How is it that 2014 is slated to end in a little less than a week from now? Is it just me, or has this year gone by so fast? I'll admit that sometimes I think that we're still midway through the 1990s! Or, maybe I am just getting older, and it just seems that time is passing by so fast the closer we get to death. After all, death is one of two things that we cannot avoid. The other being taxes.
Well, okay, some people have managed to avoid filing tax returns for years. Eventually, they get caught.
But we are not here to talk about death and taxes. Instead, we are going to talk about the past.
More specifically, the year that has almost just gone by.
I did this last year in my blog around this time, and it seemed to get some decent results, so I thought that I would try the same thing again this year.
All this week, we will be looking at 2014 IN POP CULTURE!
Yes, 2014 was a rather huge year in the world of entertainment and pop culture, and there is a lot to talk about! So, I thought that I would dedicate the week of December 27, 2014 to January 2, 2015 to talk about it.
And, to determine the order of what we will be discussing, we will go with the order of the theme weeks that I have been doing all year long. So, here is the scheduled itinerary for the week (keeping in mind that it can be subjected to change).
12/27/2014 - 2014 IN POP CULTURE - MOVIES
12/28/2014 - 2014 IN POP CULTURE - MUSIC
12/29/2014 - 2014 IN POP CULTURE - FADS/TOYS/GAMES
12/30/2014 - THE FINAL TUESDAY TIMELINE OF 2014
12/31/2014 - 2014: MY RETROSPECTIVE
01/01/2015 - 2014 IN POP CULTURE - TELEVISION
01/02/2015 - 2014 IN POP CULTURE - NEWS AND EVENTS
I suppose this means that we will be having a look at the film industry in 2014, talking about box office hits, box office blunders, and box office controversies.
So, let us begin by taking a look at what the top ten grossing films were for the year. Now, I got this information from "Box Office Mojo", which is a fairly accurate source for movie rankings. This information is accurate as of December 26, 2014, and this year, I decided to put the amount that each of these films made.
1. TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION $1,087,404,499
2. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY $772,152,345
3. MALEFICENT $757,752,378
4. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST $746,045,700
5. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER $714,083,572
6. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 $708,982,323
7. DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES $708,279,489
8. THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PT. 1 $647,155,981
9. INTERSTELLAR $638,357,000
10. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 $618,909,935
So, what do you think? Have you seen any of these films? Do you agree?
Whether you do or don't, one thing is clear. 2014 seemed to be the year of the superhero. Half of these films are superhero/action themed! The top ranked picture - the fourth film in the "Transformers" series - is only the nineteenth film in history to top the one billion dollar mark at the box office. And since we're focused on the number nineteen, take a look at the tenth film on that list. "How To Train Your Dragon 2" is the nineteenth highest grossing animated film of all time!
As far as this list goes, I can't say that I am all that surprised. Everyone I know is obsessed with "The Hunger Games", so it is no surprise that it would be on the list of highest-grossing films of 2014. I am surprised that it is only ranked at #8. I would have thought it would have made at least Top 5. Oh, well.
Now let's take a look at who the big winners were for the 86th Academy Awards, which aired in March 2014. Granted, the winners are all from 2013 films - but that is only because the nominees for the 2014 films won't be announced until January. Either way, the Academy Awards ceremony was a big hit, and between host Ellen DeGeneres ordering pizza for the audience and John Travolta butchering Idina Menzel's name, there were a lot of awards given. Let's see who won the big awards, shall we?
BEST PICTURE - 12 YEARS A SLAVE
BEST DIRECTOR - ALFONSO CUARON (Gravity)
BEST ACTOR - MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY (Dallas Buyers Club)
BEST ACTRESS - CATE BLANCHETT (Blue Jasmine)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR - JARED LETO (Dallas Buyers Club)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS - LUPITA NYONG'O (12 Years A Slave)
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM - FROZEN
BEST ORIGINAL SONG - "LET IT GO" from FROZEN
Again, no real surprises for 2014. Everyone who was nominated really deserved to win. I didn't feel that there were any major upsets, but I will say that if I had to choose a category that was tough to choose a winner from, it would be "Best Actress". Lots of talent in that pool!
So, we have taken a look at the best. What about the worst? Here are the winners of the dreaded "Golden Raspberry Awards" - or "Razzies", if you prefer.
WORST PICTURE - MOVIE 43
WORST DIRECTOR - THE DIRECTION TEAM OF MOVIE 43
WORST ACTOR - JADEN SMITH (After Earth)
WORST ACTRESS - TYLER PERRY (A Madea Christmas)
WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR - WILL SMITH (After Earth)
WORST SUPPORTING ACTRESS - KIM KARDASHIAN (Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor)
Again...not really too surprised, though I do find it funny that Tyler Perry won for Worst Actress. I will admit that the Madea character was funny the first time around, but now she just grates on my nerves! And, Movie 43 was one of those "too many cooks spoil the broth" features. The cast was oversized and bloated, and thirteen people were credited as directors! No wonder the film tanked! No wonder you can find that film in our $4.88 bin at my workplace! At least Kristen Bell redeemed herself with "Frozen", but the others...yikes.
Sadly, the trend of churning out sequels and reboots did not go away in 2014, and I hear that 2015 isn't much better. But some of them did work better than others.
Naturally, "Mockingjay" will be mentioned as a good sequel. "The Hunger Games" is doing what Harry Potter did a decade ago. The movies do keep getting better and better, and I imagine when the last part of Mockingjay is released, it will be phenomenal.
I was also fairly skeptical of the reboot of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" when it was first released in the summer of 2014 (which makes sense, since I grew up watching the original), but in what I have seen of it, I admit I was pleasantly surprised at how it wasn't terrible. I still like the original better, but these new turtles are kind of cool too.
But was there really any need to make another Expendables movie? I get that these sorts of films are the only ones that Sylvester Stallone knows how to make, but still...enough is enough!
And, while Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles worked as a reboot...I can't say I felt the same way about "Robocop". I tried to watch it. I really tried. But it just did not interest me as much as the 1987 original did.
Of course, there are some good news stories to mention when it comes to the box office. "Veronica Mars" fans were so keen on getting a film release of their favourite TV show that they helped the cast and crew fund it themselves! Now that's teamwork!
The year also seemed to be the year for tragic romances, as "If I Stay" and "The Fault In Our Stars" did phenomenally well at the box office. "Brick Mansions" also did quite well, given that it was one of the final films that Paul Walker acted in before his death in a car accident in November 2013. And, while the film did get a lot of mixed reviews, Seth MacFarlane's "A Million Ways To Die In The West" seemed to attract people as well.
Of course, I cannot end this blog off without mentioning the most controversial film of 2014. "The Interview" - which starred Seth Rogen, James Franco, and Rob Lowe - had a controversial subject to begin with - two American journalists arrive in North Korea to assassinate the leader of the nation, Kim Jong-un. And, certainly when North Korea heard about this film, they obviously were not very happy.
When Sony Pictures Entertainment's computer systems were hacked in November 2014 - one month before the film's scheduled December 25 release, the group that took responsibility for it was known as "The Guardians of Peace", which the FBI believed to have originated from, or had ties to North Korea. The hackers threatened widespread terrorist attacks on movie theatres that dared show the picture on Christmas Day, and as a result of these threats, the release of "The Interview" was temporarily shelved.
However, some cinemas did decide to go ahead with a limited release at selected theatres on Christmas Day, and on December 24, the film became available for view on most streaming video sites. I suppose in the end, Rogen and Franco ended up having the last laugh. And, hey...I completely agree with the decision. Maybe this film isn't one that I would go out to see, but I don't think it should be censored just because a country run by a dictator didn't like it.