My Top Films of 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five ArmiesHere again is my list of my favorite movies of the year. The number one movie is my favorite movie of the year, but everything else is kind of in a random order. Kindof.  I didn’t type too much about each movie, but I’m okay with that.

14. Godzilla

WAY better than the Matthew Broderick version from 1998. This is Godzilla as it was meant to be seen. I actually own this one.

13. The Giver

I was surprised by this, and really enjoyed the story.

12. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Two words: Megan Fox. Just kidding. These two words: Turtle Van.

11. X-Men: Days of Future Past

Why, Bryan Singer, do you have to ruin an otherwise good movie with that shot of Wolverine at a window? Why? For that, you’re an idiot. The rest of the movie makes my list.

10. Bears

Disneynature takes us on an adventure with Bears.

9. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone elevate what would have been an otherwise bad Spider-Man movie and it makes my list because of their chemistry alone. Too bad it had Electro in it.

8. Transformers: Age of Extinction

Dinobots.

7. How to Train Your Dragon 2

As good as, if not better than, the first film. It soars.

6. Muppets Most Wanted

Not as good as The Muppets, but I expected that. The soundtrack didn’t grab me as fast as the first one’s did, but in listening to it over and over in my car, I began to love the songs nearly as much. The opening song for the film serves as a transition between the style of the first movie and the style of the second. Here’s hoping for a third!

5. The LEGO Movie

Surprise of the year. Great movie. The end of the movie took an otherwise hilarious movie and gives it a depth that I didn’t see coming.

4. Guardians of the Galaxy

I had a great time with this one, but didn’t like some of the jokes in it. Not a fan of innuendo. But it was still a great time, and Groot became a fan favorite overnight.

3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

A great Captain America movie. Not enough Agent Carter, as she kind of stole the show in The First Avenger, but she’s getting her own mini-series soon, so there’s that.

2. Big Hero 6

I didn’t expect to love this movie as much as I did. Baymax is a new favorite character, and I wish that I had one.

1. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

My favorite movie of the year, bar none. The final movie in Middle-Earth and I couldn’t have been happier with it. It elevates the prior two Hobbit films, and thanks to the stunning conclusion I can now place The Hobbit next to The Lord of the Rings on my shelf. Everything was here, from Bard’s stunning and moving confrontation with the dragon Smaug to Bilbo watching his friend Thorin fall apart. It culminates in a scene between Bilbo and Thorin that is emotional and the heart of what this story is all about.

In the end, I’m pleased with Peter Jackson’s work on The Hobbit. I have seen very undue criticism fired at Jackson, but here’s the thing: It is not Jackson’s fault that he was working from weaker source material this time than he had for The Lord of the RingsThe Hobbit was written by Bilbo Baggins, The Lord of the Rings by Frodo Baggins. Both had different ways of telling their stories, and that is actually reflected in the movies the same way. The Hobbit is no less an achievement in film than The Lord of the Rings, they’re just very different stories with vastly different motivations and stakes. For one, it wound up with a battle that was fought over a massive hoard of gold as well as a critical stronghold for what could be an upcoming war. For the other, it was the very survival of the people of Middle-earth. It was always going to be different. Our reactions to it are the same as reactions to the source material. Some like The Hobbit better than The Lord of the Rings and others vice versa. Likewise, the movies.

I just wish that people would stop believing that The Hobbit was widely hated. That’s not at all true. It tops my list for 2014, and that’s enough to categorically say that I’m correct. Best movie of the year.

Haven’t Seen:

Exodus
Into the Woods
Night at the Museum 3
The Wind Rises

Biggest Disappointments:

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 – Hopeful that Part 2 elevates this one to another level the way that the Hobbit movies were by the third part.
Interstellar – Enjoyed watching this until the end collapsed the story in on itself.
Maleficent – I like Disney’s direction, but was not a fan of how they approached the three fairies. I would have rather had three jawdroppingly beautiful fairies than what they did here.
Noah – I visited the set. I met Russell Crowe. I met Darren Aronofsky. I met the film’s producers and climbed around the Ark. I was told many things about the movie that didn’t actually make it to the big screen. What I was told would have been great. This wasn’t.
Unbroken – I liked it and then I didn’t. And then I kept not liking it. It had a coda at the end that should have been shown on screen. That would have made all the difference.

The Muppets 3

The Muppets 3I’m a big fan of The Muppets. I have been since I was very young. When The Muppets came out in theaters back in 2011, I had been highly anticipating its’ arrival for years. And I was not disappointed. I found myself enjoying every minute of the movie, and couldn’t wait to see it again. Even more than that, I couldn’t wait for more Muppets. I didn’t just want a sequel to this movie. I also found myself wanting more Muppet Show.

Muppets Most Wanted

And then in March of 2012, they announced that The Muppets would be getting a sequel. Muppets Most Wanted would be released two years later, in March 2014. It didn’t do as well at the box office as the last film, but that doesn’t really mean too much. The last film was really an anomaly in the history of the Muppets at the box office. Muppets Most Wanted is a good and goofy Muppet movie, not quite as good as The Muppets, but not off by much. I have the soundtrack in my car, and the songs get funnier with each listen. In fact, the movie was funnier the second time than it was the first time through. I was hoping that the magic and excitement of the first would repeat, but that wasn’t to be. Muppets Most Wanted has to be taken on its’ own terms, like all of the other films before it. It gave Walter a chance to show where he fits in with the rest of the gang.

As a friend of mine, Tom, put it so well: “MUPPET MOVIE & THE MUPPETS were about heart, GREAT MUPPET CAPER & MUPPETS MOST WANTED were about unfiltered wackiness, both things the Henson team have excelled at since 1969!”

Now that we’ve gotten companion movies (in a way) to The Muppet Movie and The Great Muppet Caper, it’s time to get a companion movie to The Muppets Take Manhattan.

It’s time for The Muppets: Part 3.

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My Most Anticipated Films of 2014

Muppets Most WantedFor the first time in a while we have a year without a Pixar film.  I tend to put all Pixar films on my anticipated film list every year, but The Good Dinosaur was delayed until 2015.  That will mean two Pixar films will be on my list for 2015, however, and I’m very excited about that.  I’m pretty excited about this year’s movies, however, with the end of The Hobbit capping the a year filled with Muppets, superheroes, robots and biblical epics.

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