The Best of the Year (2014)


by Ken B.

And so another year comes to a close. This is the time of year for getting together with family and friends, making resolutions that will surely be broken, and looking back on the year that has passed. And so as a critic’s tradition, I’ve put together a list of the best movies I reviewed this year – and note that wording: A film eligible for inclusion on this list or the already published Worst list needs to be a film reviewed by me, on this site, in 2014. That means that movies released before 2014 are eligible, and even if a movie came out in 2014, if I didn’t review it for the site, it doesn’t count. This kind of hurts some movies, like Lukas Moodyson’s We Are the Best!, which had I reviewed it for the site, would have been a lock for at least an honorable mention. There are, however, a handful of 2014 releases on this list. (They account for 6 out of 17. According to data on my Letterboxd profile, I watched a grand total of forty-four films that came out in 2014 this year).

Because of, y’know, reasons, I have decided to split this article into three parts released over the next three days (if you’re reading this on or after December 31, 2014, don’t worry, it’s all here for you to look at (unless I was hit by a bus in the interim, in which case, hello from beyond!)). Here is part one of three – the Honorable Mentions, which will serve as our lead in to number 10, movies that didn’t make the cut for the top 10 but were too good not to discuss. I have chosen seven. These films will be listed in ascending order in ranking, with little or no commentary. An asterisk denotes that a film previously appeared on my mid-year top 5 list. The final list differs considerably from when I started putting this together several weeks ago, with two titles added in the last couple weeks of December, and as a result, two movies that were just on the bottom of the top 10 moved off, and what was originally #16 in the honorable mentions (Ida), moved to #17, then #18, then reluctantly knocked off the final draft to save space.


17. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (Josh Boone, 2014, reviewed October 1)

If Shailene Woodley can manage to get at least one major nomination for her outstanding performance in this movie before awards season is over, I will be happy with that. (But it doesn’t look likely at this point. 😦 )

16. THE ELEPHANT MAN (David Lynch, 1980, reviewed November 26)

That music. That make-up. That performance.

15. BARBARA (Christian Petzold, 2012, reviewed February 21)*

14. THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY (Julian Schnabel, 2007, reviewed May 22)*

13. THE MISSING PICTURE (Rithy Panh, 2014, reviewed October 23)

12. A COFFEE IN BERLIN (Jan Ole Gerster, 2014, reviewed November 21)

Backed with a great jazz score and shot in a gorgeous black-and-white display, A Coffee in Berlin is an entertaining and depth-filled movie – a showcase for the talent of its writer/director Jan Ole Gerster and its lead, Tom Schilling.

11. THE LEGO MOVIE (Phil Lord and Chris Miller, 2014, reviewed July 19)

The idea that The Lego Movie could be good at all came as a surprise to all of us, and the idea that it could very well be great is nothing short of miraculous.

(Click on Page 2 to find out what ended up at numbers 10 – 6):