It’s possible that 2014 will go down as being the Year of the Geek.
A quick look at the year’s biggest movies is like seeing an event list for ComicCon: “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” “The Amazing Spider-man 2,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” and “The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies.”
There were other movies, too, of course, but they had significantly less spandex.
Some of the movies, nerdy and otherwise, obviously were better than others, and some big-budget films flopped — if not at the box office, then with the lashing of a thousand critics’ reviews.
I’ve certainly done my share of review lashing, but there have been some films worthy of praise, too. Here’s a list of the best and the worst films I saw in 2014.
5. The Lego Movie
This was one of those rare movies that’s as fun for (most) parents as it is for (most) kids. The blocky toys came to life in this CGI film that felt exactly like the greatest Lego play session of all time with all the best sets ever built — and came with an infectious theme song to boot (one day, one glorious day, I will get “Everything is Awesome” out of my head).
4. Edge of Tomorrow
I’m not usually a big Tom Cruise fan, but he won me over with this one. Part “Halo” and part “Groundhog Day,” seeing him get killed over and over again while battling aliens and falling in love with Emily Blunt was just fun. It’s one I’ve actually watched again, voluntarily, and I plan to do it again. That doesn’t happen a lot with me.
It wasn’t as awesome as last year’s “Gravity” and it didn’t make me want to rewatch it as many times as another of Christopher Nolan’s films, “The Prestige,” did, but “Interstellar” had plenty of meat behind its special effects and star-studded cast.
2. Gone Girl
Dark, grim and deeply disturbing, “Gone Girl” made me question my faith in humanity and left me feeling like maybe becoming a hermit was the way to go. At the same time, there’s no denying how masterfully it did it. It’s one of those films that you want to recommend to everyone, but at the same time want to warn everybody about; in that way, it’s as complicated as its characters.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy
This film was destined to either soar or crash and burn. Luckily for fan boys and girls everywhere, it did the former. From the second Peter Quill (aka Star Lord) pushed play on his Awesome Mix vol. 1, audiences were hooked on the movie’s quirky blend of science fiction, 80s pop culture references and self-aware humor.
Honorable mention: “Lone Survivor,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “The Amazing Spider-man 2.”
5. Transformers: Age of Extinction
I’ll be honest: I didn’t actually watch every minute of this one. There’s a gap in my memory around the middle — I fell asleep or I got distracted or something — so it’s possible that I’m not remembering something that would make this movie make sense…but I really doubt it. This film was just really, really long and had absurdly large plot holes. I don’t want to give any spoilers or anything, but robot dinosaurs were the key to the final battle, people, robot dinosaurs. And yet, in a strange, inexplicable way, Stanley Tucci came through with his career unscathed. How is that even possible?
4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
I realize I could be biased against Megan Fox and the fact that so many people seem to think her terrible performance in this movie was forgivable based on the amount of cleavage she showed, but — hmm, forgot where I was going with that. This movie could have, would have, should have been campy 80s-throwback fun, but Ms. Fox and her utter lack of on-screen charm (or, rather, her lack of on-screen charm that had nothing to do with her physical attributes) made it unbearable.
This PG-13 remake of the very bloody 80s original (was it the year of the 80s or what?) was just slightly too ridiculous to take seriously but too serious to be fun. You have the technology to save a bomb victim’s life and perfectly repair his facial skin but you can only salvage his head, lungs and a single hand? This makes beyond no sense, and that’s before you consider the plot point where he’s supposed to go home and live a normal life. With a head, lungs and a single hand.
2. The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
I know I just railed on and on about this one, but this was still one of the most disappointing films of the decade, attached to one of the most disappointing trilogies of all time. “The Hobbit” will likely go down as the fantasy equivalent of “Star Wars” episodes I, II and III. Peter Jackson took a wonderful little story and tried to make it more magnificent than “Lord of the Rings” — and, in doing so, ruined the magic that it had in its simplicity.
1. Let’s Be Cops
I hated “The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies” and thought it was like opening a box of Lucky Charms to find a bag full of corn flakes instead, but at least it had a glimmer here or there of class and talent (like, perhaps, finding a stray marshmallow in the boring cereal). “Let’s Be Cops” had the on-screen bromance chemistry to have been a great buddy movie but instead went the way of dirty jokes and sight gags with fat naked men. I would have left but it was my job to stay through the bitter — and believe me, it was very bitter — end. I can think of no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Honorable mention: “The Equalizer,” “Nonstop,” and “Earth to Echo.”