Best Scenes | The Best of 2014

Since we just missed the cutoff of launching the Bit Players at the end of last year, we wanted to post what we considered to be our year-end roundup of 2014 in film. There were tons of amazing films and performances to choose from, and it was hard to narrow down to a consensus, but we managed to do that by the end. Inside you will find the best films, best male performances, best female performances, best directors, most overrated films, most underrated films, worst films, and the best scenes of the year, as well as our individual ballots if you want to see where all of these selections came from. Enjoy, and we look forward to a great year of watching film together along with you in 2015.

Since we just missed the cutoff of launching the Bit Players at the end of last year, we wanted to post what we considered to be our year-end roundup of 2014 in film. There were tons of amazing films and performances to choose from, and it was hard to narrow down to a consensus, but we managed to do that by the end. Inside you will find the best films, best male performances, best female performances, best directors, most overrated films, most underrated films, worst films, and the best scenes of the year, as well as our individual ballots if you want to see where all of these selections came from. Enjoy, and we look forward to a great year of watching film together along with you in 2015.

5. The Skeleton Twins "Lip-Sync Scene"
Director
Craig Johnson
Stars
Kristen Wiig
Bill Hader
Luke Wilson


Just try to watch this scene without feeling utter joy. Like, every movie should have a lip-sync scene. Every movie should have Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader. So many feelings. I’m not ashamed to admit that this moment in the Skeleton Twins actually made me tear up on first watch. Oh, and second watch, too. Yeah, who am I kidding? I tear up every time. The beauty of family and the little moments that keep our shit together. – Jeff Pearson

4. Whiplash "Opening Scene"
Director
Damien Chazelle
Stars
Miles Teller
J.K. Simmons


3. Interstellar "Endurance Docking Scene"
Director
Christopher Nolan
Stars
Matthew McConaughey
Anne Hathaway


I challenge you to find a more intense sequence in film, this or any year. Literally, the future of humanity is on the line. – Jarryd Baxter

2. X-Men: Days of Future Past "Quicksilver Slow-Motion Scene"
Director
Bryan Singer
Stars
Evan Peters
James McAvoy
Michael Fassbender


This is hands down the best movie scene of 2014. It is a pure stroke of genius. Amazing super powers creatively used and set to a great Jim Croce diddy. This is one of those scenes where I knew I had witnessed something special as soon as I saw it. I went back and saw this movie a few more times basically just for this incredible scene. The slow motion visuals and special effects are great and the scene is both hilarious pretty intense. Also, it is a pretty big middle finger to the Avengers’ upcoming version of Quicksilver. The Days of Future Past Quicksilver was just so amazingly badass that the Avengers’ version would have no chance of being anywhere near as cool as the DOFP version. – Anders Oster

1. Whiplash "Final Scene"
Director
Damien Chazelle
Stars
Miles Teller
J.K. Simmons


It's What Movies Are About. – Clark Carmichael
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Most Underrated Film

Top 25 Films | The Best of 2014

Since we just missed the cutoff of launching the Bit Players at the end of last year, we wanted to post what we considered to be our year-end roundup of 2014 in film. There were tons of amazing films and performances to choose from, and it was hard to narrow down to a consensus, but we managed to do that by the end. Inside you will find the best films, best male performances, best female performances, best directors, most overrated films, most underrated films, worst films, and the best scenes of the year, as well as our individual ballots if you want to see where all of these selections came from. Enjoy, and we look forward to a great year of watching film together along with you in 2015.

Since we just missed the cutoff of launching the Bit Players at the end of last year, we wanted to post what we considered to be our year-end roundup of 2014 in film. There were tons of amazing films and performances to choose from, and it was hard to narrow down to a consensus, but we managed to do that by the end. Inside you will find the best films, best male performances, best female performances, best directors, most overrated films, most underrated films, worst films, and the best scenes of the year, as well as our individual ballots if you want to see where all of these selections came from. Enjoy, and we look forward to a great year of watching film together along with you in 2015.

The Theory of Everything
25. The Theory of Everything
Director
James Marsh
Stars
Eddie Redmayne
Felicity Jones
Tom Prior


I went from being unimpressed to very impressed with Eddie Redmayne when I watched this movie. His portrayal of the transformation of pre-ALS to current Stephen Hawking is incredible and heartbreaking. Combine that with a great love story, some cool physics, and a charming score from the least creatively-named person on the planet (Johann Johannsson), and you have a very affecting movie. – Anders Oster

22 Jump Street
24. 22 Jump Street
Directors
Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Stars
Jonah Hill
Channing Tatum
Ice Cube


It was a pleasant surprise to find out this unwarranted sequel was not only better than the first, but one of the funniest movies in the last 10 years. – Clark Carmichael

Big Hero 6
23. Big Hero 6
Directors
Don Hall & Chris Williams
Stars
Ryan Potter
Scott Adsit
Jamie Chung


Where the LEGO Movie is non-stop fun, Big Hero 6 is one of those films that truly manages to capture all types of viewers while dealing with much heavier themes. The concept of loss in what would normally be deemed a “children’s movie” is pulled off so well here and gives those dealing with loss or who may know what it’s like to lose a sense of empowerment and hope in the way that Hiro and the rest of the Big Hero 6 (featuring fantastic vocal performances from the likes of the always hilarious T.J. Miller, Jamie Chung, and Damon Wayans, Jr.) manage to band together under unlikely circumstances and make the best of a horrible situation. There were some seriously emotional moments throughout, which is an accomplishment in this venue, and Baymax is the most adorable thing to appear on a screen all year. – Jeff Pearson

Gone Girl
22. Gone Girl
Director
David Fincher
Stars
Ben Affleck
Rosamund Pike
Neil Patrick Harris


Fincher succeeds again in adapting a best-selling mystery into a dark, gripping movie. It was polarizing amongst the Bit Players, but I loved every second. As with great novels, supporting characters add depth and dimension through the excellent Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, and Carrie Coon. – Jarryd Baxter

Coherence
21. Coherence
Director
James Ward Byrkit
Stars
Emily Baldoni
Maury Sterling
Nicholas Brendon


For any aspiring filmmaker looking for inspiration on how to get a great feature out there on a minimal budget, look no further than Coherence. This film hardly ventures out of the living room but manages to navigate some of the farthest, most complex regions of thought in the process. It’s one of those movies that constantly has you guessing just where it’s going to go, and always manages to skirt your expectations at the last possible second. I truly think this might go down as one of the greatest modern science-fiction films when all is said and done. – JP

The Skeleton Twins
20. The Skeleton Twins
Director
Craig Johnson
Stars
Kristen Wiig
Bill Hader
Luke Wilson


Definitely the biggest surprise of the year for me. I think when you see a bill of Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader before details of the Skeleton Twins were widely available, it makes sense to expect something light and airy, highlighting their excellent comedic teamwork and ability to shapeshift from one wild persona to the next. The second the Skeleton Twins starts it becomes plainly evident that this is not what you’re going to get, however, and I couldn’t be happier. This is a true coming-out party for both Wiig and Hader, who create characters so rich and believable that almost immediately you forget the iconography behind their comedic characters and wholly believe in Milo and Maggie Dean. The chemistry that the pair honed on Saturday Night Live is utilized to amazing and moving effect as the two siblings work together to keep on living. - JP

Two Days, One Night
19. Two Days, One Night
Directors
The Dardenne Brothers
Stars Marion Cotillard
Fabrizio Rongione
Catherine Salée


I Origins
18. I Origins
Director
Mike Cahill
Stars
Michael Pitt
Steven Yeun
Astrid Bergès-Frisbey


This was the best under the radar movie of the year. It is a beautiful story of human connection that challenges the scientific background of our protagonist, Michael Pitt. He is great in this movie, but Brit Marling is the best actress outside of the mainstream. - JB

The Imitation Game
17. The Imitation Game
Director
Morten Tyldum
Stars
Benedict Cumberbatch
Keira Knightley
Matthew Goode


I saw this movie as the first part of a triple feature at the movies along with Big Eyes and Into The Woods. This one stuck with me the most even though it was the first of the three I saw. Benedict Cumberbatch was amazing in this role and makes me wish I had traded Rooney Mara for him when I had the chance in our Oscar Fantasy League (Patent Pending). This movie is the incredible true story of Alan Turing, the man who broke the unbreakable Nazi Enigma Code by inventing a machine that is basically the beginning of modern computers. Amazing score by composer, Alexandre Desplat, who was nominated for an Oscar for two different movies last year. - AO

Nightcrawler
16. Nightcrawler
Director
Dan Gilroy
Stars
Jake Gyllenhaal
Rene Russo
Bill Paxton


Satire at its best. We’ve all seen and heard this critique of media, but Gilroy and Gyllenhaal bring a chilling nuance to old ideas. For a bonus, we’re graced with Bill Paxton’s second best supporting role of 2014. - JB

The Interview
15. The Interview
Directors
Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen
Stars
James Franco
Seth Rogen
Randall Park


The LEGO Movie
14. The LEGO Movie
Directors
Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Stars
Chris Pratt
Will Ferrell
Elizabeth Banks


Easily the best animated film of the year for me. Movies like The LEGO Movie remind me of what made me love film in the earliest part of my life, just on the edge of my seat with a huge smile on my face. The whole cast seems to be having such a blast with their voiceover parts and the way that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller blend the real world with the imaginary takes me back to the first time that Toy Story changed the way I thought about the imagination’s power to shape a new reality. I had my first glimpse of the Lego Movie while riding in the backseat with my infant cousin and the movie was playing in a seat-back TV screen; I think I was more glued to the screen than he was. - JP

What We Do in the Shadows
13. What We Do in the Shadows
Directors
Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi
Stars
Jemaine Clement
Taika Waititi
Jonathan Brugh


Off the top of my head I can’t think of a movie that made me laugh more last year than this movie. If you are a fan of Flight of the Conchords, you have to see this movie. It is a mockumentary following the lives of three completely incompetent vampires with Australian accents (maybe New Zealand accents but you get the idea). They meet vampire hunters and werewolves along the way and it is hilarious. I don’t know what else to say... Werewolves before swearwolves. - AO

Snowpiercer
12. Snowpiercer
Director
Joon-Ho Bong
Stars
Chris Evans
Jamie Bell
Tilda Swinton


Captain America: Winter Soldier
11. Captain America: Winter Soldier
Directors
The Russo Brothers
Stars
Chris Evans
Samuel L. Jackson
Scarlett Johansson


Overshadowed by the success of Guardians, this is quietly the best movie Marvel released in 2014. - CC

Boyhood
10. Boyhood
Director
Richard Linklater
Stars
Ellar Coltrane
Ethan Hawke
Patricia Arquette


Richard Linklater’s labor of love Boyhood gets to the core of what can be truly beautiful about a film. The title is somewhat misleading in that, while the main character Mason (who is played by a subtle and understated first-through-twelfth-timer Ellar Coltrane) is certainly the center of the film, and his growth and development into an individual is very important, Boyhood is ultimately about family. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke feel like real, flawed people stumbling through the world and trying to make the most out of situations of varying degrees of stability while keeping their family together, and their growth as parents is just as important than Mason’s. It’s more than slice of life. It is life. - JP

Edge of Tomorrow
9. Edge of Tomorrow
Director
Doug Liman
Stars
Tom Cruise
Emily Blunt
Bill Paxton


This was the surprise of the year. We all knew we would love this movie because of Tom Cruise. We didn’t know it would be smart, funny, well executed sci-fi. - JB

The Drop
8. The Drop
Director
Michaël R. Roskam
Stars
Tom Hardy
Noomi Rapace
James Gandolfini


The hidden gem from 2014. Worth watching just to see James Gandolfini absolutely crush it in the last movie before his death. - CC

The Babadook
7. The Babadook
Director
Jennifer Kent
Stars
Essie Davis
Noah Wiseman
Daniel Henshall


I do not like scary movies. At all. I do not enjoy being afraid. That being said, The Babadook is one of my favorite movies of the year. This movie nearly made me cry terror tears. But it redeemed itself with the relationship between the two main characters played by Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman, who were both completely incredible in the roles of a recently widowed mother and her son. By the end of the movie I went from terror tears to care-er tears. The writer and director Jennifer Kent did an amazing job of making you care about these characters and their relationship and I can’t wait to see her movies in the future. See this movie! - AO

X-Men: Days of Future Past
6. X-Men: Days of Future Past
Director
Bryan Singer
Stars
Patrick Stewart
Ian McKellen
Hugh Jackman


The Grand Budapest Hotel
5. The Grand Budapest Hotel
Director
Wes Anderson
Stars
Ralph Fiennes
F. Murray Abraham
Mathieu Amalric


From the very first frame The Grand Budapest Hotel is an absolute delight. Each time I’ve watched it, I think I had a smile plastered on my face for the entire duration. Not only is it Wes Anderson seemingly at his most realized, completely mastering his dollhouse vision of the worlds that he loves to create in his films, but this is among the most compelling stories he’s told on screen yet. He seems to really just now be hitting his stride, which is kind of an amazing thought; the early ability he exhibited in capturing a real essence of the human spirit and his later utter visual mastery are coming closer and closer together, and seem to come the closest in the Grand Budapest Hotel. It’s funny, touching, frightening, and sad, often all at once. - JP

Interstellar
4. Interstellar
Director
Christopher Nolan
Stars
Matthew McConaughey
Anne Hathaway
Jessica Chastain


This is Nolan’s most ambitious effort and finest achievement. This is what movies are about. - JB

Guardians of the Galaxy
3. Guardians of the Galaxy
Director
James Gunn
Stars
Chris Pratt
Vin Diesel
Bradley Cooper


When I heard Marvel was making a superhero film with a talking tree and a raccoon with a pistol as two of the main heroes, I thought they were finally reaching a bit beyond their grasp. Then the previews started coming out and it looked like it might not be so bad after all. The decision to cast Chris Pratt as Star Lord is one of the most ingenious choices I can remember, and James Gunn or whoever else was involved deserves an infinity stone. But Chris Pratt isn’t the only star of this movie. Vin Diesel, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, and Dave Bautista are all equally lovable characters, which is a truly amazing feat when you think about it. All you need to enjoy this movie are two free hours, a good sense of humor, and if you can find a guy to give you one, a prosthetic leg. - AO

The first time I saw it, I felt like I might have some idea of how people felt when they first saw Star Wars in theaters. Guardians is a movie that kids and parents can share for generations to come. - CC

Birdman
2. Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Director
Alejandro González Iñárritu
Stars
Michael Keaton
Edward Norton
Emma Stone


Director Iñárritu has balls the size of tangerines and he likes to show them off. The combination of the hyper realistic entire-movie-is-one-long-tracking-shot and the outlandish surreal elements make for a very entertaining critique of actors, heroes, critics, the media, and possibly Edward Norton and Michael Keaton. - CC

Whiplash
1. Whiplash
Director
Damien Chazelle
Stars
Miles Teller
J.K. Simmons


This is the movie I recommend to friends and strangers. The story is simple. The characters are deep. The directing is top-notch. The ending is why I watch movies. - CC Great acting, directing, sound, and more. This is a technical and emotional achievement, as Chazelle examines poignant questions of mastery. - JB The most remarkable part about Whiplash, to me, is the sheer physical nature of the action on screen and how well Chazelle is able to bring that out in a visual medium. It's not easy to have the viewer practically feel everything that Andrew (Miles Teller) feels, from the cuts on his drumming hands opening up as he tries to speed up his double-time swing to the sweat pouring onto and then bouncing off of his snare's head. I think that's what makes this such an intense watch as your stomach is in your throat the for the film's tensest moments and the final scene brings such a beautiful musical release. - JP
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Individual Ballots | The Best of 2014

Since we just missed the cutoff of launching the Bit Players at the end of last year, we wanted to post what we considered to be our year-end roundup of 2014 in film. There were tons of amazing films and performances to choose from, and it was hard to narrow down to a consensus, but we managed to do that by the end. Inside you will find the best films, best male performances, best female performances, best directors, most overrated films, most underrated films, worst films, and the best scenes of the year, as well as our individual ballots if you want to see where all of these selections came from. Enjoy, and we look forward to a great year of watching film together along with you in 2015.

Since we just missed the cutoff of launching the Bit Players at the end of last year, we wanted to post what we considered to be our year-end roundup of 2014 in film. There were tons of amazing films and performances to choose from, and it was hard to narrow down to a consensus, but we managed to do that by the end. Inside you will find the best films, best male performances, best female performances, best directors, most overrated films, most underrated films, worst films, and the best scenes of the year, as well as our individual ballots if you want to see where all of these selections came from. Enjoy, and we look forward to a great year of watching film together along with you in 2015.

Anders Oster
Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Films
1. Guardians of the Galaxy
2. Interstellar
3. Whiplash
4. X-Men: Days of Future Past
5. The Imitation Game
6. Birdman
7. The Babadook
8. What We Do In The Shadows
9. Theory of Everything
10. I Origins
11. Obvious Child
12. Starred Up
13. Wild
14. The Good Lie
15. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Best Male Performances
1. Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
2. Michael Keaton (Birdman)
3. Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
4. Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)
5. J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

Best Female Performances
1. Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
2. Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)
3. Essie Davis (The Babadook)
4. Reese Witherspoon (Wild)
5. Emma Stone (Birdman)

Best Directors
1. Christopher Nolan (Interstellar)
2. Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
3. James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy)

Most Overrated Film
Boyhood

Most Underrated Film
Interstellar

Worst Films
1. Mr. Turner

2. 300: Rise of an Empire
3. Dumb and Dumber To

Best Scenes
1. X-Men: Days of Future Past "Quicksilver Slow-Motion Scene"
2. Whiplash "Final Scene"
3. Interstellar "Endurance Docking Scene"
Brian Urrutia
Birdman

Best Films
1. Birdman
2. X-Men: Days of Future Past
3. Whiplash
4. The Interview
5. Snowpiercer
6. Interstellar
7. The Babadook
8. Two Days, One Night
9. Guardians of the Galaxy
10. Foxcatcher
11. Mr. Turner
12. The Grand Budapest Hotel
13. How to Train Your Dragon 2
14. American Sniper
15. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Best Male Performances
1. Michael Keaton (Birdman)
2. Bradley Cooper (American Sniper)
3. Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
4. Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)
5. Josh Brolin (Inherent Vice)

Best Female Performances
1. Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)
2. Essie Davis (The Babadook)
3. Emily Blunt (Into the Woods)
4. Emma Stone (Birdman)
5. Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year)

Best Directors
1. Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman)
2. Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)
3. Jennifer Kent (The Babadook)

Most Overrated Film
Boyhood

Most Underrated Film
The Babadook

Worst Films
1. Transcendence
2. 300: Rise of an Empire
3. Divergent

Best Scenes
1. Whiplash "Opening Scene"
2. X-Men: Days of Future Past "Quicksilver Slow-Motion Scene"
3. The Grand Budapest Hotel "Downhill Ski Chase Scene"
Clark Carmichael
Whiplash

Best Films
1. Whiplash
2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
3. Guardians of the Galaxy
4. The Drop
5. Birdman
6. John Wick
7. Edge of Tomorrow
8. 22 Jump Street
9. X-Men: Days of Future Past
10. Chef
11. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
12. Snowpiercer
13. Blue Ruin
14. The Equalizer
15. Lucy

Best Male Performances
1. J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
2. Chris Evans (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
3. Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
4. Miles Teller (Whiplash)
5. James Gandolfini (The Drop)

Best Female Performances
1. Essie Davis (The Babadook)
2. Emma Stone (Birdman)
3. Noomi Rapace (The Drop)
4. Tilda Swinton (Snowpiercer)
5. Amy Ryan (Birdman)

Best Directors
1. James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy)
2. Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
3. Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin)

Most Overrated Film
The Imitation Game

Most Underrated Film
The Drop

Worst Films
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
2. God's Not Dead
3. Gone Girl

Best Scenes
1. Whiplash "Final Scene"
2. Birdman "Opening Scene"
3. The Drop "Bar Scene"
Jarryd Baxter
Whiplash

Best Films
1. Whiplash
2. The Grand Budapest Hotel
3. Birdman
4. Interstellar
5. The Edge of Tomorrow
6. Nightcrawler
7. Boyhood
8. Gone Girl
9. The Drop
10. The Babadook
11. Calvary
12. I Origins
13. Guardians of the Galaxy
14. Citizenfour
15. Two Days, One Night

Best Male Performances
1. Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)
2. Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
3. Miles Teller (Whiplash)
4. Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
5. Edward Norton (Birdman)

Best Female Performances
1. Essie Davis (The Babadook)
2. Emma Stone (Birdman)
3. Carrie Coon (Gone Girl)
4. Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)
5. Naomi Watts (Birdman)

Best Directors
1. Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman)
2. Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
3. Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Most Overrated Film
The Theory of Everything

Most Underrated Film
The Drop

Worst Films
1. Love is Strange
2. Laggies
3. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Best Scenes
1. Interstellar "Endurance Docking Scene"
2. Whiplash "Final Scene"
3. The Grand Budapest Hotel "Dining Scene"
Jeff Pearson
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Films
1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
2. Birdman
3. Whiplash
4. The Lego Movie
5. Boyhood
6. The Skeleton Twins
7. Coherence
8. Big Hero 6
9. Guardians of the Galaxy
10. Inherent Vice
11. What We Do in the Shadows
12. Listen Up Philip
13. Selma
14. The Drop
15. Nightcrawler

Best Male Performances
1. Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
2. Michael Keaton (Birdman)
3. Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
4. David Oyelowo (Selma)
5. Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)

Best Female Performances
1. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
2. Kristen Wiig (The Skeleton Twins)
3. Shailene Woodley (The Fault in Our Stars)
4. Scarlett Johansson (Under the Skin)
5. Jenny Slate (Obvious Child)

Best Directors
1. Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman)
2. Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
3. Richard Linkater (Boyhood)

Most Overrated Film
Gone Girl

Most Underrated Film
The Drop

Worst Films
1. Dumb and Dumber To
2. Gone Girl
3. Let's Be Cops

Best Scenes
1. Whiplash "Final Scene"
2. The Skeleton Twins "Lip-Sync Scene"
3. Unbroken "Beam Scene"
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