Another year down, another bunch of movies I saw. While there were a high number of crappy and mediocre movies this year, I thought the number of A or B grade films were pretty good, too. And I’ve only given three 10 out of 10’s in my four-year history of doing this blog, and two of them were from this year. So good for you, 2014.
So here is my giant list of everything I saw this year, starting with the worst and working its way to the best. Feel free to read the original reviews of anything you’re curious about that my one sentence blurb doesn’t satisfy you on. If my grade doesn’t quite match the original score I gave it, it’s probably because I watched it a second time and adjusted my score.
But most importantly, this is just a nice way to nonchalantly sum up an entire year of my writing in one post that you can skim through and ignore in a matter of minutes. At least I have fun writing them… Enjoy, you ungrateful bastards!
101. VHS: VIRAL
Every copy of this movie should be thrown into a canyon and set on fire.
One of the worst cash grabs in film history.
99. DEVIL’S KNOT
A terrible dramatization that poorly interpreted a really interesting event that’s already been brilliantly covered in FOUR documentaries. Why was this made? WHY?
I *hope* the studio lost money on this garbage. SO THEY LEARN A LESSON.
97. A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST
God, I hated this movie and it’s nearly implausible amount of awful jokes that fell flat.
96. NYMPHOMANIAC: VOLUME 2
Worst fake porno ever.
Dwayne Johnson seems like a really nice guy, but he needs to learn how to turn down a project like this that will obviously be terrible. I mean, BRETT RATNER… Hello?
94. 3 DAYS TO KILL
It’s not going to happen, Kevin Costner. Stop trying.
93. EARTH TO ECHO
A dumb movie for dumb kids.
92. THE QUIET ONES
Couldn’t tell you what happened in this movie if you put a gun to my head.
91. A FIELD IN ENGLAND
A great study in experimental filmmaking vs. boring presentation.
90. KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM
Proof that Peter Dinklage can’t save every project he’s in.
89. TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION
Also extinct? My desire to watch any future Transformers sequels. (goes up for high five)
88. I, FRANKENSTEIN
Sexy Frankenstein fighting gargoyles is the best that Hollywood could come up with?
87. SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR
For black & white boob enthusiasts only! Everyone else steer clear!
Had a couple interesting ideas, but in a terrible package.
85. HORRIBLE BOSSES 2
The unforgiving stupidity of the three leads makes this a painful watch. I’m sure they have a great time making these movies, but no one is having a great time watching them.
“Melissa McCarthy being a loud, obnoxious person” should *not* be a film genre.
83. PALO ALTO
You like watching rich teenagers do stupid things? I don’t.
Not looking forward to any other ambitious Canadian projects from Kevin Smith. BUT I KNOW THEY’RE COMING… 😦
81. INTO THE STORM
Fun Fact: The dad in this movie was Thorin, the leader Dwarf, in the Hobbit movies.
80. THE MAZE RUNNER
Nice try, young adult film adaptation. I hope your craze is on the dying side of things.
79. JERSEY BOYS
Doing the absolute bare minimum to not get a failing grade from me.
78. EXPENDABLES 3
DON’T MAKE ANY MORE, PLEASE.
77. NO GOOD DEED
This otherwise forgettable movie was at least fun for me to predict everything about it before I went into it blind. I’ll have to do that again in 2015. What’s Tyler Perry have on the slate for this year?!
76. LET’S BE COPS
It just… wasn’t that funny… I don’t know what else to say…
My first foray into Bollywood cinema is apparently one of the lowest rated films on all of IMDb. Cool!
74. NEED FOR SPEED
I can remember the last scene of this movie and literally nothing else about it.
To anyone who would try to argue this movie is better than the grade I’ve given it, I will point you to the CGI mud fight scene, and rest my case.
72. THE PURGE: ANARCHY
It was really fun coming up with the unsung heroes of the Purge in my review, making it almost worth paying $10 to see this bad movie.
71. MUPPETS MOST WANTED
I’ll try to not let this spoil the good experience I had at the 2011 Muppets movie.
70. UNDER THE SKIN
It’s funny how so many people put Under the Skin as their #1, and I put it at my #70. PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT TASTES, HUH?!
69. THE ABCS OF DEATH 2
More of the same from last time around. Some really great horror/comedy shorts, some really terrible horror/comedy shorts. Evens out somewhere around “eh, it’s ok”.
68. THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1
It’s not as bad as haters (uhg, why did I write that…?) say it is, but it’s also no longer about death matches for sport, and half of it is definitely filler.
67. DRACULA UNTOLD
DON’T TURN THIS INTO A SERIES OF MOVIES, PLEASE.
66. AS ABOVE, SO BELOW
I went in expecting an F, and came out giving it a solid D. What a glorious triumph for the awful found footage genre!
65. THE ZERO THEOREM
Admit it, that picture of Christoph Waltz makes you want to see this movie. It’s probably not worth it, sadly.
64. NYMPHOMANIAC: VOLUME 1
There are just so many things that are awful about it that it clouds over all the good parts. Nice try, though, Lars von Trier?
Liam Neeson is on auto-pilot, am I right?! (puts hand up for high five)
I don’t like mirrors either. And not just because I’m weird looking. THEY ARE GATEWAYS TO GHOST TOWN.
61. MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN
Is it just me, or does that title need an Oxford comma? (SAYS THE GUY WITH TERRIBLE GRAMMAR)
60. THE BOX TROLLS
I really wanted to like the gross animation and goofy characters, but the story doesn’t exactly draw you in.
59. DELIVER US FROM EVIL
Better than most other exorcism movies. STILL NOT GOOD, THOUGH.
58. THE EQUALIZER
Generic Denzel revenge movie. Man on Fire lite.
I didn’t see Exodus: Gods and Kings, but I guarantee this was better than it.
56. ROBOCOP ’14
Remember this movie? I sort of don’t. Had to read my own review to remember what happened in it.
55. THE ROVER
The post-apocalyptic version of Australia doesn’t seem that much different from what I picture current Australia to be like.
54. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2
I didn’t hate this as much as (apparently) everyone else did. It’s like, standard comic book fare. Oh well. R.I.P. Andrew Garfield Spider-Man, 2012-2014.
53. THE GAMBLER
Proffesah Wahlberg is in da fackin buildin, ya cawk gawbling college kids!
52. THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
GENERIC OSCAR BAIT EXAMPLE #1.
51. LABOR DAY
You want ambition? Cast two A-list stars in a film about a convict teaching a single mom how to make homemade peach pies. Greenlight it!
50. WHOOP DREAMS
Paid for with Chuuurrrrbuuurni muuuurrrrrnnneeeeeeyyyy.
GENERIC OSCAR BAIT EXAMPLE #2.
It’s funny enough to where you won’t feel bad for renting it, but you might have felt like you wasted your time and money if you went to see it in theaters.
47. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
It’s probably too complex to sum up every variant of opinion people have about this reboot into a single sentence, but, uhhhhhh, it’s alright or whatever. Cowabunga!
46. A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES
At least I had a good time writing the pizza-themed spoof in my review.
45. LONE SURVIVOR
44. HOW TO TRAIN A DRAGON 2
I gave this a watch out of respect to how much I liked the first one, but this sequel is probably only really enjoyable for kids, and for people who get turned on by dragons.
43. DOC OF THE DEAD
If you’re not completely burnt out on zombie stuff yet, this might be worth a watch.
42. THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES
It’s the worst of all the Middle Earth movies, but it’s still a well made movie. There’s so many little things that should have been tweaked in the screenplay before they even started filming. It’s decent enough for the cash grab that it is, though.
41. ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE
Hipster vampires listen to music. I know that sounds terrible, but it’s actually not that bad.
40. 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE
The prequel no one asked for that ended up being just crazy enough to be way better than anyone could have assumed it would be. It has sea monsters!
39. DUMB AND DUMBER TO
Go in with low expectations and a non-cynical attitude, and maybe you won’t be a giant asshole about how it isn’t as good as the first one, because obviously it never was going to be.
38. THE SKELETON TWINS
Wasn’t the greatest thing in the world, but hopefully it leads to more movie work for Bill Hader.
37. BAD WORDS
Probably could have been funnier, but a decent directorial debut for Jason Bateman. I’d rather he make stuff like this instead of doing Horrible Bosses 3 or something.
36. THE INTERVIEW
It was probably not worth upsetting a lunatic with nukes for this movie.
A grave reminder of how much I hate walking places. (eats four slices of deep dish) (doesn’t burn any calories later)
I totally forgot to add this entry in when I originally posted this. I don’t think anyone will notice. [looks around the room suspiciously]
33. HELLO LADIES: THE MOVIE
A good send off to the short-lived HBO series from Stephen Merchant. It actually gave the character something of an arc, while still retaining all the trademark uncomfortable moments. You guys have no idea what Hello Ladies is, do you? You just skipped right over this entry, I bet. WHATEVER. I LIKED IT.
(no original review written)
I get why people lost their poop over this movie. It’s one of the most ambitious concepts I’ve ever heard of that actually got executed to completion. But, like, c’mon. You’d think a twelve-year commitment would warrant a better screenplay than this had, right?
31. BIG EYES
More of this and less of Dark Shadows in the future, Mr. Burton.
30. OBVIOUS CHILD
Take out the scene where Jenny Slate has a conversation inside a cardboard box, and this is better than most quirky indie comedies about dark subject matter.
I liked it when I saw it on a big IMAX screen, and I admittedly have kind of a fear of watching it a second time and liking it a lot less. So maybe I’ll just leave it alone and look at it fondly from the first viewing.
28. BLUE RUIN
This might be a better example of Murphy’s Law than anything in Interstellar was.
This was kind of way better than it deserved to be.
26. ST. VINCENT
Smart ass Bill Murray is the best Bill Murray. Russian accent Naomi Watts is the worst Naomi Watts.
25. THE EDGE OF TOMORROW
Tom Cruise trying to erase the averageness of Oblivion with the slightly above averageness of Edge of Tomorrow, or Live Die Repeat, or whatever they want to call it now. Mech Suit Time Travel Alien Fight. Now there’s a good movie title.
24. THE BABADOOK
Speaking of names, if this were a list of best movie titles of 2014, you’d be number one, Babadook.
I guess a lot of stuff is coming out about how Mark Schultz is saying the movie is a lie, and he didn’t have the same kind of relationship that the movie implies he has with John du Pont. I guess it doesn’t really matter if I think about it as a filmmaker’s expansion of real life characters into fictional ones, kind of like what Fincher did with The Social Network, or Welles did with Citizen Kane (I’m not implying Foxcatcher is on the level with either of those movies, by the way).
22. THE RAID 2
Just thinking about that kitchen fight scene again makes my pits get moist.
21. JOHN WICK
Just don’t kill Keanu Reeves dog. It’s pretty simple, Theon.
20. CHEAP THRILLS
A really dumb looking Netflix movie pick on a random afternoon turned out to be a surprisingly engaging dark comedy experience.
19. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
I really liked it when I saw it in theaters, but then I tried watching it again at home, and I kind of just wasn’t feeling it as much. Since it’s pretty much an Agents of SHIELD movie, I’m sure fans of the show I don’t care about liked this a lot more than I did.
Tom Hardy proves his acting is good enough to withstand a 90 minute movie where we just stare at his face from different angles.
A BIG movie that delivered on being BIG. The parts that were great were definitely great. Some of the smaller moments brought it down for me, though. I’m in no real hurry to watch it a second time, but I plan to eventually.
16. THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
Everyone ranks their Wes Anderson films differently. I happen to think this one was more in the middle of my ranking. I mean, it was good, I like all Anderson; but it’s not as good as his other stuff. TO ME. I also like how Wes Anderson is pretty much his own genre now.
15. ALL THIS MAYHEM
This, Doc of the Dead, and Whoop Dreams were the only documentaries I saw this year (I’m becoming such a philistine!), but this made me as interested in something as stupid as skateboarding as The Crash Reel did about something as stupid as snowboarding.
14. X-MEN: DAYS OF THE FUTURE PAST
It was good, but I don’t think I liked it as much on the second viewing. That Quicksilver scene never gets old, though.
13. 22 JUMP STREET
Great job on creating a meta sequel joke about sequels. But don’t make a third one, please. That’s what the credits were for.
12. THE LEGO MOVIE
I just watched this again last week and was reminded at how hilarious Will Arnett’s Batman was.
It delivered on its promise of hellish warfare, and then upped the ante with all the cool laser looking gunfire! And I want my sca- oops, wrong movie.
10. BIG HERO 6
I COULDN’T RESIST ITS CHARMS.
9. THEY CAME TOGETHER
Best spoof movie in years. And New York was such a great character that I think it deserves an Oscar. But beware, it may be uncomfortable to watch with your Bubby.
8. DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
If other huge special effects driven movies want to make this the bare minimum of quality for the future, I’d be cool with that.
7. WHY DON’T YOU PLAY IN HELL?
I didn’t see too many foreign movies this year, but I’m happy the one I did focus on was as insane as this one was.
I guess a lot of people don’t like this movie, and it’s been either a top ten film or a bottom ten film for a lot of people. I thought it was a thrilling example of how to deliver on a ridiculous premise (that would never work in real life) by giving the audience scene after scene of things they weren’t expecting.
Jake Gyllenhaal has come a long way from the actor I wanted to punch in the face during Donnie Darko 14 years ago.
4. GONE GIRL
The actual plot material is kind of low-grade trash, in a way, but it’s just executed so awesomely by David Fincher that it elevates it to something special. Also, it got people talking about movies, and that’s always a good thing. Unless you look at a Yahoo movie discussion board. Never do that.
When I see a racing movie, even if it’s (almost always) bad, the drive home from the theater still has my adrenaline pumping and getting a lead foot. I did not expect that same thing to happen after watching a movie about a college jazz class. But here we are.
Nothing else this year damaged my emotions as much as Birdman did. I don’t even think it was trying to mess me up that way, but that’s just how my brain absorbed it. But despite any kind of fragile psyche it does or doesn’t break in your head, it has some brilliant camera staging and a next-level Michael Keaton.
1. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
For a minute, I almost felt slightly hesitant putting Guardians at number one, because it’s kind of just a perfectly executed, dumb, super fun summer blockbuster movie… But then I realized I don’t care what anyone else says, sooooooo, yeah this was the best movie of the year. No other movie was as exciting as this, and it almost felt like, if I was a kid, it would be like watching Star Wars for the first time. I’ve seen it a bunch of times since it came out, and I still don’t think it has any boring moments for me. So yeah, again, as a personal preference, this was brilliantly executed entertainment at the highest level. It might not be a film snob’s film, but it’s a movie lover’s movie. And I like movies.
That’s it for last year! See you next week when I get to some 2015 movies! Or in the case of Inherent Vice, Selma, and American Sniper; 2014 movies that I’m considering to be 2015 movies.