Excellence is where you find it, not where it's forced into some Hollywood genre pigeonhole.
The first six months of 2014 have already passed (time flies when you're having... to sit through dozens of movies each week???) and there are already pundits pronouncing this the worst year ever, film wise. They point to the lackluster box office, the continuing success of bloated Summer tentpoles, and the inability for those seeking sanctuary from such spectacle to find realistic alternative outlets.
On the other hand, there have been a bevy of interesting efforts released this year that have either flown under the radar or received their standard Cineplex due, confirming that excellence is where you find it, not where it's forced into some genre pigeonhole that Hollywood has micromanaged to influence international receipts. Indeed, the foreign film market is becoming so important, and profitable, for the Tinseltown suits that they frequently forget that US audiences count, too.
Still, like most sites which cover film, we seem destined to deal with the fact that there are only a few more months before Awards Season and its tsunami of "important" titles. By that time, most of what we loved in the earlier part of the year will be forgotten amidst handwringing, star turns, and serious subject matter.
With that in mind, we're looking back on January through June's releases and have come up with a list of the 10 Best Films of 2014, So Far. Oddly enough, you'll find several popcorn efforts here, as well as a few that didn't play beyond the standard limited release/VOD dynamic. It will be interesting to see if any, or all, end up back here come January 2015. As with most movie years, 2014 is just getting started. There's a whole lot left to go, enough to make any of the previous doom and gloom predictions seem pathetic (and premature) by contrast.