Year in Review 2014

Previously Published

 

Animated Movies.

In last year’s review, I wrote about the lack of great animated movies.  Last year, the top animated movie on my list was the direct to DVD DC film Flashpoint.  And number two was Disney’s Frozen.  After that, there was nothing special about the animated films.  I had hoped that the movie world would do better in 2014.

Man, did they ever do better.

I am so amazed at the list of animated films from this year.  I have a list of eight films that are excellent, and several of these would be ranked higher than either of the top two from last year.  In fact, several of these animated films will (most likely) find their way onto the list for the top films of the year.

That does not mean that all of the animated movies were hits this year.  Rio 2, Planes: Fire and Rescue, Legends of Oz… were not winners.

But there were plenty of fantastic films.  Here are my top eight.

#8  The Book of Life

#7 Boxtrolls

#6 Penguins of Madagascar

#5 Batman: Assault on Arkham

#4 Mr. Peabody and Sherman

When this first came out, I gave it five stars.  I probably overestimated this film, but I was caught up in the nostalgia of the moment.  I used to love the cartoons featuring Mr. Peabody.  And this new feature was very well done.  I was entertained.  It may not have been able to maintain a five star rating, it was still excellent.  And it is good enough for number four.

#3 The Lego Movie

One of the first animated films of the year and The Lego Movie was original, creative, touching and just all around awesome.  The Lego Movie had an ending that you were not going to see coming.  A film like htis wound up on number 3 on this list.  That speaks even more for the top two movies.

#2 How to Train Your Dragon 2

The sequel to the surprise hit took this series to a new high.  How to Train Your Dragon 2 was such an amazing movie.  Emotional, amazing characters, beautifully drawn.  This was one of those rare animated movies because the main character Hiccup was allowed to grow up.  Most animated characters are frozen in time.  Hiccup grew into a young man.  And this was his journey to adulthood.  It was a special movie.

#1 Big Hero 6

And this year’s number one animated movie was a property loosely based on a Marvel comic.  Big Hero 6 was such a fun time, that even a little predictability in the plot did not detour my enjoyment.  Baymax and Hero’s relationship was unlike any other relationship of the year, and Baymax is clearly a breakout character for Disney.  Full of excitement, humor and adventure, Big Hero 6 even had awesome Marvel Easter Eggs.  Torpedo.  Sleepwalker.  I mean… awesome.  Plus, there was a Stan Lee cameo.  Add it all up, and you have one of the best movies of 2014, and certainly the top animated movie of the year.

So, Hollywood… let’s see if you can top 2014 in animation.  I challenge you to improve in 2015.  Can you do it?  I hope.

Big Year for EYG Hall of Famer Weird Al Yankovic

Mandatory Fun came out this year.  That was the newest Weird Al Yankovic album (and perhaps his final album in this format).  Weird Al came out with a great idea to promote the album.

8 videos in 8 days.

Starting the day prior to the album’s release, Weird Al released the first video from the new record, “Tacky” the parody of “Happy.”

Then, he went ahead and released the next video the following day.  And then another.  And another.

Eight straight days of videos by Weird Al, all produced by different groups.  Each one had a different feel.  It was awesome.

This help make Mandatory Fun Weird Al’s first ever #1 record on the Billboard chart.

This was after Al appeared as Sir Isaac Newton in the YouTube series, Epic Rap Battles of History.  And it truly was epic.

2014 was a great one for Weird Al.  Here’s hoping that 2015 keeps up that trend.

Reality Television

Ok, so … this is not my most favorite category.  Even though the explosion of reality television shows no signs of stopping, I simply do not enjoy the brand.  However, there are a few shows that have catered to my tastes.  You won’t be seeing any The Voice or Dancing With the Stars on this list, but you won’t see any travesty such as The Kardashians or whatever the show with Honey Boo-Boo is called.

I have five shows that I am including on the “reality” television list for 2014.

#5 Monday Night Wars (WWE Network)

Yeah, this cheats a little.  It is more of a documentary series than a reality series, but it is really done well.  It is a fascinating look into the battle between WWE and the WCW from the late 1990s.  The WWE called this time frame “The Attitude Era” and the WCW was being dominated by the NWO.  Each episode focuses on something different (Bret Hart and his troubles, Mick Foley, The NWO, etc) and it truly caught the excitement of the time.

#4 Comic Book Men (AMC)

Kevin Smith and his crew from Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, a comic book store in New Jersey.  The group of geeks debate questions from comics as well as look to haggle over the neatest collectables anywhere.  This is on too late to see regularly, but thankfully, Netflix has episodes to watch.

#3 Finding Bigfoot (Animal Planet)

AROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  Yes, the foursome do pretty much the same thing every week.  Yes, the show is repetitive.  However, it is still fun.  And one of these days…maybe Bobo will stumble across a sasquatch.  That would be awesome.

#2 The Talking Dead (AMC)

Again, kind of cheating.  This is not as much of a reality show as it is a recap show, but it is my list and I can cheat if I want to.  Chris Hardwick from The Nerdist is the host of this show that airs immediately after each new episode of The Walking Dead is shown and they have celebrities and cast members comment on what they have seen.  The guests have ranged from CM Punk to Marilyn Manson and you never know what you may see.

and #1 is as big of a shock to me as to anyone.

Legend’s House (WWE Network)

I had no intention of ever watching this.  I could only see how it could go wrong.  However, I found myself watching one episode with a friend one night, and I could not believe it.  It was funny!  I mean…really funny.  Not funny like the WWE sometimes thinks they are, but legitimately, laugh out loud, funny.  It starred multiple former WWE superstars (Roddy Piper, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Tony Atlas, Gene Okerland, Jimmy Hart, Pat Patterson, Hillbilly Jim, and Howard Finkel) placed in different, weird situations.  That sounds horrible, right?  That’s what I thought too.  But it was great.  These wrestlers were witty.  They were irritated with each other. They were real.  That last one was a real surprise.  The season finale of this show where the superstars sit around a dinner table and tell the others the worst thing that happened to them was amazing television.  I had tears in my eyes.  Jimmy Hart’s confession (and Hacksaw’s subsequent reaction to) about his daughter’s death was as powerful as any scripted television program you will find.  Pat Patterson’s revelation of his sexual orientation was done well too (although it was one of the worst kept secrets anywhere.)

Congrats to the WWE Network for putting together a reality show with fake personas who showed more emotion than you would ever expect.

 

What else is the Internet for…but to create Internet Memes?

And clearly, there were two that were the top memes of 2014.

One came after Captain America: The Winter Soldier and it was the Hail Hydra meme that even we here at EYG have joined in with.

And, of course, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge…another one that I, personally, participated in.  As did countless celebrities as well as men, women and children across the country.

icebucket

Horror Movies

Horror

2014 has been a very bad year for horror movies.  As I am compiling my lists, some of the ones that I have placed on the good list were really not that good.  But they were better than some of the truly bad ones that came out this year.  Several of the truly bad ones will also find their way onto the worst movies list later this month.

Now, I have not yet seen The Babadook, which by all accounts, could be one of the best horror movies is years.  It currently has a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes.  Wow.  Still, it was not come anywhere near where I can see it, but I am looking forward to seeing it.

Otherwise, the horror movie genre is just plagued by the same formulaic stories, cardboard characters and jump scares everywhere.

And my list does not even include Leprechaun: Origins starring WWE wrestler Hornswaggle.  I am sure it would be near the top of any terrible list.

Here they are.

Best Horror Movies of 2014 (so far)

#5 Paranormal Activity:  The Marked Ones.  See this is how bad this list is.  When I saw this, my overall feelings were summarized by this:  “It isn’t as bad as the last one.”  Hardly a rave review.

#4 The Purge: Anarchy.  Another sequel that was not terrible.  Not terrible… that is the qualifications for the 2014 Best Horror Film list.

#3 Tusk.  Kevin Smith’s dark dark dark film that is as much of a dark comedy as it is a horror movie was another that I wasn’t sure belonged in this category.  It is more uncomfortable than anything else.

#2 Oculus.  This one was pretty decent.  A WWE film, Oculus did spend some time on character development, though I think it missed its opportunity to really turn into a mind warping film by taking some easy choices.

#1 As Above So Below.  This was the best horror film of a weak year, but this was a real surprise.  The trailers of this movie looked so terrible, but the film itself was very enjoyable.

Now, the worst horror movies of 2014.  There are seven listed.

#7 The Quiet Ones.  I had to look back to see what this film was about.  It was not terrible, but pretty forgettable.

#6 Dracula Untold.  Dull and boring retelling of the origin of Dracula.

#5 Annabelle.  The prequel of the really good movie, The Conjuring, Annabelle was dull as can be and downright stupid.

#4 The Pyramid.  My most recently reviewed movie, this felt more like a Scooby-Doo mystery gone wrong.

#3 Ouija.  Making a horror movie without, you know, anything that is scary.  Easily the most boring horror movie of the year.

#2 Deliver Us From Evil.  It is hard for me to believe that this is not the worst horror movie of the year.  Jim Morrison’s favorite film comes in second behind….

#1 I, Frankenstein.  This one is in contention for worst overall movie of the year, so it has to top this list as well.  Just terrible, terrible, terrible.

So there you have it.  The few best and the many horrible horror films of the year.  Hopefully, The Babadooks will be great and have all kinds of success and Hollywood will take notice.

Or maybe it will be terrible and overrated and Hollywood will just keep cranking out the garbage.  BY seeing some of the trailers for upcoming horror films such as The Woman in Black 2, Insidious Chapter 3 and Alone, I am afraid the garbage crank is the way they will go.

We lost many greats in the world of comedy, movies, music, television and sports in 2014.  Rest in peace to all of you and thank you so much for the laughs and the memories!

2014RIP

Have to add one today.  RIP Joe Cocker

TV

Top Television Programs of 2014

We are in a renaissance of television!  Whether you watch the tv show on the broadcast networks, on basic cable, on premium cable networks, on DVR, on Netflix or any other manner, the best television is happening right now.

I have had plenty of years where I would have struggled to fill a list of ten television shows.  I am about to present the Top 24 shows of 2014.  And there are plenty of shows that I do not watch that many would consider within this list.  I did not watch Breaking Bad, despite this being its final season.  I was thinking about catching up on Netflix but I have not found the time.  There is Arrow, which is extremely popular among the Geek world.  Modern Family is an Emmy winner every year.  I used to watch Revenge, but not any longer.  Entertainment Weekly just had their list of top ten shows which included Transparent (Amazon), Rectify (SundanceTV), Please Like Me (Pivot), Louie (FX), Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central), Mad Men (AMC), Game of Thrones (HBO), The Good Wife (CBS) and Hannibal (NBC) that did not make my list.

All this is to say that we are in a Golden Age right now.  So many awesome shows.

So here are the Top 24 shows in my opinion from 2014.

#24 Penny Dreadful (Showtime)

I have not seen the entire season of this show, but the early episodes were extremely dark and graphic.  The world of literature came alive in Victorian England.  The Monster’s death early in this season was one of the biggest shockers on any show.

#23 Under the Dome (CBS)

This second season of Under the Dome was very inconsistent.  There were times when I thought the show’s pacing was just terrible.  It would go from one episode to another and things would be happening too fast.  I stuck it out, and the season improved near the end.  Still, this one slipped from last season and needs to improve to maintain my viewing in an increasingly overloaded television landscape.

#22 Gotham (FOX)

I have found Gotham inconsistent so far this season, after debuting with a lot of hype.  Some episodes (such as Penguin’s Umbrella) were amazing and others were poor.  The dialogue has room to grow, but the casting of the show is excellent.  Gordan, Harvey Bullock, Oswald Cobblepot are three perfect characters and the strongest part of this show.

#21 Grimm (NBC)

I enjoy Grimm on Friday night, but there are some problems with the show.  This season had a new Grimm (Trubel) and they took the Grimm powers away from Nick.  Both of those seem to be corrected now as the show moves forward.

#20 Flash (CW)

The new super hero show has started well.  Barry Allen is very likeable.  The special effects look good.  The show does seem to focus on the “villain of the week” thing too much, but hopefully, it will continue to improve.

#19 Blacklist (NBC)

So still awesome, I have had this show slip a bit since last year (where it was at #5).  James Spader is still amazing, but the show’s mysteries feel like they have gotten old, and the whole Berlin saga was nowhere near as dramatic as it could have been.  However, the exploding Alan Alda was amazing.

#18 24: Live Another Day (FOX)

Jack Bauer is back and better than ever.  And now he is out saving London.  This “limited series” was full of classic 24 moments and plenty of characters yelling “dammit!”  Copy that.

#17 Once Upon A Time (ABC)

This show has been up and down as well, but it gets credit for a great hero (Emma) and one of my favorite characters anywhere (Mr. Gold).  This season’s Frozen story arc has been solid, but the Wicked Witch last year was even better.

#16 Orphan Black (BBC)

Just an awesome show that is down the list probably because of the lack of new episodes.  Tatiana Maslany is a revelation in the title role(s).

#15 How to Get Away With Murder (ABC)

This one was a recent watch.  I caught up viewing this and found myself engaged with the characters and the twists and turns.  Viola Davis is fantastic.  This one is hot, and could be much higher next year.

#14 Gracepoint (FOX)

Another limited series (10 episodes) that follows the investigation of the murder of a young boy.  With some elements of Twin Peaks and Picket Fences, this was a very interesting show for me.  The ratings are low, but the quality is high.

#13 Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Consistently funny with characters who I have grown to love.  There have been a few missteps along the way, but this is still the best sitcom on television.

#12 Whose Line Is It Anyway? (CW)

This show can be as funny as ever.  They did seem to rely on guest stars too much.  On the episodes without the guest stars, the shows have been perfect.  They need more hoedowns, that is for sure.

#11 True Detectives (Showtime)

This is how good I think TV has been.  One of the best shows of last season does not make the top ten.  Matthew McConaughey has been on fire the last few years, and he shows remarkable chemistry with Woody Harrelson.

TOP TEN

#10 Fargo (FX)

The remake of this movie into a mini-series was a risk, but the show was brilliant.  Amazing performances from Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman did not overshadow the performances of Allison Tolman and Colin Hanks.  Fargo reminded me very much of Twin Peaks and I am looking forward to another story.

#9 Sherlock (BBC)

Yes there are only three episodes in each season, but these hour and a half episodes are like mini movies.  And the second episode this season  (The Sign of Three) was one of the best episodes of any show.

#8 Bates Motel (A & E)

This show has gotten better.  The development of young Norman Bates into a psychotic killer is a sad thing, because we really like him.  The performances of Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore are Emmy worthy.  And Norman’s brother Dylan has become the heart of the show.

#7 American Horror Story (FX)

I had not been a huge fan of Coven, but it was still good.  However, Freak Show has been outstanding.  Jessica Lange as Elsa Mars is one of the top characters of the year.  Elsa’s performance of David Bowie’s “Life on Mars” in the series debut was one of the highlights.  I also loved Twisty.  Nothing wrong with a killer clown.

#6 Orange is the New Black (Netflix)

The first Netflix program on this list is the women’s prison show that has one of the top ensemble casts around.  This season the show became more of an ensemble show, though there is still plenty of story for Piper.  Orange is shocking on its typical days.

#5 Castle (ABC)

Castle slipped a little this year when, in the season finale, they make it look like Rick Castle has been involved in a fiery car crash on his way to the wedding.  That was a misstep making the fans, who had waited for Castle and Beckett’s wedding for multiple seasons, wait even longer.  However, the show runners did not make them wait long as the duo got married early in season seven.

#4 House of Cards (Netflix)

This is just awesome.  I absolutely love this series with its political drama.  Kevin Spacey is perfect as the slimy Francis Underwood.  He does so many rotten things,but I just do not want to see him get caught.  Robin Wright is Emmy worthy as Francis’s wife.  The moment when Francis tosses Zoe in front of the train may be the biggest WTF moment of the year.  Binge watch this one if you haven’t seen it yet.

#3 Scandal (ABC)

Another political behind the scenes show, this time with a female lead.  Olivia Pope is a gladiator.  I have to say though that I do not like her with President Fitzgerald Grant.  I find him to be a waste.  I like Jake so much more.  And the episode where Silas broke down after his husband had been killed… that is just heartbreaking.  Scandal is consistently good, each and every week.

#2 The Walking Dead (AMC)

This has been the number one show for the last several years, and this year it slips to number two.  There were dramatic moments such as when Carol shot Lizzie, the death of Beth, and the continued development of the characters.  The words “look at the flowers” will forever be tainted now.  The Walking Dead continues to make this world feel deadly dangerous as they continue to kill characters the world loves.  After a highly emotional winter finale, I wouldn’t be surprised to see The Walking Dead back on top next year.

and #1

Agents of SHIELD (ABC)

Last year, this show was at #7, and I wrote about the show struggling early, finding its footing.  Then, Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out in cinemas, Hydra was revealed to have infiltrated SHIELD, and the show took off.  From that moment until now, Agents of SHIELD is easily the best show on tv.  It is must see.  The addition of Bobbi Morse (aka Mockingbird) has only upped the ante.  And the reveal that Ward was Hydra has turned a white bread and boring character into one of the most compelling psychotic characters on television.  I mean, Ward has killed his brother and his parents, all the while having some weird connection to Skye.  Oh, and by the way, Skye’s father is here and he is Kyle MacLachlan, and he could be an Inhuman.  The Kree is here.  And it even has given us plenty of nightmare juice (with the brain surgery of Coulson).  Agents of SHIELD is a lynchpin in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel’s Agent of SHIELD will give a break for Marvel’s Agent Carter.  If it can match this show, that would give Marvel two awesome shows.  I can’t wait.

More Television

Best Actor in a shortened season: 

3.  Martin Freeman (Fargo)

2.  Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock)

  1.  Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)

These are the kings of the shortened seasons.  House of Cards being the longest of the three shows. (Heck, Sherlock only has 3 episodes).  Still, there is no denying that these are some powerhouse performances.

Best Actor in a regular run season:

3.  Nathan Fillion (Castle)

2.  Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory)

  1.  James Spader (Blacklist)

It is getting harder and harder to find a full season of any television program.  The shortened seasons have become the norm as seven of my top ten shows are shortened seasons.  James Spader is still mesmerizing to watch as Red Reddington, despite not having the best material this season.

Best Actress in shortened season:

3.  Melissa McBride (The Walking Dead)

2.  Jessica Lange (American Horror Story)

  1.  Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)

Tatiana Maslany is just masterful on Orphan Black.  She plays several characters and she does it so well that you forget that these are characters played by the same actress.  Jessica Lange is classy as hell playing some of the meanest and nastiest characters on AHS.  And Melissa McBride had an amazing year as Carol, with one of the most compelling moments of the series as Lizzie was told to watch the flowers.

Best Actress in regular run series:

3.  Ming-Na Wen (Agents of SHIELD)

2.  Stana Katic (Castle)

  1.  Kerry Washington (Scandal)

We got three kick-ass women here.  Olivia Pope, Kate Beckett and Melinda May.  Now there would be a trio to have on your side.

Best Late Night ShowThe Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.  I technically have not watched this, and I was tempted to give this to The Colbert Report in its final season (and that episode with President Obama doing the Word…I mean the Decree, outstanding), but Jimmy Fallon has most of the buzz and many great moments.  And I have seen several highlights on the web.  Jimmy Fallon has found his niche.

Best Daytime Show:  General Hospital.  This has been consistently strong all year long.  And then it has weeks of just out of this world energy and amazing acting.  The week of Carly and Franco’s non-wedding, which umbrellaed into Michael finding out that his adopted father Sonny had murdered his biological father AJ…well, that week (or two) of soap opera is about as good as the medium can get.

Best Animated Series:  Another year where I am struggling to find any animated television show to mention.  I do not watch any of the current shows on television, and I am not a huge fan of the Avengers Assemble.  That is probably it, after a weak crop.

Best Death:

Sam Keating (How to Get Away With Murder)

Vee (Orange is the New Black)

Jerry Grant (Scandal)

Beth (The Walking Dead)

Zoe (House of Cards)

Best Death of the Year:  Lizzie (The Walking Dead)

It was a great year for deaths, I guess.  And I actually could see #2 & 1 flipping spots.  Zoe’s toss in front of the train was such a shock that I simply did not see coming.  However, it was just outshone by the sad and beautiful work by Melissa McBride putting down the completely crazy child on The Walking Dead.

Looking forward to the most:  Marvel’s Agent Carter.  Marvel track record says this is gonna be awesome.  So do the clips that I have seen so far.  The eight episode mini-series that will be shown during Agents of SHIELD’s break is a brilliant idea, taking the popular character from Captain America: The First Avenger and expanding it.  Should be all kinds of fun.

Show that fell flat:  Sleepy Hollow.  I really liked this show, but there was just something that kept me from continuing to watch it.  I had to catch the episodes on Hulu, and it just got tougher and tougher to make sure I watched.  Until I juts did not watch any longer.

Best Show I do not watch:  Veep.  Sounds like something I would really like.  Maybe some day.

Podcast of the Year:  Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling, for one particular interview.  Colt had his close friend CM Punk on his podcast and had Punk tell his story of why he left the WWE.  He hadn’t spoken about it since he left in January.  And the Thanksgiving special “broke the Internet.”

Best Couple:

The Underwoods (House of Cards)

Frank and Claire Underwood are the definition of a power couple and Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are amazing in this roles.  Castle’s newly married pair are always fun and enjoyable.  I so much prefer Olivia with Jake, which leads to my next category….

Worst Couple

  1. Olivia and Fitz (Scandal)  I so hate these two together.  I do not see what anyone sees in them.  I think Fitz is a grad A jerk.  His excuse about being the President is just lame.  He is a cheater.  He is not a good guy.  Olivia deserves much better.

Midseason Finale Shake Up from Agents of SHIELD!!!!

So…what happened on the midwinter finale of the show I listed as number one for the year?  Hm, let’s see….

SPOILERS ABOUND AHEAD….

BE WARNED

LAST CHANCE

Here we go…

There has been much speculation that with the blue alien that helped save Coulson and Skye, and we found out for sure last week that the alien was Kree.  And there has been a lot of speculation that the alien city that the agents kept talking about was Attilan.  And there has been a lot of speculation that, with Inhumans on the Marvel Cinematic Universe future movie list, that Agents of SHIELD would be used to help bring these characters to the forefront of the MCU.

Boy howdy, was that true!

Last night, we learned that Skye was indeed an Inhuman (by her mother side), and that her real name is Daisy.  That means something to Marvel fans, as there is a character by the name of Daisy Johnson, aka Quake, who is a member of SHIELD is the comics.  Moreso, Daisy Johnson is the daughter of super villain Mister Hyde.  Last night, Kyle MacLachlan confirmed on the show that his character’s name is “Cal”…which made everyone perk up.  Mister Hyde in Marvel is named Calvin Zabo.

So everything was falling into place.

And then Marvel hit us over the head with it.

The season’s macguffin, the Obelisk, wound up in the hidden city, opened up, showed crystals coming out, and released a mist.  Yes the word “Terrigen” was not mentioned, but that is absolutely what we saw.

And as the Terrigen Mist surrounded Skye (aka Daisy) and Raina, they were coated in a hard cocoon of sort.  This is the transformation.  When an Inhuman comes of age, they are given the choice to be exposed to the Terrigen mist.  If they are exposed, they gain the powers that they were destined to gain.  In Skye’s case, she gained the power of Quake.

Now, Quake in the comics is not an Inhuman.  This feels like Marvel’s end run around the “Mutant” problem (FOX owning the rights to the term mutants for the X-Men movies).  I have a feeling that Inhuman will become the MCU’s version of mutants.

Back to the show, Raina seemed to be changed into some kind of cat creature.  (Tigra, perhaps?) Unfortunately, Trip, who was also in the room with the ladies, was not so lucky and wound up dead.

Then, in the post credits scene, we see a blind “inhuman” talking to someone on the phone.  This is most likely Reader.  And he told the person on the phone that there was another one awakening.

Agents of SHIELD has been a chameleon over the last season and a half, changing appearance as to what the MCU needs.  Now it looks like it is meant to help create buzz for Inhumans.  And buzz it did.

wwe

The world of professional wrestling for 2014

Wrestler of the (half) Year

Daniel Bryan:  Unfortunately, Daniel Bryan, who had an amazing first half of 2014, went down to injury in June and hasn’t returned since.  The problem was that the WWE really went downhill after that.  So to say that part of that was the absence of the one time American Dragon would not be too out of line.  I have missed Bryan, and the match quality has suffered.  Hopefully Bryan can get himself back before too long in 2015.  Runner Ups:  John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Dolph Ziggler

Tag Team of the Year:  The Usos.  Jimmy and Jey had a very strong year, finally breaking through the WWE glass ceiling and becoming one of the more popular acts on the shows.  They have been consistently entertaining and have had great matches.  Runner Ups:  Gold and Stardust, The Wyatt Family, Miz and Mizdow.

Moment of the Year:  Daniel Bryan Occupy Raw.  Daniel Bryan got screwed over at the Royal Rumble, not even being included.  That started off a minor revolt in the audience of WWE.  They wanted Bryan to get what he deserved.  CM Punk had left, and the Wrestlemania plans had to be changed.  And Bryan, bringing the fans into the ring to “Occupy Raw” to get what Bryan really wanted.  It was an epic moment.  Runner Ups:  Sting arrives at Survivor Series, Daniel Bryan wins WWE World Championship, The Undertaker’s Streak ends.

Woman of the Year:  AJ Lee.  She was the top diva all year long.  She was a crazy chick, who took some time off to get married.  She is still the best female wrestler in WWE, although her days may be numbered.  AJ is awesome.  Runner Ups:  Paige, Charlotte, Lana

Feud of the Year:  Shield vs. Evolution.  The current faction against one of the top factions from the past.  They had a couple of classic matches early in the year.  Unfortunately, that was going to be the end for the Shield as they were broken up soon after.  Runner Ups:  Daniel Bryan vs. Authority, Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt vs. Dean Ambrose.

Breakout Star of the Year:  Seth Rollins.  Mr. Money in the Bank has been a focal point of the WWE programming for the last half of 2014.  He is one of the top performers in the company.  He is The Future, and he can have great matches with everyone.  Runner Ups:  Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Sami Zayn, Rusev

Mike Man of the Year:  Paul Heyman.  Easy.  Going away.  Heyman had to carry several feuds by himself on the microphone because his client (the reigning, defending WWE World Champion) Brock Lesnar was absent much of the year.  When RAW was in Chicago and the crowd was ready to revolt without CM Punk, the WWE sent Paul Heyman out to cut a promo.  And Paul masterfully handled that Chicago crowd.  There is no one even close to Paul Heyman.

Biggest Waste of Talent:  Cesaro.  I don’t understand this.  At Wrestlemania 30 this year, Cesaro won the Andre the Giant Battle Royal and the crowd was so ready to get behind him as a top level face.  But the WWE instead put him with Paul Heyman, leaving him a heel.  And then they spent much of the year burying him.  The WWE has a performer in a rabbit suit get more time on screen than Cesaro.  Vince McMahon said on Steve Austin’s podcast that Cesaro was missing something.  Yeah Vince, it is called the support of the office.  This is one of the top stars in your company, if you let him be.

The Daniel Bryan Shining Through the Crap Award:  Damien Sandow.  Daniel Bryan had been given so many crappy gimmicks and storylines to work, and yet he made them all work and the crowd loved him all the more.  So he gets a memorial award in his honor.  And no one fits in this more than Damien Sandow (now called Mizdow).  He came out week after week in stupid costumes and acting other other wrestlers.  Then he became the Miz’s stunt double, imitating everything Miz did.  Sounds like a huge fail right?  Except Mizdow approached it with such passion that the crowd ate it up.  It is the most ridiculous thing ever, but Mizdow is making gold out of the turds.  I think even the WWE is going to have to sit up and take notice.

Best Show:  NXT.  RAW has not been good.  I haven’t watched Smackdown much.  NXT is consistently great with great wrestling and great young talents.  This gives me hope for the WWE future.

Top Ten matches of the year.  Honestly, I had trouble finding ten matches for this list.  I was not impressed with the match quality this year.  Limited Bryan.  No Punk. What do you expect.

#10 Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks.  The best diva match of the year.  It was from NXT Takeover R Evolution.  You may see a pattern.

#9 Shield vs. the Wyatt Family @ Elimination Chamber.  Two great factions.  The fans were involved.  Awesome match.

#8 Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn @ NXT Arrival.  Cesaro is amazing.  Their 2 out of 3 match last year was one of the best matches of the year.  This one wasn’t quite as good, but their chemistry was fantastic.

#7 Team Cena vs. Team Authority @ Survivor Series.  The main reason is that Dolph Ziggler overcame a 3 on 1 disadvantage to win this match.  Sting showed up too.  But Ziggler was the real star.

#6 Daniel Bryan vs. HHH @ Wrestlemania 30.  The first match of Daniel Bryan’s Wrestlemania that got him into the main event.  HHH put him over clean.  That may have been the biggest news of all.

#5 Dolph Ziggler vs. Luke Harper @ TLC.  This was an Intercontinental title match and it was a brutal ladder match that stole the show.  Dolph is ready to shine.

#4 Daniel Bryan vs. Batista vs. Randy Orton @ Wrestlemania 30.  Daniel Bryan’s WWE World title vicotry.  Batista tapped out.  One of the greatest moments of the year and Daniel Bryan’s Wrestlemania moment.

#3 Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt @ Royal Rumble.  Daniel Bryan third match on this list and this is his best.  He brought out the best in Bray Wyatt as well.

#2 Shield vs. Evolution @ Extreme Rules.  The first match between these two factions and they were amazing.

#1 Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Neville @ NXT Takeover: R Evolution.  One more NXT match.  Sami Zayn defeated Adrian Neville to finally earn the NXT Championship that he chased for so long.  This match was fantastic, and was a wrestling match.  Both men did a great job with the high spots and also telling the story of the match.  Both men have bright futures in the main roster when they finally get called up.

Villains!!!!

If you have been a regular visitor to the WYG, you know that I am a big fan of the villains.  I am a big believer that if you want to have a hero, you have got to have a well thought out, villain that makes sense.  That doesn’t always happen.  Many times the villains do not reach the level of the hero.  That is a problem.  So here are the top ten villains of 2014.

#10 Snow Queen (Once Upon a Time)

Once Upon a Time had a bit of resurgence this year with a Frozen-themed series of episodes, using the myth that Frozen was based upon as inspiration.  And even better, they cast the magnificent Elizabeth Mitchell (once LOST’s Juliette) in the role.  Mitchell brought layers to the villain through every moment and she transcended the story at the end.

#9 Vee (Orange is the New Black)

Lorraine Toussaint arrived in the prison oranges when Orange is the New Black returned for season two on Netflix and she immediately started messing with everyone.  She manipulated and she cajoled.  She messed with the other inmates heads to get what she wanted…power.  And she wound up paying karma in the end.  I really wanted her to get what was coming to her, and that tells you how good a villain she was.

#8 Red Skull (Marvel Comics)

The Red Skull returned to Marvel Comics a few years ago and took the brain of the deceased Charles Xavier.  With this, The Red Skull became a master mentalist and began spreading his hatred across the Marvel Universe.  One of Marvel Comics’ big events, Axis, featured the fallout of Red Skull.

#7 Twisty (American Horror Story:  Freak Show)

TV Guide gave Twisty the Clown a “Jeers” in their latest issue, and I couldn’t agree less.  They indicated that he was just too scary when they said “…he’ll live on in our nightmares forever.  Not cool, Ryan Murphy.  Not cool!”  It seems odd that a show called American Horror Story is being chastised for having a villain too scary.  I loved Twisty, and see him as the new generation’s Pennywise.

#6 President Snow (Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1)

Donald Sutherland has done a great job creating President Snow on the big screen.  His creepy, slimy persona is a perfect foil for our hero Katniss Everdine.  And he has a definite chance to make this list again next year as he faces his comeuppance.

#5 HYDRA (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and Ward (Agents of SHIELD)

Marvel Studios threw their cinematic universe into a tizzy when it revealed in Captain America: Winter Soldier that the evil agency known as Hydra had been infiltrating SHIELD for years.  And we also found out that our own Agent Ward was a member of Hydra (along with plenty of others as well…we’re looking at you, Gary Shandeling!)  #HailHydra became on of the biggest Internet memes out there.  Agents of SHIELD was forever changed (and in a really good way.)

Hail Hydra!

#4 Oswald Cobblepot (Gotham)

One of the best things about the new Batman-prequel show Gotham is the young version of the Penguin.  Oswald Cobblepot, played by Robin Lord Taylor, is an amazing find.  Gotham has been up and down this year, but Cobblepot is always fantastic.

#3 The Winter Soldier (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

One of my favorite moments of the year occurred in a movie theater while I was watching the new Cap movie.  When The Winter Soldier was revealed to be Bucky Barnes, Cap’s old friend and partner who had been presumed dead during World War II, a theater goer gasped.  I, of course, already knew that Bucky was the Winter Soldier from the comic books, but it made me smile that they were able to surprise some people who had not known that truth.  Sebastian Stan should be back in the MCU at some point, and may wind up less villainous.

#2 Pappa Pope (Scandal)

I really hate this guy.  However, he is unbelievable as Olivia Pope’s secret agent daddy.  Poppa Poe is not only a secret agent, he instructs the secret agents and runs the program that turns them into vicious assassins.  And he does it without batting an eye.  He is so far ahead of anyone else on Scandal it almost makes you pity the heroes.  Of course, you can also see where Olivia gets it from.

#1 Lorne Malvo (Fargo)

Billy Bob Thornton came to television this past year in FX’s Fargo, the remake of the popular movie.  He was chilling as Lorne Malvo, the hitman who rode into town and turned it upside down.  The way he could switch gears and fool people with his guile was both amazing and creepy.  There are real people like Lorne Malvo and that is what is the most fearsome thing of all.

Oh, and as a special addendum to the list of villains, I need to add these people.  On General Hospital, there is a group of seemingly impossible to kill characters that Luke Spencer (the real one) has dubbed the League of Doom.  They get a special notice for the list of villains this year.

LOD

Top 6 Movie cameos of 2014

The movie cameo is one of the most fun part of some movies.  The chance to see one of our favorite actors/actresses/characters appear like an Easter Egg gives us happy giggle thoughts.  Here are the top cameos of the year.

And, of course, if you haven’t seen any of these yet…. SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!

#6 Tom Hiddelston (Muppets Most Wanted)

There were plenty of cameos in the newest Muppet movie but Hiddelston was the best one.  Short and quick, it made everyone remember why we loved him as Loki.

#5 James Franco (The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)

James Franco appears in a video that Caeser discovers in the attic of the old house where he lived before and it is a beautiful scene that really helps to humanize the ape.

#4 Howard the Duck and Cosmo (Guardians of the Galaxy)

Howard the Duck and Cosmo were both found within the Collector’s “museum” along with many other neat cameos (but apparently not Beta Ray Bill!)  Howard also made quite an impact in the post credit scene.  Many people were upset that the post credit scene was used to show our old feathered fowl, but I thought it fit the spirit of the Guardians of the Galaxy perfectly.

#3 Doc Brown (Million Ways to Die in the West)

This was the ONLY thing good about A Million Ways to Die in the West, and this cameo was spoiled by the advertising.  This could have been an epic cameo if not for the spoiler.  It was good to see Doc Brown once again.

#2 Hugh Jackman (Night at the Museum:  The Secret of the Tomb)

I laughed extremely hard at Hugh Jackman (or as Lancelot put it “Huge Ackman”) during his appearance as Hugh Jackman playing King Arthur in a stage presentation of Camelot in Night at the Museum: The Secret of the Tomb.  When Jackman struck his “Wolverine” in response to Lancelot’s challenges, I thought I might wet myself.

#1 Stan Lee (Big Hero 6, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: Winter Soldier)

The King of the Marvel cameo struck three times this year, with his surprise inclusion in the animated Big Hero 6, playing Fred’s father.  We see him at first in a portrait of the family, and then in Big Hero 6’s post credit scene.  His other two appearances were just as awesome.  Stan Lee has been on this list since I started doing these year in review and he shows no signs of letting up.

The rumor was that James Gunn wanted Stan’s cameo in GotG to be inside the Collector’s museum, where the generalissmo would flip the bird to the team entering.  They decided since Star Lord does the same thing earlier (in the lineup) that Stan should just stick to the “old pervert” as Rocket said.

I missed one. Robert Downey Jr. was remarkably funny in Chef.

2014 saw some great tv music again.  Especially in unlikely places.  Last year, there was The Name Game on American Horror Story.  This year it is David Bowie’s Life on Mars, performed in a German actress by Jessica Lange.

And “Gods and Monsters” again performed by Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange)…living like Jim Morrison.

 

Marvel Comics Top Ten Comics of the Year

Yes, I do not read other comics besides Marvel Comics, so my list will be exclusively from the House of Ideas.  Anyone out there who wants to add a list of our new EYG Hall of Fame member DC Comics, please feel free.  As for my list:

#10  Moon Knight.

#9 Nova.  Nova was number one last year.  It has been down a bit lately, though I still enjoy Sam Alexander.

#8 Daredevil.  Daredevil moved to San Francisco after Matt Murdock took the stand and told the world that he was truly Daredevil.

#7 All-New X-Men.  This is another one that has slipped a bit, but continues to be solid performer.  They had a Shi’ar trial of Jean Grey this year, plus went off to see Miles Morales.

#6 Thor.  This is new, but so far very intriguing.

#5 Miles Morales, The Ultimate Spider-man

Miles Morales and the Ultimate Universe survived Galactus and continues to thrive (for now.)  The Ultimate Spider-man is one of Marvel’s most consistently entertaining titles.

#4 Original Sin.  The top event series of the year.  This was more interesting than Axis.  And I was excited to find out which Marvel character offed the Watcher.  Brutal at times, Original Sin paid off in the end.

#3 Ms. Marvel.  The newest namesake of Ms. Marvel is Kamala Khan.  Kamala has quickly become a fan favorite and she had one of the best team ups with Wolverine this year.

#2 New Warriors.  This is a sad number two because Marvel has ended this series at #12.  I really found this book exciting, funny, well written and full of potential.  I hope the New Warriors will return someday soon.

#1 The Amazing Spider-Man

Was there any doubt?  After a long 30 issues of a “Superior” title, the Amazing Spider-man, the real Peter Parker, returned to reclaim his life, reputation and image.  And now, Spidey has to deal with countless alternate reality versions of himself in Spider-verse.  It has been a fun ride having the real Peter back.  Here’s to many more years of fun.

More from comics…

Hero of the year:  The Amazing Spider-Man

New Character of the year:  the new Ms. Marvel

Gimmick of the year:  The Death of Wolverine

Writer:  Jonathan Hickman

Artist:  Humberto Ramos

Storyline of the year:  Goblin Nation

Death of the Year:  (Tie) Wolverine and the Watcher

Issue of the year: Superior Spider-man #31

Favorite Scene of the Year:

This happens in Superior Spider-man#31 when the Green Goblin realizes the truth…

Superior-Spider-Man-31-Spoilers-Amazing-Peter-Parker-2099-7

 

cropped-glasses.jpg

Top Geek Moments of the Year

#15 WWE Network launches.  There had been plenty of rumors and false starts before, but this was when it started, and for just $9.99 a month.  The success of the project is still up in the air and not what the WWE wanted, but it cannot be argued that this is a great value for wrestling fans.

#14 Monty Python reunites for the “last” time.  The EYG Hall of Fame troupe reunited earlier this year to have some special events, including one broadcast live across the planet.  It was reverent, funny and touching.  Monty Python may be finished performing together, but they will live forever.

#13 NPH to host the Oscars.  If there is one host with the most, it is Neil Patrick Harris.  He has hosted the Emmys.  He has hosted the Tonys (several times).  But this year, it was announced that NPH will be hosting the Academy Awards.  And fanboys everywhere celebrate.

#12 iPhone 6 released.  Apple continued its winning streak with the release of a couple of new smart phones.  And the public ate them up.

#11 Daniel Bryan wins the WWE World Championship at Wrestlemania 30.  The biggest show of the year saw the culmination of the greatest underdog story ever.  Daniel Bryan (who some say was only involved in this main event because of CM Punk’s departure) was able to get Dave Batista to tap out and become the champion.  His title reign was cut short because of injury, but he will always have the moment.

#10 Stephen Colbert chosen to replace Letterman, ends the Report.  When David Letterman announced his retirement from his late night show, there was a lot of speculation about who may replace him.  CBS looked to Comedy Central to the Colbert Report.  Stephen Colbert, who on the Colbert Report, is a character based on Conservative pundits (like you may see on FOX News).  According to sources, Stephen will be himself on Late Show.

#9 Watcher killed.  In Marvel Comics crossover event, Original Sin, Uatu the Watcher was killed.  The series then looked to solve the mystery of who pulled the trigger.  Turns out that it was the original Nick Fury who did the deed, and, in the end, was transformed into a Watcher-like presence on the moon.

#8 SHIELD is HYDRA.  In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was revealed in Captain America: Winter Soldier that the terrorist organization Hydra, that was believed to have been destroyed in World War II, had actually infiltrated SHIELD and had grown inside the spy organization for decades.  The revelation in Cap 2 sent shockwaves through Agents of SHIELD as well as the entire MCU.

#7 Weird Al Yankovic has a number one album on Billboard and releases 8 videos in 8 days.  Weird Al released his newest studio album, Mandatory Fun, and, in a way to promote it, he released eight videos from the album, one a day, on the internet.  It was a brilliant strategy as Mandatory Fun became Weird Al’s first #1 album on the Billboard charts.

#6 Guardians of the Galaxy becomes biggest movie of the year.  Over $770 million dollars world wide.  Can you believe it?  A movie with a talking raccoon and a walking tree is the biggest movie of the year.  Marvel Studios is on quite a roll, but the fact that it was an amazing movie helps.  Congrats to James Gunn and the cast.  Now, Hunger Games : Mockingjay Part 1 may eventually pass GotG, but that does not take away from this achievement.

#5 Marvel and DC announce their slate of movies.  DC released their list of future movies including Justice League, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Suicide Squad.  Not to be outdone, Marvel released their list which included Inhumans, Dr. Strange, Avengers Infinity War Part 1 and 2, Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok. Amazing.

#4 Marvel Comics find some diversity.  Some claim that it is a gimmick.  A Publicity stunt.  And it may be.  However, so far, both have been interesting.  The African American Sam Wilson (formerly the Falcon) has become the new Captain America, and Thor has now become a female.  Add to this the new Muslim Ms. Marvel and Marvel Comics is really looking to show the world the diversity of their characters.

#3 Star Wars cast revealed and teaser trailer launched.  There had been very little Star Wars news, and then they released a photo of the cast that sent the Internet into a tizzy.  And then, later in the year, the Star Wars teaser trailer became the most viewed trailer of the year.  This just means that the world is excited about a new Star Wars.

#2 Robin Williams.  The death of the iconic comedian and actor was one of the worst news items of the year.  It was a terrible tragic event that came out of nowhere.  Ironically, the send off that Williams’s character Teddy Rosoevelt (from Night at the Museum) received at the end of the sequel was a tender goodbye to the great star.  RIP.

#1 The Sony hacks.  So much has come from this.  A group of hackers broke into emails from Sony in protest of the Interview, a movie about James Franco and Seth Rogen going to North Korea to assassinate Kim Jung-un.  There was so much revealed in the hacks, things such as Spider-man movie information (Marvel wanted Spidey back for Civil War), Ghostbusters 3 (Sony thought about suing Bill Murray for his comments), among many other things.

Worst of all though, was the threats made that said that there would be 9/11 style attacks on theaters if The Interview was released.  Theaters bailed on Sony forcing the company to cancel the planned Christmas release.  President Obama criticized the company.  North Korea denied any involvement.

We have not yet seen the end of these Sony leaks and what may come out from them.

Update to the Interview… reportedly Sony has okayed a Christmas release for The Interview in limited theaters after all.

https://deadline.com/2014/12/interview-release-back-on-christmas-so…

John Carter

This year there is a tie for the prestigious John Carter Memorial Award.  This is given out to the biggest “flop” of the year.  Flop can be defined in several ways.  Many films flop because they fail to make money.  Some flop because of critical panning.  Some flop because they were just horrid.

According to Wikipedia:

In the motion picture industry, a box office bomb or flop is a film that is viewed as highly unsuccessful or unprofitable during its theatrical run, sometimes preceding hype regarding its cost, production, or marketing efforts.

So who has received this EYG Award in the past.  Well, this is the third year of this award and so far, the award has gone to the award’s namesake (2012) and The Lone Ranger (2013).

However, in 2014, two flops join this assembled list.  They are a follows:

A Million Ways to Die in the West

Expendables 3

A Million Ways was Seth McFarlane’s follow up to the surprise monster hit Ted, so there were a lot of high expectations for the western.  A Million Ways failed to live up to any of these expectations… in a tremendous manner.  Plus, it was just a bad movie.

Expendables 3 was not as bad of a film as A Million Ways, but it truly underperformed at the box office.  The Expendables 3 focused its attention on a group of younger characters, pushing the reason why everyone was there (seeing the old 80s actions stars team up) out of the equation.  Plus, the PG-13 rating hurt the feel of this movie.

“Congratulations” to this year’s “WINNERS”.

Best Sci Fi

This was a tough category.

Mainly because there were a lot of films that could have fallen into the category that I had to consider.  In the end, there were a group that I decided to not include.  These include Guardians of the Galaxy, Godzilla, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Mockingjay Part 1, Interstellar.  All of these could be considered Sci-fi, but I eliminated all of them for one reason or another.  (Most of these will be seen again somewhere.)  The main reason was I wanted to stick to two each.  So that leaves me with the following:

Best Sci-Fi movies of 2014

Edge of Tomorrow

Snowpiercer

Worst Sci-Fi Movie of 2014

Transcendence

Lucy

Edge of Tomorrow (sometimes referred to as Live.Die. Repeat) was the biggest surprise of the year.  It looked so bad in the trailers, and it turned out so good.  Snowpiercer was a near perfect film with an amazing performance from Cap himself, Chris Evans.

Both Lucy and Transcendence were huge disappointments.  Neither one took their intriguing story set ups to effective places.

Honestly, there were many more “EH” sci-fi films than great ones or bad ones.  Earth to Echo, The Giver, Maze Runner, Divergent were all films that had some good moments to them, but none of them really stood out.

Disappointment

A disappointing movie may not necessarily mean that the movie is a bad one.  In fact, there have been several movies over the years in which I liked but the movie was just not as good as it could have been.

I have continued the trend of naming these year end awards by dubbing this one the “Spider-Man 3 Disappointment of the Year”.  I couldn’t think of a greater movie to represent disappointment than Spidey 3, which was coming off the heels of the best Spider-Man movie ever.

So, here are the top ten, biggest disappointments of 2014.

#10 Hercules.  The Rock’s film about the demigod was ok, but it could have been so much better.  I liked the set up with Herc, having real world solutions for his feats of strength, but there just wasn’t enough of a kick for it.

#9 A Most Wanted Man.  As one of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s final films (the final one with him as a lead), this was such a disappointment.  It did not show the talents of the man effectively and the story was deadly dull.

#8 The Giver.  I saw this on premiere night and it may have suffered from the news of Robin Williams’s death.  Or it just may not have been very good.  Either way, a classic book deserves more than what it got.

#7 Rio 2.  I really liked the original Rio but the sequel was just more of the same.  In a year where animated movies being awesome was the norm, this one was just a placeholder.

#6 Noah.  Russell Crowe in the lead role and some great animation made this a potentially great film.  Giant rock creatures that had come form angels….not so much.

#5 This is Where I Leave You.  I look at the fantastic cast and wonder how this could not hit a home run.  At best, this was a duck snort single (keeping with the baseball metaphors).

#4 Monuments Men. Another great cast. The story was easy to follow and understand.  The characters were likeable.  And yet, there was just something that made this film disappointing.  It was too bad.

#3 Lucy.  This may have convinced Marvel Studios not to go ahead with the solo Black Widow film.  Lucy was a mess, and after looking forward to it, that was the definition of disappointing.

#2 Interstellar.  Some of you will disagree with me.  I would expect that this might even end up on several “Best Movies” lists.  And I really enjoyed the first part of Interstellar.  However, the final act just dove into a realm where the rest of the movie had not gone.  The sci-fi finale just dis a disservice to the rest of the film.

#1 Amazing Spider-Man 2.  Here is a good example of a film that I liked, but is still a disappointment.  After that opening night viewing, I knew that I was disappointed, though I convinced myself that it was not as bad as I thought.  I still think the sequence with Gwen’s death was done very well.  However, too many villains are shoehorned into the story.  Electro was Batman and Robin-esque bad.  ASM 2 has Sony reconsidering what to do with the rights, perhaps entering into some sharing agreement with Marvel Studios.  If that is truly the case, then maybe this is not a disappointing movie after all.  Maybe it is a necessary evil.

Gomer

The Gomer will now be given out to the biggest surprises of the year past. These are movies that I did not expect to enjoy, or even movies that I thought I would hate.  Whether it was because of a terrible trailer, a previous film that was no good or a certain actor, surprises are always awesome.  I love it when I go into a film thinking that this will be a waste of time and I actually end up having a good time.

So, 2014’s Gomer Award goes to….

Edge of Tomorrow starring Tom Cruise.

Edge of Tomorrow (which has been re-dubbed “Live. Die. Repeat” on the blue ray) was an amazing movie, and the biggest, most pleasant surprise of the calendar year.  The trailers for this film looked just horrendous.  It looked like another Oblivion meets Elysium.  Whoever green lit those trailers should be fired immediately, because they hurt the film’s business.  Thankfully, word of mouth did help out.  Edge of Tomorrow was funny, exciting and thrilling…and the biggest surprise of the year.

Runner Ups

Night at the Museum:  The Secret of the Tomb

Walk Among the Tombstones

As Above So Below

Horrible Bosses 2

I had trepidation about all of these films, but I really liked them all.  Night at the Museum featured a very emotional (though admittedly unintentional) scene involving Robin Williams working for it.  That goodbye scene with Williams’ Teddy Roosevelt character was one of my favorite scenes of the year.  Walk Among the Tombstones looked like just another Liam Neeson movie, but it actually took many different steps.  That was great to see.  As Above So Below was my favorite horror movie of the year after a trailer that looked just terrible.  Any though I liked Horrible Bosses 1, I had a real bad feeling about 2.  Thankfully, I did enjoy myself with in.

 

And one more on this list as well.  Another one of the runner ups fro the prestigious Gomer is The Drop starring Tom Hardy.  I had zero expectations for this film and it will wind up on the best film of the year list.  (where?  hm…you’ll have to wait)

The EYG Star of the Year- 2014 Edition.

staroftheyear

These are the top six performers/entities/people who we consider the top of the top in the geek culture for the past year.

#6 Stephen Colbert.

Stephen has been a great late night host for many years as the host of The Colbert Report, Comedy Central’s faux FOX News show.  However, this year, Colbert stepped out from behind the conservative curtain and accepted the position as replacement for the retiring David Letterman on the CBS show, The Late Show.  Stephen Colbert has been playing a character named Stephen Colbert for many years (dating back to a correspondent on The Daily Show) that it will be fascinating to see if Stephen Colbert can succeed as Stephen Colbert.  And how long before he has Poppa Bear (Bill O’Reilly) on the Late Show?

#5 Jimmy Fallon.

Jimmy Fallon took over for Jay Leno this year and really made the Tonight Show his own.  He brought such fun to the stage as Lip synch challenges with celebrities, evolution of dancing skits, singing of all flavors among others.  And he has all the great stars who are willing to do these silly things with him.  The barbershop quartet with Justin Timberlake singing Bringing Sexy Back was hilarious.  The Tonight Show is in good hands.

#4 Michael Keaton.

A return of sorts, as the star of one of the best movies of the year returns to his roots.  Birdman brings the former Batman back to the front of the movie world in a film that feels very biopic-y.  Keaton did leave a huge super hero movie series, just like the character he played in Birdman did.  However, the Broadway play he is working to put together is astonishingly funny, and Keaton has to be a favorite for an Oscar.

#3 Weird Al Yankovic

His first number one record (Mandatory Fun), eight videos released on the Internet in eight days.  Weird Al has had one of the greatest years of his long and illustrious career.  And now that he is not tied down to a record deal, perhaps we will be hearing more from the king of weird moving forward.

#2 Martin Freeman

This year alone he has been Bilbo Baggins, Dr. John Watson and Lester Nygaard.  That is the final Hobbit movie, the ongoing BBC tv show Sherlock and FX miniseries Fargo.  Freeman has shown his versatility in his differing roles as well as his acting chops.  Last year, his Sherlock mate Benedict Cumberbatch made this list (well deserved) and now Freeman joined him.  I can’t wait to see what he tackles next.

#1 Marvel Studios

They really have us in the palm of their hands.  Kevin Fiege and the rest of the talented people over at Marvel showed us again why they are such masters.  They put out a film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier that completely revamped their cinematic universe.  Their TV show, Agents of SHIELD started slow, but built amazing momentum after the Captain America movie.  They made over 750 million worldwide on a virtually unknown property The Guardians of the Galaxy.  They brought movie journalists together to announce their Phase 3 series of movies which included Dr. Strange, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, The Inhumans and Avengers Infinity War Part 1 & 2.  They annoounced that Cap 3 would be Civil War and that Robert Downey Jr would be in it.  They announced Chadwick Boseman for Black Panther, Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange.  They continue work on the Netflix series Daredevil while casting Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.  They release a teaser trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron that was only surpassed in views by the new Star Wars one.  They continue to rock ComicCon in Hall H.  Agent Carter will debut in early 2015.  They have a plan and everything is related.  They have us in the palm of their hands.  And not only do they have us, but they keep putting out quality products.  Marvel Studios is the studio that everyone wants to be.  They have to be number one.

Music

Movie Music

Music is a vital part of the movie going experience.  These are the five top songs from this year’s movies.

#5 Everything is Awesome (Lego Movie) performed by Shawn Patterson, Tegan and Sara

#4 Agony (Into the Woods) performed by Chris Pine & Billy Magnussen

#3 Immortals (Big Hero 6) performed by Fall Out Boy

#2 Interrogation Song (Muppets Most Wanted) performed by the Muppets and Ty Burrell

#1… Ok, I know this is cheating, but number one this year is a whole album.  The Awesome Mix Tape Vol 1 was a huge importance in Guardians of the Galaxy, and the songs on this Mix Tape really set the tone for the film.  Each one is truly awesome, and so… the Awesome Mix Tape Vol. 1 gets the number one spot.

Kid Actor

There were several movies this year that gave prominent roles to young kids.  This is always a danger as if you have a young child actor who cannot act, and you place hm/her in a major role in your movie… your movie will suck.  Fortunately,. there are excellent kid actors out there and there were several who filled their roles admirably.

Our winner of the Child Actor of the Year Award goes to….

Emjay Anthony from Chef.

Emjay had a major role in the excellent film Chef and without his skill and talent, Chef would not have been anywhere near as good of a film as it was.

Not only did he have a major role, but he was in a movie that also had Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr, John Leguizamo, Oliver Platt,and Sofia Vergara.

However, most of his most important scenes in Chef were played against his on-screen father, Jon Favreau.  The connection between these two truly made this film.  Young Emjay played the unintentional rejection of his father with such soul and subtlety, he brought layers to the film.  The expressions the boy showed were better than many adult actors.  He felt natural.  He felt real. He was full of charm and that translated to the screen.  Emjay Anthony is one of the main reasons why Chef will find its way into the top ten movies of the year for me. (tease for later)

This actor has a bright future ahead of him.  If I were Marvel Studios, I would be looking at this kid to play my new Nova.  Emjay could absolutely carry off Sam Alexander.

Runner ups:  and we have several because there were some really good performances from young kids this year.

Jaeden Liebenhen (St. Vincent)

Rohan Chand (Bad Words)

Ellar Coltrane (Boyhood)

Daniel Huttelstone (Into the Woods)

Quvenzhare Wallis (Annie)

Mackenzie Foy (Interstellar)

Ed Oxenbould (Alexander and the…Day)

Liebenhen was a powerhouse acting with Bill Murray in St. Vincent. I really enjoyed the young Indian Rohan Chand with Jason Bateman in Bad Words.  He was very funny in that.  Ellar Coltrane is not a child actor any more.  When he started Boyhood, he was a child actor, but now he is a young adult.  Filming over a time span of 12 years would do that to you.  Wallis and Huddelstone both had to sing as well as act, Wallis being one of the best things about Annie.  Mackenzie Foy grew up during Interstellar and became Jessica Chastain.  Oxenbould was the lead star in Alexander and the movie title that goes on forever.  And he did a very good job

director

Best Director of the Year!

#6 Wes Anderson (Grand Budapest Hotel)

#5 David Fincher (Gone Girl)

#4 The Russo Brothers (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

#3 James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy)

#2 Richard Linkletter (Boyhood)

#1 A.G. Inarritu (Birdman)

 

Best Supporting Actor and Actress 2014

There are some wonderful supporting actors during films this year, but I suspect that there are some who should be on this list that I will not have…mainly because I have yet to see their films.  JK Simmons from Whiplash( who it sounds like might have the Oscar lead at this moment), Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo from Foxcatcher, Josh Brolin from Inherent Vice, Tom Wilkerson from Selma to name a few of the actors.  On the actress side there is Jessica Chastain for A Most Violent Year, the different actresses from Foxcatcher among others.

So here is my current list of Supporting Actors & Actresses.

Best Supporting Actor

# 7 The combined voice talents of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel as Rocket and Groot (Guardians of the Galaxy)

#6 Sam Mackie as Sam Wilson, the Falcon (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

#5 Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask (X-Men: Days of Future Past)

#4 Bryan Cranston as Joe Brody (Godzilla)

#3 Zach Galifianakis as Jake (Birdman)

#2 Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer (Guardians of the Galaxy)

Supporting Actress

#7 Scarlett Johannson as Natasha Romanov, the Black Widow (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

#6 Rene Russo as Nina Romina (Nightcrawler)

#5 Laura Dern as Bobbi (Wild)

#4 Keira Knightley as Joan Clarke (The Imitation Game)

#3 Eva Green as Ava (Sin City:A Dame to Kill For)

#2 Tilda Swanson as Mason (Snowpiercer)

and the #1 Supporting Actor and Actress for 2014 both come from the same movie:  Birdman.

They are Edward Norton and Emma Stone

Batman and Robin

Here are the Batman & Robins… the worst awards of the movie season.

Worst Actor in a Film: (TIE)  Kellan Lutz (Legend of Hercules), Nicolas Cage (Left Behind)

Worst Actress in a Film:  Olivia Cook (Ouija)

Worst Special Effects in a Big Budget Film:  The Pyramid (for the Jackal headed God/Monster)

Worst Animated Film: Cars:  Fire and Rescue

Worst sequel of the year: (TIE):  Transformers: Age of Extinctions, A Haunted House 2

Worst Elvis Imitator:  The Identical

Worst Movie that I haven’t Seen:  Let’s Be Cops

If Only We were as Good as Sharnado Disaster Movie:  Into the Storm

Why didn’t we just make Ted 2A Million Ways to Die in the West

Even Jim Morrison hates this MovieDeliver Us From Evil

Worst Comic Book Based MovieI, Frankenstein

Best Scene in a Bad MovieThe Death of Gwen Stacy (Amazing Spider-man 2)

Worst Trailer for an Awesome FilmEdge of Tomorrow

Best Trailer for a terrible film Transformers: Age of Extinction

Buzz Kill of the year Kim Jong-un (North Korea mad about The Interview)

 

 

Best Actresses of 2014

Here is the list of my favorite seven lead actresses in movies this year.  Just like the supporting categories, there are some movies that I have not yet seen, like for example Cake starring Jennifer Aniston.  She has gotten a lot of Oscar buzz and might have been on this list if I had seen Cake, but it has not yet been in a theater near me.

Here are my list:

#7 Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy)

Though Zoe is really more of a supporting actress in the Guardians, she was as close to a lead actress in the GotG and I wanted this movie represented.  Zoe does a really fine job with her character and her interactions with Chris Pine is solid.

#6 Kristen Wiig (The Skeleton Twins)

Kristen Wiig, known from her work on SNL, was outstanding in The Skeleton Twins, anything but a happy-go-lucky comedy.  Wiig’s lip-synching of Starship’s Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now is a highlight of the film.

#5 Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow)

Emily Blunt showed that she could be the kick ass action star with her turn as Rita in Edge of Tomorrow.  She had great chemistry with Tom Cruise and she proved her worth.  She also appeared this year in Into the Woods as the Baker’s Wife, a role that helped with this list, but Rita was the main drive for her position.

#4 Amy Adams (Big Eyes)

Amy Adams was one of the best parts of Big Eyes, playing Margaret Keane, a woman whose painting were being passed off as her husband’s work.  Adams played this woman similar to an abused wife.  Margaret Keane was a real person and Adams did a great job.

#3 Jennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and X-Men: Days of Future Past)

Jennifer Lawrence has become a mainstay of this list.  She was here last year with not only the last Hunger Games, but also American Hustle.  This year, she returned as Mystique in X-Men: Days of Future Past and her penultimate performance as Katniss Everding.  Lawrence is quickly becoming one of the best actresses in movies today.

#2 Felicity Jones (Theory of Everything)

Felicity Jones held her own in the film Theory of Everything with her scene partner Eddie Redmayne.  Jones played Jane Hawking, the wife of Stephen Hawking.  While many people have been talking up Redmayne (with good reason), Felicity Jones is as important to the film as he is.  The relationship between the Hawkings are the main emphasis of the movie and she does a wonderful job.  It was a much better performance than her turn as Felicia in Amazing Spider-man 2, earlier this year.

#1 Rosemund Pike (Gone Girl)

Rosemund Pike was fantastic in Gone Girl as the not so dead Amy Dunne.  About midway through the movie, we find out that Nick did not kill Amy as was thought.  Instead, she faked her death.  We then got to look at how much of a sociopath Amy Dunne had really been.  And Rosemund Pike thrived as the psychotic wife.  She was unbelievably compelling and her performance was special.  The best of the year.

 

Best Actors of 2014

Our next category is Best Actor.  And for this one, we have ten.  As I said earlier, this list does not include several movies such as Selma, Foxcatcher, Whiplash because these films have yet to be shown in my area.  I am looking forward to them, but 2014 does not look to be the year for seeing these.

Top ten lead actors are as follows:

#10 Tom Hardy (The Drop)

One of the biggest surprise performances of the year is Tom Hardy’s work in The Drop.  He really caught me off-guard with how compelling he was, and this movie was excellent.  This was the final movie featuring James Gandolfini, but Tom Hardy stole the show.  He completely became this character.  I never once thought about Tom Hardy.  All I saw was Bob.  Excellent.

#9 Ralph Fiennes (Grand Budapest Hotel)

Ralph Fiennes was a hoot in Grand Budapest Hotel, and he was the focal point of the entire movie.  Without him, this would not have been anywhere near as successful as it was.  Great character and great humorous performance.

#8 Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy)

Chris Pratt was the perfect choice to play Star-Lord.  And because of the role, Chris Pratt is going to become a huge star.  He did a fantastic job as our rogue leader of the Guardians, who just wants to dance.  Pratt is an original performer and sets the perfect tone for this film.

#7 Chris Evans (Captain America: The Winter Soldier & Snowpiercer)

Everyone knows how much I love Chris Evans as Steve Rogers.  I think he is perfect casting, and he was great in Winter Soldier.  But he was absolutely brilliant in Snowpiercer.  This science fiction movie was a huge star turn for Evans and he showed us an entire range of emotion.  Evans keeps talking about retiring from acting to focus on directing, and if that were the case, that would be a terrible loss for the acting world. Can’t wait to see him in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War.

#6 James McAvoy (X-Men: Days of Future Past)

Young Professor Xavier had lost his vision.  He had lost his legs.  He was drinking.  He was lost.  And James McAvoy was amazing as the disgruntled psychic.  It took future Wolverine to convince him to join them.  McAvoy showed such range that I believed this man was lost.  I am excited to keep seeing this man work his mental mojo.

#5 Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)

This was probably Benedict’s best performance in a movie to date.  His role as Alan Turing, brilliant codebreaker from World War II and closet homosexual, provided Cumberbatch with awesome material, and he did not disappoint.  He elevated an average movie through his performance.

#4 Andy Serkis (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)

The master of stop motion capture, Andy Serkis returned to Caeser, the top ape of them all, in The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.  Serkis has been amazing over the years, but he was the star of this movie.  And the fact that he has not received an Oscar nomination is criminal.  He is awesome and everyone knows it.  When someone needs help in stop mo-cap, they call Serkis.  Rise was an excellent film.

#3 Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)

Jake Gyllenhaal completely became this sociopathic Louis Bloom, a sleazy man trying to tape the terrible accidents for the news.  Gyllenhaal was absolutely stunning, disappearing into the role.  And this is another example of a performance that has elevated the movie to a different level.  Nightcrawler would not have been as compelling as it was without him.

#2 Eddie Redmayne (Theory of Everything)

And speaking of transformative performances, Eddie Redmayne did things that I was not sure a human body could do.  He was 100% convincing.  If I didn’t know better, I would say that he actually had ALS.  If this movie were a little more compelling, he would be a shoe in for the Academy Award.  The one drawback was that The Theory of Everything was not an incredible movie.  It was an incredible performance, but it was another example of a brilliant performance elevating a somewhat average film.  Words really cannot express how great he was.

#1 Michael Keaton (Birdman)

Michael Keaton does an unbelievable job in Birdman.  He is immediately compelling.  He plays the broken down old star of a super hero film like he had experience.  Of course, he did, as he left the Tim Burton Batman series after the second film.  Riggen was setting up a Broadway show, but he was also hearing voices of Birdman himself. Or was he?  Keaton played it with great subtlety and emotion.  He may be the favorite for an Academy Award, and he deserves it.

Up next: the list full of vitriol.  The worst of the worst.

The Top 20 Worst Films of 2014.

I saw more movies this year than any other year prior, so the number of Worst Films raised this year as well..

I am breaking a rule this year for my DISHONORABLE MENTION because they are Let’s Be Cops and Blended.  I did not see either film. Now, it is probably not fair to put these two films on a list of the worst movies of the year when I have not seen them (tough), but, in the case of Let’s Be Cops, two friends of mine did see it and they indicated that it was terrible (big surprise.)  I could tell by the trailers of both of these movies that I wanted no part of them.  Certainly, both of them would be entrenched on the list if I had seen them.  So they get dishonorable mention.

So here are the Top (or Bottom depending on how you look at it) 20 films of 2014.

#20 (TIE) Expendables 3 and 300: Rise of an Empire.  Ok, I know this makes it 21, but I could not decide which one of these sad sequels to leave off the list, so I broke down and put hem both here.  I liked the original 300, and parts of the previous Expendables, so these films were disappointments.

#19 Mom’s Night Out.  An unfunny comedy with Patricia Heaton as one of several moms who needed time away from their families.  It also had a definitive Christian theme that got in the way more than it helped.  Not family fun.

#18 Brick Mansions.  This was one of Paul Walker’s last films, and it is really sad.  A dumb action adventure with monstrous plot holes and people doing stupid things.  Paul Walker deserved better.

#17 Dumb and Dumber To.  A sequel long in the making, should have stayed in the producer’s fantasy.  Minimum laughs and too many poop, pee, fart jokes.  Dumb and Dumber To did not look to raise the level of comedy up.  Instead, it looked to drag the rest of us down.

#16 Into the Storm.  Sharknado without the sharks.  Boring, cardboard cut-out characters being placed in silly danger.  Why should I care if these worthless characters die in the storm?  I was actually rooting for some to go.

#15 Dr. Cabbie.  Stretching the level of believability to new levels.  An Indian med students practicing medicine in Canada out of the back of a cab?  Not even Raj from the Big Bang Theory could save this stinker.

#14 Annabelle.  The first of several horror movies to make this list, Annabelle was a poor “prequel” to The Conjuring.  There was little horror, not even much to be scared about.

#13 The Pyramid.  Another failed horror movie.  This one had some of the worst special effects of the year (yeah, I am looking at you, Anubis!)

#12 Need for Speed.  This goes to show you that just because someone is awesome on a television show (Aaron Paul on Breaking Bad), doesn’t mean he can do the same thing on the big screen.  Of course, it could also be the fact that the movie was deadly dull as well.

#11 A Million Ways to Die in the West.  I was really surprised when this film slipped from the top ten, because I was sure that it was going to be there.  The neat cameo by Doc Brown won out over the non-Elvis and this was #11 instead of…

#10 The Identical.  Don’t call him Elvis.  This is some weird, Elseworld tale if Elvis’s identical twin lived and also became a great singer.  Oh, and their names are not Elvis.  Or Presley.  Just horrible.

#9 Transformers: Age of Extinction.  I had thought that maybe the Dinobots might make this one better.  How wrong could I be?  Of course, the Dinobots (though they never actually were called that) didn’t show up until very late in the seemingly ENDLESS film.  And the product placement… just obscene.  This is the worst of the Transformers movies.

#8 Ouija.  Another terrible horror movie that was just not scary.  This one brings the evil creature using the Parker Brothers game Ouija.  No fear and stupid people. Sounds like a great time at the theater.

#7 Deliver Us From Evil.  The worst horror movie of the year, this one has some strange fixation with Jim Morrison songs.  There are laughable dialogue and even a solid actor (Eric Bana) can save this film.

#6 America.  What would happen if George Washington was shot and killed in the Revolutionary War?  What would happen to America?  The promos to this film asked that question, but it was never answered.  It wasn’t even a topic.  Instead, it was a right wing hatchet job from  Dinesh D’Souza.  Insulting, partisan, and borderline racist.

#5 A Haunted House 2.  I just watched this on Netflix.  I don’t know why I did.  I certainly knew that I wouldn’t like it.  I hated the first one.  I just felt the need to see this.  It might have been a little funnier than the first one.  Not saying much.

#4 The Legend of Hercules.  One of the earliest films of the year,  It was such a terrible film that it has stuck with me all year long.  The acting, the dialogue, the special effects…all of it was terrible.  The Rock’s Hercules was not great, but by comparison, it was like Citizen Kane.  The Legend of Hercules was all around a horrible movie.

#3 Persecuted.  A preacher who has an important ministry, both on tv and across the nation, will not join up with a senator’s crusade to reform religion.  Because of that, the preacher is framed for murder and goes out on the run.  Of course, when I think of persecution, the first group I think about is white, Christian men.

#2   I, Frankenstein.  Aaron Eckhart had some slight scars on his face, but he was to be seen as a monster here.  Well, the only monster involved here is the script.  I thought this one might earn the infamous #1 spot this year, but one film was worse…

#1 Left Behind.  Nicolas Cage.  He was a good actor once.  Here he played a pilot who, in the middle of his flight, has to deal with the fact that the Rapture has occurred.  Several people disappeared (including all kids) into thin air.  These were the good, God-fearing people.  The rest of the bad people and the heathens were left on earth.  Including our main stars. Hm, what does that say?  This was a remake of a Kirk Cameron tv movie so the overall badness should not be a surprise.

Why couldn’t the Rapture have happened before I saw this movie?  I had no knowledge of this film at all when I went to see it.  I knew as the previews were starting and I saw Kirk Cameron Saves Christmas, and a trailer for some movie degrading evolution that I had made a mistake.  Left Behind is the worst movie of the year.

The Top 25 Movies of the Year

Here is the list of the best movies of the year, in my opinion.  There are several films that could have made this list that I have yet to see.  I guess those will have to wait for 2015.

Twenty-five movies is a new high for the year end list, but 2014 was a great year in films.

And I still have some honorary mentions.  Jon Stewart’s directorial debut in Rosewater, the animated Batman: Assault on Arkham, the top horror movie As Above So Below, the surprising LiamNeeson film A Walk Among the Tombstone, and Benedict Cumberbatch’s awesome performance in The Imitation Game.

Top 25

#25.  Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.  This film did a nice job of setting up what is sure to be a higher listed film next year.  Jennifer Lawrence is wonderful as Katniss and President Snow is just creepy enough.  Good things in the future I am sure.

#24 Lone Survivor.  This was one from early in the year, and it was a very solid film, also based on a true story.  This is the movie with the ultimate spoiler in the title.  🙂  And a very good performance from Mark Wahlberg.

#23 Boyhood.  A lot of people had this higher on their lists.  I enjoyed it too, but not quite as much as others.  I do believe the production of this was a marvel, considering everything that Richard Linkletter went through to get it made.

#22 The Drop.  One of the surprises of the year.  Tom Hardy is magnificent in this film, and we see the final performance of James Gandolfini.

#21 St. Vincent.  A great role for Bill Murray and a different role for Melissa McCarthy.  Both are very welcomed.  There was also a fantastic performance from the young actor Jaeden Lieberher.

#20  Mr. Peabody and Sherman.  I would say that I overrated this when it first came out, although I still loved the movie.  The nostalgia hit me pretty hard at the debut of this classic.  It was a great year for animation, considering how poor last year was.

#19 Gone Girl.  A movie that does an amazing 180 in the middle.  At first, you wonder whether or not Ben Affleck killed Rosamund Pike.  Then, suddenly you know…and you are amazed at the sociopaths that are on the screen.  The perfect example of deserving one another?  Pike should get an Oscar for her role.

#18 John Wick.  Keanu Reeves is back finally with a strong movie.  John wick was exciting, dramatic and very funny.  The looks the bad guys would get just at the idea that John Wick was coming after them…priceless.

#17 The Hobbit:  Battle of the Five Armies.  The final trip to Middle Earth was extremely well done, and a solid conclusion to a film series that probably should have been two movies instead of three.  Still, the Smaug battle at the beginning was one of my favorite battle scenes of the year.

#16 Bad Words.  Very funny, and very raunchy.  Jason Bateman embraces his naughty side in this revenge tale against the culture of the spelling bee.

#15 Nightcrawler.  Another film that might be higher on other lists.  Not that I didn’t love this one, because I did.  I thought it was fabulous.  Jake Gyllenhaal is transformative in his performance, just fully becoming the sociopathic Louis Bloom.  One of the best performances of his career.

#14 The Lego Movie.  When I saw this one early in the year, I was expecting this to be the best animated movie of the year.  Little did I know this would only reach number 3 on that list.  The Lego Movie had great heart, including a remarkably touching scene with Will Farrell.  Creative and enjoyable… everything is definitely awesome.

#13 How to Train Your Dragon 2.  One step above the Lego Movie for me was the sequel that saw Hiccup grow to a young man while the relationship between him and Toothless be pushed to the limit and still come through.  Where some animated movies keep their characters frozen in place and time, How to Train… advances them into the future.

#12 Nebraska.  This was a holdover from 2013, but I had not been able to see it until the early part of 2014.  And I loved it.  Bruce Dern was awesome in the lead role, and certainly deserved that Oscar nomination he got last year.  If you haven’t seen Nebrask yet, check it out on Netflix.  It is that good.

#11 Snowpiercer.  Another one to stream online if you haven’t seen it.  Chris Evans is unbelievable in this sci-fi epic taht takes place aboard a train.  This one was nearly a top ten film, as I considered moving it to the #10 slot, but I didn’t.

#10 Godzilla.  Yes there were some problems with Godzilla.  Some of the human characters were weak, and I would have loved more Bryan Cranston.  Some people complained about the lack of Godzilla and fights early, but I liked that.  It felt like a slow build.  And that payoff…the fight at the end was astonishing.   Let’s not forget how bad Godzilla could have been (I’m looking at you Matthew Broderick)

#9 Grand Budapest Hotel.  Wes Anderson’s latest film is hilarious, contains a great performance by Ralph Fiennes, and has many of Anderson’s typical entourage of talent.  Smart and funny.  What a concept.

#8 Big Hero 6.  Disney’s adaption of a Marvel property found its way to the top of my animation list, and into the overall top 10.  Baymax is a breakout character and his relationship with Hiro was what the entire film was based upon.  Plus there was the first ever Stan Lee animated cameo.

#7 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.  The second film in the story of Caeser took new steps in amazing ways.  Andy Serkis continued to exhibit his mastery over the character of Caeser and this continued to be full of action, emotion and excitement.  I can’t wait for what is next.

#6 Edge of Tomorrow.  The biggest surprise of the year was this Tom Cruise film that had a trailer that made it look terrible.  I dreaded watching this film, but it was awesome.  It was brilliantly executed, was very funny and the gimmick was perfectly carried out.  If you missed this film, see it when you can.  You will not regret it.

#5 X-Men: Days of Future Past.  The X-Men brand has officially been fixed.  After the travesties that were X-Men 3 and X-Men Origins; Wolverine, the series rebooted in sense with X-Men: First Class.  This took that even further.  Who would ever think we would see both young and old Professor Xs looking into each other’s eyes.  Everything was linked together with Wolverine, and now we have a new X-Men continuity.  Uncanny.  And that Quicksilver scene…one of the best of the year…bar none.

#4 Chef.  I loved this father-son story starring Jon Faveau and the fantastic young Emjay Anthony.  It was life affirming watching these two characters bond again on a trip back from Florida, selling great food along the way.  You could almost taste the food.  Add great cameos from Robert Downey Jr, Dustin Hoffman and Oliver Platt and you have a true winner.

#3 Birdman.  Michael Keaton is officially back.  This movie is amazing to watch. The way they make it look like this is one continuous shot is movie magic at its finest.  But there is so much more than just the gimmick involved.  You had unbelievable performances from not only Keaton, but also Emma Stone, Edward Norton, and Zach Galifianakis as well.  This is a great movie.

So…now we reach the #1 movie of the year.  If you have been paying attention, you will see that I have skipped the number two spot.  That is because I could not decide between two movies for the top spot.  So, because this is my list and I can do it if I want, I decided that I would have a 1A and a !B instead of choosing.  Cheating?  Maybe, but who cares really?

1A. Captain America: Winter Soldier

1B.  Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel Studios’ two releases this year were both unbelievably amazing.  Both were more than just super hero movies.  Captain America was like a 1970 spy thriller (including a role from Robert Redford) that was tense and full of action.  And some of those fight scenes with Cap and Bucky were as well done as you are going to see.  Meanwhile, GotG was redefining the space opera, taking the best parts of Star Wars and Star Trek and sprinkling a good helping of Avengers with it.  Who would have thought that Marvel could take a movie about a talking tree and raccoon and make it a worldwide hit.  770 million worldwide, and GotG 2 is set up to be a massive hit.  And, of course, Cap 3 is going to be Civil War.

Marvel is just hitting on all cylinders right now.  Both of these films were so full of fun and humor and action and a good time.   Yet, they are anything but the same thing.  Marvel has been very diverse in the type of movie they are making, and that shows.  People keep asking about the life span of comic book movies, but I say that as long as they keep giving us quality, they will never run out.  And these two movies are as good as it gets.

The time for looking back is through.  Now, let’s look ahead of us.  So much greatness to come…

2015

 

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