The Ten Best Movies of 2014
2014 was an interesting year for movies. The big studio films were almost all forgettable, leaving room for smaller films to step into the limelight. While a handful of strong films emerged early on, the regular end of the year award rush left a lot to be desired. When it was all said and done, I barely managed to compile a ten list. Overall, I felt disappointed in the year, despite a few nice surprises. I had a blast with EDGE OF TOMORROW and X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST but mostly it was lesser seen films like AMERICAN SNIPER, CALVARY, CITIZENFOUR, GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, A MOST VIOLENT YEAR, OBVIOUS CHILD, THE RAID 2, SELMA and ST. VINCENT that tickled my fancy. While the pool of generally decent films was a healthy size, none of them really wowed me to the point of deserving a ten spot, making this list difficult in a different way than say last year’s exceptional year in film. Most years I want to include a bunch of titles but don’t have enough room, while this year I seemed to be less impressed with many of the extra films that filled so many of my colleagues lists. With that said, I did really enjoy the following group in my Ten Best Movies of 2014 with the top three really standing out as the best of the pack. It should be noted that David Fincher’s GONE GIRL came very close to making the list, but it ultimately came down to me choosing to highlight a lesser seen film over a popular one.
Honorable Mention: CHEF – A delightfully delicious treat of a film about one man’s journey to reignite his passion for cooking. It’s a sweet little story that invites the viewer to experience a variety of food and music through authentic local backdrops from different cities. Add a splash of family and friends with healthy dose of do what makes you happy and CHEF becomes the easiest film to recommend through its simple positivity that will also make your tummy grumble.
10. NIGHTCRAWLER – A fascinating and unusual insight at the underbelly nightlife in L.A. Jake Gyllenhaal gives arguably the best performance of the year as a driven sociopath who starts chasing bloody criminal activity to catch on video and then sell to the highest paying news station. NIGHTCRAWLER is a dark and creepy look at overstepping journalistic ethics that works because of Gyllenhaal’s perfect performance.
9. THE LEGO MOVIE – Insanely clever, funny and touching. I laughed hard and even got a little choked up at the end. The live action part of the story brings all the crazy pop culture smorgasbord of Lego characters into a film with a much deeper resonance. Even if it is feeding into our ADHD generation, the feast of eye candy silliness is worth the exhaustively dizzying after effects.
8. SNOWPIERCER – I know this film is full of inconsistent details, but it is also chalk full of visually tantalizing and thrilling sequences with an excellent allegorical statement on humanity and social class. A small story within the confines of a moving train holding the last surviving people on earth holds a much larger representation with random weirdness behind each door. Personally, I loved the strange ride and highly recommend it to any science fiction fans that are looking for something new and interesting to sink their eye holes into.