Welp, 2014 ended roughly a week ago and, as usual, procrastination has set in along with a desire to view what else I can and should before compiling my year-end top ten list. Like every year, this past one brought about some much-needed change – change that came in the form of my relocating for worse then (thankfully) better as a terrible existential low of a career change segued into a similar, but ultimately better one. While not the dream job any and everyone inevitably pines for, said transition has procured a peace of mind I previously struggled to attain, thus allowing me to revamp my film-viewing habits with noticeable gusto.
Putting aside my irrelevant personal bullshit, the past year yielded my cathartic perception of the current state of cinema as a whole. Among all of the concern involving big-budget, anti-auteurist tendencies and endlessly-grossing comic book adaptations, 2014’s offerings helped me realize that the medium is far from dead despite the alarmingly ceaseless volume of big-budgeted bombast. Functionally bloated franchises perpetuate a brand’s economic well-being and – as for DC and Disney notably – the powers-that-be are thriving beyond their respective wildest dreams. While the art form suffers at the hands of those having to emulate preceding entries in the next Avengers initiative, Justice League kick-off and soon-to-be Star Wars prequel, the past year has still yielded enough viewing experiences to ensure similar but not entirely identical “Best of” lists among cinephiles from all walks of genre life.
From the entirely fan-funded (Blue Ruin) to the surprisingly, moreover entirely adept (Nightcrawler) debuts, we were graced with a considerable talents to keep an eye out for going forward. Christopher Nolan attempted to reinvent the “thinking man’s blockbuster” to middling aplomb with the most discussed film of yesteryear, while a tawdry and entirely harmless R-rated romp placed the United States on the questionable precipice of nuclear war (only not really). Although not without a considerable amount of insufferable missteps, I’ll go so far to say that 2014 was at least a unique stretch peppered with intermittent excellence. Here’s to the coming days, and feel free to peruse my tardy November and December viewings via the standard format below.