My definitive guide to movies from 2014

obvious child and disappearance of eleanor rigby

Another year of movies has come and gone. My husband refers to the Oscars as my Super Bowl, and I can only take that as a compliment as I clap and toast winners with champagne alone from my couch. I might even maybe tear up a little for some winners. This behavior is in no way related to my champagne consumption, of course.

Aside from loving any time we celebrate people who do what they do well, the movie business is hard and nuanced work. And since after the Oscars comes conversations about what should have won and what people should see or not see, I’ve decided to list all my most notable movies of the year. If you didn’t like them, then you’re wrong. Just kidding.

Mostly.

I’ve also thrown in my least favorite movies (garnering strong reactions like, “This was a complete waste of time,” and “Do we have to finish this?”),  great movies I saw in 2014 from previous years, and ones still on my watch list. You might notice a few key players this year aren’t listed…mostly this means I’m glad I saw them, but I wouldn’t re-watch and just wasn’t blown away.

Best:

whiplash-poster

  1. Whiplash
  2. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
  3. Birdman
  4. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  5. Obvious Child
  6. Bad Words
  7. Palo Alto
  8. They Came Together
  9. Edge of Tomorrow

 Worst:

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  1. Joe
  2. Out of the Furnace
  3. This is Where I Leave You
  4. Non-Stop

Prior Year Goodness:

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  1. Frances Ha
  2. Beginners
  3. Your Sister’s Sister

Still On My List:

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  • Rudderless
  • Still Alice
  • Cake
  • Girl on a Bicycle
  • About Alex
  • Ida

Do you agree, disagree or have other recommendations? I’d love to hear them!

Focusing on the weekend

nice weekend

When life’s ends start feeling a little harder to keep tied together and work me is feeling extremely overloaded, I fall into a pattern of wishing away the week and pushing all my hopes for crossing off personal to do’s to the weekend. This might be a great coping mechanism for some work-life balance if I actually used my weekends to do those things…but majority of the time, my weekends look more like an exercise in laziness and procrastination to make up for all the work-related drive and productivity. Essentially, I crash.

Don’t get me wrong, my weekends start with Super Yoga Palace and include plenty of fun with as many of my favorite people as I can get, so it’s not like I’m completely useless. But those pesky life administration tasks like responding to my jury duty request and returning the Walmart goods that have been sitting in my room for over a month just don’t seem as important when I actually have time to do them. Case in point, my house.

My roommate and I came into the new place with a lot of big ideas and quite a clear vision for the welcoming, stylish place we would create. Somewhere along the way we reached a “liveable enough” stage, though, and never quite got around to some of the more ambitious projects that include making a bar cart, turning a ridiculously heavy wrought iron table top into wall decor and hemming curtains.

DIY is just not naturally in my DNA, even though I love the idea of it. But after another gratifying yoga practice followed by a delicious brunch at Sundown at Granada and seeing Girl Most Likely with my sister, I’m ready to branch out a little and turn on the focus. My reward? A long overdue housewarming party next month!

While I’m figuring out the difference between flat and satin paint, I highly encourage you to watch this clip from Girl Most Likely. The movie had its pros and cons overall, but this scene alone is a strong candidate for the ‘best things I have ever seen’ list. You’re welcome.

 

Getting the magic back

sofia coppola

girl most likely - kristen wiig

Random thought of the day: Writing is like working out.

It’s important to me. I want to do it more than I do. I find it hard to get started, especially after longer bouts without doing it. I succumb to excuses like, “I don’t have enough time to get in a good session if I start now,” and “I’m too [insert state of being here – busy, tired, full, lazy…].” I like it while I do it. I love it after I finish. Overall, I just feel better about myself when I do it regularly.

See what I mean? But that’s not what this post is about. Today I want to talk to ya’ll about movies.

Like Lydia is to music, I am to film. (My pretentious use of “film” is how you can tell I really mean it. 😉 ) And like she recently found herself in a music drought, I’ve felt myself drifting from my roots as a film buff and movie lover for awhile now. I can make excuses about how I’m busier (busy-er?) than I used to be or chalk it up to personal growth and change with age, but I miss knowing the inside scoop on films past and present, anticipating upcoming gems and getting sucked into new stories and characters.

Having a minor in film means I’ve spent way more time than most analyzing movie-making and could write for literally days, but I’ll spare you the rhetoric and just say this: when done well, film is a beautiful, multi-sensory celebration and sharing of story. This is why I love it.

It’s a sad day when your also-movie-appreciating boyfriend and you realize that all you’ve seen lately has been disappointing, gimmicky and just plain bad blockbusters. After realizing we need to take ownership of our movie-going decisions (and really learn our lesson already), I spent some time trolling IMDB and ‘best of’ lists to build this Must-See Films list of my own:

  • Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s – I love documentaries, grew up wanting to be a fashion designer, and the interviews with fashion elite seem both smart and sassy. Must. See.
  • The Bling Ring – Directed by Sofia Coppola. Which means I not only will see it, but I have to. Supporting talented women in film is SO important to increase opportunities in this historically male-dominated field.
  • Kick Ass 2 – I appreciate the originality and humor of the first one. And then there’s the whole getting to see Chloe Grace Moretz, well, kicking ass.
  • Girl Most Likely – Another girl crush (I think I’m beginning to sense a pattern here) – Kristen Wiig is the quirky lead, figuring out the pitfalls of life. The synopsis also threw in the promise of “The Big Apple,” Darren Criss and Matt Dillon, making this one a no-brainer.
  • The Spectacular Now – A “dramedy” romance from the writers of 500 Days of Summer starring Miles Teller. Done.
  • Prince Avalanche – Misadventure on the road with Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch. One can only hope this comes close to my other Emile Hirsch favorites like Into The Wild and Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys. And who doesn’t like Paul Rudd?
  • The Internship – Okay. This one has the potential to be really awful. But Vince Vaughn’s and Owen Wilson’s internship is at Google. GOOGLE. And I’m a complete self-proclaimed Google Groupie.
  • White House Down – So I thought I’d sneak one more blockbuster in here and hope no one notices…but sometimes you just need a good action movie (and good, non-cheesy action movies are hard to come by these days). Plus, any movie Channing Tatum is saving me, I mean, the fictional world, is one I’m probably not going to say no to.
  • Some Girls – Adam Brody travels across the country meeting with exes. I just really miss Seth Cohen, so I’ll be making Lydia come see this with me.
  • Stories We Tell – I don’t usually go in for the whole “well Rotten Tomatoes says,” but this got a 96%! It’s also supposed to be insightful, sentimental and a great illustration of the true art that is documentary film-making.
  • The English Teacher – I was drawn in by the cast, but stuck around for the synopsis. This one could end up being even better than it sounds.
  • Before Midnight – I’ve always wanted to see its predecessor, Before Sunrise, so now is as good a time as any to get to know Jesse and Celine from their fateful meeting to their present day reunion.
  • The Lifeguard – I love independent movies about life transitions. Kristen Bell quits her New York job (why??) and moves home for a summer of lifeguarding and quirky small-town life on a quest for happiness.
  • Francis Ha – Greta Gerwig’s New York City-living lead has so much “kook” and dreamy ambition I can’t help but put this one in the same category as Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Which if you couldn’t tell, we’re just a tad obsessed with over here.

Will I see them all? I have no idea when, but I sure hope so! What other movies do you think I should be getting excited about?