Award season. I love it, you know you love it, everyone loves it even if they pretend they don't. Although most of the movies I usually gravitate to are more popular at Sundance and not with a little gold dude named Oscar, I'm all in. I love them movies. With the Academy Awards coming up, I thought I'd share my list of what I thought were the best ones of last year.
I must preface this list first by saying, if you are looking for some in-depth, critical analysis, turn back now before it's too late. I have one simple test for whether or not I think a movie is good, and that is how long I think about it after it is over. If it immediately leaves my mind with little to no second thought, then it fails. If it lingers for hours, days, or even all year? 100% on the tomato meter and a guarantee that I will be purchasing it and watching it an obscene amount of times in my own home.
I hope you give all of these a watch, I loved them very much.
Frances (Greta Gerwig) is a 20-something girl who prefers to focus on the moments along life's path rather than any sort of destination to the path itself. She is living in New York City (although she doesn't really have an apartment), is an apprentice at a dance company (although, they don't ever let her dance), has a best friend Sophie (although, things between them are weird), who wants so much more than she has, but lives her life with constant joy and lightness.
On Netflix now. Go! Go! Go!
The Kings Of Summer.
Joe Toy (Nick Robinson), on the verge of adolescence, finds himself increasingly frustrated by his single father, Frank's (Nick Offerman) attempts to manage his life. Declaring his freedom once and for all, he escapes to a clearing in the woods with his best friend, Patrick, and a strange kid named Biaggio. He announces that they are going to build a house there, free from responsibility and parents. Once their makeshift abode is finished, the three young men find themselves masters of their own destiny, alone in the woods.
The Way Way Back.
Shy 14-year-old Duncan (Liam James) goes on summer vacation with his mother (Toni Collette), her overbearing boyfriend (Steve Carell), and her boyfriend's daughter. Having a rough time fitting in, Duncan finds an unexpected friend in Owen (Sam Rockwell), manager of the Water Wizz water park.
This documentary explores how long-held misconceptions and harmful living conditions may be causing orca whales to lash out violently toward their trainers. Several cases of death and mutilation are researched, leading to some uncomfortable questions about how we choose to keep and display these large and very intelligent animals.
McCarthy is a comedy legend. Bullock is ...Bullock. They are fucking hilarious together. That's all you gotta know.
A story of a man (Arthur Newman/Colin Firth) who fakes his own death and assumes a new identity in order to escape his life, who then moves in with a woman (Mike/Emily Blunt) who is also trying to leave her past behind.
Living On One Dollar.
How do 1.1 billion people around the world live on less than one dollar a day? Four young friends set out to research and live this reality. Armed with only a video camera and a desire to understand, they spend just 56 dollars each for 56 days in rural Pena Blanca, Guatemala. They battle E.Coli, financial stress, and the realization that there are no easy answers. Yet, the generosity and strength of their neighbors gives them resilient hope. They return home transformed and embark on a mission to share their new found understanding with other students, inspiring and challenging their generation to make a difference.
Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) in command of his last flight before retiring. But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone - tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness.
INCREDIBLE. I sat in the theatre as the credits rolled, listening to the amazing score, in awe of the visual effects of space in this movie.
The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty
The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty explores the larger-than-life fantasies of Walter (Ben Stiller), as he attempts to escape his monotonous life as a negative film developer at Life Magazine. When he discovers that photojournalist Sean O'Connell (Sean Penn) has misplaced negative 25, intended for the cover of the final print of the magazine, he sets out on a journey (with the help of his coworker Cheryl/Kristen Wiig) to locate the missing photograph. He reduces his need for daydreams as he discovers the beauty of nature and self-discovery through experience.
I LOVED THIS MOVIE. Everything about it is beautiful. The way it's shot, the locations, the music, the acting, and especially of course, the message: "To see the world, things dangerous to come, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life."
My favorite of the year.