Germain’s Top Ten Films of 2014

whiplash trailer

3. Whiplash

The year’s best couple has to be Miles Teller and JK Simmons, playing a drum student with high aspirations and a music teacher with impossible standards. Together, they create the kind of tension most filmmakers only dream of. And to see it from a first time feature director, Damien Chazelle, is just crazy. The movie goes perfectly with its subject, as it rattles away with increasing energy and rhythm until it reaches a surprising, gut-wrenching climax. Whiplash is a super fast, super fun piece of cinema stocked with wonderful music, editing and some of the year’s best performances.

Hong Chau as Jade in Inherent Vice

2. Inherent Vice

To some, a movie where the story isn’t as important as the tone would be the opposite of a good movie. Normally, I’m one of those people. But in the hands of a master like Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice ends up being simply beautiful. The settings, characters, music, and increasingly weird situations end up creating a movie that challenges what the medium of film can do. What really makes a movie good or bad? Everything is relative. Inherent Vice isn’t for everyone, that’s to be sure, but it’s a movie that grows with you the more you think about it. It lives in you, breathes in you and doesn’t let go.

Richard Linklater's BOYHOOD

1. Boyhood

On paper, Boyhood is just a movie. It tells the story of a family through 12 years of their lives. There’s a beginning, a middle and an end. But the way it was made, and the resulting product, is more than a movie. It’s an experience. A slice of life. An unfathomable exercise in discipline and skill behind the lens, an emotional powerhouse in front. Richard Linklater’s commitment to showing how one boy and his family literally grows and changes over the years not only is a relatable story of youth. It’s a story of parents, of technology, of everything that we live with every single day. Yes, Boyhood is a special film but it’s so much more than that too.

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