Screen Genius - Best Performances of 2014 lyrics
Best Director - Richard Linklater (Boyhood) Linklater could have garnered consideration in this category off of ambition alone -- not many directors would be willing to hitch their wagon to the same group of actors for 12 consecutive years. But Linklater's win in this category has little to do with the 12 year gimmick and much more to do with the passion he instilled in a film that was intentionally ordinary.
Boyhood was more than a pet project -- it was clearly a film Linklater felt he needed to make. Dedicated to making the right movie rather than “his” movie, Linklater constantly adapted the script as his actors matured, and even gave them creative control over the narrative. But it's clear that despite Linklater's egregious lack of recognition, award snubs were not what motivated this extra work. Linklater's passion for the beauty present in the ordinary was the driving force behind this movie; it's what kept a group of people working towards the same goal for twelve years. There is no big payoff in Boyhood; no plot twist or tragedy or dramatic voiceover to close it out. This may leave you let down and thinking there should be more, but this is only because you feel the need for a big ending to a movie this good. Ending the film with anything other than the next in a series of milestones would be a disservice to the first 165 minutes, and having already captured the beauty in everything from sticking rocks in a pencil sharpener to divorce, Linklater did not need a Nolan-esque twist to win this category. -Heisenferg Best Actor - Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler) We as movie fans tend to overrate method acting performances just because they are out of the ordinary. It's almost as if there's a stigma attached to playing a real person the same year as an over-the-top performance -- despite the fact these actors have to carry a movie without the benefit of a gimmick. But we still feel comfortable giving this to Gyllenhaal because his performance wasn't defined by the 30 pounds he lost or solely his ability to creep us out; he deserves this for remaining vaguely likeable and charming throughout despite the monster we knew was just below the surface.
Louis Bloom is labelled a psychopath and Nightcrawler a movie about an insane man because that is comfortable. And it would have been easy to play on this and turn in a one-dimensional performance filled with ridiculous tics and eccentricities designed to get a few cheap scares. But Gyllenhaal realized the flawed logic in refusing to acknowledge the impact of Louis' environment on his behavior, and chose to portray a desperate man driven by animal instinct rather than an insane one. The result is a three-dimensional character that seems to belong at Stratton Oakmont at times, a maximum security penitentiary at others, but would blend perfectly into society most of the time if we didn't have the benefit of seeing what really went on during his nighttime rides. This effect isn't achieved with corny, ominous grins into the camera; it relies on an actor that doesn't have to flip a switch between orchestrating his friend's death and negotiating a price for his video because it's all part of the same character. And with Gyllenhaal seamlessly weaving between the many sides of Louis without ever truly approaching the brink of insanity, Louis Bloom will stick in our minds for all the right reasons. -Heisenferg Best Actress - Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) Rosamund Pike played Amy Elliott Dunne. Of course the challenge of the role is that there are many Amys—Amazing Amy, Cool Girl Amy, distant Amy, depressed Amy, abused Amy, conniving Amy, psychopath Amy, Amy forgiven and forgiving (or is she?)—and Pike plays them all as believable parts of a single, terrifying, fascinating whole. No other actress this year had to play quite so complicated a part, and one of the few who came close (Reese Witherspoon in Wild) lost out on this part to the British girl who was previously best known as the sister in Pride and Prejudice. Gone Girl was a literary sensation, and the question that greeted the movie as a whole—will they pull it off—felt pointed at Pike in particular. The answer, with suspicious eyes, scary intelligence, an icy smile, and quite a way with scissors, was an equally pointed yes. -The Scrivener Supporting Actor - JK Simmons (Whiplash) Typecasted as one-dimensional hotheads in the past, Simmons finally got a role deep enough for dramatic chops and funny enough to keep us interested when he lapsed back into a caricature. Glimpses into Fletcher's personal life -- particularly the scene where he immediately went from hugging an old friend and high-fiving his daughter to calling his students “cocksuckers” -- initially lead us to believe this might all be an act. Movies are filled with secretly kind hearted mentors that truly just want to bring out the best in their students, and it's clear Fletcher did hate wasted potential. But spitefully setting a former student up for failure in front of a full house confirms that this truly was a cold and twisted villain and there may not be another side to his story. But what a villain he was. In absolute control of each band practice, Simmons made the audience feel guilty for not looking at the floor when he located someone he felt wasn't up to par. From juvenile fat jokes to insults towards the student's family, Fletcher would prod until the student broke down or reached their full potential -- never anything in-between. Responsible for almost all of the drama and comedy in Whiplash, each scene belonged to Fletcher unless he decided to lend it to you. -Heisenferg Supporting Actress - Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) For most of this movie, I didn't quite understand the hype behind Arquette's performance or character. Like her children, I was more drawn to the charismatic father played by Ethan Hawke. And let's face it, it's easier to build buzz off of inspired yet funny monologues about parenting than making sure everyone's homework is done before they go bowling. But it all came together in her final scene at the kitchen table where I realized she was really the linchpin of the movie. If she were to steal the scenes from her talented children whom the film was supposed to be about, it would make her not only a bad actress but also a bad mother. Instead what we got was the same performance as the character went through college, then divorces, then an empty nest while the actress herself aged 12 years in the process. And that consistency gave Mason Jr. and Samantha room to grow and teach us about the nature of time in a way Linklater wouldn't have been able to if the audience felt they were losing the characters they had gotten to know.
It all comes down to what she said in that memorable kitchen scene: “I just thought there would be more”. There's no monologue that will stick in everyone's mind and few scenes where she's even the primary character, but it doesn't matter. Boyhood was a movie about the beauty of constant mundane events without a big pay off, and Arquette is being rewarded for steering us through the mundane and giving the rest of the cast room to break free from the mold. And hopefully she does see that big pay off in the form of something you can put in a trophy case. -Heisenferg Best Scene - “Faster!” (Whiplash) Terence Fletcher's say was all that mattered in Whiplash, and in this scene he said his drummers needed to play faster. Like a high school gym teacher discontent with student's push-up form, Fletcher isolated his drummers from the rest of the band and refused to let anyone leave until someone earned the part. Lacing the room with gay, Irish, and single father jokes to the constant beat of the snare, Fletcher decides upon main character Andrew Neiman. But as old wounds literally re-open and Andrew bleeds onto the drum set, we get our first hint this may not be worth it in a scene as intense as anything you'll see on the gridiron or boxing ring. -Heisenferg Worst Movie - Amazing Spiderman 2 With the original Spiderman series, Sony messed up a perfectly fine franchise with their third installment. Fast forward only 5 years and they decided to reboot it, and somehow managed to make it even worse. Now we got the sequel to a movie we never wanted in the first place. Which is also just a rushed set-up for another movie that is supposed to expand the Spider-man movie universe, since everyone wants to just blindly dive into what Disney has done so well with the MCU. One of the many things that are lost in the process though, is making sure the end-product is a good one.
Early in the movie we are presented with a little back story of what happened to Peter's parents. Now keep in mind, there's not a single member in the audience that really cares, but the actors portraying these characters are so bland it actually makes it less interesting than what it already was. Also that pilot totally doesn't fall forwards, even when he's dead, until the plot demands it for extra tension. The pilot was just chilling there until he decided the movie was too boring without a plane dropping from the sky.
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Then the movie gets confused and thinks it's in the DC universe as we get interrupted by a short Superman appearance. Oh never mind.. That's just Spider-man free falling from the sky, even though he can't fly, and there's no buildings that far above the ground. We probably shouldn't think too much about. Moving on. Alright, so now Paul Giamatti comes through with his animated Russian accent, who we can all assume is going to be the movie villain, even if it looks like he ended up on the wrong movie set. To everyone's surprise, he dips after 5 minutes of screen time, and his part means nothing. The only thing that would change without his presence is that Peter Parker would arrive to his graduation in time. That's just what superheroes do though. Come late to their regular person activities.
So it is the electrical Jamie Foxx who will be our actual villain. Someone who is so crazy about Spider-man that Spider-man might turn around and write a song about him. Then Jamie Foxx attempts an incredibly foolish stunt making himself transform into Jamie Sparks and is instantly a villain. There's no nothing in between or any type of character development, he just hops from one being into another. And out of nowhere he starts hating Spider-man who he idolized not too long ago.
Then there's this sloppy relationship drama that's prominent throughout the whole movie for no reason. Take away the romance, and you're not left with much else. They can't be together. But wait they can't be separate. But wait they can still just be friends. But wait that still poses the same danger as when they were together. How many writers were involved in this? I don't even want to try to understand.
Oh, Rhino is back! They were saving him for the ending of the movie! Oh.. it's over.
There's many flaws we can pick on from everywhere in the film, but my spidey senses are telling me it's time to call it quits. My spidey senses, in this case, referring to my mental health. I couldn't even enjoy my popcorn during the movie. I legitimately did not finish my popcorn. Give your rights away to Disney, please. On of the few things that is a positive is that it was directed by a guy named Marc Webb. Come to think of it, this whole thing might be a drawn-out joke where they wanted to make a guy named Marc Webb direct a movie about the web-slinger, without any care for the quality. All they wanted was that name to be on there. It makes sense now. -ScopeY