Best Films of 2014

top-10-movies-2014-1409415318Every year, I feel the same way.

  • Most “Oscar” film are too depressing
  • Films from a decade ago are better than the films now
  • I don’t see enough foreign, arty, and documentary films

That being said, 2014 had some good films. Only 4 of the Oscar Best Pictures make it into my Top 10 this year (Last year 7), but 3 of the other 4 are in my Top 20. “American Sniper” is lone exception.

Oscar analysis will come later. Here are my Top 20…

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Oscar Stats 2014

I love Oscar Stats.

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  • Meryl Streep breaking her own record for nominations with 18.
  • That we might have to utter the words “Oscar Winner” and add “The Lone Ranger” after it.
  • 49th (!) Oscar nomination for John Williams (Soundtrack to The Book Thief) and he is still 10 shy of Walt Disney.
  • Cinematographer Roger Deakins looking to avoid going 0 for 11.
  • Jennifer Lawrence has her 3rd nomination at age 23 – the youngest to do so. (Teresa Wright was 24).
  • Gravity is only the 5th film to be nominated for all 7 technical awards. Titanic swept all 7. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the WorldHugo, and Life of Pi did not.

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The Oscar Red Carpet Experience – Star Search

Sally FieldSo I saw a lot of celebrities on the Red Carpet from the bleachers. It wasn’t always easy. Some were in a big ole hurry. And the carpet was jammed with people, so it easy to miss someone – especially a man in a regular tux. So when Aaron Tveit walked by on the carpet, I’m sad I missed him, but I can see how he was overlooked by everyone. (Just as his amazing performance in Les Misérables wasn’t given its due)

Of the 25 nominees for director and acting, we saw 21 of them. The only ones we never saw apparently did not walk the carpet: Denzel Washington, Emmanuelle Riva (no surprise), Michael Haneke, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. There is a side door off of Hollywood Blvd. for people to come and go without touching the press or the crowds.

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#BlogElul via the Movies 14 – The Montage and French Toast

There’s a trope in movies that we could all use: The learning montage. You lack a skill. You need to prepare. You are working for a goal. No one wants to watch anything resembling a realtime series of growth or progress, so the montage is utilized.

We all wish we had the montage in life. It shows all that growth and progress without all the slow drudgery of work. For every rabbi, a montage of high holiday prep would likely show clips of surfing the web, folding laundry, pulling books off of shelves, some staring into space, and then a shot of inspiration and a couple quick images of typing furiously before standing on the pulpit in triumph. Writing isn’t as compelling as training to fight to Apollo Creed.

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