So 2014 was a great year for films, to the extent that I have 10 favorites and 44 honorable mentions. And of course a handful of films I haven’t seen.
And I’m still trying to catch up on 2019’s films. Three films over this past Friday-Saturday-Sunday, which means I’ve watched about 50 of last year’s films. I also did some OCD research last night to see how much I felt I should see before committing to my list of favorites- that would be 32 films still to see. I won’t get through them all, but I can try.
It’s not like the Oscar voters watched all of last year’s movies anyway.
In fact, I’ve probably seen more than Stephen King. (Why does he get to vote for Oscars anyway? He’s a writer. The one great film that was made from his work (The Shining) is one that he’s essentially disowned because it’s too far from his novel. And that’s because his writing
sucks isn’t good.)
If you’re not sure why I’m picking on Stephen King, he’s said some questionable stuff about the Oscar nominees’ lack of diversity. And he hasn’t reflected very much on the issue, apparently.
OKAY, SO MY FAVORITES MOVING ON!
In no particular order:
- John Wick: I’m not in love with the sequels, but the original film is an original concept executed electrically. And sneakily deep for a film that explores how many deaths it takes to avenge a puppy (dude, if you’ve ever met/seen a puppy you know it’s A LOT).
- Kingsman: The Secret Service: Again, not a huge fan of the sequel, and there are definitely some moments in this that give me serious pause, but on the whole it’s a great time. Like, the kind of good time where you want to use the word “rollicking”. An excellent secret agent film for a post-Bond world. With a sprinkle of class conflict examination.
- Ex Machina: I’m a bit conflicted on this one because while I quite like Ex Machina, it does feel like it tries a bit too hard to be deep. There’s a whole lot of navel-gazing going on. But the performances are all excellent, Oscar Isaac’s dance scene is the most disturbing thing I could ever imagine, and the message is interesting.
- Fury: It’s an excellent ensemble war film about the crew of a tank, focusing on the newest and youngest member. Bloody, dramatic, and tragic.
- Whiplash: I’m not the hugest fan of Damien Chazelle, but this is my favorite of his films so far (the others being La La Land and First Man). But I’m always into stories of obsession and the clash of disturbed personalities, so there you go.
- Grand Budapest Hotel: Wes Anderson, Ralph Fiennes, early Saoirse Ronan, and many more exciting faces, plus a pink hotel and Andersonian hijinks. I’ve been feeling a bit deflated about Anderson post-Isle of Dogs, but this was back in the good old days. And I watched it with my family over Thanksgiving break. Anderson has another film coming out next year, so maybe that will get me back on the train?
- Nightcrawler: Brilliantly chilling thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a man who sells grisly camera footage to news outlets. Rene Russo is also great and similarly distressing to watch. Examines the ties between unethical journalism and consumer demand.
- Big Hero 6: Completely different from the preceding film, Big Hero 6 has a very big heart and watching it is like receiving a very big hug. I remember it was very popular when it came out but it doesn’t get talked about as much anymore, which is a shame.
- Ernest & Celestine: A French animated film based on a children’s series, depicting the touching friendship between a big bear (Ernest) and a little mouse (Celestine).
- The Book of Life: So I guess 2014 was a big year for animation, for me. To save the love of his life, Manolo sacrifices himself and must journey through the Land of the Remembered, meeting his ancestors along the way. Stop comparing it to Coco. Do you know how many Christmas movies there are? We can have more than one film about the Day of the Dead and Mexican tradition. Thanks.
Honorable mentions: The Wind Rises, Gone Girl, Edge of Tomorrow (good film but if I see poor Emily Blunt do the sexy stretch one more time I’m going to break something), Imitation Game.
I have not seen: Boyhood, It Follows, Highway, or The Lunchbox.