10 Things I’m Glad I Watched in 2014

The Media in Review post for movies gets a little long all ready (even in it’s short years), and it’s not all full of good things. So I usually spare commentary and  just do a list. But last year I decided to spotlight 10 things from it, and I’m doing it again, in no particular order.

1.  Jaws 2/3 (1978/1982): I know they get a lot of flack. Jaws 3, especially. And sure, the science is nonexistent, the effects probably didn’t even hold up then (Jaws 3, especially), and Dennis Quaid apparently didn’t even remember being in one of them (you guessed it, Jaws 3), but I had a blast. Jaws 2 made me care about the Brody family, and Jaws 3, made up for everything that was absolutely unreal by really following through on developing the Brody boys after the previous films. And if you’re going to accept the premise of a fact-defying, vengeful shark, they also manage to be reasonably suspenseful, too. I’ll wrap up with what I’m sure will be the most ridiculous film yet, Jaws: The Revenge, this year.

tron2. Tron franchise (1982/2010): I’ve liked Garrett Hedlund ever since 2005’s Four Brothers, and I was interested in how Tron: Legacy would incorporate Jeff Bridges after so many years, so that’s what first drew me to the franchise. I liked Legacy, but something about the evolutionary “miracle” of the ISOs felt too heavy-handed to me, and I wanted more in other regards. But I absolutely loved Tron. Coming into it knowing basically nothing, aspects of it were maybe a little hard to follow, but I caught on quickly, and the engaging characters made up for any other shortfalls. The effects that were perfected in the sequel were still really good. Even if you make the qualifier of “good for its time” … its time is kind of important. It’s based on being in a computer in the 80s, so it’s effects SHOULD look like the 80s. Overall, a great experience

3. Hook (1991): I’ll never regret watching Hook. It’s my favorite Peter Pan movie to date, and I love the way it melds together a bunch of different stories. Because it’s not just Peter getting back to his fighting weight so he can take on the devilish Captain Hook. It’s Peter regaining his lost childhood to reconnect – literally and figuratively – with his kids. It’s a new age of Lost Boys. And let us not forget Mr. Smee. It’s just great movie, even if it’s last line, “To live would be an awfully great adventure” is a giant punch to the heart in the wake of Robin Williams’ death.

4. Terminator/Terminator 2 (1984/1991): Also on the list of Things I Never Regret Watching.

lego movie5. The LEGO MOvie (2014): I had my doubts. I don’t really understand the popularity of LEGO videogames, and I couldn’t fathom how you make a movie out of that. But it works really well, because it’s a great story…that just happens to be told by LEGO people in a LEGO world. Also: Batman.

6. Band of Brothers (2001): This was the second time I’ve watched this (first about five years ago), and I feel like I caught so much more this time around (and saw faces that are familiar to me now, but were unknown then). Being that it’s based on real people, true events and a brutal war — and does what it does very well — it can be a little hard to watch if you think about it too much. But it’s also a few different kinds of amazing.

7. Sneakers (1992): It’s a heist/spy-ish movie with Robert Redford, Dan Aykroyd, Sidney Poitier, River Phoenix, Mary McDonnell, David Strathairn, Ben Kingsley and James Earl Jones. What’s not to like?

8. Galaxy Quest (1999): See, now this is everything I wanted Redshirts to be. Also, 2014 was the first year I heard anyone describe Galaxy Quest as “the best Star Trek movie ever made.”

9. 22 Jump Street (2014): Shut up, don’t judge me. Look, I love the TV series, with all of its after-school special melodrama and great cast, but making  a pair of raunchy comedies with hearts of gold out of it is not the worst thing to ever happen. In fact, I think I like 22 Jump Street better than its movie predecessor, because it not only pokes a little fun at the series, it also pokes a lot of fun at itself. But for all the talk it gives about being “the same thing, but bigger,” it tells a new story on a personal level as Jenko and Schmidt start to grow apart while posing as college students. And it’s worth it for the credits scenes positing the wealth of ridiculous sequel opportunities.

10. Click (2006): Much like Jim Carrey, I also prefer Adam Sandler when he gets an opportunity to be some combination of funny and serious, and this movie about a guy who’s life goes awry after he gets a magic remote control that let’s him fast forward through the undesirable parts of life has a surprising lot of heart. And if you’re not careful, it’ll make you cry.

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