Here are the films I watched in 2014 that I loathed, the films that I thought I would/should like but didn't especially and the films that I thought were worth watching despite not wholeheartedly loving them.
*I am actively suggesting that you avoid these films. I watched plenty of bland films last year that I have no feelings about. These I aggressively dislike. I am taking a stand.
- The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones - I actively love and defend both YA and fanfiction but this is the worst of both. Horrible clichés, predictable plotting and very clunky acting/dialogue. I haven't read the books and they've sold a packet so maybe they're great but, based on the film, I very much doubt they would be my cup of tea.
- Now You See Me - Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson are two of my favourite actors. Zombieland is the greatest film. This, however, is straight trash. It is SUCH rubbish. I have nothing nice to say about it. I will not get those 116 minutes back.
- About Time - Oh, Richard Curtis. I am disappointed. I have a high tolerance for romantic slush and I loved reading The Time Traveler's Wife as a thirteen year old but this film is too stupid.
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Similarly, due in part to R and in part to fandom, I also have a relatively high tolerance for Marvel films these days. I am very fond of X-Men: First Class (the gayest mainstream superhero film?), there are some fun Ironman films, I am full subtext on Avengers. But Captain America is a franchise I can't get behind. The first film was awful, the second is also awful. And ridiculous. I don't care what you say, fandom! Garbage. Cap is boring and Seb Stan is a charisma vacuum. I like Anthony Mackie and I enjoyed the all too brief Cap/Tasha buddy cop moments but the film itself is just too dumb and predictable and ridiculous. Nope.
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - See above. I don't mind the Spider-Man franchise but this film is so incoherent. I think Sony owns Spider-Man and they need to CHILL THEIR BOOTS. They have nothing to say. I love Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield and I love them together and I sat through this trash pile for their adorable chemistry but it was not enough. Yelling at the TV bad.
*I don't have the confidence to say that these films are bad. I did not enjoy them at all but some of them have achieved critical and commercial success. I can see their charms if I squint but I can't like them. You might?
- Half Nelson - I know this is very highly praised and Ryan Gosling is Ryan Gosling but, holy shit, this is depressing. The blurb or whatever review I read sold it as 'darkly comic' and it is NOT. It may be super real but it was too dark for me.
- The Bling Ring - Sofia, I only want to love you. Why must you keep trying to drive me away? This film is so vapid and, yeah, maybe that's intentional but why would you want to inflict that on yourself for 90 minutes? Great great soundtrack and Emma Watson's moronic L.A. girl is kind of fun but the whole thing is a big waste of time.
- Kick-Ass 2 - This is mostly disappointment. I loved the first film and was really looking forward to the sequel. Unfortunately it has none of the charms of the original. Sad times.
- All the Real Girls - I can't remember who recommended this to me but I remember the earnestness of the recommendation. This is exactly why recommendations are dangerous things. Like Half Nelson, this is probably a great film if you enjoy being miserable but I don't. I mean, I enjoy a nice cathartic cry but unmediated grimness is no fun. This is probably a great picture of small town, rural America but it was a slog.
- Drinking Buddies - Oh, mumblecore. I want to like you, I know I'm basically your target audience but... I just like plot. Jake Johnson and Anna Kendrick are delightful human beings but nothing happens and everyone is miserable. Away with you, realness. I am surrounded by realness and it is no more interesting on film than it is IRL.
- Frozen - Why does everyone love Frozen?? I genuinely do not understand. This is not a good film. And I say that as a lover of children's films, musicals and Pixar. Stoopid.
- What a Way to Go! - Tumblr gave me unrealistic expectations of this film. I thought it would be all pink Shirley Maclaine goodness. I thought it would be fun and fluffy. It was long and rather wearing and not the good kind (?) of maniacal.
- They Came Together - Amy, why?? Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Bill Hader, Ellie Kemper, Max Greenfield, Ed Helms... The list of great people in this film is impressive, I don't understand how it is so embarrassing and un-funny. It parodies outdated romcom tropes but it doesn't even do that well. I feel betrayed.
*There were things I liked about these films and I think they should be watched. That is not a ringing endorsement but I'm glad they are out there.
- Frances Ha - I feel like I reference Greta Gerwig often. I really like her, I think she's a great actor/writer/director and I think it is awesome that she is able to produce authentic, truthful seeming work. I am 100% on board with smart women making art about their experiences. That said, I found 80 minutes of black & white urbanite moping a little wearing. I'm glad it exists though!
- Liberal Arts - Josh Radnor's character is kind of sleazy and Elizabeth Olsen's character is a little MPDG but she is so beautiful and warm. Alison Janney is always excellent and Zac Efron has a great cameo (surprising, I know). This film is a bit white dude emotional crisis but it is quite sweet in a quiet way.
- Only Lovers Left Alive - OLLA is so silly and pointless! It is trying so hard to be cool! So hard. Vampires, Morocco, rock'n'roll, man. But also Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton hanging out and looking beautiful. They are inherently cool, even when Jim Jarmusch is being ridiculous, and they're fun to watch.
- Enough Said - Tavi! You can do anything. What a hero. This is mumblecore I can get on board with, more or less. Ditto Liberal Arts actually. I only need a little plot, just a little, and if you're going to let actors improvise make sure that they have interesting things to say. Mumblecore is a bit of a meaningless category really and I'm not convinced I'm using the term right but these films have clear things in common whether you want to put a name on that or not. This is quite middle aged but the performances are lovely.
OLLA - Look at us brood, we are so broody, you could cut yourself on our cheekbones
Next up, the films I actually legit loved!