The 25 Best Films of 2014

Traditionally, as I’ve done in years past, along with each year end list I will include some sort of blurb or description on why I felt the film deserved to be on the list. But now that I have this website, all of the films I am about to list I’ve discussed in the reviews I’ve written about them. I feel like if I were to do that I would just be regurgitating what’s already been said. What I will say is this, any year where I gave twenty five films a “B+” or higher to such as this past one is pretty remarkable. So without further adieu…

Top 8: (any film in which I gave higher than a B+ to – in order)

  1. “Birdman” (Dir: Alejandro Gonzalez Innarritu)
  2. “Under The Skin” (Dir: Jonathan Glazer)
  3. “Whiplash” (Dir: Damien Chazelle)
  4. “Enemy” (Dir: Denis Villeneuve)
  5. “Boyhood” (Dir: Richard Linklater)
  6. “Nightcrawler” (Dir: Dan Gilroy)
  7. “A Most Wanted Man” (Dir: Anton Corbijn)
  8. “Calvary” (Dir: John Michael McDonaugh)

8 Honorable Mentions: (every film that I gave a B+ to – in no particular order)

  1. “Nymphomaniac: Vol.2” (Dir: Lars Von Trier)
  2. “The Rover” (Dir: David Michod)
  3. “Fury” (Dir: David Ayer)
  4. “Joe” (Dir: David Gordon Green)
  5. “Obvious Child” (Dir: Gillian Robespierre)
  6. “Cold In July” (Dir: Jim Mickle)
  7. “The Skeleton Twins” (Dir: Craig Johnson)
  8. “Foxcatcher” (Dir: Bennett Miller) (which I originally gave a “B” to but after some serious reflecting on it I moved up to a B+)

Top 8 Foreign Films: (all films I gave a B+ or higher to – in order)

  1. “Bastards” (Dir: Claire Denis) (France)
  2. “Stranger By The Lake” (Dir: Alain Guiraudie) (France)
  3. “Child’s Pose” (Dir: Calin Peter Netzer) (Romania)
  4. “Venus in Fur” (Dir: Roman Polanski) (France/Poland)
  5. “Nothing Bad Can Happen” (Dir: Katrin Gebbe) (Germany)
  6. “The Selfish Giant” (Dir: Clio Barnard) (United Kingdom)
  7. “Gloria” (Dir: Sebastian Lelio) (Chile/Spain)
  8. “Moebius” (Dir: Kim Ki-duk) (South Korea)

Best Documentary: “Life Itself” (Dir: Steve James)

There you have it. As always, if you have any comments about any of the aforementioned films I’ve listed, or would like to post your own best of list, I would highly encourage you to do so. A big thanks to those of you who helped make this one of my favorite years in film. Let’s see what’s in store for us next as we enter 2015…

10 thoughts on “The 25 Best Films of 2014

  1. (of the movies I’ve seen so far) here’s my list for 2014 in order from Favorite to Least:
    Boyhood 94
    Gone Girl 90
    Whiplash 90
    Life Itself 90
    Obvious Child 88
    Snowpiercer 88
    Begin Again 87
    Whitey: USA vs Bulger 87
    The Drop 86
    Kid Cannabis 86
    Birdman 85
    Finding Vivian Maier 83
    Chef 83
    Noah 83
    Enemy 83
    The Babadook 83
    Cold in July 83
    Kids for Cash 81
    The Skeleton Twins 80
    Cheap Thrills 80
    Lone Survivor 80
    The Rover 79
    Still a few movies for me to see though before I finalize my list like Nighcrawler & Foxcatcher for example. I like your list a lot, although I do disagree with some of your choices like ‘A Most Wanted Man’ for example which I gave a “C-”. Great job on the website this year! I’ve enjoyed reading it & commenting on it; I look forward to hopefully seeing a couple of your other readers post their top 10 list for the year (like Brandon)

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  2. agreed like the list alot but maybe the format should be changed like I mentioned to include 1-25 with foreign films interspersed, but its still solid. As you know I only really see films when they come out on dvd, so the following list is of all dvd releases in 2014 after awards season of course: (anything jan-march 2014 released on DVD not included)

    1) The Babadook (cant believe you gave this a C+)
    2) Lone Survivor
    3) Grand Budapest Hotel
    4) Jodorowski’s Dune
    5) Enemy
    6) Cheap Thrills
    7) Snowpiercer
    8) Borgman
    9) Omar
    10) Childs Pose

    Honorable mention: Locke, The United Staves vs Whitey Bulger, Edge of Tomorrow, Frank, The Selfish Giant, A Most Wanted Man, The Raid 2: Berandal, The Rover, Joe, The Suspect.

    Cant wait to check out all the big boys coming out around awards season many of which you saw in the theater (Foxcatcher, Gone Girl, Boyhood,Calvary, Nightcrawler, Interstellar, etc.)

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    1. Nice, thanks for posting your list. I had to Google Borgman, Omar, & Child’s Pose – previously had never heard of ‘em; but now will be adding them to my ‘To See’ list

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      1. nice buddy yeah I’m a big foreign movie fan, really big asian cimena guy (which I thought had an extremely down year, but years past have been unreal). Just a forewarning “Borgman” is completely bonkers but both Jeff and I loved it, surprised not to find it on his top 8 foreign films.

        Really dying as well to see Norte, the End of History, Winter Sleep, Ida, Force Majuere, Leviathan, A girl Walks Home Alone at Night, amongst others.

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      2. Like Brandon I’m a big foreign film fan. I tend to be a bit more of a fan of European cinema than him and he is more of a fan of Asian cinema than I am. But he lists some great picks here – I’ve already seen “Ida” and posted a review it on the site. “Winter Sleep” won the Palme d’Or at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival so obviously that’s a must see. “Leviathan” is probably #1 on my list of those as Andrey Zvyaginstev is one of my favorite foreign (Russian) directors. I loved both of his prior 2 efforts “The Return” (2003) and “Elena” (2011). Second to that is another one he listed called “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night”. That sounds like it could be very interesting and is being billed as “The first Iranian Vampire Western”.

        Some others I’m looking forward to seeing “Why Don’t You Play in Hell”, “Aftermath”, “Force Majeure”, “Goodbye To Language”, “Hide Your Smiling Faces”, “Far From The Maddening Crowd”, “2 Days, 1 Night”, “Starred Up”, “Tom At The Farm”, and “Mommy” to name a few.

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    1. The Top 15 Best Albums of 2014 (by Brandon – frequent site contributor)

      1. Cliff Martinez – “Far Cry 4 Original Game Soundtrack”
      2. Beck – “Morning Phase”
      3. Cliff Martinez – “The Knick Original Series Soundtrack”
      4. Todd Terje – “It’s Album Time”
      5. Sun Kil Moon – “Benji”
      6. Parquet Courts – “Sunbathing Animal”
      7. Aphex Twin – “Syro”
      8. Thom Yorke – “Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes”
      9. The Bad Plus – “Can’t Stop” (even though it came out in 2011, still an incredible album)
      10. Ben Frost – “AURORA”
      11. Kiasmos – “Kiasmos”
      12. Earth – “Primitive and Deadly”
      13. Mogwai – “Rave Tapes”
      14. John Talabot – “DJ Kicks”
      15. Ty Segall – “Manipulator”

      Honorable Mentions: Lykke Li – “I Never Learn”, Fennesz – “Becs”, Dalhaus – “Sukirae”, Tycho – “Awake”, Johnny Greenwood and Bryce Dessner – “Carolyn by the Sea/There Will Be Blood Suite”, Bell Gardens – “Darker Side of Sunshine”

      Take it from someone who knows, this guy is just about as passionate about music as I am movies.

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      1. First off, I’ve heard a lot of the albums on your list and you’ve really nailed a lot of the ones that I think should have been highlighted from this past year. The fact that you have 2 Cliff Martinez albums in your top 10 is pretty incredible. You’re pointing out here who I find to be one of THE best musicians on the planet. Certainly one of my favorites currently working and putting out music nowadays. A guy who works equally as well making music for movie scores, video game soundtracks, and TV series. So nice call on that. I can’t say I was as much of a fan as you were of Beck’s “Morning Phase” as it reflected more of the melancholy side that was present on “Sea Change” that I really liked just didn’t love. You already know my thoughts on Sun Kil Moon and Parquet Courts. Both of those bands just aren’t my style of music. But I can certainly appreciate how they are yours. Aphex Twin’s album was too mixmash for me. It sounded like something I’ve heard time and time again with each Squarepusher release. But much like you I felt similarly to how you did about Thom Yorke’s “Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes”. Yorke is always ever evolving as a side man producing albums, like his other solo release “The Eraser”, which I think are almost comparable to his work with Radiohead. I commented on The Bad Plus as that album is a few years old but remarkable enough to be pointed out regardless of what year we’re in. Ben Frost – “AURORA” I always thought was fantastic. He is at the forefornt of the experimental-noise realm of electronic music. Kiasmos – “Kiasmos” was also a great find, as it blends orchestral string music with Ambient electronica music perfectly. I haven’t gotten a chance to check out the Earth album but plan to soon. As for your last remaining 3 – Mogwai – “Rave Tapes” (solid post-rock release from these veterans of the genre), John Talabot (best mixtape of the year imo), and Ty Segall – Manipulator” (also making my top 10). A very solid list from someone I wouldn’t expect anything other than. Keep up with the music reviews and send along any recommendations you think I might like.

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  3. -My Top “15” Best Albums of 2014-

    1. Demdike Stare – “Post Collapse” (technically a late December 2013 release but close enough to count for 2014).
    2. Todd Terje – “It’s Album Time”
    3. Clark – “Clark”
    4. Cliff Martinez – “The Knick: Original Series Soundtrack”
    5. Ariel Pink – “Pom Pom”
    6. Fenessz – “Becs”
    7. Kiasmos – “Self Titled”
    8. Thom Yorke – “Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes”
    9. BADBADNOTGOOD – “Self Titled”
    10. Ty Segall – “Manipulator”

    Honorable Mentions: Die Antwoord – “Donker Mag”, Ben Frost – “AURORA”, The Bad Plus – “Inevitable Western”, Marco Benevento – “Swift”, SD Laika – “That’s Harakiri”

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  4. Yup solid list here, and alot of the same we heard. I’ll have to check out some of these you mentioned that I havent heard yet. You should make it a point to immediately check out Cliff Martinez’s “Far Cry 4 Original Game Soundtrack”, its uneal. I think 2015 is shaping up to be a big year for new music releases, cant wait. The reviews will continue to pour in throughout the year. Nice work. I also forgot to include Mac Demarco’s “Salad Days” on my list which probably would have made my top 15, also Demdike Stare’s “Post Collapse” would have made it as well but I had heard it after I sent out my initial list.

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