The Best and Worst Movies of 2014

  • Publish Date: January 6, 2015
  • Comments: ↓ 12 user comments

Boyhood is the best-reviewed movie of 2014

2014 100 Boyhood
2013 97 12 Years a Slave
2012 95 Zero Dark Thirty
2011 95 A Separation
High Scoring Movies by Year
(Minimum 7 Reviews)
2010 95 The Social Network

Well, that wasn't exactly suspenseful. Boyhood, writer-director Richard Linklater's astounding 12-years-in-the-making chronicle of one boy's experiences as he reaches adolescence and beyond, has had the title of 2014's highest-scoring film locked up since its release in July, after first wowing critics at Sundance in January.

Boyhood is the only new movie to achieve a "perfect" 100 score since we first began gathering movie reviews for Metacritic back in 1999. It is also easily the most honored film of the year on critic top 10 lists, and is also cleaning up on the awards circuit, making it a virtual lock for a best picture Oscar nomination next week.

But Boyhood wasn't 2014's only great movie. Out of the 655 films released last year to receive at least 7 reviews from professional critics, 53 received a Metascore of 81 or higher, the cutoff we use to indicate "universal acclaim" from reviewers. That is both a higher total and a higher percentage (8% vs. 7%) than in 2013, when only 41 films scored 81 or above.

Overall, 44.4% of films released in 2014 were reviewed positively by critics (scoring 61 or higher). That figure is also an improvement over 2013, when just 42.6% of releases received positive reviews. However, the average Metascore for all films dipped slightly last year, to 56.3 (a drop of 0.2 compared to 2013). One reason for that might be the increase in terrible films. A total of 14 releases in 2014 scored below 20. That's the highest total of truly awful films in any calendar year since 2002.

Below are 2014's highest-scoring films in a variety of categories. On the following two pages are more complete rankings of all of the year's best and worst films.

2014's Best-Reviewed Dramas (English-Language, Live Action)
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Image100 Image95 Image91 Image87 Image86
IFC Films
Amazon iTunes
Mr. Turner
Sony Pictures Classics
Sony Pictures Classics
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
Amazon iTunes
2014's Best-Reviewed "Dramedies" (English-Language, Live Action)
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Image89 Image88 Image81 Image79 Image79
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Fox Searchlight
Amazon iTunes
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Fox Searchlight
Amazon iTunes
Inherent Vice
Warner Bros.
CBS Films
Amazon iTunes
Dear White People
Roadside Attractions
Amazon iTunes
2014's Best-Reviewed Comedies (English-Language, Live Action)
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Image81 Image76 Image75 Image71 Image68
Top Five
Obvious Child
Amazon iTunes
The Trip to Italy
IFC Films
Amazon iTunes
22 Jump Street
Amazon iTunes
Amazon iTunes
2014's Best-Reviewed Documentaries
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Image90 Image90 Image90 Image89 Image88
Big Men
The Overnighters
Drafthouse Films
Amazon iTunes
National Gallery
Zipporah Films
Last Days in Vietnam
American Experience
2014's Best-Reviewed Foreign-Language Films (Narrative Films Only)
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Image91 Image91 Image90 Image87 Image87
Sony Pictures Classics
Two Days, One Night
Sundance Selects
Music Box Films
Amazon iTunes
Force Majeure
Magnolia Pictures
Amazon iTunes
We Are the Best!
Magnolia Pictures
Amazon iTunes
2014's Best-Reviewed Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Superhero Films
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Image84 Image79 Image78 Image76 Image74
The Weinstein Company
Amazon iTunes
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
20th Century Fox
Amazon iTunes
Under the Skin
Amazon iTunes
Guardians of the Galaxy
Amazon iTunes
X-Men: Days of Future Past
20th Century Fox
Amazon iTunes
2014's Best-Reviewed Horror Films and Supernatural Thrillers
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Image87 Image79 Image79 Image76 Image73
The Babadook
IFC Films
Amazon iTunes
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Kino Lorber
Only Lovers Left Alive
Sony Pictures Classics
Amazon iTunes
XLrator Media
Amazon iTunes
Witching & Bitching
IFC Midnight
Amazon iTunes
2014's Best-Reviewed Mysteries and Thrillers (Non-Supernatural)
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Image82 Image81 Image80 Image79 Image77
Stranger by the Lake
Strand Releasing
Amazon iTunes
A Most Violent Year
Gone Girl
20th Century Fox
Amazon iTunes
Blue Ruin
Amazon iTunes
2014's Best-Reviewed Animated Films
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Image89 Image86 Image83 Image81 Image78
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
Ernest & CĂ©lestine
Amazon iTunes
The LEGO Movie
Warner Bros.
Amazon iTunes
Amazon iTunes
Rocks in My Pockets
Zeitgeist Films

For this and all tables in this article, only movies with seven or more reviews released between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014 were considered. Re-releases are excluded. The Metascore is a weighted average of scores from top professional critics, on a scale from 0 (bad) to 100 (good). Although scores have been rounded to the nearest whole number, movies are ranked prior to rounding. All scores in this article are from January 4, 2015.

On the next page ...

Continue reading for a look at the best and worst wide releases of 2014.

Comments (12)

  • DanBurrito  

    It's despicable that "The Lego Movie" didn't get nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars. It's also shocking that How To Train Your Dragon 2 beat it at the Golden Globes. I mean, what a joke. HTTYD 2 was good, but nowhere near as good as The Lego Movie.

  • adb7  

    What a travesty that "Boyhood" didn't win best picture at the Oscars and received only one award. Well, that puts it in exactly the same category as "Citizen Kane"!

  • loudross  

    what about 'not coo'l or '10 rules for sleeping around'. they both scored 1s.

  • Cozar  

    Just finished watching this sad, bizarre film. My friend and I kept commenting on the boy's flat affect, effeminate demeanor and depressing outlook on life. "What is wrong with these people?" we kept asking ourselves. Occasionally a character would step in and attempt to talk sense to the boy but most of them turned out to be violent or abusive drunks. Hollywood's propagandizing is becoming comical-- it is soooo bad. Their political pandering has become shameless. Of course the Christians were stereo-typed yet again as simple country, gun-toting folks. The dad, a jobless loser for most of his life in the film was full of self-righteous anti-American rhetoric. He set a terrible example for his children not just because he failed to man-up financially but because he did things like steal signs out of people's yards because they had signs up for the "bad" guy. His judgement of Sarah Palen's pregnant daughter was just well ... pathetic (especially since he didn't even bother to pay a dime of child support, himself ). Unbelievable hypocrisy. When his son asked about his stepbrother's baptism, the dad responded, "don't worry, I don't expect you to be baptized... I have no concern for your eternal soul." Nice! Oh... and... The one Republican threatened to shoot the dad and kids in the film just because they were campaigning for Obama! That's actually so bad it is funny! Who writes this **** Really. I'm not a Republican but these people in Hollywood really need to expand their horizons and get out and meet people who don't agree with them once in a while. Maybe they will lose their fear and ignorance of people who actually read and watch news shows other than MSNBC and start presenting people who haven't fallen off the far left cliff more realistically rather than such stereotyped one-dimensional characters. That, unfortunately is what happens when people stop communicating with others who don't think exactly like they do! Sad really.

    Anyway- back to the plot (or lack thereof) The mom seemed the only one trying to do something with her life but even she lacked depth. It wasn't until the mom had her empty nest emotional breakdown that my friend realized why these people seemed so bizarre and depressing to us. "This is what life looks like with no faith or inspiration," my friend said. A relationship with God is what the poor family lacked in this movie. The two main kids in this film were self-centered to the extreme and lacked passion and direction. Other than the novelty of watching the family age over twelve years I don't get all the accolades --at all. After watching the Seattle Seahawks come from behind to beat the Green Bay Packers and watching, Russell Wilson, cry with joy, and proclaim, "God is good." I'm just so blessed and grateful to be a part of this team!" this movie was particularly depressing. I'm just glad I have a faith that sustains me through the good times and bad today, thanks to my parents!

  • UngratefulCward  

    I think for top 10 2014 best movie:

    1 Boyhood
    2 The Tale of The Princess Kaguya
    3 Winter Sleep
    4 Leviathan
    5 Birdman
    6 Selma
    7 Ida
    8 Goodbye to Language
    9 Under the Skin
    10 Two Days, One Night

    Overrated: Interstellar, Guardians of the Galaxy, Boyhood (best but overrated)
    Underrated: Goodbye to Language, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, Norte, The Look of Silence (well this movie maybe for 2015 release but BFI choose this for one of 2014 best movies)

  • jayman69  

    Have not seen a handful of newer films but tops so far....

    1. Boyhood
    2. Birdman
    3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    4. Nightcrawler
    5. The Lego Movie
    6. The Grand Budapest Hotel
    7. The Drop
    Over rated : Interstellar, Gone Girl, Under The Skin

  • ThePieperReview  

    I should add that "The Theory of Everything" is the year's most overrated movie and that "Nymphomaniac Vol. II" is the year's biggest disappointment. (In my opinion.) Underrated/Under-seen could be a very long list this year, but "Calvary", "Locke", "Obvious Child", and "The Drop" come to mind as front runners.

  • ThePieperReview  

    I still need to see Inherent Vice and A Most Violent Year, but so far, my favorites of the year are as stands:

    1. Boyhood
    2. Birdman
    3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
    4. Foxcatcher
    5. Whiplash
    6. Calvary
    7. Interstellar
    8. The Imitation Game
    9. Snowpiercer
    10. The Lego Movie

    But wow, it has been a fantastic year for movies. Definitely the best year of the 2010's decade so far. I have a whole slew of honorable mentions that didn't make the top ten: The Babadook, Locke, Under the Skin, Gone Girl, Obvious Child, Nightcrawler, Guardians of the Galaxy, American Sniper, Mr. Turner, The Drop, Stranger by the Lake, Listen Up Philip, and Edge of Tomorrow to name a few.

    IMDB Link:

    Favorite Lead Actor: Brendan Gleeson in Calvary
    Favorite Lead Actress: Jenny Slate in Obvious Child
    Favorite Supporting Actor: Ethan Hawke in Boyhood (virtually tied with J.K. Simmons in Whiplash)
    Favorite Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette in Boyhood

  • heisenbergsfan  

    My top 10 favorite movies of 2014:

    1. Snowpiercer
    2. Boyhood
    3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
    4. Birdman
    5. Nightcrawler
    6. Whiplash
    7. Gone Girl
    8. The Babadook
    9. Frank
    10. Interstellar

  • MouseyV  

    Oh yeah sorry I missed this movie too, probably would've been 6 or 7 knocking out The Fault In Our Stars. Gone Girl was an incredible movie, but I felt the ending was a little short. :

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