Top 100 Movies of the Decade: 2014

I’m determined to get these 100 movies done in the next week or so. It’s getting so, so difficult though! 2014 was a particularly good year for movies and I was fully swept into the awards season by this year too. I went through my Letterboxd list to find all the 2014 movies I’d seen and started my preliminary list, telling myself to be much stricter this time around. I’ve ended up with 15, and it pains me so much to have to take 4 of these amazing movies off my list.

As always, you can see my other Top 100 Movies of the Decade posts here on the master page. This post brings me to the halfway point!

2014 Movies Watched: 94
Movies that just missed this list: Paddington, Interstellar, Nightcrawler, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Chef

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#10 It Follows

Yeah, you bet your ass a horror movie made my top movies list! I can’t even pretend I don’t like horror movies anymore, I’ve fully embraced the genre. It Follows was the first horror movie to actually mess me up afterwards and leave me questioning my reality.

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#9 The Grand Budapest Hotel

This my first Wes Anderson movie. I watched it about a year late after seeing so many other bloggers rave about it, and they were right too. What a crazy world I found myself in!

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#8 The Lego Movie

It’s been 5/6 years Allie, are you still mad that the Oscars snubbed The Lego Movie? I am! It still hurts! It doesn’t matter that the sequel wasn’t as good, The Lego Movie was so original and so funny at the time! Everything’s not awesome.

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#7 Kingsman: The Secret Service

The marketing team behind the first Kingman movie needed firing, because the trailers so missold the movie as a comedy for teens. It’s actually a comedy for everyone, and it’s hilarious. The sequel is just as good, and we’re getting a third this year and I cannot wait.

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#6 Guardians of the Galaxy

I think GotG was the first Marvel movie I felt iffy about before seeing. There was no way I was going to miss it, but I wasn’t sold by the trailer. I ended up having a blast, though. Rocket remains as my all-time favourite MCU character, I think. I love that little trash panda.

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#5 What We Do in the Shadows

Okay, if you haven’t seen this movie yet you need to right that wrong, now. I’ve come to realise that Taika Waititi is a legendary director, and he hasn’t created anything I haven’t liked yet. Not only does he co-direct this mockumentary about vampires trying to live their lives, he stars in it too. I’m yet to see the TV show but I’ve heard it’s good!

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#4 Whiplash

I was blown away by Whiplash when I first saw it and I’m yet to find another movie with an ending as tense. I think I actually stopped breathing in those final few minutes. This is J.K. Simmons at his finest, and I doubt Miles Teller will ever be this good again.

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#3 Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

It’s been too long since I saw Birdman last but it is so much more than a gimmick! The whole movie looks like it was shot in 1 long take and it’s so effective. I’m still salty it didn’t scoop up more awards.

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#2 Gone Girl

One of my favourite cinema experiences will forever be watching Gone Girl, having never read the book, and witnessing that twist in a full screen. It was simply brilliant.

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#1 Ex Machina

Criminally overlooked at the awards, there’s no way Ex Machina wasn’t getting my top spot for 2014. Deliciously dark, witty and stunning, it’s just a brilliant movie, end of. Also my introduction to 2 of my favourite Star Wars boys!

Top 100 Movies of the Decade: 2013

This is where it starts to get difficult. In 2014 I started blogging so my first point of call was to go back to the previous year and watch as many movies as I could, including actively hunting out the great ones I would normally miss. I was starting to pay attention to the BAFTAs and Oscars and generally opening up my horizons. At the same time, I’m naturally easily pleased and there aren’t a lot of movies I actively dislike, so trying to pick 10 and labelling them as the best is so hard! But a lot of fun, too.

2013 Movies Watched: 85 (quite a big jump from 2012)

You can find my other lists on the master page here which I’m adding to as I go along.

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#10 Snowpiercer

What a delightfully weird movie Snowpiercer is. It got such a quiet release and then word spread like wildfire through the bloggersphere and that’s how I found out about it. A fantastic cast and an ending that’ll get you talking, so highly recommended from me.

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#9 Saving Mr. Banks

I shamefully care little for Mary Poppins to be perfectly honest so I skipped Saving Mr. Banks at the cinema. It’s such a touching story though, and with Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks as the leads, it was impossible not to love.

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#8 Short Term 12

Dear internet trolls whining about how Brie Larson has no emotion – see here, please. I looked up Short Term 12 after seeing Room (2015) and ugh, what a beautiful and painful story. This was also LaKeith Stanfield’s first feature movie so worth a watch for him, too.

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#7 Frozen

I’m not apologising for Frozen being here. I don’t care if you don’t believe me but I loved Frozen before the hype kicked in and kind of ruined it all. It swept me up with its catchy tunes, funny lyrics, a plot relatively simple but with a delightful twist.

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#6 Begin Again

Is it not time we got another movie from John Carney? They’re like soup for the soul. Once (2007) will always have a special place in my heart but Begin Again is probably my favourite of his. Great cast, gripping story, beautiful soundtrack. It’s going to get a rewatch this week I think.

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#5 This Is the End

I can’t stand James Franco but I do find Seth Rogan funny. Comedy is so subjective and hit and miss but I really think This Is the End might be the best modern comedy ever. It’s funny from start to finish, has some amazing cameos and you can tell everyone involved is having so much fun.

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#4 Inside Llewyn Davis

If a Coen brothers movie consisting of a beautifully moody Oscar Isaac taking a cat onto the subway and singing a song with Adam Driver and Justin Timberlake about outer space isn’t enough for you, then I don’t know what to tell you.

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#3 About Time

Again, not sorry. About Time is one of the most beautiful and romantic movies I have ever seen. It has a crazy plot about time travel involved which on paper should make it terrible, but it works so well. I watched it for the first time not long before my wedding and it gave me so many nightmares about torrential rain on my wedding day!

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#2 Enemy

I might be wrong but I think Enemy is a criminally under-watched movie. If you’re a Jake Gyllenhaal fan or a mystery fan, this is the movie for you. It’s one of those with a feeling of unease and confusion throughout, but every single detail along the way is there for a reason. It’s not a horror in any sense but the ending still haunts me now!

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#1 Prisoners

Denis Villeneuve is one of my favourite directors, and Prisoners is without a doubt my favourite movie of his. When a child goes missing and the police can’t help, the parents take matters into their own hands. It gets so dark, and I felt so conflicted watching it. But it’s such a compelling story and just like with Enemy, I’m still not over the ending.

Thursday Movie Picks: Super Long Titles

It’s Thursday again! It’s actually Thursday whilst I’m writing this too, because unlike last week where I was super organised with blog posts, this week is not going to plan. There was so way I could miss Wandering Through The Shelves’ weekly game this week though, the topic is too much fun. See, some weeks I’m scratching my head and trying to think of something clever, but this week’s theme is Super Long Titles, and so I’ve scoured my Letterboxd diary to see what I’ve watched that fits.

It’s annoying trying to actually talk about a movie when the title is so darn long, but I think I prefer it to super short, one-word titles. Mainly because I inevitably end up confusing movies for other ones because their names are too similar. I’ve watched Coherence (2013) and Compliance (2012) and I can’t tell which is which to save my life!

Before I give myself a headache and eventually look them both up, here are my 3 picks this week:

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Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

It’s a good job most people know what movie you’re on about if you simply say Birdman because I can never remember its full title! Regardless, I haven’t put together my lists for the best movies of the decade yet but Birdman would most likely be my #1 choice for 2014!

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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014)

2 movies from 2014? What was going on, writers? Anyway – this movie wouldn’t make any of my Top 10 lists mainly because it was pretty ‘meh’ and forgettable. That said, I will never forget about it’s title because I use it as a joke waaaay too often. Just pick any movie character who had a rough time in their story and add it to the title, boom! Guaranteed to make me laugh.

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Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996)

I saved the biggest till last, wink, wink. Fun fact, Don’t Be a Menace is probably my husband’s favourite movie of all time. When he was a lovable dork back in college he would quote it all the time, and somehow I managed to only watch it for myself 4 months ago. I mean yeah, it’s got some hilarious jokes in there but I mostly had to watch it whilst my husband watched me, waiting for me to laugh!

Thursday Movie Picks: Teen Horror

Spooky season has well and truly arrived! The nights are getting darker, the air is getting colder, and you can’t go to a supermarket without being confronted by pumpkins or sweets! It’s the perfect time of year to hibernate indoors with a hot drink and a scary movie. This week’s Thursday Movie Picks theme is Teen Horror, and since finally welcoming horror movies into my life I’ve seen quite a few!

Here are my three favourites:

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It Follows (2014)

Also known as the supernatural STD movie, It Follows is one of the few movies that genuinely scared the crap out of me both whilst I was watching it and for days afterward. Basically, it starts with one girl after a sexual encounter. ‘It’ follows her, only ‘It’ can take any form it wishes and moves at a slow pace until it finds you and kills you. You’re the only person who can see ‘It’, also. The only way to stop ‘It’ is to have sex with someone else and pass it on to them.

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Happy Death Day (2017)

I’m so fed up with Groundhog Day-style movies that I avoided Happy Death Day until this year. It’s so good though! You can probably guess the plot, a teen girl is murdered one night and then wakes up at the start of the same day, only to die over and over again. It’s a bit jumpy, but it’s also quite funny and the sequel is surprisingly even better than the original!

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Midsommar (2019)

It only feels like yesterday that Midsommar was released but I’m starting to learn that with Ari Aster’s movies, you aren’t likely to forget about them anytime soon. After suffering a family tragedy, Dani travels to Sweden with her awful boyfriend and his friends to visit a fabled mid-summer festival. It’s a quiet movie for a horror, and a lot of the worse moments happen off-screen, but it’s a glorious movie.

The Babadook (2014)

the-babadook-movie-review-poster-2014There are several coping mechanisms that I use when watching a horror movie. My favourite is keeping a cardigan nearby, and watching the tense scenes through it. Cardigans are the perfect thickness for obscuring most of the scariness without blocking the screen entirely. Hoodies are no good, as I sadly learned whilst watching It Follows, they’re just too thick. They’re perfect for weepy movies though, I just pull up the hood and hide myself away. My latest trick for horrors that I can find on VOD, however, is watching on my tablet with headphones. Super easy to look away from and tear out a headphone when the creepy music is just too much.

The Babadook (2014) is a wonderfully creepy movie. Amelia (Essie Davis) is still struggling with the tragic death of her husband 7 years ago. Her son Samuel (Noah Wiseman) is having problems of his own. He’s plagued by a monster that not only keeps him awake at night but has led to him becoming quite a violent and disturbed young boy. Just when things seem like they can’t get worse for this Mother and Son, they read a book called Mister Babadook, turning their lives into a living nightmare.

I got pulled into a false sense of security with this movie’s first half, which does a brilliant job at building the two leading characters and explores their backstories and the reasons why they are who they are. It honestly makes a great movie of its own right, without the horror part that follows. It was easy to take an instant disliking to Samuel, he seemed to be the stereotypical ‘weird kid’ you expect from a horror movie, but my heart ached for him and Amelia after a while. It was such a sad situation.

Sadly, the movie moves on from their tragedy and cranks up the scare factor once the ‘Mister Babadook’ book is found. The book itself is written in that rhyming couplet style that many children’s books are written, and starts off fairly innocent. You know, until the part about wishing you were dead. That was a bit off. Amelia does the WRONG thing by tearing the book up that night (personally I would have burnt it, and my entire house down) which I can only assume just angered the Babadook.

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I can’t even tell you through words just how terrifying the sound the Babadook makes. Even through headphones rather than quality, cinema speakers, it’s chilling, and I’ve got goosebumps just thinking about it. Move over Godzilla, you ain’t got nothing on this hat-wearing monster.

What I liked the most was that we didn’t actually see the Babadook that often. We just didn’t need to, the atmosphere and the music are enough, and it makes those scenes with him in that bit more powerful. Admittedly, I was hiding for a lot of the final chunk of the movie, whispering (spoiler alert) ‘please not the dog’ over and over again, but it was a justified kind of scaredness, I wasn’t just hiding from endless jump scares.

I’m so glad I braved this one, and ooh boy, that ending! I won’t spoil it for anyone, but it was definitely not what I was expecting.

(I’m on vacation right now celebrating my 30th Birthday! To fill the void whilst I’m away I’m posting some old movie reviews that I wrote for the blog I had before I started Often Off Topic. I’ll be back in early September.)

Best & Worst Will Ferrell Movies

It’s been ages since I did a list like this but I haven’t watched any movies whilst I’ve been feeling ill – and I find myself in a writing kind of mood so with no reviews to write it seemed like a good time to make a list. IMDB tells me that today is Will Ferrell’s birthday, so what better time to look back at my 5 favourite movies of his, and point out his worst!

Has Will Ferrell played a serious role yet? I’ve seen quite a few of his movies but they’ve all been comedies. As we all know, comedy is hugely subjective, so some of you might disagree with my list entirely, but where would the fun be if we all had the same opinion? I don’t know what my first Will Ferrell movie was, but generally, I think he’s a really funny guy. He was great in The Office in the small role he played, and he’s one of those actors who will always draw me to a movie if he’s in it.

In the last few years, it seems he’s turned his hand towards producing, with a number of projects in the works, but I hope he has an acting role in those projects too! Here are my favourite movies that he’s starred in:

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#5 Daddy’s Home (2015)

This stupid movie grew on me for sure. When I first watched it I wasn’t impressed, and apart from the last scene at the school dance I didn’t find it that funny, but then on one of the flights during my honeymoon we were on one of the older planes with the TV screens in the aisles, and I found myself forced to watch it for a second time. Maybe I was just in a better mood, or maybe it was the free food, but I really enjoyed it upon a rewatch! The sequel was trash though, sadly.

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#4 Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

I might be wrong, but I’ve always thought that Ron Burgundy is the role that Will Ferrell is most famous for. I have to admit, I haven’t watched Anchorman for years but I watched it a lot when I was in college and still remember a lot of the lines. It feels like one of those rare comedies that seems to have wide appeal, I’m yet to find someone who didn’t like it…until now maybe?

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#3 The Lego Movie (2014)

I’m still mad that the Academy snubbed this movie! Anyway, I’ve always loved animated movies and I have huge respect for the actors and actresses who can do voice work so well. It’s something I think a lot of people assume is an easy thing to do, but I’ve watched a lot of interviews and read a lot about the work that goes into it, and it sounds tough. Will Ferrell provides the voice of the evil Lord Business here, as well as an in-person role at the end of the movie.

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#2 Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

Thank you, Dad, for introducing me to Austin Powers when I was a kid. I love those movies so much! They are a must watch if you’ve never seen them before. Will Ferrell only plays a very small role as an Egyptian henchman of Dr. Evil, but his role is one of the most memorable, especially when he is sentenced to death after causing Mr. Bigglesworth the cat to lose all his fur. “I’m still alive! But very badly burned…”

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#1 Elf (2003)

How could my #1 choice be any other movie? I’ll never forget watching this movie for the first time…at the cinema…for my brother’s birthday…in an empty screen…because it was the middle of January! Why was the cinema still playing Elf?! Who knows, but I think I’ve watched it every Christmas since. Buddy the Elf is my spirit animal.

I guess the general rule is that when it’s your birthday, everyone has to be nice to you, but then there are birthday beatings! So, with that in mind, let me share Will Ferrell’s worst movie…

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Holmes & Watson (2018)

Even the poster for this movie annoys me. So much about this movie annoyed me! It actually started on a visual joke that really tickled me, and I had hope that I would be one of the few who would enjoy the rest. Then it gradually got worse and worse until I was actually groaning at some of the jokes. Believe the reviews guys, it really is that bad. I expected so much better!

Over to you guys though…what’s your favourite and least favourite Will Ferrell movie?

Thursday Movie Picks: Period Drama

Happy Thursday, everyone! Brightburn is finally out in the UK today so I’m hoping to catch that tonight. I’m not setting my expectations too high, but I’m still looking forward to it. Anyway, Thursday also means Thursday Movie Picks, hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. I had to do a quick Google search to define this week’s topic of Period Drama, as I’ve always said I hated the genre without really knowing what it is.

To my joy, Google defined it as “a work set in a past time period, usually used in the context of film and television”. Well blow me down, it’s a much broader term than I thought it was! Thanks to that revelation, I’m bringing a theme within the theme this week, as my 3 Period Drama picks all star Emma Stone!

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The Favourite (2018)

This, to me, is my dictionary definition of Period Drama. Women in huge, stuffy dresses and men going off to war. What convinced me to see The Favourite though was the cast, obviously including Emma Stone, and the fact that it’s directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, known for creating all things weird and wonderful. Olivia Colman won an Oscar for her performance in this, and she was so deserving of it! I highly recommended this one if you haven’t seen it already.

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The Help (2011)

It’s been years since I watched The Help, but writing this has reminded me how much I want to see it again. Emma Stone plays a writer called Skeeter who decided to interview the black women who look after wealthy families. Again, the cast here is stunning and it’s a shocking look into history. The Help is worth a watch if nothing more than to see Octavia Spencer deliver arguably her most famous line ever, “Eat my s**t”.

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Magic in the Moonlight (2014)

I only watched this one recently, but once I realised my first two picks shared Emma Stone in common I just had to see if I could make it a hat trick, and huzzah! Here we go. I’ve since learned that Woody Allen movies are an acquired taste, so this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I quite liked it. It had just the right amount of humour, romance, and mystery to satisfy me.