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Mike’s Top Ten Films of 2014 (REMIX)

This has become the gateway article into the end of year recap stuff. Revisit last year and put that behind us before we can start wrapping up this year.

It’s my way of giving myself a chance to reevaluate my top ten list early enough to call a mulligan if I need one. The top ten list is usually done under varying degrees of duress. I need to pick ten movies that I liked best from the year, when there are a good seven or eight that I’ve just seen for the first time (only once) within a week of picking it. So I can be prone to compromised or rash decisions. Here they can be remedied.

What I do is start entirely from scratch. Look over everything I watched and rank totally new based on how I’m feeling. And then I compare everything to what I actually did last year.

Ideally, a top ten list should have no major changes at all. I’m cool if something was put at #8 and now it’s #6 for me. But if #8 is now barely in the top 20, then that’s a problem. #9 dropping to #12 is cool. That sort of thing. The idea is to have a list that’ll hold up as my top ten when I revisit the list in five or ten years.

2014 is an interesting one because I only really had 9 films for my top ten. There are a lot of films I like a lot, but not many that I out and out love. I’m still not entirely sure how I’m gonna round out this updated list. But I have to decide pretty soon, so I should probably get on that.

Here is my (REMIXED) Top Ten list of 2014:

1. Birdman or: (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

No change here. I fucking loved this movie then, and I still love this movie now. This, to me, was the best film of 2014

2. Whiplash

Still a really close #2 for me. In terms of going back to rewatch movies from this year, this and Birdman are the first two I’m gonna think about.

3. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Until I actually wrote up my top ten list, I had this movie near the bottom of the top ten. But I knew. This has replay value more than almost anything, and it’s Wes Anderson at his A game. This is a clear top five movie, and it’s maintained that.

4. Interstellar

I love this movie even more than I did last year. I’ve watched it twice since January. I like it better than Inception. Another example of a film getting bumped up over the year based on rewatchability.

5. Inherent Vice

Another one. I love this movie and I knew I should not let other peoples’ reaction to this affect where I put this. I knew I loved this and that I’d go back and watch it more than most others this year. I’ve also watched this twice since January. Love this movie.

6. A Most Violent Year

The drop in this has nothing to do with the quality of the film. It’s purely based on how much I’ve rewatched the others. Remember, in a month, these won’t be ranked anymore and will just be an alphabetical top ten list.

7. Fury

Badass war movie. No change here.

8. Gone Girl

I’ve watched this again. This is so entertaining. Way funnier the second time, too.

9. Boyhood

This is the greatest achievement of 2014 (even more so than Birdman). It’s a hell of a film. It deserves to be here, even if I won’t rewatch it as much as the others.

10. Chef

It’s so entertaining, personal, and has something to say that is a perfect allegory for making movies. It belongs in the top ten. This is an utter joy to watch and I’m gonna go back and enjoy this for years to come.

– – – – – – – – – –

Only one major change here. Unbroken was a bit of a compromise top ten entry for me. Because I knew I didn’t love Nightcrawler as a top ten film, but nothing else jumped out at me. It felt like a “me” choice. But I was also aware that it probably wasn’t going to stay when I did this version. The only question was what was going to take its place. And honestly, after seeing Chef again, I love that movie so much it had to be put on.

– – – – – – – – – –

11. Nightcrawler — No change here. I really like this movie, just not enough to put it in the top ten.

12. The Imitation Game — I’m not entirely sure why this originally wasn’t on my top 20. Probably because I wanted to showcase less obvious movies. But this was great, and I’ve watched this again since January and still really like it.

13. Unbroken — I do really like this movie, even though it’s really predictable and hindered by a lack of great direction. But these kinds of movies appeal to me, and always will.

14. St. Vincent — Love this. So much fun. This is one of those movies that you’re aware isn’t a masterpiece, but if it’s ever on, you’ll watch it. I just have the ability to admit it now rather than wait five years just to see this show up on the list anyway.

15. Godzilla — I haven’t seen this in a year, but I still thought it was great. Everyone else seems to hate this movie, but that only makes me want to leave this on. I enjoyed the hell out of this, and I’m curious to see how I respond to it when I rewatch it.

16. Top Five — Loved this. Pure 11-20 movie. Still has the best cameo of 2015.

17. Locke — Another movie made for this portion of the list. Not top ten, but the concept is unique and I get to recommend it to people (who clearly have no idea what it is).

18. Big Eyes — Another one that slipped under the radar that I thought was great. I actually did watch this just after January and still enjoyed it. This may or may not stay here in five years, but right now, I’m feeling like it has a good shot.

19. Frank — LOVED this movie. I find myself constantly telling people how great this is, and sharing in my love of this movie with those who have seen it. This definitely belongs here.

20. Life Itself — It’s the love of Roger Ebert that keeps this here.

– – – – – – – – – – –

Only two changes here, aside from the Unbroken/Chef swap. The first is The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, which dropped off after I had a chance to see the film split into two parts. The concept didn’t feel as fleshed out as my excitement thought. Still liked it, just not as much, after time to think about it. And then also, The Gambler. That always felt like a solid tier two, but I was still in that fresh “I saw this four days ago” excitement zone when I put it where I did.

Instead, The Imitation Game jumps on. Not sure why it wasn’t here in the first place. Shit happens. And then Frank jumps on, because the more I think about it, the more I find myself talking about how great that movie is. So that goes on.

– – – – – – – – – – –

Tier two:

American Sniper, The Battered Bastards of Baseball, Blood Ties, Blue Ruin, The Congress, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (Them), The Double, Enemy, Force Majeure, Foxcatcher, The Gambler, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Guest, I Know that Voice, John Wick, Snowpiercer, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, The Theory of Everything, They Came Together, X-Men: Days of Future Past

Tier three:

The Babadook, Before I Disappear, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Comet, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Draft Day, Edge of Tomorrow, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Ida, Laggies, Mood Indigo, The Mule, Neighbors, Obvious Child, Selma, Sunshine on Leith, Tracks, Two Night Stand, Under the Skin, Wild Tales

Tier four:

’71, After the Dark, Bad Words, Begin Again, Cas and Dylan, The Homesman, The Hundred-Foot Journey, In a World…, Into the Woods, The Monuments Men, A Most Wanted Man, The One I Love, Only Lovers Left Alive, Pride, Song of the Sea, Starred Up, Still Alice, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Trust Me, The Zero Theorem

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