Well, here we are. So I'm gonna timestamp this. The Oscars just finished. It is now past midnight, and I am very tired. But I love you guys, and I have a very busy week upcoming so if I want to write this I gotta do it now. So, y'all are coming on a magical journey with me through my mind. After typing basically non-stop for the last 7 hours, I'm gonna just let my brain run wild. Ok. There were two movie titles in that last sentence. I swear I did not plan for that. Hope you like what you see while you tour my mind!
We're gonna start with the picks. I'm kind of sad here. The Academy got every category before the Big 4 right. Well, they screwed up Documentary Feature but they screw that up every year so it's not a big deal. And they didn't give Best Animated Feature to The Lego Movie. Which they should've done even though it wasn't nominated. But OTHER THAN THAT, they nailed everything, including several big, and deserving, upsets. I think the biggest upset was the David v. Goliath battle in Sound Mixing that was Whiplash v. American Sniper. Never in a million years would I have thought Whiplash was going to win this category, even though it did a far better job in the mixing department. This was the only point in the evening that I actually screamed in disbelief when the names were called out. Everything was going so well! And then the Big Four happened. So I shouldn't do this, because I'll probably sound like a bitchy child, but I'm tired. So I think this is the best course of action to take right now. (I'll probably delete this too.) I'm gonna go through each of the Big Four, and talk about why the winners did not deserve the award and who instead did deserve it and why. Ok? Ok. Now for the record, I'm not saying any of the victors were bad. They are excellent choices by the Academy, and it's great that someone like Alejandro González Iñárritu is getting the recognition he absolutely deserves. The same goes for Eddie Redmayne. And Julianne Moore. And Birdman. But there were vastly superior choices in each category that I am honestly baffled as to why the Academy did not choose them. So first off, Best Director. Yes, Alejandro González Iñárritu was great. But I believe that his greatness was achieved by assembling an once-in-a-generation cast and just letting them do their thing. When Naomi Watts, a woman who has 2 Oscar nominations to her name, is in about 15 minutes of your film, you probably have something spectacular. When you hire Emmanuel Lubezki to do your cinematography, you basically let him do his own thing and say ok! that sounds good! On the other hand, you have Richard Linklater and Boyhood. That project was his brainchild. It was his name on the line. Not Ethan Hawke, or Patricia Arquette, or anyone else on that team. It was all Linklater. The amount of work he put into writing the story and executing it with a CRAZY 12 year production period is something we've never seen before, and may never see again. I think of every single category this evening, this is the biggest snub of all. Linklater's work on Boyhood was on a whole 'nother planet, man.
Then you have Actor and Actress. The Academy looooves their quantifiable acting, once again giving these awards to the best physical performances of the year. However, the Best Actor category was screwed up from the start so I don't feel like talking about it because I disagreed with most of it, (Eddie Redmayne and Bradley Cooper's performances didn't even show up in my Actors Awards last week-David Oyelowo and Jake Gyllenhaal AND Tom Hardy for Locke (which I just saw and HOLY CRAP GO SEE IT) deserved nominations over them) and I can understand the make-up call with Julianne Moore. Before this year, Moore had been snubbed too many times on Oscar night, so it was nice to see her finally take home a much-deserved Oscar. I'm just sad it came at the expense of both Rosamund Pike and Reese Witherspoon. Oh well. You two are both winners in my heart, and we all know that's what matters. Obviously. And then there's Best Picture.
Dear Academy: why did you not split Director and Picture this year? Look I knew Whiplash wasn't going to win. Even though it was easily my number 1 film of 2014, there was simply no way the little Indie film that could was going to pull out the biggest upset in, well, ever. So the category was basically between Boyhood and Birdman. Both had impressive technical features going for them. So, why don't you split the two main awards for a film between them? Why you leave Boyhood on the side of the road with only a Supporting Actress win? Both of these films will be remembered, but I think Boyhood's technical achievements should've been highlighted more by the Academy than it was. Sigh....also I realize that was more picking on the fact that Boyhood didn't win Best Director but I don't care. I'm ok with Birdman winning Best Picture! It just should not have won both categories.
Then there's everything else. So, Neil Patrick Harris was funny. We all knew that was going to happen. However I must really give him credit for making the Academy feel super uncomfortable with some of his racist jokes, as well as being willing to run out onto the stage in just his undies. I'd be shocked if he's ever invited back to host the Oscars. However, apart from having the good joke here and there, nothing really stood out from him. Well, other than the Birdman/Whiplash homage which was the greatest moment ever BUT BESIDES THAT. Nothing! (Just imagine me being drunk right now. I'm not, but I am REALLY tired.) The only other truly memorable moment for me was Lady Gaga's song. Which, believe me, I did not think I would be saying this right now. But in a year where the Academy really screwed itself with its Best Original Song nominees and found itself scrambling to bring in notable pop icons of today's music, Lady Gaga absolutely delivered for them. It was just interesting that it was in an homage to a film that I think a lot of those under 25 have not seen in The Sound of Music. I think it's criminal that a large portion of our age has not seen it, but I think it's also true. It was not as memorable as last year's Bond tribute was or the musical tribute of the year before. Honestly most of this year was just full of meh. But I digress.
One last thing to mention were the speeches. This. This is what the recipients of the awards got right this year. This year we saw several men and women get up on the stage and use their 45 seconds to make a powerful statement. From Patricia Arquette's statement on women's inequality, to Common and John Legend's powerful statement on the mistreatment of African Americans, to Graham Moore from The Imitation Game absolutely wrecking me with his statement to the LGBT community, (which, by the way, Tegan and Sara absolutely would've done too had they won Best Song over Common and John Legend, so I'm glad Moore did it for them) the speeches were far and away the most memorable part of the Oscars this year. In the last few years, we've seen a criminally small amount of powerful speeches like these made by those given the spotlight for 45 seconds on a stage being watched by millions. And, most of the time, the Academy knows they're coming so they might start the music early or something. For example, they knew that Common and John Legend were going to make a political statement, but, after the #OscarsSoWhite chant that's been trending forever they knew they had to let them have their say. But Patricia Arquette and Graham Moore? Safe to say that was not expected. So I'm glad we made up for it this year. Also, wanna talk about moving? How about the cut to David Oyelowo balling his eyes out after Common and John Legend's performance of Glory? That made me tear up too. Also Meryl Streep's introduction to the In Memorandum portion of the broadcast. Even though....there were a lot of problems with this year's In Memorandum. It lacked a lot of emotion surprisingly on top of the fact that they didn't include Joan Rivers for some reason unbeknownst to me at the time of this writing. And now that I'm about to release this, I STILL don't know why they didn't include her! She kind of invented the red carpet. And is something of a household name. Oops.
Well, that's all I got. Overall, this year's Oscars were almost good, but due to a surprising lack of memorability out of anything other than the speeches, I'm hesitant to actually say the Oscars were good. But, they were definitely a step backwards from last year. Now, if only we could get a host to be as memorable as Ellen was ON TOP OF some great speeches. Next year, right?
MY VERDICT FOR THE 2015 OSCARS: 6.5/10 Almost Good.
OHHHHHHH YA. I forgot about the musical number that opened the Oscars with Anna Kendrick and Jack Black.Well, that was cool, but obviously it was not the most memorable thing in the world seeing as, at 1:30 in the morning after the Oscars, I had already completely forgotten about it. But, that's just me. It was good, yes, but it could've been so much better. Just meh. Ok. That's all I got. For real this time. Thanks for reading and following me on this wonderful trip inside my brain, and following me for the entire run of Oscar season. I'm actually a little sad at the moment, because now II don't get to do this again for another 10 months. Oh well. I'm looking forward to it already. See ya next time, Internet! DEUCES!
Hello Internet! How are you? That's fantastic. So, you're here now because you want to know my thoughts on the best films of 2014, right? I hope so. Well, this was an incredibly difficult list to make, in part because 2014 was a PHENOMENAL year for films. I couldn't justify having only a top 10 and five honorable mentions, so I've decided to be bold and have a top film in a few genres, a few honorable mentions, and then a top 10. There's 20 films on this list! And yet I still STILL had to omit quite a few deserving films off this. That said, these are 20 films that are all incredible pieces of cinema that should be watched. So, without any further delay, let's start with the honorable mentions, ya?
A Few Honorable Mentions....
The Drop (My Review)
So Tom Hardy. You know, it's borderline criminal that I didn't mention Tom Hardy in my actor's awards. The dude had a better year than Chris Pratt in terms of performances between this and Locke, but I gave Pratt the award for Best Overall Actor because his performances have made such a bigger splash. Tom Hardy is very quietly becoming one of Hollywood's best character-actors. I really hope he finds himself in another big budget film where he actually gets to act, because right now I say Tom Hardy and most of you think of either Inception or worse, The Dark Knight Rises. Where Hardy only had half a face to act with. Another thing to mention in The Drop is the fact that this is James Gandolfini's final film. His story arc definitely brought a tear to my eye. If I were doing my Top Five Films You Missed in 2014 list again like I did in 2013, this film would definitely be in that. Any other year it would be in my top 10, but this year's films were just too good.
Gone Girl (My Review)
A great thriller from David Fincher featuring a phenomenal performance from its lead Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl shined within the adult novel-to-film genre that it finds itself in. A great film, despite several flaws.
Cake (My Review)
Jennifer Aniston picks this film up and almost carries it into the top 10. A harrowing performance from her makes this December release worth your time. Long as you're ready to cry at the end.
Alright! Honorable mentions done! So, should I do my best of each genre portion next or my top 10 next....? Hm...ok. Here's what's gonna happen. So this year my top three films stood out above all the rest by a wide margin. So, I'm gonna do films 10-4 now, then do the best of each genre, then the top three. Sound good? Well, too bad, cause that's what we're doing.
10) A Most Violent Year (My Review)
So, I've been hyping this film up a lot. It is a phenomenal piece of storytelling, sprinkled with a great bit of set design and some brilliant acting from Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain. The story was about as real and gritty as any film was in 2014, and the bits of romance between Isaac and Chastain was better than, well, just about every romance film of the year. The story may not exactly appeal to everyone since it is about a businessman trying to find his footing in the most violent and crime-filled year of New York's history, but I say it is still well-worth a watch. I don't know why it didn't received any love from the Oscars, but oh well. As you read this list, you'll quickly realize why I'm so at ends with the Academy's choices this year.
9) The Skeleton Twins (My Review)
I'm oddly very conflicted about this film. As I remember it, I remember an incredibly gripping story, the best chemistry between Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader that we've ever seen, a harrowing storyline between Hader and Ty Burrell, and yet.....the last five minutes of the film left such a bad taste in my mouth. It is legitimately depressing. Were it not for those final five minutes, this film would've easily been in my top five. It's such a good brother-sister tale! Just with the most cliche ending imaginable yay. But I would strongly recommend watching this film with your family. Even with the final few minutes it is still a beautiful and wildly enjoyable brother-sister tale. One that I'm guessing you missed because it was an indie film!
8) Nightcrawler (My Review)
Anybody see this one? Featuring my favorite performance by an actor in 2014 from Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler is destined to live on in underground greatness. It kind of already is, really, as it is already becoming something of a cult hit. Anyone who likes Jake Gyllenhaal should put this chilling story at the top of their list. On top of having a great story, this story has an incredible set design, as it successfully makes LA an actual character in the story as Gyllenhaal has to traverse the city on back roads to avoid traffic and such. This movie definitely earns my award for best use of its location for a film in 2014. How's that for an award? Is that a real thing? Well, I don't care what you say. It's a real thing.
7) Top Five (My Review)
This one makes me sad. When I saw this in theaters the day it came out, I said man....this is the film our culture needs right now. Hot on the heels of Ferguson and the protests we saw occur around the nation, Chris Rock, one of the most influential names in comedy right now, drops Top Five. Top Five is a fantastic celebration of African American culture in this country. It is hilarious, it is touching, and anyone of any color can enjoy it. And yet it only made $25 million. C'mon, guys! You gotta support Chris Rock! He put his heart and soul into this film, and the result is easily the best straight-up comedy of the year. The movie is also incredibly smart, as Chris Rock essentially is playing himself and his own story, and the plot of the film simply is us following him around for a day. Additionally, the movie deals with alcoholism, taking a sharp turn for actual drama as our leads both deal with being alcoholics. It's at this moment that you realize that you actually care about these characters! That almost never happens in a comedy. If you want a good laugh from a film that you haven't seen featuring everyone's favorite early 2000s comedian, then Top Five is for you. Welcome back, Chris Rock.
6) Birdman: The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance (My Review)
On paper, this film shouldn't work. It should fail. I can't even try to tell you what happened in this story. And yet, here it is. While the story made very little sense to me as a whole, it definitely had its moments. However, the story of Birdman is not the reason that it's on this list. Not at all. First off, you have the performances. I had so much trouble back in the First Annual Actors Awards to narrow the best performances from this film to just, well, three. But Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, AND Amy Ryan all put in some of the best performances of the year in this film. And then there's the cinematography. Emmanuel Lubezki. Get to know this name, folks, for this man is rapidly becoming one of the best cinematographers in the history of cinema. This film not only features the best cinematography of 2014, it features some of the best cinematography I've EVER seen. Thanks to some very well-done camera work and phenomenal editing, Birdman successfully creates the sensation of watching this entire film in one long take. Lubezki took the experience he gained filming Gravity and applied it here. Except instead of have only 20 minutes of film in a single shot, it's the entire film. While I can't recommend this film to every living soul because of the flaws in its story, if you consider yourself a fan of the cinema you absolutely must put this film on your list for the cinematography alone.
5) The Grand Budapest Hotel (My Review)
So, Wes Anderson, eh? That dude kind of knows what he's doing. Well, his streak of outstanding films continued this year with this film. Grand Budapest Hotel is funny, it's very well-acted, and it is beautifully BEAUTIFULLY shot. Everything about the film is symmetrical and colorful, with every piece of the set meticulously placed in its spot for a very specific reason. For this reason and this reason alone, I'd recommend this film. However, if that wasn't enough, we get Ralph Fiennes, a man who is famously known for executing very powerful roles, playing the lead in a comedy. And he definitely shows us a side of him that we haven't seen before. While I did wish that the hugely diverse supporting cast in this film had a bit more to do, this definitely gives Fiennes a chance to shine. Can you do this again, Fiennes? Please? And as for you, Wes Anderson.....I can't wait to see what you do next.
4) Wild (My Review)
Man am I a sucker for survival tales. What can I say? These films really speak to me. Last year it was Robert Redford in All is Lost and Sandra Bullock in Gravity, and in 2014 I was on the edge of my seat for Reese Witherspoon's fight for survival in Wild. I love this movie! Witherspoon holds this film up with her bare hands and doesn't let go. While Witherspoon is not alone for this entire movie like Redford is in All is Lost, she's still asked the world here. And she delivers, bringing my favorite performance by an actress in film in 2014 in the process. But on top of that, this movie is excellent in every way. It is effectively shot, it is paced well, and it also does a great job to showcase the nature that surrounds Witherspoon. Not only that, but there is also some excellent editing, as the film unpredictably cuts back between Witherspoon and the events of her past that lead up to her make the decision to hike the Pacific Coast Trail, despite having minimal training and experience beforehand. Despite some of the despicable things that Witherspoon's character did before hiking the trail, you can understand why she did them, and as a result you will inevitably be rooting for her and totally sucked in to watching her fight for her survival. A must-watch for anyone who is a fan of nature or the survival genre. Hope you stay with us for a while, Witherspoon.
Ok so there's 10-4. Now onto the best films of each genre that are not in the top 10! You'll notice there's no drama category, and that's because, if you haven't noticed, most of the films in my tope 10 are dramas! WHOA. SHOCKER. I'm gonna start with a genre that hasn't received much respect from the Academy, however it will from me! Why? Because I'm awesome. Obviously.
If you want to read my original reviews of these films, click on the picture. Except for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Didn't review that for some reason. And X-Men. Didn't review that, either. Fun fact! That's my biggest regret on this blog from last year. I have this Mega Review half-written on the entire X-Men series, but I never released it. Oh well. Oh. I'm getting sidetracked in my bold writing, aren't I? Oops.
The Best Superhero Film Was....
Ya. Thought I was going with Guardians of the Galaxy, right? Well, Guardians ain't got nothin' on X-Men: Days of Future Past. Days of Future Past is easily the best superhero film of 2014, and here's why. So, you know that in every superhero movie, the good guys win, right? I mean, you know what's going to happen. That's not the point. It's usually about the journey. But that's what made The Dark Knight so great. There was absolutely a significant period of time there were you felt Batman was going to lose. Well, X-Men: Days of Future Past is the same way. I found myself on the edge of my seat, legitimately unsure of what was going to happen next during the third act. Couple that with excellent performances from one of the more expansive casts we've seen in a superhero movie ever, and you have the best superhero movie of the year.
The Best Biopic Outside my Top 10 was....
Don't even know what that's a picture of? That's ok. That's a picture of the film Mr. Turner. So, how's this for a surprise? I almost forgot about this movie. Not because it's forgettable, but because it's so freaking deep! It is an incredibly heavy watch, and absolutely requires your full attention, but every future biopic should make a point to see this film and model their own movie off of it. Because this is how you shoot a biopic. Don't worry about fluffing up your story to make it more dramatic. Just tell it like it is, and trust that your audience will come along for the ride. The story of Mr. Turner is simple, but its execution is so brilliant that it had to be included in this list somewhere. Featuring a great performance from lead Timothy Spall, incredible costumes, and an awesome set design, Mr. Turner is an absolute must-watch for all you art fans out there. This is the art film you deserve.
The Best Comedy Outside My Top 10 Was....
See why I wanted to do these best of lists? There would be no way to mention this film were it not for that. It's not worthy of an honorable mention, but this movie could not have better succeeded at what it set out to do. Which was to make you laugh, obviously. 22 Jump Street offers nothing other than laughs, however it succeeds at this so well that its the best comedy of the year. 22 Jump Street features perfect chemistry from bro-leads Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, and an expanded role for Ice Cube, because, you know, who wouldn't want more Ice Cube right? But it's not only that. As a lot of you may already know, I have a thing for films that acknowledge what they are and have fun with their premise. You'll see that a lot on this list, actually. But 22 Jump Street realizes that it's a sequel. It realizes that most sequels are just more of the same. And it proceeds to have an absolute blast with this fact, bringing the best laughs of the year as a result. Well done guys!
The Best Animated Film Was....
Ok. Take this one with a grain of salt, because I did not see Big Hero 6. But I freaking loved this movie. Believe it or not, I loved it more than How To Train Your Dragon 2. I know! Cue up all the hate coming my way now! Anyway, this movie is another example of a movie acknowledging what it is and having fun with itself. On top of being utterly hilarious, The Lego Movie features some of the highest-quality animation we've seen from a movie. The Lego Movie successfully makes you think it was shot in stop-motion animation, when in fact very little of it was. I loved it, and when you combine this with the fact that every actor brings their A game for their characters, you get my favorite animated feature of 2014. From what I saw. I know! I'm gonna see Big Hero 6 very soon....
The Best Sequel We WEren't Expecting to Be Good was.....
Yes. I made up a category so I could talk about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, what of it? Well, the predicament I had otherwise was the fact that I had a tie for best sci-fi movie of 2014, so I figured I'd highlight the main thing about this film. So, I watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes. And I thought it was decent. But that's it. There was a lot of wasted potential with the first in this prequel series to Planet of the Apes, and when I heard that they were gonna jump several years into the future without James Franco or anyone from the original I thought cash-grab! But boy was I wrong. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was very quietly one of the best big-budget action movies of 2014. The main calling card of the film are its phenomenal special effects. Which hey! You kind of need those when your main characters are monkeys. But not only that, the performance of Jason Clarke (pictured above) was also surprisingly great. He's asked to do a lot interacting with CGI monkeys, but he does it as well as anyone could have. And of course you also have group that believe Andy Serkis should've been nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his work as Caesar. That's how impressive he was. I'll even agree with them that Serkis was better than Robert Duvall in The Judge. Sigh....
The Best Science Fiction Movie Was....
So, 2014 was not the best year for Science Fiction. However, Edge of Tomorrow was not most of 2014's sci-fi movies. It's a shame that Oblivion had to come out a year before this film, because on the surface they are quite similar. And Lord knows nowadays in our society we judge a book by its cover allllll the time. But this movie separates itself from Oblivion immediately. The premise is far more interesting, the execution of said premise is better, the film looks excellent, and the action is shot in a, ya know, cohesive manner. You know, something that we should expect in 2014 but very rarely get. And, on top of all that, you have a wonderful tag team in Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. Hate on Tom Cruise all you want, but the dude is a movie star for a reason. Additionally, the editing of this film is spot on. It has to be, as the premise of the film is that Cruise keeps living the same day over and over. I loved it, and greatly enjoyed the ride on this massively underrated sci-fi flick.
The Best Action Film Was....
"People keep asking if I'm back. Ya. I'm thinkin' I'm back!" freaking John Wick, guys. If you like movies with lots of action, and you haven't seen this film yet, put it at the top of your list. No. Drop everything and go see this. This movie is the quintessential example of a movie acknowledging what it is and having fun with itself. It realizes that Keanu Reaves can only be type-casted nowadays, and as a result just let's Keanu Reaves play himself. But more importantly, the action is masterfully shot, giving you a chance to see every choreographed scene and appreciate what is going on from start-to-finish. As if this wasn't enough, the motivations behind Reaves doing what he's doing are more than understandable, so you will find yourself rooting for him throughout the entire film. To finish it all off, this movie is hilarious, from the awesome one-liners to many overall hilarious scenes throughout the film that ensure that the movie remains lighthearted and fun. I really cannot be higher on this film than I am. Easily one of the best action films I've seen in the past few years, John Wick is more than worthy of your time. Go see it!
So you might've noticed that there wasn't a romance category. Well, that's because the straight-up romantic films of 2014 basically all sucked. Yes, The Fault in Our Stars was pretty good, but that's it. That's seriously it! You can do better than that, romance genre! C'mon!
So, there are my best of each genre films! Hope you enjoyed them! Now let's finish off the top 10, ya?
3) Selma (My Review)
So, remember how I sad Top Five made me sad? Ya. Selma devastated me. This movie came out at the same time as American Sniper, and yet American Sniper has made $312 million and Selma has made only $49 million. Why, America? Why did you have to flock out to American Sniper in droves and not Selma? It even came out nationally on MLK weekend! What better way to honor MLK than by seeing one of the best films out there about him? Not only that, but easily one of the best films of the year, Selma drew me in almost immediately as Oprah Winfrey tried to register to vote and didn't let go until the credits rolled. Despite knowing this story fairly well, the movie does a spectacular job conveying it to you. Who cares about the controversy with LBJ. He's good. There's enough out there to ensure that history views LBJ the way he should be viewed: a huge supporter of the Civil Rights Movement. Couple all of this with incredible directing and one of the best performances of the year from lead David Oyelowo, and you have my third favorite film of the year! Please go see this film. Regardless of whether you are a fan of history or not, if you see American Sniper and are going to get upset over it not winning Best Picture, I'm not going to listen to you or your arguments at all until you see Selma at the very least. Done and done.
2) Boyhood (My Review)
If you follow me regularly, you may recall that I called this film a masterpiece of storytelling. Well, after seeing a lot of other films this year after watching Boyhood, I can tell you that it still is. I absolutely have gotten caught up in thinking about the technical aspects of making a 12-year project. What happens if Ethan Hawke gets in legal trouble and drops out of Hollywood six years ago? What happens if the pop culture references littered throughout this movie are not relevant in 2014? Can you imagine trying to figure out what will be relevant in the moment 10 years from now? I sure can't. However, on top of that, this story is incredible. It will make you cry on several occasions, and if you're a parent, prepare to go through the whole box of tissues in one sitting. The story is anchored by Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke, and they help guide us through a wonderful journey that is as simple as it sounds. But, you quickly begin to feel like a parent as well! You're watching this child grow up, and thus the end of this film was as emotional for me as it could have been. This movie blew me away, and is one that I definitely could recommend to anyone and everyone.
PS- Fun fact! Boyhood and my number 1 film on this list are the only two films to receive perfect 10s from me on Enter the Movies in 2014. In case you were wondering.
AND THE BEST FILM OF 2014 WAS....
1) AMERICAN SNIPER
THIS WAS A MASTERPIECE OF AMERICAN CINEMA. I DIDN'T SEE ANY OTHER FILMS IN 2014 BUT I THINK THIS IS DEFINITELY THE BEST ONE. No. Dear Stereotypical Southern Town Boy, hush up. I know you're gonna lose your crap when American Sniper doesn't win Best Picture, but you're just sound ignorant when you do. Stahp. (That's right, I went there - come at me bro)
Did you like that joke? I sure did. Now the actual number one film of the year was....
1) Whiplash (My Review)
Anyone who knows me could've called this from about 300 million miles away. But seriously. Words can't even begin to describe how good this movie is. At the time of this writing, I've already seen the movie four times, and it's only gotten better on each viewing. Featuring real drumming from Miles Teller and a terrifyingly bone-chilling performance from J.K. Simmons, Whiplash is the definition of a perfect film. A masterpiece if there ever was one, it only takes about 30 seconds for this film to grab you, and it doesn't even remotely let go until about 15 minutes after the credits have finished. Never have I ever held my hands over my face in utter shock and disbelief as I did in Whiplash. Tense doesn't even remotely begin to describe it. As if this wasn't enough, the editing of Whiplash is the best editing of the year. It screams jazz, as the shots are routinely cut in time with the background music. Additionally, the cuts are chaotic throughout the drum solos of the film as the camera frantically switches back and forth between various pieces of the kit. Don't care about music at all? This movie is still well worth your time.The character of J.K. Simmons can easily be thought of in terms of that one crazy boss you once had to deal with for a year that would do crazy things to achieve results from his employees. And, if you are a musician, HOW HAVE YOU NOT SEEN THIS MOVIE? This is the movie musicians can only dream about! It's here! For your enjoyment. A must-watch for anyone who breathes air, Whiplash is not only FAR AND AWAY the best film of 2014, (seriously, I can't even put into words how much better this film is compared to anything else on the list) but it's the best film I've ever had the privilege of reviewing on this blog. This film is quintessential embodiment of why I love cinema. And it's worth every second of your time.
Well, there you have it! My top films of the year! Even though Whiplash has no chance of winning Best Picture because it's just a little indie film that no one has ever heard of, if it does somehow win, you will absolutely hear my shouting and cheering from wherever you are. But I definitely won't be sad when it doesn't win. That said, I can't believe my coverage of 2014 is now finally done! For all those who have been following my work, I say thank you. Y'all are awesome. Give yourself a pat on the back from me! Thanks again, and I'll see ya next time on Enter the Movies! DEUCES!
No! I don't wanna! I don't wanna! (Imagine me in a fetal position rocking back and forth) I don't wanna! I don't wanna! These movies sucked so much! Why do I have to remember them? Please! Make it end! Ok. There's only one way through this. I'm just gonna take a deep breath and own it. So. Ready? These are my worst movies of 2014!
Gonna throw in a few quick mentions here of films that almost made the list. The first is....
The Other Woman
No, guys. Kate Upton can't act. Stop trying to make Kate Upton happen. It's not going to happen. Also dear Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: no. Stick to Game of Thrones. No.
Why do you still do this Cage? Why do you still take whatever money is thrown at you? The first of several Christian films on this list, Left Behind is a sheer and complete mess of a movie. It really should be higher on the list, but I love my Nicholas Cage too much to do so.
The Legend of Hercules
CRAPPY ACTION! LOUD SAM WORTHINGTON-ESQUE YELLING AS WE DO DRAMATIC STUFF. OBJECTIFYING WOMEN LEFT AND RIGHT. Quintessential guy movie, right? Wait, what are characters? Character development? Those two words don't even make any sense to me! Cohesive, logical action? Well, why do that when Michael Bay makes as much money as he does with his movies! Sigh....
And now onto the bottom 10. I'm already depressed, particularly by this next one.
10) The Amazing Spider-Man 2
THANK GOD SONY FINALLY GAVE SPIDER-MAN BACK TO MARVEL. This is a result of all of you, guys. Be proud of yourself for making this steaming pile of crap the biggest commercial failure of the franchise and thus convincing Sony to give the character back to Marvel. You know what? Just stop everything. Give yourself a pat on the back. From me. And for those that still haven't seen this movie, do it again! Because this movie sucks. It's such a shame too because I love just about every actor in this film. I've been on the Andrew Garfield train ever since The Social Network. I've been on the Emma Stone train since Zombieland. I've been on the Dane DeHaan train since Chronicle. But the movie is executed sooooo poorly! And the writing sucks! Why do we need a back story on Jamie Foxx when he's just going to become the most standard comic book villain imaginable? WHO CARES? And there's no tension in the final fight. Why? Because there is not a single real thing on screen when they are fighting in that power plant that clearly wouldn't exist ANYWHERE. It's 100% CGI-Michael Bay action. Why? Why you do this? Thank God we don't have to sit through another...
9) The Gambler
Hi Mark Wahlberg. How are you? Ya. You look at that floor in shame. You know what you did. For those of you following me regularly (thanks again, by the way) you may have noticed I gave our friend Wahlberg over there my award for the actor with the worst 2014. Both his films are on this list. And they are both on the list in part because he's in it. This film asks Wahlberg to be the most charismatic and charming English teacher in existence who goes on "epic" monologues to prove points to students. Except, here's the problem: that person doesn't exist. Anywhere. This film is one monologue after another. And the only ones you even remotely care about are the ones out of John Goodman's mouth. That's it. And he's only in a few scenes. Oh! And you know that really talented actress Brie Larson? You know, from awesome films such as 21 Jump Street, The Spectacular Now, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World? Ya, you should make sure she has a lot to do, right? Naaaaaaah. Let's have a play a role that anyone on the face of the planet could play. And give her 3 scenes to create an effective love story with Mark Wahlberg. Ya. Nailed it. Moving on now.
8) God's Not Dead
Hey! Another Christian film! Look. I get this film appeals to a specific audience. But why do you have to do it so poorly? This film ignores a few very basic rules of filmmaking, like randomly changing cameras at various points in the film. You don't usually notice something like that, but when its this obvious you sure do. All the sudden the quality of film lowers drastically for various scenes it was weird. But, of course, you have paper-thin characters, and of course all the non God-loving people are the worst people on the face of the earth, basically being comic book villains because, you know, Christians can't have anyone challenge their beliefs! This movie at least tried to take a slightly different approach to the Christian genre by not sticking strictly to a Bible story, but when that's what you have to do to try to find the good points of a film.....that's not good. Why must the Christian genre be completely lacking in production value? Sigh....
Guys - it was a good year for Adam Sandler. He didn't work with Dennis Dugan, also known as the worst director in Hollywood, and the rest of his posse on a crappy film and he only made $6 million all year with the films he did make! He showed up in only two films. His first, Blended, brought back the only good thing about Adam Sandler films in the last 10-15 years in Drew Barrymore, while his second, Men, Women & Children, avoided the theater altogether! So, a good year! Right? Well, even though Drew Barrymore is in this, and even though she is as charming as ever, this movie still sucks. There's one or two laughs (which is more than Sandler's Grown Ups 2, which was my worst movie of 2013) but that's it. And there's still really annoying product placement. And all the women are still being objectified. And it's still a cash-grab. But hey! That's why it's on the list, right? You suck, Adam Sandler. Please. Please stop. Drew Barrymore is essentially the only reason this movie is not higher on the list. But you still suck. And you still need to either get your act together or get out of the business. Shame on you.
Oh boy this movie. Oh boy. I can barely even remember anything about it at this point, other than the fact that I was so hopeful for it! The premise sounded like it was going to be a ton of fun. And then, the film just failed on every. Single. Level. It's honestly amazing to see such an interesting idea fail to such an epic degree. The movie isn't even lazy. The movie just doesn't care. Johnny Depp doesn't care. Kate Mara is in this film for like 3 minutes. Morgan Freeman shows up for no reason! This movie is the definition of a cash grab. The only person who even remotely cares, and thus is the only saving grace of the film, is Rebecca Hall. She has the closest thing to human emotion in this film as she struggles with the AI Johnny Depp character, but other than that there is absolutely no emotion in this film. When there should be emotion at every turn. What a wasted premise.
5) Transformers: Age of Extinction
F*ck you, Michael Bay. Why can't your giant action films have any sort of cohesion? Why can't we tell where anything is in relation to anything else? Why did I have to force myself through the first three of these films over the summer in order to get "hyped" for the fourth one? Why? Because I like to torture myself. That's why. And to anyone who wants to try to defend this piece of crap, go watch Godzilla. Watch that film, and then tell me Transformers 4 is any good at all. Because it's not the best of starts for a film when the bar is Godzilla and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Now imagine giant EXPLOSIONS occurring behind me as I type this. Cause explosions make everything more dramatic, right?
4) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Oh ya, and then there's this one! Cause one Michael Bay summer blockbuster wasn't enough! It's hard to believe that this film is worse than Transformers 4. Look. Here's the thing with this film versus Transformers 4. They are both shot terribly, they both don't have a story, and they are both shot terribly, (that's how bad the cinematography of these films are, they must be mentioned twice) but at least Transformers 4's explosions look decent. (You just can't really see them to truly admire them) At least the sound isn't a complete mess. TMNT couldn't even get those right! Which is kind of important when your main characters are pure CGI! But the turtles look like crap, they sound like crap, and that's on top of everything else being terrible! And why is Megan Fox in this? Megan Fox has never been a good actress. She's in the business for one reason and one reason only, and it really bothers me that this is the case. We all know why. Just Google Megan Fox and you'll see. Here's the thing, though: this movie starts as acknowledging the fact that it's a big stupid action movie. It starts by having a bit of fun. But as soon as the turtles show up, it becomes a serious action movie. But you don't care! You could not care less about these horribly written characters. It is really hard to have it both ways, especially when the story is as generic as humanly possible. The only thing this movie has going for it is the fact that it's short. Much shorter than Transformers. Thank God for that.
3) Exodus: Gods and Kings
I'm sorry for the people I'm about to piss off with this statement. Ridley Scott is the single most overrated director in Hollywood. Plain and simple. Yes. He has had a few great films. Alien, Gladiator, Blade Runner, and one or two others. But, he's been on a role for the past few years with some TERRIBLE movies. American Gangster, Body of Lies, Robin Hood, Prometheus, and The Counselor are all either below average or just flat-out terrible. And the bar doesn't get any higher with Exodus: Gods and Kings. How many times have we seen the Moses story, again? I've lost count. But the problem is Ridley Scott thinks he's better than he is, so as a result we get this uber serious film that's horribly written, horribly shot, and full of cash-grab performances. Which is a damn shame when you have Christian Bale, who's famously known for being absorbed into his performances, Joel Edgerton, Aaron Paul, Ben Kingsley, and Signourney Weaver. So, I sat through this INCREDIBLY long 150 minute film wondering to myself, why does this film exist? Well, it all comes back to the religious audience. This movie is the embodiment of studios beginning to realize that there is a rapidly growing religious audience that have to see their faith recreated in film. All they have to do is throw a decent budget together, and have a big marketing campaign behind the film, and it'll make bank. This movie plays things incredibly safe from a biblical perspective, and just basically retells the story of Moses the way Christian audiences want to see it. The film doesn't even bother to hire, you know, ethnically-correct actors for this movie. Why? Because they know Christian audiences don't care about that sort of thing! They just care that these films are made so they can feel like they are living their faith by seeing it. Look. I'm not bashing the Christian faith. I'm just saying there has to be a better way to live your faith than by seeing a movie. There has to be! Because at this point, these religious films have stopped caring about quality, and only care about quantity. It's just a shame that Ridley Scott had to lower himself to this level.
Ok guys. Let me set this up for you: how about we have a musical with actors who can't sing and then ask them to sing? Not only that, but let's modernize all the classic songs from the musical with a really generic pop beat! How's that? Do we have a good movie? Ya. Really nailed it. WHO'S IDEA WAS THIS? No! I want to know. I WANT TO KNOW. THAT PERSON NEEDS TO BE FIRED. Everything about this movie sucks, including every actor that accepted a paycheck to be in this movie. That includes you, Rose Byrne. I may love you, and you may have impressed me greatly in Neighbors, but this is a major step backwards in your career. Don't do it again. I'm also talking to you, Jamie Foxx. You accepted two big paydays and delivered lazy performances in both of them in 2014 between Annie and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Is this really what your gonna do with your Django Unchained fame? I WAS JUST STARTING TO LIKE YOU, JAMIE FOXX. And then there's Quvenzhane Wallis. Bless your soul. I understand that you have to take everything that's offered to you right now, but please: next time your director has no idea what they're doing, just....kick them! Ya. Violence always works, right? Please don't do this again. I honestly had more fun watching the film try to hide the fact that Cameron Diaz doesn't even know what the word "sing" means than I did with anything else here. And this Cameron Diaz can't sing "storyline" had a dramatic conclusion when suddenly Diaz had the final solo of the whole entire movie. Good job guys! Way to really leave on a high note. See that? That's a pun. I'm so funny! Seriously. Don't see this movie.
And the worst movie of 2014 was....
1) Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas
Yup! It's all been leading to this. That's right. I watched this film. Or rather tried to, because despite it's INCREDIBLY short 80 minute runtime, I gave up. I got 40 minutes in and realized that I had better things to do! And stopped watching it. This is the first time I've ever done this in my career of calling myself an amateur film critic. I struggled through Grown Ups 2. I even struggled through Manos: The Hands of Fate for you guys! But never have I struggled so much with a film that I gave up trying to watch it. That's why I didn't review it in the first place. It's that bad. So we're gonna talk about it now, ok? Ok.
So, the problems with this movie begin right from the start. This movie has no demographic. It's obviously a Christian film, but it proceeds to bash Christians for not knowing enough about their faith. Which is just impressive when you think about it. This movie goes out of its way to shame its audience while they are forcing themselves through it. Then it fails on every other possible level. It ignores fundamental rules of filmmaking, such as the invisible wall rule which I never would've thought I'd see a modern movie breaking, and features terrible performances from everyone involved. This movie is simply just inept on every level. Half of this movie felt like Kirk Cameron just rubbing his own ego. He's not even the lead in this! The lead, played by "director" Darren Doane who's (of course) named Christian, is doubting his faith and the fact that Christmas has become such a materialistic holiday with the religious connotations completely lost underneath it. But don't worry! Kirk Cameron is here to save the day! He'll explain to you why materialism is actually a good thing for Christians and how it helps validate the faith! WHAT? WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? At this point, any potential moviegoer has either been alienated by the premise or completely insulted, and starts to realize that they have better things to do with their life. Remember how I've been talking about the fact that the Christian genre is around nowadays to ensure that Christians can "live their faith" by seeing these films? Well, this movie was made by one of those Christians. And we get his totally illogical and incomprehensible take on our countries current stance on the holidays and how messed up it is and it's all shot horribly in just a car and it feels like it was shot in the course of 3 days at Kirk Cameron's house and....GAH! Even explaining this film doesn't make sense to me! NOTHING IS REAL ANY MORE. WE ARE ALL PART OF A COMPUTER PROGRAM KNOWN AS THE MATRIX. Yup. I've lost my mind just thinking about this film. Go home Kirk Cameron. You're drunk. Please save us from your films. Please.
So...uh....there you have it. I kind of feel weird right now, because trying to understand Saving Christmas exploded part of my brain. However, I hope to come back tomorrow and check out my top 10 movies of 2014! Hopefully I'll collect the particles of my brain that are lying around on the floor by then.....
Hello everyone! And welcome to Enter the Movies FIRST ANNUAL AWESOME ACTOR AWARDS! WOOOO! Cue the cheering! AND THE CROWD GOES WILD! This will become a yearly tradition that will seek to highlight the actors and actresses who had the best performances of the past year. After highlighting our top 10 best single performances of the year, we will proceed to give out INDIVIDUAL AWARDS to the actors and actresses who had the best (and worst) overall year in 2014. Additionally, we will also give out awards for the best breakout stars of the year, the comeback kid, and who to watch out for in 2015! Ok, so are you ready? LET'S GO!
First off, I wanted to highlight a few honorable mentions from the past year in terms of single performances. This list is such a coveted list (obviously) that everyone tries to get on it, so it's really difficult for me to try to select 10 most worthy choices. (The Academy has nothing on Enter the Movies Awesome Annual Actor Awards of course) So, the honorable mentions are.....
Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, 22 Jump Street
These two are like peanut butter and jelly. I can't help but love 'em. This movie was as funny as it was simply because of these two hilarious actors and their bro-like chemistry. You gotta love it.
Laura Dern, Wild
Not to be lost in this movie of acting greatness is Laura Dern. She doesn't have a whole lot of scenes in this film, but she's asked to do sooooo much in her limited screen time as Witherspoon's mother. And this classic 80s and 90s actress reminds us in a great way that she's still got it 2014.
Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel
One of the more overlooked performances of 2014 was Ralph Fiennes in Grand Budapest Hotel. The movie is known for its cinematographical symmetries (that's a thing now) and its incredible set design, but we forget that Ralph Fiennes reminded us just how good he is as an actor. This performance also showed us a side of Fiennes we haven't really seen before: this man's comedic timing is fantastic. The dude is HILARIOUS in this film. A great departure from the previous excellent but serious films he's done.
Jennifer Aniston, Cake
Easily the most overlooked performance for a female this year by the Academy, Jennifer Aniston dropped a phenomenal performance in the movie Cake. Any movie that has Jennifer Aniston crying in it is well worth the watch. Additionally, it's worth noting that this performance is quantifiable acting, as Aniston gained a ton of weight for the role. I only mention this because the Academy LOVES quantifiable acting, so it makes me even more confused as to why she was overlooked for Best Actress. Oh well....go see this for her!
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
This performance just BARELY missed my top 10. It was a great one, for sure, but at the end of the day it's quantifiable acting at its finest. I don't have anything against that by any means, but that's pretty much all this role brings to the table. I really felt that emotionally Eddie Redmayne pretty much just hit one note throughout the entire film, and his chemistry with Felicity Jones could have been better. This is why this performance misses my top 10. That said, this performance is the best quantifiable performance of the year. But don't worry! If you thought this was the best overall performance of 2014 I have a feeling the Academy is going to agree with you!
Alright! Y'all ready for my top 10? Here we go!
10) Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
God I love this movie. Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain are incredibly talented stars in Hollywood, and have a knack for always putting in some of the best acting I see in films nowadays. So, what happens when you put these two great stars together? Pure greatness. Both Isaac and Chastain shine in A Most Violent Year, and not only that, but their chemistry together is so human and real. The little itty bits of romance that are sprinkled in this movie between the two characters are significantly better than a whole host of romance flicks out there right now, which is why I said in my review that this movie would make for a fantastic adult date flick. Their chemistry is definitely better than Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan! C'mon, moviegoers! Go out and see real films with a real relationship like A Most Violent Year! Not the crazy fantasy of 50 Shades!
9) Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Benedict Cumberbatch can do no wrong. My undeniable bromance in Hollywood, I am 100% biased when it comes to this man, so take everything I say about him with a grain of salt. But I'd like to think placing him here and not higher is a rather objective placement of his performance on the list. He's great as the lead in this movie, putting in the best performance of his movie career. Personally I'll still take him in Sherlock any day of the week, but let's be real: it's pretty hard to top Sherlock. That said, he does deliver a very human and grounded performance in The Imitation Game, and he really hits it out of the park as he deals with the lack of acceptance in Britain for his sexuality. I can't wait to see what he does next!
8) Julianne Moore, Still Alice
So I had my quirks about this movie and the total lack of production value, but I cannot deny the fact that Julianne Moore delivers a harrowing and downright heart-wrenching performance as Alice. Once again quite a bit of quantifiable acting, watching Alice's battle against Alzheimer's, and the performance Julianne Moore provides in order to convey this, is easily worth the price of admission alone. Even if this is the only thing this movie has to offer. The heavy HEAVY favorite to win Best Actress at the Oscars (going at 1-80 currently in Vegas) this performance easily qualifies for this list, even though personally I do not think it was the best performance by a female in 2014. We'll get there.
7) Bill Hader, The Skeleton Twins
I freaking love Bill Hader. He and Kristen Wiig have now performed in several movies since they performed together all the time on SNL, (remember their debut in Knocked Up?) and their chemistry has only gotten better in the years since. However, I'm just giving this spot solely to Hader because of how good he as his character, a homosexual with a dark past. Not only that, but his scenes with Ty Burrell are some of the best scenes of the entire movie. With the help of some fantastic writing, the scenes between Burrell and Hader were heartbreaking and incredibly real, drawing a bit of moist to my eye more than once. If the fantastic lip sync scene between Hader and Wiig isn't enough to get you to watch this movie, then maybe the scenes between Hader and Burrell will!
6) Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, and Emma Stone, Birdman
Basically the entire cast of this movie makes the list. While the story was a bit too out there for me at times, the performances in this movie more than make up for it. However, I'll narrow it down to three from this movie in Keaton, Norton, and Stone. More specifically, Keaton and Norton's interactions together coupled with Norton and Stone's interactions together. So, Michael Keaton has been dormant for a few years, as everyone knows. However, he has come storming back in this film, delivering a performance that is both powerful, hilarious, and satiristic in nature. Seriously. The dude is basically playing a parody of himself. And his undeniable chemistry with Edward Norton is also incredible. But then to depart from the over-the-top nature of Michael Keaton, you have an incredibly grounded performance from Emma Stone. I have loved this girl ever since her role in Zombieland, and she is only getting better with time. She, too, has outstanding chemistry with Edward Norton. And then there's Edward Norton as an individual! Oy vey, so many great performances in this movie! But Edward Norton is also over-the-top and hilarious here, following up his rather limited but excellent performance in The Grand Budapest Hotel with an even better, crazier, and more unpredictable performance here in Birdman. 2014 was a damn good year for Edward Norton!
Ok, so everyone before these last five performances were great, but the top 5 were in a league of their own in 2014. It was very difficult to decide which performances to put where, but I think I did it right!
5) David Oyelowo, Selma
Ok. Do me a favor. Go watch Interstellar and observe Oyelowo's performance in that, and then go watch his performance as MLK in Selma. You. Cannot. Recognize. Him. Oyelowo's performance in Selma raises the bar for what I expect out of a lead in a biopic. It's tough, really, for a recognizable actor to be completely absorbed into a performance. For you to no longer see the actor, but rather see the character he is playing. And Oyelowo accomplishes this and makes it look easy in the process while playing the late Reverend. It really devastates me that on MLK weekend everyone saw American Sniper and not Selma. I had faith in America before that, but the fact that our society wanted to watch another "America: f*ck ya!" movie over a movie that legitimately makes you uncomfortable while simultaneously pulling on your heartstrings with the performance of its lead. This movie was going to live or die based on Oyelowo's performance. And the movie easily made it into my top 10. You do the math. Please. Please. Please go see this movie.
4) Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
The Amazing Amy. Boy, did Rosamund Pike deliver the definition of an unforgettable performance in this movie. She is haunting, mysterious, and full of intrigue as she flawlessly executes a brilliantly written character in the Amazing Amy. While sadly Ben Affleck was not the best as the lead here, and Neal Patrick Harris, while great, was sort of misplaced, Rosamund Pike more than made up for it. This is absolutely a career-defining performance from one of the best British actresses in Hollywood right now. This performance has stood out in my mind through countless other movies, and still has made it into my top five when it was all said and done. Return to Sender is another mysterious and intriguing movie that's forthcoming from her, and I seriously can't wait to see this. Say what you want about this movie, but you cannot deny the greatness of Pike's performance.
3) J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
The best supporting performance I've seen from an actor in a loooooooooong time. I really could just leave it at that. His performance in Whiplash is terrifying, unpredictable, unforgettable, and diverse. J.K. Simmons has been on a bit of a downslope the last few years, but if his performance here doesn't bring him right back into the forefront of the business, I don't know what will. With Whiplash, Simmons reminded us in spectacular fashion why he is one of the best character actors of the last two decades.
2) Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Easily the best performance from a female in 2014, Reese Witherspoon blew me away in Wild. She is indescribable as the lead, holding this movie up with her bare hands and never letting go from start to finish. For most of the movie, she's by herself in this survival tale, much like Sandra Bullock was in Gravity, but Witherspoon simply blows the role out of the water. She bares all, and spares no expense in really putting herself and her dignity on the line in this movie. And she nails it. She absolutely nails it. Before this movie, I had always thought of Witherspoon as a great actress to star in rom-coms. Someone who seemed to act like she was above the rest of the crowd. So I was very skeptical that she could deliver going into this movie. After all this role required such a human and grounded performance from its lead. Boy did she prove me wrong. I know I've been saying this a lot, but this movie is worth seeing just for her performance alone. It takes about 30 seconds of film to see it, and she doesn't let go until the credits roll. I wish the Academy would not hold her 2013 over her head and give her a very deserving Best Actress award at the Oscars, but it seems like it will take more than one unforgettable performance to change their minds. Oh well....
And the Best performance of 2014 was...
1) Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
I don't even know where to begin with this performance. So Jake Gyllenhaal has a knack for taking on out-of-this world, Johnny-Depp like characters and making them feel human, real, and simultaneously heinous and unnatural. Honestly, he does it better than Johnny Depp does nowadays. But it's been a while since Gyllenhaal has really embraced a character like he does in Nightcrawler. And when Jake Gyllenhaal embraces a character.....you know you're watching greatness unfold in front of you. And that's exactly what you get here. Hands-down the best performance of 2014, Jake Gyllenhaal's performance in Nightcrawler was criminally overlooked by the Academy this year. Why? Well, probably because the movie came out waaaaaaaaay back on October 31. Gyllenhaal is asked to convey just about every emotion imaginable, all while displaying an uncanny and brutally realistic lack of caring for human life. A performance that I will not be forgetting anytime soon, Jake Gyllenhaal's role in Nightcrawler was easily the best of 2014.
So, there's my top 10 best performances of the year! Now that Jake Gyllenhaal is holding his coveted award for Nightcrawler, let's hand out a few more individual awards, ya?
The Breakout Actress of 2014 was...
Emily Blunt! Come on down! First, you outperformed Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow, despite fairly limited screen time and a great performance from arguably the biggest action star on the planet. Then, you outperformed one of Hollywood's best in the form of Meryl Streep in Into the Woods! With this role and the huge amount of diversity you have displayed on the screen in 2014, you have broken out squarely into the mainstream and are now among Hollywood's elite. Even though you weren't given a Best Supporting Actress nomination, (Meryl Streep was nominated on her name alone, as well as so the Academy could, you know, nominate her again and not give her another Oscar....again) we all know you deserved it over Streep. For years, you took whatever you were offered while displaying a huge amount of diversity with your talent, but now you can finally pick and chooser your roles. The sky's the limit, Emily Blunt. I can't wait to see what you do next.
The Breakout Actor of 2014 was...
This was a very close one, as both Miles Teller and Chadwick Boseman had fantastic 2014s. However, I'm givin' this award to Teller. Teller had a phenomenal 2014, and a very busy one too. You started the year with Whiplash. While we will remember J.K. Simmons performance, his chemistry with you made him as great as he was. And we can't forget the fact that you did all the drumming in that film yourself! This is impressive in and of itself. Then you went on and embraced your bro persona in That Awkward Moment. While that film was torpedoed by a terrible performance from Zac Efron, as well as a poor script and not-the-best directing, you were easily the best part of the film. But you weren't done. Then you continued the bro persona in Two Night Stand, a totally overlooked but oddly decent romance film from the later half of the year. You made audiences everywhere hate you in Divergent, but only because you were once again so good! However now the bar has been set. You have been asked to lead the remake of The Fantastic Four, (playing Mr. Fantastic) and I look forward to seeing you shine once again there and in Insurgent as well. You broke out for me in 2014 in your follow-ups to The Spectacular Now, but these two upcoming performances in 2015 are what's going to make him a household name. Just you wait.
The Feel-Good Comeback Story of 2014 was...
How could Reese Witherspoon not win this award? You came back in a big way in 2014. After having major troubles with the law in 2013, to me it appeared that you were all but done in Hollywood. But then, you were offered a role in the little indie film Wild, and you put your heart and sole into the performance. This definitely reminded us all just how great an actress you really are, while simultaneously putting in the best performance of any actress in 2014 with it. Zero to hero in no time flat, as some might say. But you weren't done. You quickly followed that up with a phenomenal performance in another great and overlooked indie film, The Good Lie. And then you showed up in the latest from Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice, cause why not? But it's her work in Wild that got her this award. She's in good company too. Last year the award went to Matthew McConaughey, who proceeded to win an Oscar for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club, and the year before that it was won by Ben Affleck, who proceeded to win an Oscar for Best Picture in Argo, a movie which he directed and starred in. So, not saying this trend is going to continue with you on Oscar night, but if you don't win then you will at least have this award, right? And Enter the Movies is cooler than the Oscars anyway!
The Actress with the worst 2014 was...
No. Bad Cameron Diaz. You come up here. Look down at the floor in shame. You were once my favorite actress in Hollywood. I loved you in films like Being John Malkovich, Gangs of New York, Shrek, and Knight and Day. (That last movie was seriously freaking fun) Heck, I even defended you in Bad Teacher! But then you showed up in a very cash-grabby role in The Counselor. I summed it up to the fact that Ridley Scott is easily the most overrated director in Hollywood. But then....but then 2014 came around and you showed up in The Other Woman, Sex Tape, and Annie. Three of the worst films of the year. YOU CAN'T EVEN SING! WHY ARE YOU IN A MUSICAL WHEN YOU CAN'T SING? Look, Cameron. Real talk for a second. I'm worried about you. I look at your upcoming films, and right now I only see a sequel to Bad Teacher for you. That's it. You were once great, Cameron Diaz. You can be again. You just have to remember what made you great! I believe in you, gurl. You can do this! Now get back out there, and remind us just how great you are!
The Actor with the Worst 2014 was...
Oh no, Mark Wahlberg. You didn't think you were gonna get away without a scratch, did you? Oh no. I've got some words for you. You know you are the poster child for a man who can turn his life around, right? Because that's exactly what you did. The early 2000s were rough on you, but in recent years you were really turning it around! Films like The Fighter and The Lone Survivor were outstanding action films because of you. Heck even Contraband was a heck of a lot better than it would have been because of your performance. Not only that, you showed us that you also have unbelievable comedic timing in Seth MacFarlane's Ted, and then you combined your humor and wit with your action side in a great film from 2013 in 2 Guns. And then 2014 happened. And then you cash-grabbed. Sure there were only two performances in the year, but both of these films are finding their way into my bottom 10 worst movies of the year in Transformers 4 and The Gambler. And you're in both of them for one reason and one reason only: money. No. You are too good for that, Mark. You are too young and too much of a bright symbol amongst us moviegoers to cash-grab. Please, for the good of moviegoers everywhere, stop. Continue your meteoric rise that you were on in 2013. You're better than this, Mark. Shame on you.
The Best Actress of 2014 was...
Jessica Chastain! Boy was 2014 good to you. You had been flirting with greatness for years, putting in great performances in movies like Zero Dark Thirty and Lawless. But, you were still waiting on that break you deserved. Well, I think it's safe to say you got it in 2014. Easily stealing the show in everything you did, you shined in Miss Julie, Interstellar, and A Most Violent Year. With the help of Oscar Isaac, you found your way into my top ten performances of the year earlier on this list for your work in the last film I mentioned. Rapidly setting yourself up to be the next Julia Roberts, you have more greatness coming your way in 2015 as you work with the great director Guillermo Del Toro in the mysterious Crimson Peak, as well as The Martian. Despite the fact that the later there is directed by Ridley Scott, if there's someone out there who can draw the last bit of greatness out of this director, it's you. Even though you were criminally overlooked by the Academy this year, you are not being overlooked by Enter the Movies. Keep being you, Jessica Chastain. You are destined for great things.
The Best Actor of 2014 was...
Chris Pratt! I mean, how could it not be Chris Pratt right? You might not be nominated for anything, but then again who needs an Oscar nomination to suddenly find yourself in basically every top grossing film of the next 20 years? I still remember the days when you were in incredibly limited supporting roles in movies like 2013's Her, or 2011's Moneyball, or 2008's Wanted. (Remember his incredibly limited role in that? Check it out for the lols) You even took a role that was doomed to fail in 2013 showing up in Vince Vaughn's disastrous film Delivery Man. But then, it was as if a switch turned on in your head, and you decided that you were going to go from little supporting role actor with a small following from your time on TV show Parks and Recreation to one of Hollywood's elite seemingly overnight. You started this trend by leading an incredible cast in The Lego Movie. You nailed that. Then, you followed that up with a charismatic and hilarious performance as Starlord in Guardians of the Galaxy, a performance which just barely missed my list from earlier. Now, you are signed up to be the lead in Jurassic World, and you're the heavy favorite to be the next Indiana Jones, as well as leading the remake of The Magnificent Seven. 30 years from now, after you have long since made himself the new Harrison Ford, we'll look to 2014 as the year you began your dominance in Hollywood. Oh what the future has in store for you, my friend.
The Actress to watch out for in 2015 is...
Shailene Woodley had just as good a year as Emily Blunt did in 2014. The only reason she's down here and Blunt is up there is because Woodley's upcoming schedule looks a bit more appealing at the moment than Blunt's. As I said before, Blunt is finally to the point where she can pick and choose her roles, whereas Woodley is still taking anything that's offered to her. Anyway, where was I? Right. Shailene, you broke out in a big way in 2014 with your work on Divergent, which, combined with your work in 2013's The Spectacular Now, has most certainly put you in the mainstream amongst a younger generation of moviegoers. While currently the only thing on the upcoming list for 2015 is the sequel to Divergent, you are definitely someone I'm gonna keep an eye on to lead other great films. Watch out for Shailene Woodley, everyone. She is damn good at what she does.
The Actor to Watch out for in 2015 is...
You heard it here first today, folks. Watch out for Oscar Isaac in 2015. This man has been showing greatness for years with movies like Drive, Won't Back Down, Inside Llewyn Davis, and A Most Violent Year. However, a criminally large amount of the population is still unaware of your greatness. Well, this won't last much longer. You are the lead in what is far and away 2015's most anticipated movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and, as if that was not enough, you were recently announced as the man who will play Apocalypse in one of 2016's most anticipated films, X-Men: Apocalypse. If you bring the same talent you have been bringing to your films in these upcoming two movies, you will blow audiences everywhere away. And you're playing everything right, too. These are the only two films upcoming on your list right now. You are devoting every ounce of yourself to these roles. You are setting yourself up for success, my friend. Look out, folks. By the end of this year Oscar Isaac will be a household name.
Well, there you have it! With all the awards given, I am officially declaring Enter the Movies First Annual Awesome Actor's Awards for 2015 an unparalleled success! Congratulations to all actors and actresses who walked away with awards, including the not-so-nice ones. (Let that be a wakeup call for you) I hope you, the audience, has been entertained throughout the awards show, and thanks for reading! I'll see ya next time with my Worst Movies of 2014 list! DEUCES!
Sigh.....I don't want to do this. I DON'T WANNA. No? Gotta do it? Well, ok. These are my most disappointing films of 2014! Note I'm saying disappointing. Not worst. These are not the worst films of the year. I just....I expected more from these films, and what I got was.....not that. That's what this list is. So, are you ready? I'm not. Let's do this!
Honorable Mention: The Interview
First off, gonna do an honorable mention. Remember when this was the official America: F*ck ya! movie? It seems so long ago and American Sniper did successfully make us completely forget about this film, but there was a time waaaaay back in December when everyone in the country wanted to see this movie because of the controversy that surrounded it. Then we saw it, and we realized that it was only alright. I'd love to see the analytics of how the movie is doing on Netflix now that it's there. My guess would honestly be that it's not doing so well. Or, not as well as they would've hoped. But ya. If you want to read my review of the film click here, if not just now this: it was incredibly forgettable. Hell, you probably saw it back then, and saw this picture and said oh ya! I remember this! But can't remember anything about this movie other than the fact that it had something to do with North Korea. Oh well. Moving on.
5) A Million Ways to Die in the West
I. Love. Seth. MacFarlane. The man can do no wrong. Unless if he puts himself in an Old West setting. Seriously though. THIS WAS THE FOLLOW UP TO TED? I know comedy is incredibly hit-and-miss, and I'm sure there were some people who loved this film, but after such an original and fun idea in Ted, you follow that up with an incredibly lazy and ridiculous Old West comedy? Really? C'mon, Seth. Were it not for the dance scene where Neil Patrick Harris got to be himself, this movie would've been a lot higher on the list. But at least that existed. Oh, and that's another point: there are sooooo many good people in this movie! And they almost all suck! Charlize Theron and Liam Neeson are just going through the motions. Amanda Seyfried can't really act in anything, (sorry for laying the smackdown on ya there Seyfried but it's true) and Seth MacFarlane is, well, not funny in this movie. HOW IS SETH MACFARLANE NOT FUNNY? Giovani Ribisi and Neil Patrick Harris are in this for a criminally short amount of time, and they are about the only good things about this movie. But at the end of the day it's just not funny! This is new Family Guy, not old Family Guy. And with a Ted sequel upcoming this year lacking one (1) Mila Kunis because of her work on the "masterpiece" Jupiter Ascending, (who's replaced with Seyfried, of course) my hopes are not too high for this year and Seth MacFarlane films. But Mark Wahlberg is coming back! That's good, right? After his stellar (cough cough) 2014. Don't you worry, folks: Mark Wahlberg's "great" 2014 will show up in full in a later list. That you don't want to be on. But I still believe, Seth! I know there is still greatness left in you! Somewhere!
4) American Sniper
I really don't want to talk about this film any more. Hey, didn't I say that already? Well, look. Let me just say this is the last time you're gonna hear my talk about this film. And this time, I'm gonna pick on the marketing campaign. This is not a bad movie. However, I was disappointed that Warner Brothers spent millions on a HUGE marketing campaign for the film marketing us something that the film is not. They marketed the film as a tale of morality, featuring a person who LITERALLY has someone's life in their hands and his struggle to decide to pull the trigger or not. Don't remember what I'm talking about? Well, let me help you out! Here's the TV spot we all saw over and over. Now, maybe you saw another one a lot, but in my area of the world this was the spot (or a similar spot showing this scene) that was played multiple times during football commercials from December 1 all the way through the Super Bowl. So, obviously, I'm expecting a lot of scenes with the tension of a difficult decision like the one Kyle faces in that ad. Did I get that? Absolutely not. That's only were my problems begin with this film, and if you want to see my review on the movie click here, but I don't really feel like going any further into it than that. To sum up, the reason this film is on this list is simply because it was marketed as something that it is not. There. I'm moving on and OFFICIALLY putting this film out of my mind forever. Until I write a paper about it for a class next week. Yikes....
Ahhhhhhh Interstellar. Did you know this film was actually two stories mashed up into one? Do you know when the first one ends and the second one begins? I sure can. I'll give you a hint: it's right around the time where this movie starts to SUCK. So, the first two acts of this film are phenomenal. Like....Best Picture candidate phenomenal. But then the film redefines FLYING off the handle. It starts right around the point where a very recognizable actor shows up. It's at this point that this film decides out of NOWHERE to enter the realm of COMPLETE science fiction, and as a result TOTALLY lost me. Now don't get me wrong: I don't have anything against a good sci-fi movie. However, for two acts this movie is anything but science fiction, (it's more like science realism in the first two acts) so to see it do a complete 180 and become this totally fictional....thing....is really disappointing. And what's worse is the Christopher Nolan fan club will defend this movie to their dying breath. These people were furious when Interstellar was "snubbed" at the Oscars, and simply chalked it up to the preconceived notion that the Academy hates Christopher Nolan. Hey guys: maybe if you watch this film from a much less biased standpoint you'd realize the cold hard truth: this movie crashes and burns pretty spectacularly in the third act. That's why it received very little love from the Academy. And, while it is absolutely gorgeous to look at, that doesn't make up for the fact that this third act sucks.
2) The Hobbit 3
F*CK YOU PETER JACKSON. NO. WHY YOU DO THIS TO THE LORD OF THE RINGS? WHY YOU CASH GRAB? I GAVE THIS UNNECESSARY TRILOGY THREE CHANCES. AND ALL THREE TIMES, I WAS DISAPPOINTED. BECAUSE OF YOU, PETER JACKSON. Look, two films, I get. There's a lot here! And you wanted to throw in some extra stuff. Great! BUT THREE FILMS? SERIOUSLY? And all we get here in The Hobbit 3 (not even going to give it the respect of calling it by its real name) is the COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY resolution of the Smaug plot line 15 minutes in (SERIOUSLY- WHY IS THIS HERE? WHY IS THIS NOT IN THE SECOND ONE? WHY DID WE HAVE TO GET A CLIFFHANGER?) and then about two hours of FIGHT SCENES. Because, you know, remember the part where Return of the King was 90% fight scenes? With no drama or even FREAKING context attached to it whatsoever? I sure don't! You know, I'm glad the Tolkien estate has stood up for the intellectual property and vowed no more LOTR movies for the foreseeable future. I hope we don't get any more LOTR movies until after Peter Jackson dies. (5 years ago I would've never said that) By that point I'll be ok with remaking the trilogy. I'd even be ok with splitting each book into two films so the movies could be even more loyal to the books! I would honestly be ok with that. But THREE MOVIES FOR THE HOBBIT? REALLY? You know what else I can't believe? When I first heard that they were gonna split The Hobbit franchise into three films, I actually defended the decision. In my mind I thought, it's Peter Jackson! The man can do no wrong! But boy, how wrong was I. Shame on you, Peter Jackson. What you did to The Hobbit is legitimately unforgivable, and I will hate you forever because of it. Shame on you.
1) The Third Act
This is honestly the entire reason this list was created. Easily the biggest disappointment of 2014 was the fact that so many films simply could not finish their stories in the third act! We saw it first in January with Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. What initially started out as a very sharp and well-executed spy flick that was super tense gets muddied into a generic "the good guys have everything" movie when the CIA suddenly manages to sneak a supersonic jet into Moscow without the Russians noticing with the technological capabilities of the entire American government and finds the bad guy in about 2 seconds. Cause, you know, we can't have a film go longer than 100 minutes because of attention spans. Then we made it as far as February and The Lego Movie decided to screw things up in the third act with the great decision to allow the Lego characters to work and operate in the real world. (IF you somehow haven't seen that movie don't get upset for spoilers-you've had a whole year to see it.) Then there was Interstellar and its terrible third act which I already talked about, and then there was The Skeleton Twins! That movie was striving to be in my top 3 favorite films of the entire year before it decided to use an INCREDIBLY cliche ending that really pissed me off. Those are just four examples, but there were several other movies that simply could not deliver on the premises they made, and it was so frustrating to see so many films crash and burn in their final act in 2014. Personally, I would much rather see a film create a horrible premise but finish strong as opposed to creating a good premise but crashing and burning in the end. The later just stings so much more! But the third act was easily my biggest disappointment of 2014. I really hope this trend doesn't continue into 2015....
So there you go! I hope you enjoyed my suffering. Now we are going to definitely brighten the mood by talking about the best acting performances of 2014. See ya next time!
Well, here it is! The moment you (I'm sure) have been waiting for! Last year, I did this list and successfully predicted every category except for two (Best Documentary Short and Sound Mixing I think) so I'd say, you know, that I'm a pretty big deal. Anyway, we are going to go with the same system as we did last year: I'll give you each category, the Vegas prediction, (which is almost always right at this point-the link to the site I'm using is here) and then who I think deserves the category. Now, there's a lot of controversy surrounding this year's Oscars and the nominations included on it, and if you want my take on the controversy and others click here, but this list is just an analysis of the picks that the Academy made. Mostly. So, are ya ready? Let's go!
Well, there you have it! My 2015 Oscar predictions! Thanks for reading, guys. Seriously. I love you. This has taken me about 7 hours to write, but it was worth it. Now onto the rest of my lists....anyway, I'll see ya on Oscar Sunday!
http://dubeat.com/wp-content/uploads/oscar.jpg (cover photo)
http://image.tmdb.org/t/p/original/gPZ6dO8cKCahCjJJvk5UhUBTJ9N.jpg (GBH poster)
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51wq6VXHpRL._SY355_.jpg (Whiplash poster)
http://pulpepic.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/06/darn_of_the_planet_of_the_apes-intl_poster.jpg (Dawn poster)
http://thephonecallfilm.com/img/poster-phonecall.jpg (The Phone Call)
http://1.media.dorkly.cvcdn.com/26/95/18b149286ca6f2920e017bd5d2ffcbf5.jpg (Guardians of the Galaxy)
http://cdn.collider.com/wp-content/uploads/big-hero-6-poster-baymax-hi-res.jpg (Big Hero 6)
http://media2.popsugar-assets.com/files/2014/07/02/019/n/1922283/8837fd6e3e972bc5_thumb_temp_image23875021404340817.preview_tall/i/Patricia-Arquette-Interview-About-Boyhood.jpg (Patricia Arquette)
http://www.eonline.com/resize/500/500//eol_images/Entire_Site/2014115/cr_300x300-141205110051-1024.jk-simmons-whiplash.jpg (J.K. Simmons)
http://media1.popsugar-assets.com/files/2013/10/19/858/n/1922398/1668ed5324ed9d69_thumb_temp322009941382210328.xxxlarge/i/Reese-Witherspoon-Filming-Wild-Pictures.jpg (Reese Witherspoon)
http://www.gossipcop.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Birdman.png (Michael Keaton)
http://cdn.collider.com/wp-content/uploads/boyhood-richard-linklater2.jpg (Richard Linklater)
5) Top Five, "Who's your top five?"
I love this movie. You're gonna see it quite a bit on these lists, because it is one of the most overlooked films of the year. In a year where we saw a huge division between the races, a movie like this should've raked in tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars. But this is for another conversation. Anyway, this scene signifies what is so great about the film: it is a celebration of African American culture in this country. The primary talking point of the scene, rap music, absolutely falls into this culture. So, it is only fitting that in a movie celebrating African American culture, we get a scene where the main characters are talking about their favorite rap artists in the history of the genre. It is a great conversation, involving a huge array of artists, and a great scene of family. With Tracy Morgan. And Jay Pharoah. Also the Tyler Perry insult is great. That is simply one of many great moments in this film, which Chris Rock dropped his heart and soul into. Check it out, guys!
4) Godzilla, The First Roar
So, there are a lot of problems with this movie. Like the fact that it takes what? An hour and a half to see Godzilla for the first time or something? But, when we do finally witness the alpha predator in all its glory, it leads to one of the best moments of cinema this year. And that roar....it penetrated through the theater, making my jaw drop like nothing else. Just smile, and watch the scene again. No Aaron Taylor-Johnson here to ruin everything!
3) Guardians of the Galaxy, Dance Off
Chris Pratt. Being Chris Pratt. Need I say more? There are a host of scenes I could've picked from this movie, (I really loved the Hooked on a Feeling montage, too) but c'mon. The apex of the film. The single most tense moment. And, how do we resolve it? With a dance off, obviously. I completely lost it the first time I saw this film. And the second time. Also turd blossom is absolutely a thing now. But, I also want to have a quick aside here. I can't even begin to describe how hard it must have been to pull of that scene. We look at it and we laugh now, because it is a hilarious and beautiful scene, but what I mean can you imagine what Chris Pratt must've been thinking when he read that in the script? I mean how do you act out a solo dance off at the height of the movie without it completely crashing and burning? I can only think of a few other actors who could've pulled it off, and none of them would've looked anywhere near as good as Pratt did while doing so. Yes. I think Chris Pratt is an incredibly good looking individual, what of it?
2) The Skeleton Twins, Lip Sync Scene/80s Montage
Music! Honestly, this scene is the reason I made this list this year. No lie. Everything else on this list I could've mentioned somewhere else, but not this scene. A lip sync scene has been so overused in film at this point. You'd think at this point there's simply no way anyone can pull one off. And then Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig look at the norm and laugh at it and proceed to go on a wonderful return to the old 80s music montage scenes with an incredible lip sync of Starship's Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now. Easily the best single moment in film from 2014, the only reason it's not number 1 on the list is because the tension of the number 1 scene is not here. It's merely a great single scene. Crazy, right? Well, the movie is great, but this scene definitely stands alone. Still, check it out, and check out this great brother-sister tale!
1) Whiplash, "Were you rushing or were you dragging?"
Can I just put this whole movie on here? I'm not even kidding. It takes about 15 minutes to get going, but, starting with this scene, Whiplash holds down the gas pedal and doesn't let up until the end credits. This scene is the first of many between Teller and Simmons, and we really get a good insight into the intimidation and fear Simmons' character instills on his students. This is the first you've seen Whiplash at the top of a list. And it most certainly won't be the last. An incredible scene from an incredible movie. What's really scary is that it's not my favorite moment of the film, it's just the one I could find. And the one that doesn't necessarily spoil anything. And yet it's still the best moment in film in 2014. That's just crazy. Just....watch the clip, and feel the tension oozing out of it!
Well, there you have it! My favorite moments in film from 2014. The one honorable mention I'll add is Oprah Winfrey trying to register to vote in Selma. This scene happens very early on, and it immediately sets the mood for one of the most harrowing and real films of 2014. Were it not for my love of music, it probably would have made the list. Top Five just barely edges it out. But, next up we're going to somber up and talk about the biggest disappointments in film from 2014! I bet you can guess what films I'm gonna be talking about there....see ya next time!
Number 5: Religious Films
Yup. I can see the hate flowing in already. Look, my issue with religious films, most notably Christian films, is not that they exist. My issue is with how bad they are and how many people still go out an see them. The filmmakers of this genre have realized that their audience is far and away the most gullible movie-going audience out there, and thus they have thrown quality to the wind in order to make as many films where the Christian guy wins (wins, mind you, he must somehow emerge victorious over his religious-hating adversary) as humanely possible. Even major filmmakers, like Ridley Scott, have caught onto this trend. Do you really want to try to make the case that Exodus: Gods and Kings was not a cash-grab? You really want to try to do that? The other big-budget religious film, Noah, was at least ok. But that was the best that the genre offered in 2014. Decent. And Noah was probably only decent because the massively underrated Darren Aronofsky was its director. But, also, remember the part where Christians were up in arms for the "historical inaccuracy" of Noah? They didn't go see the best film their genre had to offer in 2014 because it wasn't religious enough. That. That right there signifies everything wrong with the genre. Those same people I'm sure also trudged on out to the incredibly bad Son of God, God's Not Dead, Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas, (Ugh...just muttering that movie's name gives me shivers) and the only-somewhat-bad Heaven is for Real. Those are just to name a few. Why? Because we have this need for our films to remind us of our faith! And, as long as the hate-filled religious hater is defeated at the end, then I'm happy! So, what am I really saying about this? Of course a religious genre is going to exist. Some of the best films in the history of cinema have come out of this genre. I would give anything to go back to 1956 and watch The Ten Commandments and be utterly amazed as Noah parts the Red Sea. That scene is still one of the best scenes in the history of cinema. Hell, I am listening to Dreamworks Animation's Prince of Egypt that came out in the 90s as I'm writing this. (Seriously, the music to that film is INCREDIBLE) Those were the days of quality. But the genre has become such a cash cow now. The filmmakers of the genre have figured out a formula to get Christian movie-goers to come out and see a film, and as a result they have thrown anything resembling quality out the door in order to achieve this formula. And the moviegoers of the genre, who already believe their faith is coming under fire from all sides and immediately become defensive when you say something negative about it, will not listen to anyone who will tell them that the best way to end these cash-grabbing religious flicks is to....wait for it......not go out and see them. We as consumers have power in the entertainment! It's called our wallets. But I think it's safe to say that won't be happening anytime soon, especially since Heaven is for Real, God's Not Dead, and Son of God rank 5-7 (respectively) ALL-TIME at the box office in the religious genre. Yup. I wish I was making that up. While I see no end in sight for this genre, I think there may be some hope for number 4's problems.
Number 4: Two-Part Finales
Ok. So I just pissed off everyone who enjoys the travesties that are Christian films. Who's ready for me to piss off fans of young adult novels? I AM! Guys. Let's have a real talk about an incredibly INCREDIBLY scary and rapidly growing trend that's happening in Hollywood: the two-part finale. Or, in Peter Jackson's case, the THREE-part finale! This trend really started with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. I remember walking out of that theater for part 1 and getting back in the car of my RA (cause I was a wee little freshman at the time) and I said "I hope this doesn't become a trend in Hollywood, because that was completely unnecessary." Well, I was right about that second part. They are still COMPLETELY unnecessary, though they have become significantly more popular than they once were, much to my dismay. But seriously: look me in the eye and tell me that The Hobbit 2 wasn't anything short of a waste of time. Tell me that something important happened in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 that couldn't have happened in a single finale. Struggling to find the words? Well, that's because, from a movie perspective, these things SUCK. And, while I'm disappointed in a large part of the Oscar nominations for 2014 (don't worry, we'll get to that) I am glad that they got together and only gave a total of one nomination to these two films, despite the fact that Mockingjay Part 1 was the top-grossing movie of 2014, and The Hobbit 3 was the 6th. And the Academy had a chance to bring Lorde out to the Oscars for Yellow Flicker Beat and didn't because of their prejudice against this unnecessary trend. But I can't be mad at them for this because, after all, it is an unnecessary trend, and they SHOULD be prejudice against those movies because they exist for exactly one reason and one reason only: MONEY. This is why I, Enter the Movies, will take this moment to officially declare that from here on out I will not review Part 1 of two-part finales when they are released. I am doing what everyone should do with these movies: speaking out with my wallet. I will watch Part 1 on Netflix the day before Part 2 comes out and then go watch/review Part 2 as if it were its own movie. Sorry, Divergent fans, but this boycott starts with your finale and will extend to all other films that cash-grab with this horrible system. The tribe has spoken. Will I stand alone? Please join me. Together, we can end this. I mean, to be fair, everything happens in Part 2 anyway so you're still going to be waiting a year for it to be released regardless of whether you see Part 1 the day it comes out or not. So wait to see Part 1 when it is inevitably released on Netflix a month before Part 2 is released! Then, you're only waiting a month after the inevitable cliffhanger of Part 1 makes you want to go out and see Part 2 the day it comes out! WOAH. MARKETING STRATEGIES. And don't even get me started on you, Peter Jackson. Actually, you know what? I'm gonna do it anyway. F*ck you. How dare you decimate the beloved Lord of the Rings franchise with your THREE Part Hobbit cash-cow? HOW DARE YOU??? You know, all three of these movies were horrible. And Part 3 managed to piss me off in the first 20 minutes when they completely resolved the TOTALLY UNNECESSARY cliffhanger in Part 2 IMMEDIATELY. I mean, can you imagine if The Two Towers had ended with Aragorn and crew getting ready to charge out of Helm's Deep with Gandalf getting ready to charge over the hill? Just a random cut to black? YA. Would've been a little pissed off right? Shame on you, Peter Jackson. Shame on you. Anyway I digress...
Number 3: #OscarsSoWhite and The Lego Movie oversight
Ahhhhh this year's major Oscar categories. You suck. Well....ok. You're not bad, but you're not good either. It's not about who's nominated. After watching all of these performances I can tell you everyone deserved to be nominated short of Meryl Streep for Into the Woods for Best Supporting Actress, and Robert Duvall in The Judge for Best Supporting Actor. But, do you see a trend with this list? Ya. This is the first time since 1998 where there is not one person of color on the entire list. Now, you could make the argument that there were not too many high-profile African American movies out there this year. This is a true statement. However, the main one that WAS on out there got completely snubbed by the Academy. And, given the fact that it is FAR AND AWAY one of the best films of the year is why this is so huge a controversy. Selma. Look. Say what you want to say about its historical inaccuracies, but Selma got completely screwed by the Academy. Why? Well, I went into it in my review, so if you want to read my in-depth analysis you can click here, but here I'll just say for no real honest reason. The Academy had a chance to nominated the first EVER African-American woman to the Best Director category, (who, coincidentally, is the ONLY high profile African American woman director in Hollywood right now) but instead you nominated Bennett Miller from Foxcatcher? WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU? And no nomination for David Oyelowo??? You mean to tell me, with a straight face, that Bradley Cooper's performance in American Sniper was better than Oyelowo's in Selma? What about Eddie Redmayne? Really?? There's a whole host of missteps here. What about Carmen Ejogo for Best Supporting Actor? Over Meryl Streep? I mean c'mon! I'm honestly worried that the Academy, after giving 12 Years a Slave a very undeserving Best Picture award last year, threw their hands up and said, "Ok! We're good! We don't have to worry about African American films for a while!" But, I will give them the benefit of the doubt. They're better than that. They must be. Now, there were other major oversights at the Oscars this year. Most notably Jessica Chastain for A Most Violent Year (I mean Felicity Jones? Really?) and Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler (also far better than Bradley Cooper) but to me these pale in comparison to the oversight of Selma. And, for what? Because of the movie's interpretation of LBJ? Ya. I got news for you. LBJ's good. There's enough in the history books on LBJ that his legacy is not going to be tarnished by how Selma fits his mold into their story.
Also, the other HUGE oversight by the Academy is The Lego Movie. Now, I should preface this by saying I have not seen many of the nominations this year for Animated Features, but I have seen The Boxtrolls. The freaking Boxtrolls?? Over The Lego Movie? ARE YOU SERIOUS? And then you give the song a nomination instead? That's just insulting: a one-note song meant to be a very sharp and smart satire on how much our society enjoys formula in music nowadays, and it gets nominated for Best Song of the year. Ironic too, if you ask me. But The Boxtrolls? Really? That's laughable. Go home, Academy. You're drunk.
Number 2: Historical Accuracy and Film
Sigh. I don't even want to talk about this anymore. I've engaged in numerous conversations with various people about this topic, and in particular how American Sniper interprets history, and it basically comes down to this: if you identify with the right, you love this movie and think it's the greatest. If you identify with the left, then you think what American Sniper did is borderline criminal. I personally identify with the left. So everyone who is on the right is either not going to read the rest of this or read it but not pay attention to it and still call me wrong. So, why bother, right? I'm just preaching to the choir, essentially. Why waste my breath with this? Well, look. Here's my two cents from someone who identifies with the left but likes to think he's pretty moderate in today's time: movies are rapidly becoming the final say for how history interprets events. Why? Well, because most of our society watches movies now over reading books. The Iraqi War is a huge instance where the facts are hidden behind heaps of political BS. There are even still people in this country who fully believe we found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We didn't, guys. This is a fact. Multiple reports released by our own government confirm this fact. So, when a film like American Sniper comes out and is based in as much inaccuracy as it is, there is going to be huge controversy surrounding it and the people that are foolish enough to interpret its story as the truth. Yes, the movie is based off an autobiography of Chris Kyle. However, Chris Kyle was himself grossly misinterpreting the facts that were happening around him. That's just the hard truth. Now, do you hear me saying something negative about our military as a whole when I say Chris Kyle was a rather messed-up individual? No. Am I saying that we should've just stood by and let Saddam Hussein continue his reign of terror in Iraq? No. And those are interpretations that a lot of people are making when they have no right to do so. I'm not saying any of those things. The courage the members of our military has to do what they do is indescribable. I will openly admit that I do not have that sort of courage, so I have an incredible amount of respect for them as a result. Does that have ANYTHING to do with American Sniper as a movie? NO. NO IT DOES NOT. The problem with this movie is this. (link to Tweets about killing Iraqis) This should not be how you feel when you leave a movie. And yet, this is how many Americans feel after leaving American Sniper. And this is not how the war happened. This is my problem with American Sniper. And I'm ashamed that both sides of the coin are not having any issues with American Sniper generalizing the Iraqi population as Islamic Extremists. This is not historically accurate, and I am insulted that American Sniper choose to make this generalization for the betterment of its drama and content. Do movies make leaps like this for the betterment of their story? Yes. Was LBJ a huge racist as Selma portrayed him as? No. And we have plenty of documentation, including from MLK HIMSELF and other members of the march on Selma that this was not even remotely true. Are right-wing conservative sites coming out and reminding their readers that not every Iraqi wanted to go out and kill as many American soldiers as possible? NO. No they are not. What's wrong with you guys? Clint Eastwood, you should be ashamed that you are not talking about this. Shame on you, Eastwood. Shame on you.
Number 1: The Sony Hack
You guessed it! The Sony Hack. This was scary for a little while, guys. But this was the biggest act of cyber terrorism our country has seen yet. And the fact that I have to use the word "yet" there is scary in and of itself. While the hack was funny for a little while (though not at all to the people that were involved with it) it took a very dark turn in those last few days. But here's the other thing I want to talk about. I'm on people like Aaron Sorkin's side with the coverage of the hack. Look....I'm about to make a broad statement that will probably upset some of you, but it's the hard truth that we don't want to admit: why does anyone do anything negative nowadays? What's their number one motivation? Why do people attack schools and commit acts of terrorism? Attention. They know their face will get on the news. They don't care that it's in a negative fashion, they just want their 15 minutes of fame. Media outlets have long struggled with the ethicality of publishing a school-shooter's identity and talking about him. And yet they do. Why? Because we watch it. We click on it. The articles that came out of the Sony hack were always publicized by media outlets because they generated more clicks than anything else they posted that day. And that's messed up. Our society is messed up. This thought is likely 10 years ahead of its time, but we really need to, as a society, calm the f*ck down. Those Sony hackers made national news daily for a ridiculous amount of time. Do you have ANY idea how many people they likely inspired to try and follow in their footsteps because of it? What if the media had covered the hack for a day and then let it go? What if all the stories that the hackers created were just ignored? Why do we have to know that Sony and Marvel were in talks to bring Spider-Man into the Avengers franchise? Does it really matter? NO. But we click on it, and as a result the media publishes it. I know I fell victim to reading some of these stories. I mean, we want these hype pieces as soon as possible. Instant gratification is a huuuuge trend amongst the younger generations. But, we as a society failed to see the damage it was doing to Sony, and why it was happening. Would you personally have been happy with all your dirty laundry being leaked to the general public? I doubt it. Yet we have no problem with reading someone else's dirty laundry. We love it. This is a seriously messed up trend that has been occurring for years and years and years that needs to STOP. So, let's work together. The next cyber-terrorism attack that occurs, can we please stand up and say we don't want to know? If nude pics of Jennifer Lawrence get leaked can we as a society please stand up and say we don't want to see that? When Paramount, or Warner Brothers get hacked and all their dirty laundry gets released, can we please stand up and say we don't want to see it? PLEASE? Probably not. But I think this mindset will slowly become infused with the country as the years go on. I believe in you, America! You can do this!
http://static.businessinsider.com/image/54623e3b6da811747f1952e9-1200/image.jpg (The Interview)
Well, there you have it. The 5 biggest controversies of 2014. The one honorable mention here is the Snapchat leak. That was another major cyber-terrorism attack that should never have taken place. I just hope these attacks generate less and less stories as time goes on. Anyway, next up is the 5 best movie moments in 2014, so look for that in the coming days! Thanks for reading and I love you all! DEUCES.
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