Where to start with this damned thing?
Spoilers out the ass, but you don’t care.
Every so often, there’s a film–usually a bad one–that has the stink of a flop all over it. But not just any kind of a flop–an ambitious flop, one that money was clearly spent on, one that was probably mauled in the editing room, one that someone wanted very badly to make–and such a flop is Winter’s Tale, based on Mark Helprin’s novel, which will doubtless maintain its modest popularity when this trainwreck is long forgotten. Akiva Goldsman, an Oscar-winning screenwriter, adapted the novel and made his feature directing debut with it, but I doubt whether he’ll get such an opportunity again.
No frills. No long-winded explanations. Let’s do it.
I’ve attempted to do this a couple of times before, but never gotten very far. The National Board of Review has been announcing Top 10 lists of films since 1929, making them almost as old as the Academy–and since they have always cited 10 films, while the Academy for many years cited only 5, you could argue they are more comprehensive. No awards body is perfect, but here’s a list of some major films the Academy didn’t cite (for Best Picture at least) and the NBR did:
- City Lights
- Scarface (1932)
- Lot in Sodom
- Who Killed Cock Robin?
- Make Way for Tomorrow
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
- Young Mr. Lincoln
- Sullivan’s Travels
- Lassie Come Home
- Meet Me in St. Louis
- The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
So here, for your reading pleasure, is a list of 210 films I’m looking forward to this year. The first 3 blocks are mostly the really big stuff, the stuff everyone (or at least most film buffs) will know about. Beyond that…I’m digging into the little movies, stuff I might never even see, but which, based on the often minimal info I have, sounds intriguing. So many of these films I know about only through the B+ Movie Blog and its lists of 2014 films. Without those lists, this list of mine would not have been possible (links at the bottom). I owe a debt to Wikipedia as well, but it’s B+ that helped me to go as deep as I did.
I’ll hold forth on all the films in due time; I’d like to try and do a block a day, having already done the first two. Some of them I won’t have much to say about, but I’ll do my best to say SOMETHING about each one.
- Nymphomaniac: It’s Lars Von Trier. ‘Nuff said.
- Inherent VIce: Paul Thomas Anderson. First-ever Pynchon adaptation. Joaquin Phoenix in the lead. Do I need to say more?
- Boyhood: The Tree of Life meets the Up series in a film made over a 12-year period, chronicling the actual growth of our protagonist (Ellar Coltrane) and his parents (Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette). Directed by Richard Linklater. Epic-length running time (164 minutes). This sounds perfect for me.
- Maps to the Stars: David fuckin’ Cronenberg, coming off a great, hugely underseen film. An absolute must.
- Snowpiercer: Should have come out last year. Better come out this year.
- Birdman: A dark comedy about Michael Keaton (playing an actor best known for playing a superhero) trying to get a play on Broadway. From Alejandro González Iñárritu, who did 21 Grams and Babel. Co-starring Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Naomi Watts, Amy Ryan…and Zach Galifianakis. Incredibly stoked.
- Jupiter Ascending: The new film from the Wachowskis. Mila Kunis is a janitor who might be queen of the Universe. Channing Tatum is a soldier with wolf DNA. This could be disastrous or incredible.
- Gone Girl: David Fincher. Need I say more?
- Foxcatcher: Steve Carell as paranoid schizophrenic John du Pont, Mark Ruffalo as Dave Schultz, the champion wrestler he killed, and Channing Tatum as Dave’s brother, Mark. Bennett Miller directing (coming off the excellent Moneyball). Carell could be looking at an Oscar nomination soon enough.
- Under the Skin: Abstract science fiction, starring Scarlett Johansson as an alien who occupies a human body and seduces the unsuspecting. Much of it filmed on location in Scotland with locals unaware of what was truly going on. Looks incredible.
This is what happens when you give James Gunn a big budget.
You get something awesome.