Friends! We reunite just as the year reaches its last, and before Christmas and the merry fun of the season exhausts us let us look back on a fine year in film.
The annual HeyUGuys alternative Movie Awards are here, Part 2 in fact, and our team of wonderful writers have gone all out in their own choice of awards for this year.
As in previous years each writer invents their own categories for their Truffles and we have a choice selection for you today.
If you missed yesterday’s Part 1 of the 2014 Truffles please click
Let us begin with one of our favourites from this year.
The biggest blow for a tourist board Award:
Under the Skin
Not many of the films I’ve seen this year have made me drastically re-evaluate my summer plans. The drug-addled gun-toting puppy-neck-snapping locals in Amat Escalante’s Heli didn’t exactly do wonders for the Mexican tourist board and Australia was once again characterised as a lawless post-apocalyptic dust bowl in David Michôd’s The Rover (perhaps the Mad Max reboot will offer an immensely charming view of the outback?) However, the biggest no-go zone appears to be Scotland, as depicted in Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin.
Scarlett Johansson’s alien prowls the dank miserable landscape in a white transit van looking for humans to harvest. The seedy nightclubs, sprawling motorways and humdrum grey villages provide us with a far from tourist-eye view of Scotland to the extent that when the passenger side window was rolled down I was half expecting to see Trainspotting’s Renton in need of a lift.
In the same way that stills from Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon look like celluloid renditions of Watteau and Gainsborough paintings, Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner adopts the same colour palette and visual style of the great painter himself. Leigh’s cinematographer Dick Pope shot digitally but retrofitted vintage lenses to achieve a period feel and emulate the beauty of the artist’s own paintings. The result is gorgeous and begs to be seen on a big screen.
Most referential film:
The Double references a plethora of movies and literary works so much so that it almost becomes the cinematic equivalent of Ayoade’s Pinterest board. Many critics have mentioned how the pen-pushing bureaucratic environment in which Simon is hermetically sealed owes an obvious debt to Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. There are also nods to Orson Welles, Aki Kurismaki, Eraserhead, Kafka and Roy Anderson.
However, the reference that no one seems to have picked up on is Kieslowski’s A Short Film About Love: shy protagonist covets female character living in adjacent tower block? He spies on her with a telescope? It culminates in a suicide attempt? Check, check and check!
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, after all everything is imitative in one way shape or form, but the endless referentiality in The Double feels cumbersome and Ayoade doesn’t mould these references to offer something fresh, something he achieved brilliantly in Submarine.
How do you depict something with a gravity so strong, light itself can’t even escape? Kip Thorne, theoretical physicist and the film’s co-producer, along with the VFX team at Double Negative have undertaken the task, and the result is sublime.
The gravitational lensing and amorphous shapes found in the wormhole and black hole sequences were mathematically modelled using Kip Thorn’s formulae and are not only accurate to relativistic laws but to our best understanding of quantum gravity.
J.B.S Haldane used to say the universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine and there is something magisterial and mind-altering seeing these massive fields of light and gravity on a 100-foot screen.
The Rob Schneider ‘Derp De Derp’ Award for Dumbest Visual Effect:
TARS Running – Interstellar
There aren’t enough words to accurately describe how stupid this sequence in Christopher Nolan’s relentlessly overhyped and overpraised space odyssey really is. Dr. Brand (Anne Hathaway) is quickly scooped from the water by on-board robot TARS who randomly generates super lightening speed and begins dashing for their spacecraft Endurance like a steroid-fuelled Kit-Kat.
For all the fine aesthetical sequences Interstellar has to offer – particularly during this aquatic planet scene – it is truly annoying and unintentionally hilarious that a moment of such mindless idiocy is at all present. It completely ripped me from the drama and made Benny Hill’s ‘Yakety Sax’ begin playing in the mind…
The Kate & Peter McCallister Award for Terrible Movie Parenting:
Essie Davis – The Babadook
Don’t get me wrong; Essie Davis’ Amelia does do a lot to protect her relentlessly irritating son Samuel in Jessica Kent’s sensational study of loss, but she also kind of, well, attempts to murder him and stuff. For starters, when she first releases ‘Mister Babadook’ is a pretty disturbing book and you are aware that you son is a pretty disturbed and impressionable chap, maybe stop reading it?
Also maybe move house seeing as their home is the only place in the entire film that is ancient in design and details – seriously her sister lives in this gorgeous suburban complex and Amelia walks around almost by flipping candlelight. And finally no matter how annoying the kid is, or how possessed you are by Mister Babadook’s presence, don’t kill the family pet and try to murder your young. It’s just so much hassle and means the CSA won’t pay the money you truly deserve…
The Joe Dante Award for Best Christmas Film that has Pretty Much Nothing to do with Christmas and was Released in July:
Few filmmakers are quite as prolific as Joe Swanberg and 2014 saw him team up with the truly wonderful Anna Kendrick once again for a festive film void of any real festiveness. His latest mumblecore dramady features the new-found queen of musicals as a selfish, irresponsible twenty-something who gets hammered and causes her brother and his wife problems when she comes to stay for the holidays. Plus they have a young son which means her childish behaviour could endanger him in his own home.
It’s an awkwardly hilarious and brilliantly realised character study that few have been able to see which is a crying shame. After the excellent Drinking Buddies and the morbidly curious 24 Exposures, Swanberg is on something of a roll.
The Victoria Secret® Award for Most Sickening Use of Michael Bay Product Placement:
Beats by Dre® ‘Pill’
I am a proud Michael Bay fan; I believe his films are cruelly undermined because critics believe it’s cool to bash popular entertainment and indeed penalise his films merely because they don’t like him as an individual. Seriously Pain & Gain was something of a masterpiece – I can’t be the only one who thinks this? That being said, no matter how much I enjoyed his latest (Transformers: Age of Extinction), some of the product placement was simply vomit-inducing.
The biggest offender? When Stanley Tucci’s Joshua Joyce is handling genetically modified ‘Transformium’ that disguises itself as one of Dr. Dre’s Beats products. It’s made even worse by Tucci spurting ‘Pill?’ in a salesman voice as it transforms; he may as well have stated the RRP, which stores stock it and the official Beats by Dre website…
The Bernard’s Watch Award for Most Efficient Time Management in an Age When Apparently Editors no Longer have Employment:
Richard Linklater – Boyhood
How on earth can Linklater’s sprawling, beautiful and extraordinarily ordinary study of youth – a movie which was filmed over twelve years – be shorter than the first part of The Hobbit franchise?
It is quite remarkable that Boyhood is able to depict life in all it’s strangeness, sadness, brilliance, enchantment, bewilderment, confusion, thoughtfulness and glory in a smaller, more effective timeframe than some bearded Kiwi who thought it would be a good idea to turn a 276 page children’s book about a short bloke with very hairy feet into NINE hours of cinema.
The Patrick Bateman Award for Greatest Movie Character of the Year:
Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) – Nightcrawler
Not only is Dan Gilroy’s directorial debut 2014’s sharpest, sleekest and most perfectly satirical release, it also showcases the finest character within these twelve months. Lou Bloom – the gaunt, slinking madman who begins ‘nightcrawling’ – attending crime scenes and filming them to sell onto local news media – is a creation for the ages. The next Tyler Durden, Patrick Bateman or Travis Bickle; an identity so beautifully realised that he’ll remain relevant and referenced for years to come.
Gyllenhaal’s textbook-memorised dialogue delivery, his dramatic weight loss, those tired, hooded eyes that brim with mania; everything about Bloom has been expertly rendered and designed making him the bets anti-hero you could ever wish to spend 117mins with. “If you want to win the lottery, you have to make the money to buy a ticket!”
The Stereotypical Surfer Dude’s “Woah! Totally rad! Like gnarly DUUUUDDDDEEEE!” Award for Most Seemingly Impossible Movie Moment:
Street Stampede – White God
Unquestionably the year’s most wonderfully odd and truly impressive foreign film is Kornél Mundruczó’s impeccable White God which is sort of an arthouse hybrid of Homeward Bound, Rocky and Friday the 13th…rightly nominated for an Academy Award next year, the feature is littered with moments that seem almost unbelievable to actually stage but alas, they managed it. The most impressive however is the street stampede.
Over 150 dogs charge through the desolate streets of Hungary after young Lili (Zsófia Psotta) who frantically cycles away from the mayhem. She evades waves and waves of thrashing mutts who all parade in perfect unison; it is truly something awe-inspiring and must have been a nightmare to capture. A later moment which is teased on the new poster also showcases the levels of obedience these pups must have. Truly amazing filmmaking.
The Short Term 12 Award for Most Criminally Overlooked & Underrated Film of 2014:
The Invisible Woman
Period dramas have been great this year, but so much focus has hovered around 12 Years a Slave, Mr. Turner or Belle (all great films by the way) that many either entirely missed or didn’t care to see Ralph Fiennes’ strikingly poetic and enigmatic depiction of Charles Dickens’ forbidden love.
The Invisible Woman is gorgeously photographed, impeccably performed by Fiennes, Kristen Scott Thomas, Tom Hollander and most importantly Felicity Jones who I pray to the stars above that she gets an Oscar nomination next year – seriously her work in The Theory of Everything is flooring – plus the costume design, score, framing and storytelling are all exquisite in detail and function. One has been championing this film ever since I saw it in 2013 but it really is one of this calendar year’s brightest and most undervalued gems.
On Twitter: @rosskokeniston
Best Chris Pratt Movie:
Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel’s ‘indie’ action blockbuster which has become one of the biggest hits of the year owes a lot to the leading-man defining performance of Chris Pratt. His Star-Lord was witty, brutal, sarcastic and an awful lot of fun to watch throughout the duration. Here’s hoping we see him sooner rather than later.
Best Hunger Games Movie That Leaves All The Most Interesting Parts Out of The Book To Be Shorehorned Into Another Movie For Absolutely No Reason Other Than Profiteering:
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.
I think I’m in a minority here, but the third in the supernaturally successful Hunger Games franchise is everything that is currently wrong with Hollywood, as so little happened of interest and very minimal story progression, only for it all to be revealed in a film that you’ll have to pay yet another maximum amount to see. Disheartening, disconcerting, worrying and unnecessary. The only Jay this film is Mocking are the suckers that paid £10 to see it. (Read: Me).
Best Film About Guardians Guarding Things:
Guardians of The Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy is so far and away the film of the year it’s really hard to discuss it without using so many superlatives they sadly have a chance of losing all meaning. But this isn’t a film of the year award, it’s a film about Guardians Guarding things, and in Guardians of the Galaxy, things are guarded. SO HARD.
Best Lack of Green Screen Replacement:
Transformers: Age of Extinction
COME ON MICHAEL BAY. JESUS.
Best Maze Runner on the Poster for Maze Runner
On Twitter: @
Best Dance Throwdown Of The Year Award:
His one-lined, tree compadre Groot may have stolen the limelight for a future toy line, but there’s little to deny that Chris Pratt owned the dancefloor within the intergalactic realms of this year’s stellar hit, Guardians Of The Galaxy.
Thrusting himself into the Indiana Jones/Han Solo mould, Pratt proved that he not only possesses the humour, but also some slick dance moves. Introducing us to Star Lord with a dance that included the dispatching of some interfering critters, he only furthered that need for a glitterball trophy with his dance challenge to villain Ronan the Accusor. No-one can beat this guy in dance-off.
Best Chase Scene Not Involving A Car:
The Inbetweeners 2
Trading the alcohol-fuelled strip of Malia for Australia certainly offered up a whole new dynamic for our favourite foursome as hilarity kicked up a notch in The Inbetweeners 2.
While many may have expected incidents involving kangaroos, koalas or surfboards, the key moment of the film came in a very unorthodox chase scene. We’re not talking a high octane race through the streets with plenty of accidents on the way either; instead, a human accident that made Kevin and Perry’s own ‘floater’ incident look tame. Poor Will…
The Comic Book Superiority award :
Much like the heyday of soaps, in which Coronation Street and Eastenders used to lock horns regularly in the battle for superiority, we now have the Marvel vs DC film smackdown.
This year, especially, has seen the two throw left hooks, uppercuts and some surprise haymakers in what has been an intriguing period for both entities. DC continues to control the TV realms with the ever-enthralling Arrow and newly-introduced Flash, while dropping the ball with Gotham, and Marvel are still playing catch-up with Agents Of Shield.
In the film stakes, Marvel are leaps and bounds ahead, with their current Phase surpassing expectations and a slate lined up for years to come that puts DC well in its place. At least DC has their trump card to play; if only people could embrace the Justice League introduced in a panic move…
Worst/Most Poorly Marketed Marketed Film
Edge of Tomorrow
Give a man a buck (or fourteen more, as the case may be) and they’ll be sure to pick out the blockbuster with the biggest explosions — or so the Hollywood executives think it goes.
Not so, execs. Not so.
But it’s precisely this kind of logic that hampered Edge of Tomorrow’s chances of box office success. The flick’s a tightly-cut, wittily-scripted riff off generic sci-fi-fare — AKA, everything but what its trailers and that schlocky title promised.
The most highbrow brother/sister argument–
Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Palm d’Or winning epic in length, intimate in scope drama is full of the most crafted and culture conversations – including an argument between a brother and sister which lasts for almost 20 minutes about idleness, creativity, knowledge and opinion…
Most unexpected sight of an ape…
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Apes talking, apes living in a treetop penthouse, apes shooting guns, apes riding horses, apes shooting guns & riding horses all are pretty unexpected things to see an ape do, but all that is totally in context in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. But when I saw an orangutan reading the graphic novel Black Hole in the movie, that’s when my jaw dropped.
The film that made me sad to be sat in a cinema:
For a movie tackling a core theme of the next level on human intelligence, it sure is pumped with a load of stupidity.
A real shame considering Wally Pfister is one the most accomplished Hollywood cinematographers working right now but here is a film that is 2 hours long and 2 hours of exposition, no grasp or control of narrative, no depth in character and what’s most shocking, totally visually flat.
The most intense way to light cigarette:
Wong Kar-wai’s visual spectacle biopic of Ip Man is full his cinematic alchemy that make the small moments grand – and when Ip Man shares a cigarette with a fellow kung fu master who now works in a tea house in Hong Kong, the master lunges in slow motion across the tiny table to light Ip Man’s cigarette…now that’s a grandmaster.
The Best Scarlett Johansson Sci-Fi movie:
Under The Skin
Not many would have thought 12 months ago that Scarlett Johansson would have breathed new life into the science fiction genre but that’s exactly what she managed to do this year- not once, but three times.
First of she voiced Samantha in Spike Jonze’s Academy Award nominated Her, then she got under our skin as Laura, an alien sent to prowl the streets of Glasgow in Jonathan Glazer’s hypnotic Under The Skin, before finally appearing in titular character Lucy in Luc Besson’s ambitious if a little flawed summer blockbuster.
Out of these three though, it is Glazer’s Under the Skin that takes the award. Johansson was mesmerising as she prowled the streets of Glasgow hunting for men to take back to, well whatever that was she was taking them back to.
The film was a work of art, partly shot using hidden cameras it managed at once to both terrify and amaze audiences with its often profound, if not a little disturbing look at the human race.
The Only God Forgives award for biggest disappointment of the year:
In many ways Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar was a victim of its own hype. The masterfully constructed teaser trailers and the movie’s fantastic posters gave very little away about the plot. In many other ways however the film just failed to deliver.
Whilst not being a complete disaster Interstellar was a movie we were all expecting great things from, yet come the end of the movie most of us were sat scratching our head.
It seems as times like Nolan was never really sure whether he wanted to make a 2001-esque masterpiece or a dumbed down summer blockbuster with the movie perfectly highlighting Nolan’s strengths and weaknesses as a film maker.
Visually the film was a masterpiece and it’s difficult to fault its ambition but the human element of the film was severely lacking, especially in the female department where the only two females ultimately turned into lazy gender stereotypes.
The Michael Bay Award for most outrageous product placement:
Transformers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
You have to take your hat off to Michael Bay- the man clearly knows how to sell a movie, and Bud Light, and Victoria Secret Lingerie, and Toshiba Products, and Goodyear products… you get the idea.
This year Michael Bay managed to out do himself in the product placement department with not one but two of the most outrageous pieces of product placement ever seen on the big screen.
Firstly in his own movie Transformers: The Fall of Wahlberg there is a scene where one of the space ships crashes its way into a Bud Light truck, resulting in hundreds of bottle of it rolling down the streets. Just to reinforce the point though Bay then has Mark Walhberg pick up a bottle, crack it open on a car door and take a swig before delivering some god awful line about insurance and space ships.
The joint winner of this award takes place in the Michael Bay produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, directed by Jonathan Liebseman. Once the film has finished and the final battle has taken place as the Turtles literally roll down an advertising board, we see the Turtles venturing out into New York and disguising themselves on the bra of a huge Victoria Secret advertising board.
Credit where its due, to put this in a film whose primary audience is children takes a certain amount of audacity perhaps even absent from the films directed by Bay himself.
Film of the Century Award:
Every now and again a film comes along that reminds you just why you love cinema so much, a film that is so totally immersive it takes you out of the real world and transports your consciousness into the realms of fiction. What makes Richard Linklater’s Boyhood such a masterful achievement is that it does this but not by taking us into outer-space or middle earth but simply by letting us experience a young man grow up.
In the last 14 years I have not been as deeply touched and moved by a film as I was by Boyhood, no film has lingered as long in the memory and I’ve never wanted to sit down and watch a film again so desperately, just to make sure it was as incredible as I first thought.
Excuse the hyperboles but Boyhood is simply one of the greatest American films ever made and with award season coming up it looks set to finally get some of the recognition it so rightfully deserves.
Linklater has truly outdone himself here and it seems difficult to imagine a better movie coming alone for quite some time.
The Royal Shakespeare Award for the Best Line of Direlogue of 2014:
Titus Welliver – Transformers: Age of Extinction
There was a game changing moment this July, when it was reported that Sir Patrick Stewart had felt a strange sensation run up his spine, whilst at the exact same time, Aaron Sorkin’s pen strangely ran dry, and Tom Stoppard was heard sobbing from his writing chamber.
It was about thirty minutes into Transformers: Age of Extinction, at about the same time that the audience had given up hoping that Michael Bay wasn’t going to be giving another bum-numbing middle-finger to an audience expecting something different.
Mark Wahlberg was shouting, the visuals were screaming, and then Titus Welliver stepped up to deliver a line that clunked more than the CGI metallic bots, but one which made everything almost worthwhile. When challenged about having the right credentials to search Wahlberg’s farmhouse, the character actor extraordinaire offered up “My face is my warrant”.
The Green Mile Award for the Best Barley Visible Through the Tears Moment of 2014:
Facetime with the Murphs fron Interstellar
How much you enjoyed Christopher Nolan’s journey up his own wormhole was largely dependant on whether it resonated with you on an emotional level. You can offer up all the intellectual stimulation you want, but that can be delivered by a Brian Cox narrated documentary. Admittedly, much of Interstellar was cold-to-the-touch, but during those moments when it cranked up the sentiment, it really gave you a whack in the tearducts.
[Spoiler Alert] The scene in which McConaughey’s Murph watches the video from a same aged Chastain Murph, was both narratively powerful, and in terms of McConaughey’s vein filling, dialogue free reaction, one of the stand-out pieces of acting from the entire year.
The Dumb and Dumber To Award for the Most Disappointing Movie of 2014:
Dumb and Dumber To
It’s fair to say that for those who adored the sweet natured, popcorn spewing hilarity of 1994’s comedy classic original, correction, for those “who liked it a lot”, a sequel to the Farrelly brothers career high watermark had been long overdue. With all but Jeff Daniels maintaining anything approaching a successful career during this hiatus, it’s a shame that the creative force behind this nostalgic kick to the funny bone is a cynical mining of former glories in order to drag their respective stars back into the limelight, and sadly, for the most part it shows.
The Malteser Award for the Most Frightening Pant Malteser Producing Moment of 2014:
The “Ba-ba-dook-dook-dook” from The Babadook
A terrifying experience in finger scraping horror, but one which never reverted to cat-in-the-cupboard scares, Jennifer Kent’s film is amongst the very best of the year; for performances, script, and the indelible impression it leaves on you.
The only film this year that made you think about leaving the bedside lamp on during the night, it wasn’t the young boys back seat fit, or the Haunted House mechanics of the finale, but the first time that you heard the guttural, tongue-clicking, identifying call of cinema’s newest bogeyman, that you realised you’d be running up the stairs a little bit faster for the foreseeable future.
THE BEST PERFORMANCES THAT YOU PROBABLY, ALMOST DEFINITELY MISSED THIS YEAR:
This is an honour that could be bestowed upon a large number of actors in any given year – I’m not expecting everyone to have seen every single film released theatrically during 2014. But out of the vast number of films I saw this year, two performances really stuck with me. And frustratingly, they’re two performances that deserved an infinitely bigger audience.
Bill Hader – The Skeleton Twins:
Everyone knows Bill Hader: SNL heavyweight, Judd Apatow pal, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs’ Flint Lockwood and voice artist extraordinaire. But did you see him in one of 2014’s best, The Skeleton Twins? No, I didn’t think so.
Teaming up with Kristen Wiig, this Sundance-winning tale of estranged siblings brought Hader his best role to date. And boy did he deliver. I’m not going to ruin the surprises within a film that prompts as many tears as laughs, but instead implore you to hunt it down, tell all your friends about it and witness another side of the multitalented Bill Hader that everyone should have been talking about this year.
Celyn Jones – Set Fire To The Stars:
Secondly to a performance I’ve shouted about from the rooftops since this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival. To paraphrase our quote on the film’s poster, Celyn Jones has a remarkable ability to stir your deepest emotions. In fact, you should be positively giddy over what this phenomenal onscreen presence will deliver next. Taking on the demanding role of troubled Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, Jones struck gold by finding a seemingly impossible balance between vulnerable and repugnant. Things may not have ended particularly well for Thomas, but Celyn Jones’ embodiment of the poet is one of the most startling breakthrough performances ever committed to film. Don’t let this actor out of your sight.