Best and worst of 2014

"The Lego Movie" got snubbed at the Oscars, but where will it rank on my list?

“The Lego Movie” got snubbed at the Oscars, but where will it rank on my list?

Sorry it took a little while, but here are my favorite and least favorite movies of 2014, listed from 55 to 1 (One being the best, 55 being the worst). When I say favorite, I’m balancing the quality of the movie and how much I enjoyed it. That means that my favorite film may not be a film of the highest quality. It’s instead a biased opinion of the films I enjoyed the most. However, if I enjoyed it a lot and the quality of the film is terrible, it will still lose points and move down the list. There are also subcategories (The Ugly, The Bad, The Meh, The Good and The Great). The Ugly is the worst and represents the movies that offended me. The Great is the cream of the crop and the movies I would recommend buying. You may disagree and that’s okay. I’d love to hear your opinions too. Anyways, let’s do this!

THE UGLY

55. Lucy

This was an absolute mess and easily the worst film of the year. What a waste of Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman.

54. Million Dollar Arm

“Million Dollar Arm” focused on Jon Hamm’s character way too much, and made me hate him. This movie is about pitchers from India, right? Could have fooled me. This movie insults me.

53. Horrible Bosses 2

I did not laugh once. This was a clear cash grab, which is unfortunate because its predecessor was so good.

52. A Million Ways to Die in the West

Speaking of failed comedies, this was a huge step down from “Ted.” Refocus for “Ted 2,” Seth.

51. The Expendables 3

We have quite possibly seen the end of a franchise with this borefest.

50. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

A disturbing take on the Ninja Turtles franchise. Can’t wait for the sequel!

THE BAD

49. Exodus: Gods and Kings

Unexplainable portrayal of God, too long and a waste of talented actors, the film is forgettable, and the trailer would have you think it’s epic. Ridley Scott, please retire.

48. Dracula: Untold

It had it’s moments I guess…no wait, it didn’t. Luke Evans, you are talented and better than this movie.

THE MEH

47. Transformers: Age of Extinction

This was a heaping pile of garbage…and I was so entertained by it. We’ll chalk this up as a guilty pleasure.

46. Purge: Anarchy

This was an improvement on its predecessor, but this franchise still has no idea what it is. Remember to lock your doors and board your windows because the third one is coming.

45. Veronica Mars

I’m not a fan of the idea of kickstarter movies with notable actors in them. Kickstarter should be reserved for people who don’t have any other means to get the money. Kristen Bell probably could have bankrolled this movie herself. Instead, creators asked the fans to pay for it. Does that seem odd to anyone else? That being said, this was pretty enjoyable.

44. The Hungers Games: Mockingjay Part I

I liked the rallying cry of the districts (The Hanging Tree), and a few parts were kind of cool, but this is another cash grab and not a good film.

43. Non-Stop

Not a good movie, but it was pretty entertaining. The Liam Neeson floating through the air scene gets me every time.

42. Ride Along

I thought it was funny, but that’s because I like Kevin Hart. If you don’t, you won’t like this movie.

41. Unbroken

It was a great story put in the hands of an amateur director…and it showed.

40. Neighbors

It was funny, but I don’t remember why. If this movie isn’t that memorable, then I can’t put it too high on my list. Zac Efron can act though.

THE GOOD

39. Foxcatcher

This movie had great acting and direction, and established an uncomfortable tone that makes me never want to watch it again. That doesn’t mean that the movie wasn’t good.

38. Need for Speed

I like the film, and it doesn’t deserve the hate it gets. I’m serious. It was enjoyable, and helped tide us over until “Furious 7.”

37. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Not as good as its predecessor, “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” was actually a pretty solid and enjoyable film. But wow, nobody cared to see it as it absolutely bombed at the box office.

36. The Interview

I laughed pretty hard at some points. It has a weak middle act, but I’d chalk this up as a solid comedy. Hopefully studios won’t shy away from making these kind of films in the future. America!

35. The Penguins of Madagascar

A step down from the other great animated films that came out this year, the film had funny moments, and should be chalked up as a solid kids movie.

34. The Amazing Spider Man 2

Although I recognize its flaws, I really do enjoy this movie, and think it’s a solid film. Nevertheless, it proved to be the franchise killer.

33. The Maze Runner

I thought we finally had another solid young adult franchise until this absolutely fell apart at the end with its “begging for a sequel” ending.

32. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

It was a good conclusion to a trilogy that I enjoyed, but “The Desolation of Smaug” was easily the best film of the bunch.

31. Wild

Reese Witherspoon knocked it out of the park here with a solid leading performance that carried the film. Laura Dern was also sneakily good in this film, and she deservedly so received recognition for it from the Academy. However, “Into the Wild” is actually a better film.

30. A Walk Among the Tombstones

This was a nice escape from Liam Neeson’s awful Taken-esk films. He was excellent in it, and the movie was solid.

29. The Theory of Everything

A good and very well-acted movie, with Eddie Redmayne leading the way with his Oscar win, “The Theory of Everything” mastered the story it wanted to tell. However, there is a more interesting story to tell here.

28. Fury

This movie had some of the best tank battles I have ever seen in a movie. I’ll give it props for that and its strong cast, but its story falls flat.

27. American Sniper

Forgetting about the controversy and the film’s unprecedented box office numbers, “American Sniper” was a solid movie, but it will never live up to the greatness of Katherine Bigelow directed films of the same time period (Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker).

26. A Most Violent Year

I just want to discuss the elephant in the room. This movie isn’t most violent. It’s only kind of violent. That being said, “A Most Violent Year” was a very good movie with solid performances from Oscar Isaac, David Oyelowo and of course Jessica Chastain. She deserved a nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

25. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Well directed and well acted, this movie took home a few Oscars, deservedly so.

24. Boyhood

I was with this movie for about 45 minutes. The problem is that there were still two hours left after that. Nevertheless, it was a successful cinematic exercise.

23. Birdman

An absolutely phenomenally directed and well-acted film, “Birdman” owned the Oscars. I just have issues with its story. Besides that, this films was amazing.

22. 300: Rise of an Empire

Again, we have a movie that wasn’t as good as its predecessor. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. I really enjoyed this film, and Eva Green is phenomenal.

THE GREAT

21. Selma

David Oyelowo showed his acting chops, and deserved to be nominated for Best Actor. The original song, Oscar winner, “Glory,” was also phenomenal. This was a good film that might have gotten more Oscar attention had they gotten those screenings out earlier.

20. The Equalizer

This is such a fun film that gets better and better every time I watch it. Denzel is the man, and I will see anything he is in, especially when he teams up with director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day).

19. The Drop

This was James Gandolfini’s last film, may he rest in peace. He was very good in it and so was Tom Hardy. I really enjoyed this film that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout, and the payoff is great.

18. 22 Jump Street

Just as funny as the first, “22 Jump Street” had me laughing from start to finish. Easily the best comedy of the year.

17. Draft Day

This is the most underrated movie of the year. It’s everything you’ve come to expect from a sports movie, but its likable characters and fun dialog put this movie over the top.

16. Godzilla

Although it takes some flak for not showing enough of Godzilla, the film handled the monsters phenomenally in my opinion. Some scenes are breathtaking. I just have an issue with the human characters’ lack of depth. They also underutilized Bryan Cranston.

15. Big Hero 6

Disney took one character and ran with him. Baymax makes the movie worth watching by himself. Its heart and humor makes “Big Hero 6” thrive.

14. John Wick

Keanu Reeves is back! This movie was awesome and one of the best pure action films I’ve seen in a while.

13. Nightcrawler

Jake Gyllenhaal deserved an Oscar nomination for his role in this film, and “Nightcrawler” in general deserved more Oscar attention.

12. Snowpiercer

This is a very good film that flew under the radar. It further proves that Chris Evans is a phenomenal actor. I absolutely recommend this movie because I don’t think many people saw it. It’s on Netflix. Stop reading this and go watch it. I give you permission.

11. Gone Girl

I love David Fincher, and this film once again shows why. I love his style and I love when he teams up with Trent Reznor (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network). Rosamund Pike deserved Best Actress honors at the Academy Awards. Also, Gillian Flynn wrote the novel and screenplay so props to her for successfully translating it.

10. How to Train Your Dragon 2

Breaking into the top 10, “How to Train Your Dragon 2” is pretty much a perfect animated film. It builds off the quality of the first to bring us a phenomenal film that serves as a kids movie, but has adult themes. Also, the Toothless/Hiccup relationship is one of the most intriguing in cinema today.

9. Live. Die. Repeat. Edge of Tomorrow

This was the worst marketing campaign for a movie that I have ever seen. I also don’t have a clue what the real title of the film is. All that aside, this movie was great. Tom Cruise’s character had depth, and Emily Blunt proved she could be a formidable action star.

8. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

This film blew me away with its phenomenal visual effects. I really thought I was watching real apes on screen. Andy Serkis is the absolute master of his craft, motion capture.

7. Whiplash

After seeing this movie, it took a while for my adrenaline to stop pumping. I thoroughly enjoyed “Whiplash,” and the ending was easily one of the best scenes of the year. Watching J.K. Simmons, Best Supporting Actor winner, and Miles Teller go at it was one of the most entertaining parts of the 2014 movie season.

6. The Imitation Game

This was the most important film of the year that everybody should see. Its theme and ultimate message is one that we should hear and see play out on screen. “The Imitation Game” should have won Best Picture. It was definitely the best all-around film of all the nominees, and resonated with me more than any other film this year.

5. The Lego Movie

Brilliantly animated, funny and surprisingly touching, “The Lego Movie” was the best animated film of the year, even though it was somehow not nominated in the Oscar category. It could have been nominated for Best Picture honestly. I hope the Academy will one day recognize the greatest of these animated films, because “The Lego Movie” was just that good.

4. Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel took a chance, and they absolutely nailed it by almost capturing the domestic box office title. This was one of the most fun films of 2014. Great characters, phenomenal script and specular visual effects, “Guardians of the Galaxy” makes me believe Marvel can do no wrong.

3. X-Men: Days of Future Past

Fox, which actually set a record for highest box office total ever for a studio in a year, saved the X-Men franchise by bringing back Bryan Singer, the director of the first two films, and putting all its eggs in one basket. With the phenomenal acting talent in this film, there was no way “X-Men: Days of Future Past” would fail us. It exceeded my expectations, and was easily one of the best films of the year. Aaron Taylor-Johnson has a lot to live up to as Quicksilver in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” because Evan Peters knocked it out of the park in this film.

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

To be honest, the Marvel cinematic universe had taken a step back after “The Avengers.” “Iron Man 3” was just bad and “Thor: The Dark World” was good, but nothing spectacular. Marvel needed this movie to be great and it absolutely delivered. It is the best solo film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with amazingly shot action sequences. They also finally gave Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlet Johansson important things to do. You could also add Anthony Mackie to anything and I’m on board. And let’s not forget the performances of Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan. This was the best comic book movie in 2014, a year of amazing comic book films.

1. Interstellar

Christopher Nolan is the best director out there today. When paired with Hans Zimmer, you know you’re going to get something epic. I can’t say enough about this movie. It was a spectacular theater experience. It won Best Visual Effects at the Oscars, and should have been nominated for Best Picture. Nolan made arguably his most ambitious film yet, and succeeded in every way. It has a phenomenal cast, the best score of the year and a story that left movie-goers breathless as they existed the theater. Also, more than any other film of his, Nolan creates an emotionally powerful movie. “Interstellar” also has the best scene of 2014. You once again have permission to leave this blog post and go to YouTube to search for “Interstellar docking scene.” You won’t be disappointed. It was an absolutely beautiful movie and the best all-around film of 2014.

Overall, the 2014 movie season was phenomenal and much better than 2013. I hope 2015 will be even better!

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About dukemich

Samuel L. Jackson
This entry was posted in movie reviews, movies and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Best and worst of 2014

  1. FilmMunch says:

    I love that you gave Interstellar number 1! 👍 thanks for this list!

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