Pop culture moves pretty fast sometimes, and if you don't stop and look around every once in a while, you could miss it. Here are a few of our favorite movie-related moments of 2014 that might have passed you by the first time around.
The Sad, True-to-Life Ending of Where We Started
Nora (Cora Vander Broek) and Will (Matthew Brumlow) are strangers who cross paths at a motel in Christopher J. Hansen's Where We Started. They're attracted to each other, but they're also married to other people, and Nora has a young son at home. After a night of walking, talking, and bending the rules of matrimonial fidelity just a skosh, Will wants them to run off together. They imagine having a proper first date six months after their divorces, but the pragmatic Nora can't see past the painful truths of making such a decision — including her child waking up in the middle of the night, crying for his father. Sometimes it's best to end before you start. SC
Amy Schumer's Tilda Swinton Speech at the Gotham Independent Film Awards
Tilda Swinton was typically indelible this year in The Grand Budapest Hotel, Only Lovers Left Alive, Snowpiercer, and even The Zero Theorem. Surely she also will kill it in Judd Apatow's upcoming Trainwreck, promisingly scripted by and co-starring Amy Schumer. A few weeks ago, at the Gotham Independent Film Awards, Schumer sang Swinton's praises at length, saying what we all think: "Just watching her actually makes you feel stronger. She can scare the shit out of you and break your heart and give you a boner all at the same time." Also: "Hanging out with her makes me furious at everyone else I've ever met that they are not her." JK
The Sky on Fire in After the Dark
In John Huddle's After the Dark, philosophy students at an international school in Jakarta are led by their teacher (James D'Arcy) in a series of thought games to decide who would be granted shelter during various atomic holocausts. The characters are never in jeopardy, always remaining in their classroom while they imagine themselves in exotic Indonesian locales debating who lives and who dies, then playing out the often tragic consequences of those decisions. Because it's a fantasy it doesn't have to be realistic, and there's certainly nothing plausible about the desolate plains surrounding Mount Bromo in East Java becoming a garden of mushroom clouds, but it's also a gorgeous and thrilling sequence that captures the irrational tenor of a nightmare. SC
"'Jaws' Is Ridiculous, Say Kids Who Owe Everything to 'Jaws.'"
Okay, this doesn't exactly count as a 2014 movie moment, but it speaks to the spirit of reflecting on what the culture of cinema means to us in general. This year, for the Fourth of July, Mother Jones (of all places) ran a hilarious online dialogue between Ben and Emily Dreyfuss, commemorating and nitpicking that one blockbuster of yore in which their father co-starred with Roy Scheider and a shark. Highlights of the conversation are various but include Ben — who works at Mother Jones so that explains the placement — remembering how he had to disabuse his mother of her memory that it was his father's character who'd killed the shark, not Scheider's. "Great film," the younger Dreyfusses finally concur, but also, "It could make more sense." In response, Richard Dreyfuss one-upped the MoJo headline, tweeting cutely: "'Jaws' Is Ridiculous, Say Kids Who Are Now Out Of The Will."