2014 has come and gone, and while there were some definite highlights to the year of movies, overall I’d say it was a bit disappointing compared to years past. There were some movies that I really loved, but I wasn’t nearly as enthusiastic in 2014 as I usually am for the world of cinema. However, things are looking up for 2015, with a lot to be excited about, plus there are still a few movies I need to catch up on from 2014 that I either missed or haven’t gotten around to (Big Eyes, Selma, The Imitation Game, etc.). But now that 2015 is underway it’s time to take a look back at the highs and lows of 2014 at the movies. Instead of a traditional top 10 list of movies, I like to list out my favorite cinema-related things from the year. Some of them are movies, but others might be scenes, characters, moments, or even just announcements. So without further ado, here are my top 10 and bottom 3 of 2014 at the movies.
Birdman is one of those films that are difficult to describe or categorize. It’s nominally a “black comedy,” but it was tragic enough that a fellow moviegoer leaving my theater felt the need to tell the ticket-taker that it was depressing and reminded him of Robin Williams. It is also hilarious. It’s an ensemble piece, yet it’s entirely dominated by one actor in the comeback role of a lifetime, despite the fact that he’s never been gone. It’s a straightforward story of backstage theater drama and shenanigans, but it’s also a meditation on life, fame, popularity, art, and how we define ourselves and let others define us. It’s a simple film, set in one small corner of New York with only a handful of characters, while simultaneously being one of the most exhilarating works of cinematic craftsmanship I’ve seen in years. More than anything, it’s the sort of film that sticks in your head, refusing to be easily dismissed or forgotten.