The best of film 2013: The ballots

The A.V. Club’s list of 2013’s best films was a group effort, a mathematically assembled aggregate of seven separate lists filed by our regular film reviewers—with a no. 1 choice worth 15 points, a no. 15 choice worth 1 point, and so forth. Because it can be fun to see how the sausage is made (and to know who to hold…

The best films of 2013

Most movies are about relationships—between law and order, between desire and duty, between the past and the present. But in 2013, many of the great and memorable films—the ones that moved or shocked or stuck with us—were about relationships in the most traditional sense of the word: This was the year of Jesse and…

The best film scenes of 2013

Cinematic greatness comes in many shapes, forms, and running times. Not all of it is spread across the length of an entire movie—sometimes it’s crammed into one moment, an isolated pocket of excellence. Other times it shines brightly for a few minutes, illuminating the power of what’s around it. Before counting down…

“Got me a movie / I want you to know”: 15 musical works inspired by visual art

1. Nat King Cole, “Mona Lisa” (1950)
Most songs are inspired by songwriters’ emotions or a story that they want to tell, but some are reactions to other works of art. While that usually means other songs, visual art also sometimes serves as a catalyst for songwriters. Nat King Cole’s iconic “Mona Lisa,” written by Ray…

16 concert films (and one concert series) by famous directors

1. Stop Making Sense (1984), Jonathan Demme
The promotional efforts for Jonathan Demme’s 1984 collaboration with Talking Heads centered on a series of rhetorical questions about the film’s most esoteric moments, like “Where do the odd movements come from?” and “Why a big suit?” But none of these serve as a mission…

Seconds

It’s no surprise that John Frankenheimer’s Seconds wasn’t a hit when it was released in 1966. What’s surprising—shocking, really—is that it was made at all. Coming off The Manchurian Candidate and Seven Days In May (as well as the great if financially unsuccessful The Train), Frankenheimer was a hot commodity with a…

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Shoah

Josef Stalin probably didn’t really say “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic,” but there’s a reason the apocryphal citation endures. There’s a point past which the numbers blur, where the scale of mass extermination becomes impossible to fathom. Historians of the Holocaust urge us to remember the 6…

What song do you want played at your funeral?

Welcome back to AVQ&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. Consider this a prompt to compare notes on your interface with pop culture, to reveal your embarrassing tastes and experiences, and to ponder how our diverse lives all led us to convene here together. Got a question you’d…