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The Fault In Our Stars (#110 of 4)

The 10 Worst Films of 2014

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The 10 Worst Films of 2014
The 10 Worst Films of 2014

With beauty comes ugliness, with pleasure comes pain. While the year’s best films are likely to linger on your palate much longer than the worst, there was no shortage of terrible cinematic experiences in 2014, and often from places one might not so readily expect. Sure, Transformers: Age of Extinction is loud and dumb, RoboCop is another unnecessary (and botched) remake, and 22 Jump Street continues Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s unfortunate reign of still-unchecked comedic terror. But beyond the usual sites of acrid popular cinema lingers a more pungent stench, coming from those films sprayed with either a sheen of pretense or sun-burnt from undue praise or exposure. A fart gag is one thing, but class-reliant sentiment that dutifully extracts any deeper conception of its bourgeois leanings in order to satiate a desired audience? Hopefully we can all agree as to which is the worse form of flatulence.

On the Rise Brie Larson

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On the Rise: Brie Larson

Cinedigm

On the Rise: Brie Larson

If nothing else, 23-year-old Brie Larson exemplifies a trend within her generation of rising stars, who weave in and out of each other’s projects like they’re breathlessly party-hopping. In The Spectacular Now, Larson plays Cassidy, the ex-girlfriend of a reluctant hero played by 26-year-old Miles Teller, who’ll soon star in Divergent with 21-year-old Shailene Woodley, who’s also in The Spectacular Now, and is shooting The Fault in Our Stars (written by—what?—the guys who wrote The Spectacular Now). The new teen romance also features 28-year-old Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who played opposite Larson in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and 16-year-old Kaitlyn Dever, who’ll soon be seen with Larson in the forthcoming Short Term 12. Additionally, Short Term 12 features 29-year-old John Gallagher Jr., who stars on The Newsroom with 27-year-old Allison Pill, who’s also a Scott Pilgrim vs. The World alum. It’s all enough to spin the head of six-degrees king Kevin Bacon, who, come to think of it, just saw his signature movie, Footloose, remade with—wait for it—Miles Teller.

On the Rise Shailene Woodley

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On the Rise: Shailene Woodley

Fox Searchlight Pictures

On the Rise: Shailene Woodley

Nearly all the best scenes in Alexander Payne’s The Descendants feature Shailene Woodley, who was unforgettable as Alexandra, the eldest daughter of George Clooney’s cuckolded, soon-to-be-widower, Matt King. Offhand, one thinks of the scene in which news of her mom’s comatose state sends Alex into the family’s pool, screaming underwater in one of the film’s many snapshots of private torment. There’s also the moment that Alex spills to her dad the secret of her mother’s affair, shifting from tearful to venomous without missing a beat, wiping her cheeks before saying, “He hand his hand on her ass. It was gross.”

Woodley hasn’t done much screen work since her Descendants breakthrough, short of continuing her starring role in The Secret Life of the American Teenager, the ABC Family series that will soon wrap its fifth and final season. But, as 2013 rolls on, the 21-year-old has suddenly gone from Oscar snubbee to ubiquitous princess, reportedly landing the lead in two major YA adaptations, clinching the role of Mary Jane Watson in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and still being sure to maintain some indie cred. Of all the young actresses to recently emerge from Disney-type talent factories, from Miley Cyrus to the Spring Breakers hell-raisers, Woodley seems the most on track toward a fruitful and prestigious career, perhaps akin to that of another indie/franchise straddler, Jennifer Lawrence.