2014 In Review: The Best Films Of The Year

Here are my Top 50 films of 2015.

50) Big Hero 6
49) Locke
48) Non Stop
47) Automata
46) Get On Up

An interesting collection of five films. I’m sure Locke is a lot higher on other lists, but I don’t instantly rate a movie super high because it only has one actor and one location. I’m not immediately attracted to shiny things. Automata was interesting. Get On Up was basically just a great performance from Chadwick Boseman, who couldn’t even finish in my Top 10 because the Best Actor category was ridiculous this year.

45) American Sniper
44) Annie
43) Ride Along
42) The Lego Movie
41) 13 Sins

Yes, American Sniper might be low depending on how you look at things. I saw a lot of movies, and I thought American Sniper was good, not great. So while I would recommend you see the film at some point, I wouldn’t have recommended for you to SEE THE MOVIE RIGHT NOW AND STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING. We’re not at that point on the list. Redbox would suffice for these five films. 13 Sins is an interesting concept, but it was just ignored completely as a film.

40) The Good Lie
39) A Most Violent Year
38) Mr Peabody and Sherman
37) Wild
36) The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby

Not enough people saw these five films. Sure, Mr Peabody and Sherman broke 100M at the box office, but it still somehow lost money for Dreamworks, when it was actually a really good kids film. Also, people needed to see Eleanor Rigby just for Jessica Chastain, and Wild for Reese Witherspoon. Good films.

35) The Theory Of Everything
34) Battered Bastards Of Baseball
33) The Fault In Our Stars
32) Divergent
31) Obvious Child

A little Stephen Hawking, a little abortion, a little cancer… typical five movie choices.

30) This Is Where I Leave You
29) Guardians Of The Galaxy
28) Captain America: The Winter Soldier
27) Still Alice
26) Calvary

Two of the years biggest films paired with two of the years smallest films. I loved Guardians almost as much as I loved Julianne Moore’s incredible performance in Still Alice.

25) Cake
24) Starred Up
23) Begin Again
22) Boyhood
21) Into The Woods

Yes, Boyhood is this low on my list. I really do appreciate the film, but it had some awful acting from unknown actors that I can’t ignore. Also, you may not have heard of Starred Up, but you should definitely check it out.

20) Bad Words
19) Pride
18) X-Men: Days Of Future Past
17) The Judge
16) Snowpiercer

We’re getting into the real meat of the year. All of these films received A’s from me (I gave out 20 A’s to films this year). So of course it was really hard for me to find an order for my Top 20 that I was happy with.

15) The Interview
14) Chef
13) 22 Jump Street
12) St Vincent
11) The Grand Budapest Hotel

While it technically was not a theatrical release, nor was it ever intended to be, The Normal Heart would have made my Top 10 list this year. I thought I’d include it here as an honorable mention, because it deserves to be recognized.

10) How To Train Your Dragon 2
The first How To Train Your Dragon made my Top 10 the year it came out, and Dragon 2 (which benefits from me dropping Normal Heart out of my Top 10) has made it as well. It’s the best animated film of the year. These films are not made just for kids. There’s great storytelling here, fleshed out characters, and a really great script. Dreamworks might have had a tough year, but it shouldn’t have had anything to do with this fantastic film.

9) The Skeleton Twins
Did you miss the film that shows how good of an actor Bill Hader really is? Or Kristin Wiig? Or Ty Burrell? Three comedic actors put together a film that’s as heartbreakingly good as it is uplifting or funny. It deals with real issues of depression, suicide, and bouncing back from both.

8) Rudderless
Please see this film. It made less than 100K at the box office, completely ignored by everyone. I think this is the film that should have a robust life on DVD. It made me appreciate Billy Crudup.

7) Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
Another sequel in my Top 10. I don’t see this as a “summer blockbuster”. I see it as “Holy Shit. Look at the work Andy Serkis is doing. It’s incredible.” Also, the story and the filmmaking matches the level that Serkis is bringing to the film. It’s the whole package.

6) Edge Of Tomorrow
Poorly marketed, but secretly brilliant. There hasn’t been a non-sequel summer blockbuster this smart in years. If you ignored Edge Of Tomorrow in theatres, you might see it now in Redbox under the title “Live. Die. Repeat.” Both titles are awful. They should have stuck with All You Need Is Kill.

5) Birdman
My Top 5 is insane. I’m just going to say that. Four of them were nominated for Best Picture, and any of those four could win and I’d be perfectly happy with my life. Birdman is an exceptional work that will be discussed by film theorists for years to come. It brought Michael Keaton back to the forefront as a serious actor, and got Emma Stone an Oscar nomination. This is one of the most important films of the year, and Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu was my pick for Best Director of the year.

4) Selma
Largely ignored by the Academy voting body, Selma is a fantastic effort by Ava Duvernay. It never feels like “too much”. It’s not too preachy, or too self serving. It’s the right balance of everything, and it features an incredible performance by David Oyelowo.

3) Gone Girl
Loved it from the second I saw it. I loved how well crafted the film is, because director David Fincher is a boss, and how well acted everyone was. I may have nominated four actors from the film, but even the unnominated Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Casey Wilson, Patrick Fugit, and the rest of the ensemble contributed to how perfect this film was.

2) Whiplash
I love Whiplash so much, it hurts me to see a 2 next to its name. Like it’s the second best film of the year. I didn’t feel right calling the Best Picture Of The Year a tie. If Whiplash is behind The Imitation Game, it’s by a 0.000000000000000001% margin. That’s how close it was. A brilliant film with brilliant performances. Whiplash is everything.

1) The Imitation Game
The Alan Turing film is my pick for Best Picture of 2014. Officially. I loved everything about the film. Benedict Cumberbatch was a perfect choice for the film, but it’s not just his performance. It’s the script, and the direction, and the ensemble cast. This is just everything falling perfectly into place, and it worked like gang busters.

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