RANKING THE YEAR’S BEST: FROM OSCAR MOVIES TO BLOCKBUSTERS
WALK DOWN MEMORY LANE… AND LET THE MOVIE NERD DEBATE BEGIN.
LET’S REWIND TO 2014.
These are personal TOP 10s ranking Oscar-nominated movies right alongside popcorn-munching blockbusters, indie films, b-movies, and cult classics.You never know, you might even uncover a hidden gem or two.
2014 was a great year for cinema. Whether you love blockbusters or Oscar movies, there were several stand-out unforgettable experiences. The decade may be littered with massive sequels and gigantic adaptions (example: the #1 movie at the box office was TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION with $1.1 billion worldwide), but character pieces (like BIRDMAN and WHIPLASH) still find a way to sneak in.
Spending a lot of money on a movie doesn’t guarantee success… or quality. The shiniest turds of the year included AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, DRACULA UNTOLD, HERCULES / THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES, THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1, I, FRANKENSTEIN, INTO THE STORM, A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST, POMPEII, ROBOCOP, THE SEVENTH SON, TRANSCENDENCE, and the aforementioned TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION.
While Hollywood may have abandoned mid-level budget dramas, the indie world hasn’t. The best films of the year extend into the Honorable Mentions and beyond. 2014 was a great year for cinephiles of all genres!
MY TOP 10 IS FOLLOWED BY HONORABLE MENTIONS AND THE BEST OF ART VS POPCORN.
Let’s dig in…
THE TOP 10
10. BEYOND THE LIGHTS
A hidden gem character study starring Gugu Mbatha Raw (from BLACK MIRROR: SAN JUNIPERO) and Nate Parker (BIRTH OF A NATION, RED TAILS) in a romance about a pop singer struggling with art over commerce. Surprisingly emotional. Fantastic performances. Great direction.
Christopher Nolan does sci-fi with this complex head-scratcher starring Matthew McConaughey. With dense science and strong themes it’s not the ‘easiest’ watch, but it’s well worth the watch. There’s also grand spectacle to behold.
8. GONE GIRL
A twisting thriller that constantly unfolds. Masterfully directed by David Fincher (SEVEN, FIGHT CLUB, THE SOCIAL NETWORK). A compelling narrative with strong performances from Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. An intriguing mystery with lots of thrills.
The underdog sports story gets the musical counterpart. Miles Teller plays a drummer willing to put himself under extreme tactics in seeking perfection. JK Simmons delivers an electric performance as the relentless teacher.
6. IT FOLLOWS
One of the best horror films in a long time. This hidden gem cult classic came out of nowhere and built solid word-of-mouth. The less you know the better. Stylish psychological thrills. Magnificent compositions. Super rad retro synth score. A revelation of a new ‘scream queen’ with Maika Monroe. This flick delivers on all expectations.
5. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
One of the best comic book movies shifts to a more serious political thriller tone. Lots of exciting action combines with an intriguing plot focused on character. Impressive stand-out for the genre. Popcorn at its best.
4. DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
Another amazing edition into the franchise. Although CGI creations, these characters are entirely relatable. The ape culture is fascinating. The FX are astounding. Character work is a huge draw along with the action and spectacle. Thoroughly satisfying on every level. An incredible blend of art and popcorn.
3. JOHN WICK
Non-stop action. A simple premise executed perfectly. Keanu Reeves is one of the best action heroes ever. The man goes to work with intensive stunt training. It all pays off with stunning wide shot fight choreography rivaling the legendary Hong Kong greats. Balletic destruction. Ultra stylish. Super cool. Plain and simple: John Wick kicks ass. One of the best action movies of the decade – on par with THE RAID.
A dark character study about obsession and the downward spiral into insanity. Our ‘hero’ isn’t someone to root for. This sociopath is terrifying. This is real world horror movie about media and its parasitic culture. Jake Gyllenhaal transforms with his phenomenal performance in this neo-noir. This is the decade’s TAXI DRIVER!
1. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
The best Marvel movie ever! For me, this was non-stop fun. While the story is rooted in emotion with an unexpected opening scene, the characters are a blast to go on an adventure with. The odd sense of humor may take some getting used to, but if it’s your strange brew cup of tea you will be laughing from start to finish. Stylish and ultra cool. Blends the best of fantasy and science fiction. Totally rad soundtrack. Unforgettable characters. An unlikely favorite from an unknown comic book, I fell in love with this movie.
This is popcorn at its ultimate pinnacle! GUARDIANS belongs in the upper echelons of legendary adventure films like INDIANA JONES and STAR WARS.
AMERICAN SNIPER / BIRDMAN / BOYHOOD / CAMP X-RAY / THE FAULT IN OUR STARS / FOXCATCHER / KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE / THE RAID 2 / WILD / X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
THE BEST OF ART vs POPCORN
22 JUMP STREET / 3 DAYS TO KILL / 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE / ’71 / THE BABADOOK / BIG HERO 6 / DIVERGENT / DRAFT DAY / THE DROP / DUMB & DUMBER TO / EARTH TO ECHO / EDGE OF TOMORROW / THE EQUALIZER / EXODUS: GODS & KINGS / FRANK / FURY / THE GIVER / GODZILLA / THE GUEST / IF I STAY / THE IMITATION GAME / INHERENT VICE / THE INTERVIEW / INTO THE WOODS/ JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT / THE LEGO MOVIE / LUCY / MALEFICENT / MARY KOM / THE MAZE RUNNER / A MOST WANTED MAN / NEIGHBORS / NOAH / THE NOVEMBER MAN / PREDESTINATION / THE PURGE: ANARCHY / THE QUIET ONES / RIDE ALONG / SABOTAGE / SELMA / ST. VINCENT / TAMMY / TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES / THAT AWKWARD MOMENT / THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING / THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU / TOP FIVE / TUSK / UNBROKEN / UNFRIENDED / YOUNG ONES
MY MUST-WATCH LIST
notable films i need to see
ABOUT LAST NIGHT / THE ANGRIEST MAN IN BROOKLYN / ANNIE / ANNABELLE / BEAUTY & THE BEAST / BIG BAD WOLVES / BIG EYES / THE BOOK OF LIFE / THE BOXTROLLS / CALVARY / CHEF / DEAR WHITE PEOPLE / FORCE MAJEURE / THE GAMBLER / THE GOOD LIE / THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL / HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 / I ORIGINS / THE JUDGE / KILL THE MESSENGER / LEVIATHAN / A LONG WAY DOWN / LOVE & MERCY / MILLION DOLLAR ARM / THE MONKEY KING / A MOST VIOLENT YEAR / MR. TURNER / NO GOOD DEED / PADDINGTON / THE ROVER / THE SALVATION / VIRUNGA / THE WATER DIVINER / WELCOME TO ME / WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE / WILD TALES
What do you think?
Stay tuned for more Rewind & Rank.