Evan’s Top 10 Films of 2014
1. X-Men: Days of Future Past
An easy call for my top pick for anyone that knows me. I have been obsessed with the X-Men since I was 8. But this just wasn’t any X-Men film. It was far and away the best one yet and in my opinion, the most well written comic book movie yet. It successfully fixed earlier films mistakes and blended the old films with the new. 2016 can’t get here fast enough!
This film absolutely knocked my socks off. I have never been a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal before, so imagine my surprise when he turned in the best performance of the year! (in my opinion at least) I was absolutely glued to the screen for the entire movie. Director Dan Gilroy did an amazing job of capturing L.A. at night and giving us perhaps the most twisted take on the American Dream that I have ever seen.
Despite all the hype of this movie, I wasn’t excited to see it. I recognized that it was a technical marvel, considering how it was shot. But I didn’t see what the appeal would be. I was SO WRONG! Because of how it was shot, it was probably the best coming of age story that I have ever seen. It affected me on such a deep personal level, and I wasn’t ready for it. I’m not much of a crier, but I bawled like a baby in this film. Loved it!
4. Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
It’s rare that a movie lives up to my expectations when I go in with as high of expectations that I had for Birdman. And it lived up to them in every single way. It’s probably the best all around movie of the year. Every single aspect from the acting, the story, the directing, and the cinematography are all stellar. Keaton is back!
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Holy hell! What a year for Marvel! And Cap 2 set the ball rolling perfectly! Outside of The Avengers, Cap 2 is without a doubt the best Disney Marvel movie. Not only does the story stand on its on as fantastic, it also changed the entire landscape of the Marvel Universe! This was the perfect blend of a spy movie and a comic book movie.
6. Guardians of the Galaxy
Disney Marvel can literally make any movie they want and it will be awesome. That is what Guardians of the Galaxy proved. I am part of about .01% of America that had actually read a Guardians comic before. And it was better than I could have ever imagined!. It was the PERFECT blend of action and humor. Disney knocked the casting for this movie out of the park! This is basically a tie with Captain AmericanL The Winter Solider. Plus, HOWARD THE DUCK!!!!
7. The Imitation Game
In a year that had so many great portrayals of true events, this movie was without a doubt the best of the bunch. Cumberbatch was wonderful as always, and maybe better than he has ever been. Keira Knightley also turned in what I believe to be without a doubt the best performance of her career. The story is riveting and does a wonderful job of shining light on the shameful stance that nations used to have on homosexuality.
I really wish I was musically talented. That is single thought that kept running through my head for like a week after I saw this movie. If I understood music on a technical level, there is an excellent chance that this movie would be much higher on my list. And the fact that I know nothing, and I’m still so high on this movie, speaks a lot to this film’s greatness. Miles Teller was wonderful, and J.K. Simmons turned in a performance that may never be duplicated.
9. American Sniper
Forget all the controversy. Forget all the snarky comments you have seen on Facebook. This film is absolutely wonderful. There have been few movies that I have ever walked out of where the theater was more stoic. The movie is tense from minute one and does a great job of mixing in humor at just the right time. Eastwood knocked it out of the park with this and Cooper turned in my favorite performance of his career. What a wonderful story of a true American hero.
I was excited for this movie from the first time I saw the trailer, but I never thought it would be as amazing as it was! It has been a long time since I have seen such a wonderful portrayal of brotherhood that I saw in this movie. The entire cast is fantastic. I LOVED Brad Pitt and Jon Berthanal in this movie, but Shia LaBeouf stole the show here in my opinion. Logan Lerman has a bright future in acting.
Evan’s Top 10 Games of 2014
1. Bayonetta 2
Devil May Cry is probably my favorite game franchise of all time. So know that when I say that Bayonetta 2 is the best hack’n slash/action game that I have played, it speaks VOLUMES. I had never played the first game in this series, so I didn’t really know what I was getting into. And while the story is a bit convoluted and the humor is very Japanese and doesn’t always it, IT DOESN’T MATTER. This game is pure fun. This is the best combat that has EVER been in a video game. If you are looking for a reason to buy a Wii U, this game is it.
2. South Park: The Stick of Truth
I LOVE South Park. I DON’T enjoy RPGs. So I had no idea what to expect going into this game. So what happened? I may like RPGs now…. This was without a doubt the funniest game I have ever played. And it’s not close. But more than that, it’s just flat-out fun. The depth of the references to the show are truly impressive. Literally everything was a throwback to the show. I have said it from the moment I finished the game. If you have never watched South Park, this game is a 9. If you are a South Park fan, this game is a 10. For me, it’s a 10!
3. Sunset Overdrive
I had NO idea how I would like this game. The result, it’s AWESOME! This game is just pure fun. It’s so creative in every aspect of the game. The traversal and combat are so unique and great. It takes some getting used to, so give this game some time. The music is fantastic and the art design are top-notch. The humor won’t be for everyone, but for me, almost all of it hit home. It also had a sneakily great multiplayer. PLEASE GIVE ME A SEQUEL TO THIS GAME!!!
4. TellTale’s The Walking Dead: Season 2
My God. Clementine. Never has a game got me so emotionally connected to a single character. I LOVED her in season one, but I admit I wasn’t excited that she was the playable character for this season. I don’t like to admit that I was wrong, but I was SO wrong. Her character development throughout the season was the best I have ever seen in a game. Throw in a TREMENDOUS villain in Carver, and this whole game was amazing. Not to mention, the final episode changed the way we thought all TellTale games played.
5. Dragon Age: Inquisition
Earlier I said I don’t enjoy RPGs. And now I have two in my top 5. And it truly speaks to the greatness of these games. The ONLY reason that this game isn’t higher on my list is that I haven’t finished it yet. Why haven’t I finished it? Because it’s going to take me over 200 hours!! I love to explore and the world that this game has created is vast and impressive. Every aspect of this game is wonderful. I love the character relations and the lore of the world. I enjoy the combat so much more than I ever imagined I would. I 60 hours into this game and I have SO much to go. This game is truly impressive. I had never played a DA game before and bought this only because of the staunch endorsement from Chuck. So I will say this one time only. YOU WERE 100% RIGHT CHUCK NALLEY!
6. Valiant Hearts: The Great War
I had no hype coming into this game. Then one night Trey and Chuck told me about a game that took you though the history of WW1. I was in. Immediately. And I wasn’t let down. What a beautiful game all around. The story, the music, and the art design are absolutely heartfelt and beautiful. The gameplay lacks at times, but other aspects absolutely make up for it. And Walt might win for best dog ever in a video game.
7. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Full disclosure, I LOVE Call of Duty. Every single year. I even enjoyed Ghosts. Call me a bro if you want, year in and year out, they are quality games with the best multiplayer. And this was the absolutely the best CoD to date. So many CoD detractors have said they have wanted the franchise to make changes and they absolutely did. I never expected my favorite stealth level of the year to be in a CoD game. The story was fantastic and Kevin Spacey knocked it out of the park with his voice acting. They nailed the future tech in the game and fixed past mistakes made in Black Ops 2.
I get that a lot of people were disappointed in this game. I get that the graphics were evidently not the game changer that people thought they would be. I get that the main character was generic and lacking. But I LOVED this game! I thought it was so much fun and really creative. The hacking system was one of the most impressive achievements I have seen in video games. I loved how players could hack into other players games. I for one, really hope that this game gets a sequel.
Once again, a new game was touted as a Call of Duty killer. And once again, that game fell short of that. Can we please just stop saying that?!? But what this game did not fall short of is being the best FPS multiplayer game ever created. This game controls beautifully in every aspect. The shooting mechanics are TOP NOTCH. The parkour elements give us the best experience possible in a FPS. The level design is absolutely brilliant. I am a very average player and consistently felt like such a badass playing this game. The lack of a story mode in the traditional sense and the fall off of the community to other games hurt this game. But I have it a 10 when this game came out and I stand by it to this day.
10. Far Cry 4
Another game that would probably be higher on my list if I had finished it. I AM ONLY ONE MAN!! This game is probably the most graphically beautiful game that I played in 2014. The world is VAST and beautiful. It’s so different from any other FPS that I often forget to classify it as one. Yes, the story isn’t the best and yes, it is VERY similar to Far Cry 3. But so what?!? That doesn’t change the fact that this game is GREAT. So of my favorite moments in gaming this past year were from playing the coop in this game and clearing outposts with Chuck. Literally everything in this game wants to kill you, and it is the sole reason for my newfound hatred of eagles.