Bad Movie Beatdown: Review of 2014

At long last, Film Brain gives a comprehensive look at the highs and lows of a year where studios super-sized their franchises, and gives his picks for the best and worst movies of the year.

About Film Brain

"Bad Movie Beatdown" takes a look at the very worst that Hollywood has to offer with commentary and analysis. "Projector" is reviews of current UK releases that have yet to open in the US. There may also be some commentaries and other material.

64 comments

  1. You really should see the new Transformers film. As someone who’s hated all 3 films, the new one isn’t that bad because at least the human characters are better and there’s more focus on the Transformers themselves. It’s a fun flick, surprisingly.

  2. My top ten would probably be:
    1) Boyhood
    2) The Lego Movie
    3) Pride (Which you all totally need to see)
    4) 12 Years A Slave (UK release dates)
    5) Nightcrawler
    6) Paddington
    7) Blue Ruin
    8) The Grand Budapest Hotel
    9) Snowpiercer
    10) Mr Turner

    I personally loathed The Imitation Game. By filmmaking standards it was merely below average, like a TV movie that had somehow escaped into the wild. Its utterly pedestrian and nigh-anonymous direction, combined with a script determined to leave no cliche unturned (complete with an attempt at the next ‘life is like a box of chocolates’ that felt so contrived and written that every utterance was like being aurally penetrated by a cat) made it irritating enough, but as a telling of Turing’s life it was fucking insulting.

    The film seemed determined to force him into the closet when in reality he was pretty openly gay almost his entire life (particularly at Bletchley, where no-one cared who you wanted to shag as there was a war on, at least according to my tour guide). In fact he was arrested in 1953 because he openly admitted his relationship with his boyfriend (who the burglar was known to) when he reported the break-in. This combined with the sexual tension on par with Christopher Nolan pictures makes me wonder if the filmmakers weren’t comfortable making a film about an openly gay man.

    The worst part was the ending, which is the biggest cop-out I’ve ever seen. After wasting all but one 50’s scene on a pointless wraparound story the film skips over his chemical castration by the courts in a single scene, while having Keira Knightly going “don’t worry dear audience member, this is actually an inspirational moment”. Relegating his suicide to a title card at the end is a fucking disgrace, a little ‘Oh by the way, he killed himself’ so as not to offset the upliftingness of it all. It’s like if Grave of the Fireflies ended with the kids playing by the riverbank, with nothing but a title card to say ‘Everything went to shit later’.

    The best thing I can say about it is that no-one will remember this thing six months from now, just like The Book Thief and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

    • Regarding Imitation Game…yes. What Film Runner said. ALL of what Film Runner said. Also, Alan Turing was likely developmentally disabled (he had a LOT of traits that are really common in Autistic people, and much of the Autistic community believes if he were alive today he’d be diagnosable), and they gave the role to a dude who has literally compared Autistic people to Frankenstein’s monster. Cumberbatch even got all pissy at Autistic people theorizing that Turing was Autistic because it offers us “false hope”. What. The. Fuck.

      I’m a doctoral student and as such saw almost no movies this year, except The Lego Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy (both of which I adored) when I was visiting family. I still badly want to see Pride and am also now curious about Edge of Tomorrow.

    • I said the same thing to myself about Imitation Game while watching this video, and have said this to others. His struggles at the end of the film, and that scene where Cumberbatch is actually able to ACT a little with Knightley was the most touching and interesting scene of the whole film. More interesting than some annoying turning machine and made up stories the writers took poetic license with.

    • What absolute nonsense! You are judging things by today’s standards.

      It was ILLEGAL to be openly gay in the UK when this film was set!
      If the film makers didn’t want to tackle homosexuality then they would’ve left it out of the film entirely and just set the events around cracking the German codes, as that is in itself a fascinating true life story.

      If you didn’t like the film then fine, but don’t try and state things you know nothing about. Turing believed himself to be flawed as being gay was considered abnormal, even by himself.

      The fact that you base this crap on the fact that you went on a “Tour,” makes what you said even more laughable. Do you think a tour guide wants to put everybody on a downer and explain the details of Turing’s personal life when he basically invented computers?
      Hmmm yes I can see that tour being a success.

      Being openly gay and proving somebody is openly gay are two very different things and the only people keeping Turing, in the closet was the establishment themselves as they would then have to do something about it… and they eventually did in 1953, long after the war was over.

      So hate the movie all you want, but don’t try and talk about how the film makers were shy about it, as they clearly were not.

      • Mate, by ‘tour’ I mean I went on a tour of Bletchley Park, where not only did I see the reconstructed Bombe and the running reconstruction of Colossus (noisy bloody thing), but the final rooms we went through detailed Turing’s life and eventual fate. So yes, the tour did literally end on a downer about Turing’s chemical castration and suicide (though I then got my Alan Turing edition Monopoly set from the gift shop, which cheered me up a bit).

  3. whatdudduddaugh! Why did they give the movie its original title in Japan only!? If it worked there it should work everywhere else!

    • Brand recognition. People in Japan may have heard of the light novel it’s based on, others won’t. While Edge of Tomorrow is an undoubtedly bland title, All You Need Is Kill just sounds too silly in English.

    • I am not sure, but the title sounds like an Engrish translation, that gets the words but not the meaning. So maybe it makes sense in Japan instead of being such a strange word arrangement.

  4. The movies I liked best: The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Edge of Tomorrow.

    The movie that made me mad: Snowpiercer. Why do critics like this movie? There are a few good and/or interesting bits in it, but I was pretty bored near the end. There were so many things I could go on about but the biggest for me is that in the end, it all adds up to NOTHING. Nothing that came before that ending matters at all. Maybe that was the idea? All I know is the movie made me angrier the more I thought things over.

  5. You know, you are the only critic that I listen to who didn’t bash any Christian movies that came out last year. I know it’s perhaps you didn’t see them (or didn’t want to start any unnecessary conflict), but it’s a really fresh change from my usual peanut gallery of movie critics who loved to hate every single Christian movie (in one way or another) that came out in 2014, excluding Noah.

    I will be sure to list your worst movies in “Must Avoid” list and your best movies in “Must See” list, especially “The Imitation Game”, which I unfortunately missed a chance to see.

    • We don’t get the American Christian movies over here, there isn’t enough of an audience. We got Noah and Exodus, but aside from a few London screenings of God’s Not Dead of all bloody things that was it. Also you dodged a pretty hefty bullet by missing The Imitation Game, you lucky bastard.

      • You’re right in saying I missed most of them – I did see Noah, but give Exodus a miss, Left Behind and Mom’s Night Out were released direct to DVD and God’s Not Dead was in limited release. By contrast, those were largely replaced by local British movies in my video (Nativity 3, Mrs. Brown’s Boys, Walking on Sunshine).

  6. Wow. This is the most comprehensive, and well made, review of 2014 that I have seen.

    Excellent job, Film Brain. I’m impressed.

  7. I still do not understand the appeal of “Boyhood”. The characters and dialogue are boring and the majority of the acting is bad. I do not even understand the novel aspect, “they actually age” yeah, so do I, so doesn’t everyone. Online there are so many real videos of people growing up and doing stuff that I just can’t grasp why this is seen as special or interesting. If there was a plot that was developing, but there isn’t. What is the message? What is the point?
    I keep seeing it everywhere and I still have no idea how it gets described as magical or uplifting while sitting between “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “The Lego Movie” that have actual craft at work.

  8. i think the main problem with Imogene Poots’ career isn’t her agent – it’s that her name is Imogene Poots.

  9. MidnightScreeningsman2014

    good list of films. I knew that pride(2014) would be at the top of your list cause you just adored and loved that movie. I also am happy to see the lego movie on this list i thought it was awesome and very funny(my favorite character being Allison Brie’s charming and happy Unikitty character and my second favorite being batman as voiced by Will Arnett). As for movies on the worst list,i’m not suprised to see A Million Ways to Die in the West on there since it was a hot mess and The Other Woman thanks to it being offensive to women in all.I would love to see you do a bad movie beatdown(or more of them) since it would be very funny to see you riiff on it. Thanks for the list and hope you have fun in 2015.

  10. Didn’t seem like 2014 was an all that great year for movies. Or music. But TV, oh boy, did TV make out like a bandit.

    • Whiplash, Nightcrawler, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Winter Soldier, Days of Future Past, Birdman, Gone Girl, Boyhood, The Babadook, The Imitation Game, How To Train Your Dragon 2, Big Hero 6, John Wick, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Hunger Games : CF, The Hobbit : BOTFA, The Lego Movie, Interstellar, The Raid 2, Fury, 22 Jump Street and Edge of Tomorrow pretty much cemented 2014 as one of the best years Hollywood has ever had. You might disagree with some of the movies and the praise they get but the point is all of these movies are gonna be remembered favorably years from now.

      • And TV being great isn’t anything new these days, we’ve been in a golden age for TV since the 2000s, I don’t think we’ve ever seen a bad year for TV ever since The Sopranos aired.

  11. FilmBrainsGoldfish

    It must be great to live in a country where Kirk Cameron movies don’t get screened.

    • And yet God’s Not Dead got showings in London. I thought I was hallucinating when I saw two adverts on public transit.

      • The ads were nationwide, so it may have played wider than London – I know they were a staple of train stations across the country, even in places that weren’t showing it.

        • I asked a Christian friend of mine about this and he responded:

          “There is a growing and worrying trend in British churches of uncritically buying any crap from across the pond which has ‘Christian’ stamped across it. We used to be more resistant to this than the Yanks. The Americans are frighteningly naïve in some ways. They’ll take anyone calling themselves Christian at face value- something organisations like FOX take full advantage of. And, of course, travelling preachers.

          Certain Nigerian churches have this same tendency, actually. They like their corrupt-as-hell celebrity preachers, their Christian music/fiction/non-fiction/TV/film (because if you watch anything ‘worldly’ you’ll let the Devil in), and so on. Some of the London adverts are probably aimed at them, actually- there are a lot of arch-conservative West African churches in the city. You can identify them by the flamboyance of the names- they eschew ‘St John’s’ or ‘Holy Trinity’ in favour of ‘Holy Spirit Anointed House of Divine Miracle Power’ and so on.”

  12. vlad tepes dracul was a hero to romanians, he used genocide as a deterrence. Much like many modern countries have done. If he was a cool guy i dont fucking know i wasnt there

  13. lets be cops was hillarious

  14. It’s impossible for me to actually hate Winter’s Tale.

    HORSE!

  15. Finally! But the wait was worth it. Hope to see more of you in the new year now that this beast of a video is out of the way.
    My younger sister is your biggest fan.

  16. It seems most “best” lists i’ve come across for 2014 include Guardians of the Galaxy, but Captain America: The Winter Soldier is often left out even as an honorable mention. Don’t get me wrong I love Guardians of The Galaxy and I understand these are opinion based and should be respected as such. I just feel that people were so surprised by the success of Guardians that it’s overshadowing the fact that Marvel made another great movie that surpassed expectations that was released four months prior.

  17. All I have to say is, good job Matthew.
    Very well done. Covered a ton of bases with professionalism.

  18. Honorable Mentions: Inherent Vice, The Raid 2, Get On Up, A Most Violent Year, Nightcrawler, Force Majeure
    Top 10: No order except #1
    Whiplash
    Selma
    Grand Budapest
    Leviathan
    Still Alice
    Wild
    Guardians of the Galaxy
    Foxcatcher
    Edge of Tommorow
    1. tie: Gone Girl/Birdman

    • Snowpiercer too for honorable mention… man there were a bunch of good films this year 😛

    • I felt that Wild was severely lacking. Besides, who wants to see Reese Witherspoon’s poop?

      • yeah the poop shot was weird and the film got a little repetitive where she feared every guy wanted to rape her, but really the most engrossing thing to me was the editing, sound editing, voice overs, sound mixing. It just really worked for me and did a very good job with her inner monologues and subtly throughout the film that few movies give nowadays.

  19. Fan daby dosey… I was just beginning to think this one wasn’t coming.
    I’ll watch it over breakfast.

  20. Great video, enjoyed it a lot.

    My top 10 would look something like this:

    10. Edge of Tomorrow
    9. Nightcrawler
    8. Birdman
    7. X-Men: Days of Future Past
    6. The Lego Movie
    5. Boyhood
    4. Guardians of the Galaxy
    3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
    2. The Gran Budapest Hotel
    1. Whiplash

  21. At 29:41… wow. That scene was stolen from the Shaker Run movie. That’s how Shaker Run ended, helicopter + steel cord / chain to the car and they fly away.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090006/

  22. Wait, Matthew! What about “The Raid 2”?

  23. I’ve noticed that none of the ads have been playing for any videos on this site the past day or two. Just curious if there’s any reason.

  24. A Long Way Down is a wonderful book that handles the subject matter in a perfect Nick Hornbyian way, so I’m surprised and disappointed they botched the film so badly. As you said, his books generally adapt well to film and Long Way Down could have been brilliant in the right hands. Thanks for saving me the trouble of seeing it and wanting to throw things.

    I haven’t seen many current films, so I think I’ll be returning to this list often for viewing suggestions. Very well done.

  25. Mine are :

    Astérix: Le Domaine des Dieux
    Song of the Sea (why don’t anyone ever mention this one ? I get it for Astérix or Jack et la Mécanique du coeur, but Song of the Sea was in english !)
    The Lego Movie
    Guardians of the Galaxy
    Jack et la Mécanique du Cœur
    X-men : Days of future past
    How to Train your own Dragon 2

    • Song of the Sea is likely overlooked because it only really received attention when it featured in the Oscars nominations – in the UK, it won’t be released until March.

      • That’s too bad. That movie was wonderful, and so was The Secret of Kells (I’m not really aware of the impact it had worldwide, but I rarely see people talking about it).

        And the delay can also become frustrating the other way around, when you see every one on the internet talking about a special movie but it won’t be released in your country in months (like Birdman ! I want to see this movie so bad !)

        Anyway, thank you for answering me 🙂

  26. Mathew Buck you have spoke my words about Super hero comic book movie genre. I have said and warned of the same thing to myself, unfortunately to myself and not to a lot of people.

  27. I absolutely agree 100% Comic book movies in general (Both Marvel and D.C. of course although I know they’re failing), Comic book adaptation although those two words are themselves have been saturated I’m so glad I’m a historian in practically everything, anyway they’re making Hollywood look like McDonalds and Burger King (McDonalds for Marvel and perhaps Burger King for D.C.) the lack of cinematic variety is something I truly fear. My condolensces to any celebrity who died in America but Mickey Rooney was 94 years old by this time so it was his time to finally go but hey do you know who’s still alive from the Classic Hollywood Era or The Golden Age? the freaking father of actor Michael Douglas Kirk Douglas born in 1916.

  28. I’m really surprised he didn’t even mention birdman. Best movie of the year.

  29. I wanted to add also, talk about needing a new agent… Mary Louise Parker, what are ya doin’?!

  30. The editing for the opening sequence was rad!

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