There were a ton of movies released this year, and like most other years the majority of them seemed to suck. I mean, some of them REALLY sucked. There were, however, some really good exceptions. So while I obviously haven’t seen every single movie released this year, these movies were, in my opinion, the best of the best in 2014:
I initially had Gone Girl as my choice here (excellent movie, by the way), but I have to go with my gut on this one. I mean…I’m not some “movie snob” so why should I care if I loved a cheesy movie or not? To me, this was the monster movie I’d been waiting for. After getting teases of brilliance with Cloverfield (one of my Top 10 all-time favourite movies) and Pacific Rim (thoughts on that movie can be found here), I wanted something that was monster-centric and yet still realistic. While it was a little “coincidental” that <insert lead character> kept ending up where the monster was (and vice versa), the seriousness that is put into the film was a welcome relief from the constant needs of these movies to have comic relief (i.e. the original Godzilla reboot with Matthew <insert last name>). While this didn’t hit all cylinders, it was a tremendous reboot and left me with a feeling of wanting more from a sequel.
- Begin Again
As soon as I saw the trailer for this movie, being the music fan that I am, I wanted to see it. I’m so glad that I did because this was a movie full of great music, great performances, and a simple yet unique concept. Keira Knightly does an incredible job singing in this movie (and yes, that’s her real voice) and Mark Ruffalo does a fantastic job of playing an end-of-his-rope music executive who is desperate to find something real that inspires him to love music again. Entertaining performances by Hailee Steinfeld, Cee-Lo Green, and Catherine Keener help round out a really good cast and add credibility to the film.
- Muppets Most Wanted
I wanted to like this movie. I wanted to LOVE this movie. Upon initially seeing it with my family in the theatre, however, I was underwhelmed. Still, I went home and downloaded the soundtrack because I thought a couple of the songs were better than the songs from the previous film (the incredibly entertaining The Muppets). Once released on blu-ray, I decided to pick up a copy for the kids and give it another shot. I’m so glad I did! This movie had me smiling, laughing, and singing along to the world of ridiculousness that make up The Muppets. The new villain, Constantine, was super-entertaining and I picked up on a number of little inside jokes and one-liners that I didn’t catch the first time around. Add to that some great performances by Ty Burrell, Ricky Gervais, and Tiny Fey and you’ve got one heck of a fun family movie.
I wasn’t sure what this movie was going to be like. I wanted to like it but was fearful that it would disappoint. Thankfully, those fears were put to rest quite early in the movie. Jon Favreau combines three current social trends (food trucks, cooking programs, and social media) into an original (yet pretty simple) concept for a movie and turns in an extremely likeable performance as a chef simply looking to find himself, both professionally and personally. The great thing about this movie isn’t just the performances; it’s the ability to make you smile at both the script and the cameos (Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johansson, Oliver Platt, Robert Downey, Jr.). Really, the whole movie is just one big smile. I absolutely loved it.
- Guardians of the Galaxy
Without a doubt, this was THE BEST movie of 2014. I never read the comics, so I didn’t know what to expect when I walked in the theatre with my son. I was extremely entertained by the movie trailer, so I was really looking forward to the movie itself. Little did I realize just how fantastic it would be. There is a lot of hype around this movie, and with good reason. It’s fun, it’s action-packed, it’s inventive, it’s stunning, and it’s original. The performances (from Chris Pratt’s star-making role as Peter Quill to the incredibly realistic “walking tree with a personality” Groot) are spectacular, the script is awesome, and everything about it is why I love movies in the first place. I honestly felt as entertained as I was the first time I saw Star Wars as a kid. I honestly don’t know how they’re ever going to improve on this because, quite frankly, I think it’s movie perfection.
What are your thoughts? What movie was YOUR favourite this year?