A few days ago, I shared what I think are the worst films of 2014. Before that, I posted The 2014 Dellies, my tribute to the year's best and brightest. However, there was one thing missing. I don't give out a Best Picture award. The reason I don't is because I find it redundant to do so and then post a list of the year's best movie. That would also kill the suspense. Since I can tell you're chomping at the bit to get to the list, I'll quickly step out of the way. Just click on the titles to read my full review of any of these films. I have not reviewed a few of them, just yet. Those should be posting between now and the end of the month. I'll update this post with the links as they do. One minor note before we get started, I refrained from ranking any documentaries on purpose. I'd rather keep them in their own little corner of the film world. With no further adieu, here are
The Top 25 Movies of 2014
Stuff I'm told is good, but haven't seen yet: Chef, Child's Pose, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Joe, The Hundred Foot Journey, Love is Strange, Mr. Turner, Miss Julie, Night Moves, The One I Love, The Overnighters, Pride, St. Vincent, Still Alice, Unbroken, The Zero Theorem
24. Penguins of MadagascarAccomplishes the rare feat of being a spin-off better than the movie it spun-off from.
22. The Grand Budapest HotelQuirky and funny in all the ways a good Wes Anderson film should be, plus a dynamic turn by Ralph Fiennes.
21. The Raid 2I was actively involved in every fight scene. I'm not quite sure, but I may have gotten stabbed once or twice. You know, adrenaline pumping, didn't feel a thing.
20. WhiplashThere is only a battle of wills between two men. We watch the constant back-and-forth between them and wonder which one of them will give in.
19. InterstellarIt encourages debate which enhances our enjoyment of it. The film can be argued from every side with no resolution. And we like it that way.
18. What We Do in the ShadowsBetter than any other movie at showing what it might be like to be a vampire day after day in the regular world.
16. Guardians of the GalaxyArguably, the best movie of this whole shared universe thing.
15. Edge of TomorrowThrough our hero's repeated and comically presented deaths is an odd way to approach character development, but it works perfectly.
14. MommyWe watch intently and rack our brains trying to figure out what shape these people will be in when we leave them.
12. The BabadookRooted in a sense of reality not often afforded to haunted house flicks.
11. 22 Jump StreetThings I would normally shred a movie for are given a pass because I know that the movie knows it's stupid.
9. SelmaIt effectively knocks him down from being an infallible myth to an actual human being without being disrespectful of or seeming to have something against him.
7. Top FiveTop Five holds a mirror up to us. The biggest target is our infatuation with and pigeon-holing of celebrities. The celebs are not exempt from examination, either. We see some of the ways in which they attract attention to themselves even if they don't mean to. We also get a look at race within the Hollywood system and addiction. The looks at celebrophilia and race are the funniest. When we focus on addiction is when the movie is at its heaviest.
6. NightcrawlerThe outcome of all this is a darkly humorous critique on our escalating love affair with sensationalism. It also speaks to the lengths local news shows have to go to in order to be competitive in a world where the internet provides the world its main source of news and even 24 hour news stations are struggling to keep up. An ending that's as shocking for what it isn't as for what it is epitomizes an entire movie shrugging its shoulders while letting us know that's just how it is.
5. Blue RuinWe become fully vested in our hero's fate. This is the true aim of every movie and Blue Ruin accomplishes this. It does so by keeping us out of crowded cities and placing us in dustier parts of the American landscape. The calling card of legendary director Martin Scorsese is urban grit. Here, Jeremy Saulnier makes a worthy rural counterpart.
3. Inherent ViceDirector Paul Thomas Anderson is to be commended for managing what could easily have been an unwieldy beast. The story has so many strands it's like a badly frayed garment, at first glance. Upon closer inspection, we see that its an intricately detailed tapestry of exotic fabrics.
1. Gone GirlOn the surface, at its most literal, it's a bit of a shock to the system. Some will love it, some won't. At deeper levels it becomes commentary and metaphor. Exactly what the commentary and metaphor are is open to debate. It most easily lends itself to being interpreted as a scathing indictment of the institution of marriage. I've also heard it labeled as misogynistic. I don't agree with that assessment, but I understand how one might get that idea. Whether or not you buy into that, the true beauty of Gone Girl is that the ending is worthy of our debate and not what we were expecting to happen. That it goes against the grain is a victory in itself. That it invokes an immediate need for discussion is what makes it great.
Honorable Mentions: Calvary, Creep, Foxcatcher, The Immigrant, John Wick, A Most Violent Year, Neighbors, The Purge: Anarchy, Snowpiercer, Starry Eyes, Two Days, One Night, A Walk Among the Tombstones, X-Men: Days of Future Past