All the Films I’ve Seen in 2014 Ranked Worst to Best

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With over half the year over, I figured it was a good time to look back and reflect on how this year in film is going so far. While I haven’t seen all the films I’d hoped to see at this point (I’m lacking 22 Jump Street, Boyhood, and Godzilla, among many others), I’ve seen my fair share, and decided to rank them in order from worst to best. All in all, most of the films I’ve seen this year have exceeded my expectations, and they have only heightened my expectations for the rest of the films of 2014.

9. Transformers: Age of Extinction

What an awful movie. Seriously. The second and third Transformers films were awful, but at least they were fun to watch. This was unbearable. S0 terrible. I really can’t insult this film enough, and yet, I don’t feel like wasting the time trying to. Just take my word on how awful this film is and never watch it. Grade: F-

8. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Bloated. Just way too much going on, which is nuts considering reports of how much Marc Webb actually cut out of the movie (including an entire character portrayed by the amazing Shailene Woodley). Still, the movie is fairly enjoyable due to its performances (Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield have great chemistry, Jaime Fox is convincingly crazy, and Dane DeHaan steals every scene he’s in) and Marc Webb’s electric direction. Fun doesn’t quite cut it though, and after watching this, I wasn’t really left with a good feeling on where this franchise is going. Grade: C+

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7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

An improvement over the first installment, and the best of Marvel’s Phase 2 films, The Winter Soldier is interesting in the fact that it puts old-fashioned values up against today’s politics. The allusions to recent American political scandals do not go unnoticed, and the action scenes are fantastic, but The Winter Soldier becomes way to Marvel-ized by the end. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s getting to the point that if you’ve seen one Marvel movie, you’ve seen them all. Regardless, it does spin the entire franchise into a new direction, which may just be the breath of fresh air it needs after a somewhat disappointing Phase 2. Grade: B

6. X-Men: Days of Future Past

The concept of this movie is so cool–unite the First Class and original casts through time travel and have them fight towards a common goal. With the return of Bryan Singer, Days of Future Past reminds you why you loved X-Men in the first place. Good performances all around, but with so many characters, many of them seem to get lost at the expense of others (I’m looking at you, “leading man” Wolverine). Still, Singer is back, and the X-Men series is back to being awesome again. Grade: B+

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5. Edge of Tomorrow

Talk about a surprise. I don’t think anybody expected this film to be as good as it was. Directed by Doug Liman, the film was a perfect blend of action, suspense and comedy. Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt turn in great performances, and a video game-like production design helps grab you and keep you invested in the film’s world. Not every film can pull time travel off, but this one does very well. Grade: B+

4. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Who doesn’t love a good Wes Anderson film? This one is as quirky and strange as the rest of his, but it really does stand out. Great performances all around really sell it, but the real winner of this film is the meticulous production design. You really feel like you’re living in this world while you’re watching it, and its color motifs stick with you long after the movie is done. Watching The Grand Budapest Hotel was one of funnest experiences I’ve had at the movies this year. Grade: A-

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3. The LEGO Movie

Everything truly is awesome with this film. What looked to be a really long commercial for a toy turned out to be a smart and hilarious action film. With abundant pop culture references and everyone who’s ever played with Lego’s memories involved, The LEGO Movie is sure to leave a smile on your face. My personal favorite part of the movie was just how many characters were involved, including a cameo from the cast of Star Wars. The animation really is great, and I can’t wait to see what they do with the inevitable sequel. Grade: A

2. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

I’ll admit that I wasn’t really a fan of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but Dawn really blew me away. First things first, the special effects are top notch. You really can’t tell at all that the apes are made with CGI. Secondly, the acting. Both live and motion capture performances are great. Andy Serkis is at the top of his game here, and soon-to-be star Jason Clarke turns in a very convincing turn as someone really trying to fight for the greater good. The antiwar themes are very thought-provoking, and while the very smart story gets dumbed down from time to time, it doesn’t take too much away from what is an all around solid film. This is what all summer blockbusters should be. Grade: A

1. Life, Itself

Many say Roger Ebert was the most influential film critic of all time, and while this documentary on him does explore why, it really digs into so much more about the man who became a legend. Giving an honest look at the final months of his life (it’s not pretty), the film really allows us to find beauty in life cut short. This film is a piece of beauty, and one that will have you thinking long after the final frame. Fun, sad, touching, hilarious, informative and tense all at the same time, Life, Itself is a masterpiece dedicated to someone who taught us just what a masterpiece is. Grade: A+

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