Monday, January 5, 2015

My Own Subjective Top 10 Movies of 2014

Oh, hello, faithful readers. I've missed you.

Despite the fact that I'm still on sabbatical when it comes to blog posting, I do enjoy looking back at the movies I watched in a calendar year and determining which ones were the best. If nothing else, it's fun for me to go back and see which movies I put in my top ten in past years, such as 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. So, yes, once again, this is all about me and my wants. Deal with it.

And aside from a few stinkers, this was a pretty good movie-watching year for me. So without further ado, here are my top ten favorite films that I watched for the first time in 2014 (because I don't know what movies you watched in 2014):

10. All About Eve (1950)
This is the oldest movie on my list this year. The dialogue alone in All About Eve makes this film worth watching. This movie is full of witty banter and clever quips. The acting is also very well done – making you believe these are real people and not just players on a stage. Plus, the story is dramatic and compelling. It’s not hard to see why this movie got nominated for so many awards.

9. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is inspiring and creative, and I appreciate creativity and being inspired. The exotic settings and the unique soundtrack enhance the viewing experience. I do feel like it should have been funnier, though. I don't know if it will hold up during subsequent viewings, but this movie helped keep me entertained during a very long flight.

8. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
From the acting to the sets to the special effects, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is an exceptional film. This movie is long, but it doesn't feel watered down or stretched out - there is plenty of story and action to fill the time. Plus, Jennifer Lawrence doesn't have to carry the movie on her own. The supporting cast does an excellent job, as well. This film can't really stand on its own, but it's still a fun ride and an excellent adaptation of the book.

7. Captain Phillips (2013)
Captain Phillips is a captivating film. I've grown accustomed to seeing hostage situations in movies end with super-human characters using martial arts or something like that, so it is almost refreshing to see a regular guy just try to survive one. Plus, this film gives the pirates some humanity without making them too sympathetic. All of these elements, along with the excellent acting, make this a realistic and suspenseful movie that is well worth your time.

6. The Way Way Back (2013)
The Way Way Back is a simple and sweet film. It's a classic coming of age movie with an indie feel. This movie brings with it an honest (and sometimes uncomfortable) sense of humor as well as a heart. And it shows that the good people in the world can counteract the bad. Plus, it made me want to work at a water park. This movie is definitely one to see.

5. Frailty (2001)
Frailty is a fascinating film. It's Matthew McConaughey doing drama before Matthew McConaughey doing drama was cool. This is a very unique horror movie because it's difficult to guess which way it's going to go. Additionally, the acting, in particular Bill Paxton's character, is very well done. If only they would have come up with a better title for this film.

4. The Lego Movie (2014)
The Lego Movie is entertaining. Only about three of every six jokes land, but at least they're swinging for the fences. My kids were completely engaged in this movie, and I was happy to be along for the ride. The voice acting is well done and the animation is clever. This film could have easily turned into a commercial for Legos, but it didn't, thankfully. I would definitely watch this movie again.

3. The Conjuring (2013)
The Conjuring is a laundry list of haunted house clich├ęs, but somehow it still manages to be a very effective horror movie. It's effective in the atmospheric terror, it's effective in the jump scares - it just works. This film gives you protagonists that you really care about and an antagonist that is truly frightening. Plus, the actual story of The Warrens is fascinating, as well. Overall, this is a great scary movie that I am happy to add to my Halloween roster.

2. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Edge of Tomorrow is a creative and entertaining action-packed thriller. How did this not do better at the box office? It's much better than most of the sequel-driven drivel that Hollywood is churning out these days. The premise of this movie is unique and whenever the formula starts to get tired, they change it up or throw in a new element. Plus, the performances are well done - I like seeing Tom Cruise as the reluctant, inexperienced hero. Note: If you're looking to rent this movie at Redbox, the studio is now re-branding it as "Live. Die. Repeat. Edge of Tomorrow," probably because the first round of marketing for this film failed so miserably.

And my #1 movie that I watched in 2014 is...

1. About Time (2013)
Every now and then, a film comes along that changes the way I think about life -- About Time is that kind of movie. This pleasantly unique film isn't just a love story, it's a life story. It showcases a variety of relationships that go beyond the traditional rom-com stereotypes. The story is uplifting, the acting is excellent and the humor is plentiful. This movie made me want to be a better person, and I'm very glad I saw it.

So, there you have it, that's my top ten movies that I saw in 2014. I would recommend watching any of them (though I would recommend watching some of them edited). I would also like to give an honorable mention to: Mitt (2014), Holiday Inn (1942), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Patton (1970), X-Men Days of Future Past (2014), Her (2013), The Searchers (1956), Snowpiercer (2013), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011).

Well done, 2014!
. . .or should I say 2013, since most of these movies came from that year?

Oh well.