So here we are: 2015. Like everybody else, I’ve spent the last few days thinking about the past year and rather than yammer on about what I’ve done, I figured I would share what I think was the best stuff from 2014. Originally, I also had a “biggest disappointment” for each category but that would likely stick out more than what I praise so I decided to drop that and just focus on the good stuff. Let’s get down to it.
I recently wrote about my three favorites and you can read about those here.
Guardians of the Galaxy – This movie is pure fun, so much fun that I saw it in the theater three times.
Big Hero 6 – Like Guardians, this is a group who has skills rather than super powers, and they are nicely bundled into a warm and fuzzy Disney animated movie with the right doses of humor and heart.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Easily the most dense film in the MCU, changing the game for the next set of Earth-centric Marvel films we’ll see.
X-Men: Days Of Future Past – Now all the fanboys can shut up about any inconsistencies in Fox’s X-Men series since the timeline has been reset. I love X2 but this one immediately became my favorite in the series.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 – This series keeps getting better for me. And they actually aged their animated characters!
Muppets Most Wanted – I don’t understand why this movie didn’t rake in loads of cash. It felt so much like a classic Muppet movie, much more than the last one (which I love). The hilarious songs and the addition of Ricky Gervais only sweetened it for me.
Birdman – Aside from the cinematography (how often do you hear people rave about that?), the way this movie explores fame, the pursuit of artistry, critics, and how life gets in everyone’s way should make a dramatic sweep at the Oscars if we live in a just world.
St. Vincent – I’m thrilled to see Melissa McCarthy play a character who isn’t bawdy, as much as I’ve enjoyed them. I never doubted Bill Murray’s acting ability but he really blew me away in this one.
Taylor Swift: 1989 – I have been saying for years that Taylor Swift should do a shameless pop album and she finally listened to me (or decided on her own). The production on this album makes me think of Miami Sound Machine or Prince in his heyday. I love this album. In fact, maybe I’ll write a full review of it one day soon.
Winger: Better Days Comin’ – If you don’t give Winger’s two most recent albums a spin, you’re only cheating yourself. I’m a fool for catchy hard rock and every track on this album hits the mark for me.
Oasis: Definitely Maybe and (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? reissues – When I got seriously into Oasis about ten years ago, I was all over eBay trying to snap up every CD single for the exclusive songs. The band may have only released seven albums but their output is doubled if you factor in their B-sides. Their incredible first two albums were recently reissued as three-disc deluxe editions including all B-sides from the respective eras as well as unreleased live and demo tracks. Perfect for a completist like me.
Madysin Hatter – My favorite new find of 2014. She has released several EPs and cover songs so let me add up all her releases as one and say it’s a favorite. Read more about why I like her so much in this post.
The Blacklist – I’ve been riding the James Spader train since Boston Legal and watching him return to TV as a super criminal has been a joyous and bloody experience.
Catch A Contractor – Wow, a reality show that actually helps people! The mighty Adam Carolla confronts lousy contractors and makes them fix their crappy work. These guys make me happy I’m still a renter.
Selfie – Last week saw the release of the final episode of the show’s initial run and as much as it gave some degree of closure, I’m going to need more of this show. Read my full thoughts here and sign the petition to give the show another season.
Sullivan & Son – I only got into the one during its last season and I was lucky enough to be a part of what became the series finale (as an extra but still cool). I really dug this show, which I’d describe as “a crude Cheers” and that really is a best way to sum it up. It will be missed.
Mike & Molly – This is still the funniest multi-cam sitcom on TV.
Hello Ladies – Stephen Merchant did a hell of a job summing up the LA dating scene in his HBO series, and capped it off with a full length movie which was the best installment of the show. This one had better get a “complete series” box set.
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson – Even though David Letterman is the best host in late night history, Craig is my favorite. He truly made this show his own and I will miss watching his brand of insanity while fighting off sleep.
During 2014, I purchased 32 audiobooks (eight in December alone thanks to the Audible holiday sale). I have only listened to 19 of them as of this writing and these were the best ones. Some of the books aren’t from 2014 but since I listened to them during the past year, they make the cut. Odds are you recognize the names of most of the authors so I probably don’t need to summarize them, but I do need to encourage you to check them all out.
Paddle Your Own Canoe:One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living by Nick Offerman
You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Dad Is Fat and Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan
President Me: The America That’s In My Head by Adam Carolla
Shrinkage: Manhood, Marriage, and the Tumor That Tried to Kill Me by Bryan Bishop
Face The Music: A Life Exposed by Paul Stanley
Still Foolin’ ‘Em by Billy Crystal
Why We Suck by Denis Leary
Me, Inc. by Gene Simmons
The Adam Carolla Show – He’s the king of the format for a reason. Listening to ACS is a weekday ritual for me.
AMC Movie Talk – The absolute best show about what’s going on in film delivered by unbiased industry professionals. On weekends, I cram in all the episodes from the previous week to stay up to date.
Penn’s Sunday School – Out of all the podcasts I listen to, this show is the most like The Only Podcast That Matters. Two or three guys (led by Penn Jillette) having hilarious conversations about all manner of news and what’s happening in their lives, with an occasional guest sitting in.
All the best to you in 2015. Taking in all of the above will definitely ensure a good start.
Don’t forget that CAPE returns tomorrow and goes live every Monday beginning next week. Be sure to also check out the “Best Of Year 4” compilation from The Only Podcast That Matters to hear some of our funniest moments from the show’s final year. Talk to you soon…