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Tom's 2014 Movie Merit Badge Ceremony

January 3, 2015

 

It's 2015! Back To The Future 2 and The Sixth Day are officially dated! But, before we can roll out and look forward to a year of Ulrton, Star Wars, CGI Paul Walker and the promise of a return to Pixar glory, it's time to reflect on EVERY SINGLE MOVIE I SAW IN 2014!

Yes, it's my 2014 Movie Merit Badge Ceremony! An award for every film my eyeballs beheld in the window between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014. Each award is meant to distinguish the defining quality I took from said title. 

 

Here we go!

 

The "Bagged Cereal Award" For Most Generic Product goes to Ride Along!
 

The "Best Kind of American Beauty Rip-Off Award" goes to Better Living Through Chemistry!
 

The Best Animated Movie of 2014 goes to The Lego Movie!


The Nobel Peace Prize For The Film Daring Enough to Acknowledge That Liam Neeson IS IN FACT IRISH goes to Non-Stop! Now let's get a movie where Arnold is ACTUALLY Austrian!

The "Jonathan Lipnicki Award for the Best Child Actor Doomed To Future Obscurity" goes to Bad Word's Rohan Chand!
 

The "Golden Wall-E" for the Best Original Character of 2014 goes to Grand Budapest Hotel's M. Gustave!


The Breakthrough Performance of the Year goes to Anthony Mackie in Captain America: The Winter Soldier! Papa Doc's come a long way, and his role as The Falcon was one of the most refreshing parts of an already solid movie. If these flicks ever start to align with their source material, I can't wait to see Mackie throwing that shield around himself one day!

The "Movie Baby So Cute It Makes Children Look Worth-It Award" goes to Neighbors! Seriously, the Vargas twins are freakin' adorable, and steal every scene they're in. 

The Best Food Porn of 2014 goes to Chef! If I died from that grilled cheese sandwich, I'd have no complaints.

The Worst Performance of the Year goes to Elizabeth Olsen in Godzilla! I'm...kinda worried for Avengers: Age of Ultron right now. 

The Best Scene of the Year goes to X-Men: Days of Future Past, for the jaw-droppingly awesome showcase of Quicksilver's powers! Hey may still look like a BK Kids club mascot, but Evan Peters managed to destroy my cynical expectations for the character.

 
The Most Tasteless Scene of the Year goes to The Fault In Our Stars for having its two romantic leads have their first make-out session IN THE ROOM THAT ANNE FRANK'S FAMILY WAS ABDUCTED FROM BY NAZI'S BEFORE THEY WERE TAKEN TO THEIR DOOM. Sorry guys, I'm a tasteless dick from time to time, but cancer is not worse than the Holocaust. 

 
The "Southland Tales Award for Worst Follow Up To a Great Directorial Debut" goes to Seth MacFarlane for A Million Ways to Die in the West! Damn Seth, Ted 2 better not suck as hard as this turd did.


The "M. Night Shyamalan Meaningless Twist of 2014 Award" goes to The Signal! Featuring a twist in its final minutes that's so self-assured it doesn't realize how pointless and empty it is. 


The "Stanley Kubrick Memorial Award for The Most Thoughtful Sci-Fi Movie of the Year" goes to Under the Skin! A cold, haunting look at sexuality and humanity through the eyes of some decidedly un-human characters. Great score, great production design, and the best female performance of the year from Scarlett Johansson. See it now before you're awkwardly caught in a conversation where you have to admit you didn't see it.

 

The "Movie That Most Wanted The Stanley Kubrick Memorial Award For Most Thoughtful Sci-Fi Movie of The Year But Wasn't Thoughtful Enough" goes to Interstellar! You came close Nolan, and it was a pretty good effort. But sadly, love doesn't always conquer all.

The "Fast Five Memorial Award" for Best Franchise Turnaround goes to The Purge: Anarchy! Way to capitalize on your concept guys! Now just remember to keep going forward not bac--What's that? The next one's a prequel? Oh god dammit...

The "Movie That I Was Most Surprised Wasn't Directed by Tommy Wiseau Award" goes to Winter's Tale! This movie was the directorial debut of Akiva Godsman, whose filmography includes the Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind as well as the cancer-inducing Batman and Robin; and yet somehow, this guy managed to helm a film that makes Batman and Robin look like The Godfather in comparison. A shameful blemish on all the talented people who owed Akiva a favor in order to get this made. Just terrible.

 

The "Lukewarm Hot Pocket Award" for Most Undercooked Movie of the Year goes to Wish I Was Here, a movie so self-assured of it's own brilliance it was shot before anyone figured out if 60% of it was shit. Answer: 70% of it was shit.

 

The "Using Fireworks to Blow Up Action Figures With Your Friends Award" for The Most Dumb Film Fun in 2014 goes to Lucy! Who cares if the science is bad? Watching ScarJo go to town on baddies through slickly directed action set-pieces is good old fashioned cinematic nonsense that most movies are too self-serious to indulge in nowadays.

 

The "Pulp Fiction Memorial Award" for Best Soundtrack goes to Guardians of the Galaxy! If for some reason you don't own this album, we can't be friends.


The "Lindsay Lohan Memorial Award" For Best Dual Performance goes to Jessie Eisenberg in The Double!


The "Fight Club Guy Movie of the Year Award" goes to Stretch! Be a firestarter!

The Best Post-Credits Scene of the Year goes to The Boxtrolls! Marvel may score nerd points for setting up future installments after their credits, but Boxtrolls' fourth-wall-breaking, frame-by-frame end credits gag was a delightful cherry on this animated sundae. 


The Best Director of the Year Award goes to David Fincher for Gone Girl! Mr. Fincher made a movie so good, he got a great performance out of Tyler freakin' Perry. Fincher is a magician, plain and simple.

The Best Cameo of 2014 goes to John Mayer for Zombeavers! Seriously, he's there! Watch it again, closely.

 
The "Sean Bean In the 90's Award for Under-Appreciated Leading Potential" goes to Luke Evans in Dracula Untold! One day buddy, one day!

The Career-Redefining Performance of the Year goes to Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler! I've always loved Mr. Darko, but damn, I never knew he had THIS in him! 

The "Savages Memorial Award" for the Film Ruined by Its Own Ending goes to The Guest! An expertly crafted, badass thriller; this portrait of evil lurking behind friendly (and dreamy) eyes falls apart in its third act when it turns into a parody of the Bourne franchise. Such a bummer. It's like setting up dominoes for three hours and then watching your cat knock them over before you can set them off.

The "Soup Kitchen Server That Spills Hot Stew On The Homeless" Award for The Most Well-Intentioned Mess of the Year goes to...IT'S A THREE WAY TIE! Kill The Messenger, Rosewater, and Unbroken, all pathos filled true stories that fail to deliver final products worthy of their inspiring source material.  

The "Charlize Theron in Devil's Advocate Award" For The Most Wasted Performance of the year goes to Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything! Old Eddie method-acts his heart out, but the sad truth is that this movie is duller than Stephen Hawking's legs. 

The "Your Dad In Ed Hardy Apparel Award" for The Most Embarrassing Attempt at Making Something Old Cool again goes to Dumb and Dumber To! 
 

The Most Meta Performance of the Year goes to Edward Norton in Birdman! Michael Keaton is great, but Norton steals the show as a self-absorbed actor obsessed with staying method and sticking his nose into places they don't belong...just like Edward Norton!


The Movie I Liked But Will Like Way Less With The Passage of Time goes to Merry Friggen' Christmas! Robin Williams' death made this lazy, kinda-racist Xmas flick seem like it was better than it was...and one day I'll get that. 

 

The Best Line Said by An Actor in 2014 goes to Chris Evan's horrific/hilarious mental breakdown at the end of Snowpiercer! Oh my god...they taste the BEST?!

The Oddest Couple of 2014 goes to Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst in The Two Faces of January! 


The Worst Photoshop Job of 2014 goes to The Last Of Robin Hood for a hilariously awful picture of Dakota Fanning posing with a mongoose in Africa. I know, it's worthless without the screen grab, but I can't legally show it. Trust me, it's fucking awful.


The "Rock at the end of The Mummy Returns Award" for Most Laughably Bad CGI goes to Maps To The Stars! It's depressing to know that David Cronenberg, one of the gods of practical effect driven films, can't even raise enough money to properly light someone on fire. This was below even an amateur After-Effects filter. So sad.


The "Hannibal Rising Award" for Most Unnecessary Backstory goes to Maleficent! The kind of back story that just wasn't worth telling, and which will undoubtedly lead to more Disney Villain origin stories! Disney presents Jafar! Disney presents Ursula! Disney presents The Redneck Guy From Fox and the Hound! Kill me!


The Best Movie Dog of 2014 goes to Cú from Song of the Sea!


The Best Shot of 2014 goes to the closing shot of The Immigrant! A simple but powerful piece of frame composition that shows a director and cinematographer that know what they're doing. Just delightful.

 

The Best War Movie of 2014 goes to American Sniper! It's the sniper-on-sniper action of Enemy at the Gates meets Jarhead's portrait of a person's psychological struggle against the culture of war. 
 

The Most Delightful Douchebag of 2014 goes to Chris Pine in Into The Woods! In a movie that was almost agony to watch, Pine shines whenever he's onscreen, even if his character is just the worst person in existence. 

 

The Worst Film of 2014 goes to As Above, So Below! The most frustrating, underwhelming, disappointing squandered opportunity of the year. A premise with potential to have been a horror classic (Indiana Jones meets The Descent) constructed out of lazy, tired, stupid tropes and confined to the straight jacket of the worst conventions of the found footage genre. It's the worst kind of bad: the kind of bad that leaves you depressingly empty after it's over. A true waste of time.

 

The Best Film of 2014 goes to Boyhood! A 12-years in the making gamble from the great Richard Linklater that lets you watch the evolution of a multi-layered ensemble while also managing to be both intimately perceptive and entertaining? What's not to love? Sometimes, it's completely justifiable to award historical precedent, and this is a movie that manages to be the best not just because it's unique, but because it's that damn good. 

And for all you weirdo's who NEED to see year-end items composed in list form (Anthony), here (in no order) are the ten masterpieces (in my opinion) of the year:

Top 10 
Boyhood 
Under The Skin 
Guardians of the Galaxy 
Gone Girl 
The Lego Movie 
Nightcrawler 
Stretch 
Grand Budapest Hotel 
Snowpiercer 
Song of the Sea 

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