BP’s Ten Worst of 2014

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10 Responses

  1. Duncan says:

    The criticisms of American Sniper as chest-thumping, right-wing propaganda seem really bizarre to me. The film goes to great lengths to demonstrate the dehumanizing effects of war and blind patriotism, and (at least in my interpretation) ends on a deeply ambivalent note over what kind of characteristics American culture attaches to its “heroes”.

    Arguments that the film is attempting to justify the Iraq War by linking it to 9/11, and cultivate this myth of the “big bad”, hold even less water, since they are so clearly meant to be filtered through the disinformation of the time, Kyle’s blind patriotism, and the destructive “hero complex” which the film is picking apart.

    I agree with your other choices though. 🙂

    • Aaron B says:

      Completely agree. I think this film is a lot more interesting and thoughtful than people give it credit for.

      For example, consider the early scene of Kyle’s childhood where he beats up a kid who he said was making fun of his brother. His father gives him the speech about how there are three types of people in the world and then asks his son if he “finished it?” That moment could have been filmed in a heroic way, but instead what we get is a rather brutally violent shot of this little kid punching another child in the face repeatedly. I think the film very clearly asks the question “is this the beginning of American agression? Is this what it means to be a man?”

      In another scene, and I grant that it’s a blink or you miss it moment, Kyle’s honesty is even called into question. A higher up mentions that someone has claimed he shot an unarmed Iraqi. His response is something along the lines of “I don’t know what a Quran looks like, but he was carrying a gun.” It might be a small moment, but it wasn’t put there for no reason.

      And then of course we have the many intense scenes state side of him unhinged, whether it’s banging on the nursery glass or about to beat the living shit out of a dog. The man is a shell of his former self.

  2. Ryan says:

    No offense, but this list really just feels like a lot of contrarianism. Are Snowpiercer and The Imitation Game really worse than A Haunted House 2 or Left Behind? Is Neighbors worse than A Million Ways to Die in the West or Sex Tape? Are you folks simply avoiding the losing of the consensus dreck to be different? Did you just not see any of those direct to video turds that get released every week? Or is this list just an attempt to take a stab at a few flicks that are alternatively on other critics’ top ten lists? Cause that’s what it sorta feels like. Hell, I didn’t like American Sniper for a lot of the reasons listed above. But i felt it was more or less competent. Solid C-. Which would put it nowhere near my bottom 10. It just seems that a lot of the dislike I’ve seen towards that film appears way more angry at the films supporters or politics rather than the film itself. Which admittedly, I understand to an extent.

    • Battleship Pretension says:

      This list was compiled from our contributor’s personal lists. So there’s no one motivation or intent behind it. Only two of these movies (American Sniper/Neighbors) appeared on my own list. But, in our defense, I would imagine that when someone dislikes a widely praised movie like Snowpiercer, that emotion is felt more strongly and examined more closely than when someone dislikes Sex Tape.

      – David

    • Scott Nye says:

      I completely, full on, think Neighbors is worse than A Million Ways to Die in the West. By far.

      But, like our best-of-the-year lists, these of course come from whatever we were able to see over the course of the year. I certainly didn’t get around to A Haunted House 2, Left Behind, or Sex Tape. So in putting my own list together, acknowledging that I couldn’t really survey the totality of the worst the year had to offer, I boiled my picks down to the most offensive. They could be offensive dramatically, morally, artistically, whatever. Which, to my mind, makes for a far worse movie than simply one that is incompetently made anyway. Technical skill is nice and all, but what good is that skill when executed in service of something as wretched as The Imitation Game?

  3. Dan Heaton says:

    I can totally understand seeing Snowpiercer on this list. It’s the type of movie that’s easy to question because it’s an outlandish scenario that doesn’t really make sense. That said, I loved it and listed it as my favorite movie of the year. It was such a great and unpredictable ride, and no film gave me the same visceral charge as this film. The social commentary isn’t what draw me into the story, as it’s fairly simple. It’s one of those inexplicable situations where I loved it despite the issues.

  4. bob says:

    Snowpiercer is the definition of “high concept”. If you find the concept outlandish or implausible, don’t buy the ticket (and/or qualify your review thusly).

    And with American Sniper, i’m of the “separate the art from the artist”. Sure, it’s jingoistic and blowhardy – that’s what it’s about. But HOW is it about it? I actually give it demerits for things like the fake baby – how does the director not rework that scene so the baby is hidden, or in the crib, if the actor is sick? I can separate the politics & message from the formal choices.

    What does a movie aspire to? Movie 43, Neighbors, and A Million Ways to Die are not aiming for high art. Do they succeed at what they’ve aimed at? Mostly, sure. This is why Imitation Game is such a failure. It’s aspiring to be a weighty, arty movie about a tragic figure, but it’s lack of art and form detract from its success.

  5. Xibalba says:

    Pray you never have to watch Annie, you’ll enter the seven circles of hell. And not in a good way.

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