Films I’ve Seen in 2014

Below is a list of the films I saw this year. Some of them are new, some of them are ones I simply have never seen for one reason or another. I don’t include films I’ve already seen before and have revisited in the year.

  1. Linsanity. Documentary on Jeremy Lin and his run as a Knick. Not bad.
  2. Don Jon. I really liked this one. Story of a man and his porn addiction. A fascinating glimpse into a very modern problem: is porn more satisfying than a romantic relationship?
  3. Inside Llewyn Davis. Folk beginnings through the unmistakable Coen brothers lens. I enjoyed this. Oscar Isaac is a supremely talented individual.
  4. Thanks for Sharing. Didn’t get into this one at all. Should’ve been called First World Problems: The Movie. Bunch of spoiled unlikeable assholes whine about their sex addictions. Why do I care? There are worse things to be addicted to.
  5. The Spectacular Now. Holy shit, what a fucking amazing film! Where did this one come from? Great performances, strong script. Really enjoyable film.
  6. Dallas Buyer’s Club. It’s probably overpraised now, but I really liked this. First half was amazing, from there it slid a bit for me.
  7. Nebraska. Yeah, I’m an Alexander Payne fan, but I really couldn’t get into this. Slow as molasses, and not overly funny or dramatic.
  8. Philomena. Loved it. Heartbreaking. Steve Coogan is massively underrated.
  9. In A World. If I asked Lake Bell to marry me, despite the fact that she is married and so am I, do you think she’d at least ponder the question? Good God, what a beautiful, talented, funny, amazing person she is! This film was great! I am using a lot of exclamation points! Great film, and a really unique and hilarious premise.
  10. John Dies at the End. So did my patience.
  11. Wolf of Wall Street. Hated this. Scorsese is running on fumes as far as I’m concerned. He’s become lazy at making films. He knows his formula and sticks to it. And hey, people flocked to see this, so what do I know? I just found it paint-by-numbers, scene after scene of debauchery and no real advancement of story or transition of the characters. This film put me in a bad mood.
  12. Sexy Beast. Cool film. Tense, and Ben Kingsley’s performance is epic.
  13. Blue is the Warmest Color. Beautiful film. The three hours flew by.
  14. American Hustle. Hated it. Boring. Made Wolf of Wall Street seem like Raging Bull.
  15. Grand Budapest Hotel. Was okay. I’m not sure if Wes Anderson is a good filmmaker or not. I loved Rushmore and Life Aquatic was OK, but he’s kind of a one-note filmmaker. I generally find the idea of a new Anderson film more exciting than the film itself.
  16. Fading Gigolo. Surprisingly great film.
  17. Chef. Really liked this. Good to see Favreau go back to his Swinger’s era “indie” roots, only with big name Hollywood actors. A story with true heart, and some great food porn.
  18. The Canyons. Ye Gods, Bret Easton Ellis – what have you become? Terrible film.
  19. Robocop. The reboot. Reason number 345,645 as to why they shouldn’t do reboots. The original film was perfectly fine, and a laser-precise political satire.
  20. How to Train Your Dragon 2. Took my daughter to this. Not bad.
  21. Her. Good film and interesting premise. Similar theme to Don Jon, is a synthetic romance more satisfying than the real thing?
  22. The Inbetweeners Movie. Meh. If I wanted to see four dicks I could watch a gangbang clip. Shorter and more satisfying.
  23. Under the Skin. Not gonna lie – I watched this because I was promised Scarlett Johansson boobies. Got that and more. Creepy film, and oddly enjoyable.
  24. God Bless America. Okay. Liked the idea better than the execution.
  25. Half Nelson. Cool flick. Ryan Gosling is killing it.
  26. Joe. Actually liked this one. Nicolas Cage makes some odd choices in his career, but this film suited him.
  27. Guardians of the Galaxy. Pretty good, way too hyped though. I get that it was kind of a fun version of The Avengers, and I’m sure the 14 year old non-jaded version of me would go nuts for this.
  28. World’s Greatest Dad. Watched this not long after Robin Williams passed away. Great film. The scene where WIlliams’ character strips and dives into the pool is beautiful and sad. We lost a great one, no doubt about it.
  29. The Town. First half was great, second half dragged a bit.
  30. Boyhood. Really enjoyable film. Probably gets a bit too much praise, but still a great movie and a remarkable achievement.
  31. Repo Man. Didn’t like this. I missed this when it came out in the 80’s, so maybe this is why it doesn’t resonate with me now.
  32. The Skeleton Twins. Just okay. Bill Hader saved this from being a total snoozefest for me.
  33. World War Z. Not bad, not great.
  34. Gone Girl. Really liked this. Tense, well paced. The scene where Doogie Howser gets cut was disturbing on many levels.
  35. Afternoon Delight. OK film.
  36. Blue Ruin. Fantastic film. Anytime people complain that there are no good modern films, I point them in the direction of this. Not an “easy” film as it is very graphic in parts, but what a fantastic story.
  37. X-Men: Days of Future Past. Pretty good, though I enjoyed First Class more.
  38. Begin Again. Good but not great. Mark Ruffalo is generally able to make an average screenplay pop. I found Keira Knightley annoying.
  39. Lone Survivor. Really enjoyed this, and I don’t usually like war films. Gritty, tough to watch at times, but what a tense movie. Highly recommended.
  40. Hello Ladies. I liked the first season on HBO, and this feels like a condensed version of what season two would have been had the show not been cancelled. I like films and TV shows that show another side of Los Angeles. I also like Stephen Merchant, and I think he might be funnier than Ricky Gervais now.
  41. Edge of Tomorrow. Was okay. Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers. I just find Tom Cruise unbearable.
  42. Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Wow. This film was amazing! Enjoyable from start to finish, despite James Franco. Was it me, or was his acting worse than usual in this one?
  43. Waiting for Guffman. I’m a Christopher Guest fan, yet somehow this one passed me by all these years. It was alright I suppose. For me, his best film is Best in Show. Guffman doesn’t quite reach those heights for me. Apparently Guest is an asshole in real life.
  44. WALL-E. Watched this with my daughter. She loved it. She’s six. I was fascinated by the first twenty or so minutes of this, in awe of the way in which WALL-E navigated around his world. But as soon as he mixed with humans I kind of lost interest. Is this a metaphor?
  45. Hannah and Her Sisters. I consider myself a fairly big Woody Allen fan, so why had I never seen this film until now? Fantastic movie. Funny to see Dianne Wiest as a coke-sniffing wild child. Everything I ever saw her in was as a maternal type, a la Lost Boys, Parenthood, Edward Scissorhands. This would be up there among Allen’s best as far as I’m concerned. Great cameos too, I spotted Julia Louis Dreyfuss, Daniel Stern, Julie Kavner, John Turturro.
  46. Nymphomaniac, Volume 1. This one knocked me out. I’ve been wary of Lars Von Trier for a while now. Little too much arty wankery for my tastes. I tried to watch Antichrist when it came out but had to switch off after I discovered that the premise revolved around a dead child. Couldn’t do it. Sorry, Lars. But Nymphomaniac was, quite simply, a beautiful film. It would be easy to dismiss this based on the very graphic scenes depicting sex, let alone Shia Lebouf and Christian Slater’s horrible attempts at English (I assume?) accents, but beneath the exposed fondled body parts lies a haunting and crucial comment on the interplay between sex and love and family. The scenes where the protagonist’s father dies a slow and agonizing death are among the most gut-wrenching, human scenes ever committed to film. I left this one feeling like modern cinema was alive and well if this sort of thing could still be made. I had feared that we were doomed to see men in capes fighting evil for the next decade, the way trends were heading. Praise whoever greenlit this, for it is important and needs to be seen by as many people as possible.
  47. Blue Jasmine. Fantastic film. This might be my favorite Woody Allen movie now, if not it’s right up there with Annie Hall, Manhattan and Hannah & Her Sisters. I’m not sure if I’ve seen a more convincing, brilliant, chilling performance than Cate Blanchett’s in recent memory. Her portrayal of a woman on the edge was terrifying.
  48. St. Vincent. I’m not sure if I’ve seen a Bill Murray performance that I didn’t like in some way. I imagine it must be the way he is so human in just about everything he’s in. This was a nice little film. Great performance from Jaeden Lieberher as the latchkey kid. Good to see Melissa McCarthy act in a semi-serious role as well.
  49. The Interview. Forget the hullabaloo surrounding this, if you can. What lies underneath is a movie that basically isn’t as funny or shocking as it seems to think it is. Seth Rogen can elevate most anything he’s in, but even he can’t do much with this. And I might have to boycott anything that James Franco is in from now on. He can’t act and I think he’s been told he’s handsome one too many times. I suspect he is his own biggest fan.