Top 10 Films of 2014 – Adelaide’s List
I’m a grumpy middle-aged lady, and I want to see films when I want to see them—which is often long after they’ve left the theater. So my top ten 2014 is composed of new-to-me films from any year. Also, “top” does not necessarily mean “best” in this context. It means “favorite.” Because that’s how I roll, and quality does not always equal enjoyment for me. My runners up include The Swarm: killer bees, Slugs: killer slugs, Rigor Mortis: a tribute to the Mr. Vampire films (which I don’t actually like), Level Five: some weirdo French film I thought was awesome, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1: even my franchise-hating husband loves these movies.
10—The Price of Gold (2014)—I have never in my life watched anything on ESPN, and while trying to TiVo this film all I could find was some show called SportsCenter. Hours and hours of SportsCenter. I don’t even know what hell that show is, but they play it all the time. It better be good because it’s why my cable is so expensive. Anyway, I finally found it under 30 for 30, which is ESPN’s film series, and damn if I’m not interested now in seeing all of their docs. The Price of Gold, directed by Nanette Burstein, tells the story of ice skaters Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding and the attack on Kerrigan by Harding’s ex-husband. The film also deals with the media hype surrounding the two women, issues of class and gender representation, and how one rebuilds a life after becoming one of the most reviled women in sports. It’s a riveting watch and recommended to skating lovers and apathetics alike.
9—Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010)—I rented this documentary directed by Daniel Farrands and Andrew Kasch on a whim and then proceeded to have an amazingly fun time. I’d seen the first four Elm Street movies, but never really thought much about them. Seriously, this documentary made me go back and re-evaluate the series. (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge is now a personal favorite.) The format is simple: Each film is given around one half hour of analysis with interviews of the cast and crew. It’s a pretty straightforward setup, but the interviews are frequently hilarious, and tons of behind the scenes info is revealed. Surprising, I enjoyed pretty much all 240 minutes of it. (Even the stuff on some of the later films I will most likely never watch.)
8—Tim’s Vermeer (2013)—Directed by Teller of Penn and Teller fame, Tim’s Vermeer is the story of his friend Tim Jenison’s quest to recreate the painting techniques of Johannes Vermeer (1632 – 1675). There is a lot of mystery around how Vermeer made his photographic-like paintings, and there has been much speculation about his possible use of a camera obscura. Jenison has his own ideas about this and sets out to prove his theories. This situation is slightly complicated by the fact that he is an inventor, not a painter. While ostensibly about Jenison’s obsession, it’s really a film about how stuff gets done. He starts and stops and fails and tries again. He’s tenacious and dogged and sometimes overbearing, but he has a vision, and Tim’s Vermeer is about how visions become real. It’s both fascinating and inspiring, and completely caught me by surprise.