7 Movies I Really Want to See in 2014

There are so many movies I’m anticipating this year, and the first one of these came out yesterday, so I thought I’d give a quick rundown of a few of the ones I’m anticipating the most.

veronica-mars-movie-poster1. Veronica Mars

IMDb

Veronica Mars was a TV show from 2004-2007. Kristen Bell played the title character, who was a sassy high school girl who also did junior PI work for her father. Each season had a main mystery (or two) that she spent the whole season solving, and each episode had it’s own caper or crime to solve. And there was love drama. And class drama (as in classroom drama but also socioeconomic class). And family drama. The tone, the writing, and the cinematography are all pretty noir. It was all set in the fictional town of Neptune, CA. There were twists, deceptions, affairs, a best friend’s murder, a murderous bus crash, and a whole lot of witty remarks. If you haven’t seen the TV show, you can watch it for free on Amazon Prime Instant Video. It’s addicting and dramatic and so, so sassy.

I’ve tried to stay away from reading too much about the movie because I don’t want any spoilers, but from what I know, the story takes off when Veronica’s ex-boyfriend Logan calls her for help after being accused of murder. Oh yeah, Veronica did clear a lot of false accusations in her days as a teen detective. And so she goes back to Neptune to help out. It also coincides with her ten-year high school reunion, so all the old characters should be back. So psyched!

The story of how the movie came to be is kinda cool too. It started as a kickstarter campaign. I’m not sure where I come down, in general, on the idea of audiences determining art, but in this particular case, I can’t wait to see the movie (later today), and I’m so glad that fans were able to get this movie made.

It was a great TV show, and I don’t think my description does it justice. Just watch. And I’ll definitely report back about the movie.

2. Gone Girl

IMDb

This one is based on a book (same title) by Gillian Flynn. I read it in about three days this past December. It’s one of those books that’s so consuming that you don’t mind if you get stuck on a Greyhound bus for six hours (when the ride was supposed to take two) because it gives you more time to keep reading. It’s a good mystery, centering around the disappearance of a woman named Amy, but it’s more than that. There are twists, and turns, and the examination of Amy’s marriage to Nick, who’s a prime suspect. There’s a lot that’s explored about relationships, about the ability or lack thereof to be who you are with another person, about men and women and how they relate.

Why I’m most looking forward to the movie though is that I just can’t imagine how they’re going to pull that off. For one thing, without giving anything away, I’ll just say that half of the first half of the book consists of diary entries, and it’s hard to imagine how that’ll translate to screen. There are twists that turn the story completely around, and it’s all so detailed and intricate, and all that, too, is hard to imagine on screen. Really, I can think of few books I’ve read that would seem harder to make into a movie. So I want to see it as a fan of the book, but also as a curiosity, to see how they’re going to make it happen.

3. Wild

IMDb

Also based on a book, this one by Cheryl Strayed. I really enjoyed reading the book earlier this year. I broke an unintended reading fast with Wild, and it really set off a cascade of other books to read, authors to check out, some of which I wrote about here. It details Strayed’s journey hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail and dealing with the grief of her mother’s death. It’s the kind of story that lends itself easily to a movie, and I’m excited to see it on film. And to see a movie made from a memoir. That’s going to be cool.

4. Unbroken

IMDb

Okay, so it’s written by the Coen Brothers and directed by Angelina Jolie. This I have to see. What’s especially interesting to me is that the Coen Bros usually (always?) direct their own movies. So I’m curious to see a movie written by them but directed by someone else. Will it feel Coenesque? It’s sort of hard to imagine so there’s a certain excited curiosity that I feel about this one. I have no real opinion one way or the other about Angelina Jolie.

5. The Giver

IMDb

Another movie based on a book. I read The Giver about ten years ago, and I know that both of my siblings had to read it for school (around seventh grade, I think), though I never did. It’s a dystopian future type story, except the people living in this dystopian future think that it’s utopia. The story is mostly told from the perspective of a boy who starts to see through the facade of his society. Like I said, it’s been a long time since I read the book, but I think the people in the world can only see in black and white, and their other senses are muted too, and the boy starts to see color in little glimpses. And to feel. It’s a great story and I think it’ll make a great movie. It’s not as action-oriented as Hunger Games and I think it’ll be nice to have a movie story in the YA sci-fi genre that has a different sort of focus.

6. Dark Places

IMDb

Also based on a book by Gillian Flynn (same author as Gone Girl). After I read Gone Girl, I had to go read her other books. Dark Places was my least favorite of her three (the other being Sharp Objects, which also could be made into a movie). That’s not to say it was bad, it was actually really good, I just gravitated more to her other two stories. Unlike Gone Girl, Dark Places, though it has twists and misdirects, is pretty easy to imagine adapted into film form. It’s about a woman, Libby Day, whose family was murdered when she was young. The only family member still alive is Ben, her brother, who’s in jail for the crime. Libby’s testimony as a kid was part of what put him there. She remembers him from that day. But as an adult, she starts revisiting the crime and raising questions (actually, she does this for money, for some club that’s obsessed with the case), and that’s the main bulk of the story, the re-exploration of what happened early on. And it’s about a woman facing her past, and how it’s shaped her present, and how she will then move forward.

7. A Walk in the Woods

IMDb

Another movie based on a memoir about walking along a trail. This one is based on Bill Bryson’s book about hiking the Appalachian Trail. One of the reasons this one interests me partly because the first ever screenwriting class I took, on Orcas in 2008 (I didn’t finish because I went to India) and we read the book and looked at script adaptations, as a way of learning the difference between a book and a screenplay. So yeah, after spending time on that, I’m definitely interested to see how the movie turns out. Plus, bonus, the script was written by Michael Arndt, who wrote Little Miss Sunshine.

The only thing is that IMDb lists this as coming out in 2015 (though I found it on a 2014 list) so time will tell.

Honorable Mentions

Here are some others that I don’t know much about but that sound interesting enough to check out. Or that I will see but not enough to write up:

~EJ

P.S. I probably should’ve posted something like this at the beginning of the year, but time got away from me.

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