My Year in Movies: 2014

Blowhard, Esq. writes:


The thing about being friends with serious movie buffs is that they can be pretty demanding. Here I am thinking I know a thing or two, but I’m not so much the Ringo Starr as the Pete Best of the group. Conversations usually go something like this:

Me: You guys, I just saw an obscure old movie last night: CITIZEN KANE. It was in black and white even!

Fabrizio: I saw every picture RKO ever made before I was 12.

Sax: Yeah, I dunno, whatever. I’ve always thought Welles went downhill when he stopped doing radio dramas. [The thing to know about Sax is that he pretty much hates every movie.]

Paleo Retiree: *thinks to himself, “JFC, I used chat with the best movie people in the country. This is what I’ve been reduced to,” downs an entire cocktail in one gulp*

So, in an effort to fill in some holes in my movie knowledge, I upped my game significantly this year. Only about 15 or so are rewatches, most of these I saw for the first time.



The Hunger Games
3 Women
Diary of a Nymphomaniac
The Killer Inside Me
Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay
The White Ribbon
Prison Girls
The Ecstasies of Women
The Act of Killing
The Hunt
Blue Jasmine
Le Samurai
Black Swan
Get Out Your Handkerchiefs
Jefferson in Paris



Out of the Past
Housewife’s Afternoon Delight
House of Tolerance
True Grit
Inside Llewyn Davis
Raise the Red Lantern
Pitch Perfect
12 Years a Slave
Ride Lonesome
Sex and Lucia
The Killer is Loose
Standing in the Shadows of Motown
In Bed
His Girl Friday
Carlito’s Way
Double Indemnity



It Happened One Night
The Rules of the Game
Veronica Mars
He Walked by Night
The Bakery Girl of Monceau
Masculin Féminin
Suzanne’s Career
Broken Blossoms
To Catch a Thief
Trouble in Paradise
Heaven Can Wait
The Wolf of Wall Street



Blue is the Warmest Color
Flesh and the Devil
The Naked Kiss
The Shop Around the Corner
Leap Year
Shock Corridor
Plucking the Daisy
In the Realm of the Senses
Fat Girl



Inland Empire
Top Secret!
The Avengers
The Wild Bunch
Bruna Surfistinha
When Jews Were Funny
Lawyer Man
Jewel Robbery
Sex is Comedy
The Palm Beach Story
Six Degrees of Separation
Day of Wrath
Sweet Movie
A Fistful of Dollars
Donnie Brasco
Death Wish
Muscle Shoals
20 Feet From Stardom
The Lady Vanishes
The Honeymoon Killers
Murmur of the Heart
The Wrecking Crew
Star Trek Into Darkness
Eames: The Architect & the Painter
Kings of Pastry
Louis C.K.: Live at the Beacon Theater



OSS 117: Lost in Rio
Finding Vivian Maier
Saving Mr. Banks
My Week with Marilyn
World War Z
Behind the Candelabra
Lonely Boy
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Man of Steel
Gimme Shelter
The Seven Year Itch
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Naked City
300: Rise of an Empire
The Wolverine
The Amazing Spider-Man
Picnic at Hanging Rock



The Master
Joy Ride
Star 80
Vanya on 42nd Street
The Raid
Public Speaking
Burn After Reading
Green Chair
Bettie Page Reveals All
Are All Men Pedophiles?
The File on Thelma Jordon
L’age d’Or
Gregory’s Girl
My Life So Far
Synecdoche, NY
Bill Cunningham New York
Pitch Perfect
Born to Kill
Last Year at Marienbad
Le Chant du Styrène
All the World’s Memory
Un Chien Andalou



The Transporter
Sleep, My Love
Written on the Wind
Los Angeles Plays Itself
One Week
The Outside Man
Men of Crisis: The Harvey Wallinger Story
Sounds from the Town I Love
Ah, L’Amour
Band of Outsiders
Imitation of Life
Scarlet Street
The Kennel Murder Case
Pierrot Le Fou
How to Marry a Millionaire
Monkey Business
A Damsal in Distress
The Thin Man
Damsals in Distress
2 or 3 Things I Know About Her
Annie Hall
The Grifters
An American in Paris



Training Day
Clear History
Guys and Dolls
Phil Spector
Funny Face
The Unknown Known
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
All That Heaven Allows
Enemy of the State
Night Shift
Bukowski: Born Into This
Sansho the Bailiff
Repo Man
Next Stop, Greenwich Village
The Postman Always Rings Twice
The John Garfield Story
To Live and Die in L.A.
They Live
Side by Side
The 50 Year Argument



Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
Gone Girl
Under the Skin
Get the Gringo
Ace in the Hole
Used Cars
Model Shop
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
The Woman
Rosemary’s Baby
Bob Le Flambeur
Jack Reacher
The Human Scale
Sleeping Beauty
Fallen Angel
Enemies: A Love Story
Venus in Fur
A Man Escaped
My Uncle Antoine
Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes
Whatever Works



The Innocents
A Separation
Transformers: Age of Extinction
Life of Crime
Angel Face
The Killing
The Long Goodbye
Simon of the Desert
Female Teacher: In Front of the Students
Man Wanted
An Affair to Remember
Young & Beautiful
Claire’s Knee
Love & Basketball
Bigger than Life
The Big Lebowski



The Conformist
Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony
Fading Gigolo
I Walked with a Zombie
Bill Burr: I’m Sorry You Feel That Way
Devil in a Blue Dress
The Godfather III
Oslo, August 31st
The Immigrant
The Body Snatcher
Bay of Angels
Meetin’ WA
To Have and To Have Not
Upstream Color
Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip
The Trip to Italy
Louis C.K.: Oh My God
7 Men from Now
Budd Boetticher: An American Original
The Cooler

My Favorites, Not Necessarily What I Think Are the Best, With the Understanding that I’d Probably Change This List Tomorrow

  • Charade
  • Get Out Your Handkerchiefs
  • Ride Lonesome
  • It Happened One Night
  • To Catch a Thief
  • Trouble in Paradise
  • Blue is the Warmest Color
  • In the Realm of the Senses
  • Born to Kill
  • The Outside Man
  • Next Stop, Greenwich Village
  • A Separation
  • Oslo, August 31st
  • The Immigrant
  • Ida

For the Love of God Don’t Make Me Watch These Again

  • Synecdoche, NY
  • The Master
  • Upstream Color

Ranking the Godards, a Director I Admire More Than Love

  1. Contempt
  2. Pierrot Le Fou
  3. Masculin Féminin
  4. Weekend
  5. Band of Outsiders
  6. 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her
  7. Alphaville
  8. Meetin’ WA

Couldn’t Do It Today Award

Winner by a landslide: Female Teacher: In Front of the Students
Runner-up: Claire’s Knee

I Also Watched Some TV

  • Mad Men: Season 6
  • Mad Men: Season 7, first half
  • Downton Abbey: Season 3
  • Louie: Season 3
  • True Detective: Season 1
  • Orange is the New Black: Seasons 1 and 2
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm: Season 8

About Blowhard, Esq.

Amateur, dilettante, wannabe.
This entry was posted in Movies, Television and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to My Year in Movies: 2014

  1. You do leave your house, sometimes?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fake Herzog says:

    This list is just awesome. So much to watch!!!

    I thought I’d share a few thoughts from my movie-going experiences from 2014.

    First of all, this is the year our house got Netflix streaming service, so I decided to catch up on a lot of Asian action films that I had never watched before. By far my favorites were the pair of films “Tai Chi Zero” and Tai Chi Hero”. The action was good but the story telling is zany and fun — the film-makers have a blast with Chinese action-film conventions (stuff like title-cards popping up in the middle of the movie telling you what famous actor is playing which role, wacky graphics to illustrate a point, etc.) The story is coherent (if implausible) but I have to admit the melodrama actually got to me (there is a great father/son sub-plot that was emotional and brought a tear to my eye upon resolution).

    I also can’t recommend the Korean film “The Thieves” highly enough — it also had Chinese actors (a lot of action takes place in Hong Kong) and they all did a great job. The story has all sorts of double-crossing and plot twists and the action is fantastic. Well made and slick — just great entertainment.

    Speaking of Hong Kong, the famous producer/director Hark Tsui made two different “Detective Dee” films — both feature awesome special effects and lots of fun action. I could watch another ten Detective Dee films — he is a great character — basically a Chinese Sherlock Holmes!!!

    Sticking with Hong Kong, there is also the wonderful Stephen Chow, who’s “Journey to the West” may actually have been released in the U.S. this year (it is only a year old). I can’t recommend the film enough — like the Tai Chi films it is full of humor and great action and also has Chow’s trademark zany special effects and inventive fight scenes. Plus, Qi Shu is easy on the eyes!!!

    Finally, in a more serious vein, I saw John Woo’s two part epic of Chinese history called “Red Cliff” focused on the famous Han dynasty Prime Minister Cao Cao. Great battle scenes — maybe even better battles than Peter Jackson’s orcs fighting the dwarves, elves, and men!!!

    I noticed you finally saw “The Raid” this year — now you need to see “The Raid 2” which is even more insane and intense than the first film!!!

    So as for 2014 movies — I thought both Marvel movies were great (I’m a big fan of their stuff and loved “The Winter Soldier” and “Guardians of the Galaxy”). Marvel’s property the X-Men also had a nice showing with “Days of Future Past” — Fassbender is great as Magneto.

    I thought “Transformers 4” was a mess, but as usual, my city (Chicago) looked great in the movie!!!

    My favorite film of 2014 by far was “Interstellar” — Nolan at his best and given that I’m a science fiction geek and the father of two girls the movies was like crack cocaine for me.

    I liked “Locke” very much — who knew ‘Bane’ could be so entertaining talking in a car for over one hour?

    “300: Rise of An Empire” was better than I expected (and Eva Green!) — also very good battle scenes in that film and despite all the historical nonsense, I think the movie conveyed what a trireme naval battle might have been like (in a stylized sort of way).

    By far the biggest surprise was Tom Cruise in “Edge of Tomorrow” — I wish that movie made more money as it was just fantastic from beginning to end. Special effects were top notch, the action was amazing, the story was great and Tom’s acting was superb — yes, superb. The key was his character — he had to play a jerk who learns how to become a hero and he did a great job in the first half of the film as “jerk Tom Cruise”. It was nice to see him play against type.

    Cartoons — with my kids I got to see “The Lego Movie” which was absolutely delightful. I’ve now watched it again on DVD and loved it just as much on the second viewing. “Big Hero 6” was fun (good, not great) and “How to Train Your Dragon 2” was good, not great.

    Keep watching movies and keep blogging about them — you guys are all great 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • “My favorite film of 2014 by far was ‘Interstellar’ — Nolan at his best and given that I’m a science fiction geek and the father of two girls the movies was like crack cocaine for me.”

      I’m a big fan of Nolan’s earlier work, but I found “Interstellar” to be quite dreary, rather dull, and the ending struck me as just plain stupid. I suppose we both sat in the theater for over three hours in order to watch it, so I’m glad you had a better time than yours truly.

      My favorite films of 2014 were “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Gone Girl” (essentially tied for 1st place).


  3. agnostic says:

    Interstellar fell flat for me. Nolan’s usual cinematographer, Wally Pfister, was off directing a movie of his own at the time (Transcendence), and was replaced by Hoyte Van Hoytema (most recently the DP for Her, also The Fighter, and Let the Right One In).

    It felt aimless and soulless, not like a Nolan movie, even though he was still coming up with the story and directing the actors, who as usual were thankfully not your standard bunch of Millennial robots.

    Perhaps this goes to show how important the visual part of storytelling is in the film medium. By the same token, the visually satisfying but not-so-interesting story of Transcendence shows how important the screenplay and directing are, although everyone already knows that.

    Nolan’s primary strength is on the verbal side, so he relies more heavily on his DP to achieve his vision, as it were. Take Pfister away, and there goes the Nolan feel.

    It’s the mirror image of a director like Ridley Scott, who’s primarily visual and is more at the mercy of the screenwriter for the full effect. Blade Runner is a pretty dull story, but looks sublime. Alien had superior storytelling, even though it’s a smaller-stakes survival tale, and feels much more satisfying to experience.

    The good news is that Nolan and Pfister must have realized how much they rely on each other (no homo), and won’t be extending the experiment apart from each other into the future.


    • “Transcendence” was a mediocre film, but I got more enjoyment out of it than I did out of “Interstellar.”


    • JV says:

      I too was disappointed with Interstellar. So much grandiosity just to say, “all we need is love,” basically. Well, duh. Also, without spoiling anything, the explanation for the book shelf thing came off as silly. That whole scene kind of sealed the deal for me. There were some nice moments, though, and the acting was enjoyable, particularly the girl playing McConaughey’s daughter.

      The move that most affected me in 2014 was Boyhood. Pretty obvious choice, but there you go.


  4. Pingback: My Year in Books: 2014 | Uncouth Reflections

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