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Best & Worst of 2014 Movies: Sex, Death, Hairdos, Jokes And Everything Else

Best & Worst of 2014 Movies: Sex, Death, Hairdos, Jokes And Everything Else

Here we are, in the last days of 2014, and much more importantly, in the dying days of our hugely extensive coverage of the Best Of 2014. We’ve got a few more Top 10s to come from individual staffers in the next few days, but for the most part, we’re ready to stop looking back, and start looking forward.

Not completely ready, though. As we did last year, we wanted to cap off our year-end coverage with a rundown of everything that we didn’t have time, space or reason to mention elsewhere. It’s essentially the Playlist Features Team equivalent of The Purge — the one post we allow ourselves every year where we relax our own rules and exorcise all the little moments and niggles and “huh, did you notice that?”s that have built up during the past year of moviegoing.

So yes, it’s ANARCHY.

(Well, anarchy roughly organized under thematic headings so we could put some sort of shape on this motley collection of best and worst performance moments, sex scenes, jokes, unlikely trends and Ray Winstone biting the head off a snake.) It’s a big, unruly beast, but indulge us, it’s our last feature of 2014 and we wouldn’t be able to face 2015 half so perkily if we still had all these little bits and pieces rattling around our crania. Besides which, you’ve probably got a few days off work to spend dipping in and out of it in various stages of drunkenness and sobriety. 

Browse the emptying of our brains below (beware SPOILERS), let us know your own thoughts in the comments, and a very, very happy New Year from us all.

Let’s Talk About Sex

Best Sex Scene

SPOILER. Even those of us not wholly enthralled by David Fincher‘s latest had at least one “Holy Shit!” moment during the film, and that was, of course, with when Fincher’s trademark steely clinical visuals gave way to a garish riot of bloodied naked flesh as Rosamund Pike‘s Amy interrupts her coitus with Neil Patrick Harris‘ Desi by slicing him open. Tremendous fun. (See also: Best Murder).
Runner Up: So it seems weird to be praising a sex scene for depicting cunnilingus in 2014, but the first sex scene between Ben Affleck’s Nick and Rosamund Pike’s Amy is him going down on her which is, depressingly, quite transgressive for a mainstream thriller.
CLIP HIGHLY NSFW (also different track added, but the best we could find).

The Multiple Orgasm Award for Most Sex Scenes 

Well, lord we couldn’t let this one go unmarked, could we? The divisive and divided “Nymphomaniac” from Lars Von Trier featured more graphic sex scenes, including bondage, rape, masturbation, threesomes, and basically every possible combination of (largely heterosexual) male and female bodies, than probably the entire filmic output of the rest of the year put together. However, precious few of them seemed actively designed to titillate, instead suggesting the numbing joylessness of compulsive sex addiction, only occasionally leavened (and only really in the first half) with any sense that shagging might actually be fun.

Most Notable Body Part

What with the minor furor caused by the “Sin City 2” poster, not to mention the co-starring role it plays in the sex scene from “300: Rise of an Empire,” as well as “Penny Dreadful” and “White Bird in a Blizzard,” this coveted award must go to Eva Green’s right nipple. Spare a thought for the world’s most heartbroken photoshop operator who was forced (most likely at gunpoint) to smooth down the pert outline of ol’ righty beneath that gauzy, sheer nightdress, thereby protecting the Youth of America from its corrupting influence.

Runner-up: Ben Affleck’s penis as momentarily and partially glimpsed in the now-notorious “Gone Girl” shower scene which nearly broke the internet, and he didn’t even have to slather himself in oil, marry Kanye West and balance a champagne flute on it to do it. All the GIFs you could want are here.

Best Morning After/Walk of Shame

Unsurprisingly, nothing from embarrassing Elizabeth Banks dud “Walk of Shame” qualifies as “best” anything, so while it’s more of a quick stumble, we’ll go with Jenny Slate waking up after her fateful one night stand in “Obvious Child,” retrieving her knickers and attempting a quick, clean exit.

Most Questionable Sex Scene

Midway through “Fury,” David Ayer‘s wildly mixed WW2 tank drama takes a brave and mostly very effective digression, stopping dead for a twenty minute scene as Brad Pitt‘s commander and Logan Lerman‘s newbie take shelter with a German family, making them cook a meal, before the rest of their squad-mates turn up and things get different. It’s easily the best section of the movie, but is soured enormously when Lerman’s character retires to a room to be deflowered by the younger of the two women there. Plenty of such incidents exist in war, clearly, but Ayer tries to disarm the ickiness of it all by making Lerman and the young German woman out to be star-crossed lovers enjoying one brief moment of peace in the chaos of war. Rather than, you know, rape. It’s disingenuous to an extreme, and another indication of how uneven the film is.

Best Tender Non-Human Love Scene

In an echo of the strangely moving giant-monster sex that concluded his striking debut “Monsters,” the third act of Gareth Edwards‘ “Godzilla” begins with the two rampaging MUTO creatures descending on San Francisco. When the two meet, something unexpected happens: they nuzzle, eskimo-kissing as you probably would with the first person of your species, or size, that you’d ever met. One even brings the other a present. Awww.

Death And Taxes Except No Taxes

Best Murder
Yes, it’s already appeared in Best Sex Scenes, but it deserves a dual entry — this scene is a symphony and confluence of everything that can make a David Fincher film great: Fincher’s actors (Rosamund Pike and Neil Patrick Harris) working with his exacting framing, terrifically crafted editing, a chillingly throbbing score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. It’s a murder you know is about to happen, and is terrifying nonetheless, and splashily salacious at the same time. This is Fincher at his Hitchcockian best, delivering a murder scene that rivals the shower scene in “Psycho” as one of the all-time greats.

Best Unexpected Movie Suicide

3-WAY TIE: SPOILER Few moments in cinema in 2014 provided a bigger gut-punch than the one when, two-thirds of the way through “The Homesman,” Hilary Swank‘s spinster-ish farmer propositions claim jumper Tommy Lee Jones, the pair having become close over their long journey. Jones rejects her, but she comes to him naked later in the night, and they have sex… and the next morning, he finds her hanging from a tree, having committed suicide. It’s not a cheap twist, but it still takes you by surprise, making you rethink what’s come before and setting the stage for a powerful, if ever bleaker third act.

SPOILER Similarly the sudden discovery of what looks to be Frank hanging from that tree in Lenny Abrahamson‘s “Frank” not only gives a downright weird film one of its most unsettling images (is it funny? is it sad? is it shocking? is it tasteless?), but sets up a disquieting aftershock as we discover it’s really Don’s body.

SPOILER And finally, Wanda (Agata Kulesza) stepping silently out of that window in Pawel Pawlikowski‘s “Ida” is perhaps the most shocking moment of all these, as the calmness of the exquisite shotmaking, and the steeliness of Kulesza’s performance to that point, finds us totally wrong footed when something so dramatic and desperate does occur.

Best Inappropriate Reaction To Death

“I lubricated” intones Charlotte Gainsbourg‘s Joe mournfully over this shot, of her at her father’s deathbed, from Lars Von Trier‘s “Nymphomaniac” which we called out in our Best Shots of the Year feature.

Runner up: Jake Gyllenhaal‘s Louis Bloom seeing dead bodies as business opportunities and moving them around to get a better shot in “Nightcrawler

Best Offing Of A Bad Guy
People who complained that “Godzilla” didn’t include enough Godzilla (and who also presumably thought that “Jaws” didn’t have enough Jaws) at least get their fill in the film’s final action sequence, as our giant lizardy hero attempts to protect San Francisco from the pair of MUTO creatures. The weary beast seems to be on his last legs, but recovers, taking the MUTO’s head in his paws and BREATHES BLUE FIRE DOWN HIS NECK UNTIL ITS HEAD FALLS OFF, before turning back to the city and emitting an almighty roar. It’s air-punchingly satisfying, and shows that Edwards could deliver the blockbuster goods even in one of the summer’s more artful tentpoles.

Best Kid-Traumatizing Death

SPOILER Scarring scenes, from the death of Bambi’s mother to every single thing that happens in “Watership Down,” are a key part of any kid’s cinematic memories, and DreamWorks Animation contributed their own this summer, with a shocking development in “How To Train Your Dragon 2” that suggested that they’d let George R. R. Martin into the writer’s room. Mere minutes after being reunited with his long-lost wife, hefty Viking chieftain Stoick (Gerard Butler) takes a dragon blast to the chest to save his son, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel). Worse, the death-blow has come at the hands of Hiccup’s beloved dragon Toothless (who’s under the mind control of another nefarious dragon — it’s a long story). It’s a powerful moment in a film that otherwise didn’t quite hit the heights of the original, and all the more so for how unsentimental it is. There’s no tearful farewell or inspiring speech: one minute he’s there, the next he’s not.

Worst Kid-Traumatizing Death
SPOILER WE GUESS It always feels like the “Transformers” movies have been kids movies in spite of Michael Bay‘s tendency toward leery Maxim Magazine sexuality and gleeful, spine-ripping robot violence. But little in the franchise felt as sour as the gruesome death meted out to T.J. Miller‘s treacherous “comic relief” (see: Worst Sidekick) in this year’s “Transformers: Interchangeable Subtitle.” Blown up by a grenade from one of the Transformers, Miller’s Lucas is reduced to a charred corpse, which of course Bay lingers on after the fact. So misjudged that it actually comes across as comical to the adults watching, it’s a disturbingly graphic image for kids, and we should give a shit about that because this is a PG-13 franchise based on stupid plastic toys.

Best Murder We Knew Was Going To Happen All Along

SPOILER John Michael McDonagh’s “Calvary” opens with the announcement that a murder will happen, and at the end of the film it duly does, so we can’t say we were surprised, exactly, though we did keep on hoping something would avert it and the film would not end on quite so bleakly angry and nihilistic a note. But it did.

Best Murder We Could See Coming But That Still Made Us Gasp

SPOILER Jake Gyllenhaal offing sidekick Riz Ahmed in “Nightcrawler” feels retrospectively inevitable given his character’s descent into soullessness, but as much as we were anticipating the progressive corruption of Bloom’s morality, he always managed to be a step or two further down that road than we expected, making his dispatching of his colleague feel shocking and in character.

Best Deliberately Anti-Climactic Murder

Bennett Miller‘s “Foxcatcher” is based on the true story of a murder, so we always knew it was going to happen. However, Miller’s resolutely anti-melodrama approach means that when it does occur in the film it feels absurdly banal. It’s like the extreme polar opposite of the spectrum from “Gone Girl“‘s trashy slashy homicide, as it should be for such a somber, tragic, unglamorous true story.

Well, Ain’t You Just The Prettiest — Hair, Make Up & Costume

Best Hair

Chadwick Boseman in “Get on Up” truly channels James Brown from his tapping, twitching toes to the tips of his hair, here rendered in that unmistakable, unshakable, permanently shellacked quiff. But he ties with Jessica Chastain in “A Most Violent Year” whose shoulder-length blonde bob, occasionally pinned back with barrettes, announces the film’s early ’80s setting in a much more subtle, restrained and accurate manner than the big, back-combed monstrosities that are the lazier go-to option for that decade.

Worst Hair

Channing Tatum‘s bleached spiky do during his druggy days at Foxcatcher Ranch told us everything we needed to know about his deteriorating mental state, and managed to make the hunk utterly unappealing. The look is also a fleeting argument for unintentional hilarity within an otherwise dark and dour film.

Best “Hair Conveying Major Character Information” Moment

We just know Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is gonna be all right in “Beyond the Lights” when she ditches the purple hair extensions that are, like, a Symbol of Commercial Sell-Out-ness and sports her own curly hair instead. Course, it helps that’s she’s naturally fucking stunning.

Best Stache

Bill Murray in “The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Grotesque Make Up/Hairstyle Combo
TIE: Tilda Swinton in “Snowpiercer” and Tilda Swinton in “The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Menacing Costume

Yes, Steve Carell‘s fake shnozz has been much ballyhooed in his “Foxcatcher” performance, but the rest of his costuming, from his pathetic red athletic shorts to the omnipresent branded athletic gear also contributed greatly to his portrayal of this sad, sad, evil man. Never has an otherwise cheery logo taken on as much weighty dread as the bright yellow Foxcatcher symbol, causing increasing tension in the pit of your stomach every time it appeared on screen.
Runner-up: ScarJo‘s “Under the Skin” mall-inspired denim and faux fur ensemble, easily shed and easier to lure you with, my dear, which is, of course, a costume that simply clothes another costume made of human skin.

Be Merry! Jokes, Gags, Song & Dance

Best Joke

Channing Tatum‘s mispronunciation of “carte blanche” in “22 Jump Street

Best Movie-Related Joke Not In A Movie

Tina Fey co-hosting the Golden Globes: “‘Gravity‘ is nominated for Best Film. It’s the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age.” But print doesn’t do it justice, so watch below.

Best Sight Gag

The visual design of Baymax, the big balloon-like robot nurse who becomes the protector and companion to the lead character Hiro in Disney‘s “Big Hero 6” is absolutely the best thing about this very strong kids’ film. And the potential for sight gags abounds, with little of it going unmined, but perhaps our favorite is a moment early on when, newly inflated, Baymax tries to edge out of a too-small space, sheepishly knocking things over as he goes and trying to maneuver his bulk with a faint but unmistakable air of embarrassment — all without a word. And a close second is probably the moment when he takes to repairing himself, having sprung a leak, with sellotape.

Best Fucked-Up Joke In A Kids’ Movie

Something of a Chris Pratt-specialist category this year, this was nearly taken by the Jackson Pollock gag in “Guardians Of The Galaxy,” which probably caused a lot of parents to have some awkward conversations on the drive home from the theater. But it’s just edged out by the moment in “The Lego Movie” where Will Arnett‘s douchebag Batman abandons the gang to go party on the Millennium Falcon, only to return, saying “It turns out the hairy one’s a dude. And the metal one, too. All dudes.” If Lord and Miller achieved anything this year, it was sneaking a joke about Batman wanting to fuck Chewbacca and C3PO into a PG-rated movie.

Best Funny Scene In An Otherwise Deadly Serious Film

“Ornithologist, philatelist, philanthropist” goes the unlikely catchphrase for Bennett Miller‘s otherwise austere “Foxcatcher.” It’s as a result of one of the few moments of levity (highly compromised levity, of course) the film allows, as DuPont and Mark fly to a blacktie dinner in DuPont’s helicopter, both jittery with cocaine hilarity with DuPont attempting to coach Mark’s delivery of his introduction. Side note 1: this looks great on a business card. Side note 2: It’s also super-earwormy, so we demand a dance remix.

Best Adorable Dance Routine

The reprise, at the very end of Roger Michell‘s “Le Week-End,” of the “Bande A Part” dance sequence, that central couple Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan are shown learning off the TV earlier in the film, is simply joyous and a perfectly hopeful ending to an insightfully bittersweet, often scathing film. Somehow communicating a rare moment of synchronicity between the squabbling duo, appropriately inspired by a French film given the whole movie’s Francophilia, it’s unpolished and not particularly graceful, but it’s nonetheless infectiously cool. You can catch a few glimpses of it throughout the trailer.

Best Horrible Dance Routine

One of the moments that sends Keira Knightley’s arrested development Megan off the deep end occurs at the wedding of her best friend Allison (Ellie Kemper). A perfectly perfect in every way example of the metastasized cancer that is the wedding industrial complex, Allison and her new hubby perform a first dance that is choreographed to every lyric of the supremely corny song they chose, with Kemper facially acting out every moment. It’s a great example of the uber-cheesiness and performativity that weddings have become in a viral-video world, and a perfect showcase for Kemper’s excellent physical comedy abilities. After that display, it’s no wonder Megan ran back to high school.

Best Original Song Of The Year

Does anything even come remotely close to “Everything Is Awesome” by Tegan And Sara in “The Lego Movie”? The answer is absolutely not. Even better than being a gleefully intoxicating and insanely infectious choon, the song serves as a wicked anthem for Lord & Miller’s subversive commentary about consumerism and conformity. That herd-like anonymity may blanket the world of “The LEGO Movie,” but once the curtain to the real world has been pulled back, you are free to realize that everything is not awesome, even if your earworm tells you otherwise.
Runner up: “I Love You All” from “Frank” which we shouted out on top of our Best Soundtracks of 2014. Composer Stephen Rennicks wasn’t on our radar before and now he’s there with a vengeance.

Best Music Moment We Only Saw After We’d Compiled Our Best Music Moments List

If you haven’t seen “The Interview” by now, be warned for this is the biggest SPOILER of them all. Dave Skylark (a rampantly hilarious James Franco) and Kim Jong Un (ballsy and awesome Randall Park) bond over lots of things, chief among them is the guilty pleasure of loving Katy Perry songs, and her hit “Firework” especially. When the climax hits, directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg pull out all stops in deciding to show the fiery, explosive, death of a real-life dictator in slow-motion, accompanied by a (dare we say, emotive?) cover of Katy Perry’s “Firework” by Jenny Lane on the soundtrack. It has to be the year’s most creatively courageous musical moment or the year’s most offensive musical moment (especially considering that this is Perry we’re talking about.) Is it satirical? Is it insulting? We’ll let you be the judges, but for the sheer cojones on display, it deserves a mention. Extra props for the sly use of the Scorpions’ always-amusing attempt at political commentary, “Winds Of Change” at the end of the movie too.

Best Typeface

The evocative, throwback Gothic font used for the titles of “Only Lovers Left Alive” (and also used on its poster — we believe it’s Brokenscript, for all you designers out there) is the only time we remember a typeface getting a laugh and ripple of applause at Cannes.

Worst Typeface

For all the many thorny problems that terrific LHC doc “Particle Fever” makes simple and clear for civilian consumption, from the nature of the universe to the importance of the mass of the Higgs boson, even they cannot explain why the climactic presentation, possibly one of the most important and revolutionary ever as regards our understanding of the Universe, is entirely set in Comic Sans.

Shots & Sequences

Worst Shot

Cinematographer-turned-director Wally Pfister’s woefully misguided “Transcendence” ended up on our year-end worst list. The film is supposed to be about the (awkward) intersection where science, romance and dreams meet. Thus one of the most deliciously stupid shots of the movie framed by director of photography Jess Hall is simple: A motherboard dangling inside a dreamcatcher (get it??) as Rebecca Hall intones about all the aspirations she and her partner (played by Johnny Depp) had to change the world. We’re not doing it justice, but the shot is just brilliantly dumb.

Best/Worst Over-The-Top Explosion Sequence

To quote our review of “The Equalizer”: “An unfazed tough guy walking away from an massive explosion in slow motion: it’s a tipping point reached long ago — this sequence has become a well-worn cliché in the visual vocabulary of pop culture even beyond cinema. Hell, it’s even been celebrated and mocked by the Lonely Island Guys in song. So it’s perhaps both a testament and symbol of Antoine Fuqua’s fortunate/unfortunate filmmaking modus operandi that the director not only embraces the hackneyed sequence but also attempts to top it and create the most gloriously excessive walking-away-from-explosions scene ever made. Like a shock-and-awe-inducing supernova milked for all it’s worth (and then some), the sequence is concurrently hysterical, impressive and not very self-aware, which eventually typifies Fuqua’s senselessly over-the-top, but intermittently enjoyable ‘The Equalizer.’” Nuff said.

Best Disturbing Baby-Related Sequence

We’ve already discussed the “Under the Skin” baby-on-the-beach sequence in depth in our Best Shots of the Year, suffice to say it takes the cake for one of the most horrifying scenes we’ve ever witnessed, yet not a drop of blood is shed and not a single word uttered. So we’ll use this chance instead to talk about the runner-up, which is undoubtedly the baby-chewing-on-a-condom in Nicholas Stoller’s “Neighbors.” Kudos too for following it up immediately with the film’s sickest joke as the doctor elects to teach these negligent parents the cruelest imaginable lesson about “how this could have gone.”

Worst Staged Sequence

David Ayer’s “Fury” has some terrific action sequences, the big battle at the end, the tank battle against the super German Tiger tank which made our Best Action Sequences of 2014 feature, but as we also briefly mentioned in the same piece, the same scene where Brad Pitt forces poor Logan Lerman to shoot a captured Nazi in the back so he’ll man-up and know how to protect his fellow brothers is just soooo poorly staged. It’s like the filmmaker and cinematographer were drunk that day and the blocking is just an utter unintentionally disorienting mess. Ayer redeems himself later on, but hoo boy! This scene. Ouch.

Best Out-Of-Character Sequence

So, the Sundance indie “The Skeleton Twins” is a bit of a mess. From the miscasting of Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig to the lame writing (the rescue at the end is telegraphed a mile away), but the movie still has its delights. Luke Wilson is the best he’s been since his Wes Anderson days and the lip-synching scene to Starship is a lively moment too. But perhaps the best sequence in the film is when Hader and Wiig break character, become themselves in the dentists office, and start farting to make each other laugh. It’s infectiously funny, and so what that the two of them aren’t really being the dour characters of the script, it is soooo enjoyable. Now if only someone could harness that energy over a whole movie, you’d have one of the most pleasurable comedies ever. More beans needed, probably.

Best Heartbreakingly Awkward Meal
The dinner scene in “Nightcrawler” is awkward and creepy — a tour de force of power dynamics in what should be a boring single setting — and the lunch scene in “Boyhood” is awkward and frightening, but the best eating scene that’s awkward and heartbreaking goes to “Fury” when everyone plays house and pretends likes there’s no war outside for a spell. Brad Pitt demands eggs for supper, and Michael Pena cuts the tension with the most heartbreaking war story about horses since “War Horse,” and in a few minutes of enforced, unnatural domesticity, we get to understand more about these men’s relationships than we do in the whole rest of the running time. And though we’re mostly confining ourselves to movies here, TV’s “Transparent” has “heartbreaking” and “awkward” for dinner, never more so than at the actual um, dinner that closes season 1. It’s a brutally insightful family meal at which the lines of resentment, guilt, blame and shame get entangled with conversations about potato salad and the unexplained presence of a new family member none of them knew about till that evening (hilariously topped off by barbecue stains on everyone’s faces). It oddly resolves the season while not actually resolving anything and perfectly cues up season 2 without resorting to anything as crass as a cliffhanger. Oy Gevalt!

Best Montage

Ah, there are so many well conceived and expertly executed montage sequences that it feels like it deserves its own “Best Of” article. Alas, look at the time. Instead, we’ll just say that “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is chock-a-block with incredible montages (a personal favorite is the “Are you Monsieur Gustave of the Grand Budapest?” sequence that ends in brill Ralph Fiennes freak out), “White Bird in a Blizzard” contains a beautiful short film in its montage of Shailene Woodley and Shiloh Fernandez falling in love, and Jenny Slate‘s “Obvious Child” answerphone montage takes a familiar trope further to make it funny again. But the one that had us wondering why on Earth the rest of the film isn’t as magical is when Noah tells his family (presumably, for the umpteenth time) about the creation of the world. It’s like watching an episode of “Planet Earth” narrated by Russell Crowe on speed, and it’s orchestrated with such verve (right up until the glowy humans arrive and it gets a bit silly) that it feels like Darren Aronofsky briefly back on dazzling form.

Worst Cut

Biopic Flashback Syndrome is a condition that affects Oscar-bait pictures whereby complex human beings are explained with pat, obvious snippets of their early life, and “The Imitation Game” had a bad dose. Almost all of the scenes set in Alan Turing’s early life were film-stoppingly bad, but the one that actually had us groaning out loud was the first, where, after Turing is obnoxious to his new colleagues, Mark Strong‘s character asks him “Popular at school, were you?” Cue: a cut to a young Turing at school. Props to Morten Tyldum for having the restraint to not get Cumberbatch to stare off into the middle distance before he cuts, but it’s still pretty unintentionally funny.

Best Space Docking Sequence

For you nerds that complained about the action sequence feature, lacking the “Interstellar” Space docking sequence, yeah, we liked it too. See, there’s no conspiracy against “Interstellar” here. Or is there?

Best Credit Sequence

Duh, “22 Jump Street” of course.

Performances & Characters

Best Totally Underseen Performance

A loose contender for Best Films of 2014 You Didn’t See, so under the radar was “Fort Bliss” it doesn’t even exist on Box Office Mojo. But among its only fifteen reviews on Rotten Tomatoes it does have positive notices from Slate and Variety, and to paraphrase THR, the plotting of the movie is strained — a U.S. Army medic and single mother’s fragile relationship with her son is threatened after a second tour of duty into Iraq looms — but as the mom and soldier, Michelle Monaghan is tops. After a strong turn in “True Detective” (which earned her a Golden Globe nom), perhaps this tough and honest performance will net her something more worthy of her talents down the road.

Best Screen Couple We’d Like To Be In A Few Years’ Time

Oh, Alfred Molina and John Lithgow in “Love is Strange,” could you guys be any more adorable? With two terrific actors on top form playing the long-time lovers at the heart of Ira Sachs‘ beautifully bittersweet story of modern, ageing love, the portrait of coupledom they present, in the face of prejudice and obstacles and the relentless march of time, was simply the most touching of the year.

The Orlando Bloom Award For Worst Miscasting In A Blockbuster

Gareth Edwards reportedly wanted to cast his “Monsters” lead Scoot McNairy as the main human character in blockbuster “Godzilla,” but presumably the studio responded with ‘What’s a Scoot McNairy?,’ and made him cast Aaron Taylor Johnson instead. The young actor isn’t helped by an incredibly thinly-written character, but he also doesn’t bring much to the table: he’s kind of blank-faced, uncharismatic, and frankly too young for the role anyway. Let’s hope he’s more engaging as an Avenger next year.

Worst Phoning-It-In Performance

Ben Stiller has been open in interviews that he did a third “Night At The Museum” film in order that Fox would finance passion-project “Secret Life Of Walter Mitty.” But even if Stiller hadn’t said it, it’d be pretty clear from his face throughout the film. While those around him, like Dan Stevens and the late Robin Williams, commit and give their all, Stiller looks like he’d rather be anywhere else. You and me both, brother, though not sure “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is a terrific alternative either.

Best Puppy

3-WAY TIE: 2013 may have been the year of the cat, with Ulysses capturing our hearts and Llewyn Davis’ in the Coen Brothers folk flick, but this year was the year of some serious violence in the service of protecting very cute puppies. Tom Hardy dropped a fool for threatening his cute pitbull Rocco in “The Drop,” and Keanu Reeves took down an entire Russian mob faction for killing his sweet beagle Daisy in “John Wick.” And there’s also the puppy in “The Interview” that almost threatened to thwart the whole plan. But for good reason. It’s a Cavalier King Charles puppy, and its cuteness has the power of two nukes.

Best Performance By A Unicorn/Cat Hybrid

A small field, admittedly, but a deserving win for “The Lego Movie“‘s Unikitty, voiced by Alison Brie. A giant pink blast of demented positivity in a psychedelic wonderland, like Hello Kitty turned all the way up to 11, she might not be a master of disguise (“Business, business, business. Numbers. Is this working?” she asks), but her disturbingly repressed anger proves crucial when the time comes. Screw “Lego Batman,” we want a Unikitty spin-off.

Best/Worst Mother-Son Relationships

3-WAY TIE: That moment in “Foxcatcher” when Vanessa Redgrave’s wheelchair-bound matriarch makes a spontaneous visit to her son John (Steve Carell) as he coaches, is a highlight mother-son moment of the year. It speaks volumes about the relationship without a single word spoken between the two. The desperation for him to prove himself and his worth doesn’t go unnoticed by Mark Ruffalo’s David, and it adds another layer to the complexity of John Du Pont. That said, we’d be remiss not to mention “The Babadook,” especially when SPOILER Amelia (Essie Davis) gets possessed, starts talking about spilling brains a la Jack Torrance, and diabolically screams out “I AM YOUR MOTHER!!” at her terrified son (Noah Wiseman) — truly, this is motherly love taken to new nightmarish heights. And less chilling, perhaps, but no less volatile and ferocious is the bond between Anne Dorval‘s Die and her troubled, manic son Steve, played by Antoine Olivier Pilon in Xavier Dolan‘s wonderful, messy, colossal “Mommy” which proves that the love between a parent and child can be fully as tempestuous and passionate as any romantic love affair.

Best Reaction Shot
TIE: While Elisabeth Moss is surely becoming one of the best reactors in the business, her work in “Listen Up Philip” is truly exemplary in this regard, though we’ll choose the final break-up scene between her character Ashley and Jason Schwartzman’s Philip (who is also 2014’s Best Charming Insufferable Asshole). In a spectacular wordless performance after Philip departs following an angry unwelcome reunion, Moss expresses all the complicated feelings Ashley has for Philip: at first a smile of victory for winning the battle against her now-former paramour, then a sigh of relief as he’s gone, and then gratified feelings of self-possession that she’s mustered the courage to do it. But then Ashley also betrays herself with instant regret, fear, false pride and tears. It is such a tour de force we considered placing it in our Best Shots of The Year feature, but felt it was more a performance moment that deserved its own special merit. The shot only lasts 43 seconds, but it contains a lifetime, or at least a whole relationship. While we’re here, we should probably name Ashley’s cat Godzuki the best onscreen cat of 2014.
Emma Stone is not nearly as underplayed in this moment from “Birdman” but being as the whole endeavor is pitched several notches north of naturalistic, that seems about right in context. And it’s a terrific moment she gets: after she delivers her hateful/truthful speech about her father’s lack of “relevance,” Lubezki’s wandering camera stays on her as she sees her words hit home, and almost immediately feels a wash of remorse, which she just as quickly tamps down before skulking from the room. All of this happens in Stone’s expressive face and body language which proves far more eloquent than the diatribe she’s just delivered.

Best Totally Perplexing Reaction Shot

SPOILER Okay, so we’ve just started to recover from the “wahh!” shock of the ginormous fucking spider at the end of Denis Villeneuve’s “Enemy” when we cut to Jake Gyllenhaal’s reaction as he stands in the doorway. We’re expecting some shade of our own shock to register there — fear, trepidation, anything, even mild surprise — but instead the film ties an enigmatic bow round its riddle-wrapped puzzle by showing him give a slight sigh, maybe even the tic of a tiny smile which makes us read what, resignation? Gentle disappointment? Irritation? Pleasure? From “wahh!” to “wha??” in one silky cut, Mr Villeneuve, you are toying with us.

Worst Reaction Shot

No question, it’s Kellan Lutz in “The Legend of Hercules” when he spies that whatsherface has fallen into the river. For Lutz LULZ check out 1.18-1.24 on this clip, which also then BONUS segues into Worst Stunt Scene Of The Year. Highly recommended for fans of unintentional hilarity.

Best Instantly Suppressed Laugh

The tiny, immaculate moment in Pawel Pawlikowski‘s “Ida” in which Agata Trzebuchowska‘s Anna, having returned to the convent after a spell in the outside world, signals the change she’s undergone by allowing the tiniest of giggles escape her while at lunch with the other nuns.

Best Villain

Every great hero needs a great adversary, and Caesar from the ‘Apes’ movies is an undisputably excellent hero by now. And in “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes,” he had a worthy foil, in the shape of Toby Kebbell‘s Koba. Scarred physically and mentally from his previous encounters with humanity, he’s been Caesar’s trusted long-time right-hand man, but the return of men into their world sees him become twisted and vengeful, and ready to turn on his leader. It’s Shakespearean stuff, and Kebbell’s ace performance-capture turn makes him an unusually well-rounded and complex bad guy.

Worst Villain

To be fair to Kevin Durand in the deeply silly Atom Egoyan film “The Captive,” he hasn’t got a hope in hell — his character is a Machievellian pedophile (sporting an appropriately skeezy pencil mustache) who only ever listens to one piece of music — the Queen of the Night’s aria from “The Magic Flute” — who enlists a female henchperson and heads up a pedophile ring that not only preys on children, but also, in some convoluted manner, on the parents of the children they kidnap. It’s a ludicrous villain role, but then perhaps exactly the villain this terrible film deserves.

Lamest Villain

As entertaining as they tend to be, the Marvel films are not known for their strong villainy: the bad guys tend to be under-motivated, bland and interchangeable. Ronan The Accuser in “Guardians of the Galaxy” fits right into that tradition. Actor Lee Pace has some screen presence, but isn’t really given a note to play other than “sneering madman,” and given that he barely interacts with the heroes anyway, you sort of feel that the film wouldn’t have been that much worse if it had just been a sign saying “INSERT VILLAIN HERE” walking around.

Best Sidekick

He may not be able to actually physically kick, having a trunk rather than legs, but Groot from “Guardians of the Galaxy” is still the best sidekick a guy could have, especially if that guy is a fast-talking, gun-toting raccoon.

Runner up: Riz Ahmed in “Nightcrawler” who SPOILERS, like Groot, will lay down his life for his cohort, though unlike Groot, he will not do it willingly.

Worst Sidekick

Oh God, how fucking awful was T.J. Miller in “Transformers: Age of Extinction“? His is a persona that walks the line between endearingly gauche geek and unbearably brash dickhead at the best of times, and it needs some non tone-deaf writing (such as he gets in “Silicon Valley“) to strike that balance. But ‘Transformers’ writer Ehren Kruger is not the dudebro to write that character, and Michael Bay not the dudebro to direct it, so we get this remarkably unfunny “comic relief” instead, whom even the other characters can scarcely muster a tear for when he’s unceremoniously offed — in the first amusing moment, unintentionally so, of course, that his character has given us (See: Worst Deaths).

Runner up: just to make it a Bay-related 2 for 2, Will Arnett, having done sterling sidekick voice duty in “The Lego Movie,” proves far less palatable in live action form as the perma-horny cameraman to Megan Fox‘s intrepid reporter in the Bay-produced festival of ugliness that is “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

Best Physical Transformation That Made An Actor Look Like A Classic Hollywood Star

Okay, so maybe this is a teensy bit esoteric, but didn’t Jake Gyllenhaal’s remarkable weight loss to play the gaunt, creepy Louis Bloom in “Nightcrawler” make him look really really like “War and Peace” and “Lili” star (and Audrey Hepburn’s first husband) Mel Ferrer? Oh, absolutely no one else thinks so? Well, carry on, then.

Stupidest Cameo

What is there even to say about “A Winter’s Tale,” Akiva Goldsman’s entirely batshit supernatural time travel romance? Actually, there’s so, so much to say, but most of it ends in splutters of incomprehension and rage. For instance, Will Smith is secretly in this movie, for one scene, playing the devil, in a New York sewer, reading Stephen Hawking even though it’s the 1800s (a joke regarding a book about time, maybe?). Why? Because the power of love, or something. It’s such a boring film that afterwards you wonder if you didn’t fall asleep and dream bits of it, but no, the Will Smith bit is definitely real.

Best Performance In A Bad Movie

Bloated, blustery and mostly redundant, “Exodus: Gods And Kings” is a fairly definitively bad movie, but it’s not without its occasional points of interest, most of which come from the performances. Maybe not Aaron “I will spend the entire movie hiding behind things” Paul or Sigourney “Oh, I have a line now?” Weaver, but there are pleasures to be found in Ben Mendlesohn‘s enjoyably louche villain and Christian Bale’s Moses, admirably placed on the edge of sanity. But for us, the best example of somehow bringing dignity to something hugely undignified was Joel Edgerton. The Australian actor spends the whole film looking like if Yul Brynner had a baby with a clementine, clad (admittedly deliberately) in Lady Gaga-esque outfits, but still manages to make his Rameses into a real human being. He does terrible things, but Edgerton makes him understandable, and even sympathetic, in places, and it’s a genuine pleasure to watch him, even if that’s not the case with the rest of the film.

Best & Most Ray Winstone-ish Moment
Ray Winstone bites the head off a snake in “Noah.” Cinema, you have peaked.

Dialogue, Speeches and Accents

Best or Possibly Worst (or Possibly Best Lack Of) Dialogue

“Uh huh” quoth Keanu Reeves in “John Wick.” Not since “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” has a screenwriter been able to really play to Keanu Reeves’ surfer-stoner cadence appropriately (“I know kung fu” notwithstanding), but “John Wick” writer Derek Kolstad’s dialogue for the titular taciturn, puppy-loving assassin fits Reeves’ style like a glove. The monosyllabic grunts are perfectly timed, and Reeves makes them speak volumes for his character in a way mere words could never convey. Hopefully the film launches a Neeson-esque Reevesconnaissance, because it’s damn entertaining to watch him shoot bad dudes in the face and ask questions never.

Best Unheralded Feminist Speech

Boo to “Gone Girl”’s much quoted “cool girl” speech which may be delivered by a woman but which drips with disdain for the entire sex, and assumes a generalized idea of what women are really like that is just as constraining and stereotyped. And hurray instead for this perfectly delivered moment in the far more unassuming “Neighbors” in which Rose Byrne basically defines the problem to schlubby hubby (Seth Rogen), when she asks why there’s an assumption that she’s got to be the sensible one, because she’s the woman. Course, the film is so busy practicing what it preaches (i.e. giving a terrific female comedy performer the opportunity to play a wife role that isn’t about crossing her arms and tutting and generally being a joyless funsuck in contrast to the wacky antics of her manchild partner) that you might not have noticed some of its pointedness. But it’s there, it’s clever, it’s heartfelt and it’s fucking funny.

Best Post-Breakup Monologue

When Jenny Slate’s Donna gets dumped in “Obvious Child,” it hits her like a truck. Her asshole boyfriend dumps her for her best friend, and because her act is based on whatever is happening in her life, Donna gets up on stage (drunk, obvs) and begins the most horrendous act of her life, full of self-loathing and death wishes. It’s clearly not funny for the crowd, but Slate’s delivery and Cassey Brooks’ editing make the scene caustically hilarious. “I would love to just murder suicide them” she says, also coining the now more popular, colloquial version “the murder-suey.” Anyone who’s ever had a heart broken can probably relate.

Best Accent

Equal parts Anthony Hopkins, Richard Burton and Dylan Thomas, Tom Hardy‘s delicious Welsh accent as Ivan Locke in “Locke” lends color and life to a movie that is almost all talk, and is, most importantly of all, the most instantly imitatable accent of the year.
Runner Up: Tilda Swinton’s evil, flat Yorkshire brogue in “Snowpiercer

Worst Accent

Tom Hardy (see: Best Accent) is a fantastic, shape-shifting actor who disappears into his roles. However, his Brooklyn accent could have used a LOT of work prior to quiet gangster flick “The Drop,” which was at times spot on, and at times a strange and garbled, overwrought high-pitched affectation. Belgian Matthias Schoenaerts even handily showed him up in the accent competition. You gonna take that, Hardy??

Random Genre Observations

Best Resurgence of a Genre We’d Given Up On

Jim Jarmusch‘s “Only Lovers Left Alive” was one thing, but a single swallow does not make a summer. But then came Ana Lily Amirpour’s “A Girl Walked Home Alone At Night” and together those two films conspired to do the impossible: make us almost forget the years of “Twilight“/”True Blood“/”Vampire Diaries” damage and start to like vampire movies again. Almost forget, mind you.

Worst Musical

To paraphrase our review from Sundance, Stuart Murdoch and his band Belle & Sebastian are pretty terrific when they’re at their best, a modern-day distillation of the same alienation, outsider and misfit woes that plagued the songwriting textbook of The Smiths and other forlorn ‘80s bands. But Murdoch’s “God Help The Girl” is the apex of the Belle & Sebastian’s worst excesses gone even wronger: insufferably twee and worse, for a musical which hinges on its formalism and style, preciously, ineptly shot. A huge misfire and if you barely even heard about its release in September of this year, there’s good reason.

Worst Terrence Malick Impression: “The Better Angels”

Imagine a Terrence Malick spoof about Abraham Lincoln’s life only shot in black and white. Pretentiously silly voice-over with lots of rhetorical questions about life? Check. Gliding steadicam shots? Check. The same composer that Terrence Malick now uses? Check. Jump cuts and wide angle zooming shots? Check, check check. Malick is the one and only, but this pantomiming homage plays out more like parody. [Read our review]

Best Remake That Was Better Than It Should Have Been

It was probably the rock-bottom standards set by Len Wiseman‘s “Total Recall” botch up, but pretty much everyone was expecting the “Robocop” remake to be a disaster. It’s not exactly a good movie (and certainly didn’t prove to be the franchise-starter that the studio wanted), but director Jose Padilha made it into something that was much more interesting than it could have been, with some admirably Verhoeven-esque satire that pulls surprisingly few punches, plenty of thoughtful sci-fi concepts, and some good performances, most notably from the enjoyably hissable cavalcade of corporate assholes played by Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman, Jennifer Ehle, Jackie Earl Haley and Jay Baruchel. Given the circumstances, it all could have been a lot worse.

Best Inane Yet Oddly Enjoyable Rom-Com No One Saw
Under the guise of an elegantly graying British rom-com starring Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson, “The Love Punch” challenges even “They Came Together” for the most deliberately (?) idiotic non-sequitur offering this year. Brosnan and Thompson play a divorced couple who bicker across Europe to recover their life savings from corporate bigwigs, and we’re only slightly exaggerating to say not one single event in the film makes sense. A drinking game of plot holes dressed up as oddly charming flick, we’ll leave you with an example from its IMDB page to drive the point home: “When they all enter the sea wearing diving kits, the backpacks are very slim. So how did they manage to pack Texan hats, dresses, wigs and makeup in them?” Also: definitely the best Timothy Spall performance of the year.

Themes and Plotlines

Best Profession We Previously Knew Nothing About But Became Experts In By End Of Film

Having mainlined multiple seasons of “The Good Wife” recently, we’re pretty sure that we could at least skip the first three years of a law degree, and in fact have a sneaking suspicion that we could just sit the bar exam right now. However, after just 85 minutes of Steven Knight’s unfeasibly gripping “Locke” we could probably nip round to oversee construction on the nearest building site afterwards, handling anything from the small potatoes of scheduling and road closures right up to the “biggest concrete pour in Europe outside of nuclear and military projects.” The lived-in feel of the dialogue concerning Locke’s profession is one of the most surprising pleasures of this clever, tiny film and the unexpected poetry of “the pour” (“Do it for the piece of sky we’re stealing!”) all contribute to expanding its horizons far beyond the car and the stretch of motorway it drives. Just don’t even think of palming me off with C5 when I ordered C6, right?
Runner Up: Well, it’s not so much a profession as a pastime, but you can learn a heck of a lot about flyfishing from “Nymphomaniac.

Best Food

Loads of contenders, from the Cuban sandwiches in the otherwise mindnumbingly idiotic “Chef,” to the designer pastries in “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” but the stuff that gets our stomachs growling the loudest is mostly found in the little Indian gem “The Lunchbox.” One of the year’s sweetest love stories, acted with incredible deftness and nuance by Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur, the story almost gets overshadowed by the most delicious-looking Indian food you’ll see all year. God, just thinking about those spices, sauces, and Naan breads adds kilos.

Best Booze

Just check out all the vodka drunk in “Leviathan.” It seems like all sorrows, woes, misgivings, heartbreaks, political manipulations, familial issues, and religious animosity promise a solution that may be found at the bottom of a vodka bottle. There’s so much drinking going on that it becomes welcome comic relief in an otherwise mournful film, and we’re with Kolya (Aleksey Serebryakov) when he responds to the clerk asking him what he wants with “Vodka, what else?”

Best Use Of Social Media In A Movie

Ordinarily even the slightest mention of Twitter or Facebook in a film has us rolling our eyes so they look like dynamos, but “Frank” is the rare movie to get it right, documenting the rise of the Soronprfbs through an on-screen use of Twitter, YouTube, and the rest that appears to have been written by someone who actually uses them and knows how they work. Well done, there.

Worst Use Of Social Media In A Movie

Obviously Jason Reitman‘s “Men Women & Children” (alternate title: “Because The Internet“) takes the honors here, but let’s look for a moment at a film that’s mostly avoided ire on this subject: “Birdman.” For all the film’s virtues, there’s an unpleasant get-off-my-lawn subtext reminiscent of late-period Aaron Sorkin, with Emma Stone‘s I-represent-millennials character sneered at by her father, and the filmmakers, for being engaged with social media, and even signing him up to one when he’s in a coma. Filmmakers: if you don’t have anything insightful to say about this stuff, don’t say it at all.

Best Movie With A Load Of Different Cuts That Needs Another One

There might already be three cuts of “The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby,” but the scenes between Jessica Chastain‘s Eleanor and her mother (Isabelle Huppert), usually accompanied by giant glasses of red wine, are so good that we’d quite happily see a fourth version — “The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Her And Her Mother Share A Cabernet Sauvignon For 120 Minutes
Runner Up:Nymphomaniac” which has like 69 cuts (hur hur) but just needs one more which is the uncut Vols I & II together, with the last couple minutes snipped out (see: Worst Twist). Thanks!

Best Use Of 3D

Sure, various blockbusters might have had some impressive moments, but easily the most memorable use of stereo photography in 2014 came from an unlikely source: Jean-Luc Godard. There’s lots of nifty work going on in “Goodbye To Language,” but the most memorable comes from its most-talked about scene, where Godard allows two different images to play out in each ‘eye.’ It’s a striking, mesmerizing effect, and this being Godard, that it gives you a headache seems to be part of the point.

Best Twist

SPOILER OBVIOUSLY For the thirty or forty people worldwide who hadn’t read the source novel, the discovery that Amy Dunne is not only alive in “Gone Girl,” but is the puppetmistress orchestrating the whole intricate affair, is probably the defining twist of the year. And even for the rest of us who knew exactly what to expect, David Fincher‘s cool-to-the-touch direction and the excellent performances from Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck, sell the bait and switch so well that even foreknowledge can’t detract from the enjoyment of the revelation. It’s just a shame about everything that happens thereafter. (Oh fine, arguably).

Worst Twist

SPOILER OBVIOUSLY The last 90 seconds or so of Lars Von Trier‘s “Nymphomaniac” profoundly compromise what until then has been one of the most impressively controlled and really rather brilliant films of the year when, despite every moment of character building over the previous 5 ¼ hours or so, quiet, gentle asexual Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard) attempts to rape Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and she shoots him. GODDAMMIT LARS, having managed to suppress the worst of those schoolboyish provocation-for-the-sake-of-it tendencies for so fucking long, why in God’s name would you essentially throw your own goddamn movie, your potential magnum opus at that, in the trash in its last minute? As though he couldn’t bear not to piss off his audience, here he does it in the most self-defeating way possible. Even the mischievousness use of Charlotte Gainbourg’s cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Hey Joe,” over the end credits cannot redeem the moment.

Best Tear-Inducing Ending

We spent most of crowd-pleasing gem “Pride” with something in our eye, but the waterworks really broke open at the film’s conclusion. Friendships were forged and prejudices overcome by the unlikely alliance between LGBT activists and striking miners, but the film initially seems to be ending on a down note: the strike can only last so long, and the miners are ultimately defeated, while the Lesbians And Gays Against The Miners group turn up to that year’s Pride march to be told that political groups have to be back at the back. But then their pals from the pits turn up in a minibus, ready to return the favor. And they’re not alone: they’ve brought bus after bus of miners from around the country, ready to show solidarity in thanks. Captions then explain that support for gay rights from the mining unions helped to turn the tide and eventually lead to the legalisation of gay marriage in the UK, but by then, everything was too swimmy to take in.

2014 Trends

Best Movie Tie-In 
The Children’s Pop-Up Book from “The Babadook”
Alongside its creepy tone and stellar performances, director Jennifer Kent’s debut feature succeeds by its well-rendered mythology surrounding The Babadook, the top-hatted, scissor-handed baddie at the film’s center. Nowhere else is this more apparent than in the gruesome children’s pop-up book that shows up on Essie Davis’ doorstep — now available to order online to ensure that future generations have a new figure of pants-shitting horror to admire.

Worst Movie Tie-In
The Amazing Amy Book from “Gone Girl”
Erm, who exactly are these books aimed at? Kids books mentioned (for being twee and old-fashioned) in an R-rated movie about sex, murder and psychopathy? Quite aside from the fact that these are kids’ books spun off from an adult movie based on an adult book in which the kids’ books are a plot point, just how much of a Gillian Flynn completist would one have to be to want to read these? Or are they for parents hoping to raise a little sociopath of their own?

Best Director With Two Movies Released This Year

A diverse range of filmmakers ended up with two movies theatrically released in 2014, from Tim Story (“Ride Along,” “Think Like A Man Too“), Shawn Levy (“This Is Where I Leave You,” “Night At The Museum 3“) and David Ayer (“Sabotage,” “Fury“) to Clint Eastwood (“Jersey Boys,” “American Sniper“) and Josephine Decker Thou Wast Mild And Lovely,” “Butter On The Latch“). But this particular shout-out has to go to, of course, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who made the most inventive and hilarious animated film in years with “The Lego Movie,” and then somehow made a comedy sequel almost as strong as the original with “22 Jump Street.” No wonder, then, that the Sony leaks revealed that the company’s corporate strategy appears to be “let’s get Lord and Miller to do everything.”

The “Olympus Has White House Fallen Down” Award For Two Movies With The Same Story That Both Turn Out To Be Shit

Step up, Renny Harlin’s “The Legend of Hercules” and Brett Ratner’s “Hercules,” this is the only podium you’re likely to be invited to till the Razzies.

Best Unofficial Trilogy

Ok, so “Her” might have been a 2013 movie, but if you pair it in a post-human triple-bill with “Lucy” and “Under The Skin,” Spike Jonze‘s film helps to add up a very potent trilogy. Together, it’s an accidental confluence of examinations of what it is to be human, and what it is to transcend that, and it’s even more fun if you take Scarlett Johansson’s three (excellent) performances as reflections of a single character.

Best Useful Movie-Related Pictures To Send As Reactions
Mike Leigh and Joaquin Phoenix are the current go-tos around here.

Best Trollbait

5 way tie between the following sentences:

Kristen Stewart is amazing.

Kristen Stewart is terrible.

Robert Pattinson is amazing.

Robert Pattinson is terrible.

America: Imagine A World Without Her” is a very bad film. [sits back, lights cigar]

Wow, you made it through our 2014 purge! Can you think of a great moment we’ve ( likely purposely) omitted (there is no such thing as “missed” here, fyi) in this piece and/or in all of our extensive Best Of 2014 coverage pieces? Sound off below, but if you mention anything “missed” or “forgotten” that was already mentioned in one our 250-odd year-end pieces, please consider we are on the frayed ends of sanity after pulling all these features together and will likely go all Liam Neeson on you. But also, cheers! Happy New Year, we love you!!

— Jessica Kiang, Oli Lyttelton, Nik Grozdanovic, Rodrigo Perez, Katie Walsh, Charlie Schmidlin

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