Parnella Picks! 2014 Favorite Films!

Hey Guys!  IT’S HEEERREEEE!!! 

It’s that time of year again to display my favorite films of the year!  With the Oscar nominations tomorrow morning, the Golden Globes recently behind us, the Screen Actor’s Guild (the SAG’s) hosting their ceremony later this month … that means it’s my favorite time of the year!  With Oscar season leading up with all the award ceremonies, I thoroughly enjoy the tail end of the cinematic year to finish out strong and creating my very own personal awards ceremony … TODAY!

Before we start, let me just say after critiquing films for over 5 years now, I’ve lightened up A LOT over the years.  I really just try to let go, kick back and just enjoy the films.  I pay attention to my body, and how I felt while experiencing and afterwards.  My ratings for the films I review have lightened up tremendously as I try to give the film the benefit of the doubt and just try to answer “did I overall enjoy myself?” and not try to be overly critical with my official critique.  So, if I tell you I really couldn’t get into Guardians of the Galaxy, the film EVERYONE worshiped this year, please believe I REALLY tried hop on the bandwagon!  So, I really must have not liked it.  I am, however, Netflix’ing it after this season to give it another shot, but no promises.  So if I didn’t like it, please know I tried my hardest to see what others saw who liked it, and join in with the appreciation. 

With that said … let’s start with the first half of Parnella Picks! 

See anything from your list?  Never heard of The Den huh?  Been meaning to get around to The Theory of Everything right?  "Wow, a Hunger Games film actually made one of Ben's favorite films lists!"  Well, it all makes for an interesting take on what my top ten could be! 

However, before we get around to that, and to avoid leaving you at the end of all this with me mouthing off about all the things I didn’t like, let’s get just that out of the way.


Gone Girl
The Monuments Men
Fading Gigolo
Still Alice 

I could go on and on with additions like Ninja Turtles or I, Frankenstein.  But I don’t need to declare that Transformers was one of the year’s worst.  This is a list of films I really wanted to like, but was truly let down in the end.  Especially the first two, the latter of which I waited a YEAR from last season to this one to fall asleep on it; and the former to go to the theater TWICE and fall asleep in the SAME SPOT!  I wanted to absolutely LOVE all of these films, but I was extremely let down.  

On a side note:  Maleficent was NOT apart of this “I wanted to like it but didn’t” persona, I expected what I got with that.  I added it to the list because SO MANY PEOPLE kept disagreeing with me, telling me they just loved it, that I felt the need to declare this as a disappointment for the year.  But honestly, from the get go to me it's always been, "Why do I have to tell you that Transformers sucked?  We all know it!" kind of film.  

On that note:  Here are some films you WON’T see on my top 10 this year …

EVERYONE worshipped it, but not me.  As I mentioned before, I’ll Netflix it after this awards season for a buddy of mine who’s the #1 member on the bandwagon.  But like I also said, no guarantees.  I did the same thing with another friend and Goodfellas and I dislike that film EVEN MORE SO now than when I first saw it.  So, you’ve been warned.

I’m not on the “hate” bandwagon like with Inception or Gravity or a lot of these big films that everyone seems to like but me.  I enjoyed it myself and loved director Christopher Nolan’s work with his regular team of people, especially Hans Zimmer.  But I’m in no hurry to see it again, to purchase Zimmer’s score, etc.  It wrapped up a little too neatly for me.  The characters could’ve been a little more in the main focus instead of all the space jargon and “hoopla” of all the spectacle and wonder of the special effects.  Overall, it’s a “nice” film of the year.  Not a great one to declare a “favorite” of it though.

I liked it.  Felt the pain, the struggle, the movement, etc.  But story story story, that is the question.  With this as the first big film of Martin Luther King as our hero to come around in awhile, I know I felt I wanted a character piece, when I kept telling myself that it isn’t.  It’s about the events he was apart of in the town of Selma, Alabama.  But I couldn’t let that go.  My Week With Marilyn wasn't a character piece it was just about a particular "lad's" (he he, English jargon) experience on a week of one of Marilyn's movie sets in England.  I still couldn't let it go that I wanted to see more about Marilyn (a problem with that film, but minuscule though to the real problem of that film we all know I have with it).  So add this whole character study desire, on top of how MLK was portrayed in his faults as saint and sinner.  The Nelson Mandela film with Idris Elba did a better job of this, though I felt Selma held more weight.  It’s a very moving story, a touching story, a story I liked.  Something we all can learn and take away from.  It’s not an Oscar film or a favorite though in my opinion.  It needed more ironing out of how to portray MLK and how to relay that with the events of Selma.  I'm sure it stuck to the history and actual portrayal of the real events, but that doesn't automatically mean it'll make an amazing movie.  Which this wasn't in my opinion.  I don’t think John Legend & Common’s song “Glory” deserved the win the awards they received for it either.  Modern day music in period piece work immediately turns me off.  For me, it has to have a feeling as if it too is from the time of the setting of the film, which is what I'm sure they were going for.  Huge failure in my book.  Listening to it just reminds me of the GOD AWFUL feeling I get when Baz Luhrmann puts a Jay-Z song in the middle of an early 19th century period piece.  Seriously, Leo DiCaprio as The Great Gatsby and company, crusing down early 19th century New York to "H to the Izzo).  Common & John Legend performing a heartfelt R&B song to a 1960's movie.  There's a way to pull it off with a modern day feel still to it to put your signature on it, this is proof that it's not quite that simple.  

When I first experienced the film, I loved it!  I couldn't fully embrace it as one of my TOP favorites this year as a couple story points stuck out, but I still really enjoyed myself.  Those points kept growing on me though as the season progressed.  I still like the film.  But if you want to be the best, there should be no questions in my mind about this that or the other.  I kept analyzing in my own head what I would've done differently the more I thought about this film.  I still think about the scenes I would've changed or had problems with, and that REALLY agonizes me!  In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realize this movie is really just about the acting.  And by that I mean JK Simmons, not Miles Teller.  The latter of which has a little more ways to go in my book.  He's great, but this was JK's vehicle to becoming a household name in our hearts finally.  That and the fact that a not even 30 year old kid made all of this, Damien Chazelle.  Starting out with a short film version to a full length feature with all kinds of musical difficulties ... this kid is on his way!  In my opinion, much further along with this one shot than Miles Teller with all of the films he's done thus far.  Now that the hype has died down for this film in my mind, I really have pretty much forgotten about it.   

I'm a huge fan of writer/director Richard Linklater.  Don't forget that last season I couldn't have been anymore on the bandwagon with the third installment in his "Before" series with Before Midnight.  My Birdman of last year.  So it's nothing personal.  It's quality.  I get it, the studio wants to market a film and it's pretty much out of the artist's hands when all we hear is, "it took 12 years to make the film", "The same actors were filmed over the course of 12 years", "It's so amazing to see all this hard work of 12 years pay off ...", 12 years, 12 years, 12 years.  Just like last year with 12 Years A Slave, I keep hearing "12 years" to remind me of a movie I do not like.  But the studio needs to make money or gain the prestige of the Oscar, as this is your best picture winner/top dog right right here for 2014.   So I get it, it's a business first.  However, in all of this "12 years" business, and actually seeing the film, I said to myself, "You took TWELVE YEARS ... to give me THAT?!  You could've filmed this the traditional way of filmmaking with different actors to age characters and could've given me the EXACT. SAME. STORY!"  So "12 years" came off as a gimmick and not an amazing bonus to the awesome sauce.  If 12 years was supported with a great story, one that didn't leave my derriere sore and in pain from 3 hours of WAY TOO MUCH of a story, 12 years wouldn't have come off as a gimmick, or "Gimmicky Arthouse" as I titled my review.  This is how I felt about Gravity, the film everyone worshipped last season.  The groundbreaking special effects and technology came off as smoke and mirrors or a gimmick to mask a not so solid story.  Boyhood wasn't as bad as such in the story department, we all know how much I hated Gravity, but nonetheless, Boyhood isn't higher up on the plus side either.  It's somewhere in the middle to me.  Some want to say this about Birdman and its cinematography, but I respectfully disagree.  There's a solid story with relatable characters underneath that amazing camera work in support thereof.  Something Gravity, Inception, and sadly Boyhood fail to do in my humble opinion.  

Here are a couple others you won't see on my list (though I liked these) …

Noah, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Big Hero 6, Get On Up

Here are some that I REALLY liked but I have to draw the line somewhere …

I recommend that last bunch if you’re looking for an enjoyable evening in with a good flick.  Oh, and to everyone cringing at The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (overall hated and spat upon by industry insiders, "... as bad as Batman & Robin (1997)") ... yup, you guessed it, !!!BITE MY SHINY, METAL ...  



My Top 10 Favorite Films of 2014!!

Go back and double check that.  Do you see Robert Downey Jr. & Robert Duvall (he he, two "Roberts")?  David Dobkin, the comedy director doing a courtroom drama (Wedding Crashers, Fred Claus)?  Okay, you’ve checked all that and you see that this is in the top ten section of my favorites … yup yup yup!  THIS IS NOT A TYPO!!  To this day I scratch my head as to why everyone COMPLETELY HATED THIS FILM!!!  I’m talking a failing grade from critics kind of bad.  Movie theaters quickly took it out of rotation because it wasn’t making any money.  “It wants to be many things but a movie isn’t one of them”.  “Robert Downey Jr. should’ve known better …” I ended up putting it off because of all the negative attention it was receiving.  After catching up on my must sees for the year, I finally got around to it after finding a theater that actually still had it (a tiny hole in the wall up in the valley here in Los Angeles).  As I was watching the film I kept nodding my head in approval, which turned into eager anticipation of what to expect next.  I forgot that Vera Farmiga, an actress whose work I’m quite fond of, and Leighton Meester, an actress with whom I’ve based the central characters of one of my screenplays around, are all in the film.  I loved them.  "Defend your honor", what a tag line!  If you watch the film, hopefully that will truly connect with you like it did me.  I loved how it didn't force things to neatly end like with Interstellar, it just hinted at certain things and let your imagination do the rest.  GREAT WRITING!!  My body was engaging with the film in a way that I do an Oscar best picture, something I can’t find fault with.  

“It’s not enough of  …” this or that … I have no idea where all the hatred is coming from?!  I RATED IT A PERFECT SCORE!!

Writer/Director David Ayer’s work with a cast that has some weight to it, especially a name at the helm that surpasses anything when it’s mentioned, “Brad Pitt”, was impressive.  It made me eager for his work with DC Comics and their story (Suicide Squad) of an ensemble with some weight to it especially a name at the helm that surpasses anything when mentioned, “Will Smith”.  Fury is a brutal tale of war, but I felt with today’s technology and such it helps to enhance the art of storytelling to help us understand the true feeling of a particular instance in history or any story in general (or at least get us as close as we can to what that experience was like).  I’m totally okay with everything that took place, in particular with the ending.  I was behind Pitt’s character as he lead his crew, as well as myself, on the journey of war and how to navigate through it.  As a somewhat spiritual person, when Shia LaBeouf’s character who was a very spiritual person, when he said a prayer with a dying man's last breaths on the battle field to ease that man’s pain, I couldn’t have connected anymore with that prayer than I did!  It was infinitely moving and I felt the pain, the sorrow, the agony, and such of war, yet I was reminded of my connection to the higher powers that be in this universe and thus re-instilled my connection to Ayer’s war epic.  Yeah, all from that 30 second prayer that LaBeouf did.  Something I’ll always love about the experience of the cinema! 

And yes, I know the German word for “nine” is “neun”.

It was 9:30am and I was sick, having just awakened after New Year’s.  Yet time to squeeze in all my films before my deadline for this blog.  I could’ve EASILY fallen asleep!  And I remember one time in particular that I was about to.   Yet, J.C. Chandor helmed a truly engaging story of how corrupt and violent New York City was during this time back in the early 80’s.  In particular the chemistry between Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain (one of my girls, along with Marilyn, Scarlett, Margot, Julie, & Penelope) was simply amazing.  I wondered in the marvel of their work.  I went into it with some concern as Isaac was first presented to me in the Coen Brother’s work Inside Llewyn Davis a film I completely hated, so until I saw Violent Year that’s what I associated Oscar Isaac with.  Even after his casting announcements of the upcoming X-Men and Star Wars sagas.  I’m so glad that sour taste has now been erased from my mouth!  He was like a different person to me!  I kept saying, “is this the same guy??”  So poise, professional, suave, civil, and sophisticated!  Something I strive towards with every waking breath!  Throw in my girl Jessica (whom I can’t wait to see portray my ultimate girl Marilyn very soon!), and a little David Oyelowo who’s slowly rising to the top, and you’ve got an amazing cast!  As for the story, I was completely on board with the little bits of information that I was slowly being fed.  I could process everything efficiently and was given the right amount of time to digest the information I was given before given a little more.  When it was over, everything made sense as my imagination could take over and successfully finish the story.  They didn’t need to hold my hand and force anything, especially the ending, to make it abundantly clear, “this is the end”.  THIS is good writing!  THIS is how you tell stories! 

A colleague of mine compared this to the 70’s Oscar epic Network and Scorsese’s Taxi Driver two films he despises.  Though I agree on the Scorsese film (was never big on his claim to fames, and that’s two now I’ve mentioned), I had to disagree on Network.  Nightcrawler deals with the world of newsrooms as well, but I didn’t see regurgitation.  Mainly because boy oh boy was Jake Gyllenhaal so incredible!  His sister Maggie put it best when she said his character is, “so grounded in reality!”  I couldn’t agree more.  Talk about a perfectionist!  I don’t even think that describes it best.  This is a story that’s kind of dark once you start scratching the surface and really discovering what it’s all about.  So adding Gyllenhaal’s perfection-like persona who will stop at nothing to achieve his heart’s desire, and you’ve got yourself a mind boggling, dark, thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat!  There’s a car chase scene laced with gun shoot outs and film cameras within capturing it all, in a story that doesn’t seem like there would even be a gun, let alone a car chase!  It reminded me to obey the law, but to never stop at achieving my goals, and to never give up! 

I don’t want to give anything away, but I have to say this:  THAT MONOLOGUE AT THE END THOUGH!!  Talk about passion and fighting for what you believe!  Even if it is dark and twisted!  Once it was over, it all came together, and the story fell into place perfectly!  I was concerned that it was too perfect and fairy tale while watching, like with some films *cough* Warrior *cough*, but then it ended perfectly to properly put everything in its place, and I was blown away!

The name “Gyllenhaal” comes from Swedish origins and, cemented, this is happily my number “Sju” on my list of favorites this year!!

People wanted to complain to Sony, who, God bless them, are trying to keep their head above water now, about their new take on Spider-Man.  Something I respectfully disagree with as, pun intended, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was AMAZING!!  Everyone wants to point fingers and say how things should change when the general consensus is that something is wrong with the product.  But not when that feeling is the opposite.  As much as I would love to see Wolverine and Iron Man taking down sentinel robots and all kinds of villains together in the same film, that’s not prevalent in my mind because Fox is portraying the story of X-Men RIGHT!!  I actually LIKE the look of the 70’s now! Something I've always despised.  Hugh Jackman as a badass in 70’s costume was so awesome!  But more importantly, the story was solid.  As we time travel from the present to back to the 70’s to follow our hero and biggest name on the ballad convince younger Professor X & Magneto to stop a chain of events from happening in the future, I was completely immersed and fighting with Wolverine in hopes to restore the balance in time!  But here’s the kicker, it wasn’t just in a fun, popcorn, and commercial way.  Uh uh, this is a film that has every right to go up against a Titanic, or a Forest Gump.  Why?  Because the story is solid! 

Now granite, if you must pick it apart, I found hair line points you could argue if you MUST find something wrong with it.  But I can’t stand doing just that, looking for dirt because I want to not like something.  What does your heart tell you?  That’s the best piece of advice I was given to critique films with and I’ve never forgotten that.  What does your body do while experiencing the film?  A Most Violent Year kept me awake when mentally I kept telling myself it was time to go back to sleep because it was early.  X-Men had me engaged and gave me the time of my life that night in Hollywood, eager to talk about my experience with my co-workers that Monday. 

One of the leads, James McAvoy, is from Scottish decent; and this latest X-Men installment is definitely a favorite, number “sax” on my list this year.  I can’t wait for the next one, Apocalypse! 

This style of story telling, time loop, always intrigues me!  Films like Groundhog’s Day, Source Code, etc. It’s something to see your character in similar settings and to still have your focus kept on the story.  My favorite movie ever takes place the same environment the entire time and I love it for being able to keep my focus.  On similar reasons a little enhanced, is why I gravitated towards this one.  Our hero, Tom Cruise, relives the same day over and over in a war against an alien race trying to take over our world.  I was with Cruise as he discovered new information, little by little, to lead to possibly defeating the aliens (reminiscent of the aliens from The Matrix). 

Once again, story story story!  I titled my review “likability is amazing!”  We’re behind our hero as he’s trying to convince the right people of what could possibly happen and also that he’s not crazy!  As he was pleading and fighting, I was pleading and fighting!  It gives you everything you need to get onboard and go for an amazing ride!  It’s an intriguing action flick that’s so much more than explosions.  Meaning, it doesn’t just blow things up for the sake of blowing them up (hashtag Transformers).  I kept preaching for everyone to see the film back when I saw it around its debut, and I still do now.  This is one to start with from my list if you just want something fun but not too “dumb and commercial” or not too “sad and dramatic” as well! 

Edge of Tomorrow has its roots in Japan from “All You Need Is Kill”, a novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka; and is rightfully so my number “Itsutsu” this year on my list of favorites! 

“Kiera Knightly successfully pulled off modern day film??”  I rarely say that.  Granted, I liked Domino (2005), but again, I rarely say that as she’s classically trained and primarily does period work.  I don’t blame her.  I would too if I was classically trained.  Timothy Spall, another classically trained British actor, has caught my eye this year with Mr. Turner.  Just like how Kiera Knightly has moved up in my interests with this.  It’s not a cheap plug for the new music, or for Adam Levine (who plays Knightly’s boyfriend), or anything musical really.  It’s a plug for a great story to get behind!  Even in Levine’s mini-concert around the climax, it all services the story properly.  I loved the dynamic between the leads (Mark Ruffalo & Kiera Knightly).  When Ruffalo first discovers Kinghtly, as her song comes alive to him, it came alive to me!  I love this world of artsy, yet not too extremely hipster, healthy eating, funky hats and shoes, coffee shops, and acoustic guitars, etc.  I wanted to go get an outfit like Adam Levine’s wardrobe in the entire film afterwards.  Why?  Because I was totally immersed in the story! 

I wanted nothing but the best for our characters of this world:  the daughter searching for a father, Hailee Steinfeld, who I’m now on board with her acting as I wasn’t with everyone with True Grit, the ex-wife (Catherine Keener) who just wants a meaningful relationship with a man, preferably her with her ex, even the friend zoned guy friend that all girls have, James Corben, who’s slowly getting back on my good side after his first impression to me was with that heavily clichéd film he did for The Weinsteins not too long ago.  Everyone had a place in my heart for passion and support, unless they were more on the villain side, like Mos Def’s character.  Which means everything worked as it should have.  Which means this story affected me as it should have.  Which means my body approves.  Which means, I approve.  I gave it a perfect score immediately after it was over, and I was so happy that I experienced this film!  A small, little indie flick that has a powerful impact!

Writer/Director John Carney is of Irish decent; and his indie, enlightening, musical endeavor has earned a spot in my top five of my favorites, number “a ceathair” (pronounced "ah cah-her"). 

I had watched all kinds of films up to this point.  Oscar season was officially under way.  But nothing really HIT ME like, “It’s Oscar season baby!”  Nope, not even the precious Whiplash, which had just debuted.  I liked it, but it wasn’t Oscar season yet to me.  Then I got my seat at my favorite theater in LA.  One where it just feels like “this is where you see an Oscar film!”  And director Alejandro González Iñárritu TOOK MY BREATH AWAY!!  From the very first seconds in, I was hooked and couldn’t look away; my gosh, the entire time I had a smile on my face!  “FINALLY!!”  I said as that innovative and creative drum score rhymed the end credits, “IT’S OSCAR SEASON BABY!!” 

This was the first film that gave me that feeling of high standards that I lacked with Whiplash.  This was the first film that gave me that feeling of uncontrollable emotion that I couldn't find in Boyhood.  The type of emotion you feel when something is pushing your buttons in the oh so perfect way that it should and can command you to do anything afterwards (unlike Interstellar)!  THIS!! IS AN OSCAR FILM!!!

The cinematography, all being in one shot, which was simply brilliant, was not, I repeat, was NOT a gimmick, simply because the story was strong enough to support such camera work.  It only comes off as a gimmick when you have an incredibly weak story like Gravity (shot by the same cinematographer as Birdman, insert wink emoticon) that comes off as cliché because of it.  This only enhanced my experience, to get behind an actor trying to be taken serious (Michael Keaton), an agent trying to help yet keep everyone in the clear (Zach Galifinakis), an egotistical “real actor” (Edward Norton), a daughter searching for the love of her father and find her place in society (Emma Stone), who, might I add am FINALLY on the fan wagon for!  I couldn’t believe it!  The Help (2011) made me realize she needed “help” (where Miles Teller, as good as I think he is, currently resides in my opinion), and this made me realize that was no longer necessary!  This film just opened my eyes to the beauty in life, realizing your true potential to be a force to be reckoned with in the world, and gave me such an experience.  I was behind every character like with every film in my favorites, a necessary pattern.  Afterwards, I even met one of my favorite film critics for the first time after seeing him on a regular basis online and we had a quick chat.  A girl that I liked kept giving me attention that day.  Everything just lined up into place after I saw this film!  It was SUCH-a-great-day! 

By The Academy’s standards, !!THIS!! … is the BEST PICTURE of the year!!

Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Oscar caliber, moving experience “es mi numero tres” on my list of favorites this year! 

In my discussions about the debate between “the novel & the film”, I always mention a particular point, “very rarely does the film stand up and hold its own when compared to the book”.  Yes, technically one can’t compare the two, but when you do read the book, it’s all you can do.  So in that aspect, very rarely does the film hold up.  It’s always an utter muck of debris when you think about “this aspect or that” from the book.  But then I ALWAYS comment at that point in the discussion, “yes, very rarely, and one of those rarities is the French, sheer work of GENIUS … Pierre Boulle’s original novel that is … The Planet of the Apes!”  It holds it own light and the first film, the original CLASSIC, holds a much different light!  I honestly can’t compare the two.  “They do their own thing” in their own respective rights.  Which is the way it should be!  So I say that to say that the film does the novel justice!  One makes you want to experience the other.  Following this is one tough S-O-B, and ultimately I say all that to say that director Matt Reeves has done just that!  This new rendition of the intellectual, inspirational, philosophical, educational, entertaining, and emotional wild ride that is Planet of the Apes OH SO RESPECTFULLY PAYS HOMAGE to the humongous roots of a foundation that have been placed before it!  Capturing the very essence of the story of Planet of the Apes which essentially is, "to love and not to hate."  I recommend the novel to anyone looking for an intriguing read, it changed my life; I recommend the original 1968 classic with Charlton Heston to anyone looking for an engaging movie night (just like with Edge of Tomorrow, but with just a tad bit more of an intellectual experience), it changed my life. 

I could go on and on, but the main point to take away is that these films service the artsy world of people wanting an intellectual of an emotional experience to overall entertain, as well as they service the commercial popcorn world of people just wanting to experience something “fun” and “exciting” to overall entertain.  I will say this, as like a parent so in love with their child and defending it, from heated discussions before, these films are not, I repeat, THESE FILMS ARE NOT, “just a good popcorn flick”!  I will argue this with anyone!  And anyone who thinks such, in my opinion is basing such opinion from the action and “hoopla” that initially surrounds the films.  How the apes are CG’d, all the cool action shots, the amazing look of the film, etc.  I respectfully disagree!  I can see the logic, but I feel this is a baseless claim, especially if you’ve never read the book or seen the original films, in particular the first one. 

This is my favorite movie of the year!  The one I can watch over and over because it’s so amazing!  It’s not just popcorn, action filled fun, but Oscar Caliber!  Which puts it in a category of films higher than ANY film of sole identity in either of the two sides in my book.  I LOVE coming across films of such nature! 

Being of French origins, this is “nombre deux” on my list this year!

Very early in the year, right after the end of last Oscar season, I went to the movies and had quite an experience.  I heard about this small, indie, controversial film that had a run time of close to 6 hours!  And I was eager to experience it!  Not just because it had a lot of sex within it, I can just watch porn if that’s the case.  Oh, and sex I later discovered was professionally fabricated, so kudos Lars von Trier (this film’s writer/director)!! 

I watched what the studio split into one volume that day in that small, hole in the wall theater, here in the west side of town in Los Angeles.  Since it was of the indie origins, it was also available on demand/online, etc.  So after that day in the theater, because I wanted it to “pop my cherry” in the master bedroom that is the movie theater, I immediately went home and downloaded the film.  I watched it with a girlfriend who also fell in love with this amazing story!  The next morning I awoke and watched it again.  Then I wrote my review for the film.  I was so in love with this story that the words simply left my body as if I didn’t even write them!  All of a sudden I wrote this review, a review that would shortly become my MOST READ REVIEW I HAD EVER WRITTEN!!  When people feel your passion, they can feel your passion. 

The next volume made its presence known a month later and the same feelings came back all over again.  I knew right away that for me, THIS was going to be the best movie of the year!  Just like with the year before and Spring Breakers and how it debuted right at the beginning of the cinematic year and nothing touched it for the rest of thereafter, this was no different.  Friends criticized me for jumping the gun too early, and with confidence I told them, “just watch!”

Well, “you know, somehow, ‘I told you so’ … just … doesn’t … quite … cut it.” little I, Robot (2004) for you.  I said this back at the beginning of the year (practically a year ago from now) and I’m saying it again at the end of the cinematic year, NYMPHOMANIAC IS THE BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR!!  And nothing has or was going to touch it since!

Charlotte Gainsburg & Stellan Skarsgård, Nymphomaniac, 2014.  
My body kept gravitating towards it to watch it again and again!  A story filled with all kinds of graphic and harsh images mind you.  Disturbing scenes to witness and experience, yet Lars von Trier properly takes you by the hand and leads you through the experience to take it all in, in a way that digests it properly and BY GOSH you can actually enjoy yourself!  This is the end of Schindler’s List (success), this is Malcolm X (success), this is what 12 Years A Slave, last year’s big winner, FAILED to do with me!  Keep me engaged even though IT’S SO HARD to take in.  This is what Angelina Jolie failed oh so miserably this season with Unbroken.  This is why I LOVE NYMPHOMANIAC SOOO MUCH!!! Von Trier takes harsh material and makes it digestible.  But not only that, he takes it a step further and I want to watch it again, and again, and again!  THINGS THAT ARE HARD TO WATCH!!  Movies like that don't come around too often, harsh ones that you can watch again and again.  

No, not just because of the sex.  Shame (2009) was LOADED with it, so much so that it makes Nymph look like a baby!  I DON’T want to see that movie EVER again!  Harshness is harshness, blunt is blunt, and when it’s in your face bluntly and PAST the point of extreme and acceptability, like with 12 Years A Slave, or repeatedly over and over and over with scene after scene after scene after scene like with Unbroken, … I WON’T want to experience your movie, EVER again!  Nymphomaniac tackles this difficult task … PERFECTLY!! I want to watch it now that I'm talking about it!

Apes is defintely my favorite, but Nymph takes the #1 spot hands down as the best quality made film this year! 

Lars von Trier is of Danish decent, and his film, my best film of 2014 is number “En”, the top spot, happily so, on my list of favorites this year!!


So, let's do a quick recap:

20. The Den
19. Chef
18. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
17. Magic in the Moonlight
16. Top Five
15. The Theory of Everything
14. The Imitation Game
13. Lucy
12. St. Vincent
11. Wild
10. The Judge
9. Fury
8. A Most Violent Year
7. Nightcrawler
6. X-Men: Days of Future Past
5. Edge of Tomorrow
4. Begin Again
3. Birdman
2. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
1. Nymphomaniac 

Don't forget to catch the Oscar nominations bright and early tomorrow morning at 5:30am PST!  
As always, THANK YOU SO MUCH for reading!  Even if you only skimmed, I know, it's a lot to read.   But this is my biggest post of the year for my blog and I want to be sure everyone has the ability to get the fullest extent with how my year went cinematically and I felt about it all.  So thank you for opening up this entry and checking it out.  It means so much to me!

'Til next time!

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