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The 10 Best Pajama-Pants Comfort Movies of 2014

By Dustin Rowles | Film | January 5, 2015 |

By Dustin Rowles | Film | January 5, 2015 |

Each year, before we run our 10 Best Movies of the Year list, we also compile a list of those films that don’t quite fit into the “best” films category, but that should still be seen, preferably at home. On your couch. While you’re still in your pajamas. They are the best comfort films of the year, and there they are (and before you complain about an obvious omission, hang out and see if it’s on one of our other best movies list this week. We don’t like to overlap).


NeighborsNeighbors itself is insanely, hilariously funny, and what makes it doubly so is the fact that the humor comes from a familiar place: Exhaustion, the inability to find moments in our day to have have sex our spouses, and the concern that the comfortable monotony of our adult lives means missing out on some theoretical adventures. That’s what makes it more than hilarious; that’s what makes Neighbors interesting. — Dustin Rowles


John Wick — If you’ve seen Taken or The Equalizer or any of the other “former-killer-finds-redemption-through-revenge,” then you’re familiar with the concept. It’s grown tiresome. Which brings us back to my original query: Why should you bother seeing John Wick? Because it’s goddamn fantastic, that’s why. I say this without any hesitation — of all of the films within the genre that I’ve seen in recent years, John Wick executes (heh) the concept better than any other. Yes, better than Taken. It is an absolutely brutal, grisly, gripping explosion of violence and tension. It’s tightly plotted, dizzyingly paced (the entire film, beginning with his wife’s death, takes place over the course of maybe two or three days, tops). It’s a near-perfect action movie. — TK


The One I LoveThe One I Love stars Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss. They play a married couple, but their marriage is troubled. They seek the assistance of a marriage counselor, played by Ted Danson, who recommends a weekend retreat in a cottage where he frequently sends couples. It has very good results. That is all that can be said about the plot of The One I Love, because all the ensuing revelations in the film should be experienced rather than described. I will only say that it’s a film about identity, and about who we are, and how others perceive us, and how we perceive ourselves, and all the gaps between perceptions and realities. — DR


What If — It’s inevitable that What If will forever be called the Millennial When Harry Met Sally. You know why? Because that’s exactly what it is. This movie is quite possibly the best romantic comedy of the 2000s, or at least a solid contender for the title, which it earned not by flipping the genre on its head or by inventing new forms, but by doing the old forms really, really well. It is aggressively adorable, but very smart. Sure, it’s predictable (what, are they NOT going to end up together?) and moderately formulaic, and, yes, twee enough to include cartoon bird-women occasionally fluttering across the screen, but still centers around two characters who are undeniably charming and perfect enough for each other that you can’t help but actively root for them. This movie is fun and charming and— yes, I’ll use the dread word itself—adorable. And by embracing all those things and not fighting the genre it so solidly lives within, it manages to be a truly fantastic movie. Vivian Kane


Skeleton Twins — The maddening thing about clichés is that, if we’re being honest, they’re basically the foundation for everyday life. What is more frustrating than to recognize that you, your thoughts, your dreams, your biggest obstacles, are nothing more than a big heap of been-there-done-that? Everyone has felt this at some point (and most of us probably have the feeling daily), the utter futility of trying to feel original. That’s the beauty of The Skeleton Twins. The movie doesn’t avoid the clichés, either in plot points or indie film tropes. It just lets them exist, finding itself, what makes it special, inside the mundanity. Just as we all are forced to do, every day. — VK

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Top Five — It’s important to realize that while Top Five is a funny movie, it’s not a comedy in the conventional sense. Rock has some critically important things to say, and he is massively successful at making his voice heard. The film is rife with metaphor, but they’re eloquently made and often painfully accurate. Top Five is a great damn movie — funny, emotionally affecting, sweet, occasionally obnoxious and clumsy — but more interestingly is the fact that it might just be a damn important movie too. — TK


The Drop — I loathe writing reviews about movies like The Drop. Not because it isn’t good, but because it’s so good that it’s difficult to find much to say other than: dude go see this movie. Which I suppose is exactly what movie reviews are supposed to be on most days, but we usually end up with thousand word dissections of monstrosities or interesting conversation starters about good films. The damned solid film that has good plot and brilliant acting is difficult to start a deeper conversation about because all the joy is in the experience, and it’s not something that can be easily explicated. Steven Lloyd Wilson


The LEGO MovieThe Lego Movie is built for excess and pulls it off marvelously. Most importantly, the film does not follow the prescribed animation tropes. Not only does this movie look fantastic, but so much care went into the script that I have to bow down just a little bit. You don’t get this kind of unexpected satisfaction very often in the realm of kiddie flicks. The Lego Movie is not only surprising because it’s not a let down but because it celebrates the sense of surprise. Go forth and build. — Agent Bedhead


Obvious Child — Obvious Child is the kind of movie that shouldn’t be so surprising. Yes! There is a way to discuss these difficult things without resorting to awkward nonsense or heavy handed drama, yes there are other people dealing with the things you’re dealing with, and they are making art and you can see it right now. It shouldn’t feel like a groundbreaking revelation when someone makes something good, something true and real. And yet it still does, and there’s something wonderful about art that can still surprise and delight. Obvious Child is worthy of contemplation, for as much as it does not say as for what it reveals about the way we think about ourselves. Also, it’s actually funny, and there’s precious little of real funny in the world these days. — Amanda Meyncke


22 Jump Street — All of this might sound like an exhausting remake of the first one, if not for the fact that Miller and Lord end up subverting many of the first film’s tropes while simultaneously playing into and mocking bigger-is-better sequel cliches. It winks at itself so hard it sprains its own dick, but there’s something funny in that, too. 22 Jump Street may be more of the same, but it manages to succeed almost in spite of itself. I don’t think there’s enough left in the tank for a trilogy, but there was plenty of energy and momentum to keep this one afloat. — Dustin Rowles