What films did South Florida critics love most in 2014?


Three years ago, around this time of year, I undertook a little project with the following question in mind: What would be the top ranked movies of 2011 if every active film critic and film writer in South Florida, or at least every one who I know of, came together to vote in a fictional South Florida Film Critics Association?

I decided to answer this question by first, waiting until each and every one of these film writers put out their top 10s. I chose this method instead of asking each of them personally because I wanted to avoid politics as much as possible. Yes, voting, even among film critics, can get very political.

Another reason why I chose this method was because pulling a master list from a group of top 10s helped shed light on each critic’s personal, sometimes idiosyncratic tastes. Although the result of this mini-study ended up featuring many of the usual end-of-year suspects, it also revealed strong support for films that I’d never peg for best-of lists.

Anyway, with that said, I decided to do it again this year using the same weighted ballot methodology I used last time around: By compiling every top 10 list and assigning points based on the rankings of the films on each list.

Here are the previous lists if you’re inclined to review them: 2011, 2013

Overall, there were 72 films represented across the 18 critics whose lists I compiled this list from. That’s quite a large number of films for anyone who things critics only pool their best of lists from a selection of 20 movies. To the surprise of absolutely no one, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood topped the 2014 list by a comfortable margin. It appeared on 13 out of the 18 critics whose top 10s I compiled from. What’s more, it made the top five on 10 of those 13 critics’ lists, with three naming it their best film of the year.

Also topping three critics lists was Damien Chazelle’s exhilarating Whiplash, which came in second place. It appeared on 12 critics lists, making the top five in eight out of the 12 instances. Wrapping up the top three was Wes Anderson’s delightful The Grand Budapest Hotel, which was my personal favorite film of the year. Aside from topping my list, the comedy also topped my Examiner colleague Steven Lebowitz’ top 10. The Grand Budapest Hotel appeared on a grand total of eight lists, with top five showings on seven of them.

The entire top 10, plus honorable mentions is listed below. Maybe I should expand the project to other categories next year. We’ll see.


My 2014 Year-in-Review coverage:

In Retrospect: The Best of 2014

If I Had an Oscar Ballot

25 Movies I’m Excited for in 2015

2014: The Year in Superlatives?





Number of Lists: 13
Top Fives: 10
Number Ones: 3



Number of Lists: 12
Top Fives: 8
Number Ones: 3



Number of Lists: 8
Top Fives: 7
Number Ones: 2



Number of Lists: 11
Top Fives: 8
Number Ones: 0



Number of Lists: 7
Top Fives: 6
Number Ones: 2



Number of Lists: 7
Top Fives: 2
Number Ones: 1



Number of Lists: 6
Top Fives: 3
Number Ones: 1



Number of Lists: 4
Top Fives: 2
Number Ones: 1



Number of Lists: 4
Top Fives: 3
Number Ones: 0




Number of Lists: 3
Top Fives: 3
Number Ones: 1


Just Missed the Cut: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Edge of TomorrowA Most Violent Year, Nightcrawler, Only Lovers Left Alive, The Raid 2, SnowpiercerSelma, The Theory of EverythingWild


The following were the 18 South Florida-based film critics and writers whose top 10s I compiled the list from. They’re listed in alphabetical order, by last name. Click on their names to view the complete top 10 lists on their websites.


Juan Barquin – Dim the House Lights

#1 Film: Under the Skin

Billy Donnelly This is Infamous

#1 Film: Birdman

Lauren Cohen Examiner.com Miami Beach

#1 Film: Whiplash

Hap Erstein Palm Beach Arts Paper

#1 Film: Birdman

Marc Ferman Keep it Classic

#1 Film: Guardians of the Galaxy

Dan Hudak Punch Drunk Movies

#1 Film: Whiplash

Steven Lebowitz Examiner.com West Palm Beach

#1 Film: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Al McGhee Your Entertainment Ticket

#1 Film: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Steve Mesa Examiner.com Hialeah

#1 Film: Boyhood

Hans Morgenstern Independent Ethos

#1 Film: Only Lovers Left Alive

Connie Ogle The Miami Herald

#1 Film: Boyhood

Reuben Pereira Film Frontier

#1 Film: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Rene Rodriguez The Miami Herald

#1 Film: Boyhood

Ruben Rosario Miami Sun Post

#1 Film: Whiplash

Kai Sacco Film with Kai Sacco

#1 Film: Interstellar

Skip SheffieldSkip Sheffield’s Flix

#1 Film: The Theory of Everything

Andres Solar Punch Drunk Movies

#1 Film: The Dance of Reality

Alfred SotoHumanizing the Vacuum

#1 Film: Stranger by the Lake


One response to “What films did South Florida critics love most in 2014?

  1. Reblogged this on Independent Ethos and commented:
    We don’t always agree much on what makes truly good cinema, but it’s invigorating to know there are diverse voices reviewing film in Miami. Here are some of my colleagues on 2014. Thanks to Reuben at Film Frontier for this…

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