Ranking Spring 2014 movies

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Did anyone else look at the list of movies coming out this summer and think, “Eugh, pass” like I did? Maleficent looks like it could be good, but now that I’ve publically documented that thought there’s no longer any conceivable scenario in which it won’t be awful. The Fault In Our Stars should be good. And Guardians of the Galaxy. And 22 Jump Street… maybe it will be a good summer for movies actually. I dunno. Summer.

Anyhow it’s that special time of year again where I rank every movie I’ve seen and reviewed in the past few months. This round the entrants are, in the order I saw them:

  • The LEGO Movie
  • Need For Speed
  • Divergent
  • Oculus
  • Captain America: The Winter Solider
  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2
  • Neighbors

Anyone who’s read one of these before knows that this is by far the shortest ranking I’ve ever done. That’s because the theme for this list is January Crap Awareness, which I can proudly say I am a survivor and supporter of. My January Crap Awareness pride is so strong, in fact, it extended into February, March, April, and May.

January Crap Awareness (JCA) is knowing that the majority of movies coming out after awards season are going to be legitimately, infuriatingly awful, and being very selective with your ticket purchasing.

Like a soldier dancing across a minefield or a child hopping across a lava floor, I made that journey and lived.

Because I only saw movies I knew would be good (sorry, college kid money and time budget prevented me from critically analyzing the likes of I, Frankenstein), almost every movie on this list got a positive review from me. Yep, a fat whopping seven. (And I didn’t even like all of them. At least that one was free.)

Without further ado, here’s my very subjective and (almost) JCA-negative ranking. Click each title to be taken to my full reivew:

8. Non-Stop


Whoa! Are you kidding me. I was not expecting the big twist of the ranking to come so early this time. What a switch up from past seasons.

So yeah, it turns out I saw eight movies this JCA season. Unfortunately, I could only be bothered to review seven. That’s because Non-Stop stands for everything this list defies, and I was so shockingly, resoundingly indifferent to it, I couldn’t care to write a review of it. That’s worse than a negative response.

It’s the one about Liam Neeson on a plane punching people, with a very disappointing lack of snakes. It might as well have taken place on Malaysian Airlines, because this movie is completely missing from my memory.

7. Need For Speed


See? I’m not biased with advanced screenings. I saw Need For Speed free, thankfully, or else I wouldn’t have seen it.

The advanced screening itself was pretty weird. They didn’t give out any merchandise or advertise it in any way like I thought the point of advanced showings was, and afterwards everyone just kind of left the theater without providing feedback to anyone involved in the movie. Maybe they didn’t want their feelings hurt?

6. Divergent


Divergent’s test results are still mostly vague, but I believe they lean toward the ‘pretty good’ faction.

Since critics (who, by the way, are more biased than most crazy liberals or conservatives on Election Day) pronounced it a Hunger Games knock off upon arrival, it got a pretty negative reputation, but that’s kind of a nonissue. Yeah, the series isn’t as original as, say, The LEGO Movie or a hipster’s Spotify playlist, but it’s far from being another Twilight. God forbid.

5. Neighbors


Let’s just say what I expected was a shirtless Zac Efron and what I got was a shirtless Seth Rogen. A shirtless Seth Rogen is still hilarious and a spectacle, but there’s always going to be some disappointment.

It’s the kind of movie that will definitely be funnier on second or third watch. And I believe it’s worth a second or third watch. I just think the boys could have thrown a better party the first time around.

4. Oculus

Oculus Movie Poster

Watching this movie was really stressful for me because someone in my theater fainted at right about the climax and it took so long for help to come and the fainter’s friend was trying to incite some sort of race war because the delay of the helpers somehow equaled discrimination in the mind of the friend and all I really wanted to do was watch this awesome movie.

I would have been stressed out without the fainter’s involvement, though. Oculus is a truly scary movie. It’s pretty hard to find originality in horror nowadays (not that the genre itself is to blame), but Oculus creates an original premise upon which to genuinely skeeve out the audience. We look to the fainter and think, that’s a job well done.

3. The LEGO Movie

The LEGO Movie movie poster 

I still absolutely believe this should be required viewing for every first grader in America. (I don’t know if other countries have LEGOs, but I can’t quite fathom the cruel enormity of such worldwide childhood deprivation if they didn’t.)

This movie stirred something long dead deep within me, and even though its style was a bit too in-your-face random for my refined film palette, it was perfect for the movie it was. Someone let me know when it comes out to Redbox.

And so we reach our final 2, which, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, is a battle of the superheroes. The web slinger verses the shield bearer. The question becomes, to what am I slightly more biased: my undying allegiance to the Avengers, or my number one since day one super spider? Well, that kind of gave it away.


















2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier


My biggest problem with the Avengers crew is Marvel’s apparent inability to make a compelling hero that isn’t portrayed by Robert Downey Jr. Even though Chris Evans made massive strides in the right direction in this installment, I still felt like I was watching the story of SHIELD, not the story of Captain America.

Besides that, the movie fed my endless appetite for all things superhero (as long as they don’t involve the third and fourth letters of the alphabet in reverse order). Whenever I watch a superhero movie in theaters I’m like, oh okay, THIS is why movie theaters were invented. And even though Cap’s shield was snatched from his hands by a cleverly placed spider web, it still made for an amazing action scene.

1. The Amazing Spider-Man 2


I thank those whom have made it this far without slamming their laptops shut in frustration. Spider-Man has arguably the worst reputation out of all 7 (8ish) movies on this list, and that pains me inside.

The greatest part of this movie (because for me there were many great parts) was the resilient portrayal of Spider-Man from Andrew Garfield. Captain America, Thor, and probably all of DC, take notes: This is how you portray a superhero, and that’s why I picked it over The Winter Soldier.

Well, that, and the fact I just thought it put more emphasis on hero than super, which is what I think Marvel needs to start doing more of.

And that’s my take. It should be safe to leave our homes again soon, because even though summer is guaranteed to produce some flop movies, it is also guaranteed some amazing blockbusters as well. Congratulations, we survived #JCA2k14.

Here’s the roundup:

8. Non-Stop, kind of

7. Need For Speed

6. Divergent

5. Neighbors

4. Oculus

3. The LEGO Movie

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

1. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

That puts a bow on season 6. Be sure to tune in for season 7, beginning whenever.

About Logan Krum Movie Reviews

Hi. I’m Logan Krum, now going into my third year of studying journalism at Temple University. I created this blog to help create a portfolio of my work as an entertainment journalist and screenwriter. Though I usually disagree with the Tomato Meter, I hope you enjoy my thoughts on current pop culture movies. I can be contacted at logan.krum@gmail.com.

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