Looking at the list of all of the films I’ve seen this past year, I have to say that I’m proud of myself. I’ve seen a grand cornucopia of films, probably the most new films I’ve seen in one year. And so, here are the ones that rose to the top of my list.
Starring Seth Rogan and Zac Efron, this was everything I wanted and more. It was a fun frat boy romp with some chic and grown up humor in there. My personal favorite scene that will not leave my head is when Rogan and his wife, played brilliantly by Rose Byrne, drink all night long with the frat boys only to wake up, still drunk, the next day. Byrne, still nursing her infant, goes to nurse her baby because she is “about to burst.” Rogan says that she can’t nurse since she still has alcohol in her system, and so he must “milk” her himself… which just looks like a giant zit popping. Yeah, it’s not brain surgery, but it’s SO much fun, and Neighbors got me to respect Zac Efron as a comedic actor.
9. Big Eyes
Based on the real events surrounding the infamous Keanes and their “Big Eye” paintings, Big Eyes comes in at number 9 on my list. I think that recently, Tim Burton has become a characature. What was once a brilliant style that created such masterpieces as Edward Scissorhands and Ed Woods have now become over the top bombs like Alice in Wonderland and Dark Shadows always starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and the colors red, black, and green. BUT whenever Burton makes a film that is not in his normal wheelhouse, he can actually be quite brilliant. His last film like that was Big Fish, which was a success both critically and financially. Big Eyes promised to be a film of that sort, and it did not disappoint. With beautiful cinematography and great performances from both Amy Adams and Christopher Waltz, the film beautifully showcases one woman’s journey to self-realization.
8. Muppets Most Wanted
Picking up where the last Muppets Movie left off, Muppets Most Wanted starring Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, and Ty Burrell, promised to be a fun romp with the world’s most famous and hilarious puppets. While I will say, that it was not as brilliant as the Jason Segal Muppets movie, it was a FUN ride. I found myself laughing until I cried. I sang along with nearly every song. And as always sitting on the edge of my seat with excitement, even though I knew that the good guys would win in the end. My favorite part of the movie, though, is that Danny Trejo played himself. Seriously, in the Siberian Ulag where Kermit is so wrongfully incarcerated, Danny Trejo (not Danny Trejo playing a character, but Danny Trejo himself) is one of the singing and dancing inmates. Well played Muppets… well played.
7. Imitation Game
I recently saw this one on New Years Day, which was either the best or worst idea ever considering that I had been out all night before celebrating. I felt tired going into the movie and swore up and down that I would fall asleep. BUT I was so thoroughly engrossed that I kept my eyes peeled for the entire duration of the film. Based on the true story about Alan Turing, the father of the modern computer, and the man who cracked the infamous Nazi coding “Enigma” machine, and pretty much helped the Allies win WWII, the film boasts a great script and even better performances. Benedict Cumberbatch deserves an Oscar nod, at the VERY least, and I thought that this was Keira Knightly’s best performance yet.
6. Planet of the Apes: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Picking up some time after the Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn focuses on a post apocalyptic Earth, and how the now dwindled population of humans interact with the now smarter and stronger population of apes. This was a BEAUTIFUL movie. It’s incredible and a little creepy what computer animation can do now. The story was really wonderful. Oddly enough, I was more invested in the apes story than the human story, but that is neither here nor there. Also, I think that Andy Serkis needs an honorary Oscar for his work in this film, and just period with this new motion capture technology. This kind of acting that he does is newer, but is a style like anything else, and needs to be accoladed. Overall, a really good film.
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Her tells the story tells of a man who’s just gone through a terrible divorce and starts dating his phone… kind of… I know it sounds weird, but, at face, it’s pretty much a movie about a man who falls in love with a very advanced version of Siri. But it’s so much more than that. The film is shot beautifully, showcases brilliant performances from Phoenix, Amy Adams, and Scarlett Johannsan, and leaves you with the strangest feeling. It’s not sadness or longing… more of a hopeful emptiness, and any movie that gives you such a strange feeling at the end, is definitely worth plenty of praise.
4. LEGO Movie
“Everything is awesome.” Boasting one of the biggest celebrity casts in one animated film LEGO Movie, sounded like a dumb concept at first, but the more trailers you saw, the more you saw how much fun it would be. What I wasn’t expecting, was how good the movie would be. The story was intricate without being too convoluted and had a great ended… although not a twist for me (thanks Zach Martin). It’s very rare that a children’s film is both fun and a social commentary. Everything is awesome indeed!
3. Gone Girl
I’ve never read the Gillian Flynn novel, but I had always heard great things about it. But the film wasn’t great. The film was amazing! I sat down, and then the lights came up. Well, not really, but it sure felt like it. I love it when a film does that. The time passed very, very quickly. The script for this film is spectacular, and I loved that I did not know what was coming next. Oddly enough, the breakout star of this film was Tyler Perry. Perry is usually made fun of for his borage of mediocre films, but the man shows that he can actually act in this one. Good performances from everyone else, too, and this is a crazy roller coaster ride of a film.
I have been exited to see this film for a while. From the trailers, it looked like Gravity and Contact had a baby, and I was right. This film was everything I wanted and more. Visually stunning. Great Story. Great Acting. And gave you something cerebrally to gnaw upon, while still expanding your mindset, spirituality. I’m talking of course about the quantum physical side of the film. I love learning about quantum physics because it does blur the lines between faith and science, between the known and unknown. And while it confounds me, it interests me so much. If you’re super nerdy with a penchant for the metaphysical (and want to see Matthew McConauhey drive a space craft while rolling up boogers like he does in the Lincoln commercials), then this film is for you!
1. Guardians of the Galaxy
By far my favorite Marvel movie of all time, and also the most fun I had in the movie theater this year. This is the only film this year that I saw twice in the theater. Because I had to see it once with my sissy and once in IMAX with the CultureSmash crew. Everything about this movie is fantastical: the characters, the script, the soundtrack. Oh my goodness, THE SOUNDTRACK… which I listen to every day. It takes a VERY special film to make me laugh, cry, sing along, and be amazed at the visual effects! Based on the comic books, Guardians of the Galaxy tells the origin story of a rag tag group of thieves, liars, and killers who come together to save the Universe. Who in the world knew that a movie about a talking tree and little angry raccoon would become my top pick for 2014? Not me… not me. I can’t fight this feeling… deep inside of me…