Jordan’s 5 Favorite Movies of 2014 (So Far)
Generally speaking, the first half of the year is low on quote-unquote good movies. It’s no secret the best (or most Oscar-worthy) movies are generally saved for October, November, and December. Looking ahead, movies like Gone Girl, Interstellar, Foxcatcher, and Inherent Vice are just some of the movies we could be talking about come next year’s Academy Awards. Even before that, they’ll be all over those seemingly endless end-of-the-year lists.
That begs the fairness question because part of the reason later movies get the recognition is because they’re fresher in the voters’ minds. Looking back on the last couple years, there have been some great movies released in the first half of the year. Some examples include Before Sunrise, Beginners, The Hunger Games, Moonrise Kingdom, Mud, The Raid: Redemption, Star Trek Into Darkness, and X-Men: First Class.
In some ways, this year’s crop of first-half films blow previous years out of the water. Speaking candidly, I haven’t seen nearly as many movies from January-June as previous years. Right now, I’m below average (I try to hit 100 movies a year) at just 33 films.
Still, here are the top 5 I’ve seen so far (in alphabetical order):
I wasn’t expecting a lot – perhaps that is a reason this is on the list – when I walked into Jon Favreau’s Chef. Favreau’s career has been up-and-down, at least critically, so seeing him return to his indie roots was undoubtedly a good thing. It paid off, too, because Favreau succeeded both from in front and behind the camera. Chef explores so many important themes, like finding happiness and raising a family, and is genuinely well-written. Ultimately, I would’ve changed the resolution but that’s why I’m typing here and not making movies, right? Either way, check out this movie, it is fantastic.
There have been five big summer blockbusters this year with three of them being wildly successful. I won’t get into the other two, but I had trouble discerning between Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Godzilla, and X-Men: Days of Future Past. In the end, I feel the most passionate about Godzilla because it felt the most original of the three. That’s not to say Days of Future Past wasn’t wholly original (to me, it felt like Inception); however, I felt more from Godzilla because of the double meanings you could glean from the plot. You could watch this movie multiple times and get something different each time.
Any year with a Wes Anderson movie is a good year. I saw Moonrise Kingdom a few years back and was caught off guard by just how much dry humor a film could have (yes, even though I knew I was seeing a Wes Anderson movie). Then, this year came and I saw The Grand Budapest Hotel. I often find “weird” to be an ambiguous word to use when describing a movie because there can be good weirds and bad weirds. The Grand Budapest Hotel is definitely a good weird that I can’t even describe. You’ll just have to see it for yourself.
Just like with Chef, I had no expectations leading up to The LEGO Movie. Not only did the February release date through me off, but I kind of thought this was a cash grab. Boy was I wrong. Within two minutes of The LEGO Movie, I knew it was a special movie. Not special like those movies you dust off every other year, but the type of movie that spawns a franchise that continually gets better (I’m looking at you Toy Story). I’m not saying they should make this a franchise, but if Phil Lord and Chris Miller are involved, sign me up. The LEGO Movie is that legit.
Even though I’m a huge fan of Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), I still was wary of a biblical epic. Don’t get me wrong, I think there is a lot of potential when it comes to the Bible; however, I knew the results would be inherently divisive. When it came down to it, Aronofsky’s Noah went deeper into the story than I expected. It asked some extremely tough questions and let the audience ask themselves the same questions. The buck didn’t stop there either because the solid performances and stunning cinematography made this film the opposite of divisive.
Besides the aforementioned Captain America: The Winter Soldier and X-Men: Days of Future Past, I also considered Blue Ruin, Edge of Tomorrow, In Your Eyes, The Rover, and Snowpiercer. Any others I missed? Sound off below.
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