people, and not just sexually but emotionally too. Well worth a watch.


Here’s the list of everything I saw at the cinema. Yup, it’s a lot. Yup, it’s probably my main vice! Luckily, I hardly drink alcohol, buy coffee from various coffee shops, or do anything else that excessively pricey!

January
Gangster Squad
Jack Reacher
Django Unchained
Zero Dark Thirty

February
Hitchcock
Lincoln
I Give It A Year
This is 40
A Good Day to Die Hard (UGH!)

March
The Guilt Trip
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Identity Thief

April
Trance
Olympus Has Fallen
Iron Man 3
The Place Beyond the Pines

May
Iron Man 3
Star Trek Into Darkness
The Hangover 3

June
Robot & Frank
Iron Man 3 (yup, three times!)
The Hangover 3 (yup, two times. 🙁 Not my choice!)
Admission
Man of Steel

July
This is the End
Bernie
Now You See Me
The World’s End
I’m So Excited
The Internship
The World’s End

August
The Heat
Red 2
2 Guns

September
We’re the Millers
Much Ado About Nothing
R.I.P.D

October
Only God Forgives
Thanks for Sharing
White House Down
Despicable Me 2
Frances Ha
Captain Phillips

November
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
Drinking Buddies
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Thor: The Dark World
Gravity
Don Jon

December
Saving Mr Banks
Die Hard
Anchorman 2
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

My Games & Films of 2013