best movies of 2014

It’s the end of another year … after going to see Big Hero 6 yesterday, I doubt I’ll get out to the movies again, so I’m here with my year-end “best movies of 2014” pronouncements.  Plus also the worst, because I’m that kind of guy.

WORST FIRST

Anchorman 2 – I even saw the “raunchier” unrated version – is probably the worst movie I’ve paid to see since Ishtar.  This movie sucked in so many ways I can’t even count them. It’s a shame, too, because I enjoyed the first one. This movie goes to prove my theory about Will Ferrell’s hit-and-miss career.  I’m looking forward to the day he stops doing comedies regularly and becomes a dramatic actor, like Tom Hanks did. Tom Hanks’ comedies are hit-and-miss, but generally OK. His dramatic movies, though, are nearly all excellent.

Under the Skin – this is the kind of artsy film I’m glad I skipped at the theater and rented from iTunes.  While it certainly has some positives to it, it should have been about 30 minutes long.  At 30 minutes, the self-discovery/coming-of-age film warped into the alien-lands-on-Earth ouvre would have really worked.

The Machine – another one I’m glad I saw on Netflix instead of paying $12 to watch. Great concept, just poorly executed.

NOW THE BEST

5. The Grand Budapest Hotel – funny, manic and touching.  Worth every penny.

4.  TIE: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes/Godzilla – I’m a total sucker for reboots, and I think the Planet of the Apes reboot series is doing well.  I missed the presence of James Franco, who was absolutely stellar in the first movie in this rebooted series (he’s another comedic actor that is ofter better in dramatic roles), but the story was good, the effects were excellent, and the apes were STELLAR.  Caesar is a subtle, nuanced character that rivals any live human in any movie this year.  Godzilla suffered from a bit of bloat – I’m going to say about 15 minutes too much – but man, what a good movie!

3.  Interstellar – if they’d trimmed 30 minutes off this movie, it’d probably have been my #2, if not #1.

2.  Big Hero 6 – maybe it’s just because I saw this yesterday & it’s still fresh in my mind, but this was a fun movie.  The animation was top notch and the story was compelling (it was, however, a little predictable).  Only the identity of the villain surprised me, but I enjoyed the story of the plucky underachiever and his puffy robot sidekick teaming up to save the world.

1.  Earth to Echo – I know, I know, you know I dislike “found footage” films, but you also know I’m a total sucker for sci-fi (see 2 of the 3 worst films, above).  This is a fantastic story about innocence and the loss thereof.  Imagine Super 8 without the scary space monster and you’ve got this movie I think was the best of the year.

Here’s all the 2014-release movies I saw:

  • The Lego Movie
  • The Monuments Men
  • RoboCop (remake)
  • Anchorman 2
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Muppets: Most Wanted
  • Under the Skin (rental)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Godzilla
  • The Machine (Netflix)
  • Earth to Echo
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (video)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Ghostbusters (30th anniv. release)
  • Big Hero 6
  • Interstellar

Here’s the movies I seriously thought about going to see, but didn’t:

  • Shoot Me (Elaine Stritch documentary)
  • Particle Fever
  • Chef
  • A Night in Old Mexico
  • A Million Ways To Die in the West
  • Age of Uprising
  • Night Moves
  • The Signal
  • A Fantastic Fear of Everything
  • A Letter to Momo
  • Hercules (starring Dwayne Johnson)
  • Lucy
  • A Most Wanted Man
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Get On Up
  • The Congress
  • Frontera
  • The Zero Theorem
  • This Is Where I Leave You
  • The Box Trolls
  • The Equalizer
  • The Judge
  • Automata
  • Fury
  • The Book of Life
  • Birdman
  • John Wick

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