The Best, Worst and “In-Betweens” of 2014
Another Year is coming to a close which means that it’s time to once again post my annual “Best, Worst and In-Betweens” list for 2014. This was a year where protests over police and racial tensions intensified, Ebola scared everyone, gay marriage became unbanned in several states, mid-term elections took place and missing airliners vanished without a trace. This was also a year in pop culture that saw some stellar movie announcements, gun toting raccoons and so much more! While there are some omissions due to this list being written prior to their release such as the last adventure of Gandalf, Bilbo and Smaug with The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies and some shows that I may’ve missed and not watched yet (True Detective, Fargo, ect) Here’s some of my picks for the Best, Worst and “In-Betweens” for 2014:
The Worst of 2014
2014 definitely saw its fair-share of bad between remakes, underwhelming sequels, and celebrity moments. Here’s what I though sucked in 2014:
Kim Kardassian’s Ass- I don’t care to tune into her reality show, I didn’t care when she married Kanye, and I certainly didn’t care to see her exposed ass all over Facebook in an attempt to “break the internet”. I see it like Freddy Kruger, the more you talk about these annoying attention whores, the more powerful they get. It did make for some funny photoshop though!
Sochi Winter Olympics Pre-Buzz- Oh Russia! While the Winter Olympics seemingly went pretty decent the buzz prior to the games were heralding a clusterfuck to be unleashed upon the world. Horror stories of unfinished hotel rooms, rampant stray dogs running in the Olympic Villages, water faucets pouring out questionable liquids to Bob Costa’s pink eye only seemed to back that claim up. Fortunately the games came and passed relatively smoothly (except for Bob Costa’s pink eye). I’m sure 2018’s pre-buzz for South Korea will be rife with threats from North Korea.
I Love the 2000s- VH1 brought out the nostalgia machine this year with I Love the 2000s. While we’re just 4 years past the decade, I really liked watching I Love the ___’s in the mid-2000s so I was somewhat excited to watch this show. Unfortunately there were some major omissions (see here) to make way for such questionable pop culture “treasures” such as VH1s own Rock of Love and other various shows by VH1. Even worse, some of their best commentators from the earlier shows were either reduced greatly (Hal Sparks) or not present at all (Michael Ian Black).
DirectTV puppets- Some people already had a legitimate fear of dolls, DirectTV’s puppets caused everyone else to share their fear. The ads to showcase their “Genie with no cords” features a normal man with a (attractive?) puppet wife and a puppet child (so he had sex with the puppet wife and it got pregnant?) and gets into a fight with his puppet Father-in-law. This was more creepy than anything…especially the one of puppet-wife trying to be sexy in the bedroom.
Bill Cosby- So it turned out that one of America’s favorite sweater wearing TV dads is an alleged serial rapist. The last few months the victims have been coming out of the woodworks and Cosby has been strangely quiet. Even if nothing comes of this, it does tarnish his legacy.
Robocop- There is absolutely nothing wrong with the original Robocop movie. However, since it was from the 80s, I guess the studios wanted to remake it for 2014. The remake was absolutely boring and lost sight of a lot of the things that made the original movie awesome. There were some great casting such as Samuel L Jackson’s Bill O’Reilly-esque news host and Michael Keaton as the evil corporate overlord but trying to make the movie a cross between The Dark Knight and Iron Man and losing nearly all the overlying satire from the original made this movie extremely forgettable. Just watch the original, it still kicks ass by today’s standards!
True Blood Finally Put Out of Its Misery– True Blood began as a guilty pleasure of mine, but from the 4th season on, it just got progressively dumber for me but peppered in with some enjoyability. I wanted to stick with it to see how it ended and it ended on a really dumb note. Bill decides not to be cured of the Hepatitis V and has Sookie mercy-kill him. So noble of you Mr. Compton! I suppose in some way it was intended to be romantic…but it just seemed really dumb. I’m just glad this show is finally done. I’m not happy it ended so dumbly, but the last couple of seasons got me used to it.
Those That We Lost in 2014– Death is always in the “Worst” section of these annual lists that I do. 2014 saw a lot of pop culture icons pass away: James Avery (Uncle Phil), Shirley Temple (could’ve swore she died years ago), Mickey Rooney (same), James Garner, The Ultimate Warrior (only a day after he made his first TV appearance in several years), Eli Wallach (Tucco from Good, Bad and The Ugly), Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joan Rivers, and Robin Williams. 2015, please go easy on us.
The “In-Betweens” of 2014
When I make these lists, there’s usually some movies and events that I kinda-liked and kinda-hate and want to discuss them and hence the “In-Betweens” category was born into my annual list. Here’s what I was “Meh” over this year:
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For– In 2005, Sin City was a very cool, very awesome movie. I loved the grittiness of the film noir vibe it had going, loved the black and white with occasional color splashing in, and hell, I even liked the cartoony violence of Marv. Unfortunately in 2014, a sequel to the movie I loved so much just didn’t have the same magic. I blame part of this on the 9 years between films, some on The Spirit for basically using the same gimmick and the rest on the film’s execution. Had this come out in 2007 or 2008, I think it would have been better received. It just didn’t click like the first film did and it just seems like something we’ve seen before, just not as well done. Don’t get me wrong: I LOVED Joseph Gordon Levitt’s storyline, Eva Green was awesome (not just saying that b/c she was nude most of the movie), and I even liked the Nancy story followup. Marv being a wrecking ball just wasn’t as fun as last time. It was still OK, but it flopped and I’m not alone in saying it just missed the mark slightly. Either way, not really worthy of too many re-watches.
300: Rise of an Empire- Yet another Frank Miller comic inspired movie sequel made too many years too late! Once again, Eva Green is probably the best part of the movie and there’s not a whole lot to say about the rest. It wasn’t the worst thing ever, but it probably would’ve been cooler if it came out a few years ago. Like Sin City 2, the movie serves as a prequel and a sequel but too much talk about Leonidas and his 300 Spartan’s movements and not showing them kind of seemed like the early days of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. when they’d name-drop several off-screen Avenger characters before finding their footing.
Sharknado 2: The Second One- The bar isn’t set very high for a movie about a tornado of sharks. Unfortunately the follow up to the campy SyFy hit movie Sharknado from last year, just didn’t clear the mark. Some of the dumb fun that made the first movie last year so much fun went to cameo appearances, which just seemed more dumb than “dumb fun”. For what it’s worth, Sharknado 2 still had some fun moments such as Tara Reid getting her hand eaten while trying to shoot a shark from an airplane.
C.M. Punk- Oddly enough, usually when WWE hits the front pages of Yahoo, it’s typically C.M. Punk-related. The famous pipe-bomb promo lured me back to casually watching. When he quit WWE at the beginning of the year, he went on radio silence for several months….until a few weeks ago when he appeared on a podcast to air his grievances ranging from how WWE overlooks safety and health to firing him on his wedding day and giving his real opinion on some of his former co-workers. Now he’s going to fight in UFC. No matter what side you’re on when it comes to Punk, he’s good at keeping you engaged in what he’s saying.
The Amazing Spider-man 2- I controversially said that I wasn’t really a big fan of the first Spider-man reboot 2 years ago and got an earful by the fans of the new series. I also said that I had high hopes with the sequel since they could now hit the ground running. I did like this one a bit more than the last one. I will admit that much like the first film; what Spider-man 2 did right, it did REALLY right. What it did wrong, it did REALLY wrong. So to recap, I loved: The pre-Rhino Rhino, parts of the Green Goblin stuff (even though he looked like a meth-head), Although I don’t care about Peter’s parents, I kinda liked the first 5 minutes of the movie, and I loved seeing the Death of Gwen Stacey finally play out. What I didn’t like was the Twilight-y filler stuff of Peter telling Gwen to stay in NY, all the spider-stalker stuff, parts of the Green Goblin (Norman Osborne dying of disease, Goblin kinda looked like a meth-head), my blood boiled with the notion/reveal that Peter was always destined to be Spider-man (it was and always should be an accident that made him acquire his powers), and I hated how Max Dillon is pretty much Jim Carrey from Batman Forever before he turns into Electro. I angered someone by saying that but consider the following.
- Edward Nigma in Batman is an underappreciated yet socially awkward genius
- Max Dillon in Spider-man 2 is an underappreciated yet very socially awkward genius.
- Edward Nigma obsesses over Bruce Wayne and has pictures all over his workplace.
- Max Dillon obsesses over Spider-man and has pictures all over his home.
- Edward Nigma has a Riddler-esque mannequin in his apartment
- Max Dillon has a Electro-esque….Birthday cake for himself???
- Both become supervillains following an incident at work.
Here’s hoping that the rumors that Sony may be talking to Marvel again about Spider-man leads to better films in the future. I know I’m ranty and nit-picky but Spider-man’s my favorite and I only bitch because I care.
U2 Album on the iPhone (Whether You Want It or Not!)- I like some of U2’s stuff from their early hits to their early 2000 stuff, but I really don’t like that their latest album was thrown onto my iPhone overnight. I mean it didn’t take up space or anything and you could decide if you want to download it from the cloud, but if I want to hear the new U2, I’ll put it on myself. I wasn’t alone; Apple got enough grief over the free album being added on that they set up a page to instruct people on how to delete the album off their devices. Didn’t mark it as a “worst” because I didn’t bother to listen to it to see if it was actually good or not. Unfortunately, this was the least of Apple’s problems this year. That dishonor belonged to the Great Celebrity Nude Photo iCloud Leak. At least the iPhone 6 seems pretty cool…except when it bends.
Godzilla- I actually kind of liked this one. It’s a massive improvement over Godzilla vs Matthew Broderick. It was more of a traditional Godzilla film with Human drama, only having Godzilla for 1/3 of the movie and having monster fights. I just really wish Bryan Cranston and Ken Wantabe was in it longer. The monster fights on the muted TV news coverage was probably the best part of the movie. There were some moments that caused you to scratch your head a bit such as when Godzilla returns to the ocean, the news banner hails him as a hero…probably while he’s stepping on people on his way out and causing millions more in damage. Also I feel some of the wind in this movie’s sails were taken out because Pacific Rim made for a better Godzilla movie than Godzilla did. Still enjoyable though and I supported the movie further by buying a little Godzilla for my bookcase.
Best of 2015
This was probably one of the best years in pop culture moments and with some massively cool things to look forward to next year, I can’t wait for 2015! Before that, let’s look at 2014’s shining moments:
The Golden Age of Geek Movies Has Arrived- For the last few years we’ve seen on-screen debuts of Iron Man, Thor, and so on. In the next 5 years via awesome press-announcements it looks like we’ll see Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, Cyborg, Flash, Justice League, Black Panther and Wonder Woman make their on-screen debuts. In addition, we’ll see another Star Wars next year, more movies set in the Harry Potter world and another Jurassic Park movie! Also, one of my favorite comic arcs Civil War will be the focal point of the next Captain America movie. So many geeky things to look forward to in the next 5 years!
This World Cup Fan- Normally it seems that when it comes to Brazilian football fans, the ones that go viral online seem to be the hot female fans. You can’t argue that out of the entire World Cup 2014, this guy became the event’s most famous fan. He looks so distraught! He did get photographed giving his mini World Cup Trophy to a German fan while smiling, so I’m sure he got over it. This guy was awesome.
Serial- I don’t listen to a bunch of NPR but this podcast spinoff from This American Life is extremely interesting to listen to and at the suggestion of a friend during Thanksgiving break, I just began listening to it. The true crime podcast debuted in October and follows a 1999 murder case throughout several episodes.
I Met Bruce Campbell!!!- Granted that it was a quick handshake, greeting and photo op together but that minute or so meeting one of my icons at Denver Comic Con was pretty awesome! He also had a very fun and entertaining panel.
Marvel- This year the comic publisher had a 75th year anniversary, made a Female Thor, a Black Captain America, and swapped a Superior Spider-man with an Amazing Spider-man (and with Spider-verse many more webheads are popping up) ….. needless to say, Marvel had a pretty awesome year for 2014.
Guardians of the Galaxy – Very few people probably knew who Star Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Drax the Destroyer or Gamora were prior to this summer. This seemed to be Marvel’s biggest gamble to date and the payoff led to arguably this summer’s most fun adventure! Paired with a very awesome soundtrack, humor and plenty of Star Wars-esque battles, Guardians (basically as Honest Trailers dubbed it “Space Avengers”) became my personal favorite movie this year. Plus it’s kind of hard to convince people that haven’t seen previews that it’s an awesome movie when you mention Groot or a talking raccoon.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier- Cap made his second solo outing early this year and put out the best post-Avengers Marvel film (next to Guardians). In addition, the movie gave Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. a necessary adrenaline shot securing a second season and made a whisper of “Hail Hydra” the new cool thing to say before doing something bad!
DC Shows- While DC is going to finally make use of some of their rich library of characters to finally show up on film, they’ve done pretty good on the small screen via animation and videogames. This year we saw a Flash TV show (pretty good..for TV/CW), a pre-Batman prequel in Gotham (It’s OK, but at the rate of all the bad guys appearing on the show, they’ll largely be past their prime fighting shape by the time Bruce suits up) and Constantine (haven’t seen it but heard that it wasn’t that great). Either way, good job DC.
Game of Thrones Season 4– Game of Thrones had lots of shocks and awesome moments this season and it’s hard to discuss them without spoiling. All I have to say is Red Viper vs The Mountain, The Purple Wedding, and Tyrion!!! Well done Game of Thrones! Can’t wait til Season 5!
Snowpiercer- This was a very cool post-apocalyptic movie! While most portray a post-apocalypse world very desert-esque with bands of mutants and criminals, this movie has all thats left of humanity on a massive train traveling around a frozen earth. Of course we have the lower class in the back of the train eating bugs while the rich hang out in the front eating sushi, which leads to rebellion. This was such a fun movie to watch! For those with Netflix, it’s currently available for streaming!
The Grand Hotel Budapest- In the latest Wes Anderson we are introduced to the Society of Crossed Keys and the endearing love story of a Lobby Boy and a girl that makes pastries. There were plenty of fun callbacks to Anderson’s earlier films and the end hits you in the feels much like Life Aquatic.
Jimmy Fallon Takes Over Tonight Show For Good- A few years ago there was a controversy when Conan O’Brien took the lead from Jay Leno’s Tonight Show. After a short stint, Leno was back behind the desk and Conan left NBC. This time around thankfully the transaction was much smoother and Fallon has been a fun host. Next year will see Stephen Colbert taking over for David Letterman (as himself and not the conservative persona that hosted the Colbert Report) marking the end of an era of late night talk shows.
The New Doctor is Here- Technically we saw the 12th (or 13th technically) incarnation of The Doctor last year, but this year we saw the new Doctor on his first adventures following his regeneration (ending Matt Smith’s tenure as The Doctor). So far, so good! I’ve been enjoying it and while I have just a few episodes to watch prior to this year’s Christmas special, I’ve seen some really fun episodes such as The Robots of Sherwood Forest and Listen.
X-Men: Days of Future Past- Despite all the terrible rumors of the upcoming Fantastic Four movie and past flops like Wolverine Origins and X-Men: The Last Stand, let this film be a reminder that sometimes Fox can churn out a good comic book movie…mostly when Bryan Singer is involved. After the fun of X-men First Class, this was a fun movie to watch as well. Pulling a Terminator meets Star Trek Generations act, the movie sees Wolverine being sent back into the 70s to prevent a dark and deadly future. As fun as the movie turned out, lets not forget the biggest takeaway: It hit the reset button on The Last Stand and Wolverine Origins (unfortunately it reset the 2nd Wolverine solo film and X2, but it was a sacrifice that I guess had to happen to make a Deadpool movie a reality)
The Lego Movie- As a fan of the enjoyable Lego videogames (currently finishing Lego Batman 2 so I can get going on Lego Marvel Superheroes), I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to watch this movie. It was surprisingly a lot of fun and extremely enjoyable! Everything about this movie was Awesome indeed!
The Year of the Simpsons– 2014 was a big year for The Simpsons. First they had a 12-day consecutive marathon on FXX airing Every Simpsons Ever non-stop, which gave fans a chance to see some of the arguably greater early season episodes of the show as well as some from the modern seasons that they may have missed. Following the marathon with the new season of The Simpsons we saw crossover episodes with Family Guy and Futurama!
That wraps up yet another End-of-Year column! Did some of your favorite moments get missed out on? Sound off in the comments or on the Facebook page! Enjoy the rest of 2014 guys! Next year looks pretty awesome and I’m sure I’ll have plenty to talk about in next year’s column. In the meantime check out some of the columns from the last 4 years