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Top 40 Movies of 2013

Wednesday - 1/22/2014, 8:02am  ET

Best Movies of 2013

WTOP Film Critic Jason Fraley looks back at the year in movies.

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In Theaters Now

WTOP Film Critic Jason Fraley looks at "Wolf of Wall Street," "American Hustle" and "Saving Mr. Banks."

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WASHINGTON - As we turn the calendar from 2013 to 2014, it's time to look back at the best movies of the year.

Best lists are so subjective, depending on your life experience; the five movies you saw previously that week; whether you watched on the silver screen, DVD or streaming; whether you went with family, a group of film buffs, or a bunch of rowdy friends; and whether the amount of hype built your expectations higher than those who experienced the movie fresh.

Show the same group of movies to 20 different people, and you'll get 20 different best lists. But that's the beauty of cinema.

Here are my favorite movies of 2013, from the blockbuster hits, to the indies you missed.

Note this list excludes documentaries -- "Stories We Tell," "The Act of Killing," "Medora" and, yes, "Bad Grandpa." Comparing docs to fiction is like comparing apples to oranges. We'll live to fight that battle another day.

This isn't your typical critic's best list where high- brow art automatically trumps low-brow entertainment. Movies have always been, and will forever be, a mix of both. So here's a list from both sides of the film spectrum, where indulgent pretentiousness goes to die, popcorn explosions require substance, and quality ultimately reigns.

Follow WTOP Film Critic Jason Fraley on Twitter @JFrayWTOP, read his blog The Film Spectrum or listen Friday mornings on 103.5 FM.