There’s almost nothing movie fans love more than making lists, and honestly, maybe that’s one of the things I love so much about movies. I’ve always loved to rank things, whether it is movies, favorite baseball players, or memes. So with the decade coming to a close, it is the perfect time to do an annual retrospective on each year in the decade, continuing with 2014.
(Throughout this series, I’ll be using the Letterboxd release dates to determine which year’s list to put each film on.)
10. American Sniper – With American Sniper, Clint Eastwood was able to capture the horrors of war in the kind of way you don’t see very often. A lot of times, you see the terrors and carnage of battle, but this movie deals with the ramifications of what happens to a solider when he comes home. It’s a heartbreaking and moving movie anchored by a career best performance from Bradley Cooper.
9. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Again, I really enjoy the two Amazing Spider-Man movies. This one especially is a narrative mess, but there’s something watchable about it for me that makes me come back to it every once in a while. The ending is some of the most emotionally moving stuff in any superhero movie in the last 10 years, but it is often overlooked because of the movie’s overall quality.
8. X-Men: Days of Future Past This would have been a fitting ending to the whole X-Men series if it hadn’t been for Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix. It beautifully ties together all of the themes and storylines of the first four movies, and it’s extremely entertaining. This is an underrated film among the superhero genre.
7. The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson is a brilliant filmmaker, and I think Grand Budapest is him at his Andersoniest. This movie is heavily visually stylized, but it’s the story and characters that really make it watchable. Ralph Fiennes anchors it as the brilliant M. Gustave, and facilitates the dry humor that I totally love.
6. What We Do in the Shadows – People who only know Taika Waititi’s mainstream movies like Thor: Ragnarok or Jojo Rabbit are missing out on some of his best work. Following three vampires trying to be a part of New Zealand’s culture, it shows what life can be like for marginalized people groups. But in typical Waititi fashion, it is comedy gold.
5. Ex Machina – This is a brilliant movie that shows the potential problems and downfalls of endless technological advancements. Not being able to tell the difference between a human and computer is a terrifying idea, and this movie takes that idea and runs with it. With three incredibly dark and real performances from Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac, and Domhnall Gleeson, this is not one to miss.
4. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Out of three great movies in this trilogy, this one is remarkably the best. Like most good middle chapters, it’s the most human, contained, and contemplative. It takes the ideas from the first movie and dives so much deeper into them in an intriguing and entertaining way.
3. The LEGO Movie – Who would have thought that this movie would be as great as it is? As with 21 Jump Street, Phil Lord and Chris Miller took an idea specifically geared towards making money and made it wholly creative and original.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy – Out of a 22 movie saga with interconnected storylines, cameos, and Easter eggs, it’s refreshing when a movie stands alone. This movie is perfectly cast to create a band of misfits who come together to save the galaxy. It has deep themes of family, friendship, and personhood, all while being one of the most gripping stories in the MCU.
1. Interstellar – Christopher Nolan proves over and over that he is a master filmmaker with huge ideas. Interstellar is his most “out there” concept to date, but it is perhaps his most well-executed. As much as it has been memed, the scene of Cooper watching decades worth of video messages is one of the most heart-wrenching things put to screen in this entire decade, and it is emblematic of the quality of the film as a whole.
All images retrieved from IMDb