I've concluded that I've watched a lot of movies this year. I've seen 24 out of the 60 movies on my list. Not bad - I've only missed 9 movies that have come out (and frankly a few of them I'm trying to avoid now. What the hell was I thinking with Pompeii?). 2014 has kind of been a bummer - not only for there not being any OUTSTANDING movies, but the summer has been ho-hum as well. Sure, I've had a lot of fun watching most of these movies, and I think I'll enjoy rewatching some of them, but there hasn't been an "OMG I want to take this movie behind the middle school and get it pregnant" moment I've had this year. There's one movie that comes close - and it wasn't even on my list! (more on that later). But here's the four best Most Anticipated movies I've seen so far this year.
13. Veronica Mars
This is the very definition of a miracle. Veronica Mars was supposed to be buried after season 3. But thanks to the internet and a very loyal fanbase (including myself), a movie was made. And Rob Thomas didn't just make sure he made fans of the show happy, he made sure he made a engrossing, taught thriller about a strong-headed woman who goes back home to help her ex-boyfriend beat the murder rap. Old friends and characters show up while in the background things are getting set up for a very real chance at a sequel. There's great moments of humor and wit and a lot of fan service. But the fan service doesn't distract if you're unfamiliar with Veronica and the city of Neptune, California. It's a tight script and edited so well. Veronica is simply charming thanks to Kristen Bell's impeccable performance and great writing. She's the kind of female lead that most movies should aspire for. I think what I really loved about this movie was the underlying stench of corruption and a community unraveling because of it. Veronica comes back and seems to unveil this mess and I would love to see how she plans on fixing the town. Because that's the direction the movie is headed - I just hope we'll get to see it.
RATING: OUT OF THIS WORLD AMAZING
9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
9 movies in and Marvel has shown no signs of slowing down. They're turning into Pixar - I honestly don't think they've had a bad movie - maybe a couple of "okay" movies - but bad? Nope. And the new Captain America movie might just be as good, if not better than the Avengers. I certainly thought the direction and epicness of this film pushed the story forward in a fresh direction. SHIELD has been disbanded at the end of the movie and who the hell knows where it'll go from there? I think Captain America could have been the most boring character out of all of the Avengers - but the decision to make this more like a conspiracy thriller/action film was smart. Once the movie kicks into high gear after the first 20 or so minutes, it's nothing but non-stop. The movie is sharply written and it's a perfect progression for Steve Roger's character. And the addition of Falcon as Captain's new buddy is solid. Plus the Winter Soldier is a perfect foil for the Captain. And talk about how eerily similar the plot has resonated with the whole NSA scandal is icing on the cake. This was big and fun and probably the best non-summer released summer blockbuster this year.
RATING: CAPTAIN OBVIOUS SAYS THIS WAS GREAT
3. 22 Jump Street
There was a little bit of hesitation on my part that this wouldn't live up to the first one's clever shenanigans. I've been disappointed with comedy sequels before (I'm looking at you, Hangover Part II), but I trusted Phil Lord and Chris Miller to deliver another meta-humor infested sequel. And this one didn't disappoint! There's so much going on in this movie - it's just as funny and painfully aware of itself and Tatum and Hill are the perfect odd couple again. They even spoof themselves during the end credits - who wouldn't pay money to see 29 Jump Street: Sunday School? And don't forget to stay until after the credits too - there's a really funny joke that may not be the best one in the film, but it made me giggle uncontrollably. The movie does start off a little slow - Jenko and Schmidt are two regular detectives who really don't know what they're doing - and the movie doesn't really start to shine until they go undercover in college. And the movie makes it clear that practically no one is falling for their disguises this time. Ice Cube returns and has a very funny, very appropriate freakout at a parent's weekend lunch - it's simply amazing. I hope the filmmaker's call it quits from here - there's just nowhere to go with the jokes. But what an amazing movie to end on - certainly the funniest movie this year!
RATING: SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY ALREADY
17. Edge of Tomorrow
Who knew that a Tom Cruise sci-fi flick would end up being my favorite movie so far this year? While the marketing for this movie wasn't the best (didn't we just see a sci-fi action flick with Tom Cruise last year?), Edge of Tomorrow was so clever and enjoyable that it's worth repeat viewings. The whole premise of repeating the same day (or, in this case, days) has been done before - but never really like this. It's fun to see Tom Cruise's character go from some schlub PR guy to trained alien butt-kicker. And this is why it's probably better than most of Cruise's action flicks - he's not playing some super-soldier or assassin - he's a coward and a jerk throughout the movie. That's what Cruise is really good at playing and he's great. And the supporting cast is fantastic - Emily Blunt is such a badass - she's not a damsel in distress nor is she in need of some affection. She's a soldier and has some awesome moments in the film. The film is more grounded in character than you would think - it's a pleasure to see Cruise's character grow up and into a decent, self-sacrificing human being in this film. There's a lot of great action and design, but the best moments are when he's reliving the first hours over and over, trying to figure out how to get out of the war. It's fun and just writing about this movie makes me want to see it all over again!
RATING: REPEAT VIEWINGS, PLEASE