2014 has been a uniquely excellent year for films. Although practically every year brings with it the release of a fair share of great movies, 2014 practically burst at the seams with exceptional motion pictures in practically every genre: blockbusters, animation, dramas, comedies, horror movies (well, not so many horror movies), science fiction and quiet, independent fare alike. So picking the Best Movies of 2014 was – to put it mildly – an enormous pain in the tuckus.
But these are the problems you WANT to have. A wealth of exceptional filmmaking across the board is hardly anything to complain about, so I am not about to try. All I am trying to illustrate is that my picks for the best movies of 2014 couldn’t easily be narrowed down to an old-fashioned “Top Ten,” and even trimming the handful of films necessary to bring the list to a pleasingly appropriate number of 14 was no easy task, even after cheating with a tie for #12. Suffice it to say, pretty much all of the (many) runners up to The 14 Best Movies of 2014 – listed at the bottom of the page – are worthy contenders in their own right, damnably close to cracking the final list.
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And yet, I stand by the films I chose. These are the films that dazzled me. They challenged my assumptions about art and sometimes even life itself. They entertained me. They thrilled me. They made me feel something truly special in a medium that too often settles for merely passing your time. Every single one of my picks for the best movies of 2014 is, in my estimation, a masterstroke on one level or another. If you haven’t seen any of them, I implore you to do so. I’m willing to bet you will discover something beautiful, or highly entertaining, or at the very least intriguing if you are willing to keep an open mind.
As always there were a handful of supposedly great films that I wasn’t able to see, and which it looks like I won’t be able to see before the end of the year. These films include Xavier Dolan’s Mommy, James Gray’s The Immigrant, Laura Poitras’s Citizenfour and Justin Simien’s Dear White People, two of which were reviewed by my fellow critics at CraveOnline who were extremely positive about them, and who will eventually be publishing “Best of” lists of their own.
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So if you think one or more of the above films are the best movies of 2014, I apologize for missing them. Suffice it to say, it’s a problem that will be remedied as soon as possible. It wouldn’t be the first time a film I missed on the first go ’round turned out to be the best of the year in retrospect. Case in point: Mamoru Hosoda’s Summer Wars, an anime masterpiece that would have topped my list in 2010 if I had only watched it in time. By that same token, if any 2014 movie I watch in the future which ends up being better than the following 15 films, I will be just as ready to admit that mistake too.
But of the hundreds of motion pictures I was able to see in 2014, THESE are my picks for the very best.
William Bibbiani’s Picks for the Best Movies of 2014:
Runners-Up (in alphabetical order):