The Best Films of 2014 (#30-21)

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Well, this should be fun. Instead of simply publishing my usual annual top 10 list, I’ve decided to take it up a notch and instead post a top 30 list, slowly revealing my picks over the course of the week. We’ll begin with the bottom of the list, and this will also be the longest of the five installments, taking us from number 30 all the way up to number 21. Then, starting tomorrow, each installment will have just five films, culminating in my top five on Friday. So now, without further ado, let’s get started.

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With “22 Jump Street,” Phil Lord and Chris Miller maintain their remarkable winning streak

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There are two major factors driving the sudden and unlikely success of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller in the world of comedy. The first, and most important, is that their movies are funny. Really funny. The second factor is their ability to turn the inherent silliness of their projects into virtues rather than hindrances. In particular, their last three movies, 21 Jump Street, The LEGO Movie, and now the sequel 22 Jump Street, are ostensibly cynical projects conceived out of creative laziness or pure commercialism. Instead of turning their back to such notions, Lord and Miller have attacked them head on, via self-referential jokes and an uncanny ability to weave them into the very themes of their films. 21 Jump Street worked not because it simply poked fun at its own existence, but also because it became a film about nostalgia and attempting to relive the past. If anything, 22 Jump Street doubles down on the self-awareness, and in the process becomes a comedy sequel about comedy sequels. Continue reading