The Best Movie Trailers of 2013

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Relativity Media/A24/Paramount Pictures

There's a lot that goes into promoting a film and getting an audience excited for an upcoming release, but when it comes down to it, it's all about the trailer. The trailer sets the tone of the film, gives us a peek at the action and the stars, teases the story and leaves us desperate for more. Done right, a trailer leaves a lasting impression and gets us talking about the movie for months, before it ever hits theaters. There are some trailers that are so great that you actually look forward to seeing them when you head to the theater.

There have undoubtedly been some incredible films this year, but there have also been some pretty great trailers to match. We've chosen and ranked the 10 best movie trailers of 2013, ranging from the epic to the enigmatic and everything in between. Read on to see if your favorite made the grade.

  • 10

    'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues'

    The first teaser for 'Anchorman 2' debuted last year, so our excitement was already brewing for this one, and with news of special cameos and sneak peeks from the set, we've been on a pretty consistent high about the return of Ron Burgundy and the Channel 4 news team. The first official trailer certainly delivers, giving us everything we love and then some. Steve Carell's new love interest, played by Kristen Wiig, and Paul Rudd in underwear are particularly delightful.

  • 9

    'Her'

    The first trailer for Spike Jonze's long-awaited follow-up to 'Where the Wild Things Are' does nothing to temper high expectations. The retro voice over introduces us to Joaquin Phoenix's lonely Theodore Twombly, a writer who falls in love with his operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. We're teased with the colorful streamlined visuals of the near-future world Jonze has created, punctuated by pitch-perfect music choices -- Aphex Twin's "Avril 14th" and new music from Karen O. Our hearts are swelling already.

  • 8

    'Don Jon'

    The trailer for Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut (and the second on this list to feature Scarlett Johansson) is practically ingrained in our memories. "My body. My pad. My ride. My family. My church. My boys. My girls. My porn." Of course, there's more to it than that, as the trailer hints at the way the film explores how porn and romantic comedies have created unreasonable expectations between the sexes. And then there's Gordon-Levitt singing and rapping along to Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch's "Good Vibrations," which is just pretty much the greatest.

  • 7

    'Only God Forgives'

    It's not the red band stuff in this red band trailer for 'Only God Forgives' that had us intrigued. Instead, it was the way that Nicholas Winding Refn's follow-up to 'Drive' seemed to be selling the anti-'Drive' to an audience that very much wanted 'Drive' Part II. Ryan Gosling is dragging a guy around by his teeth down a hallway, mirroring a very similar shot from the film's predecessor, but this is a different kind of Gosling -- neutered and subdued under the watchful eye of ice queen mother Kristin Scott Thomas. All this violence and this weakling Gosling set to a haunting Thai karaoke track (scored by Cliff Martinez and sung by the film's co-star, Vithaya Pansringarm), leading up to Gosling asking, "Wanna fight?" Yes, yes we do.

  • 6

    'Inside Llewyn Davis'

    A new film from Joen and Ethan Coen is something to be truly excited about, and the trailer for it is practically an event. This one for 'Inside Llewyn Davis' is simply lovely -- an at turns melancholy and darkly comic peek at the story of the life of a struggling folk musician, complete with the Coen Brothers' signature peculiarities of character. Featuring an adorable cat and the music of Bob Dylan, this trailer introduces us to yet another Coen odyssey, a journey we just can't wait to take.

  • 5

    'Gravity'

    The first teaser released for Alfonso Cuaron's 'Gravity' really would have been enough. While we liked the teasers featuring the stressful sequences between Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, those really seemed to only try and sell a movie that didn't need any more selling. This teaser did it all -- it gave us the scope of the film's awe-inspiring setting and effects, and nearly gave us a heart attack just imagining what it would be like to be stranded in space during a disaster, floating into nothingness with no hope for rescue. It did all of that in just a minute and a half. Did we need another four trailers? No way. This teaser was perfect.

  • 4

    'Upstream Color'

    When Shane Carruth announced he was returning with his sophomore feature nine years after he debuted 'Primer,' we were intensely excited, to say the least. That's why the trailer for 'Upstream Color' was kind of a big deal, and it just made us even more eager. Filled with enigmatic and strangely ominous imagery and phrases, the trailer promises a story about two people struggling to take control over their own lives in the wake of a traumatic experience that has mysteriously brought them together. We immediately fell in love with the score, too, which was composed by Carruth himself.

  • 3

    'Spring Breakers'

    The 'Spring Breakers' red band trailer lived up to the hype we'd been reporting on for months. James Franco as a trashy white rapper from Florida, Disney girls gone wild in bikinis with guns and drugs -- it's Spring Break forever, y'all. And sure, this trailer goes up to 11, but it also promises a film that's well-made, thoughtful, and challenging; not just indulgent music video BS.

  • 2

    'The Conjuring'

    'The Conjuring' didn't take the traditional approach for its first teaser trailer -- instead, it released a two and a half minute, slightly edited scene from the film in which Lili Taylor's character, a mom, is playing a game of hide and seek with her kids when a ghost interrupts by mimicking their hand claps. When the ghost's sinister hands emerge from the dark and clap at the end of the teaser, it's downright horrifying, and one of the most effective bits of marketing for a horror film we've had in ages. It's no wonder that 'The Conjuring' went on to become one of the most successful horror films since 'The Exorcist' (it doesn't hurt that it's also a pretty great horror flick).

  • 1

    'The Wolf of Wall Street'

    The number one trailer of the year is obvious, of course. 'The Wolf of Wall Street' trailer debuted with some serious teeth, using Kanye West's drum-heavy "Black Skinhead" track to sell Martin Scorsese's latest, and it turned out to be the perfect match. Leonardo DiCaprio as a cocky rich guy behaving scandalously, set to the music of the most self-involved and cocky man in the music industry? Sounds about right. This trailer has everything: a cast that includes Matthew McConaughey and Jonah Hill; a script by 'Boardwalk Empire' showrunner Terence Winter, who seems to have gone off the damn rails; and then there's the chimpanzee. Oh, and the midget-tossing. The whole thing is like one great, glorious middle finger to 'The Great Gatsby.' Bring on Christmas!

Filed Under: Best of 2013
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