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Nick’s 2014 Top 10 (feature)

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(Click any highlighted film title for the original Black Sheep review.)

2014, in my opinion, has been a very good year for movies. And despite the fact that I often find year-end lists to be somewhat arbitrary in nature and a bit competitive amongst the list-makers, I think I have, although with some degree of difficulty, narrowed down my list to the Top 10 films that I felt most made an impression on me in the last year.

This list, however, does come with one caveat; there are MANY films that people consider to be the “best” of the year, which I have not seen. Some will wonder where BOYHOOD is, or why LIFE ITSELF is nowhere to be found. The truth is, I just haven’t found the time, or, been in the right mood to see some of these films. But I assure you, they will be on most other Top 10 lists out there, because I have heard nothing but great things about them. So before you post an angry comment demanding to know why BIRDMAN or TOP FIVE haven’t made the list, just remember: I get the opportunity to see A LOT of films, just not ALL the films.

There are also many great films I saw that didn’t make the list, and to be totally honest, it just came down to personal taste. THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING was touching, inspiring, and Eddie Redmayne will probably get an Oscar, but I just didn’t see it fitting on my list. The same goes for ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE, which is probably Jim Jarmusch’s best film, and one I adore, but still, it’s not on the list. THE BABADOOK created a huge stir this year and many critics thought it was the scariest movie ever. I watched 3/4 of it and shut it off because the little kid was so obnoxious, I couldn’t handle it. And yes, I assure you I got the subtext in the film, the mother couldn’t shut off the kid like I could though, so there. I did love how every shot in the house looked like something from a storybook, but I just wasn’t buying it.

Movies like PRIDE and THE NORMAL HEART restored my faith in queer films that not only conveyed an important message, but did so incredibly well, and those weren’t the only ones, either (check my list below).  And finally, the one I film I could have included but didn’t (and I’ll probably kick myself for it) is THE GUEST. There isn’t enough good I can say about this movie, but the soundtrack is available now, and you should probably get it.

Now that you’ve suffered through all that preamble, I’ve actually managed to create a list that is, for once, in some sort of order from best to bestest. So here it is:

shailene 10 2014 white bird_MGTHUMB-BIG


I LOVE Gregg Araki’s films and this one is no exception. The story of a young woman who is dealing with the mysterious disappearance of her mother and her failing relationship with her boyfriend, who is forever distancing himself from her, packs a dramatic punch. You’ll probably see the ending coming from the very beginning, but that doesn’t even matter. The movie is so incredibly and beautifully sad and Shailene Woodley’s performance is perfect.


Xavier Dolan has not once disappointed me, and this is probably my favourite of his films so far (and no, I haven’t seen MOMMY yet either). I don’t know if it’s the incredible sexual tension between Tom and his dead boyfriend’s brother (the ridiculously sexy Pierre-Yves Cardinal) or the blatant Hitchcockian references, but this thriller will have you on the edge of your seat and keep you there until the credits roll.


Denis Villeneuve’s dark and confusing thriller has two Jake Gyllenhaal’s dealing with himself, as he struggles to come to terms with different areas in his life he has chosen to compartmentalize. At least that’s what I got out of it, but it doesn’t really matter what I think. Toronto is transformed into a murky and toxic landscape, the acting is amazing and the story will keep you guessing, demanding you see it again and again, just to try and uncover its secrets.



Probably Scar-Jo’s best performance, ever. No joke. This story of an alien living on Earth and farming humans to send back to her home planet is a slow moving hammer to your face. The ending had me wiping away tears because I actually cared what happened to her character, and the movie is just visually striking.


Ok, this movie technically doesn’t come out until 2015, and I saw it at TIFF this year, but my god, this movie gave me reasons to love the movie musical once again. Anna Kendrick is phenomenal, both in her acting and her singing which didn’t surprise me as she is kind of the best. The timelines are a little confusing at first, but the way the narrative plays out is interesting: one story told from two perspectives, one from the beginning and the other from the end of a relationship. You’ll laugh, and cry, and want to buy the soundtrack the second you leave the theatre.


If you haven’t seen this movie, then go do so immediately. I thought Gyllenhaal wouldn’t give a better performance than in ENEMY, but he did and it will chill you. Here, he is a creepy slime bag who will stop at nothing (read: NOTHING) to climb the ladder of success. It’s brutal and unforgiving, and the final act is some of the most enjoyable cinema I’ve seen in ages. The super saturated night scenes are stunning and has this sheen of 80’s glamour, which I love.


4. G.B.F.

You’re probably wondering what a teen film about gay kids is doing on this list, but I assure you, it is by far one of the best films of the year, I’ve seen it probably 20 times by now. Yes, it’s a lot like MEAN GIRLS, but it has an even more important message of the token gay, which has been popping up more and more these days in TV and movies. I’ve tweeted and written all about this film so won’t go on, but there are lines like “This is an ‘A’ and gay conversation, so kindly see your next Tuesday out of it”, and that’s enough for me.


This is another film I saw at TIFF and won’t be out until 2015, but again, it had to be on here. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, check it out. This was a pretty great year for horror fans as we saw a lot of films that either did a throw-back really well, or did something we’ve never seen before. This is old school horror in the best of ways: various creeping things follow a young girl around after she contracts something from her boyfriend after they have sex. It’s not preachy against teen sex; that isn’t the point of this movie. The point is to creep us the eff out, and it does it very well. Again, this is a movie with a great 80’s inspired soundtrack by Rich Vreeland, and the lead Maika Monroe (THE GUEST) is pretty awesome.


You probably never heard of this one. And if you have seen it, message me so we can talk about it.  Based on the novel “One For Sorrow” by Christopher Barzak, who wrote the story as a way of saying goodbye to someone he lost, the film deals with grief, sexuality, high school bullying and the struggle of finding yourself and letting people go. While it is not quite a horror movie, it definitely still has a few scenes that will get right under your skin. It’s a devastating and melancholy love story between a high school jock and the ghost of a murdered boy who isn’t quite ready to cross over to the other side. As they both find friendship and love in one another, they slowly begin to lose touch with their own worlds, disconnecting themselves from those around them. It’s number 2 on my list for a reason: I really want people to see this one. And yeah, it made me cry too.

Maps to the Stars


If you’ve read anything on this site or followed my reviews this year, you’ll know why this is number 1 in my books. I even got to interview David Cronenberg (click here to read that piece), which was the most exciting and nerve wracking time I had all year. Julianne Moore is totally unhinged in the best kind of way here, and the rest of the cast are so enjoyable to watch that I wish this were an HBO series instead, so I can see what other twisted things the characters got up to. This is a family drama of the most demented kind, and because it’s Cronenberg, it’s deliciously messed up too.

So there you have it, the films I thought were my favourite of the year. But don’t worry; I also saw a whole lot of terrible films this year, and my list wouldn’t be compete if I at least didn’t give those a mention as well. So here they are, in all their awfulness:



ANNIE (I only watched 20 minutes and shut it off.)

OPEN WINDOWS (This might have been the single worst thing I saw.)

THAT AWKWARD MOMENT (It pains me to say Zac was in a terrible movie, but are you surprised?)

INTERSTELLAR (Ok, it may not the worst movie by any means; it was so pretty and it was actually projected on film and not digital; but it was for sure the biggest disappointment. C’mon, Nolan fans boys, bring it on!)

To read all of Nick’s Black Sheep reviews, click here.

One Comment

  1. While I agree that Interstellar was a bit of a disappointment, I’ve been able to forgive it quite a bit for its issues in recent months (probably my Nolanite coming through).

    I’ll just suggest that you read, “The Science of Interstellar”. It’s written by Kip Throne who was the head scientist on the film and it has truly given me a deeper appreciation for the film and how hard it strove to be scientifically accurate. It also covers some pretty mind numbing/bending science. A really good read.

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