I was texting with my friend Kevin last night, and he asked me what my favorite movie of 2014 was. Not best movie, mind you, but my favorite. And the sad thing is, after a summer filled with some real promise, there haven’t been that many entertaining movies (and I think the ledger tilts in favor of comedy, at least so far). So, without further ado, let’s talk about my seven favorite movies of 2014. Please feel free to tell me how wrong I am in the comments below.
7. Guardians of the Galaxy
The first of two Chris Pratt movies on this list, the movie has everything I’ve come to hope for and expect out of a Marvel film: decent action; a plot about saving the planet/galaxy/humanity itself; a MacGuffin device that will give the villain crazy, evil powers that he should probably not have his hands on but will ultimately use at some point near the end of the third act; and, most importantly, humor. This is the funniest of the Marvel films since the original Iron Man.
Jon Favreau’s cameo-laden indie about a chef who turns to a food truck to save his career (and, ultimately, his relationship with his son and his marriage) had only one fatal flaw: I couldn’t watch this movie without being hungry throughout.
5. 22 Jump Street
Maybe it’s because I’m a Chan-fan, or maybe I just laugh at people making fun of improv comedy, but this movie just clicked for me. As light and breezy as the original, but lacking the overstuffed-plot nature of most sequels. The first of two movies directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller on this list (see #1 for the other).
4. Anchorman 2: The R-Rated Cut
This one is a bit of a cheat, since technically Messrs. Burgundy, Tamland, Kind and Fantana released a version of this movie in 2013. That said, the revised dinner-table scene, including the incredible bit about Lumpy, made me laugh harder than I have at any joke in a movie since the chest-waxing scene in 40-Year-Old Virgin.
There are lines in Neighbors that I can’t repeat here (I try to keep the blog family friendly), but suffice it to say, I haven’t laughed harder, more consistently, at a movie all year, absent my number one choice. Bonus points for Seth Rogen’s earnest question of Zac Efron at the end, asking why they don’t look the same when they take their shirts off. “Is it our posture?” No, Seth, it’s not.
2. Captain America – The Winter Soldier
I loved a number of things about this movie. I loved how it had the government conspiracy angle. I loved the humorous relationship between Cap and Black Widow. I loved how Redford was playing against type (although I had a feeling he’d wind up being a villain. Spoiler alert). But mostly, I loved Cap rooting out Hydra and how Marvel’s Cinematic Universe is now going to have to re-build S.H.I.E.L.D. from the ground up.
1. The Lego Movie
First of all, duh. If you know me even a little bit, you know I love two things in this world: Lego, and movies. Second, this movie is flat-out hilarious. The voice actors, including a star-making turn by Chris Pratt, are perfect, and just look at how funny even the outtakes are:
Those that, if you had asked me before the year started what would have made the list: Boyhood, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Amazing Spider-Man 2
Had no shot at cracking this list, given how boring they were: Godzilla, Trans4mers
So, what has everyone else enjoyed so far in 2014?