my top 10 films of 2014...

Posted by Brad Schelden, January 15, 2015 12:04pm | Post a Comment
One of my absolutely favorite things to do is to watch films in theaters. I have been obsessed with movies since I can remember anything. I still remember seeing E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark and  Empire Strikes Back for the first time in the theater. I also remember seeing films like Trainspotting, Pulp Fiction, Safe, The Ice Storm, Se7en, Edward Scissorhands, Heathers & Dazed and Confused for the first time in the theater. These are the kind of movies that stay with me over the years. But I also remember that first experience of seeing them for the first time in the theater. I remember seeing Ice Storm on a second date. I remember seeing Trainspotting with some of my best friends the summer after I graduated from college. I love that feeling of getting out of a movie theater and getting excited at just the thought of watching the movie all over again. This list below is the movies that I enjoyed the most from 2014. These are the movies that will stay with me for the rest of my life. The movies I will go back to and rewatch again over the coming years.
I have been disappointed by so many films this year. I had high expectations for Birdman and Foxcatcher. But I was so disappointed by these films. I really didn't like much about either of them and have no plans to revisit them. I have also learned how different our reactions can be to certain movies. Some of my friends have loved Birdman and Foxcatcher. And they have hated Gone Girl and Interstellar. But this is just how films work. It is obvious that some films are just not meant for everyone and it is OK for us to have different reactions to these great movies of the year. It does not mean these movies are any less great. I have been trying to watch as many films as I could these last couple of months. But I still have not had time to watch everything I wanted. I still need to see The Imitation Game. But I really can't wait any longer to finish my top ten. So here it is. And remember this is just my top ten. It is not your top ten. I don't claim for these to be the ten best films of the year. They are simply my 10 favorite films of they year. Go see some movies and see what happens.

Richard Linklater

This was one of the movies I had really high expectations for this year. Probably my most anticipated film of the year. I love Richard Linklater and just loved the idea behind this movie. Taking a day in the life of a family over 12 years and using the same cast was brilliant. This movie was not just about the boy but also about the mom, the dad & the sister. It was about being a son or daughter and being a mother or father. It was about having a sibling you don't always get along with. It is about growing up being different or alt. I could have probably sat through another couple hours of this film. The moments were just small normal little moments but I related to everyone of them and felt like I experienced them with this family. I know this movie is on almost everyone's best of the year list. But it really does deserve the spot. The film is not perfect because no film is. But it comes pretty close. I think the reason we all connect with this movie is because it is just a normal life. It could be any of our normal lives. There is no fantastical element. There is no perfect moment that sums up this kids whole meaning and life. There are messy mistakes and funny little moments. It is these great little moments that make life worth living and it is great to see a movie that captures that.

Christopher Nolan

Sometimes your circumstances at the time you see a movie really have an effect on your reaction to that movie. I was just so ready for this move. So excited and so ready to be entertained. I saw this at the IMAX Chinese. I have been obsessed with the Chinese ever since I first went there. But this was my first time seeing a movie since they had redone the theater. I was blown away by the sound of this movie and everything about it. I totally fell hard for this movie and just gave into it. It may have manipulated my emotions a bit but I loved every minute of it. It was just a great movie to live in. It is easy to fault a movie for plot points or script problems. But I just fully immersed myself into this movie. I have always loved time travel and all things Sci-Fi. This film reminded me of movies like Contact and Sunshine. If you didn't like those movies you probably will not like this one. This film also has a really good score and a really good score always gets me every time. The cast was great and I cried for like 15 minutes after the movie was over. I seriously never stopped thinking about this movie after I saw it. I was never a big fan of Gravity. I liked it OK and thought it looked great but never understood why people freaked out about it so much. I just never connected to the story. I think this movie so much more deserves the praise that Gravity got.

David Fincher
I love a good 80s or 90s sexy thriller. They really just don't exist anymore. When is the last time you have seen a film like Fatal Attraction, Body Heat, Basic Instinct or Single White Female. A movie with a really strong female lead who you sort of love and hate at the same time. Movies have become so tame lately. At least the adult sort of dramas and thrillers that used to exist. I had not read this book and really knew nothing about the story other than that a girl goes gone at some point. David Fincher is another one of those directors that I just love. I am never not going to see a David Fincher film as soon as I can. I loved the overall mood of this film. Another movie I just loved living in. Rosamund Pike is fantastic. I actually ended up seeing this movie twice in the theater. The second time maybe did not have such a strong effect on me since I already knew the twists and turns. But I still enjoyed the ride. I really do hope more movies are made like this again. This really was the perfect part for Ben Affleck. And the supporting cast including Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Tyler Perry & Neil Patrick Harris were all fantastic.

Paul Thomas Anderson

This was another film that I just enjoyed living inside of. I really loved every moment of it and I think I just had a big smile on my face throughout the whole film. A great LA film and a great stoner 70s film. Reminded me of the things I loved about Pulp FIction. I don't always love Paul Thomas Anderson. But I do love Boogie Nights & There Will Be Blood. I did love things about The Master. But just couldn't get behind the story. And the world of The Master is not one that I would wish to rejoin anytime soon. Joaquin Phoenix is a genius and is so fantastic in this film. And who knew that Joanna Newsom could act! She also made a great narrator. The supporting cast is also fantastic. Martin Short and Josh Brolin are genius. I can't wait to rewatch their scenes. Benecio Del Toro, Jena Malone & Reese Witherspoon are all perfect. This is one of those movies where I was probably more confused at the end of the film than I was at the beginning. But it really does not matter. The movie is just so much fun to look at. It is just so much fun to be a part of this world.

Ava DuVernay

I am a big fan of a really good biopic. I can watch films like Coal Miner's Daugher, Selena And What's Love Got To Do With It over and over again. But I can also get behind the political or social justice biopic. I love JFK, Lincoln, Milk, Gandhi, Norma Rae or Malcom X. I really will watch any biopic. But the good ones are easy to sort out. Ava DuVernay has made a perfect little movie called Selma. Hopefully you will agree unless of course you think LBJ was a perfect president. I love this movie because it honestly shows you how presidents evolve. LBJ evolved on civil rights just as Obama did on gay rights. The acting in this movie is also fantastic. And it does some things right that The Butler failed at. The Butler just tried to do too much and seemed like an SNL skit of impersonations at times. But this movie just tells the story without trying too hard to make everyone look exactly like the characters they are playing. The movie is shot beautifully and it just great storytelling. This just happens to be one of the darker points in our history that unfortunately has not changed near as much as it should have. I really look forward to what Ava DuVernay has for us next. Everyone should really see this movie not just because of what it is about but because of how well the story is told.

James Gunn
It is so very exciting to go into a movie like this you know nothing about. So many of these superhero type movies are about the characters you are already so familiar with .They are remakes of better movies you have already seen in the 80s or 90s. This was not the case with Guardians of the Galaxy. I am already a huge Chris Pratt because of Parks & Recreation. So I was also just excited for him. Excited that they believed he could somehow carry this movie having never done something like this before. The movie is just plain fantastic. And we all came away from it loving Chris Pratt even more and loving a tree named Groot. I am happy that a movie this big and popular can also be this good and enjoyable. I can't wait to jump back into this movie over the coming years. If you don't like superhero movies then you probably won't love this movie. But for those of us that do this is a great one to watch.

Xavier Dolan

This is another one of those movies that will stay with me forever. This is sort of like the French Canadian version of Boyhood. Another single mom raising a teenager. However this movie is a little more messy and tragic. But just as good. This movie totally got to me and I felt connected to all the characters. Anne Dorval was amazing as the mother. Atoine-Olivier Pilon was fantastic as the teenager. Suzanne Clement was also great as the neighbor. I have never really seen anything exactly like this movie. It was hilarious and tragic all at the same time. I also love a movie that connects so deeply with its soundtrack.  Each song had its proper place and connected perfectly with the scene. It made each scene a sort of perfect little segment which also reminded me of Boyhood. I would have never thought I would connect so deeply with a Celine Dion song! It is also very exciting to discover a new favorite director like Xavier Dolan. I am still catching up with his previous films and seriously can't wait to see what he does next. Exciting to see yet another movie this year with a great portrayal of the tumultuous and fantastic relationship between a mother and a son.

Jennifer Kent
I love a really good horror movie. I have been a fan of them since I can remember first seeing Psycho, The Exorcist or Cujo on TV when I was little. It just feels thrilling to be scared I guess. Sort of like riding on a roller coaster. You fear for your life during it but you know it will be over soon enough. This movie is more of just a supernatural family drama than your typical horror movie. But is is better than almost every horror movie I have seen lately. It is essentially a scary children's book come to life. Sort of like Australia's version of We Need To Talk About Kevin. You sort of side with the mother at times in this movie.  But the kid in this movie is fantastic. He is great at being adorable and incredibly annoying at the same time. The mother is also great. Her depression is overwhelming and her child seems to only make it worse. But somehow she gets through it. A great little surprise of a movie this year. I really had no idea what I was going to be watching when I went to see it at the Cinefamily a couple of months ago. So it was great to be surprised and really enjoy this movie. You can't get rid of The Babadook!

Tim Burton
Tim Burton has was one of my favorite directors in the 80s and 90s. Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, Ed Wood and Mars Attacks! are some of my absolute favorites. He took a very wrong turn with Planet of the Apes. But I thought he had come back to me with Big Fish which I really liked a lot. But then the horrible Johnny Depp qaudrilogy began with Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. So i was hesitant going into this movie. But I loved Keane and I loved Amy Adams so I thought it just might work. I was hoping he this movie would be more like Big Fish. Amy Adams if just plain great in this movie. And the art direction and cinematography is great. I lived in San Francisco for many years and love it so much. So I loved seeing San Francisco portrayed in the 50s and 60s. It was just fun to see the city at a time before I lived ther. And this movie also made me want to move to Hawaii. This movie was just all sorts of adorable as a movie about Keane should be. Just a cute and fun movie about a crazy little story. Christoph Waltz is often too Waltzy but still great.

Adam Wingard
This tenth spot on my list was hard to narrow down. I loved a lot of other movies this year. I loved Nightcrawler & The Raid 2. I loved Obvious Child & The Skeleton Twins. But somehow I just kept coming back to The Guest. This movie is all sorts of ridiculous. But I loved every minute of it. The style of this movie is fantastic. But it really is all about this soundtrack for me. How could I not love a movie with three songs by Clan of Xymox. I have loved this band since forever and don't think I have ever heard their songs in a movie before. There are also songs by D.A.F., Front 242, Love & Rockets, Sisters of Mercy, Annie & Stevie B.! This movie is of course not for everyone and you should not take it too seriously. But it is a great stylized action film. It is super dark and gruesome. Makes me nostalgic for all the great and ridiculous action movies I grew up on from the 80s and 90s. Dan Stevens is fantastic in this movie and it really does not hurt that he looks amazing. Hardly recognizable as Matthew from Downton Abbey. I really do love movies like this. The kind of movie that makes it on best of the year and worst of the year lists. I found this movie so much more entertaining than Birdman or Foxcatcher. The majority of viewers will not agree with me I am sure.

Relevant Tags

Babadook (1), Gone Girl (4), Guardians Of The Galaxy (8), Mommy (1), Selma (2), Interstellar (1), Boyhood (2), Big Eyes (2), Best Of 2014 (20), The Guest (1)