A surprisingly good year, off the beaten track:

  1. Supermensch: Shep Gordon is a one-of-a-kind character who has lived as rich a life as you could ever imagine (just one anecdote from a movie with a surfeit of them: on his honeymoon on a remote tropical island his computer wasn’t working so the hotel staff found a fellow guest who was able to fix it: Bill Gates). You will absolutely love this film about the agent who all of his rock star/movie star/celebrity chef clients adore.
  2. Whiplash: The opening scene is stirring, while the dinner scene always gets me. You may find this An Officer And A Gentleman goes to Julliard screenplay by newbie Damien Chazelle is “not quite my tempo,” but I loved it.
  3. The Imitation Game: Of the two tortured British genius films of this year (the other being The Theory of Everything), we’ll take Benedict Cumberbatch as the homo who deciphered the Nazi enigma machine over Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking. And we didn’t really mean “homo” in a bad way.
  4. Chef: The fun part about this Jon Favreau sleeper hit is the film-within-the-film. Favreau, the guy who got noticed making Swingers but who got rich making Ironman, plays a burned-out Brentwood chef who’s sick of the relative fame while not being able to make the dishes about which he’s passionate. Sound familiar?
  5. The Babaook: Is it a horror movie or is it a film about the loneliness of being a widow with a young, socially awkward son? This low-budget Aussie thriller is a gem.

Never saw John Wick but want to. Same with Foxcatcher. Saw Grand Budapest Hotel but Wes Anderson’s work just eludes us.

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