The year in Colorado? That's another story. Film commissioner Donald Zuckerman helped land a Quentin Tarantino production -- with a boost from a $5 million incentive package. Tarantino began shooting his western, The Hateful Eight, in Telluride this month.
No disrespect to Tarantino, but Colorado's real 2014 triumph involved documentaries. In April, four documentaries with deep Colorado roots made their way to the increasingly important Tribeca Film Festival in New York City: Silenced (about whistleblowers), Keep on Keepin' On (about the relationship between jazz musician Clark Terry and a young blind pianist), Beyond the Brick: A Lego Brickumentary (about the Lego phenomenon) and a work in progress about endangered species from the same team that made The Cove, a 2009 documentary about the abuse of dolphins in Japanese waters.
And, no, you don't have to be a jazz lover to receive a feel-good, inspirational boost from a movie that reminds us of the importance of mentorship in developing young talent and of the rewards of friendship at any age.
To add to the continued aura of importance surrounding Colorado documentaries, two of Colorado's Oscar winning documentarians -- Denver's Daniel Junge and Boulder's Louie Psihoyos -- will have films at 2015's much-watched Sundance Film Festival next month.
Both Junge's Being Evel (about daredevil Evel Knievel) and Psihoyos's Racing Extinction (the film that showed in rough form at Tribeca) will be in competition for best documentary.
A quick reminder: Junge won an Oscar for the 2012 short film Saving Face, and Psihoyos took home Oscar gold for The Cove.
The ascension of documentaries aside, most moviegoers still judge the movie year by what's available at the nation's multiplexes and art houses.
Along with just about everyone else, I thought that Benedict Cumberbatch was exceptionally good in The Imitation Game, the story of the gay mathematician who helped crack the German Enigma Code during World War II.
I was swept away by the austere, black-and-white imagery of the Polish film Ida, about a nun who learns she's Jewish before taking her final vows, and I'm still thinking about the performance given by Agata Kuleza, who played Wanda, the nun's Jewish aunt and a fading Communist big-shot.
It's difficult for me to think of a movie that had more visceral charge than Whiplash, the story of an aspiring jazz drummer (Miles Teller) tormented by a driven but sadistic teacher (J.K. Simmons). Director Damien Chazelle gave the movie's musical segments the drive of an action movie.< I loved the work done by James Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan and Jeff Goldblum in Le Weekend, a clear-eyed look at love and failure.
Mathieu Amalric's The Blue Room might have been the most adult thriller of the year. Both James Gandolfini and Tom Hardy were fine in The Drop, an underrated adaptation of a Dennis Lehane short story about men and the mob.
Julianne Moore will break the hearts of those who see her as an Alzheimer's afflicted college professor in Still Alice.
The following two movies are likely to turn up on lots of people's year-end lists. Not mine. I remain in a minority as far as Birdman is concerned. It failed to make a believer out of me. I often have trouble relating to Wes Anderson's movies, but The Grand Budapest Hotel was a visual treat and deserves praise for the way Anderson embedded wit in the movie's engaging cascade of images.
When it came to big-ticket, mainstream fare, I had decent enough times at Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Edge of Tomorrow.
Keep in mind that there's nothing a critic does that's more personal than a year-end list, and that not every movie on the list qualifies as perfect.
These are the movies that I remember fondly and, in some cases, am still thinking about or (heaven help me) regard as "important" for one reason or another.
Here, then, the list:
Linklater shot the movie in 39 days over 12 years, employing the same cast throughout. As a result, we watch young people grow and mature until time deposits them -- uneasily, I think -- on the cusp of adulthood.
2. A Most Violent Year
7. Starred Up
8. American Sniper
9. Two Days, One Night
More to the point: I couldn't let 2014 pass without acknowledging Locke in a significant way. He's capable of embodying ferocity and tenderness into a single character, and he's not likely to win any awards this year. He should.
So that's my story, and I'm sticking to it -- at least until I change my mind. Some of the movies on my list won't be making their way around the nation until January. So stay tuned, and have a happy New Year.