“Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang” My 2014 Movie Wrap-Up

Friends, once a year I dust off the old blog and re-cap my joyous year of sitting in the dark (you may read 2013, 2012, 2010 and 2009 if you wish to restock your Netflix queue) and Oscar predictions. Movies are, as the wonderful Roger Ebert put it, “the empathy machine.” (Speaking of which, how was Life Itself overlooked?!) So as the legendary Neil Patrick Harris gets ready to assume the mantle of Messrs. Hope, Carson and Crystal, here is my annual film fade out, with a special thank you’s to movie-going companions of days past (we miss you, Pat & Philippe. “Forrest Gump” forever!) and days present (Herr Sorvino, the ‘rents, and dear L.A. amongst my favs). Let’s go to the movies… 

Doogie hosts the Oscars!

Doogie hosts the Oscars!

My Favorite Films of 2014 

For me it’s tough to choose between Linklater’s seminal, grand achievement Boyhood and Damien Chazelle’s remarkable Whiplash, a film close to my heart. Both are extraordinary. (And yes, there’s a terrific Whiplash parody here.)

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Favorites of 2015

Selma Extraordinary, truly. From the first gripping frame. Not an easy story to tell.

Birdman Keaton and an all star cast make it work. What theatre shots!

Two super fun films that deserve to be here: The insanely entertaining Guardians of the Galaxy (cue up ‘Hooked On A Feeling’!) and The Lego Movie (so awesome that even a nephew accidentally peeing on me couldn’t ruin it!).

Top 5 Hilarious and poignant, with a killer cast and a brilliant script. Where’s the love?

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Best of the Rest / Runners-Up 

The Grand Budapest Hotel Not the Midnight Coterie of Mysterious Intruders, but damn good fun.

Gone Girl No, I didn’t read the source material (I was watching movies!) but I’ll stand by my thoughts that Fincher’s the best director we have working today.

The Imitation Game Shockingly gripping and good thriller / drama.

Interstellar Maybe it’s ’cause I saw it in IMAX one Sunday afternoon with my father, but a good yarn– if hard-to-follow– and a great-looking flick.

The Fault In Our Stars Yes, I succumbed to the feelies. Not a great movie, but a good one. #TFIOS

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Amazing Indies Few Other People Saw 

The Skeleton Twins People, it’s Kristin Wiig & Bill Hader in a funny-but-not juice drama. Seriously good.

Dear White People Maybe a little heavy-handed, but still funny, sharp and worth seeing.

The Trip To Italy The boys are back! Pair with a Barolo, fresh pasta, and a surprisingly poignant take on life.

Obvious Child The year’s best abortion romantic comedy. And Jenny Slate shines!

Still Alice My goodness Julianne Moore’s good and my goodness this is the single most depressing movie ever.

Manhattan Romance Tom O’Brien’s follow-up to Fairhaven is worth seeking out, for the city and Katherine Watson and the smart screenplay.

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Overrated / Not Sorry

Foxcatcher I adored Capote and Moneyball. This not so much.

The Theory of Everything Great acting? Yes. Great filmmaking? No.

American Sniper Um, I’d prefer an actual nuanced story to a hagiography.

2 Days, 1 Night Does she keep her job?! I don’t know– despite Marion Cotillard I fell asleep.

Could Make My List When I See ‘Em: Love Is StrangeCitizenfourJodorwsky’s DuneBig Hero 6Nightcrawler; Wild 

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and now, The Oscars (BTW, I missed 3 of ’em: WildNightcrawlerInherent Vice. If you know me you know I’m actually quite upset about this.):

Best Picture Will / Should: Boyhood What about: No, I was pretty pleased with this excellent collection of films. (BTW, here’s the terrific Family of the Year Boyhood music video.) Cool to see Whiplash here.

Best Director Will / Should: Linklater (Seriously, what a film. We may never see something like it again.) What about: Um, “Dear White People”: A woman named Ava DuVernay pulled off one of the best and hardest movies to make ever. Also, Chazelle deserves a nod for making the year’s most intense movie about a drumming student.

Best Actress Will / Should: Julianne Moore (I’ve loved her for so long.) What about: Tough year for actresses, friends.

Best Actor Will: Michael Keaton Should: Michael Keaton (A great actor returns!). What about: How you fail to nominate David Oyelowo for humanizing MLK in a pitch-perfect role is genuinely beyond me.

Supporting Actress Will / Should: Patricia Arquette. (The former ingenue delivers the goods, especially in that quietly devastating penultimate scene.) Cool to see the always good Laura Dern here.

Supporting Actor Will / Should: J.K. Simmons (The Farmers insurance character actor gives my fav performance of the year.) Cool to see the always interesting Ethan Hawke here.

Best Original Screenplay Will / Should: Birdman But seriously it should’a been Whiplash, strangely in the wrong category (yes, I know it was a short, but c’mon…) What about: Uh, Chris Rock wrote a smart romantic comedy in Top 5, with real laughs. That’s hard.

Best Adapted Screenplay Will: Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice (Didn’t see it; only want to for Martin Short, frankly!) Should: Chazelle, Whiplash


And there you have it, friends. Read The Dissolve. Follow me on Twitter. And go to the movies!

Oh, and here’s the Sesame Street Birdman parody, “Big Birdman.” Happy Oscars Sunday!



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