It was a very good year at the movies… but a weird one. Reversing the trend of recent years, the summer blockbuster fare offered a surprising amount of good taste, from the goofy-fun Guardians Of The Galaxy to the surprisingly clever Edge Of Tomorrow. Even sequels like Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and unnecessary reboots like Godzilla offered something in the way of quality.
I saw many films I liked over the course of the year, and not too many that I didn’t. 2014 was not a year of masterpieces, save one or two, but a year when more movies than average were better than you’d think.
Some films are great.
Some films are Important.
Some are both, some are neither. Many are one, attempting to be the other.
This time of year always unleashes at least one major release about a historical event we’re all familiar with, usually a true story, often centered around a major war or some other national or global watershed moment. Is it something about the onset of winter that makes us want to watch such stories?
No. It’s the Oscars.
It’s been nearly a year since Patrick, Dom, and Augustin signed off on us, and now they’re back, taking a relaxing weekend getaway to the woods.
But watch out, boys! These woods are full of bears!
And no, I do not mean the traditional Goldilocks, Berenstein, Winnie-the-Pooh variety. Portly, hairy gay men are on the prowl — beware!
You don’t make a movie about Wall Street in 2011 unless you’re saying something about what’s going down in America. J.C. Chandor did that with the gripping drama Margin Call, taking us inside the offices of a fictional investment bank on the literal eve of the financial collapse that (temporarily?) crippled the United States in this new millennium.
Chandor’s next film, Deepwater Horizon, due later this year, will explore the worst oil spill in U.S. history. It’s obvious that the man has a bone to pick with capitalism, a fact also apparent in his third and, to date, best film, A Most Violent Year.
It happens every year. That handsomely produced movie, often British, usually a period piece. It’s a perfectly fine film — unchallenging, uncomplicated, more or less forgettable. It has the right stars, the right tone, the right credentials, the right subject matter, and most importantly, the right budget for an awards campaign. (It helps if the Weinsteins are involved.)
Every year, one or two of these titles sneak their way into the Oscar race. Occasionally, they gain such steam that they actually win the big prizes. The most notable example in recent years? The King’s Speech, which won Best Picture shortly before no one ever spoke of it again. Seriously, when was the last time you heard someone mention The King’s Speech in conversation? Does it stick out in your mind as one of the strongest films of the past decade? The King’s Speech defeated Black Swan, Toy Story 3, Inception, and most shamefully, The Social Network, all movies I’ve heard people talk about over the past few years.
The King’s Speech is fine. But it didn’t deserve an Academy Award for Best Picture. It’s just that sometimes, the safest choice is the choice that takes home the big prize.
Happy New Year!
This little blog of mine has existed for a little over three years now, and you know what? The more I blog, the more I realize what ignorant freaks the human race can be, thanks to the magic of Google.
Google has helped a handful of people find my blog for perfectly relevant reason — they come seeking Looking or Comeback recaps, comparisons of Black Swan to Birdman, or an explanation of what the hell Enemy is about. Just as often, however, it brings assorted masturbators and perverts to my photo gallery, seeking all sorts of unsavory things. (Some of which they may find on HardintheCity, some of which they may not.)
A lot of Google searches are your basic filth, while plenty are completely nonsensical and defy logic. I’m growing more and more certain that extraterrestrials are studying us through Google, but have not quite managed to get a grip on English syntax yet.
Here are my favorite Google searches from the past year — some hilarious, some creepy, and some utterly baffling.
Art is subjective. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. A picture is worth a thousand words. And everybody — I mean everybody — is a critic.
“It’s HBO. Not that many people are gonna see it.”