Top Ten Movies of 2014

I didn’t do this last year for reasons that are unknown to history, but I’ve always kind of wanted to do a top ten movies list since movies are a hugely essential part of my life.

So here are the rules:

This list is confined to only movies that came out in theaters this year and of those only the ones I’ve seen.

Right, let’s get this show on the road.

(Dramatic voice)

Number 10:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies (December 12)

I’m honestly quite surprised to find this movie even on my list. I was anticipating another phenomenal disappointment like the last movie. But I was caught off guard when the movie made me emotionally care about most of the characters they’ve been trying to strong arm me into giving a toss about. If you can take literally an hour and a half of battling with almost no stops, some genuinely sad moments, and a decent wrap-up of a movie series that should have been two at most, go see it. But just remember it is only the tenth movie on this list.

 

Number 9:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The LEGO Movie (February 1)

I will be the first to admit that I only saw this movie for the lols I had when I saw the trailer. I thought it looked cute, but I also thought it wouldn’t really hold up. But I was soooo wrong! This movie has way more heart, humor, and actual plot than it has any right to and it’s all around just a cute, charming movie that I highly recommend. And who could forget that awesome song? “EVERYTHING IS AWESOOOOMEE!!

Number 8:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maleficent (May 28)

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I’m not a huge fan of Disney films (though I have resolved to at least try to be nicer to them next year), so the fact that this movie is even on the list might come as a surprise. This movie is beautiful to look at and Angelina Jolie makes a surprisingly good Maleficent. They rewrote the entire Sleeping Beauty plot, but that seems to be par for the course these days, so I’ll let that slide. It’s a very tasteful rewrite, and I recommend somehow getting your hands on a Blu-Ray player and watching this in High Def, just for the visuals.

Number 7:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nut Job (January 10)

This is one of the most pointless movies of the year. And I loved it. The animal animation is amazing and I swear, I have watched this movie three times in a row just to watch the raccoon animation. I’m serious! You have to see this! The movements are amazingly realistic for all the animals and the characters and plot are interesting enough to keep you going. There are two subplots going on with humans and animals that somehow manage to actually seamlessly merge together in a bizarrely unique way and the end climax is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. Watch it.

Number 6:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (May 16)

Regular readers saw this coming. Dreamworks is my patron saint and any movie they put out is going to be fairly high on this list. Now, apparently, I didn’t review this movie on this blog, but that might be because I was rather depressed by it. I still put it reasonably high on my list because it is still one of the most touching, refreshingly not conflicted (and isn’t that a weird thing to say?) movies of the year. The relationship between Hiccup and Astrid is one of the best romances I’ve ever seen on screen and the new characters and concepts introduced are skillfully handled and incorporated really well. There’s just that one scene that I won’t spoil for those who don’t know that ended up leaving such an uncomfortable and depressed taste in my mouth that I just couldn’t put it higher than 6 and I feel really guilty about that, but there you go.

Number 5:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4)

Marvel seems to be going from strength to strength lately. Every movie they put out is pretty sweet. Unlike Thor or Iron Man, the second Captain America is a really solid movie and I dare anybody to say otherwise. Chris Evans brings in the charming performance he always does, Scarlett Johansen is sassy, hilarious, and badass, and the new guy Sam is a load of fun and the plot twist is a pretty hardcore one that will undoubtedly perforate into Marvel movies for the foreseeable future until it gets completely resolved.

Number 4:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guardians of the Galaxy (July 21)

Despite the solidness of The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy tops the tiny list of Marvel movies this year. Punchy, goofy, vibrant, and packed with “Wait, what?” moments that will leave you remembering it way more than Winter Soldier. The soundtrack is baller and all the characters are surprisingly well developed, despite having a whole team just thrown at us without twenty intro movies (Avengers). And Groot is probably the best addition to the internet since cats.

Number 3:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Peabody and Sherman (March 7)

This is the most fun you’ll have with history since The Adventures of George Washington (look it up). There are an amazing number of puns  scattered through this charming, character-driven movie and each one is solid gold. It might go over your head a bit if you never watched the original shorts on Rocky and Bulwinkle, but even if you didn’t, this is a movie that will leave you rolling with laughter and brimming with that fuzzy feeling you get with an exceptionally good ending.

Number 2:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Godzilla (May 16)

Despite the utterly useless human character story and the obscene amount of monster fight cockblocking, this is the most fun I’ve had with Godzilla since I forced my roommates to watch through the entire 1998 TV series. It singlehandedly managed to renew my love for the big scaly atomic ball of cuddles and I’m waiting with baited breath for the sequel that’s at least four years out 😥 BUT! If they try to strong-arm that human story shit into the next one as much as in this one and keep cutting away from the monster fighting, I’m going to retroactively boot this one off the list and give second place to Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks and break my rule about theater films.

AND FINALLY!!

Number 1:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Book of Life (October 17)

This might not come as a surprise to anyone who read my Book of Life review, but this movie is the best movie of the year. I am still in love with the characters, the story, the art, and the very idea of it in general. In case it isn’t freakishly apparent by this list, the art is something that can make or break a movie for me. I can ignore a reasonably generic plot and any and all plot hole is the art captivates me. That being said, The Book of Life even manages to spark the plot into something more magical than anything even Dreamworks came out with this year.

 

So that’s my top ten movies of the year. I didn’t make it to Into the Woods before the year ended, so I’ll just have to do that one on its own.

And a shoutout to the runner up:

 

 

 

 

Hercules (July 25)

If you’re looking for something stupid, mindless, and bizarrely entertaining, check this movie out. The Rock might make terrible movies, but he knows it, and so do the people making these movies. It’s cheesy, over-the-top, and a lot more fun than even I thought it would be. The side characters are a bunch of silly stereotypes and really keep the movie together as it goes. The plot is dumb, but you weren’t expecting it to be brilliant, were you?

Happy New Years and I look forward to the next year with you, dear readers!

drinking!

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A Review: The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies

Alright, I’ll admit it, this movie was significantly less disappointing than the second one. I’m still not really into this movie series as I might have been with only two movies, but, eh.

good as its going to get

I’m not going to warn about spoilers at this point, because if you haven’t read the book and know how everything is basically going to be, then I have no respect for you and don’t care about spoiling a 75 year old plot.

The movie starts where the last one left off. Make sense. Smaug is going around burning up everything and everyone would really rather he didn’t. Bard is in prison because Peter Jackson said so and his family is trying to escape along with the four dwarves left behind and useless elf chick whose name I haven’t bothered to remember.

Stuff happens and in the end, Bard slays the dragon. We get a few more awesome lines from Cumberbatch and then BAM, gone. I knew it was coming, but I also knew this was basically a three hour movie and my hopes of it not being two hours of fighting died with the dragon.

i feel like i'm in jail

Now, I really tried to go into this movie with a good attitude. I want to give every movie the chance to suddenly get up and smack me in the face with something good. And I’ll be damned it if didn’t kind of do that. The fighting was actually pretty fun, when it finally started, and somehow, the movie got more or less back on track with the original story. I don’t know if Peter Jackson just took a load of brown acid right before writing the second film or what, but the amount of stuff that wasn’t in the book was more than the stuff that was and it was weird. At least this third movie stuck with the actual plot of the book for the most part.

So Thorin has dragon sickness and is getting weird over the gold and everyone else is all like, “Dude, Thorin, chill out, you’re freaking us out,” but Bilbo is the one with the Arkenstone, that important thing they kept whining about at the end of the second movie. So after deciding that giving it to Thorin would be a bad idea, he sneaks out and gives it to Bard and Thranduil as a way to bargain with so they can get Thorin to actually stop being a dick and give them what they want: Gold for Bard to rebuild the town that basically Thorin and co. cause the dragon to destroy, and mithril for Thraduil.

dance kiss schmooze

Thorin says go screw yourselves and locks him and co. into the mountain, throwing Bilbo out for his treachery. It’s actually a pretty emotional scene, but I think that’s because Martin Freeman is the most believable character in the movie.

That white orc from the first movie and Peter Jackson’s imagination is still hanging around and there’s this entire chunk of the movie that talks about why and has something to do with the Necromancer and something about Gandalf and the elves and Saruman who comes in for the funniest fight scene you will ever see, and Azog is bringing an army (or two) of orcs to fight for the mountains for . . . . reasons?

don't really care harry

 

Yeah, okay, the exposition is not the strong suit of these movies.

Shit hits the fan when Thorin’s cousin Dain shows up to support Thorin and the elves, humans, and dwarves are about to go to war when the orcs show up and then they’re all like “SOLIDARITY!” and start fighting on, like, four different fronts and the sand worms from Dune decide to make a quick cameo for literally no reason and at this point I’m just staring at the screen going, “What is even happening in this movie anymore?”

Blah blah blah, lots of fighting, lots of moments where Jackson tries to pretend the characters that are going to live are going to die, cause he’s really banking on that whole not having read the book thing, I guess. Also, I’m pretty sure there are enough orcs and things to count this as more like the battle of seven or eight armies.

don't think

And Thorin finally gets over his prissy self and goes to lend aid, which somehow helps everybody rally for a second wind of fighting. Thorin goes to finally have his showdown with Azog on a crazy cliff thing that some random mountains goats help get him and three others up to.

And here’s where the movies really cheapens the deal for me. In the book, Fili, Kili, and Thorin’s deaths are noble. They’re dying on the battlefield defending each other and their home. And Peter Jackson took that actually touching moment and turned it into half an hour of twaddle that involves Fili dying first cause he was the only one who was blonde, Kili having a little dramatic moment with his elf lady friend before he croaks, and Thorin having the most drawn out fight since the Rocky movies.

facepalm jareth

It really took away from how the movie was supposed to end.

I will say, though, that I find Legolas to be a great part of these movies. Yeah, I know he’s not really supposed to be there, yeah I know Orlando BLoom is, like, 40, but I like him and he’s one of the few characters I actually ended up caring about in this entire trilogy, so there you go.

But.

It was saved a little by Bilbo. When Thorin dies, Bilbo has this really heart wrenching moment where he basically breaks down because his friend is dead and at the same moment, there’s a sad things going on with Thraduil and Legolas and I was just like

my emotions

How dare this movie make me care about characters who I haven’t for two three-hour movies?!

So after that, the end was really nice and a cute sort of button to the whole series. I liked that this movie focused on Bilbo way more than the other characters, because The Hobbit should be about the hobbit, am I right? Plus, Martin Freeman makes a spectacular Bilbo and I just wish we could have seen more of this movie’s Bilbo in the last movie. The song at the end was another depressing moment because it’s called “The Last Goodbye”.

feels2

So that’s that. The Hobbit is done. The Lord of the Rings is done. And I have to say, even with all the dipshittery, it’s been a good ride. There have been genuinely enjoyable moments along with the dumb ones and the epic lives on for another generation. Although next time we want to reboot this series, I recommend doing more radio dramas. Those are really under-appreciated . . . .