Kyle Hanley’s Top 5 Movies of 2014

11 Jan


Remember last year when I was nice enough to tell you what movies of 2013 to watch, because you’re an awful human being with terrible taste and I’m the exact opposite? If you came to this blog hoping I’d have a 2014 edition of it, you’re in luck! Just like last year, I’m nice enough to recap and rank the 5 best movies of the year so that you don’t have to spend time wading through the miserable schlock you usually watch. Stop trying to hide it, I know you Redboxed Transformers: Age of Extinction. You should be ashamed.

Let’s get this started before you make another horrible mistake, like renting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or deciding to procreate, forcing the planet to have to deal with stupid, mini versions of you.

5. Interstellar


I’ll clear the air before I continue, because honesty is the best policy (unless you have a crush on your cousin. You should probably keep that to yourself. Also, eww). I am a huge Christopher Nolan fanboy. He is my favorite director. If I was President of the United States, it would be a law that everyone had to watch his entire film catalog once every 6 months. I like Nolan, a lot, and probably as more than just a friend.

omg he's sooooo dreamy

omg he’s sooooo dreamy

So to say I was excited for Interstellar is like saying Jerry Sandusky is excited when it’s almost time for the Little League World Series to roll around. When it came out, I saw it and was greeted by good and bad news. The bad news: it’s far from Nolan’s best work. The good news: Nolan is like sex…even when it’s not as great, it’s still pretty damn good. Well, if I knew what sex felt like, I’m sure I would use that comparison.

Anyway, in Interstellar we get Matthew McConaughey, riding the momentum he built up in 2013 as The Most Popular And Successful And Handsome Person Ever, playing a pilot turned farmer because in the future apparently everyone needs to be farmers because there is a shit ton of dust that kills all the plants and crops. Through a course of events, McConaughey is asked to join a space expedition to find a new planet to house the residents of Earth because, again, dust. He debates whether he should join the mission because he has a daughter he loves and doesn’t want to leave (he also has a son who he loves but clearly not as much as the daughter). He ends up deciding that he has to put the greater good and the future of Earth above his own selfish stupid reasons like, “wanting to watch his kids grow up” and “not wanting to possibly never see Earth again.”

The movie takes a while to build up, but once we finally get to space with McConaughey and his crew, the movie really gets good. We get to see cool planets, like one with giant waves that kill everything in sight and one with harsh, bitterly cold temperatures that kill everything in sight. Huh. Their mission for New Earth isn’t exactly going so well.

As you come to expect from Nolan, there are plenty of mind bending concepts and visuals, along with exciting action set pieces. But also like Nolan, we get lots of plot holes and inconsistencies and some poorly written dialogue. Seriously, the dialogue in this movie is so cheesy I was lactose intolerant by the end of it.

Ultimately though, the good outweighs the bad and Interstellar still manages to be a very entertaining sci fi epic. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be longingly stroking a picture of Christopher Nolan until he announces his next movie.

Random takeaway: I would have been perfectly fine if Nolan had simply decided to let McConaughey play Rust Cohle in the movie. A lot of his long winded, overly philosophical monologues would have actually fit perfectly. Maybe the wig and moustache wasn’t in the budget.

4. Edge of Tomorrow/Live. Die. Repeat./Tom Cruise Dies, Like, A Lot

edge of tomorrow

Hey, remember earlier in the article when I called you dumb and stupid and all that? Sorry, I really don’t mean that MOST of the time. But this time I mean it. You’re an idiot.

Pictured above: you, trying to figure out how to make cereal without accidentally drowning yourself with the milk.

Pictured above: you, trying to figure out how to make cereal without accidentally drowning yourself with the milk.

Why? Because, statistically speaking, you probably didn’t see Edge of Tomorrow in theatres which means you are one of the reasons why this movie criminally underperformed to the point where the company had to CHANGE THE NAME OF THE FUCKING MOVIE FOR BLU RAY. That’s right, this movie did so badly in theatres the company changed the title so that they could have some unsuspecting consumer go, “Hey, I never heard of this movie with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt! I enjoy both of those things! Three copies please!”

This is all a horrific shame because Edge of Tomorrow/Live. Die. Repeat./Tom Cruise Dies, Like, A Lot is one of the year’s most entertaining films. I mean, obviously, it wouldn’t be on this list if it weren’t but we established earlier that you aren’t the brightest so I thought I’d point that out.

This movie is set in the future where aliens have attacked Earth and, as would probably happen if an army of ruthless beings with vastly more advanced technology than us attacked our planet, we are losing. But fear not! Tom Cruise is here to save the day!

Oh wait. He actually starts the movie as a cowardly PR person who refuses to go to the front lines and even blackmails a general to avoid going. This already makes if the most realistic Tom Cruise action movie because, let’s face it, real Tom Cruise probably wouldn’t be very good at killing aliens and would want to avoid getting disemboweled at any cost. The general played by the always brilliant Brendan Gleeson (or Mad Eye Moody, to the uneducated, which, as we established, is you) doesn’t take too kindly to the blackmail and sends him to the front lines anyway where he is framed as a deserter and essentially sent to combat to die.

So Tom Cruise does exactly that. He dies. But then he wakes up again. And he dies again. And Again. And again. And again and again and again and WHY ON EARTH DID YOU FUCKERS NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE, IT FEATURES TOM CRUISE DYING OVER AND OVER.

Turns out when Cruise’s character died, he became imbued with the time traveling abilities that some of the aliens exhibit. Or more specifically, the ability to restart the day, a la Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Cruise decides to take advantage of this ability by training hard with Emily Blunt (and who wouldn’t want to train hard with her, amiright?) so that he can become the ultimate killing machine and end the war against the aliens.

The concept is fresh and original, the action scenes are thrilling and GUYS, TOM CRUISE DIES LIKE EVERY THREE MINUTES, JUST BUY IT ALREADY.
Random takeaway: Hey buddy, just joking about that stupid stuff earlier. You’re not dumb at all! You’re still ugly, though.

3. Gone Girl


When this movie came out, everyone took great lengths to not spoil anything about it. Going into this movie with as little knowledge as possible is the best way to enjoy it. So I will try to be as spoiler free and vague in this recap as possible.

This movie is based off a book. Ben Affleck plays a guy who has a wife, played by Rosamund Pike, and something happens. Ben Affleck then has to do stuff because of the thing that happened and there are lots lines of dialogue for a good number of characters.

Ben Affleck, as seen playing a person.

Ben Affleck, as seen playing a person.

Eventually the movie ends and we get to see the names of the people who made this great movie.

Random takeaway: That one scene was directed really well by the director. When it happened, I was like, “Man, that’s really well directed and shot!”

2. The Imitation Game

the imitation game

Apparently, a second World War happened at some point. I know, I wasn’t all that familiar with it too but that’s what this movie is about. I did some research and during the war, the bad guys, called “Nazis”, had a machine that allowed them to type messages in a nigh unbreakable code. The machine was known as “The Enigma Machine”. I dunno why, must be part of the riddle.

This movie is about the British trying to break this code. They hire Sherlock Holmes to try and do the job. Strangely, the characters all refer to Holmes as Alan Turing which is an odd error by the writers of the film. You think they would have caught a typo that comes up dozens of times. Sherlock has to learn to cooperate and get along with his fellow code breakers while dealing with constant hounding from the top brass (played spectacularly by Charles Dance, who is essentially playing his Game of Thrones character but in a British military uniform instead). Will they end up breaking the code??? Or will the Nazis prevail, thrusting the planet into a dark, new world order???

Well, since I am writing this in the comfort of my home and not attending some anti Jewish seminar with swastikas branded on my forehead, I think it’s safe to say how the movie ends. But don’t let that dissuade you from seeing this movie. Even with an ending that every history book had the audacity to spoil for us, The Imitation Game is as suspenseful and well directed as they come. Benedict Cumberbatch puts in the best performance of the year and deserves an Oscar. But it isn’t just him, as everyone around him, including a ravishing Keira Knightly, as a code breaker who has to deal with the unfortunate situation of being a woman in the 1940s, and the aforementioned Charles Dance, as British Military Version Of Tywin Lannister, all put in sterling performances.

The part where he plots to kill a bunch of Nazis at a wedding is a highlight of the film.

The part where he plots to kill a bunch of Nazis at a wedding is a highlight of the film.

I really don’t have much to complain about this movie. People complain it’s not completely historically accurate but I’m not watching it to research a paper, so that doesn’t bother me. Maybe there are a few subplots that feel tacked on and underdeveloped, and the movie can get confusing with how often it jumps from present to past to even more in the past, but that’s just nitpicking. See this movie, it’s the best Sherlock Holmes film to date.

Random takeaway: Where is Martin Freeman? I guess this is a prologue, before Watson’s meeting with Holmes? Ehh, maybe they’ll explain it in The Imitation Game 2: Imitate Harder.

1. Guardians of the Galaxy

guardians poster

I hate myself for this. By voting Guardians of the Galaxy as the best movie of 2014, I am part of the reason why Hollywood is pumping out mindless blockbusters like an 1800s housewife pumped out babies. I am part of the reason why Marvel has completely gone off the fucking rails, making every single intellectual property they own into a movie with a 500 million dollar budget. I am part of the reason why there will be 40 superhero movies over the next six years. Fucking 40! I didn’t even realize there were that many super heroes to make movies about.

But you know what? I watch movies for fun. I’m not some asshole with a monocle who goes to the movies to dissect and break down the themes like the negative effects of alcoholism or the role of religion in 1400s European politics. I go to escape the horrible, crushing reality of life and to forget how terrible things are for two hours.

And I can’t remember a movie that I had more fun watching this year than Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s a movie that doesn’t take itself very seriously yet at the same time pays the source material a great deal of respect. It’s funny, action packed, and even, at times, touching and full of heart. Two of the characters are a talking raccoon who wields a big gun and a talking tree who only says three words. That sentence alone should convince you to buy this movie.

Somewhere, some stuffy, corporate bigwigs had these two characters described to them and the movie still managed to get greenlit. That makes me so happy.

Somewhere, some stuffy, corporate bigwigs had these two characters described to them and the movie still managed to get greenlit. That makes me so happy.

Guardians focuses on the suddenly very popular Chris Pratt, who plays Peter “Star-Lord” Quill, an Earthling who was abducted into space as a kid. He grows up, having sex with several different colored alien chicks along the way, and we’re reintroduced to him as he’s trying to sell an orb he found on an abandoned planet. Since this wouldn’t be a very good movie if he sold the orb and went back to having sex with aliens in the comfort of his ship, things go cock up and Quill finds himself in prison. In prison, he teams up with a deadly, green skinned woman named Gamora; a muscular, tattooed brute named Drax; and the aforementioned talking raccoon and tree. They go on a journey to find out what this orb is, which eventually leads them to trying to stop a genocidal maniac from obliterating a planet full of innocent lives. Hilarity ensues.

As I said, the movie is just flat out fun. It favors comedy over the gritty seriousness that superhero movies have a boner for these days, and it’s refreshing to see a comic book movie where the characters aren’t growling or despairing about whether or not it’s all worth it. Guardians of the Galaxy is a delightful middle finger to the gravitas and heaviness that so many Marvel and DC movies are shoving down our throats.

And the great thing about this is throughout all of the weirdness, with the bug eyed aliens, the crazy ass space ships, the indecipherable sci-fi lingo, the part where a blue dude kills a bunch of dudes with a spear by whistling, my brain never once went, “This is stupid, why am I watching it.” For even more context, this was released the same summer of a movie where super intelligent apes go to war with humans in a post apocalyptic San Francisco. Clearly, we, as moviegoers, have all stopped giving a shit.

And if that means getting more movies like this, I’ll take it.

Random takeaway: Is it weird that I was turned on by Gamora’s green skin? Is it weird that I’ll probably force my future girlfriends to paint themselves green while fooling around in the bedroom? Is it weird that I’m typing all of this for everyone to see? No? Phew. Good.

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Posted by on January 11, 2015 in Uncategorized


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