Tomorrow I am going to post my Top 20 films of the year, and my LAFCA voting ballot. First, here is a breakdown of how I spent my 2013. I started doing this to jog my own memory, and then decided I might as well post it, as context on my choices, which are probably quite different than they would have been had I spent the year as a full-time newspaper movie critic. And it’s also a handy reference to all of the work I published this year. 


—Researching/writing the Meryl Streep book

—Profiled Charlie Sheen and Roman Coppola for LA Weekly 


—Finished first draft of Streep book. 

—At some point I was commissioned to write the text for a proposal for a book compiling contact sheets from still photos taken on the sets of classic movies. The proposal was due pretty much simultaneously with the Streep draft, and then nothing happened for awhile. 

—Flew to Albuquerque, where my boyfriend was working on an episode of Breaking Bad. Hung out for a few days, then road tripped by myself to Phoenix, where I stayed for a few days to watch Spring Training games, then drove back. This was my “I just wrote a book in three months” vacation.

—Researched and wrote about the Super Mario Brothers movie for Grantland

—Edited/responded to initial queries on Meryl Streep book. 

—Wrote about Al Pacino as Phil Spector for Slate


—Temporarily relocated to Paris, where my boyfriend was writing a screenplay.

—Made a couple of trips to London and various non-Paris parts of France.

—Did press for my book on Al Pacino, which was released in late May.

—Did more Meryl Streep edits.

—Went to Cannes, where I did some interviews for Grantland.

—Wrote an essay for the UK DVD release of Simon Killer.

—Spent most of the rest of this time trying to learn French, riding bikes, going to matinees of old American movies, reading/researching Hollywood fiction and starting to take notes for a writing project which I’m still working on, but which is not really enough of a thing yet to talk about.


—Came back to Los Angeles. 

—The contact sheet book was approved to go forward, so I started writing/researching that in earnest as soon as I returned, and that’s been something to do for most of the fall.

—Post-season baseball. Ugh

—Moved into a new house, the first actual house house I’ve ever lived in other than my dad’s house. Went into a brief nesting/domestic daze, culminating with cooking Thanksgiving dinner for 25 people.

—Wrote about Joe Swanberg, Harvey Weinstein and Oprah Winfrey for Grantland.

—Reviewed James Franco’s new novel Actor’s Anonymous for Slate

—Served on a jury at the AFI Film Festival

—Wrote an essay for a new Masters of Cinema DVD of Serpico.

—Tried to learn how to screen print T-shirts; failed. Successfully learned how to make iron-on T-shirts.

Tried to get caught up on everything I missed by not being a working film critic in order to vote with the LA Film Critics Association; failed, but voted anyway (see my ballot tomorrow).


All of which is to say that I sat out most of the critical spats of the year, and also missed a lot of movies, partially out of logistics, and partially out of lack of interest; my head was stuck in the past. Still, I found a lot of films I felt passionate about, enough that I couldn’t contain my list to ten. More tomorrow.