Monday, March 23, 2015

The Ten Best Films of 2014

Each year that I do this I seem to be a little more reluctant to draw a line and name my Top 10 films of the prior year.  I always want to watch just a few more movies, “knowing” that there’s another one out there that will make my Top 10.  It wasn’t any help getting over that feeling this year when I had not one, but two films that I saw within the last two weeks that are making my Top 10.  I still want to see just a few more, but this is already the latest into a year I’ve waited before posting, so here goes.

I believe I’ve seen most of the big mainstream movies and critically acclaimed films of the year that I felt I might like, including all four Oscar winning films (Picture, Animated Film, Foreign Language Film, and Documentary).  I’ve seen all the Best Picture nominees, all the Best Animated Film nominees, and all the Original and Adapted Screenplay nominees.  I have not seen any of the other Foreign Language Film or Documentary nominees, however.

If you are curious, a complete list of the 65 2014 films that I saw can be found at the bottom of this post.  That’s down from 77 films for 2013 and 101 films for 2012 at the time I posted those Top 10s, so this year’s list may be missing a great one I just haven’t seen yet.

You may notice a few films that are officially listed as 2013 movies on IMDB.  In those situations they either debuted at a film festival in 2013, or were released in a foreign country in 2013, but in both cases were not released in U.S. theaters until 2014.  In regards to the extended version of the second Hobbit movie: for the first time Jackson didn’t just add footage, but instead changed multiple scenes in the film.  This made it, in effect, a different movie.

You’ll notice some films in my Top 10 that did not receive any awards nominations.  I have never felt that getting an Oscar nomination was the be all and end all of how good a movie was.  Although there were many fine films in 2014 I didn’t have a five star film.  I did have two 4.5 star ones, and an additional sixteen 4 star movies – far more than last year.

Perhaps there is a great 2014 film among the movies I have not seen.  If you have a 2014 film you feel is fantastic, and do not see it listed below as being one of the ones I’ve watched, please let me know about it.

Without further ado, here is my Top 10:

Guardians of the Galaxy
The Wind Rises
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
American Sniper
The One I Love

Those are my top 10.  What were your favorite films of 2014? 

Here is the complete list of the 65 2014 movies that I have seen so far.  My remaining four star films that just missed the Top 10 are highlighted.  Titles that are clickable take you to my review of that film.

30 for 30: The Price of Gold, 30 for 30: Slaying the Badger

The Amazing Spider-Man 2, American Sniper, Angels and Ornaments, Art and Craft

Begin Again, Big Hero 6, Birdman, The Boxtrolls, Boyhood

Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Calvary, Chef, The Christmas Ornament, Citizenfour

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Dinosaur 13, Divergent

Edge of Tomorrow


Godzilla, Gone Girl, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Guardians of the Galaxy

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Ida, The Imitation Game, Inherent Vice, Interstellar, In Your Eyes, I Origins

John Wick

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

The Lego Movie, Life Itself, Lucy

Maleficent, Million Dollar Arm, Miss Meadows, The Monuments Men, Mr. Peabody & Sherman

Neighbors, Nightcrawler, Non-Stop

The One I Love, One Starry Christmas

Rio 2

Selma, Sex Tape, Sherlock: The Empty Hearse, Sherlock: The Sign of Three, Sherlock: His Last Vow, Snowpiercer, Song of the Sea

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, The Theory of Everything

Walk of Shame, Whiplash, The Wind Rises

X-Men: Days of Future Past

The Zero Theorem

And in case you are wondering, my pick for the worst film of 2014 is an easy one: Godzilla.  It made the 1998 version look like a masterpiece in comparison.  I don’t post reviews here for films I would not recommend, but you can read my Letterboxd comments on this latest incarnation of Godzilla here.


  1. We have two in common in our top 10s(Budapest Hotel and Nightcrawler). Looks as if you've seen most of the important films. The Wind Rises I was moved by emotionally and is definitely something more people should see.
    Have you seen Locke (2013)? Was released in US in 2014. That's my #12.

    1. I have not seen Locke. I do know of it, though. I will look at it more closely. Thanks.

  2. I'm very reluctant to do top 10s as well simply because many of the films that will be in that list are released in the months of January and February and by the time I'd seen them all I, personally, feel it's too late to do a list.

    Can't really argue too much with that top ten, I liked all of the ones I seen on that list. I would place Whiplash on the top, I was expecting to underwhelmed because of the high praise the film good but I wasn't, expectations were even surpassed.

    1. I had a problem with Whiplash's message that being the target of unrelenting abuse is ultimately good for you. I still think it's a well-acted movie, and has some great music in it, so I recommended it, but because of the message I downgraded it.

  3. 2014 has more movies I think I'd might like than in recent years. Thank you for gathering all in one place! It's always hard to know when to stop watching ...

    1. You're welcome. I've still got at least a couple dozen 2014 films in either my Netflix DVD queue or Instant queue, including some of last summer's bigger films. Even if I like those I don't tend to love them enough for a Top 10, though. Of course, Guardians of the Galaxy was a big exception to that.