Mid-Point 2014: Ethan Picks His 10 Favorite Films of the Year So Far

July 3, 2014

Best of 2014 So Far

This year has been flying by, and it's hard to believe that it's already July. We've still got six more months of great movies on the way, including the latter half of summer and the entirety of awards season releases, but that doesn't mean we haven't seem some truly spectacular films hit the big screen so far. Therefore, it seems like a wholly appropriate time to countdown my 10 Favorite Films of 2014 So Far. It's hard to say whether or not any of these films will make my final list at the end of the year (but I feel good about a few of them), but these are definitely the ones I've enjoyed the most at this mid-point of the year 2014. See below!

#10. X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Now I'm pretty sure this won't be on my year-end list, just because there's so many awards season films that will end up wowing me before 2014 is finished, but I couldn't help but throw this on my list of favorites from the first half of the year. Having seen the film in theaters twice now, not only is this my favorite X-Men film out of all of them, but it's one of the more clever ways to retcon some of the garbage that happened in X-Men: The Last Stand, while also ignoring the abomination that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It's a pseudo franchise reboot with great action, a story that is pure comic book spectacle, and just flat out fun.

#9. Chef


It's nice to have Iron Man director Jon Favreau go back to his indie roots with something as charming as Chef. The film could actually stand as a metaphor for Favreau's experience with the motion picture industry, especially considering his problems with Marvel for Iron Man 2. In some ways that makes it more interesting for those who love cinema as much as I do, but for those who don't read the film in this fashion, it's still a delightful story about a father reconnecting with his son over a passion for delicious food, photographed in such a way that will make you hungry for hours after it's over. Plus, it's awesome to see John Leguizamo get some significant screentime in a great supporting role.

#8. Blue Ruin

Blue Ruin

This was a film that I went into at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival absolutely blind, knowing very little and having seen no trailers, and it couldn't have been a more satisfying experience. This quiet, grounded and stirring revenge thriller features a remarkable breakthrough performance from Macon Blair, and an intense game of cat and mouse as a man disheveled by the murder of his parents seeks out those responsible, and delivers his own brand of justice. It's basically a contemporary western, complete with a satisfying appearance by Devin Ratray, who you might know as Buzz from Home Alone.

#7. They Came Together

They Came Together

There's going to be plenty of haters when it comes to this particular pick, mostly because the trailer for David Wain's latest comedy wasn't particularly flattering. But trust me when I tell you that this is a brilliant send-up of romantic comedies that calls back to the masterful comedy of Airplane! and Young Frankenstein. This isn't some awful Friedberg & Seltzer spoof, but a parody that has an affection for what's being skewered while still having brilliant comedic edge that knows just when it's all right to be completely random and nonsensical. This might even be better than Wet Hot American Summer.

#6. The Raid 2

The Raid 2

Action sequels are hard to crack, and rarely live up to the standards set by the first film. But with The Raid 2, director Gareth Evans not only ups the ante, but goes all in with some of the most incredible action I've ever seen on film. It's swift, hard-hitting, bone-breaking and bloody, and it has a seedy, gritty criminal underworld to go with it. Seriously, some of the action scenes in this movie are simultaneously beautiful and exhausting. You feel every punch, kick, slice and smash, and it makes me think that Evans needs to teach some kind of class so some American filmmakers learn how to really direct an action movie again.

#5. 22 Jump Street

22 Jump Street

All right, there's a lot of sequels on this list, but it's been an absolutely great year for the second chapter of new franchises from the past few years. And this time, it's all the more surprising because comedy sequels are even harder to make than other follow-ups. Thankfully, Phil Lord & Chris Miller bring the thunder all over again with a hilarious movie that also sends up the tropes of sequels in the perfect tongue-in-cheek fashion. Channing Tatum might actually outdo Jonah Hill on the comedy side of things this time around, but they both make for some gut-busting action comedy. Plus, that end credits sequence is the best.

#4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Yes, one more sequel, but again, this particular second installment in the Marvel franchise had just as much to love as a film in general as opposed to just another comic book sequel. First time feature filmmakers Anthony & Joe Russo took their love of 70s political thrillers and injected it into the Marvel universe with spectacular results that make the longer running time go by like a breeze. This sequel has substance, superb action, fantastic performances and if it wasn't for the presence of superheroes, could easily be mistaken for a Jason Bourne or James Bond adventure. Hail Hydra.

#3. Life Itself

Life Itself

It's bittersweet knowing that legendary film critic Roger Ebert gets such a lovely life story told in this documentary by Steve James, and even moreso knowing that he didn't live to see how his story impacts the very critics that he inspired over his impressive career. Moving, honest and full of life, this documentary is sentimental without being phony, because that's what Ebert would have absolutely hated. With talking heads from cinema's finest like Martin Scorsese and Werner Herzog, this is a must-see for anyone who loves filmmaking. And yes, this doesn't release until July 4th, so it's a bit of a cheat on this mid-point list.

#2. The LEGO Movie

The LEGO Movie

That's right, ladies and gentlemen, Phil Lord & Chris Miller landed twice on this list. When the idea of a movie using LEGO bricks was announced, everyone thought that Hollywood had jumped the shark and nuked the fridge. But then the movie hit theaters, and we were all blown away. With the same self-aware comedy that made 21 Jump Street and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs so good, The LEGO Movie was imaginative, splendid and likely the best possible way to use the LEGO brand to inspire a film. Will Arnett's Batman is even better than either of the versions Joel Schumacher made.

#1. Boyhood


Everyone is going to have to cut me a break with my top pick, because it doesn't hit theaters for general audiences until July 11th. However, I was lucky enough to catch the film at Sundance in January, and it's played at several other festivals since then, so I figured it wasn't really cheating. Plus, this film is just so damn astounding and magnificent that everyone needs to know how much it beckons to be seen as soon as possible. Richard Linklater shot the film over 12 years, with the same actors, making for one of the most raw, genuine and moving coming-of-age tales ever told. There's never been a narrative film like this, and there may never be again. This is a cinematic achievement and treasure that should be held in the highest regard, and will mostly likely end up with some Oscar love next year.

So there you have it. These are my favorite films of the year so far. Keep in mind that there are some limited releases and whatnot that simply haven't come close enough for me to see. For example, I'm not seeing Snowpiercer until this weekend and also missed The Rover, The Double, Under the Skin, Only Lovers Left Alive, Locke, Enemy, Cold in July and more. Also, before anyone complains, The Grand Budapest Hotel would have been #11 with Obvious Child coming right behind it at #12 and probably Neighbors at #13. Now it's your turn. What are you favorite movies of 2014 so far? Tell us below!

Find more posts: Editorial, Feat



1.Godzilla 2.Godzilla 3.Godzilla You get the idea

Jon Odishaw on Jul 3, 2014


Man, you must really like I, Frankenstein.

Ethan Anderton on Jul 3, 2014


Yep. I'm one of the 4% rotten tomatoes reviewers. Was godzilla the it the best movie of the year? No but I was under the impression we were listing our favourites not the best.

Jon Odishaw on Jul 3, 2014


No, I enjoyed Godzilla! Saw it twice. I was just poking fun at the fact that you listed it 3 times, and I decided to sarcastically pretend that you liked one of the worst movies of the year instead.

Ethan Anderton on Jul 3, 2014


Interesting...I also saw godzilla twice. There were other great films this year so far(grand Budapest, cap America, 22 jump) but didn't love any as much as godzilla.

Jon Odishaw on Jul 4, 2014


Ethan, you cheeky bastard!

DAVIDPD on Jul 3, 2014


Good for you. Prob one of the worst movies i've ever seen. Complete and utter trash. That this director gets to direct a SW movie now still blows my mind.

Sascha Dikiciyan on Jul 4, 2014


you must not watch a lot of movies.

rickvanr on Jul 4, 2014


Right? To complain that it wasn't very good or that you didn't enjoy is one thing but to compare it to the worst movies ever made? Ignorant.

Jon Odishaw on Jul 4, 2014


1. The LEGO Movie 2. The Grand Budapest Hotel 3. Joe

dab394 on Jul 3, 2014


10. Muppets Most Wanted 9. Edge of Tomorrow 8. Noah 7. The Raid 2 6. 22 Jump Street 5. The Grand Budapest Hotel 4. X-Men: Days of Future Past 3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier 2. The Lego Movie 1. How To Train Your Dragon 2

John Everitt on Jul 3, 2014


THE RAID 2 was a great surprise for me. But seems like a good list. I have not seen a few of these but I can dig it.

DAVIDPD on Jul 3, 2014


Surprised to see The Grand Budapest Hotel didn't make your list. 1. The Grand Budapest Hotel 2. The Lego Movie 3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier 4. Chef 5. How to train your dragon 2 6. The Raid 2 7. X-Men Days of future past 8. Snowpiercer 9. 22 Jump Street 10. Edge of Tomorrow

TK on Jul 3, 2014


good list...

Avi on Jul 3, 2014


What a moronic list. You clearly have a sub-standard IQ.

Bo on Jul 5, 2014


I'm glad to see that you are at least reading my list Bo. I put them on here purely for entertaining the mindless pretentious troll, who for some reason, can't fathom the fact someone might have a differing opinion to theirs. I found it funny that on your other post you talked about childish name calling. Oh the irony.

TK on Jul 5, 2014


Wow, judging from this list it has been a pretty lousy/mediocre year for movies so far : ( I don't have a personal top 10 yet, but it would definitely include Only Lovers Left Alive, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and also Boyhood. Furthermore, I have very high hopes for The Rover, The Double, and Under the Skin.

Terry Craig on Jul 3, 2014


Yes, Under the skin is really weird but in a good way. 🙂

Sascha Dikiciyan on Jul 4, 2014


They always skip a year in amazing movie years. Last year was awesome, this year meh, next year will be cra-mazing. (crazy amazing)

avconsumer2 on Jul 7, 2014


The only one that's impressed me, so far, is Captain America...

Bl00dwerK on Jul 3, 2014


I haven't seen many movies this year but my favourites (in no particular order) are Noah (saw it twice), Edge of Tomorrow, and Raid 2. My least favourite of the one's I've seen is probably Non-Stop. I think Enemy and Afflicted came out in 2013, but I saw them this year and loved them too.

NathanDewey on Jul 3, 2014


I didn't see every movie your mentioning but for me was the raid 2 absolutely awesome!

Avi on Jul 3, 2014


If that was a Leon lett reference and not a typo then bravo

Jon Odishaw on Jul 4, 2014


you are the first who who makes a comment about my writing on this site! That is a compliment because I am from the Netherlands! Thanks!

Avi on Jul 4, 2014


Hahahaha okay you're welcome sir

Jon Odishaw on Jul 4, 2014


oke! 🙂

Avi on Jul 4, 2014


Are you still not over that superhero rubbish? Come on. Only top 5 for me. 1. Under the Skin 2. jodorowsky's Dune 3. Particle Fever 4. Budap Hotel 5. Wolf of Wall street (seen it in 2014) Its prob easier to make a top 10 of my least favorite movies so far. With top 5 slots going to Godzilla alone. What a piece of shit. In every way.

Sascha Dikiciyan on Jul 4, 2014


In every way? It was not without it's flaws but even everyone who hates it appreciated the final battle. You're just being...well a twat, for lack of a better word.

Jon Odishaw on Jul 4, 2014


Brah, your too cool!! Its funny how Garbage attracts Garbage. While your at it, go watch it 2 more times, so you can have a top 5, Brah!

Sascha Dikiciyan on Jul 4, 2014


That was painful to read

Jon Odishaw on Jul 4, 2014



HotSauce on Jul 5, 2014


Calling him a twat is calling like I see it. So that sort of nullifies your argument...twat.

Jon Odishaw on Jul 4, 2014


It is of little consequence to me. Do and think as you please.

Jon Odishaw on Jul 4, 2014


Shut up. Your mom probably has Down's Syndrome and was raped by a priest.

Bo on Jul 5, 2014


That's the most messed up thing I've ever read. You need some serious mental help Bo. It sickens me that people like you exist on the internet.

Sascha Dikiciyan on Jul 7, 2014


So if somebody posts that same list of movies that automatically makes them smart in your book? HAHAHAHA You sir are literally too stupid to insult.

HotSauce on Jul 5, 2014


And the award for "Pretentious D-Bag of the Week" goes to....

HotSauce on Jul 5, 2014


Get a gun....blow your brains out

Bo on Jul 6, 2014


Haven't seen that many, but The Grand Budapest Hotel is my favorite so far. I can't wait to see Boyhood and Under the Skin 🙂

DavideCoppola on Jul 4, 2014


my Aunty Allison recently got a nice 6 month old Jaguar by working from a macbook.this website C­a­s­h­d­u­t­i­e­s­.­C­O­M­

carindlee on Jul 4, 2014


In no particular order.... Only Lovers Left Alive The Fault in Our Stars The Grand Budapest Hotel Edge of Tomorrow Ping Pong Summer 22 Jump Street X-Men: Days of Future Past Captain America: The Winter Soldier Joe Cheap Thrills

Pop Ninjas on Jul 4, 2014


Your list makes you an idiot.

Bo on Jul 5, 2014


You're response indicates your father should have pulled out. What's your point?

Pop Ninjas on Jul 5, 2014


Hahahah nice

Jon Odishaw on Jul 6, 2014


I just sent a coathanger through time...it has a date with your mom

Bo on Jul 6, 2014


Bo might be posting from a mental ward or something

Sascha Dikiciyan on Jul 7, 2014


Damn Bo, you need help.

Sascha Dikiciyan on Jul 7, 2014


I saw Chef and Snowpiercer over the weekend, so now i need to decide which of my original list no longer qualifies as top ten for me. Chef is my favorite film of the year so far.

Pop Ninjas on Jul 7, 2014


Wow!? Chef = favorite so far?! Sheesh. Underestimated that one pretty badly (though I love Favreau's stuff). Guess I'd better see it!

avconsumer2 on Jul 7, 2014


I have a culinary background so this certainly resonated for me. Perfect Summer flick. The story is sweet and benign, it's really all about the food....oh the glorious food.

Pop Ninjas on Jul 7, 2014


Ah - haha - gotcha.

avconsumer2 on Jul 8, 2014


as Thelma explained I cannot believe that a stay at home mom can make $7420 in four weeks on the internet . more info here R­e­x­1­0­.­C­O­M­

monicadashby on Jul 5, 2014


my classmate's aunt makes $68 every hour on the computer . She has been fired for 7 months but last month her paycheck was $15495 just working on the computer for a few hours. visit the site R­e­x­1­0­.­C­O­M­

rosatskidmore on Jul 6, 2014


i might be the only one, but I was really dissapointed with The Lego Movie.

Tuomas Lassila on Jul 7, 2014


upto I saw the draft of $7025 , I be certain ...that...my mom in-law woz like they say truley making money part-time on their apple labtop. . there sisters roommate had bean doing this less than 8 months and at present repayed the debts on their house and bought a brand new volvo . look at here now M­o­n­e­y­d­u­t­i­e­s­.­C­O­M­

magalysthompson on Jul 8, 2014

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