Best and Worst Movies of 2014 (1 Viewer)

jbutler

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i heard a lot of people say this was a weak year for movies and i could hardly disagree more. there were a few truly phenomenal, nearly perfect movies and a LOT of great ones as well. unfortunately, there were also some giant disasters.

i have a top ten list, a bunch of honorable mentions, a worst of the year list, and a most disappointing of the year list (differentiated from the "worst" list only on the basis that these were movies i had hope would be good for whatever reason). then also a list of the movies i'd liked to have seen, but didn't get to and think they would have been real contenders for the top ten or at least honorable mentions.

i'll include links to previews for the top ten and honorable mentions (this many embeds and the page would take forever to load for mobile folks), a short bit about each of the top three, a couple words on the rest of the top ten, and comments thereafter if i have anything in particular to say.

TOP TEN MOVIES OF THE YEAR

UNDER THE SKIN (trailer)
i'm not sure there's a flaw in this entire movie. i love everything. it's so much more compelling when a sci-fi/fantasy/whatever story doesn't hold your hand and just makes you figure out what's happening. in that spirit, i won't give any details about plot. but the production is interesting, too. scarlett johansson put on a wig, adopted an accent, drove a van equipped with hidden cameras, and picked up random men on the street in glasgow. hilarity (er, okay, not hilarity, but really creepy exchanges and perhaps some violence) ensues.

i could go on, but i'd rather not spoil anything further. easily number one of the year...

BOYHOOD (trailer)
...even though i almost gave it to Boyhood. another movie that needs to be taken on its own terms and not suffer from others' expectations. there's not really a plot as much as it simply follows this kid's life from circa-6 years old through to his first day of college. if you're not aware, the concept was that director richard linklater (slacker, dazed and confused, the before sunrise trilogy) cast the movie and then filmed for a week once a year for 12 years. the effect is pretty unbelievable: you see ethan hawke, patricia arquette, and the kids (boy and girl) age in real life over the course of the 2 1/2 hour running time.

i can't say it's flawless, but i can forgive any minor problem on the basis of the pure joy of the movie. and while it's called boyhood, it's as much about the growth of ethan hawke and patricia arquette's characters as that of their son. one of the several movies on this list i saw multiple times in the theater (and i'm going back to see this one a third time tomorrow).

WHIPLASH (trailer)
this one is getting some buzz and it's well-deserved, but everyone seems to be pointing to the performances. they are truly awesome, but the story is just as good. the basic plot is that a talented young drummer enters a fictionalized music school with the goal of studying under one of the top jazz conductors in the country. he is eventually chosen by the instructor for the primary jazz band in the school and the instructor uses his well-known severe teaching methods.

i've always loved jk simmons, but surprised by miles teller, who i had never cared for previously. as a jazz drummer, this was an easy win on that level, too, but i honestly think i'd have loved it if it had been about lacrosse.

BIRDMAN (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (trailer)
this was praised pretty universally, but there seems to be a backlash now, which is puzzling because i saw it again last weekend and loved it just as much - maybe more - the second time. perfect performances here as in Whiplash and again an actor i'd not liked until now - emma stone, in this case - did great work.

the film appears as if it was shot in one long continuous take - which it was not - which only builds on the tension of the plot, which tells the story of an aging former-action-superhero-movie-star trying to regain artistic credibility by putting on a raymond carver play on broadway. throughout he is burdened by his previous work as birdman and perhaps poor choices made in his personal life. it also has one of the best scores of the year - almost all a single drum set.

FOXCATCHER (trailer)
great watch from the director of moneyball - one of my favorites of its year - and probably could have pierced the top three honestly.

NIGHTCRAWLER (trailer)
dark and funny. i saw a lot of people who said it wasn't interesting because we don't need another movie to show us that the media is fucked up, but they're missing the point that this is a character study and jake gyllenhaal is truly scary in the role.

ENEMY (trailer)
another jake gyllenhaal movie (in which he gives two performances, actually). a true mindfuck, but on top of the puzzle-box quality of the story, it's filmed beautifully. plus, if you care to hear from the director what the fuck it really means, he's given interviews explaining basically everything about the movie.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (trailer)
saw this one twice in the theater and laughed out loud (a rarity for me) both times. i think i enjoy comic book movies more when i know nothing of the characters beforehand.

NOAH (trailer)
somehow entirely dismissed by everyone, but some of the most surreal images produced all year. it really goes for it in both story and character development, basically portraying noah as a crazed schizophrenic a lot of the time.

THE ONE I LOVE (trailer)
certainly the best romantic comedy/sci-fi movie of the year. great movie to watch with your significant other. a couple visits a cottage on the recommendation of their therapist and are faced with questions about which self they want to be and what they really want/need from their partner.

HONORABLE MENTIONS (also in order of preference)

INHERENT VICE (trailer) (if this had come out earlier and i'd had time to see it a few times, i think it would have had a good shot at the top ten - maybe top three - but it's one that requires repeat viewings.)
EDGE OF TOMORROW (trailer) (much more fun than i expected and doesn't devolve into the silliness so common in these types of movies.)
THE SKELETON TWINS (trailer) (honestly, this might also be a perfect movie. hilarious and honest.)
SNOWPIERCER (trailer) (not quite as mindblowing as others have pitched it imo, but very solid and certainly one of the best sci-fi movies of the year.)
THE ROVER (trailer)
THE DROP (trailer)
OBVIOUS CHILD (trailer)
LIFE ITSELF (trailer)
NYMPHOMANIAC (trailer)
THE BABADOOK (trailer)
GONE GIRL (trailer) (an absolute joy the first watch, but some significant flaws reveal themselves on repeat viewings imo)
BLUE RUIN (trailer) (really tense, fantastic revenge movie)
22 JUMP STREET (trailer) (nearly as good as the first)
JODOROWSKY'S DUNE (trailer) (first you think, "wow, it's sad he didn't get to make this movie," then you realize, "lol, no studio would fund this movie in a million years," but jodorowsky himself is just so hilarious and intense that it's a joy to hear him tell the story.)

WORST MOVIES OF THE YEAR

THIRD PERSON (worst screenplay i've seen in a long, long time)
TRANSCENDENCE (represents the worst of what is possible in artificial intelligence movies)
TRANSFORMERS: EXTINCTION (no surprise, these movies still suck balls)
I, FRANKENSTEIN (i, want my money back)
POMPEII (turns out john snow plays exactly one character well, but the script and absolutely horrendous CGI certainly didn't help here)
DIVERGENT (the hunger games for people who think the hunger games is too advanced)
THE HOBBIT: BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES (after a slight improvement in the second chapter, the hobbit movies continue to prove right all the critics who called it a cash grab)
SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR (just sad that they'd resurrect this story and sully the legacy of the great first film)
EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS (it continues to puzzle me how ridley scott can make such great and such awful films so quickly after one another)

MOST DISAPPOINTING MOVIES OF THE YEAR

TUSK (kevin smith proved he could do solid genre work in Red State, but this was just an embarrassment on every level)
WILLOW CREEK (there are lots of interesting places you could take this premise, but this movie found a way to avoid all of them)
I ORIGINS (again, lots of interesting options for the story - good job finding one that was at once boring and ridiculous. brit marling has done some really interesting stuff, but not for a while unfortunately. maybe next year her movie will just go onto the worst list rather than the most disappointing)
GODZILLA (as with Sin City, why resurrect a franchise to do something so fucking boring?)
ROBOCOP (ditto)

MOVIES I MISSED

SELMA
ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE
STRANGER ON A LAKE
AMERICAN SNIPER
THE HOMESMAN
LOCKE
TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT
FRANK
CALVARY
TOP FIVE
A MOST VIOLENT YEAR
FORCE MAJEURE
LEVIATHAN
MANGLEHORN
IDA
THE OVERNIGHTERS
 
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Bradcorn

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Good list.

Going to the movies is one of my favorite things (I very rarely watch movies at home and prefer the theatre experience). I've seen a lot of movies this year and it's been fun to go back and think about what I've actually seen (all of these were at the movie theatre) and the amount I've seen is shocking to me!

25 movies!

I loved:
Birdman
Dawn of the planet of the apes
Imitation game
Boyhood
Edge of tomorrow
Gone girl
Fury
Xmen - days of future past

Liked to love:
Captain America - winter soldier (which is surprising to me as I thought the 2nd half of the first cap movie was horrible)

Hunger games: mockingjay : felt almost incomplete but really liked a lot of parts of it and what it focused on. Although I really wish they would have added an hour and just ended the damn franchise

Grand Budapest hotel
Lucy

3rd tier -
Guardians - it could be a crowd thing and I would like to rematch it but I had a terrible time at the theatre watching this. I should give it another chance though

White bird in a blizzard
Fault in our stars
Interstellar

4th tier-
Foxcatcher - felt very long and quite slow
Wish I was here - a little zach braff cliche but still enjoyed it somewhat but forgettable
Godzilla - if it wasn't for the epic end fight it would drop down)
Maze runner

5th tier/not a fan
Divergent - ditto to your comments
Draft day
Amazing spider man 2
Transformers
The giver

Need to see -
Chef
Whiplash (really want to watch this but it hasn't played near me)
Nightcrawler
Theory of everything
Inherent vice
American sniper
Selma
Gambler
 

pltrgyst

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Dang, Jack -- the list of movies you saw this year is longer than the list of those my wife and I have ever seen -- and we've been together 25+ years.

Where on Earth do you find the time?
 

jbutler

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Dawn of the planet of the apes

i had this on my list of possible honorable mentions. good, but not great imo. i loved Rise, but i think it might have been because my expectations were low.

Imitation game

i find the vast majority of biopics horrible and this didn't distinguish itself in any way to me. i thought benedict cumberbatch's performance was over the top and that the script was the ultimate paint-by-numbers issue-oriented biopic.

Captain America - winter soldier (which is surprising to me as I thought the 2nd half of the first cap movie was horrible)

i enjoyed this as well, but i also liked all of the first one and i liked it more than this (i liked the period-piece aspects). certainly one of the better marvel movies.

Hunger games: mockingjay : felt almost incomplete but really liked a lot of parts of it and what it focused on. Although I really wish they would have added an hour and just ended the damn franchise

i think this is the common sentiment. it's actually really difficult to review these movies that are broken out into multiple pieces because they rely so heavily on one another to get through the story. i didn't like this one as much as catching fire, but it was still a decent watch.


i actually saw this twice in the theater. the first time i fell asleep repeatedly (not due to the film - was after a long casino session and i just wanted to catch a movie before going home). funnily, though, i really liked it the first time when i happened to sleep through so many of the cringeworthy parts that i caught when i rewatched. i love balls-out ridiculous movies that know how ridiculous they are, but this kept tying itself back to "real science" in a horrible way. would have been a lot more fun if luc besson had just let all that go and let the action run wild without explanation.

Interstellar

i really wanted to love this movie. another one i saw twice. and like gone girl, the charm it had in the first watch was lost when the weaker elements of the film weren't watered down by the joy of a first-time experience. not quite "most disappointing" level bad, but i was still bummed.

The giver

probably should have made my "worst" list. what an abortion.

Dang, Jack -- the list of movies you saw this year is longer than the list of those my wife and I have ever seen -- and we've been together 25+ years.

Where on Earth do you find the time?

i probably saw between 75 and 100 movies in the theater this year. if there are two i like i'll just see a double bill saturday morning or see one at the late show thursday night (the new movies are mostly all released on thursdays nowadays). i don't have a lot of hobbies - poker and movies for the most part.
 

jbutler

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I forgot about the drumming movie!!

saw this (Whiplash) again yesterday instead of boyhood for a third time and was glad to feel justified in remembering it so fondly. i think it's actually a perfect movie.* jk simmons won the golden globe last night and my god did he deserve it.

i don't know about your particular genre preferences spike (the movie focuses nearly exclusively on big band jazz), but the drumming sequences are amazing and miles teller did learn enough to play some himself and fake the highly technical sequences very effectively.

*this doesn't mean it's "the best" movie necessarily (kramer's isosceles triangle was perfectly drawn, but is not a better work of art than picasso's "the old guitarist"); simply that it was flawlessly constructed as precisely what it was intended to be.
 

Chicken Rob

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I saw very few movies this past year, but watched Boyhood and American Sniper over the weekend. Boyhood was great. I think it was even better for me after hearing Linklater on WTF last week, as Marc is a reasonably astute film critic. His insights to Linklater's themes really predisposed me to view this movie through a different lens than I would have been going in with, and I probably would have enjoyed it less on first viewing.

American Sniper was ok, but I thought the portrayal of his emotional journey felt like it was a little ham fisted in its presentation. I was really looking forward to this one, as I am fascinated with the subject, but was left a little disjointed compared to my high expectations. Worth a watch. An interesting perspective for a war movie. But not as great as the hype would have you believe.

I am a little more interested in his autobiography on which this was based. Perhaps he handles the emotional arc better than Eastwood did.
 

ChaosRock

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That's great Spike!!!

I should have posted on the 'other collections' thread but I collect Jazz also... Well, I collect ALL sorts of good music to be honest...

Not a Big Band Jazz guy however... I try to define my Jazz taste as "From Bird to Miles' Bitches Brew" although I do have some contemporary stuff that are good...

Back to the movies, I haven't watched Whiplash but i can't wait to find the opportunity!!!

Thanks for the thread and all the info Jack!


I have recently really started enjoying jazz music.

Sent using tapatalk!
 
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jbutler

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I saw very few movies this past year, but watched Boyhood and American Sniper over the weekend. Boyhood was great. I think it was even better for me after hearing Linklater on WTF last week, as Marc is a reasonably astute film critic. His insights to Linklater's themes really predisposed me to view this movie through a different lens than I would have been going in with, and I probably would have enjoyed it less on first viewing.

i saw it when it first came out then again just before i heard the WTF interview. given my age, slacker was a huge touchstone for me, so i have an enormous affinity for linklater. i give him a lot of rope and see everything he does. most of the time he delivers.

American Sniper was ok, but I thought the portrayal of his emotional journey felt like it was a little ham fisted in its presentation. I was really looking forward to this one, as I am fascinated with the subject, but was left a little disjointed compared to my high expectations. Worth a watch. An interesting perspective for a war movie. But not as great as the hype would have you believe.

I am a little more interested in his autobiography on which this was based. Perhaps he handles the emotional arc better than Eastwood did.

i didn't hold out a ton of hope for this movie since clint eastwood's last several films have been mediocre at best and horrid at worst, but i'm still interested. i also don't like bradley cooper much, but for some reason i don't have a closed mind about him in this role. i'm sure it has something to do with the guy being portrayed (at least in the previews and the scant write-ups i've read of the movie) as being a very straightforward character. i think bradley cooper can handle that.

Not a Big Band Jazz guy however... I try to define my Jazz taste as "From Bird to pre-electric Miles" although I do have some contemporary stuff that are good...

i am a bit more of a modernist when it comes to jazz. my own playing in anything other than a post-bop or experimental context has been a single dixieland gig, but have no fear - you'll still love the big band scenes in the movie. they're just so well done and the playing is phenomenal. there is one scene of a latin-tinged quartet in a bar and i'm still not sure even after two viewings whether it was meant to communicate the player's/character's mediocrity or coolness.
 

CdnBeerLover

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I'll have to try to see this one. I'm a fan as well, and listen to just about everything from Duke Ellington and Count Basie to Miles Davis and John Coltrane.

Thanks for the tip!
 

ChaosRock

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i am a bit more of a modernist when it comes to jazz. my own playing in anything other than a post-bop or experimental context has been a single dixieland gig, but have no fear - you'll still love the big band scenes in the movie. they're just so well done and the playing is phenomenal. there is one scene of a latin-tinged quartet in a bar and i'm still not sure even after two viewings whether it was meant to communicate the player's/character's mediocrity or coolness.

I am sure those scenes will blow me away also... Not being my favorite doesn't mean I don't like it and appreciate it! :) Haven't seen the movie but if it's related to jazz musician, I bet the scene you referring to was about coolness and not mediocrity! :)

That's one of the things I miss about living in Manhattan... There I could find a theater within ten blocks to watch this movie today... Not so much in Michigan...
 
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brains613

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Jack, I think I asked you before, but don't remember. Do you ever watch any foreign films? (Because my list would deviate from yours...)

Maybe I recommended one or two in the past?
 

jbutler

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Jack, I think I asked you before, but don't remember. Do you ever watch any foreign films? (Because my list would deviate from yours...)

Maybe I recommended one or two in the past?

Yeah I do but I tend not to see them in the theater, so they only rarely make my top ten lists at year end. My local small theaters are pretty damn good and I can't complain about the domestic offerings, but they're not great with regard to foreign releases. But see my "missed" films listed above to see those I'm most looking forward to:

Two Days, One Night
Manglehorn
Force Majeure
Ida
Leviathan
Strangers On A Lake
Calvary

Feel free to offer more recommendations though. Obviously I'm not opposed to watching a lot of movies ;)
 

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I don't get to the movies too often, but have actually been twice in the last couple weeks.

If you have kids aged 6-10, go see Big Hero 6. Very well done kids movie, really clever.

Just saw Into the Woods last week, that was uber weird. Was a little fun to see how they played with the fairy tales to mesh them all together, but in the end not my cup of tea. And I actually kind of like musicals.
 

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I saw very few movies this past year, but watched Boyhood and American Sniper over the weekend. Boyhood was great. I think it was even better for me after hearing Linklater on WTF last week, as Marc is a reasonably astute film critic. His insights to Linklater's themes really predisposed me to view this movie through a different lens than I would have been going in with, and I probably would have enjoyed it less on first viewing.

American Sniper was ok, but I thought the portrayal of his emotional journey felt like it was a little ham fisted in its presentation. I was really looking forward to this one, as I am fascinated with the subject, but was left a little disjointed compared to my high expectations. Worth a watch. An interesting perspective for a war movie. But not as great as the hype would have you believe.

I am a little more interested in his autobiography on which this was based. Perhaps he handles the emotional arc better than Eastwood did.
One of the criticisms for the movie is that it didn't follow his autobiography close enough. Supposedly in the book he brags about going to New Orleans after Katrina and killing looters as well as enjoying the killing he did in Iraq and wishing he could go back and do more. I haven't read the book, just relaying what I have read about the movie.
 

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I saw very few movies this past year, but watched Boyhood and American Sniper over the weekend. Boyhood was great. I think it was even better for me after hearing Linklater on WTF last week, as Marc is a reasonably astute film critic. His insights to Linklater's themes really predisposed me to view this movie through a different lens than I would have been going in with, and I probably would have enjoyed it less on first viewing.

American Sniper was ok, but I thought the portrayal of his emotional journey felt like it was a little ham fisted in its presentation. I was really looking forward to this one, as I am fascinated with the subject, but was left a little disjointed compared to my high expectations. Worth a watch. An interesting perspective for a war movie. But not as great as the hype would have you believe.

I am a little more interested in his autobiography on which this was based. Perhaps he handles the emotional arc better than Eastwood did.

No votes for Lone Survivor?
 

jbutler

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I don't get to the movies too often, but have actually been twice in the last couple weeks.

If you have kids aged 6-10, go see Big Hero 6. Very well done kids movie, really clever.

Just saw Into the Woods last week, that was uber weird. Was a little fun to see how they played with the fairy tales to mesh them all together, but in the end not my cup of tea. And I actually kind of like musicals.

i have not seen big hero 6 and i intended to, but just never got around to it. i did see into the woods and didn't care much for it. like you, i do like musicals and i am a sondheim fan, but admittedly not of that particular work, so it's not surprising i wasn't a huge fan.

No votes for Lone Survivor?

it almost made my worst movies of the year if that counts. it was garbage.

peter berg is a competent director, but his filmography is really, really spotty. highlights: very bad things, friday night lights, the leftovers episodes. lowlights: wonderland, the rundown, the kingdom, hancock, battleship.
 

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Im about 3/4 the way through 'whiplash' now..... all I can say is WOW. I had to pause it to comment on here about it. couldnt wait.

What an amazing movie! As a drummer it really hits me harder I think. Makes me glad I only play rock tunes hahaha.

thanks for listing this movie! I knew about it but forgot all about it.
 

jbutler

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Im about 3/4 the way through 'whiplash' now..... all I can say is WOW. I had to pause it to comment on here about it. couldnt wait.

What an amazing movie! As a drummer it really hits me harder I think. Makes me glad I only play rock tunes hahaha.

thanks for listing this movie! I knew about it but forgot all about it.

did you catch the glimpse in the film of the buddy rich poster with his infamous quote: "if you don't have the ability, you wind up playing in a rock band." ;)

of course, i've played in rock bands as well, so stones and glass houses and all that, but it's a pretty great quote nonetheless, even more so if you know much about buddy rich's personality.
 

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Just finished it now. Great ending too. Phenomenal drumming....
One of the best movies I have seen in a LONG time. Too bad it didnt getting a wider showing. I think it was only in very select theaters.

Thanks again for the recommendation
 

jbutler

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Just finished it now. Great ending too. Phenomenal drumming....
One of the best movies I have seen in a LONG time. Too bad it didnt getting a wider showing. I think it was only in very select theaters.

Thanks again for the recommendation

glad you liked it, spike! :) it does deserve to be seen by more people.

for me, the ending really made the movie in terms of defining the characters' motivations.
 

spikeithard

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ya your correct. The ending was brilliant. When JK came on stage and surprised him with both what he knew and what song they were starting with, my stomach churned in anticipation and tension.

Im highly recommending it to others.
 

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Just got out of the theatre seeing whiplash (I drove to a theatre 45 mins away to be able to see it and boy am I glad i did!

What a great movie and it lends itself to the big screen so well. One of the most immerse experiences I've had all year (almost as much as birdman)

great performances, very interesting concept, and the final scene was killer. And rocking. loved the line about the two worst words in the English language being "good job". Makes you reflect, that's for sure..


also - saw the trailer for true story...this shot right up to my most anticipated movie in 2015.

[video]https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_NiP_bqlns[/video]
 

jbutler

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I'm shocked no mention for one of the best movies of the year (albeit, I'm slightly biased)..

The Equalizer Trailer

it was the subject of discussion in a thread over on Big Blue. i thought it was extremely mediocre and took itself way too seriously. not worst of the year material, but closer to that than best.
 

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did you catch the glimpse in the film of the buddy rich poster with his infamous quote: "if you don't have the ability, you wind up playing in a rock band." ;)

of course, i've played in rock bands as well, so stones and glass houses and all that, but it's a pretty great quote nonetheless, even more so if you know much about buddy rich's personality.

Buddy rich came to my high school some time between '84-'86. I was in the jazz band at the time, and got to go to the clinics run by his band. Mostly irrelevant to me, as I was an electric bass player, and his bassist was giving a clinic on upright technique more than theory considerations. I met buddy. He was a bit of a dick to the kids. His contract rider was demanding, including 10 cases of perrier, most of which went untouched.

I got to watch the show from the wings of the stage. Great seats. Buddy was an amazing drummer, even in the mid '80s. He died right after I graduated, in '87, so I was extra glad I got to see this. He wasn't that old.
 

jbutler

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Buddy rich came to my high school some time between '84-'86. I was in the jazz band at the time, and got to go to the clinics run by his band. Mostly irrelevant to me, as I was an electric bass player, and his bassist was giving a clinic on upright technique more than theory considerations. I met buddy. He was a bit of a dick to the kids. His contract rider was demanding, including 10 cases of perrier, most of which went untouched.

I got to watch the show from the wings of the stage. Great seats. Buddy was an amazing drummer, even in the mid '80s. He died right after I graduated, in '87, so I was extra glad I got to see this. He wasn't that old.

yeah buddy rich was an infamous asshole. the list of great artists who are also huge dickheads is long and includes some of my favorites. i decided long ago that i would actively avoid meeting my idols.
 

Chicken Rob

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yeah buddy rich was an infamous asshole. the list of great artists who are also huge dickheads is long and includes some of my favorites. i decided long ago that i would actively avoid meeting my idols.

I have an ability to separate the person from the work, and can appreciate one despite the other. In both directions. Great drummer. Dickhead.
 

jbutler

Royal Flush
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bump for academy award nominations (my preferred winner underlined):

BEST PICTURE
American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

BEST DIRECTOR (Inarritu and Linklater in basically a dead heat, but for the moment i'm feeling Inarritu)
Wes Anderson, Grand Budapest Hotel
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

BEST ACTRESS (no preference as i haven't seen the first three films listed)
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

BEST ACTOR (really tough call between Carell and Keaton)
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS (Laura Dern a semi-close second, but Patricia Arquette was amazing)
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Laura Dern, Wild
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (also really tough as i loved Simmons in Whiplash and Norton in Birdman)
Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM (no preference as i've only seen one of these)
Ida
Leviathan
Tangerines
Timbuktu
Wild Tales

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY (for sheer difficulty, it's Inherent Vice)
American Sniper
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Birdman
Boyhood
Foxcatcher
Grand Budapest Hotel
Nightcrawler

several bizarre inclusions. the imitation game was at best a mediocre biopic. it deserves about 10% of the attention it's getting. and Robert Duvall in the Judge? that has to be the darkest horse oscar nomination of the last decade. i've still not seen Selma (going this weekend), but literally everything i've heard or read has mentioned the perfection of David Oyelowo's performance, so i'm shocked he's not nominated. also pretty bummed to not see Jake Gyllenhaal in there.

as always, the rationale for designating screenplays as adapted or original is completely opaque. how is Whiplash in the adapted category? it was written by the director who was a music school student and based on his own experiences?

that there are only 8 movies nominated for best picture is also notable. in 2009 the category was expanded to permit 5-10 nominations at the discretion of the academy and every year since there have been 9 movies nominated.
 
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