This…is my last article of 2015. Give me a moment. This is an article I’ve been looking forward to for a long damn time. Haaaaaaaaaaaa.
2015 was a very bad year, a very very bad year, just…overall, but especially for movies. The bad movies were thick this year, as my full Worst 10 of the Year indicates, and it became increasingly bad as the year wore on. By the end of the year all I could really do to get through it is focus on the good movies.
And therein lies the small (small) upside of all the movies this year being so bad. Surrounded by an ocean of mediocre and terrible movies, the good movies shown all the brighter. So I’ve actually been quite looking forward to this list. Nothing like giving the best movies of a bad year, to let you know which movies really stood out.
(As always, there were several movies, most notably Lost Souls, Carol, The Hateful Eight and The Revanent that I didn’t get to see before the end of the year, so don’t complain if they’re not on this list).
As always, number 10 was a very tight spot, as both It Follows and Trumbo, were nearly here. But I feel very happy with this choice. Dope was easily one the best comedies of the year, with a unique angle and a surprisingly poignant story. It was a little rough around the edges, but that was part of its charm. Dope is…well I don’t want to sound out of touch, so I won’t say dope, but awesome.
#9: Going Clear
I don’t always include HBO movies on my top 10, but this one got a (brief) theatrical release, which is enough for me to include one of the best documentaries in years on the list. It’s a fascinating look at Scientology from the inside out, which is only gets scarier the more you learn about it. Now here’s hoping we don’t get any angry Scientologists in the comments.
Okay, let’s get my weird choice out of the way. Kumiko was an extremely strange movie, but I loved it, for the same reasons I usually love strange movies; Because it’s a completely unique, completely new experience. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s based around one of my favorite movies of all time…just like the really excellent TV show, Fargo. Guess it’s fertile ground for other stories, in addition to being an incredible movie.
Bridge of Spies did reasonably well, but not incredibly, at the Box Office, which is more than a little disappointing. This may not be Spielberg’s best movie, but it’s a damn, damn, DAMN fine one, a solid performance from Tom Hanks, a fantastic screenplay from the Coen Brothers, and most of all, great direction from Spielberg. So if you didn’t bother with this when it was in theaters, make sure to grab it when it hits DVD. You owe it to yourself.
After decades in the wilderness, the Rocky franchise finally finds it’s footing again…by jettisoning almost everything about the franchise since Rocky. And while, I still find it quite amusing that they’re totally unwilling to acknowledge anything about Rocky IV aside from Apollo’s death, this is still a great film. Now here’s hoping we keep this cycle going and have a movie about the kid of the villain of this movie in 20 years.
Given how little I care about Steve Jobs the person, it’s quite impressive that I managed to get so sucked into Steve Jobs the movie. Boyle and Sorkin work so well together, that it’s surprising they’ve never made a movie together before. I’d like to address the actors, but god, the screenplay is so great, I almost feel like we should leave it at that.
If you’d told me that the two franchises that would come back the best this year would wind up being Rocky and Mad Max, I’d probably have laughed. But here I am, declaring that Mad Max is not only one of the best films of the year, but one of the best action movies in years, and one that people will still be talking about years from now.
Spotlight is a movie that could have wound up leaning on the importance of its subject matter for gravitas, but refused to go that route. Instead it presented a stripped down and straightforward retelling of the events it’s devoted to. And its all the more powerful for it. It’s too bad that one can’t given an Oscar to an ensemble cast because this one…would lose out to the next two, but it would be very close.
I love sci-fi. I love every kind of sci-fi there is, from hard, science based sci-fi, to loose, over the top science fantasy. And The Martian is the best hard sci-fi film to hit theaters in years, since Moon at least. A great ensemble cast, combined with a fantastic screenplay and brilliant direction, to give us one of the best films this year. It feels so good to love a Ridley Scott film again. And for the longest time, I thought this was going to take the top spot…until the number one spot swooped in at the last moment.
While it doesn’t always overcome my love for sci-fi, another thing I love in my films is true stories of esoteric financial chicanery. And if you have even the slightest fondness for that, then you won’t want to miss this. But you also won’t want to miss it if you’re a fan of fantastic scripts, great performances or even just comedies in general. The Big Short is a very different movie from the movie its trailers are advertising, but it is all the stronger for it. I’m going to save most of my commentary for my upcoming review, but whatever you do, do not miss this movie.