2014: The Year's Best and Worst In Film and TV

Dec 30, 2014

Scrap off your 2014 calendars as a new year arrives in less than a week. A great 12 months it has been it you ask me, with great films coming in and out to the extremely bizarre political dramas surrounding a comedy (we’ll get to that bit later.). 2014 is also the year for Oscar Selfie (remember that?) and a talking tree.. good times indeed, so here’s something I prepped up to recognize everything that made this year a memorable one. Okay? Okay.

BEST ACTOR: Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler

Lou Bloom, man. Lou Bloom. Take note of this name for a while for he will be remembered in the coming time. Gyllenhaal provides a creepy performance of a predator who takes video journalism on another perspective. The guy nailed it with his chameleon-like transformation without a single blink—that has become his finest performance to date.

BEST ACTRESS: Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

Lou Bloom was nothing for this “cool girl”. Rosamund Pike was a complete revelation as Amy Dunne—and will crawl under your skin throughout the movie—because we never actually get to know her up until the second act. But once the killer surprise comes in the frame, she steals every moment on-screen. I wouldn’t be surprised if awards are coming for her.

BEST BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

It takes load of talent and gift for an actor to portray Stephen Hawking in a movie. Thankfully, Eddie Redmayne is here and he was flawless. Every move, Redmayne made him feel you like you’re watching the actual Stephen Hawking in the movie, and not an actor on make-up. The young actor brought so much emotion and personality with limited facial movements. That’s Oscar-worthy acting right there.

BEST MOMENT ON FILM: Godzilla Unleashes His Atomic Breath to MUTO, Godzilla

I don’t care whatever you wanna say about me, I freakin’ love ‘Godzilla’. Sure, it has its flaws, but it was a fantastic summer blockbuster movie. And a big chunk of the film’s popcorn value comes right in towards the climax, when Godzilla breaths to one of the MUTOs with his atomic wrath. That was the moment everyone was hungry for, and that one bit pay-off big time. I can still remember the cheers and applaud by the nerds when I saw it for the first time—it was glorious.


I rarely watch television shows, but the string of comic-book based programs caught my attention, CW’s ‘Flash’ is the one I’m most excited to—and it didn’t disappoint. The casting of Grant Gustin is a very inspired choice as he embodied the character perfectly, and constantly getting better and better as the show progresses. Can I just say the mid-season finale was mindblowing?

On the other side of the coin, the much-anticipated Batman spin-off was a big disappointment. The hype for this thing is crazy, and since you’re dealing with a very promising premise—it’s not much of expected that almost everything here flunked. They tried to cram in Batman villains foreshadowing in every episode, wherein it’s unnecessary. Only thing they got right is the inclusion of Oswald Cobblepot/ Penguin, the rest.. nah.

BEST TV COMEBACK: The Walking Dead

The second half of Season 4 sucked balls, to be honest. Well, thankfully the writers listened to their fans to correct the mistakes they had before. ‘The Walking Dead’ is definitely back, with a newly reformed Scott Gimple back as the showrunner. The fifth season walks away to the same-old “stay-at-a-house-and-relocate-when-something-bad-happens” formula by delivering much better action, character moments, and bad-ass Carol—a recipe for a strong season.

So I’ll say this again, welcome back, ‘The Walking Dead’!

CRAZIEST NEWS: ‘The Interview’ Drama 

With all the controversies that happened this year, nothing comes close to the drama surrounding the movie ‘The Interview’—the latest Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy depicting an assassination plan to North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un. It started with alleged N.Korea hackers leaking e-mail shares between Sony execs, (Notably the intense conversation between Sony Chief Amy Pascal and Producer Scott Rudin over Aaron Sorkin’s ‘Steve Jobs’ movie) leading to bomb threats to theater chains if they show the movie in their cinemas. Crazy stuff, but in case you missed it: ‘The Interview’ is now showing in limited theaters and on-demand.

GEEKIEST MOMENT: Marvel Announces Its Phase 3 Line-up
Speaking of crazy, comic book fans went nuts when the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 3 line-up was unveiled last October. Sorry DC, your 'Suicide Squad' looks glamorous but my money’s on Marvel which established their selves on a better scale with 2 terrific films this year (‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’). ‘Doctor Strange’, ‘Civil War’, ‘Infinity Wars’, ‘Black Panther’, anyone?!? In Marvel We Trust.

BEST TRAILER: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

X-Wings!!!! Football Droid!!! MILLENNIUM FREAJINGGGGG FALCON!!!! My mind literally blown away from the ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ trailer. It plays more like an announcement trailer than a teaser, and introduces us to the next gen. cast John Boyega and Daisy Ridley. Glad they go under this direction and saved Han, Luke and Leia for another time. Don’t f**k this up, J.J. Abrams.


If there are two films that are missing in my Top 10 list, it’s ‘Whiplash’ and ‘Birdman’. I haven’t seen both of those films, but the latter has a terrific poster in its marketing. The poster, which shows the “Birdman” sitting on top of Michael Keaton’s head, is very simple yet stylish—and it captures the duality of Keaton’s character Riggan Thomson in the film.


This is a film that came in the wrong time during summer, where blockbusters dominates the box office. ‘Jersey Boys’ was a film that came with received mixed reviews and poor box-office performance. But I had a blast with this movie, great music and performance by an unknown cast. There are flaws with pacing and lack of emotion sure, but it’s a relief from all those explosions and action. Just see this if you haven’t, and you’ll be having your foot thumping throughout.


I enjoyed 2012's ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ a bit. It gave the character an unnecessary reset, but I liked it thanks to Andrew Garfield’s charismatic Peter Parker. This sequel is just thumbs down for me. I swear didn’t like it all. Even the saving grace of this franchise Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield was destroyed because they’ll be going for the emotion which isn’t effective. Poor Marc Webb, such a talented director forced to make a film which he didn’t have control at all.

WORST FILM: Transformers: Age of Extinction

I didn’t see ‘Legend of Hercules’ or ‘I, Frankenstein’, so a Top 10 Worst list isn’t coming since I only (thankfully) got to see a few piss-bombs this year—one of which is ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’—the worst entry to this never-ending franchise. This movie stoinks so much, and the 2 hour action is just a pain to witness. Remember checking my watch the entire time to see how much of my time this is taking me. Not your day, Michael Bay. Go home and sell your fireworks, just quit film for a while.

TOP 10 FILMS: Here are my Top 10 favorite films in 2014. (I really need to see 'Whiplash' and 'Birdman' right away.) Enjoy!

10. The Lego Movie

The Lego Movie’ was one of those movies where it looked so generic, it ended up being a good one. A great one, actually. This animated movie about a bunch of toy blocks brings so much nostalgia in me, and the twist near the end always gets me. Also, it had Batman hanging around with Han Solo and Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon—which explains why everything about this movie is awesome.

9. Nightcrawler

On one of the best character study films this year, 'Nightcrawler' pits an icon in the making, the psycho videographer Lou Bloom on the map. This is a crazy movie, and it's a complete eye-opener to see Jake Gyllenhall's Bloom transform into a much bigger beast as the film went on. This is Dan Gilroy's first feature movie—what a solid start. Just go see this movie if you haven't, you'll be glad you do.

8. Edge of Tomorrow

Tom Cruise is already an established name in the summer movie season, he must have a place somewhere in the long lines. His latest effort, which pits him dying repeatedly in a course of a day, is actually enjoyable. Had a great time with this movie because I come in here with very low expectations, I got out in the movie theater with a big smile on my face. Ooh Emily Blunt, what a charmer..

7. The Grand Budapest Hotel

A big Wes Anderson fan here! This quirky director made hipsters feel ashamed of themselves. And the quirkiness got on a whole another level with this movie, which I would like to call ‘the Quintessential Wes Anderson movie’. Every shot screams his name, while delivering a tight story to his viewers. ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ is savory and delectable film packed with amazing performance from everyone led by the great Ralph Fiennes.

6. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Sequels and reboots never disappointed us this year: ‘22 Jump Street’, ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’, and this movie—‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’. This is a very moving drama while still being an effective blockbuster, and it literally tear me up a bit. Andy Serkis..man.. he is beyond perfection. An Oscar nomination is unlikely at this point, but boy he deserved a slot somewhere.

5. Guardians of the Galaxy

If there’s one word to describe ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, it has to be “fun”. I had the best experience watching this movie in the theater and just laughing and giggling along with the crowd because of how bizarrely enjoyable this film is. Chris Pratt led the pack of rag-tag/ a-holes, that will catapult him to becoming Hollywood’s newest A-lister. This movie got me hooked me on a feeling, and I’m high on believing Marvel can do anything right.

4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

A game changer in the Marvel lore, ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ plays along with the spy espionage genre pretty good—and it’s hard-hitting, knife-swinging, gut-punching intense action movie that absolutely delivered. Chris Evans was always excellent as Steve Rogers/ Capt. America but it was Sebastian Stan as Winter Soldier that got my attention the whole time, and I’m sure we’ll see more of him in the future.

3. Boyhood

While making the last entries to his ‘Before’ trilogy and a couple of films, Richard Linklater was secretly making a series of short films each year. Turned out those short films were compiled and it is now a feature-film that’s circulating the Award shows recently. ‘Boyhood’ was one of Linklater’s best films, and an extremely relatable one—and golly what a terrific time to grow up along with a kid named Mason.

2. Norte, the End of History

My rule is to include at least a single Philippine movie on my Top 10 list, and I’m glad I stayed watching four hours of ‘Norte, the End of History’—a film full of emotion and social message that leaved me breathless after viewing. Director Lav Diaz took advantage of the lengthy running time by telling a story so rich in character, you’ll wish wanting more—plus, Sid Lucero and Angeli Bayani were at the top of their game here, so good.

And my number 1 (Drumroll please *badum, badum, badum*)
1. Gone Girl

Yes, the David Fincher thriller takes the number one slot in my Top 10 list. From the opening up to the chilling last shot (it’s ironic considering it’s basically the same haha), ‘Gone Girl’ caught my attention for how f**king great it was—and I can’t stop talking about it ‘til now. The performances by everyone were great, the tension: fantastic, score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross: unearthly good, the cinematography: beautiful, and the direction: rather fitting. I love just about everything about this movie, I saw it a few times now and those surprises still got me. I thought it was perfect. ‘Gone Girl’ was an exhilarating movie experience, and I’m adding it on my all-time favorite films list.

That’s about it. Thanks for the support and following me throughout the year, it has been an amazing 12 months sharing movies and more. 2015 is pretty jampacked (I’m looking at you ‘Star Wars’. I looking at you.), so I’ll raise my glass and cheers for a good year ahead. Happy 2015!

Thank you!

-Matthew Escosia

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