It’s been a weird year for movies for me, as I didn’t go to the theaters much like I normally do. In fact I’ve only seen a few 2014 movies. This may also be a contributing factor as to why our of the 49 movies I’ve seen this year, I outright hated nine of them (high for me), just wasn’t into a dozen more, and liked but didn’t love many others — so, I had a hard time coming up with a top ten and, in the process, of trying to form my list, I realized there were only five that I really loved this year.
The Top Five
1. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – It’s the group of antagonists become friends become chosen family trope that really gets me here. Plus fun action space story and oodles of fantastic music.
2. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) – I love subtly speculative indie films and this one hit all the right notes of heart and humor.
3. The Host / Gwoemul (2006) – Intense, funny, and hiding tons of social commentary, this was a fantastic movie.
4. Planet of the Apes (1968) – While the special effects and movie makeup don’t hold up to modern standards, the story is still powerful, complex, and compelling.
5. Her (2013) — I thought the concept of this movie was strange when I first heard about it, and I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did and I appreciated it even more after seeing it a second time around.
Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Movie
Planet of the Apes is the more truly speculative, as it’s both entertaining and uses its speculative journey for social commentary. Though Safety Not Guaranteed is a movie that hits all my happy, movie loving spots — so they both go here for the reasons I’ve already stated above.
Best Horror Movie
The Host, as I’ve already indicated, is brilliant.
I think I most enjoyed How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014), which was a fun and sweet followup to the first movie.
Though I fell I should also mention Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind / Kaze no tani no Naushika (1984), which is more complex in terms of world building and plot.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) was most amusing, being an odd tale of mystery and adventure about a legendary concierge at a famous hotel and the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. If you like Wes Anderson movies, then you are likely to enjoy this one, too.
Best Foreign Movie
I could list The Host again, because I loved it that much, but I think I’m going to branch out and list Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance / Boksuneun naui geot (2002) because of the interesting ways each of the character’s desire for vengeance overlapped into an intricate and surprising plot.
None, because I didn’t actually watch any this year, which feels very strange.
What were your favorite movies seen in 2014?