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61 Reasons to Love 2014

From returning rock legends to heart-stopping thrillers, the best of what’s to come in music, movies and TV this year

Don't expect to get a cultural breather after the past 12 massive months: Beginning early in January, there are can't-miss concerts, new and returning watercooler TV shows and specials, albums from rock legends, and the release of big-budget popcorn flicks that'll have everyone talking. With the caveat that all dates are subject to change (and, in same cases, simply our best guesses) here are our picks for the music, movies and TV to watch out for in 2014. 

By Mike Ayers, David Fear, Blaine McEvoy, David Marchese and Dan Reilly

Courtesy Magnolia Pictures

‘Nymphomaniac’ (March 21st)

Director Lars von Trier's latest controversy-courting film stars his frequent collaborator Charlotte Gainsbourg as the titular character, named Joe, alongside Stellan Skarsgård, Shia LaBeouf, Uma Thurman, and Willem Dafoe. The two-part film is split into eight chapters that document Joe's life from birth to age 50, with plenty of explicit, often unsimulated sex scenes along the way. 

ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images

Johnny Cash, ‘Out Among the Stars’ (March 25th)

Finding any previously unheard Johnny Cash material is cause for celebration – but an entire album's worth? Cash's son, John Carter, has dug up and resurrected this 12-song album that was recorded in 1981 and 1984. Out Among the Stars features duets with Waylon Jennings, his wife June Carter Cash and guitar work from a young Marty Stuart.  The set captures Cash just moments before he would go on to form the Highwaymen, the Eighties country supergroup consisting of him, Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson.

Courtesy Paramount Pictures

‘Noah’ (March 28th)

The Biblical flood comes to the big screen in Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky's $130-million adaptation. Huge sets, tons of CGI animals, and a cast including Russell Crowe, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, and Jennifer Connelly suggest this might not be a humble retelling of the tale.  

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Black Sabbath Back in America (March 31st)

Black Sabbath aren't done touring behind their April-released reunion album, 13, their first with original frontman Ozzy Osbourne since 1978's Never Say Die!  In November, the band announced it was adding more shows in North America and Europe, which should serve as the final gigs in support of the album. While most of the North American dates are in Canada, the metal gods will hit Brooklyn's Barclays Center on March 31st and the Hollywood Bowl on April 26th. With guitarist Tony Iommi recently having battled cancer, it's hard to know when, or if, Sabbath will tour again.

Courtesy Marvel

‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ (April 4th)

Following the events of The Avengers, Chris Evans' Captain America now has to take on an old friend who's been brainwashed into becoming KGB assassin the Winter Soldier, all while still struggling to fit in  the present day. Sebastian Stan plays the villain, while Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johannson, and Colbie Smulders return to the series. Robert Redford, Anthony Mackie, and Emily VanCamp are the new faces in the film.

Courtesy Alcon Entertainment

‘Transcendence’ (April 18th)

Johnny Depp stars in Transcendence as a computer scientist striving to improve artificial intelligence to the point where it is more powerful than the human mind — even as he risks becoming one with the technology. Director Wally Pfister earned his chops working as Christopher Nolan's top cinematographer and won an Oscar for his work on Inception. The movie also features Morgan Freeman, Rebecca Hall, Cillian Murphy, and Kate Mara.

Courtesy Sony Pictures

‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ (May 2nd)

Following the $750 million box office of the 2012 Spider-Man reboot, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone return to face new villains and teen troubles. This time Jamie Foxx (Electro) and Paul Giamatti (the Rhino) do battle with Spidey, who also meets his old pal Harry Osborn, played by Chronicle star Dane DeHaan. With director Marc Webb returning from the original and Garfield having proven he can pull off the role, it's a safe bet that this sequel will make an ocean of money.

Courtesy Universal Pictures

‘Neighbors’ (May 9th)

It's a beautiful day in new parents Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne's quaint, suburban neighborhood — until a party-animal fraternity headed by Zac Efron moves in next door. No, he won't be asking to borrow a cup of sugar; yes, a take-no-prisoners battle of raunch-comedic revenge is on like Donkey Kong. 

Courtesy Warner Brothers

‘Godzilla’ (May 16th)

Finally, the monster franchise gets a reboot so we can all forget about the earlier (1998) reboot. The new version, 3D of course, is directed by Gareth Edwards in his first major film following the acclaimed alien-invasion indie flick Monsters. Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick Ass, Nowhere Boy) stars alongside Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen. 

Courtesy Mayhem Pictures

‘Million Dollar Arm’ (May 16th)

This Disney film stars Jon Hamm as J.B. Bernstein, a real-life sports agent who launched a reality show in India to find the country's best baseball players. Though it's already known that the winners, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, eventually became the first Indian players to appear in professional baseball, both as minor-league pitchers for the Pittsburgh Pirates, you can expect a heartwarming yarn along the lines of Miracle and The Rookie.

Courtesy Marvel/Twentieth Century Fox

‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ (May 23rd)

In X-Men: Days of Future Past, an all-star cast including James MacAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen reprise their roles to go back in time to stop a homo superior genocide that hasn't happened yet — but will in the near-future. Peter Dinklage also joins up as scientist Bolivar Trask. Got all that? Trust us, original X-Men director Bryan Singer will explain everything. Also, did we mention there's giant killer robots? 

Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage

‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ (May 30th)

After voicing the profane stuffed bear in Ted, Seth MacFarlane's latest big-screen foray finds the Family Guy creator starring as a meek farmer who learns to be a gunslinger, with help from Charlize Theron. The Western comedy, due out just after Memorial Day on May 30th, also features Amanda Seyfried as his love interest and Liam Neeson as the bad guy. You can bet on seeing some of the best cowboy fart humor since Blazing Saddles.

Courtesy Columbia Pictures

’22 Jump Street’ (June 13th)

No one was more surprised than us when the 2012 big-screen revamp of the '80s TV cop show became the action-comedy of the year. So we're totally stoked that Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are back for more self-mocking, undercover-bromance shenanigans, this time posing as college students. You may commence keg-stand gags now.

Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ (July 11th)

Andy Serkis returns as Caesar in the sequel to 2011's highly successful reboot, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The follow-up takes place 10 years after the original, with Caesar leading the apes in battle against Earth's remaining humans, played by a cast that includes Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, and Keri Russell. 

Courtesy Warner Brothers

‘Jupiter Ascending’ (July 18th)

The Wachowski siblings return to Matrix territory with Jupiter Ascending. Sure to be visually stunning and mondo mind-bending, the film tells the story of an innocent young woman (Mila Kunis) who is the only capable of preventing  interplanetary warfare. Lucky for her, a man-scara–wearing Channing Tatum is on bodyguard duty. Game of Thrones' Sean Bean is also on-board. We are so there.

‘Get On Up’ (August 1st)

It's about damned time the hardest-working man in showbiz got his own rags-to-riches biopic! If in Get On Up Chadwick Boseman does for Soul Brother #1 James Brown what he did for Jackie Robinson in 42, we'll be more than please-please-pleased. Here's hoping director Tate Taylor (The Help), with help from co-producer Mick Jagger, also gives the drummer some. 

David Livingston/Getty Images

‘Sex Tape’ (August 1st)

Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz will star as spouses who record themselves bumping uglies one night for fun — only to wake up the next morning and discover their personal porn flick has gone missing. (Oops!) Considering the cast also includes Jack Black, Rob Lowe and The Office's Ellie Kemper, we're predicting a down-and-dirty laugh riot.

Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Spike TV

‘The Giver’ (August 15th)

Film fans will be glad to know that Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep star in this cinematic adaptation of Lois Lowry's classic Young Adult novel. Millions of Taylor Swift fans, though, are sure to go wild over the fact that the superstar will play a supporting role in the tale of a 12-year-old boy chosen to be a futuristic utopia's "keeper" of memories. 

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Victor Maymudes’ ‘Another Side of Bob Dylan’ (September 9th)

From 1961 on, Victor Maymudes was one of Bob Dylan's closest friends and confidantes. The pair had a falling out in 2000, after which Maymudes decided he would write a book about his life with the rock icon, but he died (from a brain aneurysm) the following year before he could complete the work. Now, Maymudes' son Jake has resurrected the project. Definitely don't expect something similar to Dylan's Chronicles.


David Becker/Getty Images

‘Gone Girl’ (October 3rd)

We'd gladly watch David Fincher direct a phonebook reading, but thankfully, the Fight Club auteur has chosen something chewier for his next project: A take on Gillian Flynn's smash success suspense novel about a missing wife (Rosamund Pike) and the husband (Ben Affleck) who's suspected of killing her. "Blurred Lines" sex symbol Emily Ratajkowski also has a role. 

Rob Kim/Getty Images

‘Dumb and Dumber To’ (November 14th)

Lloyd and Harry are back! Twenty years after Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels blessed us with the ne plus ultra in buddy-comedy stupidity, the dynamic duo reunite (along with directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly) for a new adventure involving road trips, kidney transplants and lost kids. This will easily be the dumberest movie of the year. 

Courtesy Legendary Pictures

‘Interstellar’ (November 7th)

He's rifled through our comic-book collections and "incepted" our dreams; now director Christopher Nolan sets his sights on the far reaches of the galaxy with this tale of astronauts (led by Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway) exploring a wormhole. Expect lots of cerebral sci-fi musings, some IMAX-ready cosmic slop and a gloriously droning Hans Zimmer score. 

Vera Anderson/WireImage

‘Exodus’ (December 12th)

Christian Bale has unleashed Old Testament-style wrath in the past (sometimes even onscreen!), so we're dying to see what he does with the lead in Ridley Scott's biblical epic: He plays Moses, the man who helps the Israelites transition from pyramid laborers to denizens of the Promised Land. You'd better let his people go, Ramses!