Let me begin this rant by admitting that I did not go see “Boyhood,” on purpose. I spoke with a close friend who said it was boring, pretty much unscripted and rambling, although an interesting concept. I decided that the perfect way to see it would be when I had the ability to fast forward through the boring parts—which, to hear this extremely well-versed movie fan tell it—was most of the film.
The other film I missed that many like was the “Lego” movie.
Unfortunately, I did not miss “Guardians of the Galaxy.” I insisted we rent it, despite my instinct that it was going to be really uninteresting in that overly CG way. I became very bored very fast. So did my spouse.
I’ve been reading the “Best Movies” lists printed in magazines like “People,” “Entertainment Weekly” and “Time.”
Wow. These lists are absolute crap, for the most part, especially “Time’s. Here are the films “Time” listed as “Best” of 2014:
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” – mildly amusing. Definitely not THAT great!
“Boyhood” – See comments above.
“The Lego Movie” – ” ”
“Lucy” – Been there. Done that. An interesting premise, but not a “best” of this or any other year.
“Goodbye to Language” – WHAT?
“Jodorowsky’s Dune” – Say What, again?
“Nightcrawler” – the first film on this list I can get behind.
“CitizenFour” – This doesn’t really seem like it belongs on a movie list, being about Edward Snowden and more accurately a documentary.
“Wild Tales” – Uh—–no.
“Birdman” – This one has everyone buzzing about its Oscar potential, and there is no question that the acting is uniformly great and should be rewarded. Otherwise, the long tracking shot? Meh. The drummer instead of a real soundtrack? Annoying. It did raise some important topics, such as critics and their biases, and discussed them well, so it does have that going for it, but it was definitely not one of my most enjoyable films of this year.
Here are 10 or so that were:
“The Imitation Game” – This British film is far and away the most superlative production I saw this year, with a performance by Benedict Cumberbatch that deserves the Oscar for Best Actor.
“Gone Girl” – Well done all the way around. Absorbing. Haven’t read the book, but loved this movie.
“Night Crawler” – the only movie on “Time’s” list that deserves to be there. Jake Gyllenhaal does himself (and us) proud as the skeevy sort who profits from taking pictures of accidents and murders and other seamy things in a dingily-lit Los Angeles. .
“The Fault in Our Stars” – Yes, it’s weepy , but it is wonderfully weepy and I saw it 3 times.
“The Judge” – I am still trying to figure out why other critics felt it necessary to rain on Robert Duvall’s (and Robert Downey, Jr.’s) parade by belittling the female roles and not thoroughly enjoying this tour de force acting class for its wonderful plot.
“The Theory of Everything” – The movie, itself, moved slowly at times, true, but Eddie Redmayne’s acting was terrific, as was Felicity Jones’ as his wife. Nominations, for sure.
“Foxcatcher” – This one needed some editing, but Steve Carrell’s performance is a revelation, as is Tatum Channing’s.
“The Drop” – Our last chance to see Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) in a wonderful film.
“Get On Up” – Chadwick Boseman playing James Brown not only acted, but danced his heart out, but I think it was released too early. I also would mention “Selma,” which I have not yet seen.
For the last couple of films of 10 , I’d run in “The Well,” due out in May, a film by new-comer Tom Hammock about a post-apocalyptic world where water is the most precious commodity. Also, since documentaries seem to have made “Time’s” really bad list, we might add “The Look of Silence,” about the massacre of over a million Filipino men and women suspected of being Communists in the 60s, killed by their own neighbors. [For more about this riveting documentary, check the archives of Weekly Wilson.]
Others I enjoyed: “Whiplash,” “November Man,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “Force Majeure” (foreign film). I’ve heard great things about Julianne Moore’s performance as Alice, who is suffering from early-onset dementia and about “Cake” (Jennifer Anniston) and “Into the Woods” (Meryl Streep) but these I have not yet viewed.
Highly over-rated was the actual film of Reese Witherspoon walking across the desert (“Wild”). Yes, Reese, herself is good and deserves a nomination but the film was not interesting; I found myself checking my watch at intervals, which is never a good sign. Plus, nothing ever really happens, despite many teasing situations. I did not enjoy “Life Itself” which follows us through the final, agonizing days of Roger Ebert’s tortured battle with cancer. I cringe thinking of it even now. “Interstellar” was going along well until the confusing and unsatisfying end, and Israel’s “The Gett” (foreign film) about a woman seeking a divorce was boring, boring, boring. “Snowpiercer” had a few moments, as did “A Walk Among the Tombstones” (Liam Neeson) but just avoid all the movies “Time” singled out, unless you are a real masochist and want to be terminally bored by 80% of them, with the exceptions noted above.