With 2015 coming to a close you’ll see lots of lists, articles and award talk. I myself usually do a recap of movies I saw at the theater and a second one for smaller movies that I saw on VOD or DVD. But 2015 is weird. There were some monster movies at the box office. Jurassic World, Furious 7, Star Wars and others put up millions of dollars in ticket sales per hour, but I honestly feel as a whole, it was a down year for quality films. There’s a lot of movies I liked, maybe even liked a lot, but how many did I love? I’m not sure actually. There’s a lot of fun movies, some major disappointments, some that are better than others say and a lot of great documentaries. So in no particular order, here’s what 2015 means to me in the world of film.
- Spotlight – Probably my Best Picture of the year.
- Creed – A classic underdog fight movie.
- The Peanuts Movie – Simply adorable.
- Straight Outta Compton – The biggest surprise of the year.
- Brooklyn – I love you Saoirse Ronan (and Irish storytelling).
- Steve Jobs – A master class in filmmaking, acting & screenwriting.
- The Martian – A lighter Interstellar, but a lot more fun.
- 99 Homes – Michael Shannon is my spirit animal.
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens – My inner child smiled, cheered and cried.
A Lot of Fun (Movies I enjoyed and had fun with but not award worthy):
- Furious 7 – This is why they make IMAX theaters.
- Ant-Man – The less serious Marvel film lets Paul Rudd shine.
- Avengers: Age of Ultron – Not as good on a second viewing at home, but still an Avengers flick.
- Shaun the Sheep – My favorite family film not called The Peanuts Movie.
- Jurassic World – This is also why they make IMAX theaters!
- Minions – What can I say? The little bastards make me laugh.
Worst of the Year (in theaters):
- By the Sea – Brad and Angelina made a beautiful movie that has no plot.
- Fantastic Four – Yeah, as bad as they said it was going to be.
- The Wonders – Got a standing ovation at Cannes, I didn’t get it.
- The Visit – I gave up on M. Night years ago, but tried this one. Should have stuck to my guns and stayed home.
- Hitman: Agent 47 – A remake/reboot no one wanted/cared about/watched.
Better than You’ve Heard:
- Vacation – A standalone “sequel” that’s funny in a weak year for comedies.
- Pixels – Not great, but not the horrific abomination they say it is. Typical Adam Sandler hatred for no reason.
- The Man from UNCLE – Classic spy styling with another quality Alicia Vikander performance. First time I’ve liked Henry Cavill.
- Terminator Genisys – Disappointed at the box office in the US but the third best Terminator of all time.
- Tomorrowland – I’m pretty much the only person who liked it.
- Mad Max Fury Road – I have no idea what people see in this movie. It’s not bad, but the love and award talk blow my mind.
- The Walk – I’m a big Zemeckis and JGL fan, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s accent wasn’t necessary and the first half does nothing.
- Blackhat – I’m a big Michael Mann fan. I’m a big Chris Hemsworth fan. This somehow is a lackluster film.
- Chappie – Loved Neill Blomkamp’s first films. Didn’t like this at all.
- Aloha – Cameron Crowe and a huge cast made a dud.
- In the Heart of the Sea – Chris Hemsworth makes the list again. Great cast and Ron Howard made a slow film with a bad, CGI look.
- Crimson Peak – Big fan of Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain. Guillermo del Toro made this year’s Cloud Atlas.
- Red Army – An essential hockey documentary. An essential history documentary. Those are two of my favorite topics.
- A Lego Brickumentary – I love LEGO! Simply a lot of fun.
- I am Chris Farley – Farley was a legend taken from us too soon. It shows how brilliant he truly was.
- The 7-5 – The level of corruption in this story is mind blowing. If you think cops today are bad, watch this one about the 1980s.
- Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead – The story of National Lampoon shows some of the most talented people of all time before they were famous. From SNL to The Simpsons, pop culture was changed forever by National Lampoon.
- Also check out: Call Me Lucky, Misery Loves Comedy, Lambert & Stamp, One Million Dubliners
- The Editor – 70s Italian Giallo spoof with nudity, blood, and intentionally bad ADR work. I laughed a lot.
- Helen Keller Vs. Nightwolves – Ross Patterson is a staple of my yearly lists and HKvN is over the top fun. St. James St. James made another cult classic.
- The Stanford Prison Experiment – Brutally intense watch that shows how far people will go when following orders or playing a role. Psychology at its best.
- Just Before I Go – One of my favorite dark comedies of the year.
- While We’re Young – Baumbach captures aging (and trying to stay young) perfectly.
- Zombeavers – Beavers become zombies and scantily clad ladies must fight them. Pretty sure it was made for me.
- I Am a Knife with Legs – Any other year zombie beavers or Helen Keller fighting wolves would be the most bizarre film of the year, but Bennett Jones plays an international rock star being hunted by an assassin. Just no words to describe it.
- Infinitely Polar Bear – One of the best/most honest movies about mental illness. Mark Ruffalo (as usual) is brilliant.