Wrapping Up 2014: Top 10 Favorite Films of the Year- with a Special Guest Writer

With the year 2014 ending, I thought I would take some time to reflect on this past year of film and even look towards the future at what lies ahead. From the best films of the year to the God-awful bombs we all want to forget, this has been an interesting year for movies. Some of our most anticipated films have met our expectations, exceeded them or have fallen short. So as we approach the next year which will, hopefully, hold an even better year for film, let's think about and remember the best parts of 2014.

In this article, we will be looking back on our Top 10 Favorite Films of the Year. For this article, we will have a special guest writer. The following was recorded as a conversation and then transcibed to the blog. This is something we haven't done before, but hope to continue to do in the future so please bare with us for this and leave any comments/criticism about the format in the comments below.

Nate: So with us today, we have a special guest writer, Rob.
Rob: Hey, I'm Rob.
Nate: So, how this is going to work is that, individually, we're going to be running down our top movies of the year from number ten to number two, then we're going to discuss briefly what we each had on our ten through two, and then we're both going to say our number one. I'll go first just to show how to do it here...

Nate's List #10-#2

#10- Gone Girl

Nate: My number ten is Gone Girl. I had been looking forward to this movie for a little while because I had read the book, and I felt like Ben Affleck gave a really good performance but, of course, Rosamund Pike, as most of you know through my other articles and other things that have been said, that Rosamund Pike gave probably one the best female performances of the year. It was just really cool to see this satire on how the media exposes people and their problems. And it all led up to this dramatic ending. 

#9- Nightcrawler

Nate: My number nine was Nightcrawler. This movie was also, in many ways, a satire, reflecting on the media and how we have become desensitized to the brutality of modern news. Jake Gyllenhaal also gives one of the best performances he's ever given as Lou Bloom. All these different elements from the movie come together and work at giving this very creepy and brutal movie in many ways.  

#8- Fury

Nate: My number eight is Fury. I didn't really have many expectations when I went in to see Fury, but when I came out, I had really enjoyed this movie, because when you watch the trailers you get a sense that Brad Pitt is the lead in this movie but in many way he's not. He's a supporting actor, because this is really Logan Lerman's movie. And for just seeing him in Percy Jackson you never thought he was going to have much of a career but then seeing him in this, you can see that he can really act. He just did a really good job in this movie. It brought up some really interesting points about how war works and the effect it has on the people who fight in it.  

#7- Interstellar

Nate: My number seven is Interstellar. This had to be one of my most anticipated movies of the year because Christopher Nolan is one of my favorite directors. Of course, Matthew McConaughey was just coming off of his best actor win.
Rob: McConaissance...  
Nate: (laughs) Yeah. You see, Inception was a science fiction film, but seeing Nolan go into space and do a full-out science fiction movie, that was something I was really excited for. In many ways it delivered on my expectations and in some ways it didn't. It was still a really good movie, but unfortuntately it wasn't as high up on the top 10 list as I would have wished it to be.   

#6- Edge of Tomorrow

Nate: My number six is Edge of Tomorrow. Edge of Tomorrow is a movie that, when the trailers first came out, I thought it looked like a piece of garbage, honestly. I thought it was just going to stink. I thought it was going to be terrible. But then critics reviews were coming out and they were giving it 90%s and they were giving it A+s. Rob actually saw it with me. 
Rob: Yeah.
Nate: So, we decided that "Oh, we've got to check this out why the critics are giving it such great reviews".
Rob: ..."what's the fuss"?
Nate: (laughs) It turned out to be a really fun movie. It was enjoyable. There was a lot of really good action, probably some of the best action I've seen this year. It was just a fun time and probably my favorite experience I've had at the theaters all year.

#5- X-Men: Days of Future Past

Nate: My number five is X-Men: Days of Future Past. The X-Men franchise had gotten kind of rocky with X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but then it redeemed itself with X-Men: First Class. With the original X-Men director, Bryan Singer coming back the merging of the casts of First Class and the original cast, it could have been really bad and a mess of a movie or it could have really worked, and fortunately for all of us, it worked. 

#4- Locke

Nate: My number four is Locke. I had heard really good things about this movie. It had Tom Hardy, it only had Tom Hardy, in a car, talking to people on the phone for an hour and a half. That's it. And it is my fourth favorite movie of the year. What was so great about it was that when he gets into the car, Hardy's character has everything going for him. He's got a really good life. When he gets out of the car, at the end of the movie, his entire life is just ruined. 
Rob: You spoiled the movie. 
Nate: (laughs) And you find out through the car ride and who he talks to and he talks about exactly how that happens.  

#3- Snowpiercer

Nate: My number three is Snowpiercer. I really like Chris Evans as an actor. He's freaking Captain America...
Rob: He sucks.  
Nate: F**k you. (laughs) The premise for the movie sounded cool about the end of the world and how the whole world is frozen over and there's this train that goes around that has the last survivors of the human race. The train is segregated by class. What made this movie really go up on my list is the fact that there were so many different metaphors about our life and how we are as a society, as well as having really good drama and action and some comedy throughout.

#2- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Nate: My number two is Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Apes on horses! (laughs) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was my most anticipated movie of this year. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is, in my eyes, a brilliant movie and I still think that the performance that Andy Serkis gave, I think was worthy of an Oscar nomination. So I was really looking forward to this movie. I had my fears that, maybe, with it switching hands to a different director, not having James Franco or any of those people, that it might not be as good as Rise. And in some ways it wasn't as good as Rise, but for the most part... it was a really good movie. So it's at my number two.   

Nate: Alright, let's switch over to Rob here, who's the new guest, and he'll run down his numbers ten through two.   
Rob: Okay! 

Rob's List #10-#2

#10- Interstellar

Rob: At number ten, I had Interstellar. Coming in, my expectations lowered for the movie, seeing that it only had about a 73% on Rotten Tomatoes, but as I progressed through the movie, the action and the special effects and the acting really boosted up what I was going to give the movie (as a rating) from when it first started. By the end, it probably became on the best theater experiences I've ever had, and I give a lot of credit to Christopher Nolan for making such a difficult film, and it came out to be number ten.

#9- Jersey Boys

Rob: At number nine, was the movie Jersey Boys. I know it's not movie that everybody likes, but all film is subjective and I feel like the whole story... it was a good ride to go through, and the direction by Clint Eastwood, I thought, was pretty good. The acting was probably something that lowered my score for it, but I thought that Christopher Walken's performance was very well done.  

#8- Gone Girl

Rob: At number eight, I have the movie Gone Girl. I hadn't really heard much of this movie until the end of summer when Nate over here told me about it. 
Nate: Yeah.  
Rob: He told me the ending, I knew the ending, but that didn't really ruin my movie experience because the story was told so well and the direction by David Fincher, I thought, was spot-on and Rosamund Pike gave a wonderful performance, one that I will never forget. And that's why I've got it at number eight.
Nate: For the record, he asked me to spoil it for him, I'm not a d*ck. (laughs
Rob: Oh, okay. (laughs)

#7- Boyhood

Rob: At number seven, I have the movie Boyhood. I remember sitting in a theater and seeing the trailer for Boyhood and I said "What the hell is that?", so I looked into it and saw that Richard Linklater was the director, and he directed one of my favorite movies in School of Rock, so I thought I'd give it a try. I thought this movie was... I don't know how they thought of it, it was just brilliant, I thought, how they could expand through, what was it? Twelve years?
Nate: Yeah, twelve years. 
Rob: Twelve years over one kid's life. And every year that it went through his life, his performances were great, so I thought it was just a great movie. Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette gave, I think, Oscar nomination worthy, hopefully, performances for their supporting roles.  

#6- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Rob: At number six, I had Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Like Nate said, I think this was my most anticipated movie coming into this year. I love Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It was just a great movie and I thought Andy Serkis gave just an incredible performance in that one. But the reason why I liked it more than Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was the fact that it had James Franco. I thought James Franco gave a great performance in the first one and in the second one there wasn't really a character like that. I mean Jason Clarke was decent at times but just wasn't that great. Gary Oldman, I thought was just kind of a stock character and wasn't that great. Koba, though, I thought was a great villain, better than... well there really wasn't a villain in the first one, but I thought he did a good job of playing off of Caesar, so that's why I have it at number six.    

#5- Men, Women & Children

Rob: At number five is a movie that I don't think a lot of people liked, or even saw, but I saw it and I really enjoyed it, which is Men, Women & Children. Going into this movie, I didn't know what to think. I knew that Adam Sandler was in it, and that he could get an Oscar nomination, so that got my attention, because Adam Sandler makes stink-pile, garbage movies (laughs). So I watched it, and I thought his performance was probably the best in the whole movie! I mean, he played a dad, who has a wife, and their relationship isn't really that strong so his wife cheats on him with the guy from the Allstate commercials. I felt bad for him. Maybe that's why I liked the movie. Overall, I thought the direction was alright by Jason Reitman, but I thought the performances by Dean Norris and Ansel Elgort were good as a father and son and Jennifer Garner's character was just a complete weirdo, stalking her daughter, going through her phone and all that stuff. It gave a good representation of how technology is used in today's day and age. 

#4- Edge of Tomorrow

Rob: At number four is Edge of Tomorrow. Like Nate, when I saw these trailers, I said "Ah, it's Tom Cruise in another stupid-ass sci fi movie that... just get this the hell away from me!" 
Nate: (laughs)
Rob: But then, thanks to my friends at Rotten Tomatoes, I saw they were giving the movie a 90% so me and Nate said "Okay, we've got to check it out now." So, it was worth checking out. It was just a great movie. I thought Emily Blunt's performance, though, topped Tom Cruise's.
Nate: Really?
Rob: Yeah, I think she's a great action star now and I want to see her in a lot more action movies. I thought she pretty much carried that movie.
Nate: She'd be a better Wonder Woman than Gal Gadot.     
Rob: You could be a better Wonder Woman.
Nate: (laughs
Rob: And one more word for Edge of Tomorrow... "Maggot!" (laughs)

#3- Chef

Rob: At number three, I have the movie Chef. This movie was a pleasant surprise for me. Jon Favreau had just directed Cowboys & Aliens. Did you ever see that?       
Nate: Yeah, I saw that.
Rob: That was awful. It was crap. He also did Iron Man 2, which I think is the worst Marvel film ever made.    
Nate: Really? 
Rob: I hate it.
Nate: I think it's good.
Rob: I know you don't like Captain America: The First Avenger. (laughs) But anyways, I think (Favreau) as both an actor and a director in this movie was both really spot-on I thought the way they used social media in this movie, it was really cool how they used it, like how they would put all these ads for the food truck online and come from their homes and go to the towns where the food truck was. I thought all the acting was pretty spot-on. Robert Downey Jr. had a good part in it and Scarlett Johansson was pretty good as well.    

#2- Guardians of the Galaxy

Rob: And at number two was... Ooga Chaka! Ooga Ooga Ooga Chaka (laughs) Guardians of the Galaxy! I remember when this movie came out and I was still at summer camp and I said to my Mom "Oh, we've got to go see it" and she said "Oh, next Friday". And everyday, I'd be like "Let's go see it today", "Let's go see it today", "Let's go see it today", I was so excited for this movie and when I finally got to see it... it was awesome! Everything about it was awesome. Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Star-Lord... Chris Pratt gave an awesome performance. And James Gunn, I think he's one of my favorite filmmakers after this movie. And that was number two.

Nate: Alright, so I have a question for you.
Rob: Yeah?
Nate: Why is Apes so low on your list? You had it at number six. I had it at number two.

Rob: I think, because of how good Rise was.   
Nate: Really?
Rob: Yeah. Because, I don't know what it is about it, because it doesn't really draw me in. You know what I mean?
Nate: Yeah.
Rob: I was watching it two days ago and, I don't know, I couldn't get into most of it.
Nate: Yeah, and I love Rise, but just for this year I really liked Dawn
Rob: I thought Gary Oldman's character really disappointed me.
Nate: He was underused. 
Rob: Yeah, I thought he was going to be great in the movie, but no. And Jason Clarke... he just wasn't that great. Keri Russell was pretty good though.  
Nate: I just liked the relationship between Caesar and Koba and I felt like, I mean, you had a friendship between Caesar and James Franco in the first one, but you didn't have a rivalry in the first one. And I felt that was really well done in this one.    

Rob: Alright, and I want to know why didn't the movie Foxcatcher get on your top ten.  
Nate: Well it wasn't on your top ten... (laughs)
Rob: I know it wasn't on the top ten for mine and I have my reasons, but I wanted to know your reasons.
Nate: I don't know. Just looking at this year and what really stuck with me... Foxcatcher is a movie I was really looking forward to and at some points it didn't really deliver for me. In a lot of ways it did, I just didn't think, overall, I didn't enjoy it as much as some of the other films that were on my list.
Rob: I agree as well. 

Rob's Honorable Mentions:

Nate: Well let's quick do honorable mentions. You can go first.
Rob: For honorable mentions, I had Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I think I need to watch this movie again but the first time I watched it, it just didn't stick with me like Guardians of the Galaxy or other superhero movies this year. I don't know, I'll have to watch it again, though. I also had the one we just mentioned, Foxcatcher. It was very slow moving, very quiet and at some points it just dragged on a little, but that's what that movie needed. That's kind of what it was supposed to be. So I respected it in what it did.  
Nate: I agree with that.
Rob: I just don't think it was top ten worthy. Number three, 22 Jump Street. I saw this movie twice in theaters and I laughed pretty much the whole way through both times, but I thought 21 Jump Street is probably in my top five comedies of all time.
Nate: Really?
Rob: Yeah, and 22 Jump Street could not surpass it. And I had The Drop. We saw that one.
Nate: Yeah.
Rob: What made that movie for me, though was the Gandolfini Shuffle, one of the greatest things I've ever seen. (laughs)
Nate: (laughing) For those of you who don't know, there's this scene in The Drop where, it's a very short scene, but James Gandolfini runs across a parking lot and just the way he runs is something that we've come to call the "Gandolfini Shuffle". (laughs) One of the greatest moments of 2014.
Rob: (laughs) Oh, just on a side note, if anyone wants to go see The Gambler, just be sure to watch out for John Goodman's stomach!
Nate: (laughs)
Rob: It's probably one of the grossest things I have ever seen. Grosser than any gross-out horror movie... I thought I was going to puke! But anyways, The Drop, it was a great movie. The ending made the movie, I thought, with the loud bang at the end. And my last honorable mention was Nightcrawler. I was really, really excited for this movie but the ending, I thought, made it stay out of my top ten. I didn't really like how it ended. In the trailers, it made out to see Jake Gyllenhaal as more of a real villain, but the things he did in the movie weren't the worst. They were kind of frowned upon things he did but it wasn't anything that despicable.  
Nate: I think what he did was more despicable than probably what you thought but I would agree the movie made it seems as if he was going to start staging his own crimes and stuff.
Rob: And that's what I wanted to see.
Nate: In a way he did, for a little bit, but then the ending kind of changed that. I can understand. 
Rob: I thought he was going to get arrested or something but no he...
Nate: Don't spoil.
Rob: Oh, sorry.  

Nate's Honorable Mentions:

Nate: Alright, my honorable mentions, I have three, I have Captain America: The Winter Soldier as well. Like Rob said, I probably have to see it again. I saw it once in theaters and I was really looking forward to it. Captain America: The First Avenger, in my eyes, is probably the worst movie Marvel Studios has done...
Rob: He's an idiot!
Nate: (laughs) I didn't care for that, but I was excited to see (Captain America: The Winter Solider) and I really did like it. I thought there were some good elements, but it was getting so hyped about that I thought it was going to be one of the year's best movies and it just wasn't. So that's why it's in my honorable mentions. I also have The Drop, pretty much for the same reasons you said. The trailer looked really good so I saw the movie... it was really good, it just didn't make my top ten. But the Gandolfini Shuffle, that makes every top ten! (laughs) My last honorable mention is Gimme Shelter. I know a lot people who saw it did not like it and sometimes if a person doesn't like a movie, I can understand why they don't but for this movie I just don't. Vanessa Hudgens, the last thing I saw her in was High School Musical.
Rob: (laughs)
Nate: I have a sister.
Rob: Sure... (laughs)
Nate: But (Hudgens) gives an Oscar worthy in this movie. And the movie, I thought, was an incredible movie. It didn't make my top ten because there were so many good movies this year but it was an honorable mention.    

The Number Ones

Nate: Now let's get to our number ones. So I'll just say a quick little thing about my number one then you and we can compare. 
Rob: Okay.

Nate: So my number one is Guardians of the Galaxy. I think this is the only movie this year that I gave a 9/10 for. All the other ones were below. Guardians, it was just so much fun. It was just a fun movie. There was so much risk going in to what this movie could have been- probably a thousand different ways it could have failed. It wasn't just good, it was great. It didn't just meet expectations, it surpassed them. It worked in so many ways. And now it's become such a pop culture phenomenon. The soundtrack I still listen to with the Jackson Five and Ooga Chaka. It's just such a fantastic movie. 

Nate: So what about you? What's your number one?

Rob: Mine is X-Men: Days of Future Past. Going in, my favorite X-Men movie to date was X-Men: First Class. I thought Matthew Vaughn, who's directing Kingsman: Secret Service, can't wait for that, did a great job reviving that franchise. I didn't hate X-Men: The Last Stand. I thought it had a lot of redeeming qualities. The action was pretty good in it. I didn't like how they killed off everybody but X-Men Origins: Wolverine sucked. It sucked. That was bad. I thought, for Days of Future Past, the action was spot-on. I thought all the acting was good. I just really loved it. It drew me in. Not for one second was I bored. And I thought the future sentinels were some of the coolest things I've seen on screen. With the scales. And that's why it was my best movie of the year.  

Nate: Keep in mind, after we gave these top ten lists, Rob speak for yourself, but I did not see Birdman. I did not see Whiplash or The Imitation Game.
Rob: I didn't see those either.    
Nate: Or The Theory of Everything.
Rob: Same.
Nate: You saw but I didn't get a chance to see Boyhood or Chef.
Rob: I didn't see Fury. Or Locke or Snowpiercer.
Nate: So there are a lot of movies that came out in 2014 that I didn't get to see that probably would've surpassed some of the ones on my top ten.
Rob: We've got low budgets. We can't go to every single movie. 
Nate: We just don't have that time or money. 

Nate: So that's our top ten favorite films of the year. You can check out the other Wrapping Up 2014 lists I have on the blog. I'd like to thank Rob here.
Rob: Any time.
Nate: So take care everyone.

What do you think of our top ten lists? Did you like our special guest? What did you think of this new format? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.   

Written by: Nate and Rob
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