Hello everyone I’m so excited to present you my Top 50 of 2014. This year I’m doing 10 per day so that I can really focus on each individual movie. After it’s over, I’m going to do a few honorable mentions, because let me tell you. I watched 119 movies from this year (and I admit, I missed a few, including A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night which, from what I can tell, probably would have made the Top 20) so it was really difficult to pick from them.
Anyway let’s just get this started with number 50:
50. The Interview
You know, it’s pure coincidence that the list start with this one. This highly-controversial movie that you may remember was cancelled, and then un-cancelled to go to VOD, and then put back into theaters the day it was supposed to. The movie came to Netflix and DVD soon after.
In case you don’t know, here is a streamlined version: SONY got hacked and had a few movies released prematurely. It was rumored that pro-North Korea hackers did it to protest this movie. Then they leaked more and more personal information about the employees, and well as email correspondences, after which the hackers confirmed that this is why they were angry. The hackers threatened to bomb theaters, the theater chains backed out, and SONY cancelled The Interview. Everybody (even President Obama) called SONY cowards, SONY twiddled their thumbs for a few days, and then went ahead and released it OnDemand, online, and to the theaters that would show it.
It came out to mediocre reviews, but I thought it was absolutely hilarious. I found it to be probably the funniest mainstream comedy of the year. Sure, it wasn’t much of a pointed political satire, but it never intended to be. It was a slapstick, screwball comedy that one would come to expect from Rogen and Franco, and it excelled at being that.
49. The Infinite Man
A time-travel comedy, this movie featured fantastic performances by only three actors. It’s about a man who wants to recreate a wonderful anniversary with his girlfriend (wife? Not important), when they are interrupted by her ex (they dated for two weeks four years previously) who was still hung up on her. He is knocked out, she leaves with her ex, and he goes back in time to try to fix everything. What results is an insane, intelligent, hilarious series of time travel paradoxes and hits to the head. Highly recommended.
During the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher was not kind to the mining unions. She was also unkind to the gay and lesbians of Britain. This movie is the true story of a group called “Gays and Lesbians Support the Miners” in their quest to help the miners re-open the closed mines, while also getting out a message of solidarity against Thatcher.
It’s a heartwarming movie for sure, but it never becomes too sentimental. Much of the movie is spent in a small Welsh town, and the civilians within who don’t know how to react to a group of gays and lesbians showing up to help out. It’s definitely a feel-good movie with a good message of equality and freedom, regardless of your political views.
Directed by Jon Stewart, this true-story film is about a journalist who was seen giving an interview to an “American Spy” (Jason Jones from The Daily Show), and is subsequently captured without charges by the Iranian police and held and interrogated for almost a third of a year.
It’s a very powerful film. Gael Garcia Bernal gives an emotional performance as a man trapped in a prison for no reason, it is very well-directed by first-time director Jon Stewart, and occasionally, it can be pretty funny.
46. Top Five
Basically Funny People with Chris Rock instead of Adam Sandler, Top Five is an excellent examination of the life and expectations of a black, comedic actor in the modern time. Obviously something of an autobiography, Chris Rock plays a version of himself who has undergone severe alcohol abuse problems and is in recovery. That may sound heavy, but this movie is absolutely a comedy. It’s very sharp and funny, and features many cameos that are all very funny. Rosario Dawson is in it too! And she’s great, as always.
45. Blue Ruin
It is a great time to be an indie thriller. There are so many great independent thrillers out, and between Amazon Instant and Netflix, there are many outlets in which to watch them. Blue Ruin is an absolutely fantastic movie, and deserves to be seen by all. It’s a tense, gripping, emotional, personal thriller about a man who spent a long time away from home and goes back to find out that the man who murdered his parents. What follows is a strange and exciting journey through DARKNESS and VIOLENCE. Oh man it was so good I want to watch it again right now.
44. The Theory of Everything
Eddie Redmayne won a deserved Oscar for his sensitive, intimate portrayal of Stephen Hawking. The story of his life and first marriage, The Theory of Everything is a great film whose only problem is that, in my opinion, it was a little mild. There were certainly controversies in his life, and they could have been touched on a little more. However, it is still an EXCELLENT film that should be seen by all. Beautifully shot, and I can’t talk about this movie without telling you that the score is phenomenal.
43. Still Alice
Julianne Moore was absolutely amazing in this movie. Her tragic portrait of a woman with Alzheimer’s well before someone should get it is heartbreaking. Kristen Stewart and Kate Bosworth were both excellent as her two daughters, and Alec Baldwin played the supportive (but realistic) husband perfectly. It’s an extraordinarily sad movie, but it’s also a beautiful story. Very difficult to watch.
42. Cold in July
I’m a huge sucker for movies that are made in the style of 80s movies. This is no exception. It starts out as a horror/thriller about a man who shoots a home invader, and the invader’s father begins to come after him. Then the movie takes a huge turn as revelations are made, all leading toward a super violent conclusion.
This movie is gritty, over-the-top in just the right places, and occasionally brutally violent. Michael C. Hall plays an excellent Texas businessman who is drawn into something bigger than he could ever have anticipated, and Sam Shepard is terrifying as the home invader’s father.
My favorite thing about the movie is the soundtrack. It sounds straight ripped out of a John Carpenter movie from the mid-80s. It’s synth heavy and beautifully haunting. God I love John Carpenter.
This is the true story of Cheryl Strayed, a former heroin addict-turned-hiker who decided after a particularly bad time that she would walk a long west coast hiking trail alone, in an attempt to reinvent herself. Mixed with flashbacks about her mother (played wonderfully by Laura Dern), this movie is at times sad and at times very inspirational. It’s definitely a must-watch.
Anyway that’s Part 1 of the list. Look out for Part 2 tomorrow (hopefully).