The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

End of the Year Grading

Now, it's my annual tradition, I write-up and grade the TV shows and movies I watched in 2014, be they new or if I experienced them for the first time. I really, really wanted to see "Rosewater", but the nearest theater screening it was ninety minutes away.

I also can't help but feel I'm forgetting a few things. Aw well, I'll edit them in if I remember.


The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Okay, Amazing Spider-Man 1 wasn't perfect, but it was a nice step up after the horrid Spider-Man 3. Well, we're back to Spider-Man 3. A decent cast in a horrible movie. This was truly the Joel Schumacher of Spider-Man flicks. Grade: F

Being There - This was made in 1979, but I watched it for the first time this year. Very funny movie starring Peter Sellers as a simple-minded gardener named Chance who just so happens to say what is interpreted by over-analytically people as genius by chance. See it if you can. Grade: A

Captain America: The Winter Soldier - A huge step up after the fun first Captain America movie, and a real game changer for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Great action, perfect casting, and a topical message that doesn't feel heavy handed. Grade: A

Frozen - You know, the grade I was going to give it right after viewing it for the first time was much higher than the grade I'm going to give it now. A cute, but very flawed movie that produced the most annoying song in the world, and a behemoth of hype that's resulted in me never wanting to see or hear this thing ever again. Just go the fuck away! Grade: C-

Godzilla - No, just no. Grade: F

Gone Girl - David Fincher brings us another incredible, stylistic thriller. Ben Affleck turns in a great performance as the lead (can people please stop whining that he can't be Batman) in a story that is so twisted and wonderful. Grade: A+

Grey Gardens - Based on the life stories of the eccentric aunt and first cousin of Jackie Onassis (both named Edith Bouvier Beale aka "Big and Little Edie") raised as Park Avenue d├ębutantes but who withdrew from New York society, taking shelter at their Long Island summer home, "Grey Gardens." As their wealth and contact with the outside world dwindled, so did their grasp on reality. Grade: A

Guardians of the Galaxy - This shouldn't have worked. This shouldn't have been as awesome as it was. A fun, intergalactic adventure with a lot of heart. Firefly in the Marvel Universe. Grade: A.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - Flawed but fun. I enjoyed it very much, even though some of the flaws such as the bad pacing and the awful love triangle got on my nerves. But what it got right was so beautiful. Grade: B+

The Interview - Many people will like this one because it is stupid, ignorant, bad, and the whole derpy marketing for the 'Murica fuck yeah mentality. It's the perfect movie for idiots. Grade: F

The Lego Movie - I had fun with this one. I will admit, it was hyped up a little too much, so I wasn't blown away by it. But I enjoyed it. Grade: B+

X-Men: Days of Future Past - You know, I liked the movie a lot when I was watching it. When I think back on it, I still liked it a lot. But it's also a movie that, for some reason, I often forget exists. I don't know why. It's easily one of the best X-Men flicks (but the competition isn't that steep). I'd like to say it was because of lowered expectations, but I legitimately liked this movie. So why was it so unmemorable? Fassbender and McKellan were great. So were Stewart and McAvoy. So was J-Law. So was Dinklage. But, I'll probably forget I saw it again in a week. Grade: B


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - As I've said before, maybe it's not the worst TV series ever made but it's easily the worst TV series I have ever seen. Disgusting and repulsive. Grade: F-

Arrow - I wish I didn't come to this show so late. I've only seen the first two seasons, but I liked season one and loved season two. Grade: A

Fate/Zero - My brother introduced me to this anime. So far, so good. A mediocre dub, but beautiful animation and a great concept. So far, Grade: B+

Game of Thrones - Yeah, this was a particularly controversial season, particularly the fact that they accidentally shot a rape scene. Whoops. But, aside from that the writing and acting has been as sharp as ever, and the game keeps changing. I look forward to seeing what happens from here. Grade: A

House of Cards - Kevin Spacey plays the most sociopathic, scheming politician ever... or Kevin Spacey plays a politician. Great acting, direction, sharp writing. Grade: A

How I Met Your Mother - I have to say I agree with the critics, this last season... particularly that final episode was blech. I understand what they were going for, but as much as I like the show, I really did NOT like Ted Mosby. So, Grade: D

Supernatural - It's ten seasons in and while the show isn't in its golden age anymore, it's not become even close to unwatchable either. The Demonic Dean plot didn't go as I would have liked, but that 200th episode was beautiful, and the characters are still fun to watch and the cast so charismatic. Grade: B


  1. These lists are always fun. They allow me to find out about new movies or show I probably wouldn't have notice otherwise.

    Out of curiosity, have you watched The Flash?

  2. Too bad. I mean, it's kind of why I shouldn't let hype get to me and just see the movie for what it is. Hence why I like Frozen and Godzilla better than I thought I would. Not to mention in the case of the latter, never trust a trailer. Admittedly I still wish it was the big budget Horror film it was advertised as. (Though it's a different story if it's Man of Steel in which case yeah, that film still sucked.)

    I saw Big Eyes recently and trust me when I say that Burton redeemed himself after Alice in Wonderland and Dark Shadows. Dude was obviously passionate about the material he was working with, he even met Margaret Keane. Adams nails her and Christoph Waltz really shows why he's one of the greatest actors working together. Dude can be charming, funny and terrifying with no problem.

    1. I didn't hate Godzilla because of hype. I hated it because it was awful.

    2. You're entitled to that. It's just that it seemed like you were pissed off that it wasn't what the trailer promised.

  3. Every year you do one of these lists, you always have one movie that makes me go, "Why did he see that? That doesn't seem like the type of film he would enjoy." This year it's The Interview.

    1. Ah yes... "Pain and Gain", made by our most profitable acerebral imbecile for his dedicated audience of acerebral imbeciles.

  4. Still no verdict on X-Men: Days of Future Past?

  5. Also, if I may ask; were you recommended The Lego Movie or any of Phil Lord and Chris Miller's works by any chance?

  6. "A cute, but very flawed movie that produced the most annoying song in the world"

    I think THIS song trumps it in the annoyance department.


  7. Nice post. Might do one of these myself for what I've seen this year and how I feel on it all.

    ASM2...Still can't believe Gwen Stacy's death finally gets depicted in media outside of comics and it's in THAT thing. There is no justice.

    Frozen's pretty double-edged. On one hand, it gave us the annoyingly overexposed Let It Go. On the other hand, it gave us the overexposed yet always fun "if only there was someone out there who loved you" meme.

    Maybe the X-Men movie could have tried a LITTLE harder to be a great movie in of itself rather than on fixing the errors of the not-so great X-Men movies.

    I didn't like GoT season 4 as much as season 3, but then again I didn't like season 2 as much as season 1. If the pattern holds true, this year's season will be wholly satisfying.

    So you've seen the How I Met Your Mother finale now, huh? Awful ending, IMHO. Worst end to a show that started out so good since Dexter.