So here we are: as revealed in the December update, 2014 has proven to be the biggest year of 100 Films ever! Now it’s time to look back at the whole shebang and analyse and rank it.
Today’s post is The Big One… until I call the next one The Big One. But really, today’s is a long’un, full of information and fun. Yes, fun: good golly gosh, it’s statistics time! Best bit of the year, right there.
In case you’re not interested in reading it all, or in breaking your scroll wheel as you have to whizz past seemingly never-ending lists, here’s a handy clickable contents:
- As It Happened — 2014’s viewing in visuals, with links to the numbered list;
- The List — the alphabetical list of everything I watched;
- Alternate Cuts, Other Reviews, Shorts — a handful of other bits I reviewed this year;
- The Statistics — The Statistics!;
- Coming Soon — I’m not done yet…
Without further ado:
One of my favourite things since I moved to WordPress is this incidental pleasure: a month-by-month visual representation of my viewing, derived from the header images on my monthly updates. More usefully, each of the twelve images below links to the relevant monthly update, where you’ll find the numbered list of everything I watched this year, and other fun stuff too.
- 12 Angry Men (1957)
- The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011)
- After Earth (2013)
- After the Thin Man (1936)
- All is Lost (2013)
- Alter Egos (2012)
- Always (1989)
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
- Amélie (2001), aka Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain
- American Hustle (2013)
- American Movie (1999)
- Another Thin Man (1939)
- Backfire (1950)
- The Battle of the Somme (1916)
- A Beautiful Mind (2001)
- Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)
- La Belle et la Bête (1946), aka Beauty and the Beast
- The Big Lebowski (1998)
- Bill the Galactic Hero (2014)
- Blue Velvet (1986)
- The Box (2009)
- Braveheart (1995)
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
- Chicken Little (2005)
- Chronicle (Extended Edition) (2012)
- Clear and Present Danger (1994)
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013)
- Cockneys vs Zombies (2012)
- The Conspirator (2010)
- Crimes of Passion: Death of a Loved One (2013), aka Mördaren ljuger inte ensam
- Dark Shadows (2012)
- Darkman (1990)
- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
- Dead Poets Society (1989)
- Edge of Tomorrow (2014), aka Live. Die. Repeat.
- Elysium (2013)
- The Expendables 2 (2012)
- The Falcon’s Adventure (1946)
- Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
- Fast Five (2011), aka Fast & Furious 5
- Flirting with Disaster (1996)
- The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)
- Frankenweenie (2012)
- Frozen (2013)
- Furious 6 (2013), aka Fast & Furious 6
- G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)
- Ghost Rider (2007)
- Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)
- Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)
- Good Will Hunting (1997)
- Gravity (2013)
- The Green Hornet (2011)
- The Grey (2011)
- Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
- The House of Fear (1945)
- The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
- Idiocracy (2006)
- In Your Eyes (2014)
- Inseparable (2011)
- John Carter (2012)
- John Dies at the End (2012)
- Journey into Fear (1943)
- The Kings of Summer (2013)
- Knights of Badassdom (2013)
- The Lair of the White Worm (1988)
- Last Action Hero (1993)
- A Late Quartet (2012)
- Legends of the Knight (2013)
- The Lego Movie (2014)
- Local Hero (1983)
- Machete (2010)
- Mad City (1997)
- Mad Max (1979)
- The Man with the Iron Fists (2012)
- Modern Times (1936)
- Monsters vs Aliens (2009)
- Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger! (2012)
- Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow (2008)
- The Next Three Days (2010)
- Night of the Big Heat (1967)
- No (2012)
- Oblivion (2013)
- Oldboy (2003), aka Oldeuboi
- Pacific Rim (2013)
- Patriot Games (1992)
- Premium Rush (2012)
- The Punisher (2004)
- Punisher: War Zone (2008)
- The Raid (2011), aka Serbuan maut
- Rear Window (1954)
- Requiem for a Dream (2000)
- The Running Man (1987)
- Safe (2012)
- Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
- The Searchers (1956)
- The Secret of Kells (2009)
- Series 7: The Contenders (2001)
- The Shining (1980)
- Show Boat (1951)
- Sightseers (2012)
- Sin City (Recut & Extended) (2005)
- Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)
- Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow (1978), aka Se ying diu sau
- Solomon Kane (2009)
- Space Battleship Yamato (2010)
- Spanking the Monkey (1994)
- The Spirit (2008)
- St. Trinian’s: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold (2009), aka St. Trinian’s 2
- The Sweeney (2012)
- The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009)
- Ten Little Indians (1965)
- The Thin Man (1934)
- This is Not a Film (2011), aka In film nist
- Thor: The Dark World (2013)
- The Tourist (2010)
- The Tournament (2009)
- Tower Block (2012)
- Trance (2013)
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
- Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)
- Union Station (1950)
- Up (2009)
- Veronica Mars (2014)
- Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship and Videotape (2010)
- Visions of Light (1992)
- The Wall (2012), aka Die Wand
- Wallander: The Troubled Man (2013), aka Mankell’s Wallander: Den orolige mannen
- We’re the Millers (2013)
- The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
- The Woman in Green (1945)
- World War Z (Extended Action Cut) (2013)
- The World’s End (2013)
- Wrath of the Titans (2012)
- X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
- Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
- The 10th Kingdom (2000)
All told, I watched a record-smashing 136 new feature films in 2014. (All are included in the following stats, even if there’s no review yet.) The previous best was my very first year, 2007, with 129. It feels pretty good to finally best that — as five of the intervening six years have finished with 110 or fewer, it’s often felt insurmountable.
I also watched one feature I’d seen before that was extended or altered in some way (well, I watched two, but the other counted on the main list). I also chose to review one other for the fun of it. (All 138 films are included in the statistics that follow, unless otherwise indicated.) It’s worth noting that this tally bests 2007 too, which stood at 135 all-in.
I also watched two shorts… depending on how you count it, because one of those was made up of four shorter-shorts. Either way, none of them shall be counted in any statistics (apart from the one that says it counts them).
The total running time of new features in 2014 was a stonking 237 hours and 15 minutes. For perspective, last year’s total running time was the highest ever, beating the previous best by 58 minutes. This year now exceeds even that by just over 28 hours.
The total running time of all films (including shorts) was 247 hours and 43 minutes. That’s less of an increase on last year (8 hours and 14 minutes, to be precise), but it still leaves 2014 as the longest year ever. No surprise, really.
2014’s most prolific format was Blu-ray for the second year in a row, though at 49 films its total is lower than last year. That’s not the first time it’s dropped, but the only other was tiny (from 42 in 2011 to 41 in 2012), so it’s the first significant one. To be honest, that has nothing to say about the state of Blu-ray — I’m still merrily buying lots of them — and more about the fact I cancelled my LOVEFiLM subscription, so there were fewer Blu-ray rentals. That number has been absorbed elsewhere, as we shall see shortly…
Television came second again, though continued to slide in importance with just 36 watched, none of them in HD. I think I mentioned at the time that my V+ box crashed and had to be reset, creating a shedload of space on its hard drive… which I promptly filled with new, more watchable films (and not in HD, to maximise space). To be frank, were it not for those recordings TV would have disappeared even further — I don’t think I watched a single thing ‘live’ this year.
Arguably the biggest news is third place, however. The past two years have seen me increase my use of streaming, with four films in 2012 and six in 2013. This year, it came to 23. A big increase but, mulling on it, still not particularly good value for money: I currently have Now TV, aka Sky Movies, whose service is based around having lots of major recent movies about six months after their DVD release. Dividing the subscription price between what I actually watched works out around the same as it would cost to rent a film in HD from Sky/Virgin/Apple/etc on its DVD/BD release date. That’d be the same spend, same number of films, but they’d be newer. I may need to reconsider my options here…
In fourth place was DVD, which reached double figures for the first time since 2010… and then went a bit further, eventually hitting the giddy heights of 18. I still have hundreds of the things unwatched, though.
Finally, downloads accounted for 14 films — another highest-ever total. Not sure why, to be honest. It’s a mix of 99p rentals from iTunes, having to finish films where the LOVEFiLM disc went screwy halfway through (because of that, you’ll find the formats total 140 rather than 138), and just… other stuff, I guess. Hm.
(You may also note that means no films seen at the cinema, for the second year in a row.)
The most-represented decade this year was the 2010s. Only five years old, but it totalled 70 films, or a whopping 50.7%. That’s the first time a single decade has accounted for over half my viewing since 2009 — which makes sense when you think about it. The ’00s are a distant second on 29, which at 18.8% is a slight rise on last year. In third place, there’s a bit of a resurgence for the ’90s. Only 13 films (9.4%), but that’s enough to put it ahead of the pack, whereas last year it was down amongst them.
In fourth place we have the ’80s, with a semi-appropriate eight (5.8%), before the rest descend in size quite neatly: the ’50s are on six (4.3%), the ’40s just behind with five (3.6%), then the ’30s manage four (2.9%), the ’70s clock three (2.2%), the ’60s have two (1.4%), and the 1910s finish us off with one (0.7%). That really just leaves the ’20s, with zero (0.0%).
Moving on from time to space — where were the films I watched in 2014 from? Let’s start with language: as usual, English dominates, with 126 of the 138 films being wholly or significantly in our greatest export. That comes to 91.3% — a continued decrease from last year’s 93.5% and 2012’s 98%. I’m getting gradually Cultured, innit. While no single other language comes close to that (French and Mandarin share second place with three (2.2%) each), the total number of languages heard also continues in the right direction: from four in 2012, to 11 in 2013, to 15 in 2014 (plus one for “silent”). More uncommon ones include Persian (from This is Not a Film) and American Sign Language (from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes).
Similar to the English language’s dominance, the USA has a near-stranglehold on my viewing: 111 films were either produced or co-produced in/by the US. Defining a film’s country of origin is always tricky (see: the controversy around Gravity’s Best British Film BAFTA), and in this day and age an awful lot are co-productions anyway — several films you’d define as culturally somewhere-else (e.g. No) contributed to the US’s count; equally, some ‘Hollywood’ blockbusters also give credit to foreign shores (including such uncommon examples as Cyprus and Malta).
Behind the US comes the UK, with 25, which at 18.1% is significantly down on last year’s 29.3%. No idea why. France once again have eight, Australia are a ‘new entry’ with six, right behind them are Germany with five, then on three it’s both New Zealand (all thanks to Peter Jackson) and Japan. A further 20 countries had a hand in one or two films each, with those holding a genuine claim to “country of origin” including (but not necessarily limited to) Chile, Ireland, Hong Kong, and South Korea.
For the second year, I totalled up the BBFC and MPAA certificates of my viewing. Things skew ‘mature’ this year: in 2013, the BBFC’s PG, 12 and 15 certificates were more or less equal, while the MPAA’s meaningless Unrated (not just signifying “too extreme to be classified!” but also “so old it doesn’t need to be reclassified”) came top, closely followed by PG-13. In 2014, however, the 15 certificate (41, 29.7%) edged out the 12 (37, 26.8%), with 18 in third place (21, 15.2%) and PG just behind (18, 13.0%). Technical last place goes to U (15, 10.9%), although six films weren’t BBFC certified at all. “But that’s illegal!” Well, not for internet-distributed films that weren’t specifically released over here.
On the other side of the pond, this year it was R that claimed the top spot (43, 31.2%), pushing Unrated into second place (39, 28.3%) and PG-13 down to third (38, 27.5%). The MPAA’s distaste for lower ratings continued with 14 PGs (10.1%) and just three Gs (2.2%). If you’ve spotted that those add up to 99.3% then… why are you checking my percentages? Don’t you trust me? But also, the 0.7% goes to a sole NC-17 film. As I’ve not posted a review yet, I’ll tell you that’s Requiem for a Dream.
In a stat that’s improved for the second year in a row, 15 of my main list films appear on the IMDb Top 250 at the start of January 2015. Their positions ranges from 7th (12 Angry Men) to 203rd (X-Men: Days of Future Past), and 10 of those 15 are thanks to What Do You Mean You Haven’t Seen (the two not present are The Searchers (yes, really) and Blue Velvet). Ticking off 12 Angry Men also means I’ve finally seen all of the Top 250’s top ten. However, I still have 102 of the Top 250 to see — a lot, but also a nice little improvement from last year’s 114.
At the end of every previous year-end summary I’ve included a list of 50 notable films I’d missed from that year’s releases, and have since tracked my progress at watching those ‘misses’. In 2014, I’ve seen more movies from every year’s list (worth mentioning because I didn’t last year). Noteworthy points include that, after six years, I’ve still only seen 15 films (30%) from 2008’s list; and although I only watched one apiece from 2007’s, 2008’s, and 2010’s lists, I watched an anomalous five from 2009’s. As with so many things, I’m not sure why that should have happened. Rounding things out, I watched four from 2011’s list and eight from 2012’s. The newcomer is (of course) 2013, and I got off to strong start by catching up on 16 of those 50 — more in one year than I’ve managed in six from 2008. Don’t know what’s wrong with that list (and you can’t find out either, what with FilmJournal being down again. I’ll repost it all someday…)
That graph shows my progress year-by-year, but in total I’ve seen 153 out of 350 ‘missed’ movies, or 43.7%. Of the remaining 197, I own or currently have ready access to around 106. Which is ridiculous. I shall chastise myself.
The count of directors on the list this year is complicated by some mix-and-match directing partnerships. So for starters, there are 112 solo directors… but one of those, Frank Miller, also directed a film with Robert Rodriguez, and another with Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino; and Rodriguez directed another again, with Ethan Maniquis. Counting all the different combinations as unique, there are 129 directing credits this year… although that doesn’t include the one film that didn’t even have a credited director! I despair. Whichever way you cut it up, it comes out as the most directors ever. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but there it is.
Aside from Miller and Rodriguez, those with multiple films are headlined by David O. Russell and W.S. Van Dyke with three each. There’s two apiece from Tim Burton, Justin Lin, Roy William Neill, Phillip Noyce, and Steven Spielberg, while Peter Jackson has one main list film (The Hobbit 2) and one extra film (The Hobbit 1 Extended).
Finally, as always, we come to the scores:
First up, there were a record-high number of five-star films this year: 29. Of course that’s partly due to the sheer volume of films, but at 21.0% of my viewing it’s only just behind 2009’s 21.2% in terms of highest percentages. That makes five-stars the second most-awarded score this year, which has only happened once before (also in 2009), and even then it was tied for second (with three-stars). Have I become more lenient, or have I been watching a higher standard of films this year? Not sure, to be honest — there may have been a couple of occasions when generosity got the better of me; equally, there were a couple where I’d initially thought of giving full marks but pulled back in the end, so I guess it averages out.
The most populous score is, as usual, four-stars, with 68 films. That’s not the highest total ever (that goes to 2007’s 72), nor the highest percentage (several years best it), but it still comes out at 49.3%, which is pretty good going. See above for my thoughts on leniency vs. quality.
There were 27 three-star films, which works out at 19.6%. That’s the lowest percentage ever for this rating. It comes after the two most three-stars-y years ever (38% in 2012 and 35.8% in 2013) — the more of these stats I trot out, the more you can see why I’ve been wondering if I’m going soft.
The lowest two rankings remain within their usual parameters, however. There were 13 two-star films, which is darn close to the 2007-2013 average of 12. Finally, there was just one one-star films, which is the same as four of the previous seven years. I’ve always been toughest when it comes to rating films just a single star — something has to be pretty irredeemable to get to that point, as proven by the fact that neither G.I. Joe: Retaliation nor Transformers: Dark of the Moon sunk so low. Maybe I am getting lenient…
Last of all, the average score. As you’d expect from those numbers, it’s a high one: 3.8. To be precise, it’s 3.804, just behind 2011’s 3.829 but (in percentage terms) notably above third-place 2009’s 3.657. (If I scored in percentages, that would make this year’s average 76.1%, with 2011’s high as 76.6% and 2009’s third as 73.1%; 2012’s lowest-ever of 3.352 would be 67.0%.)
And that’s your lot!
(“Soon” as in “soon as I can decide what they are and write up 15 mini-blurbs”, that is.)
My Top 10! And all the other bits that always come in that post!
And then we can finally move on to 2015, I promise.