I have the kind of “special” brain that loves compiling lists. As we dive into 2015, I’m giddily filling out the blank lines in my new planner (I think I’m one of the five people on the planet who still uses one of those)– making lists for goals, work, errands, events, and things I want to eat. So, it’s no surprise that I’m jumping on the bandwagon (the horse of which has already been beaten to death) and making a list of my favorite movies of 2014. You’ll notice it does not say “Best Movies of 2014” because I don’t think I’m qualified to make that assertion, but I’m sure going to share my opinion until we’re all sick of it, because that’s another charming aspect of my personality. So, here we go:
1. Gone Girl
I loved this book and was nervous for an adaptation, but David Fincher has proven his evil genius yet again. Every detail of Gone Girl demands attention: the framing, transitions, coloring, cinematography, writing, and visual puns are all beautiful and satisfying. Man, and the casting is spot-on. The book describes Nick as having a face you want to punch, and doesn’t Ben Affleck perfectly fit the bill? For my very spoilery review go here.
2. The One I Love
One of the most underrated films of the year, The One I Love left me thoughtful, introspective, and eager to discuss. It’s a film that I finished and immediately wanted to see again– a film that took care to explain enough, but left things a little untidy and open to interpretation. Also, I can’t get over the performances of Mark Duplass and Elizabeth Moss. The film hinges on their subtlety and they deliver with cherries on top. For my spoiler-free review of the film, go here.
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Finally, we get a comic book movie that’s well-written, well-paced, and well-acted. And hey– none of the main plots center on romance! In fact, the main male and female characters walk away as friends (spoiler alert?). Winter Soldier is the right amount of funny to be downright lovable, at the same time giving a certain depth to a superhero that we haven’t seen on the silver screen before. If you haven’t seen Winter Soldier for some inexplicable reason, put it as one of your resolutions for the new year.
4. Edge of Tomorrow
Sure, the title of this movie may make you cringe with memories of a Saved By the Bell spinoff, but Edge of Tomorrow is a surprisingly good film. Like the movies in my top three, I own it on blu-ray and I’m itching for a re-watch. I didn’t think it was possible to sincerely like Tom Cruise ever again, and yet he won me over. This film’s smart editing and pacing makes for my new favorite time-loop film of all time. If you haven’t heard, the film also provides some of the first (interesting) cinematic commentary on video games, which I happen to care about very much.
5. John Wick
Don’t be fooled by the main star– John Wick is pure fun. It’s what every action/kung-fu movie wishes it could be. Keanu Reeves manages to come off as a badass, rather than the confused guy who exists to get on your nerves, and he does so with startling charisma. John Wick steps into an interesting and textured world, where the choreography, sound design, and cinematography join in perfect harmony. The action also stands on its own. After seeing Every Frame a Painting‘s exploration of Jackie Chan flicks, I understand why I loved John Wick‘s action so much.
6. Under the Skin
If you like films that most people would call “weird,” complete with very little dialogue and scenes that help you discover a new level of awkward, Under the Skin is just your ticket! Unlike anything I’ve seen before, the film explores the meaning of being alien or human in a way that will make you uncomfortable, to say the least. It’s some of the best visual storytelling I’ve ever seen.
- Guardians of the Galaxy— I’m still not sick of the soundtrack or Groot references.
- Snowpiercer— Lovably Marxist and full of stunning visuals (read my spoiler-free review here).
- Big Hero 6— Wins Best Robot Award and Best Message for Kids.
- The Grand Budapest Hotel— Pretty, but no Moonrise Kingdom.
That concludes my little list that refuses to be a “Top Ten.” What were some of your favorite movies of the year? What am I missing? What am I wrong about?