As the Academy Awards are around the corner, I took a look back at the best films of 2014. Also, I answered the tough questions like: what was the best Tom Cruise movie of 2014?
Best Short Quote: Inherent Vice – Bigfoot
“Motto Pancako! MOTTO PANCAKO!!”
Best Long Quote: The Grand Budapest Hotel – M. Gustave
“What happened, my dear Zero, is I beat the living shit out of a sniveling little runt called Pinky Bandinski, who had the gall to question my virility. Because, if there’s one thing we’ve learned from penny dreadfuls, it’s that when you find yourself in a place like this, you must never be a candy ass; you’ve got to prove yourself from day one. You’ve got to win their respect. You should take a long look at HIS ugly mug this morning. [laughs] …He’s actually become a dear friend.”
Biggest Missed Opportunity: The Theory of Everything
Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones deliver great performances and Stephen Hawking is a fascinating person with amazing things to say. However, the film instead focused on how Stephen Hawking’s wife didn’t have an affair.
Best Dog-Inspired Vengeance Plotline: John Wick
Cool movie. Cute dog. Make ‘em pay Neo, make ‘em pay.
Hardest Scene to Watch: Blue Ruin – Removing the Arrow
This is what happens when somebody who isn’t Anton Chigurh tries to perform surgery on himself.
Most Jaw-Dropping Sequence: Interstellar – The Black Hole
The visuals were stunning, the concepts were fascinating, and the regret filled performance of McConaughey was heartbreaking.
Best Action Scene: X-Men: Days of Future Past – The Quicksilver Time in a Bottle Scene
In an otherwise unimpressive movie, Quicksilver was the clear standout. He already delivered plenty of laughs, but in this scene we finally get to see his full potential. The scene was creatively shot and featured impressive effects.
Best Scene: Whiplash – The Performance
The anticipation built, a feeling a dread grew as he walked onto the stage. I will avoid spoilers here, but damn… I was totally immersed in the film. The quick cut cinematography blended perfectly with the music creating a very intense scene. The two characters hit their crescendo providing one of the best finales to a movie that I’ve seen in years. In addition, the deeper meanings of the scene are complex and will stick with you long after the film’s conclusion.
Best Tom Cruise Movie: Edge of Tomorrow
Best Films of 2014:
Still need to see: Birdman, Gone Girl, American Sniper
Runner Up: The Lego Movie
- Big Hero 6
I feel like it didn’t need to be a superhero film, however, the film was creative and made plenty of good decisions. The film hit audiences with laughs and heartfelt moments that both adults and children were able to appreciate.
- Blue Ruin
I think I liked it so much because the protagonist was like the opposite of Liam Neeson in Taken. He was determined to seek revenge, but he was completely devoid of any “particular set of skills.” Also this film will teach you how to survive if you are homeless. So that’s a reason to watch it, get some pointers just in case things don’t work out.
- Inherent Vice
A great performance by Joaquin Phoenix as the hippie private investigator. The screenplay could have made better use of the hazy unreliable narrator, but it did hit my twisted funny bone throughout the running time.
- Guardians of the Galaxy
Finally a superhero movie that didn’t take itself too seriously. Rocket and Groot rule, and Chris Pratt nailed it. The Perfect Blockbuster?
I’m not sure if this film will be as good at home, but it was an unforgettable experience in IMAX. Christopher Nolan remains one of the most reliable sources of intelligent and compelling films. If you want to read a million words on the film, here is Zac and my discussion.
- The Grand Budapest Hotel
More of the hilarity and kookiness that we come to expect from Wes Anderson. What elevates this film is Ralph Fiennes’ unforgettable character. Fiennes as the gentleman with the filthy mouth is more than just pure entertainment, the character also highlights our society’s loss of etiquette.
This film doesn’t work if it wasn’t for the great performance by Patricia Arquette. She sells her relationship with her son every step of the way and gives us the emotional moment that ties the entire film together. I also loved it for these reasons.
Jake Gyllenhaal delivers a haunting performance that could be the best of his career. Our relationship with the protagonist is very interesting as we react to his distasteful actions and his imposing efficiency.
- Under the Skin
It is bat-shit crazy and very creepy, but that is all part of the experience! This movie is not for everybody, but if you want to see an innovative film that has teeth, give it a try. Also Scarlett Johansson deserves credit for another great unconventional performance (following up her voice work in last year’s Her). More Under the Skin talk.
This movie excelled across the board with fantastic cinematography, editing, writing, and amazing performances. Plus the music was great! The film feels authentic, possibly due to the writer/director’s experiences as a berated Jazz student. The film adds complexities to the seemingly straightforward abusive relationship, which will divide audiences. Oh and since it might be a crime to leave his name out of any write-up on Whiplash, I’ll just say it… J.K. Simmons.