Great Arts and Entertainment Writing From 2014

Most of these are (unsurprisingly) film-related, though there are some that dig into books or television. With limited exceptions, these are features, interviews, or essays, not film reviews. (I also cheated and included some videos.) And of course, this is just a list of things I happened to read and enjoy this year, and not a remotely comprehensive account of every great thing that was produced in the past 12 months.

January

“Ebiri on That Awkward Moment: A ‘Romantic Comedy’ in Which Zac Efron Plays a Sociopath,” Bilge Ebiri, Vulture

“Don’t Worry About the End of Film,” Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Rep Diary: A Time for Burning,” Jared Eisenstat, Film Comment

“Six Things Romantic Comedies Can Learn from Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said,” Alexander Huls, Movies.com

“A Crossroads for Independent Cinema,” Sky Dylan-Robbins, The New Yorker

“Remembering Rain Man: The $350 Million Movie That Hollywood Wouldn’t Touch Today,” Matt Patches, Grantland

“Child’s Play: The Degeneration of Blockbusters,” Alexander Huls, RogerEbert.com

“As Indies Explode, an Appeal for Sanity,” Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

“How Netflix Reverse Engineered Hollywood,” Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic

February

“Film Preservation 2.0,” Matthew Dessem, The Dissolve

“In Conversation: Saturday Night Live’s Lorne Michaels,” Lane Brown, Vulture

Entertainment Weekly wants you to write for it for free. Don’t do it.,” Scott Meslow, The Week

March

“Designing for The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Annie Atkins, Creative Review

“The Joys of Dated Cinema,” Peter Labuza and Abbey Bender, To Be Cont’d

Mad Men Creator Matthew Weiner On the One Thing About Internet Criticism He Doesn’t Like,” Katey Rich, Vanity Fair

“Who Killed the Romantic Comedy?,” Amy Nicholson, LA Weekly

April

“The Score,” Michael Heilemann, Kitbashed

“Days of Future Present,” David Fear, The Dissolve

The Execution of Private Slovik, 40 Years Later,” Chris Walsh, Los Angeles Review of Books

“Louis C.K. Is America’s Undisputed King of Comedy,” Andrew Corsello, GQ

“How Hollywood Killed Death,” Alexander Huls, The New York Times Magazine

“Coming Detractions,” Joe Hill, Joe Hill’s Thrills

“How (and why) to fight television culture’s amnesia,” Brandon Nowalk, The A.V. Club

“The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over Midnight Rider Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia,” Jen Yamato

“Christopher Evan Welch Died Four Months Before His Breakout Role in Silicon Valley: A Look at His Career,” Jesse David Fox, Vulture

“Why The Conversation Should Be Required Viewing at the NSA,” Alexander Huls, The Atlantic

“William Faulkner’s Hollywood Odyssey,” John Meroney, Garden & Gun

May

“The Fear of the New,” Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“The Shawshank Residuals,” Russell Adams, The Wall Street Journal

“Are We at Peak Superhero?,” Mark Harris, Grantland

“How YouTube and Internet Journalism Destroyed Tom Cruise, Our Last Real Movie Star,” Amy Nicholson, LA Weekly

West Wing Uncensored: Aaron Sorkin, Rob Lowe, More Look Back on Early Fears, Long Hours, Contract Battles and the Real Reason for Those Departures,” Lacey Rose, Michael O’Connell, Marc Bernardin, The Hollywood Reporter

“What Is a Cinemascore?,” Eric D. Snider, Film.com

“John Oliver, Charming Scold,” Ian Crouch, The New Yorker

“The Great Flood,” Donald Wilson, Film Comment

June

“Harvey Weinstein and the saga of Snowpiercer,” Ty Burr, The Boston Globe

“Steadicam progress: the career of Paul Thomas Anderson in five shots,” Kevin B. Lee, Sight & Sound

The Leftovers, Our Town, and the Brutal Power of Ordinary Details,” Tom Perotta, The Atlantic

Do the Right Thing Turns 25, and BAM Hosts the Block Party,” Michelle Orange, The Village Voice

“Shaka, When the Walls Fell,” Ian Bogost, The Atlantic

“George Saunders’s Humor,” George Saunders, The New Yorker

“The Freaks and Geeks Series Bible,” Paul Feig, Slate

Gordon Willis Interview, Steven Soderbergh, Extension 765

“The Summer Movie Season is dead,” David Ehrlich, The Dissolve

“Bombast: The Punishment Continues,” Nick Pinkerton, Film Comment

“The 100-Year-Old Who Taught Garbo to Waltz,” Matt Weinstock, Los Angeles Review of Books

“Maleficent Could Be So Good. If Only She Were Allowed To Be Bad.,” Jessica Goldstein, ThinkProgress

July

Village Voice Editor Blasts Guardians of the Galaxy Fans for Calling Critic a ‘Harlot,'” Sam Adams, Criticwire

“Has modern technology killed the spy thriller?,” Charles Cumming, The Guardian

“Joe Swanberg (Happy Christmas) Talks Jake Kasdan’s Sex Tape,” Joe Swanberg, The Talkhouse

“Six million people are still getting Netflix’s red envelopes in the mail,” Dan Frommer, Quartz

Moonrise Kingdom: Wes in Wonderland,” David Bordwell, Observations on Film Art

“Moment to Moment,” Nathan Heller, The New Yorker

“James Garner, 1928-2014,” Glenn Kenny, Some Came Running

“When Eyes Wide Shut Failed To Save The NC-17,” Scott Mendelson, Forbes

“I Killed At the Movies,” Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, The A.V. Club

“Writers Can Do Anything,” William T. Vollman, The Atlantic

“Shelving to Save a Book’s Life,” Susan Coll, The Atlantic

“This Is the End,” Wesley Morris, Grantland

August

Love Is Strange MPAA Rating Controversy,” Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

“Zip, zero, Zeitgeist,” David Bordwell, Observations on Film Art

“Different Rules Apply,” Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com

“Let’s Be Real,” Wesley Morris, Grantland

“What It Was Like to Do Surprise Improv With Robin Williams,” Chris Gethard, Vulture

“This Is the End: James Gray on Apocalypse Now,” James Gray, Rolling Stone

“Fifteen Years Later: Tom Cruise and Magnolia,” Amy Nicholson, Grantland

“The Scourge of ‘Relatability,'” Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker

“Death of Film/Decay of Cinema at 15: A Conversation With Godfrey Cheshire,” Matt Zoller Seitz and Godfrey Cheshire, RogerEbert.com

September

“Why I’m Not Watching the Inherent Vice Trailer,” Sam Adams, Criticwire

Last Week Tonight Does Real Journalism, No Matter What John Oliver Says,” Asawin Suebsaeng, The Daily Beast

“The story behind the things actors pick up and hold on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Alias, and more,” Chris Call, The A.V. Club

“Gilding the Small Screen: or, ‘Is it just me or did TV get good all of a sudden?,'” Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Los Angeles Review of Books

Raiders,” Steven Soderbergh, Extension 765

“The Death of Adulthood in American Culture,” A.O. Scott, The New York Times

“Cinematic Cuts Exploit How Your Brain Edits What You See,” Greg Miller, Wired

October

“Film, Digitality, and Cultural Divides,” B. Ruby Rich, Film Quarterly

“‘Am I being catfished?’: An author confronts her number one online critic,” Kathleen Hale, The Guardian

“David Lynch: ‘Stories Should Have the Suffering,'” David Lynch, The Talks

“Do We Read Differently at Different Ages?,” Daniel Mendelsohn and Pankaj Mishra, The New York Times

“Some Thoughts on the Planned Return of Twin Peaks,” Ian Crouch, The New Yorker

Star Wars Producer Blasts Star Wars Myths,” Chris Taylor, Mashable

November

“White People Problems,” Briallen Hopper, Killing the Buddha

“After 33 Years and an Airplane Explosion, Their Raiders of the Lost Ark Remake Is Almost Complete. Are They?,” Amy Nicholson, LA Weekly

“‘The Novel Is Like a Room’—an Interview with Karl Ove Knausgaard,” Kyle Buckley, Hazlitt

“Bread, circuses, and Oscar buzz,” David Bordwell, Observations on Film Art

“E-Book Mingles Love and Product Placement,” Alexandra Alter, The New York Times

December

Selma Star David Oyelowo Gets Frank About Race in Hollywood,” Nigel M. Smith, Indiewire

“Don’t Write for Awards,” Emily St. John Mandel, The Atlantic

“The Year After the Year of Racial Cinema,” Noah Gittell, RogerEbert.com

“In an All-Digital Future, It’s the New Movies That Will Be in Trouble,” Bilge Ebiri, Vulture

“The Birdcage,” Mark Harris, Grantland

“Great Writing Is Humble,” Peter Stamm, The Atlantic

“Chris Rock Talks to Frank Rich About Ferguson, Cosby, and What ‘Racial Progress’ Really Means,” Frank Rich, Vulture

“How the Death of Mid-Budget Cinema Left a Generation of Iconic Filmmakers MIA,” Jason Bailey, Flavorwire