Metal Hammer's Best Of The Rest 2014
Films, TV and books!
If rumours are to be believed, there's more to life than music. We're not so sure, but these are the best films, TV shows and books that have entertained us while choosing another album to put on.
Dom Lawson: "Both a wonderfully peculiar rock 'n' roll movie and a suitably skewed tribute to the late, great Frank Sidebottom (or his real life alter-ego, Chris Sievey, if you prefer), this movie didn't have any CGI or exploding dinosaurs, but it did brim with amazing performances, subtly dark humour and an infectious sense of anarchy. A stone cold classic, basically."
Guardians Of The Galaxy
Vanessa Thorpe: "Groooooot! I am Grooooooot! Brilliant, brainless fun."
Lewis Somerscales:_ _"I AM GROOT. Etc"
Alexander Milas:_ "I had low expectations, and I can't confess to having been a big convert to the comic book, but with a humour reminiscent of _Galaxy Quest and just one of the best soundtracks on any film this year, I can't remember being this entertained by the big screen in a very long time. Have a second look at it though, and you begin to appreciate just how beautifully rendered it all is as well – simply speaking, a perfect film."
Under The Skin
Jon Selzer: "Not just the most perfectly distilled film of the year, Under The Skin's tale of Scarlett Johansson as an extraterrestrial sizing up Glaswegians for nutritional value was both one of the most excruciatingly intimate films I've ever seen and, recalling the alien perspective of Nic Roeg's The Man Who Fell To Earth, the most consciousness-altering too, despite the best efforts of the vastly more overblown Interstellar."
Luke Morton: "Visually stunning and possibly Matthew McConaughey's best performance (as it's basically a one-man show), it's one of the best sci-fi flicks in recent years and has that 'whaaaaaaaaaaat?' headfuck factor I love. Plus there's no sound in the space scenes which is an excellent touch most sci-fis fail to include."
House Of Fools
Dom Lawson: "Vic and Bob have been making me laugh for over half my life, but even by their standards of insanity, House Of Fools was gloriously silly and painfully funny. Extra points go to the increasingly magnificent Matt Berry, whose character Beef had many of the best lines. There's a second series on the way, apparently. Woohoo!"
The Walking Dead
Vanessa Thorpe: ""It got good again! Carol and Daryl kick arse. Still not forgiving the Powers That Be for the humungous spoiler on Facebook, though."
Lewis Somerscales: "Weird and wonderful, Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey are stunning throughout"
Alexander Milas: "Slow, languid, dark – this series says everything of television's ongoing ability to trounce the aspirations of Hollywood by creating a compelling, considered storyline that had me utterly captivated. Sure, there are hints of the supernatural, but it's the rapport between Woody Harrelson's straight-shooting hypocrite and Matthew McConaughey's guru burnout that makes this such compelling viewing."
Jonathan Selzer: "Boardwalk Empire is the most beautifully rendered TV series I've ever seen, but season five, for all its elegiac tone, took storytelling to a new level. Its framing of episodes, flashbacks, elegantly clever twists, ability to hold so many threads in perfect equilibrium and it unflinching violence proved more satisfying and engrossing than all the other more talked about series this year, with the possible exception of True Detective."
Luke Morton: "I was going to go for Game Of Thrones but this year has seen South Park return to form in spectacular fashion. Still as rude, crude and downright offensive as ever, the satire has been turned up to 11 as no-one is safe from the gaze of Matt and Trey. I am Lorde, ya ya ya!"
The Rest Is Noise by Alex Ross
Dom Lawson: "I spent most of my life ignoring classical music because my parents liked it... and because most of what I'd hear left me completely cold. Alex Ross' scholarly but endlessly readable study of 20th century classical music and its political and social impact completely blew my mind and introduced me to a ton of weird and intense sounds that I would never have heard otherwise."
A House In The Sky by Amanda Lindhout & Sara Corbett
Vanessa Thorpe: "Harrowing but gripping and inspirational real-life account by a woman who was abducted in Somalia. Not exactly a barrel of laughs, though."
Easy Street (the Hard Way) by Ron Perlman
Lewis Somerscales: "A fascinating insight into Hollywood and how working hard and being nice finally pays off."
It's Too Late To Die Young Now by Andrew Mueller
Jonathan Selzer: "I've got a personal stake (and a brief mention) in this hilarious and beautifully written memoir, as Andrew Mueller was a colleague of mine throughout the 90s at the now-defunct Melody Maker. But although his pean to a halcyon and frankly incorrigible age of pre-internet music journalism mirrors my own journey in many ways, this is a must-read for anyone who thinks that music journalism can a noble profession, anyone who knows that it's not and anyone who understands that those two viewpoints aren't mutually exclusive."
The Martian by Andy Weir
**Alexander Milas: **"An astronaut in the near future gets stranded on the surface of Mars and survives – sound impossible? It isn't, in this utterly brilliant and surgically precise and scientifically researched tale of man vs. the elements. It's really the humour though – this is all told in the form of log entries – that keeps you turning pages, because it's absolutely fucking hilarious."
Kill Your Friends by John Niven
Luke Morton: "A glaring insight into the music industry in the 1990s as seen through the eyes of Steven Stelfox (not a real person, but allegedly based on various people). It's full of drugs, sex, more drugs, more sex, swearing, seriously dark humour and a dose of murder. There's a film adaptation coming out next year but it won't be as good as the book. Guaranteed."