As we’ve been done with 2014 for about a month now I thought I’d talk about the best things of last year and of course the worst. Luckily this was a GREAT year for movies and the ones that weren’t, I was smart enough to stay away from so I think I had a pretty good year.
The first movie I saw last year that really stayed with me ever since was Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. This was only my second encounter with one of Anderson’s films, the first one being Moonrise Kingdom. I had an idea of his style from this movie, finding it refreshing and full of characters with heart that transcended their on screen roles. After seeing TGBH, I was officially hooked and I’ve see all of his movies now. Looking back at the movies I saw this year, seeing TGBH had the biggest impact on me because it solidified Anderson as one of my favorite new filmmakers and I can’t wait for what he does next.
2014 was also a really good year for comedies. I know there were those dumb Cameron Diaz ones and some other duds but I didn’t see most of those. I’m a college student in engineering, I don’t have time to see movies that everyone tells me is crap. I’ll just take their word for it. The ones I did see I was really impressed by. Neighbors was one of the comedies last year that I enjoyed a lot. Seth Rogen and Zac Efron had great chemistry working against each other. They had a awesome dynamic that allowed for some welcomed laughs. And Zac Efron was actually good in this too. There was one scene where he had a small monologue and I really thought he pulled that small dram off well. A movie I just saw this year that I really liked as well was 22 Jump Street. This was an incredibly self aware movie that played off the fact that this was pretty much the same as the original and actually made it hilarious and better than the first. .Jason Bateman’s Bad Words was extremely underrated as well and was actually my favorite comedy, unless you count Grand Budapest. One more I’d like to mention is The Interview. I’m glad my small city had a theater playing this so I could see it on the big screen and spite North Korea. The movie wasn’t great but you could tell Seth Rogen and James Franco had a fun time making this and that helped a lot. I’ll also never listen to Katy Perry the same way again.
Apes on horses!!! Dawn of the Planet of the Apes blew me away with the direction that they took the movie. My dad, who’s a fan of the original Charlton Heston Planet of the Apes, didn’t want to see this. I thought he was crazy, he said he didn’t want to see a realistic depiction of apes overtaking humans, which is what I think he didn’t like about the first of the Apes reboot. But I had to convince him to see Dawn, telling him that the apes were the focus of this movie and we’re just trying to live peacefully. I bought the blu ray and he buckled, and of course thanked me for making him watched it. It didn’t take sides; there were fallible humans and apes, showing the importance of family and diversity and how conflicts arise from those.
I’d also like to mention Interstellar. I believe wholeheartedly that this movie does a lot better critically and at the box office if there was not so much anticipation for it. Nolan has set the bar so high for himself and made an incredibly ambitious film. There is so much going on and ideas that did make the story take a hit. But in terms of imagination and ingenuity there was no other movie that was as ambitious or full of wonder as this movie. Before this movie came out, every article I read had Interstellar on the list for best picture nominations, a lot of them having it win. It was not what everyone expected, that hurt it but it was still one of the highlights of my 2014 just for the experience.
My favorite movie of 2014, I’ve now seen it twice so I could confirm it. It was between Whiplash, Nightcrawler, and finally Birdman, which became my favorite of last year. Everything in this film was new and exciting, from the look of one continuous shot, great commentary on the movie/theatre industry, and a sharp script so hilarious and meta at times. Every time I watch a movie I have an experience, good or bad, it’s there. Birdman gave me a whole new one I’ve never had before. It picked me up and took my on a two hour journey, never taking a break.
Now for the negative. Like I said before, I don’t have enough time to see every release so when I’m on the ropes for a movie and hear it sucks, I’m probably not going to see it. I’m kind of happy about that too. I saw the last hour or so of Transformers 4 on my friends laptop and was so thankful I didn’t see all three hours of it. Michael Bay has always been good at action, I’ll give him that, but in this it sucks. I’m not kidding. You can’t even tell the autobots are transforming. They just scramble in a bunch of nonsense and for some reason people pay to see that. I usually don’t notice things like sound editing, and that usually means it’s done well. But in the final act they literally mute all noise and have the characters talk like they’re just sitting on the couch talking. It was crap. And I’m done even acknowledging it.
I hate putting it here because I don’t think it was as bad as everyone seems to think, but The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was disappointing. The returning characters weren’t developed much at all, but were at least better than the villains. Villains! Plural! We don’t need multiple bad guys to enjoy a movie. Stop it Sony. I like Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone a lot, and they were certainly the most redeemable part of the movie.
Not seeing a lot of bad movies, I’m not going to apologize for because I don’t think they’re worth it, but I will mention some things I’m hopeful for that maybe didn’t do well last year. I hope Michael Bay doesn’t make another movie, Adam Sandler succeeds with his Netflix movies, Seth Macfarlane makes a comeback with Ted 2, and Cameron Diaz changes her name to Mary cause there’s just something about her.
One last shoutout to the numerous other great movies that would make me write a dissertation to talk about them all. I hope everyone had as good a time as I did with film this year and that 2015 surpasses 2014. Star Wars, The Hateful Eight, and The Avengers, I have high hopes.