2014 was a mediocre moviegoing year, but it wasn’t without some fantastic flicks.
Documentaries particularly rose to the occasion. Select filmmakers started out with a simple subject, but then were forced to change their perspective every time a new layer was stripped away. Because of that, Being Ginger and Kung Fu Elliot were really special docs considering how personal they became.
Movie goers also received an eclectic palette of comedies. It was a year where studios were willing to take some risks when it came to giving funny filmmakers some leeway. Unfortunately, those flicks didn’t pan out nicely when the unenthused feedback rolled in. However, you’ll see some of those hilarious films marked as “underrated” on my list.
Before we look forward, let’s take a look back at some of those winners and under-appreciated flicks.
#20: Need for Speed
#19: Metro Manila
#18: The Grand Budapest Hotel
#17: The Double
#16: Alive Inside
#15: Mistaken for Strangers
#14: Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger
#13: The One I Love
#12: Cheap Thrills
#11: The Guest
Wylie Writes’ Ten Best Movies of 2014
#10: The Overnighters (DIR. Jesse Moss)
The Overnighters is a remarkable film about the human spirit and the struggle to maintain compassion and beliefs. It’s a timely pick that is heartfelt as it is merciless.
#9: Nightcrawler (DIR. Dan Gilroy)
Dan Gilroy’s gripping dark comedy offers razor-sharp commentary and terrific performances. Soon enough, you’re enjoying the hell out of it.
#8: Frank (DIR. Leonard Abrahamson)
Frank is a strange cookie, but an honestly funny and sincere portrayal of musical purgatory. Great music, a compassionate script, and Michael Fassbender’s awesome performance make this one a keeper.
#7: AKP: Job 27 (DIR. Michael L. Suan)
Sharp, sexy, and sensational. Michael L. Suan’s silent film deserved a wider release and more recognition. Nonetheless, AKP: Job 27 was the most accomplished Canadian indie of the year.
#6: The Final Member (DIR. Jonah Bekhor and Zach Math)
Bekhor and Math capture the wildest competition in this outrageous documentary. The Final Member has a loveable heart, a fantastic sense of humour, and will have you curled over for multiple reasons.
#5: Life Itself (DIR. Steve James)
Steve James’ lovely doc Life Itself has the sympathetic appeal and gravitas of a rightfully great documentary about an unbreakable legacy.
#4: Borgman (DIR. Alex van Warmerdam)
A weird and daring twisted film. Alex van Warmerdam’s slow burn has magnificent leading performance by Jan Bijvoet, and a haunting allure that keeps pulling the audience in.
#3: The LEGO Movie (DIR. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller)
To not say this ingenious film is brilliant would be robbing the movie out of the esteem it deserves. Go. See. This. Movie. Now.
#2: The Selfish Giant (DIR. Clio Barnard)
One stupefyingly excellent and instinctively made directorial debut from Barnard. The Selfish Giant gives off an aroma of a film that will be remembered for a very long time.
#1: Gone Girl (DIR. David Fincher)
Each moment, each silence, and every detail is important to this sly story of shrewd behaviour. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike are perfect in this deceptive film, and filmmaker David Fincher proves once again that he’s a master of storytelling and mystery.
Artwork Special Thanks to: Sonya Padovani