Top 10 Films of 2014 – Adelaide’s List
3—Maniac Cop (1988)—There is nothing I don’t love about this movie directed by William Lustig. It’s got Tom Atkins, Bruce Campbell, a ton of great female characters, lots of action, and one very large, very grumpy maniac cop. NO ONE IS SAFE FROM HIS RIGHTEOUS REVENGE. I love this movie so much I wrote an article about how well it portrays its women characters. It’s an exploitation film that doesn’t feel very exploitative. New York is under the threat of a mysterious killer cop, and policeman Jack Forrest is the main suspect. Fellow cop Frank McCrae thinks Forrest is being framed and decides to investigate the case a little more thoroughly. What he finds will expose corruption at the highest levels of the department. Also, lots of creative killing. It’s kind of crazy—CRAZY GOOD. (The sequels aren’t nearly as great, in my opinion, but the commentary on the Blu-Ray edition of Maniac Cop 2 between Lustig and Nicolas Winding Refn is one of the best I’ve ever heard.)
2—Gojira (1954)—Yeah, it took me forever to get on the Gojira train, but it was worth the wait. I remember seeing the Americanized version when I was a kid, and thinking it was cool, but not really being into it. I mean, I liked Godzilla, but I didn’t LOVE him or anything. Our relationship was fond, but distant. But then I saw Gojira, directed by Ishirô Honda, and everything changed for me. (I also think my being older had something to do with it. I can actually appreciate a lot of things that went over my head when I was a kid.) From the opening credits onward, this is a great film. There is just something about the sound of Godzilla that hits something in me. I’m not sure how to explain it. What’s this film about? Well, it’s about a grumpy dinosaur-like creature rampaging through Japan. It’s also about Japanese fears about the atomic bomb. Which they thought about a lot since we, you know, bombed them with a couple. It’s also got romance, suspense, cool models, and—best of all—a monster worth watching. If you found yourself disappointed by the latest Godzilla movie, it’s well worth your time to go back to the original.
1—20,000 Days on Earth (2014)—This film about musician Nick Cave, directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, takes place over a 24-hour period of his life. Or does it? Parts of the film appear to be real conversations, while other sections are obviously staged. It’s artifice masquerading as reality, and it ends up telling more truths about Cave than a simple documentary ever could. Cave controls the message, but that’s okay, because he allows the film to delve into places that we seldom see except for in his art. I don’t think one has to be interested in Nick Cave to like this film. I am only a minor fan myself; I have a couple of Birthday Party albums (and when I say album, I mean album) and I’ve always found him interesting, if not exactly compelling. A lot of my friends LOVE him, though, and while this film isn’t going to make me listen to his music anymore than I already do, it has definitely widened my perception of him as an artist. Also, he’s very funny, and seems to underlay his pomposity with a sly humor. I was really entertained by this movie as well as emotionally moved. I went to see this with my family on a whim, and it truly is the most original and fun thing I’ve seen all year.