With 2015 being only a few days old, I thought it would be an excellent time to recap all the films that I saw and place them into several different categories. The tiers and Top 10 were decided after a year long discussion held by a committee of one and will culminate with the undisputed best motion picture of the year.
Films had to meet the following criteria in order for a movie to be considered for the tiers and the rankings:
- Be released in 2014
- Be watched by one or more committee member(s).
This year, the committee screened 32 films and all of them have been carefully placed into specific categories. If you disagree with any of the categories or rankings within the post then feel free to yell your complaints into the empty void of night.
All movies will be accompanied by their MPAA rating and Rotten Tomato Score.
Hey Man. That Was Pretty Fun
Films in this category didn’t necessarily have a lot of substance, but they were pretty fun. They didn’t wow critics and they really didn’t take the box office by storm. Most of them lacked good plots, captivating casts, and quality, but they were fun adventures and I really enjoyed myself.
Non-Stop, PG-13 (60%)
- Liam Neeson stars in an awesome fast-paced mystery on board a commercial airplane. It’s a blast and a half and one critic in particular noted, “The action in this movie was just… NONSTOP.” (Adam Hernandez, Southwest Airlines)
Hercules, PG-13 (58%)
- There were two Hercules movies this year. This is the only one that featured The Rock, and was coincidentally the only one I saw. It was pretty goofy. It was pretty stupid. But it was really entertaining. It had some great one-liners, several laugh out loud moments, and The Rock was The Rock.
Dracula Untold, PG-13 (22%)
- There are rumors that Dracula is the first film in Universal Studio’s expansive Avengers-esque monster movie universe. If that’s the case, the upcoming movies need to improve upon the quality found in Untold. But the “Hey Man. That Was Pretty Fun.” category isn’t worried about quality. It doesn’t concern itself with deep characters. It just wants to see some bad guys get beat up by invincible vampires.
Earth to Echo, PG (48%)
- Echo is kind of a Millennial version of E.T. A bunch of kids find an alien, get into hijinks, government or some kind of agency gets involved, kids work hard to get the alien home, and film it all on their smart phones and expensive cameras. Didn’t think I would like this one, but the kids were really funny, I laughed a lot.
Like I said. None of these movies overwhelmed cirtics, but I thought they were delightful escapes.
Yeah. I Guess That Was A Movie
These are the movies that I saw once, and almost forgot they existed. Some of them were more memorable than others, but for the most part, these films were pretty average. Honestly, I forgot I watched half of them.
Note: Every film will be accompanied with an alternative title.
Malificent, PG (49%)
- Cheek Bones
The Fault In Our Stars, PG-13 (80%)
The Book Of Life, PG (82%)
- Yeah Alright.
The Monuments Men, PG-13 (31%)
- This Isn’t Oceans :-(
RoboCop, PG-13 (48%)
- If It Ain’t Broke, Fix It.
The Muppets 2, PG (79%)
- Where’s Jason Segel? :-(
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, PG-13 (21%)
- Johnny Knoxville is Leonardo
When the Game Stands Tall, PG (18%)
- “Based” on a “True Story” (The Entire Third Act Didn’t Really Happen)
The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, PG-13 (60%)
- The ACTUAL Desolation of Smaug
There were two movies that I was looking forward to this year, and they did not meet my expectations, those two movies were:
Noah, PG-13 (77%)
- A lot of people were angry with Noah because Daren Aronofsky took a lot of artistic liberties with the classic bible story. But to be fair, the biblical account of Noah isn’t very long. If someone is going to make motion picture about the great flood, then some liberties are going to need to be taken. No, the movie was not very biblical, but that wasn’t my issue with the movie.
Mainly, I just didn’t care about it. It wasn’t entertaining, it wasn’t super moving, it just ind of happened. I was expecting a major biblical epic, but it fell way short. It wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t great.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2, PG-13 (53%)
- There were three very flat, uninspired, vanilla villains that populated this movie. Electro wanted to kill people because he didn’t get enough attention. Harry Osbourne went from being a really healthy kid to being crippled by a mysterious “goblin disease” in a matter of days. The Rhino suffered from one of the worst CGI designs in modern blockbuster history. Gwen and Peter’s relationship continuously swung between being totally fine, to being on the rocks throughout the entire movie. This movie was awful. Totally awful. Shame on you Spider-Man. Shame on you.
When it comes to Christmas, few songs drive people more insane than Christmas Shoes. It’s about a kid who wants to get his dying mother a pair of shoes for Christmas. It’s really not musically inventive, it’s super vanilla, very superficial, very cheesy, and is loathed by 95% of the population. Bottom line: It’s coming from a good place, but it isn’t a good song.
There was one movie this year that was essentially the Christmas Shoes of movies. And that was none other than:
God’s Not Dead, PG (17%)
God’s Not Dead tells the story of 10 different characters with like 13 different plot lines. The main story is about a college student who winds up engaging in a semester-long debate with his caricature of an atheist college professor. And as the title of the movie would suggest, they were debating whether or not there is a God.
The film culminates with all the characters going to the Newsboy’s God’s Not Dead concert. At the concert there’s a lot of dancing, hand raising, singing, cheering, high fiveing, a hit-and-run case of vehicular manslaughter that goes unsolved and unpunished, and the Newsboys!
Okay, you got me, there wasn’t a whole lot of high fiveing going on. But all the rest absolutely happened. Including the vehicular manslaughter.
God’s Not Dead has its moments, however few they may be, but overall the film is pretty bad. The characters are awkward and the multiple plot lines intersect about as smoothly as a pair of charging Rhinos. I want it to be good. As a Christian, I really really really want it to be good. But it’s super cheesy, pretty vanilla, and not very inventive. It’s coming from a good place, but it just isn’t a good movie.
I Am So Mad That I Bought A Ticket to See This Movie. Why? Why Did I Waste My Time? What Was I Expecting? I Am Just So Mad At Myself.
transformers: age of extinction, PG-13, 165 minutes (18%)
This movie is 165 minutes long and did a really neat thing where it refused to tie up any of the hundreds of loose ends that it created.
For those of you who haven’t seen it, Mark Whalberg stars as a man from Paris, Texas. Yup. Boston’s own Marky Mark Whalberg plays a man from East Texas.
This was the first time I audibly said, “You’re joking” in a movie theater.
If you go back and watch the previews of the movie, you will notice that they suggest that Dino robots will play a big part in the movie. The title alone “age of extinction” also hints at the inclusion of dinosaurs in this movie. And the opening sequence itself shows dinosaurs.
Well guess what.
The Dinobots show up around minute 140. And then they make their exit around minute 150.
I was so mad.
Lack of dinos, a man from Paris, Texas with a Boston accent, Optimus Prime magically growing rockets on the back of his legs and flying into space, a plot that is never explained nor makes sense, dumb villains, loose ends on loose ends on loose ends.
transformers four is the comic-sans of movies.
It is terrible in every way imaginable. I hate it so much.
And yet, I was one of the people that helped it make 1 billion dollars.
The battle is over. I am ashamed. We are doomed. All is lost. All is lost. All is lost.
Mark Whalberg has been confirmed for Transformers 5.
There’s Something In My Eye, I Swear :'(
This is a list of all the movies that made me cry in 2014 :'( They will be accompanied with a “Why they made me cry” explanation
St. Vincent, PG-13 (76%)
- The little kid recognizes Vincent as a modern day saint and recounts all of the great things Vin did in his life. And then the kid goes and reminds you about Vin’s recently deceased wife who had been battling Alzheimer’s disease. You really can’t blame me for the little drop that escaped my eyeball.
Big Hero Six, PG (89%)
- I didn’t technically cry, but I got close when Baymax sacrifices himself for Hiro.
“I am satisfied with my care.”
NO YOU AREN’T, HIRO. FIGURE SOMETHING OUT.
Alexander And The Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day, PG (62%)
- I am just as surprised as you are to see this on the list, but sure enough it happened. When Alexander comes home and finds out his parents rented out an Australian Outback petting zoo, and Alexander realizes that he isn’t invisible to them, and that they really do love him, and that he matters to them, I just couldn’t fight it, man. A couple tears welled up. IT WAS REALLY SWEET, OKAY? IT WAS JUST REALLY KIND OF HIS FAMILY. LEAVE ME ALONE.
About Time, R (69%)
- Yeah I know. It’s not from 2014, but I watched it over the summer for the first time. The beach scene at the end of the movie: Niagara Falls. I was a wreck.
Just A Bit Outside
Before we get to the top 10 I wanted to make note of some movies that were really good, but for whatever reason they just missed the top 10 cut. All of these are really good movies, and some may be present in other top 10 movie lists, but for me they just lacked a little here and there.
How To Train Your Dragon 2, PG (92%)
- The second installment of Hiccup and the gang didn’t necessarily measure up to it’s predecessor, but it’s still a very good movie. It tugs at your heartstrings, expands upon the world created in the first film, and has a great final act. But it misses the very high standard that the first movie set by the hairs on its chinny, chin, chin. Solid movie.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, PG-13 (91%)
- The only reason why this isn’t in the top ten is because the concept of apes taking over the world makes me really uncomfortable. Everything about this movie was good, I just felt really uneasy with the story it was telling.
Alexander and the THNGVBD, PG (62%)
- Still can’t believe I cried a little in this one. I was so frustrated with myself. The film is endearing, charming, and pretty okay. It’s just not quite Top 10 material.
Interstellar, PG-13 (72%)
- I wanted to put this in the Top 10. I really wanted to. But I couldn’t. I was really looking forward to this movie for a long time, and was super pumped to see what Nolan had in store for audiences this time, but was a little let down once the movie was over. It was emotionally draining for sure, but it was just missing something. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but for me it was just missing that extra something to make it a great movie.
What If, PG-13 (69%)
- It was good, just not great. You knew Harry Potter would wind up with the girl the whole time. The story was well told, and I enjoyed myself, but much like Interstellar, it was missing that extra something to make it great.
About Time, R (69%)
- The only reason why this isn’t in the Top 10 is because it was made in 2013. Great movie. So Good.
The movies that have made it to this category are what I considered to be the best movies of the year. You do not have to agree with this list. I will admit that there probably won’t be much difference between my top 10 and one created by an 8 year old. But that’s okay. This is just my opinion. And if you don’t like my top 10, or any of my other categories, you’re more than welcome to disagree.
But if you put Transformers 4 in your top 10, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will make you sit down, critically watch it, and make you think about what you’ve done.
So here’s my Top 10 (Brought to you by the B1G 10 and Big XII)
11. Mr. Peabody and Sherman, PG (79%)
- This was such a cute little movie and was one of the surprises of 2014. It had comedy, time travel, a talking dog with glasses, and a very touching ending. If it’s Friday Night, and you’re looking for something to Redbox, and you haven’t seen this movie yet, I would highly recommend renting it.
10. Big Hero 6, PG (89%)
- Somehow I became emotionally invested in the destiny of a robot that looked like a marshmallow. I don’t know how Disney does it, but their last four films (Tangled, Wreck It Ralph, Frozen, and Big Hero 6) have been phenomenal and they don’t show any signs of dropping off in the immediate future. Big Hero was so sad, thrilling, fun, goofy, serious, and fulfilling. It was a captivating adventure and a fantastic trip to the movies. I was satisfied with my care.
9. Guardians of the Galaxy, PG-13 (90%)
- “We are Groot.” Yes we are. Yes we are.
8. Edge of Tomorrow, PG-13 (90%)
- Edge of Tomorrow was easily the biggest surprise of 2014. It struggled at the box office, but it was totally awesome. There was tons of action, lots of time travel, and a thrilling plot. It was so much fun and it was really good. The movie formally known as Edge of Tomorrow (Now called Live. Die. Repeat. for some reason) is a lot like Groundhog Day in plot structure, but is a lot more serious and action packed. If you haven’t seen it, you really need to go watch it because it just so good.
7. The Lego Movie, PG (96%)
- Everything is awesome about this movie. GET IT? No but seriously. Everything was great. I laughed a ton and got very sentimental. It ends on the overused “everyone can be a hero” cliche, but I don’t care. I hope that someday we all have the opportunity to unlock the special within us, and maybe, just maybe, we can watch TV with all our buddies on our own double decker couch.
6. St. Vincent, PG-13 (76%)
- Bill Murray was a grumpy, surly, curmudgeon with a heart of tarnished gold which is exactly how I want to be when I grow older. The relationship he shares with his next door neighbor is really sweet and Murray delivered a fantastic performance. It is wildly inappropriate at parts, but if you can make it through the first 20 minutes, then you’ll be rewarded.
5. Godzilla, PG-13 (74%)
- OH MAN. OH MAN. I love Godzilla so much. He was a childhood hero of mine. This movie honored the very best parts about my favorite atomic lizard and HOLY SMOKES ATOMIC BREATH. WOW. Bryan Cranston dies in the first 30 minutes, and Aaron Taylor Johnson was not anywhere near his best, BUT GODZILLA WAS SO COOL. HE STOLE EVERY SCENE HE WAS IN. HE JUST CRUSHED IT. Academy take note: Godzilla for best actor in a leading role plz.
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier PG-13 (89%)
- The first Captain America movie was essentially a preview for The Avengers. Winter Soldier, on the other hand completely alters the entire direction of the MCU and changes everything you’ve known about S.H.I.E.L.D. But looking at the movie from a strictly standalone point of view, and outside the context of the bigger franchise, Cap 2 is just really good. The Winter Soldier is a great menacing presence throughout the film, Robert Redford is a fantastic political villain, Sam Jackson’s car chase was amazing, and Chris Evans is such a good Captain America. This may be Marvel’s best movie to date. So good.
3. X-Men: Days of Future Past, PG-13 (91%)
- Future Past is fantastic. It has its fair share of problems and plot holes, but when you’re dealing with time travel it’s impossible to cover all of your bases. Patrick Stewart’s speech to James McAvoy was inspirational and moving. Michael Fassbender once again reminds you why he is a more than capable heir to the role of Magneto. Hugh Jackman does less Wolverine-y things in this one and takes on a more sophisticated supporting role, while remaining totally awesome. Future Past not only fixes all the mistakes that X3 and X-Men Origins made, but it also has a very rewarding and nostalgic ending. It’s a solid entry in the X-Men franchise and is quite possibly the best of the bunch.
2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer, G (100%)
- I MAKE THE RULES. THIS COUNTS. I’M SO EXCITED. LET’S GO.
1. Boyhood, R (98%)
- For those who have never heard of Boyhood, let me give you the most inriguing aspect of this film: it was made over 12 years with the same cast.
The exact same cast. You literally get to watch the main character grow up right in front of your eyes. Boyhood is the perfect picture of what it was like to grow up in Texas in the 2000’s. The family situation may not have been the same as yours, but the real world situations are exactly the same. The movie only filmed a few scenes at a time over the course of twelve years which creates a very unique evolution process. The music, the film quality, the dialogue, the culture, all grow and change as the plot moves forward in time. It’s fascinating.
It’s remarkable that not only was this type of movie attempted, but that it was executed so well. The story is great and the actors all deliver phenomenal performances. It’s so good.It is sentimental and nostalgic without being cheesy. It is a work of art and yet it isn’t pretentious. You may not agree with all of the view points of the characters and the choices they make, I certainly didn’t. But you can absolutely relate to a lot of the situations they were in and the challenges they faced.
Parents, be warned that the F-word gets dropped a lot. But if you have a senior in high school, or a recently graduated senior, I think you should really give Boyhood a viewing. It’s remarkable. It’s moving. It’s my favorite movie of the year and has a real shot to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
Well that wraps up the list. If you disagreed with everything, that’s okay :( If you disagreed with a few things, that’s also okay :( If you also cried during Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day, please let me know so I can at least feel better about myself.
Thanks for reading.