So it’s that time of the year again for the end of year lists. Once again, my rule for these lists is that any film released in the UK in 2014 can be counted. This means that films released in 2013 in America like 12 Years a Slave, Fruitvale Station and The Wolf of Wall Street will be included. It also means that you won’t see films like Birdman, Whiplash and Selma, all of which come out in the UK in 2015, along with Snowpiercer which probably would make a few appearances in my lists if the Weinstein’s ever bother to release it in the UK. For the next four days there will be a different list starting my favourite film scenes of 2014. As usual for these lists, I will only be including one scene per film. With that said, lets get started:
10. The Creation Tale – Noah – Normally, this is the type of scene I would hate in a film, a scene going in full detail about how God created the universe and how everything happened in a single day. However, in the hands of Darren Aronofsky this is an incredible visual experience, going through the most realistic version of the creation story, with each day actually being millions of years, and Adam and Eve being the first humans to emerge from evolution. There’s this sense of the surreal throughout the whole sequence that makes it compelling to watch, with the effects in this scene making it a visual wonder.
9. Newsreel – Paddington – This was the perfect way to open this film. In the modern world, we needed more of an explanation for some of the traits about Paddington, such as him being from Peru but being able to speak English and his obsession with marmalade, and this scene presents those very naturally. The filming and narration perfectly matches the old Pathe newsreels and there are a lot of really funny moments regarding British attitudes to exploring in the 20th Century, the attitude that led to Captain Scott not taking warm clothes on his voyage to Antarctica, with this being shown with the travelling piano and modest timepiece (which was a Grandfather Clock). This is a really funny scene that perfectly set up the tone and world of Paddington.
8. I Love You All – Frank – This scene is probably the most bittersweet on the list and one that I won’t go into that much detail with, considering that most people reading this would not have seen Frank. I’ll just say that this scene is a perfect ending for these characters, showing how they have grown throughout the film and the actual song I Love You All is one of the best songs of the year, not just in film but for music in general and the fact that it’s not even up for consideration for the Best Original Song Oscar is a complete travesty.
7. Prison Riot – The Raid 2 – Out of all the incredible action scenes in The Raid 2, this one is easily my favourite because of how it is filmed. Whilst other action scenes had more impressive fight choreography, this scene is done in one continuous take. I’ve said many times that I love long takes, as it gives a greater sense of geography to a scene and helps to show the skill of a director and cinematographer through getting everyone in place at exactly the right time. This is especially true here due to the use of mud, which must have made it incredibly hard to film. There’s this sense of brutality and danger throughout the scene and the long take helps inform that, letting us know that this violence will carry on. Plus, it being an action scene in a Raid film, the choreography of the fights are excellent (although again, later fight scenes do it better) and this combines with the long take to make this a very impressive action scene.
6. San Francisco Battle – Godzilla – Throughout Godzilla, I had the same feeling a lot of other people did; I wanted to actually see Godzilla. However, when it got to this fight I was kind of glad Godzilla didn’t have that much screentime beforehand as it made this fight all the better. When I watched it, I had a massive grin on my face and was geeking out all the way through, especially when he first let loose his atomic breath and it showed just how good a director Gareth Edwards is when given the resources he had.
5. Dancing Baby Groot – Guardians of the Galaxy – This is a very short little scene but it perfectly sums up Guardians of the Galaxy as a really entertaining, funny film. This is the simplest scene in this list and there’s not much to talk about, it’s exactly what it says on the tin, but it’s the perfect ending to Guardians of the Galaxy.
4. 23 Years of Messages – Interstellar – Whilst the technical side of me wants to put the scenes with the wormhole and the black hole on this list for how visually incredible they are, I do have to admit that this scene was easily the best in Interstellar, a scene showing that Christopher Nolan can do hard hitting emotional moments incredibly well. This scene shows how good a visual storyteller Nolan is and how good an actor Matthew McConaughey is through the pain and eventual hope that they show through Cooper’s facial expressions as he watches the messages, making this easily the best emotional scene of the year.
3. Breaking Out Magneto – X-Men: Days of Future Past – This scene is one here entirely for one part, the scene where Quicksilver saves the other characters from being shot. The effects in the scene are excellent, with great use of slow motion, the use of Time in a Bottle as the music was an inspired choice and the performance from Evan Peters as Quicksilver injected a lot of humour into the moment, this was a very entertaining scene.
2. The Credits – 22 Jump Street – In many cases, calling the ending credits the best part of the film would be pretty damning to the film, in this case though it’s justified. Phil Lord and Chris Miller use the credits to rip apart the whole concept of franchises, going through a whole bunch of future Jump Street films, having them become more and more ridiculous before we end up with Jump Street in Space. It mocks recasting characters due to contract issues through Seth Rogen’s cameo, the trend of marketing adult films for children through the release of toys, terrible videogame spinoffs and even references cartoons based on adult material like the Rambo and Conan cartoons of the 80s. It’s one brilliant gag after another and the fact that this was a last minute addition to the film makes it better.
1. Lemmons – The Wolf of Wall Street – I don’t think I’ve laughed more at any scene in the cinema as much as this scene from The Wolf of Wall Street. Leonardo DiCaprio proves himself to be an incredible physical comedian, with some of his movements feeling very Chaplin-esque, with Scorsese’s direction highlighting the performance and giving the audience an insight into the effect the Lemmons are having on Belfort. There’s also a really great bit later on in the scene referencing Popeye which proves how good Scorsese still is at making small cultural references work in his films. These, along with the great writing, had me in stitches laughing all the way through this scene, making it easily my favourite scene of 2014.
- The Boxtrolls Song – The Boxtrolls
- Disco Dancing – Pride
- Spaceship – The Lego Movie
- We’re Doing a Sequel – Muppets Most Wanted
- The Tank – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes