It’s awards season again and so many of us have shared our favorite movies for the past year. But I also like throwing out some random accolades for achievements and in some cases underachievements for the 2014 movie year. These are mostly categories that you won’t see at the Globes or the Oscars. No! Only in the illustrious 3rd Annual K&M Random Movie Awards for the year 2014 (a very random name for a very random awards special). Enjoy the list and click on the film title if you would like to read that movie’s full review.
Best Chase Scene of 2014 – “The Grand Budapest Hotel“
Regardless of how many times I see it or even think about it, the snowy mountain chase sequence from “The Grand Budapest Hotel” cracks me up. Willem Dafoe races down the mountain on skis with Ralph Fiennes and his lobby boy following on a sled all done in a wacky stop-motion Wes Anderson style. Brilliant!
Coolest Car – Dodge Challenger (“Nightcrawler“)
There were several cool cars to consider this year but none were sweeter than Lou Bloom’s red and black Dodge Challenger from “Nightcrawler”. After Lou’s “business” blooms (pun absolutely intended), he spends some cash on a slick, cool sports car that is a true attention grabber. Maybe I need to become a videographer!
Worst Movie Title – “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes“
While I wouldn’t call this as idiotic as last year’s winner “White House Down”, it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. In fairness I haven’t been able to come up with a better alternative, but saying “of the” twice in one movie title sounds pretty dopey.
Best Small Movie that More People Need to See – “Blue Ruin“
Several small independent films made some waves this year and that’s always a good thing. For my money none were better than the tiny budgeted “Blue Ruin”. But the film showed that you don’t need billions of bucks to succeed if you have a good script, good actors, and a very skilled director.
Best Horror Film – “The Babadook“
I didn’t see a lot that impressed me out of the horror genre this year. “The Babadook” changed that. It is such a smart and tricky horror picture. It leads us down one path and then pulls the rug out from under us. The film becomes something different and even more compelling. I like some brains with my horror. 😉
Dullest Movie Hero – Themistocles (“300: Rise of an Empire”)
You would expect that in a macho movie like this one you would have a strong, charismatic leader guiding these warriors and their six-packs. Not so. Sullivan Stapleton’s Themistocles takes dullness to a new level. Whether he is giving inspirational speeches or impaling a Persian, he’s as exciting as hand soap.
Funniest Movie – “The Lego Movie“
Who cares if its animated or not? “The Lego Movie” was hands down funnier that most of the tripe that came out in the comedy genre. It’s hilarious, deceptively smart humor mixed with some wild and zany slapstick. It also helps to have someone like Chris Pratt and his great comedy senses.
Best Special Effects – “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies“
There were many people who didn’t completely go for this film and I can see why. But you have to admit that Peter Jackson knows how to use special effects. The landscapes, the creatures, the epic-scaled battles. This thing looked absolutely amazing from start to finish.
Most Unduly Maligned Film – “The Monuments Men“
I suppose I will go to my grave as the one true defender of this film. I think this was a movie viewed with misguided expectations. Now a lot of that is due to the trailers which sent mixed messages. But the movie itself was a fun and nostalgic throwback that I had a ton of fun with.
Most Overly Praised Film – “Guardians of the Galaxy“
Now don’t misunderstand me, I had fun with Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”. It was entertaining and unique, but I’m surprised to see it on so many Top 10 lists. It was very predictable. Some of the humor doesn’t quite land. It has an incredibly underwhelming villain. Just not the great movie many treat it as.
Dumbest Scene – “Into the Storm”
A teenaged boy and his hot potential girlfriend are trapped in a hole that is quickly filling up with water. Drowning is imminent. So what do they do? Use a video camera (that should have already been zapped from the water) and record their good-bye death videos. So many obvious questions linger, but lets just say it is an utterly idiotic scene.
Best Villain – The Winter Soldier (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier“)
I loved 2014’s “Captain America” installment and one of the reasons is because of its awesome villain. The Winter Soldier is the coolest. Dead-eye aim, great with knives, and of course that robotic arm. But what makes him great is that one interesting link to Cap’s past.
Best Cinematography – “Interstellar“
This may be the toughest category. There were so many worthy winners, but for me “Interstellar” deserves the recognition. Hoyte van Hoytema does a spectacular job of visualizing a huge variety of landscapes from the vastness of space to the gritty dustbowl earth has become. It’s a gorgeous visual experience.
Best Movie Romance – “Only Lovers Left Alive“
In “Only Lovers Left Alive” Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton give us one the most interesting and oddly romantic couples of the year. It’s the hip and stylish vampires Adam and Eve. They share so much (despite their appetite for blood. Music, art, slow drives in the night. I love spending time with them.
Worst Movie Romance – “Pompeii”
Zzzzzzzz. Oops sorry. I dozed off thinking about the flat, boring, underdeveloped romance at the heart of this year’s spectacle clunker “Pompeii”. You know the story, a beautiful priveliged princess falls for a Russell Crowe wannabe gladiator. No chemistry. No heart. No interest.
Biggest Surprise Performance – Robert Pattinson (“The Rover“)
I never thought Robert Pattinson would win my attention with his acting but I stand corrected. I never saw his performance in “The Rover” coming. It’s big and maybe a bit showy, but it’s also genuine and a perfect fit for his character. I was so impressed and I’m interested to see what he does next.
Toughest Female Character – Sergeant Rita Vrataski (“Edge of Tomorrow“)
I really wanted to list Hammer Girl from “The Raid 2”, but Emily Blunt’s Sergeant Vrataski is just too tough not to win. Vrataski is a hard-nosed soldier who kicks more butt than any man on the battlefield. She also has a special ability that makes her simply the baddest and the best.
Biggest Disappointment – “Noah“
I had my concerns about Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah”, but I never expected it to be such a novice and dopey movie. The liberties Aronofsky takes are preposterous but the gaping plot holes and heavy-handed preachiness are just to much. This should have been so much better.
Biggest Surprise – “Godzilla“
I had absolutely no expectations for the 2014 reincarnation of Godzilla. To my surprise it didn’t just exceed my expectations, it was a really good movie. Many didn’t care for its deliberate reveal of the Godzilla and the nostalgic paranoia. I ate it up and it reminded me of those great creature features of the 1950s.
Stupidest Line of the Year – “My face is my warrant” (“Transformers: Age of Extinction”)
I’ve always liked the character actor Titus Welliver. But lines like “My face is my warrant” aren’t going to get him past the character actor stage. All Mark Wahlberg wants to see is a search warrant stating that Welliver can search his property. Titus says “My face is my warrant”. I’m sorry, that says it all….
Best Animated Film – “The Lego Movie“
What a huge surprise. I didn’t expect much from “The Lego Movie”. Actually it turned out to be the best animated film of the year, the best comedy of the year, and one of the year’s best movies PERIOD. Subtle humor. Slapstick humor. Sparkling characters. A lot of heart. I could go on and on.
Dumbest Character – Vivi Delay (“3 Days to Kill“)
“3 Days to Kill” was a decent movie that featured one of the dumbest characters I have ever seen. Amber Heard plays Vivi Delay (see, even the name is dumb). She’s a CIA assassin and Kevin Costner’s handler as he kills bad guys in Paris. Vivi is otherworldly and looks and acts like she belongs in an Austin Powers movie.
Best Return to the Big Screen – Kevin Costner
It was so good to see Kevin Costner back on the big screen in 2014. He’s long been a favorite of mine but his long and very successful career sputtered. In 2014 he returned with three theater releases. As fans of his would expect, he was fantastic in each film and it was as if he had never been gone. He already has at least two films set to release in 2015.
Creepiest Character – Lou Bloom (“Nightcrawler“)
Talk about a guy who should send chills up your spine. Jack Gyllenhaal’s twisted sociopath Lou Bloom is creepy for a number reasons. His physical appearance is one thing. He just looks ‘off’. But his weird apathy towards people and life in general makes him even creepier. He’s alarmingly unstable yet he could fit right into a crowd unnoticed.
Worst Trailer – “Tammy”
The trailer for “Tammy” accomplished one thing. It ensured that I would never watch that movie…ever. From the moment Melissa McCarthy first appears on screen until the long and grueling 2 minutes ends, the trailer is almost insulting in its stupidity. I guess some people bought it. I thought it was absolutely atrocious.
Best Romantic Comedy – “Magic in the Moonlight“
As with every year, the romantic comedy genre saw its share of stinkers in 2014. But Woody Allen surprised me with his clever and witty “Magic in the Moonlight”. Colin Firth and Emma Stone don’t have resounding chemistry, but the story itself is so well written and Firth is superb. I was caught up in this delightful little picture from the start.
Worst Sequel – “The Amazing Spider-Man 2“
You can definitely tell that Marvel Studios didn’t make this mess of a movie. It’s sad because one of the biggest superheroes ends up getting such a bloated, lackluster film. This film has so many problems including terribly underdeveloped villains, really bad casting, and a number of plot holes that left me shaking my head. No wonder they’re already talking about another reboot!
Best Small Performance in a Small Movie – Gary Poulter (“Joe“)
The story of Gary Poulter is sad and tragic, but he did leave us with an intense performance in “Joe”. It’s such a raw and uncomfortable performance and from a man who has never acted in a movie or had any training. Poulter gives us one of the vilest and most despicable people you will ever see on screen. It’s so sad that we won’t be able to see what he would do next. R.I.P.
Best Directorial Debut – Ritesh Batra (“The Lunchbox“)
One of the real treats of the 2014 movie year came in the form of “The Lunchbox”. It was a fabulous directorial debut for Ritesh Batra who tells his story with patience and truth. Batra trusts his performers and he’s smart enough to step back and give them room to act. The result is a personal and authentic drama that I was completely caught up in. Smart and sure directing from Batra.
The OMG Moment of the Year – Magneto raising the baseball stadium (“X-Men: Days of Future Past“)
There are so many movie moments from last year that could qualify in this category. But watching Magneto (Michael Fassbender) literally raise an entire professional baseball stadium in Washington DC and drop it around the White House more than qualifies. And the special effects and the way it’s shot makes it even more insane. I guess the Nationals will be looking for a new place to play.
Best Original Song – Batman’s Song (“The Lego Movie“)
“Darkness”, “No parents”, “More darkness”, “The opposite of light”. Wow, can you find song lyrics any more deeply stirring than that? Add some blaring death metal music and you have Batman’s song from “The Lego Movie”. My gosh that thing is hilarious. “Blacked out windows” “curtains drawn”. It’s utter nonsense but it couldn’t fit any better in a movie.
Best Fight – Thorin vs. Azog the Defiler (“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies“)
Yes it may be too long and drawn out for some people, but I loved the climactic showdown between Thorin Oakenshield and the pale Orc himself Azog the Defiler. This throwdown had been building since the first Hobbit movie and it doesn’t disappoint. It starts in some old rocky ruins before moving to a frozen river. It’s filmed with such energy and fervor. I loved it.
Worst Use of a Great Cast – “Transcendence”
How on earth can you make a bad movie with this cast: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman, Paul Bettany, and Cillian Murphy? Granted, Depp has had his share of stinkers, but he is a solid actor and the cast surrounding him is excellent. Unfortunately “Transcendence” falls well short of excellence. It completely flounders an interesting premise and it wastes its excellent cast.
Most Ambitious Film – “Boyhood“
“Ambition” is a word that gets tossed around a lot when discussing movies. Many movies are ambitious, but filmmakers have to bring that ambition to the screen. How can you get more ambitious than the twelve year project that is “Boyhood”? Richard Linklater is the only director that could pull this off. Using the same cast, each year he filmed for a few weeks chronicling the lives of this fascinating family. But why is his ambition worth mentioning? Because the end results are so spectacular.
Worst Film of 2014 – “The Other Woman”
It’s hard to imagine that a worse movie was released in 2014. “The Other Woman” is one of the stupidest and lamest movies I’ve seen in a while. It’s shockingly bad and it not only insults the intelligence of women with its twisted version of empowerment, it insults any halfway discerning movie fan out there. It’s not funny. It’s not smart. It’s not well made. It’s an utter train wreck.
So there you have it, easily the most prestigious awards event you will witness. So what about you? What categories did I botch? Please hit the comment section and share your thoughts. See you next year.