I waited for a timely day to post this, just before the Oscars. I definitely did not wait this long because I just kind of hate being online after staring at a screen all goddamn day at work.
2014 movies I saw, from most liked to least:
Kind of a mess, but mostly awesome. It is the only movie on this list that featured remote planet landscapes, hot spaceship action, and Jessica Chastain’s nice face.
I loved Miles Teller in The Spectacular Now and it seems clear that I will love him for years to come. I am so, so thankful that the jazz performed in this film sounded fun and was not of the smooth variety. The impossible question the movie poses -- how much can you or should you push someone toward a goal -- struck me from a philosophical standpoint, and perhaps more boringly, from a new parent standpoint. And speaking of boring new parent stuff, Interstellar had an impact on that area of my psyche as well, so I guess you can ignore my top two picks due to the unfair influence of my hormones.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Kind of a lot of deaths for a madcap movie, now that I think about it. You could say it’s too much like the previous Wes Anderson movies, but it still looks pretty and makes me laugh, so keep it up, you corduroy'd dandy! (The best tweet of the Golden Globes was Julie Klausner’s “I'd fuck Wes Anderson so hard his shots wouldn't be centered anymore.”)
The LEGO Movie
Liam Neeson’s cop was probably my favorite character. I didn’t love the switch to reality toward the end, despite the positive message it gave to the movie.
The Guardians of the Galaxy
I finally saw this last week, so it had a lot of hype that it didn’t quite meet. Groot was great, John C. Reilly was criminally underused, the prison break was fun. But my gosh, they introduced one billion characters in the first 15 minutes of this thing. I felt like an old man trying to keep everything straight.
Edge of Tomorrow (Live Die Repeat)
Pretty good! I read this avclub note before I saw it, which I thought about constantly: “I saw Edge Of Tomorrow. It’s set in the future, so Groundhog Day would have already been out. So at some point, [Tom Cruise] should have been like ‘It’s like fuckin’ Groundhog Day. I keep having to do the same thing again.”—Geoff Tate script doctoring Edge Of Tomorrow, on the Doug Loves Movies podcast
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
It has its moments, but yikes. Here’s some winter SPOILERS for you… He meets another army guy while exercising, so they become best friends for no reason? They didn’t want to come up with a new bad guy, so they recycled the bad guys from the first movie? You know, the one that took place in the 1940s? The biggest yikes is the Winter Soldier himself. They even recycled the GOOD guys from the first movie. As if any of us gave a shit about Captain’s ol’ pal Bucky.
The Imitation Game*
If the goal of this movie was to inspire people to look up Alan Turing on Wikipedia, it was a success. But when you do read more about Turing, and about the liberties the screenplay took, you wonder why they felt the need to muck up the history of an already fascinating man and the British codebreaking effort. Why try to turn the story into A Beautiful Mind? Because it won some Oscars, probably, and I suppose they’re laughing all the way to the Oscar bank, seeing that Cumberbatch and Knightly were both nominated for their roles. I could be convinced that Cumberbatch did a nice job of steering clear of Simple Jack territory, but Knightly’s performance didn’t seem special, and I have a hard time believing that there wasn’t a more deserving nominee out there.
The Monuments Men
I wanted to see this, because when I saw The Rape of Europa years back on PBS the subject matter blew me away. Clooney took a big dump on it. I mean, really big. It was the dump to end all dumps. We are given no reasons to like the ramshackle team of art heros. Zero. Bill Murray’s character’s backstory is literally a ten-second shot of him looking at architecture blueprints while on a scaffolding. Then, BOOM, can you believe he’s now a part of this ragtag bunch? I can imagine a movie on this topic told from a sympathetic perspective of Hitler that would easily, EASILY, be better than this boring garbage.
*Denotes in-theater experience, and the increased expectations that come with it
**Denotes in-theater IMAX experience because I always pay extra to see outer space in IMAX, duh why wouldn’t you
2014 movies I still want to see and think I’ll like: