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Oscar vs Ron’s Top 30 Films of 2014

February 22, 2015

Oscar eve sunset: photo from Oscar’s Facebook page

Just in time for the Oscars: Ron Well’s Top 30 Films for 2014 with notes and links to his reviews highlighted. My comments in (parentheses).
“There weren’t any movies that I REALLY disliked this year.” says Ron. “Even the ones I have at the bottom of the list were okay, though they didn’t strike me as noteworthy in one respect or another.  I seem to be out of step with what most people liked this year, but that’s ok. For me at least, it was a pretty good year for movies.”

People say The Imitation Game was just a by-the-numbers Academy Award type of picture. Maybe, maybe not, but how else would we have learned about the formerly unheralded Alan Turing. Obviously, I liked the movie a lot.
2. Wild (review) (Nominations for Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern)
3. Selma (nominated for best picture, best song)
For me, Citizenfour is a very, very important documentary. I hope many people will see it.
 (Why was this outstanding film shut out of the Oscars? Was it because it was released Dec. 31, 2014 and no one knew about it? Read this article for more ideas why.)

6. The Theory of Everything (review)
(5 Nominations including Best Picture)
8. The Lego Movie (Animated)

: I never had so much fun as in the Lego Movie. It was clever, subversive, and had a wonderful theme about never getting “stuck” in your life; that is, always finding new ways to be creative through teamwork, imagination and not always following “the instruction manual.”. I can’t wait to see it again. And the song, “Everything Is Awesome” takes quite a shot at the everything is wonderful crowd, as well as pop music radio. This is a brilliant screenplay, and one of the top ten movies of the year. (Note: link to discussion of this film and the 5 animated films nominated for Oscars).
9. American Sniper (6 Nominations including Best Picture)
I was enthralled by American Sniper, but the lies he told in his book tainted my perception of the movie. Bradly Cooper was fantastic.
11. Locke

12. Gone Girl; review
(Nominated Best Actress)
Gone Girl: Ok, I admit it, I thought it was fun. A mainstream movie with a ton of plot holes in it, but who cares. I never knew where it was headed and that was worth the price of admission. But please, no sequel….
15. Ida (Nominated Best Foreign) –update: WINNER
17. Birdman (Nominated Best Picture) update: WINNER

 I might want to see Birdman again. I liked the acting a lot (Michael Keaton and Emma Stone especially), but I found it hard to care for an actor who seem so traumatized by his career. Thank god we didn’t have to count on him to break the Nazi secret code….
18. Whiplash (Nominated Best Picture)–update: WINNER supporting actor
19. Life Itself (Documentary)

20. Mr. Turner
(4 Nominations)
21. Still Alice (Julianne Moore nominated for Best Actress) update: WINNER
Still Alice: a tv movie of the week that rises in stature because of Julianne Moore’s dynamic performance. Exceptionally hard to watch if you know someone with Alzheimer’s. Brought to mind Julie Christie in Away From Her. Great actresses; tough subject matter.
22. Unbroken (3 Nominations)
23. Force Majeure (review) (Foreign/Subtitled)
 (According to Ron’s review, this should have been one of the frontrunners for best foreign film this year.)
26. Interstellar (5 Nominations)

27. Boyhood
(6 Nominations including Best Picture) update WINNER Best Supporting Actress for Patty Arquette
Never say never, but: I doubt I will ever watch Boyhood or Grand Budapest Hotel again, though they both had their interesting moments. It’s nice so many people liked these, but these movies were just not for me. Good for Linklater holding everyone together for 12 years, but……I’ve ranted about Boyhood before, so I’ll just let it go. (Ron and I disagree on this film–I loved it, loved the film, loved the concept, and thought in particular that Patty Arquette was awesome.)
28. The Immigrant
29. Grand Budapest Hotel (9 Nominations including Best Picture)
(I also thoroughly enjoyed this film when Ron clearly did not think that much of it. My 11 year old and I watched this on a plane trip, then we shared it when it came out on video with my husband. Very imaginative, so many great cameos! One day we will make those desserts and I will blog about it!)
30. Magic in the Moonlight

Thanks again to Ron Wells for viewing over 30 new films in 2014 (and a couple days into 2015!). This represents some 60 or more hours of film watching  (and paying attention while he watched!), then  writing about 16 of them–that’s got to represent another 30 hours or more–which brings the total time invested to about 100 hours this year — two hours a week (with a two week vacation!).

Thanks Ron, for giving me permission to publish your reviews here. I have edited them minimally, merely catching a few typos plus adding trailers, images, and the occasional comments (believe it or not, I spend between 1-2 hours doing just this part and  way too many hours on this one blog post making all the links and ading the nominations etc!)

I look forward to seeing 2015’s films through his eyes and continuing to share his reviews with you. Get us in your in box! Subscribe! It’s easy and free!

What were YOUR favorite films released in 2014? Please share in the comments below! If you wrote a blog post with your top 10, please leave your link so we can go see!


Curious about the worst films of 2015? Here’s the Razzies. Good thing for me I missed every single one! 




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