Tag: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best of the Decade – Part 5 (10-1)

10) The Grand Budapest Hotel 2014

Why? Wes Anderson is a director that took me a long time to appreciate. I didn’t really know much about him and his earlier work, but wasn’t a fan when I was younger. After Fantastic Mr. Fox, I was a fan, and it took a couple more to bring me to this one which made me fall in love with its insides.

After seeing it for the first time I have seen other films he did, still not all of them, and this is just the most spectacular to me. A larger cast, full of oddballs, love, and life lessons. And hell, the main character is not a great man, but Ralph Fiennes goes completely into this hotel madman and leaves nothing behind.

It is a film that is visually stunning and funny enough that it is easy to revisit over and over again with similar tummy bellows.

Favorite moment? The punch outs.


9) La La Land 2016

Why? Musicals are hard to make and hard to make well. Slap some songs in a movie and we don’t always fall in love. Have choreography? Who cares, so do music videos. I need a good story, I need acting, and I need songs to move the story forward and not feel awkward.

La La Land feels like an attempt to make a more low key realistic musical, while still having the same show stopping type numbers. The first couple of songs in it are full on flash and color, but after that, we get our slower song for both leads to dance, and then it slows the hell down. It lets them breath, we get our main theme with reprises and add-ons, and it lets the story work.

I feel like I get the best of the both worlds, along with an ending I can hate while still respecting at the same time. Gosling and Stone, you are beautiful people who keep coupling in our movies. Thank you for that. This is my favorite musical of the decade. 

Favorite moment? Another Day of Sun.


8) The Social Network 2010

Why? Here is a film a lot of people have called the best of the decade, and it is a wonder that it came out at the start of the decade. It is a film many say should have won Best Picture and are still annoyed by that fact today. And I get it, I love it too.

We combine David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin, so of course we get some amazing creation they can call their own. Add in a great score, actors who were sort of just coming into the game, and some boy band experience, and it is a hard film to top.

It still feels timely, and likely will be for quite a long while given how little our online interactions have actually changed. It is the type of film that I feel I will always be down to watch, and was peak Eisenberg (but thankfully not peak Garfield or Hammer).

Favorite moment? The ousting of Eduardo.


7) Scott Pilgrim vs. The World 2010

Why? A lot of this list could be seen as “What films does this guy think are better than The Social Network from the 2010s?” And I will do you one better. What film from 2010 itself do I think is better? Scott Pilgrim, that’s what!

I will say this is a film where I had read all of the source material before the film, and it completely delivered six books in one film. You know, the type of thing books try to avoid since then. They wanna stretch it out. Edgar Wright instead filled it with action, game references, and totally captured the nature of the graphic novel. Sure, a lot is missing, and that is okay.

This is a stone soup of younger actors and actresses to piece together this strange story that is really just a complicated metaphor that tells us that people have baggage. Relationships are hard. And it can be difficult to let things go that have helped define us up to that point. And its funny. This is my favorite comedy AND comic book movie of the decade. 

Favorite moment? CASUAL SEX! Okay, that’s the book. The Chris Evans and Vegan fights.


6) Warrior 2011

Why? And now onto more serious things. I didn’t hear about Warrior until it was coming out on DVD as a recommendation from my brother. I wasn’t expecting anything, just another “boxing movie” but instead I got an extremely heartfelt story about two brothers, no longer in each other’s lives, both overcoming their own hardships and difficulties in life to do what they do best. Fight.

I will admit I don’t really like Nick Nolte in most films the last 20 years, but him being a hard to decipher mess of a human actually works for this movie. One of my favorite aspects of this film is that this basically introduced me to Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy in movies, and they have continued to show why they are both highly sought after actors.

UFC is new to the sports world still, and it found a way to take what would normally be just a boxing story and change things up, with different styles mirroring their lives and attitudes. And of course, when I see the ending, I cry every time. This is my favorite sports movie of the decade. 

Favorite moment? The four second fight, the final fight, the Marines song.


5) Nightcrawler 2014

Why? Another film I never got to see in theaters, and I blame poor advertising on that. I blame the advertising on its lack of awards as well, because Jake Gyllenhaal should have been nominated and won those acting awards for his scary portrayal.

This film takes morals and completely throws them out of the window. Gyllenhaal rarely blinks and talks in a charismatic rapey way like he was born to be that person. But hell, Gyllenhaal has been one of the most consistent actors this decade, so it makes sense.

Nightcrawler is unsettling and questions our fascination with the news and what people want to see and hear. If anything, it predicted what people have started to do with features like YouTube/Facebook Live when it comes to unthinkable crimes, and hopefully if enough people see it and take its messages to heart, we can put to end to this nonsense. So, probably never. This is my favorite Thriller of the decade. 

Favorite moment? The home invasion and fallout.


4) The Perks of Being A Wallflower 2012

Why? When I saw this film in theaters, I remember just sitting there in the theater, watching regular credits with music blasting, and finding myself unable to get up and leave. I had to deal with the emotions and thoughts running through my head. I had to wipe away tears and make sure I wasn’t a wreck of a man walking into the lobby. I noticed the few people in the theater were also not getting up right away. It seemed like a universal feeling.

What starts out as a story about a loner who wants to be accepted but is too introverted and shy to get out there turns into something bigger. Coming out of your shell is risky, and so is accepting others into your life. But even if we bring others in, there is still a lot hiding under the surface that they can never know about, to know what you are going through and subconsciously dealing with at all times..

The reveal about our protagonist and his past comes along shockingly, but when rewatching the film the hints are right there. Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller are great leads, and Emma Watson in this film helps break out of her Harry Potter sphere. It is so well acted with a kicking soundtrack, it should be a staple of its genre for hopefully decades to come dealing with timeless problems. This is my favorite coming of age story of the decade. 

Favorite moment? Truth or dare.


3) Colossal 2017

Why? Colossal is a hard film to fit into any genre. It is a film that has plot holes and doesn’t try to explain all of its quirks. And that can rub people the wrong way.

But when taken as a larger metaphor for emotional abuse and substance abuse, and trying to overcome these issues with your body and past, it is a shining example of how someone can feel. Full of depression and anger in their own lives, it sometimes feels like there is a monster inside of them that is destroying others. And that can be literal if the monster completely consumes the individual.

Thankfully, this movie also offers hope. And I love that the answer isn’t just another man or a relationship. It is about fixing yourself and not relying on others to handle your problems for you.

Anne Hathaway I enjoy in most films, and she feels very vulnerable in this film Jason Sudeikis I also love, but plays the bad guy in a creepily realistic way. The twists and turns are wonderful. This is my favorite…uhh…fantasy film (?) of the year. Maybe romance? I don’t know. 

Favorite moment? The introduction of the Robot.


2) Arrival 2016

Why? In 2016, this movie was the third on my list, right a different Amy Adams movie and a musical, and in those years since I have realized that Arrival is the better film. At this point I was more familiar with Denis Villeneuve and still blown away with the story put together in this film. Sure, it is based on a story, but the visual work and cinematography, and the alien design and the ORDER this story gives is mind blowing. It is a mind blowing film.

Amy Adams is probably the best actress of the decade. Just look at the number of nominations, the quality of films she has been in year after year, even the more silly and family friendly roles are above the curve. And I don’t think she has ever been better.

This film is a major gut punch when the whole story gets revealed and told and deals with a complicated timeline, but not shying away from complicated stories is a good thing. When we get original stories that don’t feed you through a straw the plot, we need to reward them and celebrate them. This is my favorite science fiction film of the decade. 

Favorite moment? The death of the alien.


1) Steve Jobs 2015

Why? And finally, the shocking moment, the one that will make people say huh. But probably not people who know me. When I made my top of 2015 list it made 4th, with the two above it not making my top of the decade, and the other one being The Big Short, further down this list. So HOW could a film like this move all the way up to my number one spot?

First of all, repeatability. Since I bought the film I have seen it probably twice a year always on a whim. I get a feeling, I want to see Steve Jobs again, so I do it. It being a film in three acts that mirror each other and grow is a rewarding watch, to see the connections, to connect it to history, to see how people grow.

Secondly, I can still tear up usually near the end each and every time. Having it be about a very mean and modern myth filled man, but actually a story about learning to accept your responsibilities as a father? That is a twist, and movies that deal with father/daughter relationships always get me now.

Thirdly, Aaron Goddamn Sorkin. I love the hell out of his dialogue, and the words come out at a pace with such passion that it is like an action movie…with words.

Strangely enough, I am in no way an Apple fan boy. I have had an iPhone for one year before they got rid of the Aux, so I went back to Android. I had an iPod way after they were cool and that is about it. I just can acknowledge that Steve Jobs was an interesting individual and did a lot of good with a lot of bad.

Fassbender should have won best actor over DiCaprio that year. Rogen was great. Winslet completely became a different person. Daniels molded his suave from the Newsroom into something similar, but different. And the other people involved are equally fascinating.

If it wasn’t for the several F-bombs, it is a film I would show my gifted students every year, so they could understand that being smart doesn’t mean one has to be a dick. A play that never was a play, Steve Jobs is my favorite drama, favorite “biopic”, and favorite movie of the decade. 

Favorite moment? It’s not binary.

Thanks for reading! Hopefully you check out the other parts and can tell me in the top 50 why I am stupid and missed your favorite film, or why you think Steve Jobs isn’t a great film. I might not listen, but I will still “listen.”

Click here for Part 1 (50-41)!
Click here for Part 2 (40-31)!
Click here for Part 3 (30-21)!
Click here for Part 4 (20-11)!

Best Films of 2014

You’ve seen the worst, now prepare for the best.

I had a lot of movies that I really liked this year too. And unlike the worst list, everything on this list I gave a 4 out of 4 too. This is the cream of the crop.

Some films I didn’t get to see yet from 2014 that may have made this list. I have heard good things about A Most Violent Year, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, many documentaries, and Two Days, One Night. I won’t update this list either, just know it in case you think one of these should be at the top.

Honorable Mentions: Fury, Joe, Whiplash. There were probably more 4 out of 4s, but these would have been the next in line I think.

15) The One I Love

The One I Love is one of those surprises to make my list. This film flew by me completely under the radar, only found it because I was looking up Mark Duplass movies in boredom. And hey, it was an incredible indie flick that was also very simple in nature.

The entire performance is resting on the shoulders of our two main leads, and their performances are incredibly realistic for this situation. It is a Science-Fiction movie without outer space or rockets or gadgets. Just love, romance, philosophical debate, and many questionable situations after another in a very morally gray way.

The One I Love

14) Muppets Most Wanted

For those of you who read my The Muppets review, I thought the movie was okay. I didn’t grow up on the TV show, never watched it, but understood most of the pop culture references to it. I think I ended up watching more Muppet Babies, which I don’t think is canon. But the sequel? Muppets Most Wanted? I smiled from start to finish.

The music was basically done by Flight of the Conchords and it showed. Everything felt witty and original. I don’t think there was a single disappointing song in the whole picture. Which is why, awkwardly enough, this was my highest rated musical for the entire year. There were a lot of movies that should have been contenders, but some failed miserably, some were pretty good, but none made me this happy and excited.

Muppets Most Wanted

13) The Imitation Game

Now my list might start looking like other “real reviewers”, but I warn you not to get used to it. The Imitation Game was actually nominated for Best Picture and there are many reasons why. Benedict Cumberbatch is awesome, generally taken as fact. It is about one of the most exciting non combat parts of World War II, the solving of the German Enigma Code.

Now, I don’t care too much if a movie takes historical liberties with the past, as long as we get a good story, and I am pretty sure that is what occurred here. I think a lot of the drama may have been exaggerated or created, but the important truths are still in tact, and it sucks what happened to Alan Turing. I didn’t think it would make me cry, but sure enough, the drama always wins in the end.


12) X-Men: Days of Future Past

Comic movies?! It is hard to imagine that the same studio who makes The Wolverine and other shitty X-Men movies can put out a masterpiece like Days of Future Past. On its own, it is an ambitious title, because time travel is always a tricky subject. First Class was a good movie and a step in the right direction, but I couldn’t have imagined the sequel jumping this many leaps and bounds to give an incredible comic book movie experience.

Although not my favorite comic book year, it did help give some faith to Fox Studios and pump me up for the next X-Men flick, Apocalypse. I hope this leads to even more ambitions films in the future and willing to break the mold of a typical super hero plot line.


11) 22 Jump Street

Yes, back to the “what? really?” aspects of my list. 21 Jump Street surprised me, mostly because it seemed like such a bad idea, the cast didn’t make sense, and the reboot felt unnecessary. I was wrong. The idea for the sequel, 22 Jump Street, I also thought was terrible. And I was wrong again, but more.

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller must have been completely bonkers to write this movie, as they took the idea of a comedy sequel, and went meta as fuck with it. Channing Tatum is secretly a comedic mastermind. That has to be it. I was cackling in the theater, almost to the point of pain. I am excited for the next 20 sequels they produce.

22 Jump Street

10) Big Hero 6

2014 was also an incredible year for animated films. A lot of heavy hitters this year, definitely more than the last few years when there tended to be one film above the rest. Big Hero 6 was this years submission by Walt Disney Animation studios, who gave us Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph and Tangled. But it was also partnered with Marvel Studios, given the ownership and all, to give us an incredible animated movie.

What I remember the most about this movie is the color and imagery went into creating this futuristic cross-cultured city. Oh, an the fun action scenes. And the humor. And yeah, it is just a wildly fun movie. The studio keeps putting out incredible work, and honestly, I can imagine this taking best animated film just as easily as any other movie nominated.

Big Hero 6

9) How To Train Your Dragon 2

Which brings me to How To Train Your Dragon 2. Me and Dreamworks have not been getting along, giving me mostly crap or only okay stuff for the last few years. For the first How To Train Your Dragon, I mostly just hate how lazy the ending riding conflict felt, and thought it could have done a lot better.

I actually don’t know what I like more, between this and the last movie. They are by far my favorite animated films of the year. The only reason I am giving HTTYD2 an edge is due to its vast improvement over the original. They both went to some dark places, both made me cry, and both were beautiful in every way. But a great story that wasn’t afraid to get dirty and wasn’t afraid to set the franchise up for bigger and more intense things.


8) Locke

Look, if you had told me I had to watch a movie about a guy on the phone for an hour and a half, I would have been probably upset with you. I get enough of that by riding public transportation every once in awhile. Unless that film was Phone Booth, I probably wouldn’t care.

But despite the plot, Locke is about Tom Hardy on a phone, driving along the interstate, making the hardest decision of his life. And that is it. And I was floored by how invested I became in his story and the choices he made. This plus The Drop cemented Tom Hardy as a wonderful actor, but we already knew that from Warrior, right?


7) Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The third and final comic book movie on my list, Captain America: The Winter Soldier started off the summer blockbusters right. And in April at that! Marvel is doing great things by making their different movies into different genres under the Superhero subtext. This one is spy/espionage/political action movie, with a few comedic elements as well to keep us guessing.

Before this movie, like most people, I would have said Avengers was the best Marvel film, but this felt like Avengers 1.5. Guardians of the Galaxy was a great movie, but not one that I thought was super great. Chris Evans is making himself the most important actor to the studios and I hope he gets a sweet ass pay check to represent what this film did to the MCU.

Captain America 2

6) Nightcrawler

At first I was upset that Nightcrawler wasn’t about the X-Man. And then I was upset that Jake Gyllenhaal turned down his role in Into The Woods to do this movie. Then I watched it and I smacked my past self right in the mouth.

Gyllenhaal is also doing the best work of his career and it is amazing what he did with this role. Probably the best portrayal of sociopath in a long time, this Thriller/Drama explored the dark side of human nature and how just an individual with no schooling and a lot of can do attitude can become a success. No matter what.


5) The Raid 2

I wouldn’t want to make a best list without featuring at least one foreign movie! And that same foreign movie is probably the best action movie in the last 10 years. That number is picked at random, I can’t think of a better action movie 11 years ago. I can only think of The Raid 2. You don’t even really need to see The Raid: Redemption to understand this one.

Admittedly, the plots of these films are a bit weaker. But if you want well choreographed and insane fight scenes, there is literally no better action movie to pick. Over two hours long, and slightly more plot, this movie has more action into its pinky than the entirety of Sylvester Stallone‘s last ten flicks.

The Raid 2

4) Gone Girl

David Fincher is probably one of the more celebrated actors of our generation, so whenever he has a new movie, you know peopl are going to rush and see it. I personally was more excited to see Gone Girl because of Ben Affleck. He was the bomb in Phantoms, he was the bomb in this movie. Hell, everyone was the bomb in this movie.

Rosamund Pike gave one of those terrifyingly creepy performances that don’t come along very often. Hell, the last time I saw anything remotely similar would probably be…Nightcrawler. Ah yes, the year of the crazy. But if a movie can feature even Tyler Perry and think he did a great job, you know something magical has happened on your screen. Ever twisting and turning, the wild book turned into a wild movie.

Gone Girl

3) The Grand Budapest Hotel

After I saw my first Wes Anderson movie, I was weirded out, didn’t get it, and thought I wouldn’t watch any more of his movies. Just like earlier, I was glad to be wrong, and I have definitely loved his last three movies. The Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise Kingdoms were both top films the year they came out, but The Grand Budapest Hotel has to be the best movie he has ever made. He has always been great with his cinemetography and quirky characters, but he elevates his directing game to new heights with this picture.

At this point in the article, I am running out of things to say without sound repetitive. GBH is funny and dark, and a great performance from Ralph Fiennes. I think this movie will inspire a whole generation of youths to become Lobby Boys and Hotel owning enthusiasts.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

2) Boyhood

Admit it, you probably figured out what the top two films were a couple movies ago. And that is because they have probably been the most talked about out of all the movies from 2014. I think Richard Linklater is one of my favorite directors. The Before trilogy is probably one of the best and most realistic trilogies ever produced. When I heard he was making a movie that took TWELVE YEARS capturing a boy growing up from 6 years old to 18, I could barely believe it. When I finally got to see Boyhood, the 2.5 hours seemed to flow by.

His journey was the audiences journey. I don’t know if I found it more relatable because I too am a white male or what, but it was like a nostalgia filled journey that I wish would never end. I demand a sequel, but from 18-35. Make this the closest thing I get to having a real life The Truman Show. A crowning achievement of film and directing and one that makes me feel like I gained a friend who I have known my whole life.


1) Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance)

Ah Birdman. What a movie. 2014 has some of the most unique films of the decade, and it is a shame that they all had to come out months of each other. When I first saw Boyhood, I thought there was no way a movie would top it for me. It was such a great concept and just felt like the epitome of the movie experience. And then Birdman came along.

Birdman had everything. Deeply dramatic monologues. Comedy. Beautiful visuals. Many ways to interpret the movie after seeing it. Fantastic fucking acting. A great story line. Very meta at the right time. I was blown away with the “single shot” feel of it. Single long shots are some of my favorite things in movies, so making the entire movie with that experience blew every ounce of my mind. ALL OF THE OUNCES. Not to mention making the actors really know their stuff. Having to actually act, like people in a play! Which is what the movie is about! Agghhh! Even the soundtrack rocked.

Even. The soundtrack. Rocked.


And there you have it! The best of the best. Did I leave off anything you think should have been up here? Do you disagree with anything at all? Am I the stupidest person ever? Be sure to let me know and yell obscenities while doing it!

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Hah. Wes Anderson. For those that don’t read every post I make, Wes Anderson is a strange guy for me. Every movie I reviewed for the site that he directed, I have love love loved. But that was only two movies. The other one I saw I just didn’t really get, and thought it was weird. Yet still, I was excited for this new one.

So excited, I am pretty pissed off that they forced The Grand Budapest Hotel to be a limited release. It broke some records for its release. Like, most money gained from a super super limited release. But only two cities? That is crap. There is no reason for that. I am lucky I even got to see it so soon as I had to drive three hours to see it, weeks after its “release date”. Maybe I am more annoyed because it wasn’t even advertised as a limited release, so I have to imagine it was just a last minute change.

But I guess I expected Anderson to be a dick if he could, so there is that.

This story in a story is about The Grand Budapest Hotel, as you might have guessed. It used to be a…grand old place, but recently, it has gone under some bad times. The clientele is no longer the elite, the staff is no longer extremely efficient, and really it is in shambles. That is why a young writer (Jude Law) is so interested to meet its current owner, Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham), to hear his story about he acquired the hotel and his vast fortune.

M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) is a man amongst boys. He used to be the concierge, a god amongst men. Working morning to night, every day, he made sure the rich guests felt welcome at the hotel and would do anything to please them. Including the extremely rich Madame D (Tilda Swinton) who stays at the hotel for weeks every year.

Well, she dies, mysteriously. Also, her will was changed last minute as well it seems. Apparently M. Gustave was left her priceless painting, pissing off the ungrateful and evil family. Now, they also think M. Gustave killed her!

It is up to the help of his Lobby Boy, Zero (Tony Revolori) to help prove his innocence, get him out of jail, and in general, save the day!

Also featuring a shit ton of people. Here they are, roughly, in order of importance: Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldbloom, Saoirse Ronan, Mathieu Amalric, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, and Owen Wilson.

This scene represents birth.

Ahhhh, quirky Wes Anderson movie!

This one took a little bit to get going, trying to figure out just what the movie would be about. It takes place over three time periods, technically, so the story needs time to get started.

But when it does? Man. This movie was hilarious. Ralph Fiennes, although I don’t know how to say his name, is a terrific actor and a charismatic character in this film. You can’t take your eyes off of him whenever he is on the screen. And it works so well. Much laughter, much ridiculousness.

This film has a lot of Anderson standards, with his camera work and use of colors.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is also a bit more crass than his other recent movies. Some nakedness, some death scenes, all a bit extreme. But I think that made it a little bit better.

Definitely as good as the trailer made it seem to be, and one of the best early movies of 2014.

4 out of 4.