Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014, A Year in Review

The poster for my first movie!
The end of every year always brings out the reflective side of me, where I think more about the past than any other time of the year.  I think that's because with the start of every new year it feels like a new beginning when in truth it's simply changing out one calendar for another.  As it is, I see each year more like another chapter in a book, rather than another book entirely.  Each new chapter brings forth its own triumphs and complications, and 2014 was no different than any of the previous 23 chapters.  Simply put, the 24th chapter of my life was one that was filled with tons of great moments, from the completion and premiere of my first feature length film, to discovering that I am going to become an uncle!  2014 was a year to remember personally, however it was slim pickings in the world of movies.

The movies of 2014 were very lacking in general.  There were maybe four or five genuinely great movies and a handful of good ones, but the rest all left me fairly indifferent.  Great movies were just hard to come by this year, with there being lots of movies that had great moments, but as a whole failed to bring all of those great moments together.  There were even a few movies that were great 90% of the way through and then fumbled with a weak ending or something of the sort.  Then there's the typically annoying fact that all of the movies that have received the greatest reviews are still just playing in limited release and have not become easily available in my neck of the woods.  This makes it to where I probably wont see most of those movies till after Oscar nominations in January and by that point they'll be 2015 movies for me.  The only great solace that really comes from this year of movies is knowing that 2015 is right around the corner.

While this was a not so stellar year for the movies released in 2014, it was a really crazy fun year if you follow the behind the scenes shenanigans of movies coming out a year or two from now.  From all of the rumors for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, to the myriad of Marvel and DC rumors, all the way to new movies set in the world of Harry Potter, there has never been a better time in history to be a geek.  We are currently being catered to by those that make the movies and TV shows, so I plan on enjoying it while it lasts.  I mean, this Fall saw the likes of Gotham and The Flash gracing television screens, the latter of which being one of the entertainment highlights of the entire year for me.

The most spectacular thing about The Flash is that it does what not a lot of movies have done as well for me this year, it allows me to have fun and care deeply for a set of characters while delivering great thrills.  Grant Gustin nails the sweet geekiness of Barry Allen, making the Flash not just another muscle bound superhero, but more of a Peter Parker with brains and humor.  While each episode is like a 40-minute superhero movie, with me often wondering how the CW is producing this show's epic action scenes on their limited budget, it really is the characters that keep me coming back to the show.  As annoying as the soap opera elements of shows like this can be, I really do care if Barry winds up with his crush since childhood, Iris West (and if you've read just about any DC comic you know the answer to that), just as I care about Barry finding the person who really murdered his Mom to clear his Dad's name.  Then there's the great comic relief of Cisco, the mystery of Dr. Wells, and the warm comfort of Barry's adopted Dad, Joe.  The show just works on a great many levels that a lot of the movies this year could not quite tap into, and that's because before this show does anything really cool, they place the characters first.  With my public profession of love for The Flash behind me, I must clarify that there were movies this year that I loved as much, if not more than The Flash, I just wanted to illustrate how things were more skewed than usual in 2014.

For the first time ever, TV was where I found more consistent entertainment than with theater screens, and I think a large part of that is because TV has drawn more big name movie talent in recent years due to the creators having more creative control than in movies.  Maybe this year was just a fluke, because I don't want movies to get to a point where staying at home and watching a TV show is more entertaining than paying to see a movie, but 2014 was one such year.  Of course, one reasoning for this is I was unable to get out and see as many movies as I normally do because I was busy making a movie of my own.

Since the Fall of 2012 I have been directing a documentary about a non-profit, faith-based horse therapy barn in Leeds, AL, called the Red Barn.  The documentary really started to take its shape over the past year, causing me to quickly realize that this was not going to be a 15-20 minute movie like I initially thought, but something much larger.  The final documentary, titled The Red Barn: A Legacy of Love, is an 80 minute long, feature length documentary.  That is still crazy to process, because when me and my parents (who produced the film) first started work on it, I don't think we had any idea that it was going to be what it is and have a screening of 1,100+ people at the historic Alabama Theatre in downtown Birmingham, AL.  In my fledgling career as a filmmaker, that is definitely the career highlight, hopefully with many more to come.

Currently, we have submitted the film to our first film festival and plan on submitting to many more, with a focus primarily on the faith-based film crowd because that is what this movie really is about.  This is a movie that shows how the faith of the people who not only operate the Red Barn, but inspired it, continue to make an impact on people, hopefully for a great many more generations.  To be a part of such a larger than life story has truly been an honor and the journey is far from over with for this film.  Sure, we've screened it for everyone who was involved in the movie as well as their family and friends, but we want everyone who desires to see our movie to eventually see it on some sort of platform so that they can experience what inspired us to make this documentary in the first place.  That is why we're going to play the film festival circuit, because that's our best place of finding someone who will be willing to distribute our movie and take it to the next level.  Here's to hoping.

In summation, 2014 really feels like a whirlwind of a year with all of the work that went into making this documentary a feature length reality.  While money has been hard to come by this year in the freelance video business, I have a feeling that things are going to soon change for the better, and I believe this documentary is the first step in that direction.  So in a lot ways I am not sure if I care all that much if 2014 didn't have a whole lot of great movies.  If I'm making my own movies, no matter how big or small they are, that's all that really matters.  With that all said, if you frequent this site, you know me and you know that I am addicted to movies in general.  Down year for Hollywood movies or not, I am going to honor the great work that did crop up in the few superb movies that came out this year, because I just love movies and all great movies and moviemakers deserve some recognition for their hard work to make us laugh, cry, and be entertained.  Tune to the Unicellular Review in the coming days to see my annual year end lists!

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