I initially thought that 2014 was a pretty mediocre year as far as films go, but looking back at the 70+ films I watched this year, there were a lot of films that I really enjoyed and will definitely be watching again soon. It was a great year for superheroes, sci-fi and even a little drummer boy. Here are my Top 10 films of 2014.
First let’s start off with the films I hated the most this year.
“Winter’s Tale”: What an unwatchable mess. Such a confusing storyline with flying horses, magical powers and timelines that don’t make any sense.
“Into the Storm”: Characters so unlikable and stale that I actually wanted them to die from the tornado.
“Jersey Boys”: It feels like director Clint Eastwood’s films are showing the same age that he is. This film adaptation sucks all of the fun and energy out of the live musical.
“Tammy”: Are Melissa McCarthy’s 15 minutes up yet?
“Transformers: Age of Extinction: OMG what a stink bomb, and that’s coming from someone who’s actually a fan of the first three films. Director Michael Bay shows absolutely no restraint in this fourth installment and bored me nearly to tears. I was itching so bad to leave the theater while watching this one, and not because I had to pee.
#10 – Interstellar
Director Christopher Nolan continues to impress with his visuals in “Interstellar.” This science fiction tale about family and relativity demands to be seen on the big screen. And how about that musical score, tho?
#9 – Snowpiercer
This original post-apocalyptic tale about survivors on a ridiculously long train circling the Earth may sound silly, but is actually one of the most refreshing movies of the year. Korean director Bong Joon Ho makes the most of this East meets West collaboration.
#8 – John Wick
I miss hard-core action movies and “John Wick” brought back memories of the early ’90s John Woo and Chow Yun Fat films from Hong Kong. And if you know me, you’ll know that is very high praise.
#7 – The Babadook
With American horror films going the cheap route for their scares both figuratively and literally, “The Babadook” reignited my love for genuine horror with its depth and creepy storytelling. This film keeps you on your toes and has layers that had me thinking about it for days.
#6 – Nightcrawler
More creepy goodness. Jake Gyllenhaal transforms himself into the most memorable anti-hero of 2014. His commitment to portraying Lou Bloom as one of the most interesting characters of 2014 is certainly deserving of recognition.
#5 – X-Men: Days of Future Past
The first of three Marvel films on my list. Yes, I said three. The latest “X-Men” film had a lot to live up to and boy did it deliver in spades. It took possibly the most iconic X-Men story line from the comic books and successfully translated it to the big screen, juggling about a few dozen characters along the way. Big props to Bryan Singer for returning to the film franchise he created and making everything right again.
#4 – Guardians of the Galaxy
It’s the biggest gambles that have the biggest payoffs. Marvel took a comic book title that no one was familiar with and threw hundreds of millions of dollars at it to create a new franchise and ended up with the biggest box office hit of the year. With a combination of sci-fi, action, humor and even a little heart, “Guardians of the Galaxy” was one of the best times I had at the movies this year.
#3 – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
I know that in my review for “Guardians of the Galaxy” I stated that it took over the title of being my favorite Marvel movie ever, but I’ve since changed my mind. I watched “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” again, and I flip-flopped my rankings to make it my third favorite film of the year. This film has it all – spy thrills, intrigue and some amazing action. It even make the Falcon character cool! This is one of those films I can watch over and over again.
#2 – Birdman
Genius. That’s the word that kept popping into my head after watching “Birdman.” Not only is it a technical wonder with the entire film unwinding in one seemingly continuous shot, but the performances are some of the best of the year. Emma Stone gives the best performance of her career, and Edward Norton is simply captivating in all of his scenes. The true hero though is Michael Keaton who bares it all and is much deserving of the Best Actor Oscar come award season.
#1 – Whiplash
No other film made me say “wow” this year. Who knew that a simple movie about a drum prodigy trying to make it big in the jazz world could be my favorite film of the year? J.K. Simmons should be a lock for Best Supporting Actor in all of the award races, and his portrayal of jazz instructor Mr. Fletcher as the anti-Mr. Miyagi is unforgettable. Miles Teller also does an incredible job in the lead role, and this film had me literally on the edge of my seat at times. “Whiplash” is without a doubt my favorite film of 2014.