Everything That Was Underrated in 2014

Give praise where praise is due - and admit that Tom Cruise has still got it.
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Give praise where praise is due - and admit that Tom Cruise has still got it.
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You can’t watch every movie, listen to every album, ogle every model, or visit every country. That’s why you read reviews, consult your friends, and defer to the experts. Can you trust hype? You don’t have a lot of choice, but, no, not really. That’s why we’re here to set the record straight and give the things (and people) that didn’t get enough credit in 2014 the props they deserve.

Sony Execs

We read their hacked emails and they seemed… like normal people with stressful jobs. Would your emails pass the internet stress test? Probably not. Ours sure wouldn’t.

Apes

Better with guns than you’d think.

Mike Trout

Everyone thinks Trout is terrific. He’s better than that.

Tap Water

Soda had a rough year as Dasani sales took off. Here’s the thing: Buy a Coke and, using the empty bottle, you can simulate the Dasani experience for free.

Rose Byrne

Maybe it’s because she beautiful or because she’s English or because her name sounds like a soap, but Byrne never gets enough credit for being hilarious. She killed in Bad Neighbors even if her performance in Annie was less memorable. Whatever, the check cleared.

Ohio State’s Football Program

Sure, they’re in the playoff, but everyone hated all season. The Buckeyes aren’t mediocre, America just wishes they were.

Jack Antonoff

His rock band Fun was whatever it was as long as that lasted, but Antonoff found his true calling this year, making Taylor Swift better while not getting much credit for it.

on Nov 11, 2014 at 10:58am PST


Poppy Delevingne
The other Delevingne girl may not have Cara’s ubiquity, but she has plenty going for her.

Ben Roethlisberger
Number 7 provides definitive proof that being unlikeable doesn’t make you bad at football.

Robert Pattinson/Kristen Stewart
Their romance on and off the Twilight set conditioned you to hate them, but Pattinson and Stewart both turned in great performances this year. Pattinson got gritty in The Rover and Stewart got bottomless (memorably) in Clouds of Sils Maria.

Electric Cars
Falling gases prices triggered an uptick in SUV sales later in the year. At the same time, electric cars started to get serious about speed. Tesla is an incident in the Middle East away from some serious sales.


on Dec 12, 2014 at 12:32pm PST


Russian Dogs

Putin was wrong. This is a good dog.

The Edge of Tomorrow

The box office numbers were awful, but this Tom Cruise vehicle was actually awesome. Emily Blunt was amazing and America’s least favorite movie star not named Mel Gibson showed that he still has what it takes. He also got shot in the face a bunch.

Sweden

It’s cold as hell, its politics are insane, and IKEA is a terrible place to hang out, but Sweden is where pop music comes from. Seriously.

Fargo

When FX announced that it was developing a television show based on the 1996 classic by the Coen Brothers, films buffs reacted with predictable apprehension – how could it be anywhere near as good as the original film? But not only was Fargo the TV series just as good as the film (or possibly better), it demonstrated how television has now become the dominant storytelling form for serious drama in the 21st century. And, for the sake of argument, Fargo was even better than its overrated peer, True Detective.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

After a disastrous first season, the Marvel television show has rebounded nicely by turning the incredibly boring members of its cast into an alien, a traitor, and an incredibly nice haircut. In short, the problems with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D weren’t that it couldn’t use superheroes, but that its non-superheroes were super boring. In its second season though, the show has become a valuable, unpredictable, and, most importantly, fun addition to the Marvel universe.

Google+

Okay, hear me out. It’s not the most fun. It’s certainly not a Facebook killer. But for photo backup, it’s the best service on the market for non-iPhone users (they exist). So as much as we love to hate, let’s hear it for big brother Google and their beloved Google+.

Trains

While the price of gas is plummeting just in time for 2015, 2014 belonged to trains. From Amtrak writer’s residencies, to fancy private rail cars, Americans got back on the rails. (But still no progress on high-speed rail. That’s just not happening).

Kickers

Often the butt of all NFL jokes, kickers have become the most efficient players on the field, now rarely missing a kick from inside the fifty.

ESPN 3

For most Americans, the best World Cup action this summer happened while they were at work. ESPN 3, the mobile version of ESPN, provided pretty flawless picture from every shootout, dirty tackle, and ear-bite. As opposed to other streaming services (::cough::NBA League Pass::cough), ESPN 3 never dropped the ball.

Photos by Tim P. Whitby / Getty Images