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.
Still several to see but the only one I’d argue with is Guardians. Otherwise this is Aces.
I figure many would argue with Guardians. I liked it, but I didn’t find it as fresh and new as most. The villain was so underdeveloped, it was pretty predictable, and not all of the gags landed for me. But I don’t want to short change it. It is by no means a bad movie. It just wasn’t close to be a Top 10 film for me.
Fun post, Keith. It’s nice to see some recognition for Blue Ruin and The Babadook — two films that deserve a greater audience than they have had.
It’s a goofy and totally random bit of nonsense but it’s fun to put together. I’m a big fan of both Blue Ruin & The Babadook. As you said, they deserve a greater audience!
Thanks for checking it out!
Only Lovers Left Alive was also another lesser known film that I really liked, so nice to see that on the list as well.
I’m a HUGE fan of that film! Sooo good.
Wonderfully thorough list. My surprises that I solidly enjoyed would be The Purge: Anarchy and Let’s Be Cops. The latter I thought was one of the better comedies I saw all year (In the minority with that one), and Anarchy isn’t great but really captures the feel of what a Purge would be like.
I reviewed Anarchy a while back and was absolutely loving it right up until it flies off the rails with its crazy shootout. Prior to that I was having a blast. Never saw Let’s Be cops though. Sounds worth checking out!
Thanks for reading & commenting. Appreciated.
Love these awards. Especially happy to see all the love for The LEGO Movie. I also think it’s one of the best of the year, regardless of genre. And yes, the Batman song is awesome.
Days of Future Past had another contender for OMG moment – the kitchen scene. I thought that was at least equally as amazing.
My only point of contention would be Godzilla because it was terrible, but other than that you nailed it (at least of the movies I’ve seen).
Thanks Wendell! We definitely disagree on Godzilla. I thought it was a good paranoid 1950s styled creature feature. I will admit I didnt like it quite as much after a second viewing.
Very cool post dude! It looks like I made the right call. . . .skirting. . . .around ‘The Other Woman;’ to me that looked horrendous from the get-go. For me that distinction would have to prob go to ‘Transcendence,’ for all the reasons you listed. What an utter disappointment. . . or it could also have gone to ‘Tusk.’ That one was also laughably bad. 🙂
I’m also so very pleased to see another defender of Gareth Edwards’ amazing creature feature. That one was outstanding, loved every minute of it even though I will concede that Taylor Johnson does not make for a very compelling lead.
My gosh “The Other Woman” is atrocious. I have a review of it written and ready to be posted. It’s wallowing in my backlog. I’m telling you it’s absolutely horrible. Nothing redeeming about it.
And I will definitely stand by you when it comes to Godzilla. I think people were expecting something totally different, maybe in the vein of Pacific Rim. But Godzilla is quite different and intentionally so. I think it really worked.
Awesome categories and selections, Keith. What a fun set of awards. I needed this tonight. Thanks for this.
Thanks a lot. It’s definitely the most important awards of the season. No doubt, right?
You forgot the “Best walking away from an explosion while not looking” award, which has to go to Denzel Washington in The Equalizer as that explosion was the biggest one I’ve seen someone walking away from….ever….
LOL!!!! How could I have missed that category! Thats awesome.
Yeah, remember it for next year 😉
I will. And one thing about Hollywood, I’m sure we’ll get plenty of explosions for characters to walk away from. The kinda like that sort of thing.
Absolutely awesome picks here! I am a HUGE fan of The Winter Soldier. It is the first time (for me) that Marvel completely nailed the villain. He wasn’t inundated by cheese and lame humour. Lou Bloom was reprehensible, and 2014 certainly was the year for some brilliant independent films. I really liked that. I agree, while Guardians of the Galaxy was fun, it is extremely overhyped. I must say though that I HATED Godzilla, but Emily Blunt really played one super cool badass lady. We need more of that in cinema, she could truly hold her own.
Can we all just agree that Emily Blunt should be in every movie…ever? I remember you were a fellow fan of the Winter Soldier. You’re right, there wasn’t an ounce of cheese. And I’m really glad to hear from others who weren’t completely goo-goo over Guardians. Good movie, not great.
Thanks for the great comments Zoe.
Hahaha, yeah yeah, we know what your reasons are behind that 😛
❤ The Winter Soldier.
We are certainly in the minority for not being head-over-heels in love with it.
I agree on many here my man! Pattinson for one and that Guardians of the Galaxy was overpraised. Still can’t feel your love for The Monuments Men, though. Sorry bud!
I will remain the one lone supporter of The Monuments Men until I die. 😉
Another that agrees with me on Guardians. Again, good movie but not any kind of Marvel milestone.
Yeah, Guradians was okay but it didn’t deserve the praise. Overhyped methinks!
Btw, I think ill probably post my thoughts on The Monuments Men today. Its been lying in my draft folder for ages now.
Cool list! Nice to see a few more things getting higlighted on top of the acting and other normal categories. I will definitely steer clear of The Other Woman.
Don’t even take money to go see “The Other Woman”!!! Lazy, stupid, and utterly embarrassing for everyone involved.
I will take your word for it!
Fun post and I agree with most all of your winners. Nice shout out for Ritesh Batra and who’d of thought with Pattinson? Good for him.
Pattinson was an absolute stunner. I never saw that one coming. Batra was such a great surprise. So anxious to see what he plans on doung next.
I’ve liked that the new Apes films have stuck with the (I’ll admit) somewhat awkward titling that the original Apes series had (Something Something Something of the Planet of the Apes)
LOL, thats true. For some reason the “Apes” series has never had titles that just roll off the tongue, have they? I do think they are doing a job with this new series. I never would have expected it.
Awesome categories here Keith!
Ahah, why am I not surprised w/ your pick for Most Unduly Maligned Film 😉
Totally agree w/ Most Overly Praised Film and Dumbest Scene. Ugh that movie is just awful & stupid, poor Richard Armitage should pick better projects next time. I also hated that Vivi character in 3 Days to Kill, it’s so cliched and irritating.
Isn’t it nuts that Interstellar didn’t get a nomination for Cinematography?? That’s mind boggling!
I’d disagree on Godzilla though, it was kind of silly and boring to me, sorry! Glad I gave my press screening of The Other Woman away, no interest whatsoever in seeing that one.
LOL! I have to throw my support to “The Monuments Men” whenever I get a chance. After all, I am there only positive voice! 😉
That dumbest scene…sigh. I swear, it was so goofy and they were playing it as serious as they could. I have a review written and ready for yet. There were parts of the movie that I enjoyed as throwaway entertainment, but ultimately…nope!
The Other Woman…. Oh goodness. Incredibly bad.
Cool list! I totally agree about Rita, Blunt was just amazing in the role. The Other Woman was just awful. Diaz needs to go away.
Could we be that lucky? Diaz just gets worse and worse in my opinion. Yet she constantly gets rolls. What is even more disheartening is that The Other Woman made tons of money. Where on earth are the discerning movie fans?
One of my students reviewed The Lunchbos, and now I really want to see it, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. I am glad to see the shout-out for Blue Ruin.
Was it a positive review? I really loved The Lunchbox and it was a smart and refreshing film. As for Blue Ruin, it’s so good. It really does deserve a bigger audience.
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This is so much fun. I don’t agree on every category but I love the concept.
Thanks Abbi! Each year it gets a little longer and a little goofier. But it is really fun to do!
We’re on the same page with so many of these Keith! The Other Woman and Pompeii were terrible weren’t they? And I agree with Guardians as the most overly praised movie, the extreme hype actually contributes to my continued disappointment with this one. I’d have to switch out Monuments Men with Tammy as most unduly maligned film though – I know I’m in the minority, but I actually thought Tammy was about so much more than the cheap comedy it’s been criticised for. Great post 🙂
Thanks so much! I’m reqlly glad you enjoyed it. This is the third year I’ve done it and it’s always a bit goofy and fun. I have reviews for Pompeii and The Other Woman sitting in my draft box and let me just say neither are all that flattering.
I’m surprised at the number of people who have agreed with me on Guardians. It’s a good and entertaining movie but I’ve honestly been surprised to see it on so many Top 10 lists. It’s just not THAT good.
Awesome post mate! You had to get a mention of Monuments Men in there somewhere, didn’t you? 😉
I also totally agree with you about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes being the worst title, primarily because that should of been what the previous film was called! It makes no sense to have Dawn after Rise! A personal gripe of mine 🙂
The Monuments Men – everyone’s favorite movie! 🙂
Great point about Dawn’s title. No good. No good at all.
So many things I could say, but I’ll stick to my favorites on your list – I couldn’t stop laughing at the “stupidest line” you included from Transformers. It really was stupid, huh?
Also, I thought Batman’s Song was one of the best original songs of the year too!
I would really like to know the thought process behind that line. Who on earth wrote that and thought it was a good line of dialogue? It is so incredibly awful. LOL
Add me as another who think THE MONUMENTS MEN was unduly maligned. Finally watched this last night for “family movie” and really enjoyed it. Yes, it has an unexpected mix of tones, but they worked well for me (and especially my son). Plus it gave me one more perfect “needle dropped” cinematic moment featuring Hugh Martin’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. Glorious.
THANK YOU!!!!!!!! You have no idea how happy I am to hear from someone else who enjoyed that film. I’m a big fan and it even made it into my Top 10 from last year. The tones worked for me as well and as I touched on in my review (or defense of the film) they were intentional and effective for me.
Really glad you enjoyed it.