Best Of 2014
January 4, 2015 § Leave a comment
2014 may be officially over but it doesn’t stop me from giving a bit of what’s cool and what sucks on that year that is fucking awful but not to just me but for several people so hopefully we will forget that period in many months from now. So for let’s see what I like and hope it won’t be as regrettable as the time I placed SING by My Chemical Romance as the best single portion. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking back then.
Best Movies Of 2014
Captain America: The Winter Soldier – This is the ultimate game-changer epic in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise and it really is unexpected. Taken loosely from the Ed Brubaker written storyline of the same name, it focuses on The Star-Spangled Avenger being caught in conspiracy event that involves his past, his friends and even his enemies and oh boy, it is glorious. This might be the first superhero movie to be mixed with paranoid thriller and it is as unique as the comic book. Sure, the S.H.I.E.L.D. reveal is not in the comics but damn that is a bigger reveal than The Mandarin in Iron Man 3. Now I had to hope that Captain America: Civil War will be differed from the comics because ooh boy, that was a thing I want to forget.
The Dallas Buyers Club – This is one of the few movies from 2013 that somewhat got a release this year in my country and I don’t know if I not include those or not so let’s just thank goodness I don’t. This movie made me like Matthew McConaughey again after his period of romantic comedies and yeah, he has few after that like Killer Joe but I haven’t seen those. He sold this movie as a former homophobic turned HIV-infected drug dealer that helps giving drugs to other people infected with the disease. Also, both Matthew and Jared Leto deserved their Academy awards.
Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story Of Cannon Films! – Yeah, I saw this documentary this year and it was worth it. I remember a part of the eighties that involves cheesy movies like Masters of the Universe and Invasion USA and it made me a Cannon fan back then since really, how can you not love those films? Well, you may not like Superman IV: The Quest For Peace but dammit, it was radically a different but good time at those movies and this documentary recollects the hey days when Stallone’s Cobra character kills off The Night Slasher for saying “Pig” a lot. While I got the bare bones DVD, I am waiting for the special edition and I gonna get this one way or another so I’m not giving up on that. Really, this documentary is worth a watch if you’re into 1980s schlock classics.
Gone Girl – This one is part of my top three of the list and I do had to say that this movie is really messed up to the core. I could say this is the most Fincheresque movie that David Fincher has ever made and I can give if somebody disagree on that but moving on. Ben Affleck and Rosemund Pike played as possibly the most unlikeable couple since well, Edward and Bella and in a good way no less. The story really ranges from missing person mystery to mindfuck territory full of trashy media, murder and lies and oh boy, is this disturbing to look at how it’s portrayed. This so deserves to be on the list.
Guardians Of The Galaxy – Oh, another Marvel Cinematic Universe movie that’s awesome and possibly the most unlikely one of them all (well, this and Big Hero 6). James Gunn is no stranger to mixing superheroes with a bit of black humor and this one may not be as messed up as Super but damn, this movie is good. From “I Am Groot” dialogues to the dance off to even the most surprising cameo of all, it’s good from start to finish. Oh, and the soundtrack is so good that I brought it on cassette tape format. Yes, cassette tapes is still a thing… sort of. Please let that still be a thing!
Interstellar – This is Christopher Nolan’s way of saying “I can make my own 2001” and he went all out with that. I mention Matthew McConaughey earlier and he’s pretty alright in this movie along with Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine and one actor playing an astronaut that I won’t spoil here. Sure, there’s some weak parts in this movie and it got a bit goofy near the end but look at it this way, I kinda like The Dark Knight Rises despite flaws and a couple of plotholes so I can’t hate on this one. Also, worth checking out in IMAX (even with audio problems which I cannot detect when I saw it).
Nebraska – As much as I turned 30 this year, I do generally think that my life might be in its “it’s over” kind of structure because really, turning 30 for anybody is like that. But it is nothing compared to what Woody Grant has been going through when he’s in his 70s. Alexander Payne has made interesting flicks thanks to Election and Sideways and this movie is no exception. It’s a road movie between father and son to their old hometown so that Woody will get his lottery price that will never be and on the way, you see the realism on good old dysfunctional families circuits as well as old friends and enemies with Stacy Keach also giving his all. Also, I’m not much a fan of Will Forte but damn is it his best role yet and along with Bruce Dern in it. Oh, and another 2013 movie on this list that’s also released this year but moving on.
Nightcrawler – Another one in the top three and you know what? This is the top of the top three because wow, Jake Gyllenhall gives his best ever performance since well, Donnie Darko. It’s another movie focusing on trash media and Jake took on the role so batshit insane that he would perfect as Patrick Bateman if American Psycho get eventually remade. Rene Russo is also good as ageing producer and quite attractive at her age so be glad that her husband is the director of this movie and it is Dan Gilroy’s directorial debut after a couple of decades of screenwriting which is such a directorial debut. Bravo sir, hope you make movies in that direction in the near future.
Predestination – Yeah, this one is in the top three and I already talked about it in a review of this movie. Really, what should I say about this that I haven’t already said? Nothing, this movie is just so good that I hope everybody who reads this will see it. It’s really worth a recommendation so trust me on this.
The Lego Movie – This needs to be in the list and out of all of them, it’s an unthinkable one since there have been Lego movies before on DVD circuits but none are compared to this insane, adventurous work of genius. Lord and Miller took a world-renowned kids property and inject it with a dystopian scenario that you never think of with humor and a bit of metaphysical references and it worked. And if anything, I also seen 22 Jump Street this year and it’s almost the same thing I could say about it here – even if it’s a television series adaptation instead of all-ages product placement. Phil and Christopher, keep doing a good work.
The Wolf of Wall Street – Another 2013 movie also released this year and I don’t know but the movie is so good that I was hoping Leo to finally get his Oscar gold. I really do. Besides that, this is Scorsese back to the same black comedy game he was at when he did The King of Comedy and After Hours and he did it well as usual. This is what a movie based on true story looks like if it’s taken too much drugs and it is suitable of me saying that. I don’t know what the real Jordan Belfort thinks about this movie but hopefully he likes it.
12 Years A Slave – One more 2013 movie that’s also released this year and this movie is best introduction to Steve McQueen’s long-awaited directorial career after starring in movies several years before like The Great Escape. Okay, I kid about the last one. It’s really an perfect introduction to the director with the same name as the actor if you haven’t seen his work and damn, it is heartbreaking to watch. Chiwetel Ejofor and Michael Fassbender gives it there all here and Benedict Cumberbatch and Brad Pitt did good here even in minimal role. If you haven’t seen it, do check it out but be warned since it’s not for the faint of heart due to graphic scenes. This is the same guy who did Shame after all.
X-Men: Days Of Future Past – Another movie based on a well-known storyline and I’m glad this existed because when I saw a Sentinel head in X-Men: The Last Stand, I was at that time sad and disappointed that this adaptation might not happened. Now with X-Men: First Class semi-reboot the movie continuity, it leads Fox Studios to give a chance to see the battle of time and space and with the mutants in a period of Pre-Watergate scandals and groovy clothing with few familiar faces returning. Bryan Singer returns to the franchise and doesn’t re-do the Superman Returns schtick of storytelling and pull it off even by literally rebooting everything except First Class… and possibly X-Men Origins: Wolverine which was non-canon… is it still non-canon before this movie’s events? Uh, can we pretend it is even though Ryan Reynolds is reprising his role as Deadpool?
Best Television Series Of 2014
Hannibal – I like the first season of the show and there is nothing bad about this but fuck man, the second season is the most messed-up, unexpected, thing of genius that Bryan Fuller could deliver from the start to the cliffhanger. This is enough to make me forget Dexter Morgan becoming a lumberjack and it shows. In addition to being distant from the movies that stars either Anthony Hopkins, Brian Cox or some guy from Hannibal Rising as the title character, it also gives Michael Pitt the best performance as Mason Verger and I could see him playing The Joker before DC decides on Jared Leto instead. A shame really, it’s also a shame that he got replaced by Joe Anderson for the third season but I reserve judgement on that one so Joe might be good.
The Flash – To confess, I hardly watch episodes of Arrow and really do need to catch up. As for this one, I caught up with it as fast as I could (no pun intended, I think). This is how a DC superhero should have handled in media, with one who saves lives, investigate mysteries and fought villains unlike what happened when Zack Snyder massacred it with Superman. It also gives nods to the short-lived 1990s series and with actors both reprising and playing new roles so given that Mark Hamill is back as The Trickster, I approve of this direction and this show really does kick ass.
True Detective – This year is really the year of the McConaughey and this show is another reason. Reteaming up with his EdTV co-star Woody Harrelson, it mixes murder mystery with occult fiction and weirdness and gives an unexpected take on buddy cop trope with Rustin being a strange kind of detective and Martin being the normal one who wondered why he is partner with him. It also involves domestic drama with Michelle Monaghan as Martin’s husband. I do hope the second season is better with different cast and storyline even with Vince Vaughn and Taylor Kitsch in the cast… uh, let’s hope it’s a good career comeback for both of them.
Too Many Cooks – Eh why not? Spin.com named this as one of the best music videos of 2014 strangely enough. This is the late Adult Swim informercial that went viral and caught everybody’s attention with this deconstruction of intros from 1980s sitcoms and television series and a twisted kind of deconstuction no less. It gained parodies, annotations and at this time of writing, a sequel so who knows? Maybe the sequel will make fun of Aaron Spelling stuff with 50 year olds playing high schoolers.
Best Songs Of 2014
David Bowie – Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)/Tis A Pity She Was A Whore – I miss Bowie when he was weird and experimental. Hey, Outside is an awesome album so what do I say to that? These two songs is surreal and differed from each other. While Tis A Pity bears little similarities to I’m Deranged, it’s still a good avant-garde track and it should have continued more like The Leon Tapes bootleg that got leaked this year. Yeah, I’m still in Outside territory so shut up, I like these two songs.
Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass – Uh, this is my guilty pleasure so shut up, I like this song.
Pharrell Williams – Happy – You know songs that are played everywhere that you get sick of them like Macarena and Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On did for me? This is one I never tired of. 2013 may give Pharrell a career boost with him joining up with Daft Punk (and to the lesser extent, Robin Thicke) and even though this song was released in November of that year, it still stick up the charts months afterwards so I place it here anyway. Also, I heard Girl album and I’m sorry to say that it’s kinda hit-and-miss there. Sure, there are few good tracks but there’s also one track with Miley Cyrus (and one with Kelly Osbourne which is strange, I thought she quit her singing career after One Word). Other than that, Happy is a good song even in those dreadful times.
Best Albums Of 2014
Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways – If the Foos made an album each year, it’s so gonna be in my list no matter what. This is Dave Grohl and his boys revisit the 8-track album structure but with them recording each song in each place in America and it is an experimentation worth doing. Also, it’s been documented in HBO series of a similar name and I would hesitate putting that one in television series list but as much as it’s good to watch, I hate to say it but it should have been more better. I don’t know why I said it but I’m bashing this show and I did say that it’s good to watch. Then again, the show gave us Dave singing Kids In America so there’s that and there is news of second season so maybe they’ll get a second chance on the list next year.
Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence – I have a soft spot for her and as much as she did a very good first album (well, first as Lana Del Rey), her second album (again, as Lana Del Rey) is pretty good as well and with a title like that. This album is reason why she herself is called “Gangsta Nancy Sinatra” and it shows. Both West Coast and Brooklyn Baby is a highlight and I’m guessing Fucked My Way Up To The Top as well since it might be a reference to the infamous award speech scene from The Lonely Lady, I don’t know but at least she didn’t make a song about Ray Liotta and the garden hose scene. Overall, this album is good and kubrickian right down to the title.
St Vincent – St Vincent – Hey Bluewater Comics, if you’re thinking of making a Fame comic involving Annie Clark, at least make it about her instead of the stalker who went all Christian Chandler on us (yes, I heard about the recent Gamestop news in case anybody is wondering, I honestly don’t want to joke about him). Really, St Vincent is going all Lady Gaga on this and in a very intelligent way. After four albums (one with David Byrne), she continues not to disappoint me and gives us a reason why Art Rock still exists in the days of Nicki Minaj and Beyonce Knowles. Digital Witness is probably the most strangest one of all and it deserves a listen along with Birth In Reverse and many others. 2014 was truly the year of her.
Best Comics Of 2014
Multiversity – If there are people who hates on Grant Morrison and called him a hack or something similar? I can respect their opinion but damn, they should read this one. I waited for this since 2009 and it is worth waiting for. From going pulp-like The to going all “me” with The Just (which is the lesser favorite story out of all so far) to giving us The Incredibles feel with Thunderworld, this is an anthology series that’s unlike the others. While DC is going extreme elsewhere with Scott Lobdell still hired and Batgirl being transphobic (really, what’s up with that? She had a transgendered best friend before that), this one is little proof that DC Comics still has a bit of perfect storytelling and good take on superheroism.
Spider-Verse – Too Many Spider-Mans, Too Many Spider-Mans. Okay, this is an event that I could get behind and yeah, it’s another multiverse thing so it’s expected. While the story is cheesy and have flawed moments, it’s still worth checking out with Spider-Ham being the “Rocket Raccoon” of the group and the mainstream Spidey coming face to face with his past self who was possessed by Doc Ock. Also, it’s nostalgia filled with bringing appearances of 1960s television Spider-Man (who so far is alive), Amazing Friends Spidey (who’s dead) and Hostess Spidey (who’s also dead). Granted, it’s said to be alternate versions of alternate Spideys so maybe it’s not them fucking up somebody’s childhood. Worth checking out anyway.
And that’s my two cents, I nearly put Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers: Age of Extinction there as well but those two are mainly more of a “so-bad-its-good” in my count (and really, it is a strange way for me to like those two but then again, I gave Jack And Jill a semi-positive review) along with Sharknado II: The Second One. Maybe this year will be better but for no, time to beat down some shit with the worst of the worst.