2014 is in the rear view, but we haven’t finished talking about it just yet. If you caught our Best of the Best in 2014 episode of Geek Hard last Friday, you got to hear my (as well as the rest of the GH panel’s) Top 5 Picks for the best films to grace screens of various sizes. Here now is my picks for the 10 Best Geek Films of 2014. There’s been a lot of great stuff that’s come out this past year but only so many can be touted as the best. So let’s take a look at my picks:
#10 – The F Word
And for the record, this film is titled The F Word. I still think it’s very dumb that in the States and the U.K. it was given the unoriginal and unexciting name of “What If?” This film did exactly what I hoped it would do. It took the tired and stupid cliches of the romantic comedy and told them to go stuff it. We got to see Daniel Radcliff and Zoe Kazan as real people we could relate to. Leave it to director Michael Dowse to bring us a movie where folks get called out for being assholes when they try to derail someone’s life by saying those three little words.
#9 – Edge of Tomorrow
This was the sci-fi film I didn’t see coming. It was a Tom Cruise vehicle. How was I to know it was going to be a solid genre pick? But much like Oblivion in 2013, this is a science fiction film that focuses on telling a compelling and interesting story above all else. The idea of the film is that Cage (Cruise’s character) is stuck in a time loop where every time he dies, he restarts that same day. Kind of like Groundhog Day. And like that film, director Doug Liman found new and interesting ways to show the same moments twice. It’s the most underrated film of 2014 by far.
This one’s a no brain-er. When it comes to the best animated film of last year, there is no competition. Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) is just a regular dude who always follows the instructions and never steps on anyone’s toes. But when he meets Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), his life get’s turn upside down as he’s dragged into a mission to save the Lego-verse from Lord Business who plans to freeze time with “The Kragle!” A movie about helping folks that celebrates both the unique and the average in a way that’s positive for both, it did the unthinkable: It made me like Batman for a moment.
#7 – Gone Girl
A lot of people were touting this film as a “Perfect Movie.” Even though I’m not a huge supporter of Fincher, I find it hard not to agree. Much like the book it was based on, this film was full of suprising and satisfying twists that showed us (didn’t tell us) what the characters were all about. Affleck plays confusion to a tee and Pike is batshit crazy scary! As someone who never read the book, Gone Girl was all the more satisfying as I did not see what was coming. It’s a rarity that a film can lie to your face and you still love it by the end.
#6 – Top Five
This is the most surpizing film of 2014! Written by, directed by and starring Chris Rock, this film was marketed as an urban comedy about a rich comic. That’s not even close to what it actually is. It is about a rich comic, that’s true. Rock plays a comedian who’s trying to make it as a serious actor. He’s got a new movie coming out about a Hatian slave uprising that he thinks will legitimize his switch to dramatic films. He’s also days away from marrying his girlfriend who’s a reality t.v. star and is having their wedding broadcast as part of the show. So how does one day with a reporter (played by Rosario Dawson) change everything? You’re going to have to watch this deeply touching and real story to find out.
#5 – Guardians of the Galaxy
The biggest movie of the summer! Of any Summer! And guess what? It’s a superhero movie. Not only that, it’s a superhero space opera with a talking racoon and a talking tree! Take away all the special effects and crazy characters and you still have a fun film filled with laughs and some very fleshed out, multi-dimensional characters. Rocket and Groot are just window dressing…..and what amazingly awesome window dressing they are. Also, who’d have thought that Dave Bautista could be that funny. Did not see that coming.
#4 – Inherent Vice
Set in the 1970s, a private detective named Larry “Doc” Sportello makes his way through a drug fueled Los Angeles in search of an ex-girlfriend who’s gone missing. What I find to be even more interesting is the satire at play that not only dissects the classic L.A. crime story but also takes shots at the drug culture and straight culture of the 70s. With hilarious supporting performances from Josh Brolin, Hong Chau and Owen Wilson, as well as a strong showing from lead Joaquin Phoenix, this film keeps you laughing all the way through the mystery. Probaby the most fun I’ve seen director Paul Thomas Anderson have with a picture.
#3 – Chef
Every once in a while, a film comes along that reminds you what a “feel good” film should actually feel like. As a nerd, I appreciate films that celebrate any kind of nerding out…..even films that nerd out about food. In what can only be described as Rocky III set in the food world, Jon Favreau brings us a story of a chef who was the toast of L.A. only to hit rock bottom after a bad review. On a trip from Miami to Los Angeles, he turns his life around with the help of his son. How does he do it? A food truck. Word to the wise though, don’t watch this film on an empty stomach.
#2 – Birdman
A masterpiece that’s hard to catagorize easily. Michael Keaton plays a washed up actor who was once famous for playing a superhero. Now, he attempts to fix his relationship with his daughter while mounting a broadway play to reclaim past glory. It’s a film that celebrates second chances. It’s a film that puts the world of the theatre on display. It’s a character driven piece that shows off both the fullfilling and ugly side of performing for a living. It’s also an indictment of the Hollywood Action/Superhero film machine currently ruling the box office. And I love every minute of it. Hard to believe seeing what I picked as my number one.
#1 – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Everything I’ve ever wanted in a Captain America film. Everything I’ve ever wanted in a Superhero film. From political intrigue and clandestine conspiracies to the “man out of time” angle to big action and galant heroics. What makes this film truly amazing is that at it’s core, it’s a simple film about a man in search of a friend. The Russo brothers showed that they got what makes Cap one of the greatest heroes ever to grace the comics page by giving him the conviction to stand up against villainy, no matter where it comes from. Chris Evans, who’s been rocking the Steve Rogers character previously, drives home that he is the right man for the job.
So there you have it. My picks for the 10 Best Geek Films of 2014. Let me know what your picks are by leaving a comment.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!