Craig Johnson

Spinning Platters film critics present their top 10 films of 2014

Spinning Platters film critics Carrie Kahn and Chad Liffmann each share their ten favorite films of 2014. Here is Carrie’s list, presented in alphabetical order. And you can see Chad’s list here.

1.) Boyhood

Patricia Arquette and Ellar Coltrane are outstanding as a mother and son who grow and change together.

Filmed intermittently over 12 years, Richard Linklater’s film chronicling a boy named Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from ages six to 18 in real time is both a technical marvel and a cinematic masterpiece. There has been nothing like it before on screen, and there will no doubt be nothing like it again. Utterly unique in scope and vision, the film lets us watch a life develop in front of our very eyes, with all of its attendant hopes, dreams, achievements, and disappointments. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke play Mason’s parents, changing and growing right alongside him and his older sister (Lorelei Linklater). An absolutely dazzling achievement that will leave you breathless and awed, Linklater’s picture is sure to be the one to beat for Best Picture come Oscar time. (You can also read Gordon’s full-length review here).

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At the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco, I sit with a group of other writers around a table as the audible antics begin approaching outside the door.  SNL veterans Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, along with director Craig Johnson, are splitting each others’ sides with jokes and voices.  They are tired and somewhat giddy from a day of press, supporting their incredible new film, The Skeleton Twins, and they loosely greet us with smiles and how ya dos.  Bill chucks a muffin from that morning down the hallway, comically screaming ‘This BETTER BE GOOD!’.  Bill and Kristen feed off each other’s energy, a polite and friendly Craig Johnson between them, and they all take a deep breath and search around the table for who’s first to dive in…

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Craig, you co-wrote the script with Mark Heyman, and I heard he’d been working on the script for eight years.  How did the final cut of the film differentiate from the original script?

Craig Johnson:  Well, we actually had a couple versions of it that were unfinished that were all over the place.  We had one where Milo was a drag queen. (To Bill) I haven’t even told you about these versions of it.  There was a road trip element.

Kristen Wiig: Maggie was a cat. (laughing)

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