You read that right: top 15. I’m departing from my established pattern of doing an annual top 10. Part of me sees this as a failure of will, a refusal to make the hard choices. Maybe so. However, the prevailing thought in my mind is that although I am attempting to name my absolute favorite films of the year, the goal is less about canonization of well-respected movies than it is about the hope that the list might encourage someone to take a chance on a film they otherwise might not.

It was a good year for movies by my account. Godzilla returned to US multiplexes. Keanu Reeves got back into the action game with John Wick. We saw new films from auteurs such as David Fincher, Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, and Woody Allen. We saw exciting work from new and up-and-coming directors like Jennifer Kent, Damien Chazelle, Justin Simien, Dan Gilroy, Jeremy Saulnier, and Ana Lily Amirpour. We got two movies from Phil Lord and Chris Miller, both of which were anarchic fun. Reese Witherspoon was also in two movies and wasn’t awful in either of them. Even some of the usual superhero/blockbuster mish-mash was of an unusually high caliber (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Guardians of the Galaxy). Oh, and I think there was a movie by some guy named Christopher Nolan…

So in a year this crowded I feel a top 15 is the way to go. Let’s get at it, then, and may the hottest flicks rise to the top. Here are my picks for the best movies of 2014:

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The Social Network (2010)
Director: David Fincher
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake
Running Time: 2 hrs. 1 min
Rated: PG-13


Review by Brother Reed


Mark Zuckerberg is an a**hole. At least that’s what his girlfriend tells him when she breaks up with him in The Social Network, a compelling new drama from director David Fincher. Though I suppose girlfriends are likely to say such things following a break-up.

He’s not, really.

Now, at this point you may be asking what I mean. He’s not really an a**hole? Or he’s not really Mark Zuckerberg? If so, you’ve tapped into one of the major devices screenwriter Aaron Sorkin uses for the dialog in this film. Characters are constantly responding to statements in a conversation where the other character has already moved on. I guess it’d be ex-girlfriends, actually; and, both. READ FULL REVIEW

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
Director: David Fincher
Starring: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Taraji P. Henson

Running Time: 2 hrs. 46 min
Rated: PG-13


Review by Brother Reed

Thinking back on my viewing of Benjamin Button, I like it a bit less than I originally thought. It seemed engaging enough at the time. It even seemed pretty good. However, it quickly becomes apparent that qualifiers such as “engaging enough” and “pretty good” are faint praise, damning a film that sought to ignite our imaginations. This is the latest Fincher/Pitt combo, the duo that turned out hits like Se7en and Fight Club. It garnered a staggering 13 Academy Award nominations and picked up 3 wins. A movie with such accolades ought to blow our minds, not settle for being merely acceptable fare. FULL REVIEW