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The Ten Best Films From This Year's Tribeca Film Festival

By Rebecca Pahle | Lists | April 28, 2014 |

By Rebecca Pahle | Lists | April 28, 2014 |

I don’t mean this list in a subjective way, like “These are my ten favorite films from Tribeca!” (Which just wrapped up yesterday.) No. These are the ten best. But Rebecca!, you may say, That doesn’t take into account that people have different tastes than you do! And you didn’t even see all the films! I’m sorry. I don’t make the rules.

In no particular order, keep an eye out for:

Zero Motivation
Talya Lavie’s dark comedy about a group of female Israeli soldiers won Tribeca’s Best Narrative Feature award, and as shocked as I am that that didn’t go to Zombeavers, I guess I’m OK with it. In all seriousness, your inner deadpan snarker will love the hell out of Zero Motivation. I’m really looking forward to whatever Lavie does next.



Something about Güeros, the feature directorial debut of Mexican director Alonso Ruiz Palacios, made me think of Wes Anderson before he got so, well… Wes Anderson-y. Güeros, which follows two brothers as they try to track down a famously reclusive musician, feels rough around the edges yet fresh in a way that brings Bottle Rocket to mind. Not that Luke and Owen Wilson ever paused midway through planning their heist to discuss the script and the complexities of the Mexican film market.

The Bachelor Weekend

Sometimes you want a thoughtful foreign film shot in sumptuous black and white, like Güeros, and sometimes you want an Irish buddy comedy where Moriarty from Sherlock (Andrew Scott) goes camping with some friends, gets naked, and sings. Simple pleasures.

The One I Love

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Here’s what I can tell you about The One I Love: It stars Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss as a struggling couple who spend a weekend at an idyllic mountain retreat at the recommendation of their marriage counselor (Ted Danson). Shit gets Twilight Zone-y. Here’s what I can’t tell you about The One I Love: Everything else. Seriously. This one’s coming to theaters on August 15th courtesy of Radius/The Weinstein Company, and whatever you do, do not Google it in advance. The less you know going in, the better. Just trust me.

Starred Up

The performance of Starred Up lead Jack O’Connell—who reunites with his dad after he gets bumped up from juvie to adult prison, awkwaaaaard—got a ton of festival buzz, and rightly so. Starred Up has amazing acting all around, but it’s O’Connell, also of Skins and This Is England, who’ll stick with you the most.

Battered Bastards of Baseball

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My knowledge of sports extends to the fact that I neither know nor care about them, but this crowd-pleasing doc by directors Chapman and Maclain Way still tugged at my heartstrings in a big way. It’s about actor Bing Russell, aka Deputy Clem on Bonanza, aka Kurt Russell’s father, who decided back in the ’70s to start what was, at the time, the only independent baseball team left in the country. It’s like a real-life The Sandlot, and if you don’t like The Sandlot then I don’t want anything to do with you.


I may know jack-all about sports, but I like to think my knowledge of sports movies is pretty solid, and this satire by director Andrew Disney hit all the right notes. Intramural is also one of three Tribeca movies to feature Nikki Reed. And they were all pretty dang good. Suck it, Twilight.



I feel more punk just for having watched Traitors’ Malika, the leader of an all-female punk band in Morocco, do her thing for two hours. “Her thing” is showing drug dealer’s what’s what, though more in a dramatic thriller way than a Quentin Tarantino-esque revenge actioner way. The ending of this movie was one of the best of the festival.

Manos Sucias

Second best might go to Manos Sucias, executive produced by Spike Lee, in which a vet and a youngun of the drug trade haul a torpedo filled with drugs up Colombia’s Pacific coast. Its take on the drug trade is more somber and less dramatic than that of Traitors, which just means that the two films would make an excellent double feature.

Der Samurai

When I say Der Samurai is a ball of ridiculous industrial-grade, crazy-infused loonballs, I mean it in the best possible way. At first it seems like a relatively normal, nicely atmospheric movie in which a small German town is being terrorized by what may or may not be a werewolf. But then the eponymous Samurai—a murderous dude wearing a white dress and lipstick, don’t ask me, I don’t know—shows up, and Der Samurai morphs into a heavily homoerotic, blood-soaked, quasi-B-movie full of unapologetically unsubtle phallic symbolism. I was grinning my face off all the way through the end of the credits. This movie is a delight.

Rebecca, Associate Editor at The Mary Sue, would also like to give a shoutout to Match, in which Sir Patrick Stewart has an extended monologue about cunnilingus and how it’s similar to knitting.