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Opinion: The top ten movies of 2014

Your rating: None Average: 2.6 (8 votes)

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It’s surprising how important this top ten list is to me. I’m already thinking about possibilities for 2015; it’s going to be a fun year. Or really disappointing. One or the other.

But enough about next year - here’s ten movies from 2014 I liked.

Preliminaries

Okay, let’s back up a second. Let’s set the ground rules. If this is the first time you’ve read one of my top tens, well, first of all, this is my top ten, not Flayrah’s in any sense, editorially or otherwise. GreenReaper probably, like, totally hates these movies. Second, though this is a furry site, this is not a top ten furry movies list; even stretching the definition really far, it would be really hard to come up with ten movies, period, never mind ten movies I actually liked. This year did end up a bit furrier than the previous two years, though, so there is that.

I guess some notes on the year in cinema are in order; last year was the first year I listed my most anticipated movies, and, not to get too spoilery, but I really know myself. There were a lot of sequels to movies that I’d listed before out this year, including 2011’s #8, 2012’s #2, and 2013’s #9, #6 and #5, but none of them made the list; however, two sequels to movies that didn’t make older lists appear (plus a sequel to a movie older than the lists). Two directors made their second appearance on my list, plus two co-directors who pulled off the feat of gaining two movies on a list in one year. Also, my inexplicable love for the letter G has held; the top three movies of the year begin with that letter.

Anyway, here are a few other superlatives of the year:

Five Best Songs:
  1. Untitled Self Portrait” from The LEGO Movie
  2. We’re Doing a Sequel” from Muppets: Most Wanted
  3. For the Dancing and the Dreaming” from How to Train Your Dragon 2
  4. Poisonous Love” from Rio 2
  5. Battle” from My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks

Five Best Moments:

  1. Arnim Zola returns, Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  2. Open Mic Night, 22 Jump Street
  3. Bob the bird’s audition, Rio 2
  4. A meatQt sandwich, 22 Jump Street
  5. He’s here, Godzilla

Best Furry Movie: Guardians of the Galaxy (Runner-up: The Nut Job)
Best Animated Movie: The LEGO Movie (Runner-up: The Nut Job)
Best Live Action Movie: Guardians of the Galaxy (Runner-up: Godzilla)
Best Adaptation: Guardians of the Galaxy (Runner-up: Godzilla)
Best Sequel: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Runner-up: 22 Jump Street)
Best Original Movie: The Grand Budapest Hotel (Runner-up: The LEGO Movie)
Franchise I’m Most Looking Forward To the Next Instalment Of: Guardians of the Galaxy (Runner-up: Godzilla)
Franchise That Needs to Stop Now: The Hobbit (Runner-up: 21 Jump Street)
2013 Honorable Mention: You’re Next (Runner-up: Blackfish)
2015 Most Anticipated Movie: Spectre (Runner-up: Jurassic World)

Well, without further ado, let the bodies hit the floor.

How to Train Your Dragon 210. How to Train Your Dragon 2

You’re as beautiful as the day I lost you.
Directed by Dean Debloiswatch trailer
If I did a top ten for 2010, How to Train Your Dragon would be number one. Yeah, it has cool dragons, and great animation, but what stood out to me was how good the little things are. The character interaction, whether it’s the iconic moment when Toothless finally allows Hiccup to touch him, or my favorite scene from that year, the awkward conversation between father and son with the funny, but so very sad, line, “We finally have something to talk about.”

So, tenth place is a bit of a comedown for this sequel; mostly because it takes up so much time with epic showdowns, which, lets face it, aren’t that hard to pull off anymore. But when it slows down long enough to show a family reunited, well, that’s the heart of the movie, and it still beats strong.

The Nut Job9. The Nut Job

Are you nuts?
Directed by Peter Lepeniotiswatch trailerread review (by Fred)
This is the movie that keeps you going back. I even remember, before I left for the theater, having a conversation defending myself for going alone to the theater to watch this movie. I said something about how it makes me a better reviewer, even watching the bad ones, without much hope for it. And then, it surprised me when I realized I liked it. I really liked it.

It’s a good movie, and maybe I am nuts for putting it in my top ten list (and, oh, yes, pun very much intended). But these are the movies, in retrospect, I feel the proudest for putting in there. If you don’t like it, well, nuts to you!

Interstellar8. Interstellar

Everybody good? Plenty of slaves for my robot colony?
Directed by Christopher Nolanwatch trailer
What I like about this movie is that it is a real science fiction movie. It uses concepts like the theory of relativity in a way that big budget, mainstream movies just don’t. Here’s a movie where a group of astronauts go down to a planet they spend a few minutes on the surface while the poor guy left on the ship ages 17 years. It explores space exploration.

And, truth be told, I loved the robots in this movie. It may sound blasphemous for a furry to say this, but I loved how non-anthropomorphic they were in form. I’ve never seen robots that looked like that, and they are amazing. So, a top ten movie of the year for the cool looking robots. Eh, you’ve already seen number 9.

Gone Girl7. Gone Girl

Did you kill your wife, Nick?
Directed by David FincherWatch trailer
Well, I certainly hope this isn’t a political statement, because, holy crap, is this movie not what we like to call politically correct. At all. You could call it Rape Culture: The Movie, and you wouldn’t be unfair. Not very good at marketing, perhaps. I mean, you lose that cool alliteration. Also, probably don’t use “rape” in your movie titles.

But it’s also just a very entertaining movie. I didn’t see the twist coming. Probably I should have. Doesn’t say much about me as a movie reviewer, perhaps, but maybe says something comforting about me. Perhaps. Anyway, good movie. Just, uh, don’t model your life after it, or anything.

The LEGO Movie6. The LEGO Movie

I know that sounds like something off a cat poster, but it’s true.
Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Millerwatch trailer
This movie feels a lot like a short video found randomly on YouTube stretched to feature length, except with fewer cats. It just about throws everything it can up against the wall in order to make you laugh.

It also has heart. It may be a toy commercial, but it’s a commercial for a toy that encourages creativity. So, it celebrates creativity, reminding us that it’s our dumb ideas that don’t always make sense that can also be our most inspired ideas. They’re what make us special.

22 Jump Street5. 22 Jump Street

Something cool!
Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller - watch trailer
This movie feels a lot like a short video found randomly on YouTube stretched to feature length, except with fewer cats. It just about throws everything it can up against the wall in order to make you laugh.

Wait, I swear I didn’t do this on purpose. These two co-directors have a sensibility that appeals to me; they therefore created two movies that appeal me. So, it shouldn’t be surprising they both ended up on my list, one after the other. But why 22 Jump Street over The LEGO Movie? 22 Jump Street was funnier. Duh.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

We are both of us out of time.
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russowatch trailer
I’m obviously a fan of both Marvel comics and Marvel movies, but I have to say, this year may have been their single best yet on the movie front. I think Marvel’s strength is that their superheroes are real characters, with quirks and foibles. Captain America is a real character, and they don’t change him for the sake of a new sensibility.

This movie is dark; it revolves around a group of Nazis so bad the other Nazis were all like, “Whoah, hey, tone it down!” infiltrating America’s government and defense forces in a scheme to rule the world by killing pretty much everyone; and they almost get away with it! But through it all, Captain America is Captain America; he fights for truth, justice and the American way. Things get dark, but he doesn’t. Captain America, heck yeah! (He wouldn’t like me cursing.)

The Grand Budapest Hotel3. The Grand Budapest Hotel

There are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity.
Directed by Wes Andersonwatch trailer
This movie has become a bit of a favorite with critics as of late, and I guess I’m just another drop in the ocean, but I find what they say about the movie a bit off. They all describe it as some, sweet, frothy cake, which given the confectionery motifs of the movie makes sense, though perhaps a bit too obviously. But it doesn’t really make sense.

Now, I obviously enjoy Wes Anderson’s movies; don’t get me started on Fantastic Mr. Fox’s Ursa Major snub. Ever. But what I like about this one especially is how earthy it is. All these comparisons to cakes make it seem, well, insubstantial and nice. Trust me, there’s some real meat on the bones here, something you can sink your teeth into.

Godzilla2. Godzilla

SKREEONK!
Directed by Gareth Edwardswatch trailer
You remember the other American Godzilla? Eventually, that version of Godzilla became an official Toho monster, albeit renamed Zilla. Get it? Get it? Well, they’ve finally put the God back in Godzilla. I cannot believe how seriously they took him in this movie, and how well that actually worked out.

His motives are mysterious, but they can be, dare I say it, anthropomorphisized. (A word coined to describe God, not animals. Did you know that?) Is he here to save us? Or does he even know we’re there? And here we see a force of nature, and we are allowed to see it, but briefly. Every time he’s on screen, all you can do is stare. Just stare.

Guardians of the Galaxy1. Guardians of the Galaxy

We are Groot.
Directed by James Gunnwatch trailerread full review
They did it. Crazy sons of guns, they did it. This movie is a miracle; it wouldn’t have happened if two writers didn’t get permission to just play with a bunch of unused cosmic comic toys, which wound up being a minor cult hit, followed by a screenwriter picking the team created to write a screenplay because it was the only current Marvel property set in space, and that screenplay being picked to actually make a movie. And it worked!

The funny thing is, while most people had no expectations, mine couldn’t be higher. I was a part of that minor cult, and I loved the director, James Gunn’s earlier work. It should have been a massive disappointment for me; it could never live up to my expectations. But it did! So, it is easily the best movie of the year.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Ugh, I despised Nut Job. Granted the animation was nice but the dialogue was terrible and the voice acting missed the mark for many of the characters. I really think this movie could have been great... if it went so much darker.

What about Big Hero 6? I would put that as a close second to GotG.

Your rating: None

I will say The Nut Job had really low expectations going for it ...

And really high expectations is probably what put How to Train Your Dragon 2 so low; I was actually rooting for it to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature even before The LEGO Movie was snubbed; I liked The LEGO Movie better, but felt like Dean Deblois and DreamWorks kind of deserved one.

Big Hero 6 was ... okay. It was a lot like my feelings about Frozen last year; it's not so much that I didn't like it, it's that I didn't really ... care. (Of course, now I hate Frozen because it won the Ursa Major, but that's not really fair or its fault.)

Your rating: None

On a complete side note, I wish Over the Garden Wall could be considered a movie, although it is instead a one season show that had an overall story arc. I only saw it recently, on flight out to FC, but I would say that show was better than so many of the movies on the above list ^.^

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

[...] I loved how non-anthropomorphic they were in form. I’ve never seen robots that looked like that, and they are amazing.

I really liked it too! I was actually surprised that I liked them, because at first it felt like some sort of weird prank. They seemed really out-of-place for the movie for the first few scenes to me, but I came around and realized they were actually pretty-well designed, and not as bulky as they seemed at first.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Good list. I agree with most of your choices (except I was disappointed with Godzilla). There are some big movies I need to catch up on (Interstellar, The Lego Movie, Hunger Games, Boyhood, to name a few).

Can't resist sharing a list of my own. I did see a ton of movies last year (much more than I usually do in a given year).

Here were my faves of 2014 (with links to trailers)...
10. Snowpiercer
9. How to Train Your Dragon 2
8. The Skeleton Twins
7. Housebound
6. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
5. Under the Skin
4. The Grand Budapest Hotel
3. The Babadook
2. Whiplash
1. We Are the Best!

Honorable mention: Guardians of the Galaxy, Pride

Best Actress:
Essie Davis (The Babadook)

Best Actor:
Ralph Fiennes (Budapest Hotel)

Best movie moments (by description):
"Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now" (The Skeleton Twins)
"Human work" (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)
"Zombie" Beth's death scene (Life After Beth)

Best quote:
"Take your hands off my lobby boy!" (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

The Badadook sounds really good, though I have just really not had the opportunity to see it, and I want to see Whiplash for no other reason than it's a Best Picture nominee. That's why I do honorable mentions for last year this year (or two years ago, now, I guess); I can put in movies I just missed (You're Next was a rare exception in that it just missed last year's list).

Boyhood is probably overrated, but not bad. I haven't seen a single Hunger Games movie; I will say Jennifer Lawrence's cover of The Hanging Tree which is getting some airplay is fun to listen to.

Godzilla is definitely a divisive movie; yeah, the "human element" is undercooked, but, I mean, have you seen another Godzilla movie? And I've read that you only see Godzilla approximately 8 minutes in the movie (and a lot of that is obscured, or, like the scene I highlighted, basically just the guy's thigh), but that's why I liked it. When we finally see him, it's exciting every time. You don't get a lot of Godzilla in Godzilla, but it's never bad Godzilla.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

I am also a fan of You're Next. Funny thing is that I usually don't go for "mask-wearing-serial-killer" movies, but when the killers in question are behind animal faces well... my curiosity got the better of me.

I don't think The Babadook played in many theaters, so it's reach to audiences was very limited. Between this and Housebound, Australia and New Zealand (respectively), put out two very entertaining horror flicks this year. Speaking of horror, I cannot go without mentioning Tusk, which gives new meaning to the term "fursuit". o_O

Whiplash was simply amazing. It plays like a tense action movie. I saw it twice in the theaters and in both screenings there was enthusiastic applause from the audience by closing scene.

I did enjoy seeing the Godzilla monster on the big screen in it's latest incarnation. I know there were gripes from some about the new design of the creature, but to me he looked majestic. The "human element" as you mentioned did not engage me, so it got knocked out of my favorites list. I only have the original 1954 film to compare it to. If I remember correctly the monster does not appear until much later (and in the most undramatic way).

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

As soon as I realized "GotG" was by the guy who made "Slither", I was in!

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About the author

crossaffliction (Brendan Kachel)read storiescontact (login required)

a reporter and Red Fox from Hooker, Oklahoma, interested in movies, horror, stand up comedy

Formerly Wichita's only furry comic.