It’s hard to believe 2014 has almost come to a close. Here’s what I read in December:
The Elephant Man (1980) David Lynch
The David Lynch Project Project Part II
The Elephant Man no doubt holds fond and not-so-fond memories for David Lynch. It was his second feature film and his first to be backed by a large studio (Paramount). It was nominated for eight Oscars, yet won none of them. Had there been an Oscar category at the time for make-up, Christopher Tucker’s work on The Elephant Man would certainly have won it, yet the oversight was so great that the category was added to the list of Oscars the next year. (That first award went to Rick Baker for An American Werewolf in London.)
Sometimes your expectations just aren’t very high when you sit down to watch a movie. You know they can’t all be good, so you expect to take a few on the chin from time to time. And sometimes you’re just surfing through your various streaming options, thinking, “What the hey, I’ll try this…”
So here are seven films I saw in 2014 from various years that I initially didn’t think I’d like very much, yet was pleasantly surprised:
“Best of” lists are always problematic. I thought for weeks that I had my Top 10 wrapped up, then discovered I only had nine. When I couldn’t decide between a couple of late entries, I decided to include them both, so here are my Top 11 graphic novels published in 2014:
I’ve been a film noir fan for years, but this year (especially during the last half of the year) my interest in film noir grew drastically. Much of that came from connecting with other noir fans via Twitter and noir websites and some of it stemmed from a celebration of Noirvember last month.
I also read two excellent books on film noir (and hope that Santa brings another one tomorrow!) that I’d like to mention.
Blue Ruin (2013) Jeremy Saulnier
Blue Ruin is the leanest movie I’ve seen in years. Jeremy Saulnier – in his directorial debut – has delivered an impressive revenge story that contains no digressions, no sidetracks, and practically no subplots. It’s all extremely focused and never lets up until the very last image and even then, its impact continues to work on you.
I haven’t counted, but I’d estimate I read at least 200 graphic novels this year. I’m sure many people read far more than that, so don’t be too impressed with my numbers. Also there were many graphic novels published this year that I didn’t get to read, books that might have been on my Top 10 of 2014 had I read them. Still, I read a lot of good ones, too many to narrow down to just ten, so I decided to post a Runners-Up list, books that didn’t quite make my Top 10, but certainly deserve mention. I hope you find something of interest in this Runners-Up list. (All books are in alphabetical order by title.)
When IDW decided in 2007 to launch its Library of American Comics imprint featuring collected editions of classic newspaper strips, its first choice of material was obvious. Terry and the Pirates, under the pen of Milton Caniff, ran in newspapers from 1934 through 1946 and was read by 31 million newspaper subscribers. Howard Chaykin considers Terry and the Pirates “the greatest adventure comic strip ever done.” He’s not alone in his estimation.
Rewatching movies you haven’t seen in ten or more years can be a real crap shoot. If you cherish wonderful memories from a film, you certainly don’t want to run the risk of spoiling those memories forever. Yet you might discover that a film you once dismissed as average (or worse) has gained an element of beauty with age, when in fact, the movie hasn’t changed at all, but you have.
So it is always with a bit of trepidation that I rewatch a film from 10+ years ago. The least amount of time that passed between viewings of the following films was about 10 years; the most: 35 years. Here are the films I revisited in 2014 and enjoyed even more the second time around: