Thinking about a Top Ten list of movies for 2014 is a bit of a problem. First, I didn’t get to see as many movies this past year as I usually do. Second, I moved on November 1, and then my wife had surgery on December 9th. So the whole slew of movies released since November and especially those in late December – well I just haven’t had a chance to see many.
Sure, I want to see a lot of these recent releases, but truthfully, I’m still not so sure that I’d be able to fill enough slots for a Top Ten list with films I will really, really like.
To make things clear, when I make a list of Top Ten films, I’m referring to my personal favorites. I’m not a film critic nor would I even want to try coming up with a list of which movies are the best of the best.
What I’m referring to are my ‘Favorites,’ movies that resonated with me personally; ones that I would go see again or most likely buy to watch over and over.
Anyway, I’m not one of those who have to run out and see movies on the opening weekend. My top priority in seeing films in a theater are first, deciding what to see with my wife. Nothing more to say here – my bride comes first. Second, whether or not my wife joins me, I try to always catch the epic, blockbuster, and ‘Big Image’ pictures in a theater where they ought to be seen. You know, ones like; Gone with the Wind, Star Wars, Titanic, The Dark Knight, Jurassic Park, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Gravity, Shindlers List, Lawrence of Arabia, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and The Matrix. I see many smaller films in theaters, but sometimes wait to catch them later after the DVD release.
So, my Top 5 Favorite Films of 2014 are:
1. Interstellar – As I mentioned in an earlier post when I first saw the film, I really loved the father/daughter relationship that’s an integral part of the storyline. For me, everything in this movie worked. If you missed it on the big screen, all I can say is, watch it on the biggest TV you can find.
2. The Imitation Game – A grand WWII story, brilliantly made into an engrossing film with a great cast led by Benedict Cumberbatch.
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – It’s everything it should be when Hollywood brings comic book superheroes to the big screen.
4. Chef – Written, directed and starring the amazingly talented Jon Favreau with a wonderful supporting cast and fun cameos. I suspected when I first saw Chef that it would be one of my favorites of the year.
5. The Judge – Another father/son film with a remarkable cast headed by Robert Downey, Jr. and Robert Duvall. Pretty much anything Downey appears in is a treat and Duvall is truly one of the very best actors alive. Together, they are a marvelous screen pairing.
Honorable mentions to two animated films, Big Hero 6 and How to Train Your Dragon 2, both visually beautiful movies and just a lot of fun.
My 2014 Top 5 Favorite film list may expand to a Top 6, 7, or even 8 when I finally get to see some of the later releases. But of the top 12 movies of 2013 (top U.S. domestic grossing films), I saw 10. For 2014 I’ve only seen three of the Top 10. It’ll be four after this weekend when my daughter and I finally get together to see The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
And it’s not that top grossing films really mean that much. Still, looking back at 2013, I could easily come up with a Top Ten list. My Top Ten Favorites from 2013 would probably include:
Star Trek Into Darkness
Lee Daniel’s The Butler
Dallas Buyers Club
Saving Mr. Banks
The Way, Way Back
Iron Man 3
August: Osage County
And I have a soft spot for more including:
Man of Steel
The Book Thief
And, I beg your indulgence but I really liked The Lone Ranger.
This list, too, could change because there’re more films from 2013 that I’ll hopefully watch in the not too distant future.
Like most of the topics of my blog, I gravitate toward films that I relate to on some level. Movies are the story telling medium of the Popular Culture. A ‘story’ is a principal mode of communication for people, and I believe even more so for men in understanding themselves and their world around them.
Yes, it’s entertainment, but certainly there’s much more that keeps us flocking to the cinema. The timeless themes, the tales that captivate our deepest desires, stories and characters with whom we relate – I think many times helping us to process ideas and feelings we may not be able to express or are even aware of.
Sure, movies aren’t really that important in the grand scheme of things. But I’m thankful I live in this imaginative age of visual storytelling. So, let’s move on to 2015.
C’mon Hollywood, give us your best shot.
We don’t make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies.
– Walt Disney