The Greatest Movie Trailers of 2013


Vanity Fair recently published an essay asking if 2013 is the greatest year for movies since the Gone with the Wind era. That benchmark is certainly debatable, but if we had to judge this year’s cinema based on the trailers alone, we’d say there’s a strong possibility 2013 could trump all. This year’s trailers got us talking and left us wanting more (everything a good trailer should do) — and we’ve surveyed the best of 2013, below. What trailers left a lasting impression on you this year?

Spring Breakers

There were a few variations of the titillating Spring Breakers trailer that made it online, but the original is like a best-of James Franco’s character, Alien. The clip ends with his gangsta rapper uttering, “Spring breaaaaaak. Spring breaaaaaak forever… ” — but not before we’re treated to women in bikinis waving guns. Even without the MTV-esque booty cam, the trailer made it clear that Harmony Korine’s new movie would be just as challenging as his previous work.

The Bling Ring

An explosive true story needs a booming soundtrack to match, and director Sofia Coppola found that in the Sleigh Bells’ “Crown on the Ground.” The Bling Ring’s examination of self-entitlement and celebrity worship was a career changer for Harry Potter darling Emma Watson whose tongue-wagging, shallow personality is on full display in this clip: “I wanna rob.”

Room 237

Documentary Room 237 — a look at the obsessive, mind-boggling conspiracy theories behind Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining — put a clever twist on the original film in this trailer. It mirrors a famous scene from the iconic movie that draws us in and freaks us out.

Only God Forgives

Nicolas Winding Refn’s lurid Thai western teased karaoke nightmares (performed by the film’s co-star, Vithaya Pansringarm), poetic violence, and the ultimate phallic mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) in this red-band trailer.

Inside Llewyn Davis

There’s a distinct magic to the world of the Coen brothers, and the trailer for Inside Llewyn Davis instantly makes us anticipate the journey. Also, cat on a subway. We repeat: cat on a subway.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Like Spring Breakers, but for the money laundering crowd, the trailer for Martin Scorsese’s latest boasts a pounding musical accompaniment (Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead”). The clip doesn’t hold back: Leonardo DiCaprio’s schizophrenic dance moves, Matthew McConaughey being creepy as usual, little people being tossed around, and coke-addled good times.


A lonely writer, Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), falls in love with his operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). That this trailer for Spike Jonze’s highly-anticipated follow-up makes us swoon just a little over Theordore’s lovesick predicament before we ever saw the film speaks volumes — especially considering how creepy things could have turned out.

Don Jon

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut opens with a bro-tastic anthem: “My body, my pad, my ride, my family, my church, my boys, my girls, my porn.” We’re quickly mesmerized by Scarlett Johansson’s Jersey girl accent, and then Gordon-Levitt’s character sings Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s “Good Vibrations.” What more do you need?

The Canyons

Early teasers of the Paul Schrader-directed and Bret Easton Ellis-written The Canyons were laughable at best. Pure camp. Then the official trailer rolled out, and we had a slight change of heart. It was like Linday Lohan’s character Tara was really talking about the troubled star herself. Images of decaying theaters offered a potentially deeper subtext than James Deen’s pretty, vacant face and Lohan’s smoker’s voice could exude. The sleazy sex that had been hinted at for months was teased here as well, and an image of disco-style Lindsay proved Schrader had captured some compelling and stylish footage.


This edge-of-your-seat introduction to Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity left many people picking their jaws up off the floor.

You’re Next

Adam Wingard’s home-invasion horror film, You’re Next, made great use of Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day,” and let us know the movie meant business by revealing the kill of one of its most recognizable actors (director Ti West). The actual film contained another old track that got inside audiences’ heads: The Dwight Twilley Band’s “Looking for the Magic.”

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Paul Rudd in his undies, a creepy Kristen Wiig (playing Steve Carell’s new girlfriend), inappropriate jokes, and all the Ron Burgundy your “salon-quality hair” can handle.