Happy 2015 everyone! How was your new year’s celebration? I spent my time playing a game called Drawful with my friends and laughing until I thought I was going to be sick. So it’s now a whole new year, and I thought I’d cap off 2014 with a post reflecting on this year – my first full year of writing here and first incidence of actually committing to the concept of blogging and writing on the internet in a long-term fashion.
My new year’s resolution for 2015? To finally see Interstellar. Just kidding, it’s to just have a really great year in general. 2014 was quite good and overall I would rate it about an A- (aka, good but with room to improve). I hope everyone had an amazing year and has an even more amazing year to come!
Onwards, to my reflection on 2014 in film (and some television too)!
Best film released in 2014: Under The Skin
When I looked back on all of the films I had seen this year, one special film stood out as something that completely entranced me; a film that has been stuck in my mind ever since watching it, and through repeat viewings has only become more and more spellbinding. That would be none other than Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin – a film that took ten years to make, but was worth every second of development hell. I love pretty much everything about it. It’s probably not going to win any Oscars, but it has won first place in my heart.
Runner Up: Boyhood
Another film I haven’t stopped thinking about since watching. A real life masterpiece. This one will probably win literally all of the Oscars.
Best non-2014 film watched in 2014: Girl Walk // All Day (2011)
I can’t stop thinking about this film either. Not only does Girl Walk // All Day consist of some of my favourite music in the entire world, the dancing is so great and the good vibes are so infectious. When I was wandering around New York City in October/November, all I could imagine was dancing around the places I was visiting just like the Girl (Anne Marsen) in this film. I’ve recommended it to so many people and everyone has loved it. I love films that make you feel intense emotions – in this case, this film conveys a sense of pure joy that is unavoidable. I absolutely love it.
Runner Up: Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013)
Both of my non-2014 best films were released pretty close to 2014, so I feel like I’m cheating this list out of some other amazing films I saw this year that were much older. But at the same time, I can’t write a 2014 retrospective type post without mentioning how awesome Jodorowsky’s Dune is. Such a great and truly interesting documentary, not to mention, it stars one of my favourite people in the world, surrealist director and spiritual warrior Alejandro Jodorowsky.
Most disappointing film released in 2014: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
I love the Hunger Games films and franchise, and this was a big disappointment. But I don’t blame the people involved with the film, nor the actors, nor the story or source material. I blame the current trend of splitting films into a million parts for no reason other than to make a huge amount of money. I hope this trend dies next year because Mockingjay Part 1 is such a victim of it and it sucks because Mockingjay (the book) should have been represented better. There were parts of this film that were pretty great, but overall it feels like the first half of a film, not a standalone film. And that ain’t right.
The absolute worst film watched/reviewed in 2014: National Lampoon’s Pledge This! (2006)
I have no idea why I watched this, because it was awful. One of the worst films I have seen in my entire life. It’s not even funny-bad, it’s just terrible-bad. Don’t make the same mistake I did!
Best Australian film watched in 2014: On The Beach (1959)
On The Beach isn’t directed by an Australian person so I don’t think it’s technically classed as an ‘Australian film’, but it’s set in my home city, so it counts for me. I wrote a review of this for the Screenkicker Olympics, which was a super fun blogging event. Not only is it an interesting film about Melbourne being the only city in the world that is pseudo-safe from a nuclear holocaust, which is very reassuring, it’s also a very compelling story about the different ways that people cope with such a traumatic and genuinely scary event. I really loved it.
Best television show watched in 2014: True Detective
Holy shiiit, this was amazing. I’m looking forward to a second season but I’m just afraid it won’t be able to live up to what a spooky, creepy, intriguing and utterly unique season this was. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson were the ultimate crime-fighting duo faced with some weird crimes and supernatural shenanigans. After watching each episode I wanted to watch the next automatically, which was tough when it got to be late at night and I had work the next morning. I’ll never not be completely mindblown by the end of episode four and the showdown in episode eight.
Most disappointing television show watched in 2014: Some elements of Game of Thrones
I feel like a huge traitor saying this. All the television I watched this year was really great, so it was tough to actually locate something that was disappointing. I love Game of Thrones with all of my heart and then some, but there were some seriously huge problems with season four and I’m not the kind of blind fan who ignores the problems in my favourite things. I’m actually in the middle of re-watching the season at the moment and will be writing a reflection on the whole thing (as well as having reviewed all the episodes when the season was first on). Here’s a list of some of the disappointing things in season four of Game of Thrones: lack of LS (readers will know what I’m talking about), rape as a plot device when it doesn’t happen in the books to certain characters which makes me really angry, lack of Stannis when Stannis is awesome and deserves more screentime, a disappointing (to me) episode nine which is usually the best episode of the season, some actors kind of phoning it in with their performances, and there are some others that I’ll get around to in my write-up. I really do love Game of Thrones though, this paragraph was really difficult to write.
Favourite actor in 2014: Matthew McConaughey
Yep, I’ve turned into ‘that person’. I thought McConaughey was a total dumbass for the longest time, but both True Detective and his recent amazing work in film have changed my mind. No longer the shirtless bongo drumming idiot, McConaughey’s renaissance, a ‘McConaughssance‘ if you will, has shown that he is an extremely talented actor and very interesting person in general. I’m really looking forward to seeing what he’s going to be up to in 2015.
Favourite actress in 2014: Lena Nyman
You know, I didn’t really have one favourite actress this year. There wasn’t really anyone I looked forward to seeing; I just generally enjoyed lots of people. However when I think about favourite performances, Lena Nyman of I Am Curious (Yellow) (1967) and I Am Curious (Blue) (1968) stands out as one of the more fearless performances I’ve seen this year. I loved her portrayal of a young woman who wants to know more about herself and about society, and her passionate quest for personal authenticity and social justice. Definitely one of the more unique actresses that I watched in 2014.
And that’s it! I’m no good at making top ten lists, so this was a pretty short summary of the best of the best and worst of the worst. Let me know what your favourites were in the comments below!