It’s tradition to take a long break in Hollywood at the end of the year, usually from mid-December until after Sundance. A time to reflect. As we wrap up award season in Hollywood (a.k.a. that time when we get nothing done but slap ourselves on the back) I would like to reflect on the past year in movies and pop culture, and offer my own personal awards based on what I have seen, read and heard. Keep in mind, this is highly subjective. I am the only voter, which makes my awards have a voter pool only slightly smaller than the Golden Globes.
Favorite Movie of the Year: Birdman
Runners up: Boyhood, Whiplash
Nominees for outstanding movie of the year that I have NOT seen (but people all say I should see, and I hope to get around seeing soon): Guardians of the Galaxy, Selma, Snowpiercer, Force Majeure, Top Five, Dear White People, Ida, A Most Violent Year, Love is Strange. What should I see first?
Best New TV Show: Transparent
Runner up: Married. Didn’t see it? This family dramedy that premiered on FXX this past summer is very similar to the new HBO show Togetherness. VERY similar. Both are great shows, but only one came out in 2014.
Best TV Show that’s been around for at least a few years: Mad Men
Runners up: Girls and The Mindy Project
Best TV Show that’s been around for 30 years: Jeopardy
Most overlooked actor this year for award consideration: Miles Teller in Whiplash. The man is in every scene, banging the shit out of those drums and bleeding from his soul (and his hands). And in the middle of it all, it’s astonishing to remember that he is not a drummer. He is an actor.
Most overlooked actress of her entire career for award consideration: Kaitlin Olson for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Hands down, the funniest physical comedic actor working on television today. The show is always overlooked at Emmy time, most likely because of it’s crass humor; at times it feels like a live South Park episode. In it’s 10 seasons on the air (that’s right, an entire decade) they have been nominated twice for outstanding stunt coordination. They are all deserving of awards, and Kaitlin Olson as Sweet Dee leads the pack. Whenever I need to laugh, it never fails to watch Sweet Dee attempt stand up comedy:
Movie that was much better that I thought it would be: Wild. I was expecting a lamer version of Into the Wild. I’m not going to say Wild was a better movie, but it certainly did have a more enjoyable plot.
Movie that was worse that I thought it would be: Foxcatcher. Not a bad movie, just boring.
Runners up: Magic in the Moonlight, Jersey Boys (and I had low expectations going in), The Judge (at least, the first 20 minutes. I did not watch any more.) Foxcatcher certainly wasn’t as bad as the runners up, but I had higher expectations for it. The other three movies I knew were going to be mediocre to terrible.
And a little about music:
Album of the year: Lazaretto – Jack White. Like the audio equivalent of an excellent Western.
Song of the year: You Go Down Smooth – Lake Street Dive. I don’t know why this isn’t everyone’s favorite song of the year. The clip below is great, but doesn’t do it full justice without the horn section.
My music choices were very a limited pool. Here is a complete list of every album I purchased or received as a gift that was released in 2014: Lazaretto – Jack White, Bad Self Portraits – Lake Street Dive, Black Messiah – D’Angelo, Turn Blue – The Black Keys, Anthem for Underdogs – Ben Wise, This is All Yours – Alt-J, and that U2 album that I never listened to but is on my iPhone somewhere. I purchased other music in 2014, but not from 2014. Clearly, I need more new music in my life.
What were your favorites of the year? What did I miss in movies, TV, and music?
It is now February 2nd. I am done reflecting on other people’s work. Now back creating my own work. The next blog post returns to my filmmaking mission, with actual updates and developments! Stay tuned…