Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Above Average Awards: Pre-2014


As a movie buff, it is my pleasure to watch dozens of films each and every year. Sure, some of my film viewing stems from my desire to become more knowledgeable on the subject, but the majority stems from my love for movies and entertainment, in general.

In 2014, the majority of the films that I viewed were actually released in 2014, which is likely the case with most moviegoers, and I cannot wait to recognize those films, in the coming month, as I release the Above Average Award lists for both comedy and drama. However, each year, I (along with the rest of the world) have the opportunity to watch older films, released before the present year. These films could be from 2013, 2004, or 1968. They could be comedic or dramatic. And, while it is a lot of fun searching through the present year and finding the best in drama and comedy, it is also exciting to find these older films that are as good or better than anything that the current year has to offer.

So, in order to recognize older films that shone within my little film bubble, in 2014, I've compiled a list of my Top 5 Non-2014 Films that I viewed for the very first time in 2014. Some of you may have had the opportunity to view these films in their actual release year. Some of you may have seen one or two of these films 100 times. Regardless, this list will give you a little peak into my world, where things aren't all about the present!

#5 - What's Eating Gilbert Grape
Of course, many of my readers have likely seen What's Eating Gilbert Grape, but what a quirky film, for 1993! The comedic elements of the film created some much drama in Gilbert's life, and you could not help feeling sorry for the poor guy. If you want to smile, laugh, scratch your head, and maybe cry, What's Eating Gilbert Grape offers you the best chance of any of the films on this list. Be sure to check it out!
#4 - Annie Hall
Annie Hall ruled the Oscars in 1977, as Woody Allen won best director and original screenplay, Diane Keaton won best actress, and the film won best picture. And, although I can't say that I've seen many films from 1977, this gem is certainly deserving of such awards. Something about Woody Allen's rhetoric just takes me away into another world. Allen's Midnight in Paris is one of my favorite films of all time, and I am truly enjoying going back through his other work and seeing what I can find. I'm ashamed that it took me 23 years of life to actually watch Annie Hall, but, nevertheless, it was worth the wait!
#3 - Short Term 12
If I could go back to the 2013 Above Average Awards and make adjustments, Brie Larson would likely land at #2 on my list for best dramatic actress and Short Term 12 would likely land at #5 on my list of best dramtic films. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to watch this hidden gem until post-publishing my list. Either way, Short Term 12 is a heck of an emotional journey about a young counselor at a short-term children's housing unit. If you have a special spot in your heart for teenagers, as I do, be sure to check this one out.
#2 - Bernie
The poster/DVD case for Bernie has always intrigued me, for some reason. I have never really heard anything about the film, but I just always wanted to watch it, because of that yellow poster! So, finally, I took the time to watch the Richard Linklater-directed dark comedy, and, in my opinion, Bernie puts Boyhood to shame! Since watching for the first time, Bernie has been on repeat, for me, as I continue to share the film with everyone I know. Linklater's direction is perfect, here, and Jack Black has never been better!
#1 - The Big Chill
As I grow older (and hopefully more mature), I realize the significance of old friends and the role they play in my past, present, and future. It is great to know that, no matter how long we have been apart, if I have a chance to meet up with my old friends, things will go right back to normal. At my wedding, in December, it was hard for me to push aside the thought of my wedding potentially being the last time that all of my friends will come together in that way. As life takes everyone in different directions, you never know when you and your friend group, in it's completion, might be together again. While this fact is quite sad, it helps aid in the appreciation of the time spent together and the memories made.
That said, The Big Chill is the perfect example of old friends coming together and realizing just how much life can change individuals. I've always been a sucker for these types of films, but I had never taken the time to watch The Big Chill, mostly because I don't really like the 80s. Now, this film has quickly become one of my favorites of all time! For Christmas, my grandparents gave me The Big Chill on DVD/Blu-ray, AND they were able to find the soundtrack on vinyl, to which I have been jamming out, since! If I ever take the time to write a film, I have a hankering that it would have the same vibe as The Big Chill, which more or less means that I am writing the new Star Wars film (my thanks to Lawrence Kasdan).
Please, please, please... watch The Big Chill! And, please, call up your old friends!

There you have it, folks... my first ever list of un-yearly, yearly favorites! If you have never seen these films, I beg you to check them out. I believe that every one of them is on Netflix Instant, so no excuses! Also, to my fellow bloggers, I would love to hear of the pre-2014 films that you enjoyed in 2014. Comment, below, or, heck, do your own list (if you can remember what you watched)!
Stay tuned for the Above Average Awards for 2014 comedy and drama! It shan't be long!


  1. Short Term 12! I absolutely love that film. It's one of my all time favorites. Bernie and Gilbert Grape were fantastic too. Bernie was so unexpected for me too.

    1. Yes! Bernie was such a pleasant surprise! Glad you enjoyed...