Favorite Movies of 2014 (The Uppity Movie Snob Version)

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I’ve made it known that if I weren’t a strength coach I’d somehow try to find a way to watch movies for a living.

 Photo Credit: Erin M

Okay, that’s a lie.

First I’d want to be a professional baseball player. Second choice would be an Avenger. And third would have to be starting my own taxi service using nothing but tanks. Because that would be awesome.

And then, if none of those stuck or paid the bills, I’d want to be a dude who watches movies. And get paid for it. Basically I’d be the most diesel movie critic in the history of ever.

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved watching movies. Like most guys my age (38) I grew up watching 80s classics like Star Wars, The Goonies, The Princess BrideTop Gun, and couldn’t even begin to tell you how many times I watched Bachelor Party.

What can I say? I was 12. Boobs+swear words (x more boobs to the boobiest power) = boobs.

And then came the 90s. Which, in my opinion (and I realize everyone defends different decades as THE decade of movie basassery), was the shit.

Pulp Fiction, Saving Private Ryan, The Shawshank Redemption, Schindler’s List, Seven, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Rushmore, Heat, Can’t Hardly Wait, Being John Malkovich, Swingers, Reservoir Dogs, Jerry Maguire, Casino, Good Will Hunting, GoodFellas, Tommy Boy, The Chase1 ……

See what I mean? Movies in the 90s were so money, it didn’t even know it.

Anyways, it was starting in the 90s when I began the process of seasoning my movie going palette. It was during that time when I developed a finer appreciation for film. I mean come on: if you would have asked me to sit down and watch something like Amelie (a foreign movie + subtitles? Pretty much a guy’s worst nightmare outside of talking about feelings) prior to the 90s I would have told you to go fuck yourself.

Actually it probably would have been more along the lines of…

“What the heck! Are you kidding? He-Man is on. I’m not gonna watch that malarky!”

He-Man dominated my adolescence (take that statement as you will). That, and my mom would have had a field day washing my mouth out with soap if she caught wind of me swearing like that.

Post 90s, however? I was (and am) all about Amelie.

It’s a delightful film. You know I mean it too cause I used the word delightful. Only the snobbiest of movie snobs use that adjective to describe a movie. It’s analogous to a sports announcer saying “that will come back to haunt them,” or a girl you really, really like in high-school saying “NO I WON’T MAKE OUT WITH YOU TONY SO STOP ASKING!!!!!”

But seriously, Amelie is a movie everyone should watch.

Long story short: I like movies. I like them a lot (<— said like Jim Carry in Dumb and Dumber. Not coincidentally, another fantastic movie made in the 90s).

Drama, action, documentary, comedy, mystery, foreign, it doesn’t matter…I’m down with every genre. Even ones that don’t exist. Like Zombies vs. Godzilla.2

So it’s with that I’d like to share my picks for Favorite Movies of 2014. This list will list those movies which are more universally recognized (Read: the one’s most people reading have probably seen themselves or have convinced themselves to go see because the Golden Globes and Oscars told them to).

Note: I’ll be adding another list – the non-snobby/fan boy/OH MY GOD I DIDN’T REALIZE MATT DAMON WAS IN INTERSTELLAR!!!!!3 list – soon.

Note #2: I’m only going to highlight EIGHT movies on this list, because everyone does ten and ten is lame.

Note #3: Unfortunately, this list doesn’t include movies like Nightcrawler or A Most Violent Year because I haven’t seen them yet (but I’ve heard good things). It also doesn’t include The Fault in Our Stars because, among other things, I have a penis.

1. Whiplash

As it happens the week I saw this at the theater (quick shout out to my 2nd home, The Coolidge, in Coolidge Corner, Brookline, MA), I felt inclined to write my very first movie review. You can read it HERE.

Go a head read it.

I said read it!

I won’t say too much here because, you know, you can read my review (Hint: you should read it), but all I’ll say here is that both JK Simmons and Miles Teller are amazing and that if you’re not like “WTF!!!!” during the last ten minutes, then, well, I don’t know what to say other than you should read my review….;o)

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Without question the most visually stunning movie I saw all year. Every frame, literally every frame, comes across like it’s own painting.

That in of itself makes this one of my favs on the year. That and it’s directed by Wes Anderson, who could make a movie about two toasters banging each other (which doesn’t even make any sense!), and I’d watch it.

There are only a handful of directors where, when you watch a scene or two, you can immediately ascertain their thumb print on a movie. Tarantino, Scorcese, Lynch, etc.

Anderson is known for being a more quirky and idiosyncratic director which, admittedly, isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But it’s definitely mine one of the many reasons why I’d recommend it.

3. Boyhood

It’s pretty hard not to give credit where it’s due on this one. It took Richard Linklater twelve years to make this movie. I know some people who can’t go twelve minutes without eating a carbohydrate.

The amount of patience, diligence, and persistence it must have taken to make this movie is astounding to me.

It’s something that’s never been done before – for a feature film at least – and I give Linklater all the credit in the world.  While it’s easy to chalk this one up on a “best of” list for the novelty alone, it truly is a great piece of film making.

Also, special kudos to Patricia Arquette for her amazing job in this movie. And why not, Ethan Hawke too. I’m not necessarily an “Ethan Hawke guy,” but he was pretty damn good too.

4. Chef

This movie probably wasn’t on many people’s radar, but it should have been. This was such a fun and “feel good” movie to watch. And don’t even get me started on the food porn.

OMG…..the food!!!!

All I’ll say is that a grilled cheese sandwich has never looked so sexy.

Anyways, Jon Favreau wrote and directed this film and the only issue I had with the plot was the fact his character – a fat, ornery chef – was hooking up with smoke shows like Scarlett Johansson and Sofia Vergara.

Riiiiiiigggggghhhhhhhttttttt.

Then again: You know what they say:

If a man can cut vegetables like that……………

Actually, I have no idea where I was going with that.

This is an excellent movie. You should watch it.

5. Gone Girl

I’ll admit it: much like Wes Anderson, I’ll watching anything David Fincher directs. I mean, look at the man’s catalog of movies he’s directed: Seven, Fight Club, Panic Room, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Game, The Social Network, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Zodiac, Alien 3 (<—-okay, meh).

Plus he’s one of the peeps responsible for bringing House of Cards into our living rooms.

In my book he can do no wrong.

I tend to gravitate towards dark, non-butterfly kissey, non-rainbowey, non-warm-and-fuzzy-feelingey movies.

This was about as dark as they get and it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Screw them I say!

6. Birdman

Michael Keaton plays an aging actor who used to play an iconic superhero, who then gave it up, who then became a nobody, who then tries to rekindle his career by adapting a play on Broadway.

Seems fitting given he played Batman back in the early 90s. Not to understate anything, but it goes without saying he’s superb (and will most likely win the Best Actor Oscar).  The rest of the star-studded cast is excellent too (Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone)

The real star, though, is the director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. The camera work in this movie is unparalleled, and gave me a boner, the likes I haven’t experienced since Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men.

Shot in a way where it seems like the entire movie is done in one massive take…..you’ll be like “whaaaaaaaaaaaaat!”

7. The Imitation Game

This would be the opposite of a feel good movie. Amazing (true) story about an amazing man (Alan Turing, and his quest to conquer the Nazi Enigma Code, and basically go on to invent modern computing) with a not-s0-amazing “thank you” by the British government for helping to save the lives of over 20 million people.

Khan Benedict Cumberbatch deserves recognition for his work.  He’s like, really, really good. How’s that for selling it?

8. Star Wars: Episode VII –  The Force Awakens (Teaser Trailer)

 

Whatever.

It’s my list. It’s Star Wars. Deal with it.

So what about you? Have any favorites of the year to share? Come on: you know you’re inner movie snob wants to chime in! I’d love to hear what movies topped your list!

And remember: Stay tuned for my fan-boy “Best of 2014” list coming soon.

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  1. just kidding. Or am I?

  2. You’re welcome for the idea, Hollywood.

  3. SPOILER ALERT: Matt Damon is in Interstellar

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