Oscar season is upon us. If you’re scrambling to see all of this year’s best flicks, don’t worry, you’re not alone. And if you like your movies with a little bit of country, you’ve come to the right place.
I’ve compiled a list of the 10 best films of 2014 that are either set in the south or pertain to rural/country themes.
I’m kind of a contrarian on this one. I didn’t love this new Chris Nolan flick the way everyone else seemed too. It’s filled with plot holes and awkward clunky dialogue and mostly, it’s kind of boring. But, that being said, it is visually stunning, and Matthew McConaughey delivers an incredible performance as a struggling farmer in a no-so-distant future America.
In this true story of America’s most prolific sniper, Chris Kyle, Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper gives a career best performance that is full of anger and compassion and complexity. The way the movie ends is probably a little (maybe a lot) manipulative but Cooper’s performance makes this one worth the watch.
A Robert Downey Jr./Robert Duval duo is about as unlikely as Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett putting out a record together, but it worked out for both pairs. Downey and Duval are both electric in this small town court drama about a father and son.
“Get On Up”
This James Brown biopic, set mostly in Georgia, portrays the funky soul legend in all of his energetic, ugly, complicated glory. Chadwick Bozeman disappears into this role and at times you momentarily forget that James Brown is dead and not preforming on the screen in front of you.
“Dolphin Tale 2”
Here’s a southern accented film for the whole family! Set in Florida, this movie has it all: Harry Connick Jr. and dolphins. That is literally everything. But, don’t watch this one without having watched the first “Dolphin Tale” movie or you’ll be totally lost.
This epic historical dram depicts the most intense, violence filled year of the civil rights movement. Focusing on the march to Selma, Alabama, the movie offers life-like, intense acting from David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Roth and Oprah, as well as beautiful cinematography and a stellar soundtrack.
Jon Faveru’s quiet little movie about a chef going through a mid-life crisis, takes place heavily in New Orleans. It’s funny, it’s sweet, and mostly it will make you hungry. Seriously. This movie is like the Food Network if the Food Network were like, 11 times sexier.
Here’s one of my favorite movies of the year. Set in Missouri, in this movie we see an all-American couple (played by Ben Affleck and Rosemond Pike) living in America’s heartland. But, when the all-American wife goes missing, and police suspect the all-American husband, we begin to learn that both of them are not what they appear to be. David Fincher (who is, I think, the only person still directing thrillers that Hitchcock would approve of) spins a tight, elusive, and, at times, darkly comical story. However, this one isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s dark and violent and won’t exactly leave you jumping at the bit to get married.
Next time you hear somebody bad mouthing Nic Cage’s acting, smack them in the face with this movie. Okay, yes, Cage makes a lot of poor career choices. In this movie you can see why he was once regarded as one of the finest actors in Hollywood (if you’ve never seen “Adaptation;” “Leaving Las Vegas;” or “Wild at Heart,” go watch them NOW). The movie has a soft southern flair and Cage gives a quiet, chilling performance.
I liked a lot of movies this year, but this is the only one I thought was flat-out, knock-your-socks-off amazing. This Texas tale chronicles the life of a boy in his formative years. Shot over the course of 12 years, shooting a little every year, this movie leaves you nostalgic and sad and happy and confused all at the same time. And it leaves you wondering why no one thought to make a movie this way before. It’s 3 hours long, so don’t sit down to watch it if you’ve got a busy day planned, but this one is worth every second of its runtime. It’s my favorite Southern movie of the year, and my favorite movie of the year period.
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