Another year of films, another subjective list ranking them. There were plenty of fun times at the movies in 2014, including some surprises like “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Draft Day”, and some colorful joy like “The Lego Movie” and “Chef”, all of which were good but did not crack my top ten.
Without further ado…
Honorable Mention: Interstellar
A fun, engaging and well-acted film that could have been great and ranked among the all-time great science-fiction films if it didn’t try and blow the audience’s minds in the final act. Sure, it has the classic Nolan-isms that plague all his films, but this one ranks right below “Inception” on my list of his films.
10.) John Wick
Who thought a modern-day film with Keanu Reeves would ever make anyone’s top films list? Well he does it here in one of the best action movies I have ever seen. The cinematography, the action and the music all are amazing, and I really hope that this is the first child of a franchise.
The film that likely was the vehicle for future Best Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons, this thing is intense and incredibly well-edited (and that may be selling it short). Simmons and the impossible-to-hate Miles Teller have explosive chemistry and teacher and student, and this is a film I’m sure I’ll only like more upon a second viewing.
This was number one on my watchlist for 2014 and it didn’t disappoint. Steve Carell is mind-blowingly eerie as John du Pont and Channing Tatum completely shattered my image of him by giving one of the most physically and mentally demanding roles of the year. This film is based on a true story, which makes the whole thing even more intense and emotional.
7.) 22 Jump Street
Before he was proving me wrong in “Foxcatcher”, Channing Tatum was doing what we all know and love: being a goofy idiot who kicks butt while undercover at school. A rare sequel that is possibly better than the original, this second trip back to Jump Street was hilarious because it knew it was an over-the-top sequel, and made sure to remind the audience every chance it got.
Talk about a full blown nostalgia bomb. Shot with the same actors over 12 years, there was so much that could have gone wrong in the decade-plus while filming this. This movie just has so many things that were a crucial part of my own growing up: from the Oregon Trail computer game to waiting in line for a Harry Potter book to all the early 2000’s songs, this put a lump in my throat and is your cup of tea if you love trying really hard not to cry.
5.) X-Men: Days of Future Past
I’m not a huge X-Men fan, so this one caught me by surprise. It was a great action film as well as political thriller that had me entertained throughout the whole runtime. Plus it had Jennifer Lawrence, so. You know.
4.) The Imitation Game
Featuring an amazing performance from Benedict Cumberbatch and one of my favorite screenplays from 2014 by Graham Moore, this was a very interesting biopic about the men (and woman) who created the world’s first computer in order to beat the Nazis.
3.) Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Much like “Boyhood” this film was unique on a technical level, and it could have just turned out to be a gimmick that came up flat. Each scene is one take, and the whole film is edited to look like it is all one continuous shot. It really is amazing and offered mind-blowing performances from Edward Norton and Michael Keaton.
Hands down one of the best war movies I’ve ever seen, right behind “Hurt Locker” (oh, shut up, haters). Brad Pitt kills Nazis with a Macklemore haircut, and the end battle sequence is as fun as it is heart-breaking. Honestly, though, ever single aspect of that finale is perfect.
1.) Captain America: The Winter Solider
When I saw this movie back in April, I was blown away by not only how much fun this film was, but how smart and well-directed it was, too. The first Captain America was, for lack of better words, not that good, so expectations were not so high for this one. But it turned out to be the second best Avengers movie behind only the first Iron Man, and I am glad it stuck at number one for over 8 months. I kept waiting for a movie to come along that was more fun, more well-made and just plain better than “Captain America: The Winter Solider”, but to my great surprise: none did.
Agree with my list? Are there any 2014 films you think deserved to be on here or some that you shocked made the cut? Let me know in the comments!