Monday, December 29, 2014

Best of 2014: Movies, TV, and Music

I decided to combine all of these into one post because at first I thought I didn't have many to list. As I went through, I found a lot more to write about than I had remembered. :)

Remember, these weren't necessarily released in 2014, though some were. These are just my favorites that I discovered in 2014. I'll start with the films, in the order that I saw them:

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The fact that every other scene in this movie was turned into an action-packed Orc chase drives me crazy, but overall I still enjoyed it. And the return of Legolas (not technically a return since this is a prequel, but you know what I mean) pretty much made me forgive everything else. Because let's just be honest...I've always had a bit of a crush on Legolas and I probably always will. I reviewed the film here if you're interested in hearing more about what I thought. {I know this film came out in 2013 but I didn't see it until January of 2014. And I haven't seen the last Hobbit film yet, which is why it didn't make the list.}

Austenland was, by far, my favorite film of 2014. I've probably watched it 10 or 12 times since I bought it back in February. It is charming and kooky and hilarious and sweet, and it somehow manages to poke fun at Austen fans while at the same time celebrating them. It won't be for everyone, but honestly it's perfect for me. It's the sort of movie that instantly lifts my mood and always makes me laugh, no matter how many times I see it. I adore this film and rambled about it a lot here.
The Book Thief
This is not a feel-good movie or one that I will rewatch often (the reason why I didn't purchase it), but it's still really beautifully done. You can read my review here.

Saving Mr. Banks
A movie involving the 1960s and Disney? This was practically made for me. :) I did have some qualms with it, but overall I really enjoyed it. Emma Thompson was amazing, as usual. My review can be found here.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
I didn't really have any interest in seeing this movie. My parents got it through Netflix and told me that I should watch it, so I did. And I was shocked to find that I loved it. :) It was seriously so, so good. (Also, I really want to go to Iceland now.) I didn't do a review of it, but I got it on DVD for Christmas so maybe I'll write a review in the next month or so after I watch it again?

I wasn't expecting too much from this movie, but I was pleasantly surprised. It had flaws...I was hoping for more in certain aspects and the CGI was pretty awful at times, but I still kind of loved this movie. It was darker and more eerie than I expected. I loved seeing some familiar faces from BBC shows, including two of the fairies. :)

Edit: I had a mind blank and completely forgot to include Mockingjay: Part I in this list! I was really lazy and didn't even review it after I saw it in theaters. Here are my very brief thoughts: I liked it. It was a good adaptation, though honestly Mockingjay is my least favorite of the HG series. It felt slow and dragged at times (as does the book), but my only real disappointment was how they handled Finnick revealing President Snow's big secret. I remember being really shocked when I read it in the was a big deal somehow, after all of the emphasis on the roses and smell of blood. The rescue attempt in the film overshadowed that part, with the way they kept jumping back and forth every few seconds. That let me down, but I still enjoyed the film and it should have made it on the list. :)

Honorable mentions: Divergent and The Giver. I've read Divergent and didn't like it at all, but I still watched the film and I ended up really enjoying it. I've read The Giver multiple's the first dystopian book I ever read so it'll always stand out to me. The film was pretty good. It was a bit cheesy at times, but overall it was a good adaptation, but I didn't quite love it.

Now on to the TV shows.

I watched the entire Psych series through Netflix this year, one DVD at a time, and I enjoyed every moment of it. :) Shawn and Gus are hilarious and this became one of my favorite shows. I made a list of my favorite episodes here. 

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
This show didn't grab me from the start. It took me the longest time to watch through the beginning of the first season. I loved the historical setting, but the mysteries didn't seem like anything special and I couldn't get past Phryne Fisher's loose morals. But by the end of the first season, I was hooked and I loved the second season even more. I don't know if it improved or if it just grew on me, but I love this show now. I love the setting and the jazzy music and the cast of quirky supporting characters. And there have been some really amazing mysteries. I don't think I'm really spoiling anything by saying that Phryne and Jack are one of my favorite should-be couples ever. I love their banter.

I was hesitant to include this one. Firefly was a show that got cancelled after one season, but it has lots of devoted fans. I'd heard so much about it that I finally decided to watch it. It's hard to explain, but basically it's a space western. It's a crew of crazily different people living together on a rundown spaceship who are always breaking the law or running from someone or being shot at or threatened. :) I can't actually recommend this show because there are so many content issues. If it had been cleaner, it probably would have become one of my favorite TV shows. The space western thing works so well (love the theme song and music), the friendships between the quirky characters are awesome, and there were quite a few unexpectedly hilarious, snort-laugh moments. If you decide to check it out, though, watch at your own risk because there's language and a lot of other inappropriate content.

And now on to the music. I didn't discover much new music this year, so I only have three albums to share.

Put Your Needle Down, by the Secret Sisters. I love this album even more than their first. Their voices sound so incredible together and the songs are so haunting (well, there are a few fun ones, too).

Innate, by Laulu. I found this four-song album on Noisetrade (where you can currently still find it for free here). I adore the first song, Transcontinental,'s beautiful.

Letters Kept to Ourselves, by The Native Sibling. I also came across this one on Noisetrade (right here), because it was recommended for fans of The Civil Wars. It doesn't necessarily remind me of them, but it's still really lovely in a different way.
What were your favorite films, TV shows, and albums that you discovered in 2014?


  1. Someone else who watched an enjoyed The Secret Life of Walter Mitty??? Yeah, that was not one that was on my list of movies to watch, but I ended up really liking it.

    I've been wanting to watch Firefly, but I knew it had a lot of content issues. Apparently there is a clearplay filter for it, though, so I might check it out eventually.

    1. I know, that film doesn't seem to get much attention! It was good. Firefly would probably be a lot more enjoyable with a filter. My DVD player has a language filter, but language wasn't the biggest problem with the show, so it wouldn't have done much good.

  2. I'm really liking these 2014 recap posts! Great choices. My family and I just watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty a few days ago, and I really liked it!

    Do you think you'll be doing a review of The Battle of the Five Armies when you see it? I'd love to hear what you think!

    1. Thanks! It was a good movie, wasn't it? It deserves more attention! :)

      I probably will do a review, since I've done reviews of the past two Hobbit films after I saw them in theaters. (Though I also did reviews for the Hunger Games films up until Mockingjay when apparently I got lazy. :) I'm looking forward to seeing it, though I'm worried about not remembering exactly what happened in the book, because I haven't read it since just before the first Hobbit film came out. I might have to skim the end to refresh my memory so I can see how well they adapt it. :)

  3. Oh. My. Word. Many favorites. Loved Austenland (and still haven't rewatched it. Shame on me), adore 'Miss Fisher' and of course, cannot wait to see Mockingjay. It looks epically good. Fabulous list, Kristin.

    1. I've probably rewatched Austenland much more than I should have! :) It's just so much fun. I give you credit for inspiring me to continue with Miss Fisher! I probably would have given up after the first few episodes if you hadn't kept mentioning it on your blog. :) Mockingjay was very good, though of course I wasn't going to love it like the first two because it's my least favorite book of the trilogy.


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