The Oscars 2015 took place last night and Hollywood patted itself on the back for making movies.
I didn’t watch the broadcast but I read that there were some genuinely moving moments, like the performance of “Glory” from Selma, a movie that wasn’t even nominated for Best Director. I did watch Lady GaGa’s Sound of Music Medley, which I thoroughly enjoyed; her life may be one modern art experiment, but Lady GaGa is extremely talented.
I didn’t watch the broadcast because I wasn’t terribly invested in the nominees. Of the Best Picture nominees I had only seen The Grand Budapest Hotel, which was great. I would like to eventually see Birdman, Selma and Whiplash, but watching them isn’t necessarily at the top of my list.
I used to go out of my way to see the nominees, but recently I’ve chosen to spend my time with other endeavors. So instead of watching a bunch of critically acclaimed movies when I go to the theaters, now I usually just watch movies that I can review on The Christian Nerd.
So instead of ranking this year’s nominees for Best Picture, I thought I’d rank all of the movies that I saw last year and reviewed on my blog.
I am entertained by most movies I choose to see. Not because I only choose to see great movies, but because I temper my expectations based upon what I’m going to see. 300: Rise of an Empire is a great example of tempered expectations. I wanted to see some stylized violence and over-the-top action, which Rise of an Empire had in excess. It was entertaining but fairly forgettable.
Another movie that was thoroughly entertaining but easily forgotten. Hercules stands out a little from other sword and sandals epics because of The Rock; he has all the charisma necessary to carry a movie. In the case of Hercules, The Rock makes a mediocre movie good. I can’t wait until he finds the right project and makes a good movie great.
I remember liking ASM2 more than I thought I would, but that’s only because I didn’t think I would like it at all. The action was decent, even if the story continued the convoluted mess of the original. I can’t wait for Kevin Feige to produce Spider-Man’s new movie so he can get rid of the ridiculous idea that every hero and villain’s origin has to be connected. The saving grace of ASM2 was the chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Even if Sony and Marvel weren’t rebooting old Webhead, that chemistry would be dead for ASM3.
Godzilla is an example of a movie that exceeded tempered expectations. I didn’t really know what to expect from Godzilla; I didn’t really even know that there were more monsters than Godzilla. The monster fights and their incredibly massive scale thoroughly entertained me. I still smile when I think about Godzilla shooting radioactive breath down the throat of one of the other monsters.
Noah fascinated me. As a film it was well made. As a biblical account, it definitely strayed from the source material but helped me appreciate the Noah story in new ways. I’m also surprised that Noah didn’t completely undermine the Bible and Christ’s Church. From the way people were talking about it, I was sure that Darren Aronofsky’s film would lead to the downfall of Christianity all over the world. As it is, God is still much larger than any movie and angelic rock monsters won’t stop God’s purposes.
While The Hobbit trilogy couldn’t match the scale and quality of the LOTR trilogy, I still enjoyed it for what it was. I didn’t really care that the movies strayed far from Tolkien’s original work; I was able to appreciate the movies independent from the book. That was especially true for The Battle of the Five Armies as the added material made me far more invested in the characters and their story.
I was really worried that Days of Future Past would be terrible. X-Men 3 was so bad that it caused me emotional damage. I love the X-Men so much that it hurt me to see them tarnished by Bret Ratner’s train wreck. Thankfully those fears weren’t realized and DOFP was great and put the X-Men movies back on the right track; it even retconned some of the damage that X-Men 3 had done.
Interstellar is the most serious movie I saw and reviewed last year. I thought that it was a tremendous work of science fiction, which addressed the deepest aspects of the human condition. Christopher Nolan is one of my favorite directors and Interstellar continued a stellar streak of films.
I had a hard time not putting The Lego Movie in the top spot. I loved The Lego Movie and still regularly sing “Everything is Awesome,” a fact to which our students can attest. The Lego Movie was so much fun and perfectly blended so many different worlds, characters and universes. Few movies have made me smile as much as The Lego Movie; I adored its humor and its message that everyone has something unique to contribute.
I was more excited for Guardians of the Galaxy than I was for any other movie last year. During production I knew that Marvel was hitting a homerun with each of its decisions. Hiring James Gunn as director and casting Chris Pratt as Star-Lord were strokes of utter genius. GOTG was fun, entertaining and explored a different part of the Marvel universe. I can’t wait for Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and to see the role the Guardians play in Avengers: Infinity War.
After I saw Guardians of the Galaxy I thought about whether or not I liked it more than Captain America: The Winter Soldier. GOTG was definitely funnier and probably more fun, but The Winter Soldier was just a great movie. It had awesome action (Nick Fury’s car chase scene is one of the best ever), great performances from Chris Evans and Scarlet Johansson, and a certain weight and gravity to the story. I put The Winter Soldier up with The Dark Knight and X-Men 2 as one of the greatest super hero movies of all time.
I thought I saw more movies last year, but I guess I didn’t. I haven’t seen a movie at all this year, but might make a drive this week to see What We Do in the Shadows. Even though none of these movies were nominated, I’m still happy I watched them.
What were your favorite movies that you saw last year?