I’ve always hated it when I hear people say things like “There are no good movies coming out anymore. It’s just giant robots smashing into each other,” or “Michael Bay RUINED the Ninja Turtles.” Especially when it’s followed by a “I can’t believe I paid 15 bucks to see Transformers 4.”
This logic is flawed for 2 reasons: 1. You paid to go see it. Thusly, the studios will continue to make things like it. 2. The are literally HUNDREDS of movies coming out every year. You just have to find the ones that aren’t about giant robots smashing into each other (hint: it’s most of them) Still, I am biased. As a movie nerd, I have made myself privy to a number of films that mainstream audiences wouldn’t hear about. Also, I use words like “privy” to sound smart. Oh, and for the record, Michael Bay did not direct Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, he merely produced it, and while his stamp is apparent, I maintain that if he were the actual director (and the script wasn’t written by 50 people and a pair of scissors), it could have been amazing. Aaaaanywho, here are 5 fantastic movies from 2014 that you haven’t seen (and totally should).
Justified violence gives every American a boner (or lady boner). If this weren’t true, Quentin Tarantino probably wouldn’t have a career. Revenge, while best served cold, is tasteless unless the triggering injustice outweighs the response. For example, if you scuff my shoe, I’d still be in the wrong if I retaliated by burning your house down. This is why slasher films are such fun. After two acts of slaughter, we are treated with the “final girl” unleashing some vengeful slaughter of her own. It’s poetry. Blue Ruin takes the revenge tale and blurs those lines. We don’t get the full story up front. We witness the process of revenge while simultaneously receiving bits of background information. By the time the film reaches it’s nadir, morality is cloudy, plenty of blood is shed, and there’s not a single robot in sight. Also, Buzz from Home Alone is in it, so there’s that. And since it’s available on Netflix instant, you don’t have to leave your bathtub to see it.
When Jason Biggs fucked the pie in American Pie, it did not phase me one bit. When the brother and sister sucked face in Eurotrip, the only thing that grossed me out was how much people actually liked that garbage movie. I came close to being grossed out when Van Wilder fed dog cum-filled donuts to jocks, but not quite. There are no “gross out” comedies that can break me … but then I saw Cheap Thrills. That’s not to say that it’s a genre entry, because it is as far away from “gotta lose my virginity before the big game” as a movie can be. But damn is it funny. And gross. Super gross. I watched this months ago and I still think about certain scenes and gag. Basically, an inexplicably rich man (played by David Koechner, who shows that he has infinitely more range than many would expect. Whammy!) pays two losers insane amounts of money to compete in increasingly debauched challenges. It is truly unique. I’ve never seen such a mean-spirited film manage to maintain a level of joy. Gleefully insane, with a surprisingly complex script, and not a single instance of Shoo LaBoo yelling “OPTIMUSSS!”
You’ve heard of Schrodingers Cat, right? Well if you haven’t, it’s a classic thought experiment that college dudes who don’t have a guitar use to sound smart and get laid. Either way, it loosely describes the idea that until observed, two exclusive and different realities can occur simultaneously. Horny yet? Anywho, when a bunch of people at a mumblecore dinner party find out that there’s another identical dinner party happening down the street, attended by their own doubles, shit gets crazy. Not trucks-robots-riding-dinosaur-robots crazy, but crazy in a way that’ll make you think thoughts like “oh man, science” and not “why does the truck man have a laser sword?”
What if I told you that there is an action movie out there that is not only completely devoid of Megan Fox, but actually has something to say? You’d probably say “that’s impossible!!!” Well I’m here to tell you that not only is it possible, but it happened. Also, it stars Captain AmeriTorch. Snowpiercer takes place on a giant train that holds all that remains of humanity after a failed attempt at curbing global warming causes an ice age. The train circles the globe ceaselessly, while its inhabitants eke out their existence in this new public transportation-based society. Rich people live in luxury at the front of the train, while poor people stay in the slum-like back end. One day, Captain AmeriTorch says, “Hey, let’s karate fight our way to the front” which is just what they do … and not a single Decepticon tries to stop them. This is, as it stands, my favorite movie of the year. Starring Tom Hardy, and literally no one else (at least not on screen), as a man dealing with life stuff on his phone while driving somewhere, Locke is somehow more cinematic than anything I’ve seen all year. Never once does Hardy leave the car, and never once does anyone else’s face (not even that of a sentient Mountain Dew machine) ever enter the screen. Hardy is absolutely electric as an everyman who is in over his head, but is determined to keep his cool, while the house of cards he has built begins to fall. There’s so much to say about the movie that I can’t say. It is one of those “the less you know, the better” movies, but I will say this: despite being a movie, Tom Hardy’s car never gains sentience due to proximity with the All-Spark. Not once. So there you have it. Five EXCELLENT films from this year that have nothing to do with robots, turtles, or robot turtles. Bonus: every ticket bought for a movie that isn’t Transformers is a signature on the “ok, enough with the robots already” petition. Dan Scully would say that he’s “totally gay for movies” but that would make the assumption that all movies are male, which they aren’t. That being said, his love for film is damn near sexual, as evidenced on his twitter as well as his movie podcast I Like to Movie Movie. He also hosts the weekly unpopular opinion-fest Super Crappy Funtime.