Nick Olszyk’s Best Movies of 2014

Ten films from the past year that inspired, moved, challenged, and entertained

In 2013, Hollywood had its best year of the young decade, with great films featuring old school Disney magic (Frozen), specular visuals (Gravity), and important lessons from history (12 Years a Slave). 2014 saw less timeless movies but had more films of excellent quality that just missed the mark. 

Here’s my best of 2014:

1. God’s Not Dead — A myriad of faith stories surround a David and Goliath struggle between an atheist professor and a Christian student with the courage to resist him. Think Crash meets Mere Christianity. A Five Reel Film.See my CWR review, “Crash Meets Mere Christianity” (April 4th, 2014).

2. Unbroken — Actress-turned-director Angelia Jolie brings the fantastic true story of war prisoner Louie Zamperini and the faith that help him endure racial prejudice, athletic competition, elemental survival, and physical torture.

3. Gimmie Shelter — A pro-life testimony that proves art has the capacity to change lives. See my CWR review, “Shelter for All” (Februrary 3rd, 2014).

4. The Lego Movie Everything about this movie is awesome.

5. Divergent — Spiritual boot camp for millennials facing the onslaught of 21st century “values.”

6. Muppets Most Wanted — Funny songs, thrilling intrigue, and hilarious celebrity cameos, all involving the always wonderful Muppets. Has there ever been a bad Muppet movie? (Well, Muppets from Space and The Lady Gaga Christmas Special—but besides them?)

7. Big Hero 6 — A fun kid flick with a lot of heart and the best sidekick in ages. See my CWR review, “‘Big Hero 6’ and Healing the Hurt ‘You Can’t Touch'” (November 12th, 2014).

8. Annie — A modern adaptation that is—gasp—better than the original.

9. Cesar Chavez — There was a reason you couldn’t get good wine in the late 1960s, a reason involving a great man who used his Catholic faith to bring dignity to poor immigrants.

10. Guardians of the Galaxy — Big guns. Big laughs. Big Effects. This is probably the best Marvel film to date.

Honorable Mention: The Book of Life, Boyhood, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Fault in Our Stars, Godzilla, How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Hundred Foot Journey, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, Life Itself, Maleficent, Noah, X-Men: Days of Future Past

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About Nick Olszyk 201 Articles
Nick Olszyk teaches theology at Marist Catholic High School in Eugene, Oregon. He was raised on bad science fiction movies, jelly beans, and TV shows that make fun of bad science fiction movies. Visit him online and listen to his podcast at "Catholic Cinema Crusade".