Thursday, December 18, 2014

Riske Business: The 2014 Binness Awards

by Adam Riske
What? No Christmas movies?

Quite frankly, I blew it. I missed several days in a row of my challenge of watching 30 Christmas movies in 30 days (the holiday season is kicking my ass this year) so I’m going to concede. Sorry everyone!

Instead, I hope you enjoy this returning end-of-the-year favorite – “The Binness Awards!”

89 Minute Bad Movie that feels like 8 hours and 9 Minutes: Ouija

Aggressively Average: Fury

Angriest I Got at a Movie: Godzilla, Sabotage, V/H/S: Viral

As Bad As Batman & Robin: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (sorry Heath)

Best Action Movie: The Raid 2 (Runner Up: John Wick)

Best “Look at me. I’m so great. La La La”: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, The Lego Movie and 22 Jump Street

Best Looking Movie: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Movie You Would See at the Mall in 1995: The Expendables 3

Best Musical Sequence: Keira Knightley watching Adam Levine sing “Lost Stars” at the end of Begin Again

Best Newcomer in a Bad Movie: Rohan Chand in Bad Words

Best Newcomer in a Good Movie: Jenny Slate in Obvious Child

Best Performance: Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler

Best Performance in a Bad Movie: Chadwick Boseman in Get on Up

Best Scene: Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons go head-to-head at the end of Whiplash

Best Score: Under the Skin
Best Soundtracks: Divergent (I know. I’m surprised too.)

Best Special Effects: Interstellar

Better than Sunday School: Noah

Biggest Cryfests: The Fault in Our Stars, the end credits of Brick Mansions

Biggest Disappointments: Inherent Vice, The Boxtrolls, X-Men: Days of Future Past

Biggest Turnarounds: a) I was floored the first time I saw The Sacrament and now I don’t like it; b) I didn’t like Guardians of the Galaxy the first time I saw it but now I really enjoy it

Biggest Waste of Talent: Denzel Washington in The Equalizer

BORING! Foxcatcher, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, Jersey Boys, Only Lovers Left Alive, The Quiet Ones
Disney’s The Accused: Maleficent

Funniest Comedies: The Trip to Italy, They Came Together, Alan Partridge, Muppets Most Wanted

Funniest Moment: The jail cameo at the end of Top Five

Go F Yourself: Dumb and Dumber To, Horrible Bosses 2, This is Where I Leave You, The Zero Theorem, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Let’s Be Cops, Life After Beth, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Wish I Was Here, Think Like A Man Too, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, Transcendence, That Awkward Moment, Adult World, Non-Stop, Knights of Badassdom

Good Movies I Don’t Seem to Like as much as Everyone Else: The Babadook, Gone Girl, Birdman, The One I Love, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Chef, Cheap Thrills

Good Movie I’m Surprised So Many People Dislike: Oculus

Half Successful: Big Hero 6, Open Windows, Honeymoon, Nymphomaniac (Vol. 1 is better), Grand Piano

I Didn’t See the Same Movie Patrick Saw: The Homesman, Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead
I’m the Only One Who Saw: Kill the Messenger (it’s fine), Laggies (it’s fine part 2)

Is this Movie Saying what I Think it’s Saying?!! Snowpiercer

I Will: Turn the music down but I will turn the heat up!

Kevin Hart Sucks: About Last Night, Ride Along

Made Me Embarrassed to be a Person: Sex Tape, Transformers: Age of Extinction

Movies I Like More than Anyone Else: Annabelle, Tusk, Lucy, A Million Ways to Die in the West, 3 Days to Kill, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Devil’s Due, Labor Day

Movie I’ve Waited for my Whole Life: Life Itself

Movie I Wish People Would Stop Talking Up on my Twitter Feed: Beyond the Lights
My Inbox is White Hot: Need for Speed

Not Even a Naked Eva Green Could Keep Me in the Theater: 300: Rise of an Empire

OK Movies I Could Watch Repeatedly: Neighbors, Draft Day

One Too Many Drunk Stepfathers Otherwise Pretty Great: Boyhood

Pleasant Surprises: Life Partners, The Theory of Everything, Dear White People, What If, As Above, So Below, Edge of Tomorrow, The Art of the Steal, At Middleton, White Bird in a Blizzard, The Drop, The Skeleton Twins, A Walk Among the Tombstones, The Guest, Happy Christmas, Palo Alto, Cold in July, Starry Eyes, Afflicted, Joe, Blue Ruin, Love & Air Sex, Jodorowsky’s Dune, Enemy, The Pretty One

Shrug: Hercules, How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Wind Rises, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, The Purge: Anarchy

Turns Out I Don’t Dislike Marvel, I Just Hate Iron Man: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Wait…I actually saw? Deliver Us from Evil, Magic in the Moonlight, Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, The Signal, God’s Pocket, The Double, Hateship Loveship, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
Yes. It’s as Bad as Everyone Says: Men, Women & Children

Here’s to a great 2015 at the movies!


  1. Hey Adam I love how much thought you put into this and I admire how many movies you've seen this year. You have a true passion for movies and you seem to keep an open mind whenever you go into a theater no matter what you're seeing. Some of these categories made me laugh and were very creative. I really enjoy reading your stuff even if I have a different opinion on one of the movies you're writing about I still like hearing your perspective on films and it's nice hearing thoughts on movies that wouldn't have been on my radar. Thanks for your work this year and I look forward to hearing what your top ten is.

    1. This might be the nicest thing anyone's said to me in a while. Thanks TravisL! Happy Holidays!

    2. I would like to piggyback on this and say that I agree wholeheartedly. You are an intelligent, witty, respectful movie lover whose opinions I might not always agree with, but I that I respect very much and always enjoy reading and hearing. You guys collectively do so many great things and and bring a smile to my face daily. I really appreciate all of your effort. Here's to an even better new year!

    3. Thanks John! You're cool too :-)

    4. Another big thanks from me too for all your input and amazing columns like the one above. Fantastic work. Where do you even start on commenting on something so considered?

      I also love when your on the podcasts though it is not nearly often enough. I always know its gonna be fun.

    5. Thanks Dennis! It's been a pleasure having you as part of our community of F-heads

    6. I love these group hugs! Seriously though when I was reading this I was thinking 'You're bloddy brilliant Adam'. Not only do you have an incredible dedication to writing about and seeing movies but you're also creative, hilarious and have opinions that are always really interesting to read. Like the others say even though they might be different, I love the fact that we can hear a different angle on something. And on a personal note you're also very understanding and supportive cool person. Hope you are having a great Hanukkah :)

    7. We love you too Gabby, your always insightfull and funny and I lovevreading your comments. ;)

    8. Thanks Gabby! You are just the best.

  2. Awesome list, Riske! And kudos for at least attempting 30 Christmas movies.

    Thoughts on some of what you mentioned; sequel style:
    Spider Man 2 was awful, Dead Snow 2 was fantastic, 22 Jump Street sucked, VHS:Viral is the worst movie of year (it's barely even a "movie"), Sin City 2 blew, Horrible Bosses 2 actually exists?! Think Like a Man 2 actually exists?! The Raid 2 is definitely the best action movie of the year, haven't seen John Wick yet but Cap. Amer. 2 is my runner up.

    Additional thoughts: The Guest might be my favorite movie of the year. It also gets my best Soundtrack vote. You are dead on with the score being the best for Under the Skin.

    Nightcrawler might be the best movie of the year.

    Starry Eyes, Coherence, They Came Together and The One I Love were my pleasant surprises.

    Although technically released December 23rd of 2014, I would add Wolf Of Wall Street to "go F yourself". F that F-ing movie.

    1. I'm curious...what are your criticisms of Wolf of Wall Street? I really love the movie but I'm always interested in a different take.

    2. First off it's waaay too long, that's something you might even agree on.

      I hated every single character and I'm sure you were supposed to but 20 Minutes in I'm like "okay, I get it" and then it just did the same thing for another 3 hours. Dick jokes, drug jokes, sex jokes, midget jokes, all done over and over; beaten into your head through the entire movie. The formula became quite clear - speech, orgy, speech, yell, speech drugs/orgy.
      It's clearly a comedy, but to me, it's not funny at all. Reminded me of the "Jackass" style of humor and the "Hey look at how far we went with this gag. Funny right?!" Nope.

      There's also another aspect that makes me cringe. This movie is made by a MASTER. I;m talking one of the best EVER. Yet, it was bland in style, most definitely in substance and felt like Scorsese was really just going through the motions. The use of music was typical for him but ultimately forgettable. The shots were status quo for him as well, nothing stands out. All in all It felt lazy as shit to me, especially coming off of the brilliant "Hugo".

    3. "This movie is made by a MASTER. I;m talking one of the best EVER. Yet, it was bland in style..."

      Holy crap. Apologies for the awful use of punctuation.

    4. Wolf of Wall Street is such a fascinating movie and one that's very polarizing. Half the people think it's repetitive, obnoxious, unfunny and doesn't have anything to say and that scorcesse is just doing goodfellas again.

      Then there's the other half like myself who think it's a modern day masterpiece. I didn't find the film repetitive at all and I thought the 3 hours flew by. I feel like I can pop it in anytime and watch the whole thing. Yes the characters are unlikable but they are fascinating to watch and the performances are incredible. It's dicaprios best role and he really throws himself into it with everything he has. He embodies Jordan Belfort charm and charisma while also showing us his rotten core. You really understand why and how this guy achieved the success he did. He's good at spouting bull shit and that's how you get ahead in that world.

      I also thought the movie was one of the funniest I've ever seen and that doesn't mean I'm condoning anything these people are doing and yes I'm disgusted by their actions but that doesn't mean scorcesse couldn't find humor in it. This is the way these people lived their lives day to day and while it was fun for them I think it looks like a personal hell to me. I bet the real Jordan Belfort watches this movie and thinks that it's so cool they made a movie about him because his life is so interesting and everyone wants to be him and look at all the shit he got away with and doesn't that just look awesome. I watch it and go our system is broken look at what these assholes got away with, look at how they treated and took advantage of people and how no one really gave a shit and look how he pretty much got away with everything. I think it's a deep nosedive into this awful world that really existed and scorcesse doesn't pull any punches by bringing you right into it and showing you all of it.

      It was my favorite film of last year and it's one of my favorite scorcesse films and to me it's amazing that he's still making movies as great as this.

      I think some people only see what's on the surface of wolf of Wall Street and that's okay because it is showing some terrible things and it shows them alot and i dont blame them for having a negative reaction. i just saw a different movie than those people and i looked at what was beneath all that shit and it was terrifying at times to watch. Great film and one that continues to generate interesting conversations.

    5. That's why I love this site. Much respect to your opinion although I totally disagree. It's my least favorite movie of this year (saw it early Jan.) and I think it's Scorsese's worst. Trust me - I thought long and hard after I saw it, trying to understand why he took this on thinking what was I missing? There must be some deeper, underlying meaning to what Marty is trying to say. Why make a movie that is so repetitive and "one note". It crossed my mind that maybe he's THAT smart and the movie is a statement on the way humans really feel; broken down to a basic, animalistic kind of thing.

      I don't think so though. I think Scorsese thought it was funny and maybe he's even smarter than I think and he wanted to make an awful movie that was full of unfunny jokes broken down to the bare basic juvenile elements of comedy, only for one reason - an experiment to see how it would do. He wins if that's the case.

    6. Wow, great breakdown guys. I think your two opinions helped me sort through a lot of my own. The first time I watched this movie, I agreed with Chaybee on it. Then the last shot was such an indicting gut-punch that I felt like I needed to see it again. Now I really respect it and think it was one of the better movies of 2013, but it's still not an enjoyable viewing experience. I have no urge to rewatch it. And I still agree that it could have been shorter and hit a few different dramatic notes. I guess the idea was just to make you hate the idea of being in their world, then give you the ending like, "any other idiots out there still wanna be this guy?"

      Adam - sorry for bogging down your awards column with intense discussion about a 2013 movie, haha.

    7. Right on, Andy. Thanks for chiming in. I might revisit it with these comments in mind. I'm gonna have to be real drunk though top sit through it again :)

    8. The way Chaybee feels about The Wolf of Wall Street is how I feel about eating a tomato.

    9. Both a tomato and sprouts are not nearly as bland as The Wolf of Wall Street.

    10. Brilliant ;)

      My small humble opinion is it is very very hard to sympathise with a main character who is so horrible. I did not hate the film. But I did hate the main character and found it hard to enjoy a film with someone so obnoxious. And then I had to spend three hours with him. That was far too long to spend with someone you hate

    11. The way I feel about sauerkraut is the way I feel about all of the people who don't share my opinion on ever single movie I love god damn it! I kid of course and Dennis if you're looking for a character to sympathize with I don't think this is the movie for you, unless you want to count Jonah Hills prosthetic penis as a character. I felt bad for that thing. The movie isnt asking you to sympathize with any of these characters and I can watch a movie about awful people as long as it's showing me something interesting and I felt like the Wolf of Wall Street did that for me. The one thing I do sort of agree with is the length, it probably could've been cut down a little and still had the same effect for me.

    12. I only have two things to say: 1) Release The Interview and 2) If you want to see something up the alley of The Wolf of Wall Street that I think you'll also love then watch the movie I picked for Netflix this Movie this week.

    13. Im totally glad you love the movie Travis.

      I know people love it. I have only seen it once and for some reason I can't quite explain it just did not work for me. Maybe I wasent in the right frame of mind for it. I have also read the book and strangely I found I enjoyed the book more than the film. I expected it to be about greed and money but instead I felt it was more about broken families and addiction.

      I'll look for your upcoming movie choice Adam ;)

    14. Adam's Netflix pick is no worse than Wolf of Wall Street ;)

      I definitely know that you are supposed to hate the character's in TWOWS. I mean, if you like them then you are most likely a douchy a-hole lunatic! I guess the biggest problem for me boils down to something very simple, I didn't think it was funny at all. If you aren't laughing, you aren't enjoying this movie one bit. I also think it was lazy filmmaking from Scorsese and boring as all hell.

      Okay, done talking about last years shit! Bring on this years top 10 Riske!

    15. Whew! Some very strong opinions about Wolfie, which is great. Personally I love the film, and consider it the latest in Scorsese's long line of films about reprehensible characters. From Johnny Boy to Jake La Motta to Henry Hill and finally to Jordan Belfort, Scorsese is undoubtedly fascinated with these dregs, and thank God for that.

  3. Nice job. Just saw John Wick last weekend, and now I want to buy a puppy and lots of black suits.

    Was wondering what you thought about Only Lovers Left Alive. I really enjoyed it, so I am very curious to hear your (presumably?) opposite reaction. No pressure to agree, just wondering.

    1. This might just prove that I'm not smart or something but I found Only Lovers Left Alive to be like Interview with the Vampire without the star power to carry me through it. I really liked the scenes with Mia Wasikowska and Anton Yelchin but anything where it was John Hurt, Tom Hiddleston or Tilda Swinton moping was like torture for me.

    2. Yo-

      I can see where the navel gazing could be tedious. I think I got through that part because they were very much in the real world, especially Detroit and Tangier, whereas the New Orleans in Interview felt really dream-like and fake. I think what added to the reality was that the characters had jobs (or at least some place in the world), and that made it more believable for me. A musician moping about there being nothing left in the world is a little more palatable than a vampire, I guess.

      Thanks for sharing.

    3. I'm glad you like the movie. I wish I did. I can recognize there is nothing necessarily wrong with it, it's just not for me. I just want to be happy. This movie did not aid in that journey :-)

  4. At least you succeeded at trying. :) Good effort, my friend. And an even better list. Your categories are always so witty and fun. Although I do have to admit that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Gone Girl and Chef will very likely make my top 10 of the year for 2014. Also, Jake Gyllenhaal gave my favorite performance of the year, as well (and Nightcrawler is also going to be in my top 10). I so hope he gets nominated for and wins an Academy Award. While the former might happen, the latter probably won't, as things usually go in that world.

    1. I have the weirdest association with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. I saw it twice (once in Indiana and once on an airplane) which in both cases are not how that movie should be seen. So now I'm all "oh, that's that Indiana airplane movie...ugh" I know it's good though. I just have a terrible mental association for it.

      I'll bet you a dollar that Gyllenhaal gets nominated for an Oscar. I have a sneaking suspicion he'll be a surprise.

    2. For me it was "oh, that's that movie that I saw with my dad that some rude people talked almost the whole way through." But I needed something for the 10 spot (spoiler alert: it's going to be my #10), and I felt it was well made, above average summer entertainment with an effective emotional side and stunning motion capture effects and performances. Those elements have gotta count for something in my book.

      It's either DotPotA or The Lego Movie for the 10 spot. I haven't decided yet. Unlike the rest of the world, I didn't completely love The Lego Movie when I saw it.

    3. Forget The Lego Movie, your number 10 is At Middleton :-)

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. Haha, in that case, I can't wait to actually watch my number 10 for the first time. :)

  5. I have a weird relationship with Dawn as well. Objectively? I think it's probably the best blockbuster this year. It has the smartest themes, outstanding effects, and the character development was surprisingly complex and fair. I, however, am really bad at objectivity, so there are three big blockbusters which I like better. Dawn was just a little too grim for my Summer movie tastes, but I still respect the hell out of it..