Though 2014 was a busy year for me, I managed to fill my downtime with regular doses of B- and C-grade media, and an occasional A-grade treat. And I’ve captured (almost) all of it in the below list that charts all films and TV series I watched during the year. There is a lot more TV and far fewer movies compared to past years, but as our culture increasingly consumes serialized entertainment, this seems a fitting shift.
And because I believe that media help us understand ourselves, others, and the world, I willfully ingested some absolute shit for the sake of social perspicacity (looking at you, Aaron Sorkin). Problem is, when you eat a lot of shit, your brain-stomach gets used to it, and you end up watching Crossroads for your final film of the year. But if I don’t watch Britney Spears movies, who will? How else will I know to drink Pepsi?
When I first started charting my annual entertainment consumption, I was in a strange cinematic phase. I was taking in Bergman, Tarkovsky, Kurosawa, and others in the Criterion Collection canon like they were minor deities. I was also watching through decades of Razzie winners. So I got a bit of vertigo mixing the high and low like that. As I near the end of my 20’s, I also realize that I have lost a taste for sober existential flicks, but probably because my present life casts me in a leading role. To the point where I wish Bresson’s characters would settle down a little, stop being so hyperactive. Also to the point where I make stupid nerd jokes.
If the titles on this list seem random, it’s because I did most of my movie watching on Netflix, Hulu+, Amazon, and YouTube. Whatever was available was what I would watch. So some of these titles are re-watches and others are because there was nothing better on. And while I enjoy the convenience of these services, sometimes browsing their digital shelves makes me feel like I’m in the VHS section at Village Discount. Sometimes you pick what looks best, and sometimes you pick Jack Reacher.
Best TV from this year was True Detective, Fargo, and Mad Men. Shows like these make me feel not-so-bad about the death of cinema. I also splurged on the full Seinfeld boxset, even though DVDs look more antiquated by the day. Nobody’s streaming the full Seinfeld, so fuck it; disc it is. Favorite movie was Birdman. Also, Interstellar was really well done, even if it was Cosmology for Idiots. Also, the Carlos miniseries is awesome if you ever have six hours to kill. Also x3, Guardians of the Galaxy is a legit fun movie and shows how comic book movies should be done. Also x4, Chris Pratt’s six pack makes me believe that anything is possible. Worst-best movie was Mac & Me, and that needs no explanation. Brought to you by Skittles. Also x5, I guess I saw Battleship? I don’t remember anything from that. Or from most of what else I watched.
You’ll notice a lot of ‘classic’ titles on the list here, too. Stuff like Caddyshack, Airplane, Blade Runner, and other movies everyone is ‘supposed’ to see. Because my wife grew up in the boons of New England, she never got the chance to take in the essentials. So I was happy to re-watch as she got introduced. But in the end she still preferred The West Wing, so I guess I lost.