I will start by saying that I did not feel there were ten “surprises” for me this year. I did not see nearly as much as Wyatt did, so this definitely factored into it. I define a surprise as a movie that when I saw the trailer, I did not think much of it, but it turned out to be much better that expected. Also, if I just had no real excitement for the movie, and left the theater much more excited about it, that would qualify as a surprise. So, in no real order, here are my top seven surprises of the year.
Top 7 Surprises
1.) “Nocturnal Animals”
I was definitely intrigued by the trailer for Nocturnal Animals, but still very cautious and I did not expect much out of it. I was enthralled. I loved Nocturnal Animals. As always, Jake Gyllenhaal was fantastic, and Michael Shannon blew me away, as did Aaron Taylor-Johnson. I thought this was extremely well directed with three interweaving stories that kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.
“The Lobster” looked WEIRD. And it was extremely WEIRD. But it was a very pleasant surprise for me as the uniqueness of it really interested me. It is certainly not for everyone, but I really enjoyed it. I thought it was very well executed in the way the story unraveled, and I thought Colin Farrell and John C. Reilly gave two of the best performances of the year in very bizarre roles. I loved The Lobster and definitely want to see it again as soon as possible.
3.) “Swiss Army Man”
Just like “The Lobster”, “Swiss Army Man” was extremely weird and unconventional, but I know I love and respect unconventional styles, so this could be why both of these are on my list. I could not buy this trailer. I saw the synopsis and the trailer and I just couldn’t get on board with it. I thought it would be unique, but I didn’t think this movie could actually be good, and I ended up really enjoying it. Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe were incredible, as were the new directors making their debut to the big screen. I was very happy with how “Swiss Army Man” ended up.
4.) “Everybody Wants Some!!”
The trailer for “Everybody Wants Some!!” was good, but it didn’t captivate me. Richard Linklater did not impress me with “Boyhood” as much as he did for everyone else, and so I was very hesitant to get caught up in this movie. My unpopular opinion of “Boyhood” made me think I may have an unpopular opinion of the general approval of this movie, but I loved this movie. This was one of the most fun times I had in the theater this year, and Linklater really brought the comedy and humor with this one.
With all the disappointments that came with this year, I expected Snowden to fall by the wayside. I did not think this movie could be that good. I expected average, but I ended up really liking it. By no means did I love it, but I thought it told the very interesting story of Edward Snowden in a really cool way, and I thought Joseph Gordon-Levitt had an extremely underrated performance, and I was pleasantly surprised by Oliver Stone’s “Snowden”.
As a Netflix movie, you can never expect too much. However, “Hush” really impressed me. I felt like it was surprisingly well directed, and had a story interesting enough to keep me engaged for the majority of the movie. It definitely had its flaws, but overall, “Hush” was one that I expected little to nothing of, and I was really happy with how much I enjoyed it.
7.) “Deepwater Horizon”
This was another movie, like “Snowden”, that I expected to just be average. I think I had gotten used to movies being satisfactory after a huge lull during the middle of the year, that I just stopped getting my hopes up for most films, but “Deepwater Horizon” impressed me. I was fully engaged and I really loved the true story it told of such a tragic event. Not to mention, it included one of my favorite scenes of the year at its climax.
Do you agree? Disagree? What movies surprised you this year? Comment below with your thoughts.
Story by Ryan Flynn