While it can take years and years to make a movie, it only takes like two hours to watch one, so I saw a whole bunch this year. While I didn’t love all of them, I bet some of you will!
You should see this movie if you…
Stories We Tell (2012, USA)
Fantasize about having a different biological dad.
Her (2013, USA)
Eagerly await robosex.
Short Term 12 (2013, USA)
Want to believe those ragtag, troubled youths are going to make it after all.
The Class (2008, France)
Want to believe those ragtag, troubled French youths are going to make it after all.
Frances Ha (2012, USA)
Believe Greta Gerwig may be adorable and want to spend two hours testing whether or not that really is the case.
Philomena (2013, UK)
Believe Dame Judi Dench may be adorable and want to spend two hours testing whether or not that really is the case.
The Act of Killing (2013, Norway/Denmark/UK)
Want to see the movie with the most “holy shit” moments per minute. In case you’re not familiar, this movie is a documentary in which actual killers re-enacting their killings in the style of various film genres.
Breaking The Waves (1996, Denmark)
Want to see something super morally reprehensible. Every year I end up talking myself into watching a Lars von Trier movie, and every year I end up angry at having spent a long-ass time only to end up quaking with rage at the horrible implications of the events that transpire. In the case of Breaking The Waves, the moral of the story is ostensibly that you should follow your own path toward faith rather than that of a dogmatic church, but what this works out to in practice is that you should always do exactly as your husband tells you, even if it literally means going onto a pirate ship with the explicit intention of being raped to death.
The Hunt (2012, Denmark)
Want to see something marginally less morally reprehensible than Breaking The Waves. For having produced Borgen, AKA the Greatest TV Show Evar, Denmark sure has come up with some objectionable-ass movies. This one’s basically about how children are always going around accusing adults of raping them and we shouldn’t believe them.
Sightseers (2012, UK)
Believe a boring couples vacation can be livened up with a bunch of random, gratuitous murders.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013, USA)
Saw the first Hunger Games and thought, “You know what would make the sequel perfect? If nothing whatsoever was different!”
Gravity (2012, USA)
Hate movies with accurate titles. All they do is float! Honestly, the only way this could be topped is if 12 Years a Slave were called Unionized Workspace.
Flight (2012, USA)
Love accurate movie titles. It’s “Flight”, not “Flights” for a reason. This movie has exactly one exciting flight scene followed by fifty boring drinking scenes.
My Winnipeg (2007, Canada)
Want to believe that the most popular TV show in Winnipeg is one in which an oversensitive man takes offense at something and then needs to be talked out of suicide. I mean, it might be true.
12 Years a Slave (2013, USA)
Want to see Brad Pitt play cast himself in the most self-indulgent role in film history.
Bande a Part (1966, France)
Enjoy fun dancin’!
Closely Observed Trains (1966, Czechoslovakia)
Like anti-Nazi, coming of age sex comedies.
You, The Living (2007, Sweden)
Want to watch the most Scandinavian movie ever made. Here’s some fairly representative pictures from the movie. See if you can fashion a story out of them!
The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005, France)
Have often found yourself torn between the career paths of shady, illegal real estate manager and concert pianist.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014, USA)
Want to see Wes Anderson’s Most Wes Anderson-y movie yet.
The Living Daylights (1987, UK)
Want to see James Bond help the Taliban gain power.
The King of Comedy (1983, USA)
Want to see a Scorsese movie with Jerry Lewis as faux Johnny Carson and Robert De Niro as a deranged stand-up comedian that is somehow even more awesome than that description.
Enough Said (2013, USA)
Want to feel guilty about not liking James Gandolfini’s last movie.
The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012, Belgium)
Want to see the greatest use of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” in film history. Now, I know you’re thinking that The Lion King already used that song. And you’d be correct. But the problem is that that stupid movie used it entirely incorrectly. “In The Jungle” is not about the fucking lion! It’s about the people who are afraid of the lion and are getting a temporary respite from it, you know, eating them. So, yes, it fits much better into this movie about some Belgians obsessed with American bluegrass music dealing with their daughter’s cancer. By the way, this was probably the single best movie I saw this past year.
The World’s End (2013, UK)
Want to see an end of the world comedy that’s an allegory for alcoholism.
This Is The End (2013, USA)
Want to see an end of the world comedy that’s an allegory for… fame, or something, maybe?
Birdman (2014, USA)
Barry Lyndon (1975, UK)
Withnail and I (1987, UK)
Want to see alcoholism presented in the most/least appealing way possible.
Purple Noon (1960, France/Italy)
Wish The Talented Mr. Ripley were a 1960 French movie.
Snowpiercer (2013, South Korea)
Ever wondered how babies taste in comparison to other people.
Before Sunrise (1995, USA)
Want to watch people on a train talking about nothing really.
Strangers on a Train (1951, USA)
Want to watch people on a train talking about MURDER.
Boyhood (2014, USA)
Didn’t realize that Soulja Boy Tell’em’s “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” could invoke surprising levels of nostalgia.
Delicatessen (1991, France)
Always believed there was a dearth of post-apocalyptic cannibalism comedies.
Wings of Desire (1987, Germany)
Can’t resist the temptation of a movie with Peter Falk as himself, multiple Nick Cave appearances that was somehow remade into that Nicolas Cage movie nobody saw that is most notable for having “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls on its soundtrack.
Andrei Rublev (1966, USSR)
Want three hours of black and white HOT 15th CENTURY PAINTING action in your life.
Being There (1979, USA)
Believe that Jesus was basically a moron who stumbled into some wisdom by accident.
The Great Beauty (2013, Italy)
Weren’t already convinced that everything in Italy is more fun–even their literary parties have explosions and nudity.
Chinatown (1974, USA)
Felt like Roman Polanski was the perfect guy to make a movie that takes a harsh stance against underage sex .
Uncle Booonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010, Thailand)
Want to see a bunch of people who have the chillest reaction possible to their dead son returning in the form of a ghost monkey.
Putney Swope (1969, USA)
Wanted to go into advertising.
The Elephant Man (1980, USA)
Want to see David Lynch’s most normal movie.
Lost Highway (1997, USA)
Want to see David Lynch’s least normal movie (tied with all the other ones that aren’t The Elephant Man)
Foxcatcher (2014, USA)
Like when there’s a murder that is entirely inessential to everything else that happens, but that you know was the only reason this movie was able to get made.
American Beauty (1999, USA)
Want the chance to wonder if this aged horribly or was just terrible all along. This one’s also good if you want to feel like we’ve come a long way on gay rights in the past fifteen years (good job, us!).
Cloud Atlas (2012, Germany sorta)
Know how to pronounce “amanuensis.”
The Lego Movie (2014, USA)
Are one of those despicable adults who likes children’s movies. (To be fair, this movie is pretty, er, awesome).
Moon (2009, UK)
Wonder what 2001: A Space Odyssey would be like if HAL was nice and helpful.
Double Indemnity (1944, USA)
Want to watch the noiriest noir to have ever noired.
Rush (2012, USA)
Enjoy pronouncing “Niki Lauda.”
The Place Beyond The Pines (2012, USA)
Can avoid mentally singing “Somewhere… beyond the pines” throughout the entirety of the movie.
Attack The Block (2011, UK)
Want to see an alien invasion movie from the perspective of the kinds of kids who Ali G would want to be friends with.
Gosford Park (2001, UK)
Wish the movie Clue were much, much more serious.
The Trip To Italy (2014, UK)
Another Year (2010, UK)
Are getting super amped to see all the paintin’ and gruntin’ in Mr. Turner because Mike Leigh is a goddamn genius.
In A World… (2013, USA)
Have your voice rise at the end of each sentence? As if you’re asking a question?
Bombon El Perro (2004)
Like good doggies.
The One I Love (2014, USA)
God Help The Girl (2014, UK)
Are an especially pale shade of white.
Network (1976, USA)
Want to be able to argue against all those incorrect people who claim this movie was prescient in any way. It was not!
The French Minister (2013, France)
Want to see a man nap in exciting and creative ways.
Like many of these movies, this post has gone on too long already and will be forced to conclude in a hurried, unsatisfying way.