The 148 Best (And Worst) Movies Of 2014 (According to Mike Ryan)

EDIT
|
Marvel

I enjoy reading top ten lists, but I don’t particularly like making a top ten list—which does nothing as far as an explanation as to why I decided to do a Top 148 list (or Bottom 148 list, if that’s more your thing). I covered four film festivals in 2014, so I saw more than 147 movies, but these are the 148 movies I saw that came out in a theater this year. (I realize ‘The Interview’ is now not coming out, but, whatever, it’s on here too.) I am only one human being, so I didn’t see every movie that came out this year—Where’s ‘Noah’? I never saw ‘Noah’—but I think I saw quite a few! Anyway, here they all are. (I only wrote about a few of them because I am not a crazy person.)

1. ‘Nightcrawler’

It’s hard for me to believe that Jake Gyllenhaal isn’t listed in everyone’s top acting performances of the year lists. I mean, what else could you ask out of someone? Sure, he lost weight, which almost seems so obvious at this point, but at this point, Gyllenhaal know exactly what he’s doing and there’s just no way he could achieve Lou Bloom’s “creepy face” without the weight loss. I still have a hard time believing this is Dan Gilroy’s first directorial effort and the inclusion of ‘Nightcrawler’ here at the top of my list has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I once crawled into bed with his wife.

2. ‘Whiplash’

I tested a theory the other day: I watched a screener of ‘Whiplash’ at home and monitored how quickly I’d get distracted by other things—which can happen often with a movie I’ve seen twice before … it never happened. I was enthralled the entire time. ‘Whiplash’ will become one of those movie that you watch every time you happen to see it while it’s on basic cable.

3. ‘Selma’

At this point, I have no idea what else to say about ‘Selma.’ It’s a movie about an event that took place in 1964, but it’s actually about right now. For some reason, I had assumed ‘Selma’ would be an interesting enough biopic—maybe something like what we saw with ‘Mandela’ last year—but what Ava DuVernay did was make something genuinely more important than just looking about the life of an important human being … she made a movie about all human beings.

4. ‘Birdman’

Probably the most unique movie I saw this year, ‘Birdman’ takes a heightened version of the personas of actors we know (even though both Michael Keaton and Edward Norton swear that’s not true) to make a movie about acting, which sounds like something that would be really boring. Yes, maybe ‘Birdman’ is a little over-stylized with its kinda, sorta non-stop one take, but who cares? If nothing else, it’s interesting. And the characters are remarkably fleshed out in this format that could have easily just have treated them as set pieces. (And, hey, we also got that nifty ‘Birdman’ trailer.)

5. ‘Edge of Tomorrow’

It’s too bad more people didn’t see this movie. I kind of get why: It looked a lot like last year’s ‘Elysium.’ “Yep, there’s a famous person wearing some sort of boring robot suit. Yawn.” Instead, what people missed was one of the most clever movies of the year and Tom Cruise’s funniest performance in maybe 20 years.

6. ‘Gone Girl’

This just seems like the kind of adaptation that could have gone really horribly if not in the right hands. But here comes David Fincher, who cast both Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry against type and, in return, got one the best ensemble acting performances of the year.

7. ‘The LEGO Movie’

Everything really is awesome.

8. ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’

It’s still hard to believe this rekindled franchise is good. It’s a little strange, though, it’s almost as if we all forgot how much we all liked this movie that just came out a couple of months ago. If the awards season was a normal thing (I like to think at one point it used to be at least sort of normal) we’d be talking about ‘Dawn’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ as possible Best Picture nominees. But, we aren’t. Anyway…

9. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ is the most pure fun movie of the year (and keeps growing on me the more often I watch it; I would never have guessed this movie would be in my Top 10 back in August). Hey, sometimes movies are just supposed to be fun! There are spaceships and aliens and good music and a lot of laughs. It’s almost a shame that ‘Guardians’ has to tie itself back in with the rest of the Marvel universe at all because I kind of just like these guys on their own.

10. ‘Boyhood’

What an interesting experience. I fully admit that I would have little interest in ‘Boyhood’ without filming the same actors over a period of 12 years. Hypothetically, I can envision a version of this movie that I actively dislike, with a new actor playing the role of Mason every time he ages. But watching Mason age right in front of us, out brains subconsciously know what’s happening and it becomes less a movie and more an experience about life.

11. ‘Obvious Child’
12. ‘Enemy’
13. ‘Snowpiercer’
14. ‘Neighbors’
15. ‘The One I Love’
16. ‘A Most Violent Year’
17. ‘Love is Strange’
18. ‘Foxcatcher’
19. ‘Wild
20. ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’
21. ‘The Equalizer’
22. ‘Lucy’
23. ’22 Jump Street’
24. ‘Life Itself’
25. ‘The Imitation Game’
26. ‘Starred Up’
27. ‘Interstellar’
28. ‘Inherent Vice’
29. ‘Citizenfour’
30. ‘Big Eyes’
31. ‘Joe’
32. ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’
33. ‘John Wick’
34. ‘The Gambler’
35. ‘The Double’
36. ‘Under the Skin’
37. ‘Ping Pong Summer’
38. ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’
39. ‘Chef’
40. 'A Walk Among the Tombstones’
41. ‘The Skeleton Twins’
42. ‘The Boxtrolls’
43. ‘The Theory of Everything’
44. ‘Force Majeure’
45. ‘Run and Jump’
46. ‘Tracks’
47. ‘Dumb and Dumber To’
48. ‘Top Five’
49. ‘A Most Wanted Man’
50. ‘Listen Up Philip’
51. 'The Interview'
52. ‘The Babadook’
53. ‘The Rover’
54. ‘Godzilla’
55. ‘What If’
56. ‘Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon’
57. ‘Fury’
58. ‘Unbroken’
59. ‘Into the Woods’
60. ‘Hide Your Smiling Faces’
61. ‘Goodbye to All That’
62. ‘They Came Together’
63. ‘The Fault in Our Stars’
64. ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’
65. ‘To Be Takei’
66. ‘Draft Day’
67. ‘Fishing Without Nets’
68. ‘Bears’
69. ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’
70. ‘Hellion’
71. ‘Nas: Time is Illmatic’
72. ‘Jersey Boys’
73. ‘Life Partners’
74. ‘Bird People’
75. ‘Still Alice’
76. ‘Rosewater’
77. ‘Trust Me’
78. ‘Mitt’
79. ‘Cheap Thrills’
80. ‘The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them’
81. ‘Alan Partridge’
82. ‘Kill the Messenger’
83. ‘Night Moves’
84. ‘Million Dollar Arm’
85. ‘The Pretty One’
86. ‘Dom Hemingway’
87. ‘I Origins’
88. ‘Horns’
89. ‘The Maze Runner’
90. ‘Big Hero 6’
91. ‘The Raid 2’
92. ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
93. ‘Need For Speed’
94. ‘Non Stop’
95. ‘Divergent’
96. ‘The Judge’
97. ‘Camp X-Ray’
98. ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’
99. ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’
100. ‘American Sniper’
101. ‘Nymphomaniac’
102. ‘RoboCop’
103. ‘Men, Women and Children’
104. ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’
105. ‘Life After Beth’
106. ‘Hercules’
107. ‘St. Vincent’
108. ‘Fading Gigolo’
109. ‘Muppets Most Wanted’
110. ‘This is Where I Leave You’
111. ‘The Monuments Men’
112. ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’
113. ‘Horrible Bosses 2’
114. ‘The Art of the Steal’
115. ‘300: Rise of an Empire’
116. ‘Tammy’
117. ‘Maleficent’
118. ‘3 Days to Kill’
119. ‘Bad Words’
120. ‘The Purge: Anarchy’
121. ‘Into the Storm’
122. ‘Transcendence’
123. ‘And So It Goes’
124. ‘Cake’
125. ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’
126. ‘Annie’
127. ‘Laggies’
128. ‘Blended’
129. ‘Hateship Loveship’
130. ‘As Above, So Below’
131. ‘Wish I Was Here’
132. ‘White Bird in a Blizzard’
133. ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’
134. ‘Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones’
135. ‘The Quiet One’
136. ‘The Other Woman’
137. ‘Pompeii’
138. ‘Sex Tape’
139. ‘Left Behind’
140. ‘Vampire Academy’
141. ‘I, Frankenstein’
142. ‘Let’s Be Cops’
143. ‘A Haunted House 2’
144. ‘The Legend of Hercules’
145. ‘Winter’s Tale’
146. ‘Endless Love’
147. ‘Jersey Shore Massacre’
148. ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’

Mike Ryan has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and GQ. He is the senior editor of ScreenCrush. You can contact him directly on Twitter.

Comments
Leave A Comment

Recommended for You

Best of the Web

Best of ScreenCrush