(I’m resisting the urge to call these “the Revvie awards”.)
Everything that follows is based purely on my subjective opinion. I can’t argue with you about the list because I’m not trying to persuade you to agree with me. These may not be THE best movies, moviemakers or movie-moments of 2014 — but they are some of my bests & favorites from the previous 12 months. I hope you enjoy the list. I’d love to see your alternate selections or a few categories of your own in the comments section. Thanks, and Happy New Year!
Best Popcorn Movie You Probably Didn’t See in a Theater: EDGE OF TOMORROW
Terrible title; uninspiring trailer; looks just like his last movie; and whatever else you want to throw at it aside, EDGE OF TOMORROW is smart, imaginative, fun, exciting and satisfying. Director Doug Liman deserves a lot of credit for all of that. Emily Blunt is fantastic and another reason the movie works so well. Cruise deserves kudos for his convincing — and not very movie-star-like — turn as a man with less-than-admirable qualities for the first 20 minutes of this movie. The working title for the movie (Live. Die. Repeat.) would have been a much better title for its theatrical release. But whoever thought creating confusion by going back to the original title for its VOD and home video release, deserves to be put on a transport and sent to the battlefront.
Best Thing I’ve Seen Tyler Perry Do: Supporting Actor, GONE GIRL
Granted the sample of what I’ve seen Tyler Perry do is not very big, but I thoroughly enjoyed his turn as Tanner Bolt in GONE GIRL. A TV series with Perry playing this role isn’t the worst idea I’ve heard.
Favorite Spoiler of the Year – Amazing Amy Makes a Mess (GONE GIRL)
Favorite Example of a Writer/Director’s Self Esteem: Jon Favreau casting Sofia Vergara as his devoted ex-wife
Favorite Movie Featuring Food: CHEF
It’s not a good movie to see if you’re hungry. It’s a very good movie to see if you like beautiful food and seeing it prepared. Wonderful cast, great locations, straight-ahead story — all pulled together with confident images and sound. You will be hungry after you’ve seen it.
Favorite 2014 Trailer that Made Me Not Care Whether the Movie Was Good or Not: INHERENT VICE
Best Review Of INHERENT VICE Whether Or Not You Saw It, Liked It or Hated It – Wesley Morris
Grantland’s Wesley Morris is one of my favorite people to talk with about movies — I had the pleasure of doing so last year in a couple of Film Forum panels and a sit down interview. I try to listen to and read as much of Morris’s work as I can find. His review of INHERENT VICE is one of the best pieces of film criticism I’ve ever read. It’s worth a read whether you’ve seen the movie or not — or whether you intend to see it or not.
10 Best Experiences I Had in a Movie Theater This Year (in alphabetical order)
So far this year I’ve bought tickets 37 times to see a movie in a theater. It’s still my favorite way to see a movie and Tracy Jackson is still my favorite person to see a movie with. These movies provided my ten best experiences in a movie theater — but truth be told, I didn’t have a bad experience in 2014.
- A Hard Day’s Night (50th Anniversary)
- A Most Wanted Man
- Bad Words
- Begin Again
- Edge of Tomorrow
- St. Vincent
- The Book of Life
- The Imitation Game
Best 4000 Words You’ll Read About Critics and Criticism by a Critic: Philip Martin
Philip Martin’s personal, long-form meditation on the “powder and spark” of creativity, the role of criticism in the process, and Birdman (among other works of art), is as thoughtful, thought-provoking, and fair as he is. There are portions of this essay that would serve creatives well to read, remember and return to periodically.
The Little Rock Film Festival and Arkansas Times sponsored a 30th Anniversary Screening of BEVERLY HILLS COP with Judge Reinhold. (The event was held at the Ron Robison Theater in downtown Little Rock — a great venue for watching a movie and the headquarters of the LRFF.) My intention was to drop in to say hello and catch up with Judge and Amy Reinhold. I was going to slip out after Judge introduced the film. Then I thought I’d just stay through the opening scene — 105 minutes later, I was still there. I was struck by the practical effects (when they wreck 50 or 60 cars in the opening scene they’re real cars) and the strength of the writing. Ok, maybe it’s not deep writing, but it’s strong. Because 30 years ago, when American studios were making movies primarily for American audiences — even the popcorn movies had to hold up to some scrutiny of plot and continuity. I don’t feel good about sounding crotchety and xenophobic in the same sentence. Thanks, Obama.
Best Place in Little Rock to See A Movie – UA Breckenridge Stadium 12
It’s been our favorite neighborhood movie theater for 30 years. After this fall’s renovation it might be our favorite place in the world to see a movie. Top notch projection and sound, and every seat is the best seat in the house — leather recliners, lots of personal space, reserved seating. What’s not to like? The 2 hours and 20 minutes it took to watch THE JUDGE only felt like 2 hours in those seats.