I didn’t quite see as many movies as last year. My personal record of 145 movies did not fall, but I did put up another entry in the century club (barely) with 100. This was not really that good of a year for movies. 2014 was exceptional but 2015, while putting out a good couple at the top, was mostly unmemorable from a film perspective. What made the list?
So, even though I saw fewer movies this year, I still enough to make an informed top ten. Last year, seeing a ridiculous amount of movies didn’t impact my top ten much. I would have seen all of then top ten if I had only watched fifty. Without further adieu, here are my top ten movies of the year.
This one was really funny. McCarthy put out a mixed bag of films lately, but this one hit all the right notes. It reminded me of Steve Carrell’s Get Smart, but it was wisely an R-Rated comedy to let MM go for it. Not quite Bridesmaids, but excellent.
- MAD MAX
A really smart action movie with a compelling female protagonist. That’s right. Tom Hardy’s Mad Max was not the star of Mad Max. Charlize Theron’s Furiosa was the star of this one. It is interesting that Mad Max is getting some Oscar buzz. It is very unlike the Oscar bait we usually see, but George Miller deserves some love for his film.
Amy Schumer nudged out Melissa for the top R-rated comedy of the year. Trainwreck is the exact kind of film I love to see. An indie-feeling film with heart and laughs. This one had both. Bill Hader followed up last year’s Skeleton Twins with a great performance in this one.
- 7. ME, EARL, AND THE DYING GIRL
This one was even more Indie than the last! I loved the use of animation to illustrate the whimsy the characters felt amidst the bleakness of cancer. Couple that with the creative short films “me” and Earl made and you had a winning film.
I love Emily Blunt. LOOOOOOVVVVVVE her. This was a nice leading role for her after a strong supporting role in Edge of Tomorrow last year. I don’t think she’ll get an Oscar nom but this should set her career up nicely. Shout out to Benicio Del Toro who COULD sneak into a Supporting nom.
- STEVE JOBS
This year’s Dallas Buyer’s Club. A film driven by performances that were so good that the story takes second chair. Michael Fassbender’s Steve Jobs should make him the frontrunner for Best Actor. He was utterly amazing. Writer Aaron Sorkin seemed to realize this from the start and simply used product launches as the framing device to examine Jobs.
The front runner for Best Picture. Mostly by default. I don’t mean that too negatively. It was an excellent movie, but it seems like it was made JUST to contend for the Oscars. Spotlight has a great cast. Shining in it was Mark Ruffalo as the reporter with some edge. I’ll be ok if this wins Best Picture, but there are a couple of others that deserve it more.
3. INSIDE OUT
Inside Out is a film that SHOULD be a contender for Best Picture. It was a drama disguised as a children’s cartoon. This movie changes the way you look at feelings. Who hasn’t had a happy memory that is later tainted with melancholy to produce some kind of Freudian nightmare? This movie explained that with colors. Oh. And, Jenny? BING BONG!
- STAR WARS EPISODE 7: THE FORCE AWAKENS
WHAT THE HELL? Star Wars is not #1? Nope. In fact, it wasn’t even the best Sci Fi film of the year. But it WAS amazing. It was the Star Wars movie we’ve been waiting for since 1983. I loved Daisy Ridley and Harrison Ford in this film. Everyone else was strong, but these two carried the film. This is a great restart for the franchise and I expect the next one to be even better.
- THE MARTIAN
What kind of movie could beat out a REALLY GOOD Star Wars flick for top honors? The Martian is that kind of film. It is literally the best movie I have seen since Dark Knight. Both SW and Martian are excellent. They both have compelling action and wonderful casts. What’s the difference then? Matt Damon. I compare his performance in the Martian to the difference between The Wire and Breaking Bad. Both were great, but Breaking Bad had Bryan Cranston, so it takes the top spot. The Martian had Damon, and as good as Ford and Ridley were, neither owned the film like Damon, THIS should be the the Best Picture of the Year!
But what about the craptastic movies? The bottom of the barrel is also fun!
Let’s run down the worst movies of the year!!!
10. BALLET 422
I actually like documentaries that introduce me to something outside of my wheelhouse, so it wasn’t the subject matter that put me off this one. It was absolutely worthless approach to documentary film making. There was no hook. No angle. No narrative. Nothing to get people interested in the subject. You’d have to be a huge ballet fan to even find this one remotely approachable.
This doc commited the same sin as Ballet 422, but it scores lower since I actually LIKE this subject matter and found myself bored silly. This doc was self-serving and pretentious. Clearly Manny’s camp made this and it played like propoganda. Boring!
8. JUPITER ASCENDING
What. A. Waste. Beautful fireworks display. Terrible film. The Wachowskis need to be DONE. No one should give them any more production budget after this trainwreck. They got luck ONCE, and haven’t shone since their debut film, The Matrix.
7. HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2
Thus begins the Sandler trifecta of bad films. HT2 was so awful that I started using my phone, hoping to get kicked out. Sadly, I saw it as Regal instead of the Drafthouse. The first one wasn’t good, but this one found a way to be worse.
6. THE COBBLER
The movie was not good, but oddly it was the kind of bad that leaves you frustrated because had it been done by a different creative team, it could have been a lot of fun. Because it was Happy Madison (Sandler driving the bus), it has all the typical tropes of an Adam Sandler comedy. Ah, Adam Sandler. He knows exactly what America wanted in 1998! It is the same shtick. The sexist, homophobic, juvenile comedy that hasn’t aged well. Any criticism you have of any Adam Sandler movie applies here.
Neil Blomkamp has fallen pretty far from District Nine. Elysium was passable, but this one landed him right in the toilet. This movie was so contrived that I couldn’t even finish it. Even Hugh Jackman couldn’t save this with his mullet and cargo shorts.
3. SEVENTH SON
Jeff Bridges sounded like he had marbles in his mouth the whole time. How did this get made? Don’t watch this movie.
2. TAKEN 3
This movie may not been as bad as the Sandler entries. I think I am grading this on the curve. Taken 1 was excellent. Taken 3 was insulting to my intelligence. I think the people who wrote this should be held accountable for war crimes.
By far the worst movie of the year. Probably the worst movie I’ve seen in a decade. I do not understand what Depp is doing. Earlier in the year, I speculated that Depp was intentionally ruining his career. Feels like he is after watching this. Sadly, this reminds me of Ed Wood movies that Depp spoofed PLAYING Ed Wood! Dreadful. Not a redeeming moment in the film!
Need the full list? Here you go. Ranked from 1 to 100!
|1||THE MARTIAN||The best movie I’ve seen in years.|
|2||STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS||Not sure how much was fueled by nostalgia.|
|3||INSIDE OUT||An adult human drama disguised as a children’s cartoon.|
|4||SPOTLIGHT||Runaway Best Picture front runner. Amazing film.|
|5||STEVE JOBS||Only flaw was the movie redeemed him far more than the source material.|
|6||SICARIO||A great sign that indicates Emily Blunt can lead a film.|
|7||ME, AND EARL, AND THE DYING GIRL||An Indie Dramedy about film. My wheelhouse!|
|8||TRAINWRECK||Both a sophomoric AND smart comedy.|
|9||MAD MAX||Amazing action movie that surprised me more than any film I can recall.|
|10||SPY||Hilarious. The best kind of comedy.|
|11||MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION||Series just keeps getting better.|
|12||KINGSMAN||Nice fun action that reasonated as the year went on for me.|
|13||CREED||Really good movie. Really great performance by Stallone!|
|14||BROOKLYN||Third act bumped this down half a star but the acting was fantastic.|
|15||DOPE||Smart and funny. Creative storytelling.|
|16||STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON||Funny and powerful. Great cast and feel.|
|17||THE WALK||Charming and quirky. Great style for such an eclectic story.|
|18||END OF THE TOUR||Movie was a strong dialogue and acting film. Story is not the driver. Kind of like Dallas Buyers Club. More about acting than plot.|
|19||DEATH OF SUPERMAN LIVES||Great look at a big what if movie b|
|20||LOVE & MERCY||I couldn’t figure out if I liked the Dano or Cusack scenes the most.|
|21||THE SEVEN FIVE||How is this not the basis of a Scorsese movie?|
|22||WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS||More Monty Python than Twilight!|
|23||BRIDGE OF SPIES||A dying breed of adult, mid-budget dramas.|
|24||MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.||Great leads. Comedy worked. Fun plot. I won’t remember ANYTHING about it in five years.|
|25||TOMORROWLAND||Don’t get the critic knocks.|
|26||IRIS||Such a charming eccentric.|
|27||RED ARMY||Brilliant look at the other side of lathe struggle. Fetislov was the brilliance of this doc.|
|28||AN HONEST LIAR||Amazing story of a debunker that turned poignant when a secret in his life was revealed. .|
|29||DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL||Challenging subject matter that does not reflect the silly title|
|30||BEASTS OF NO NATION||Important subject, but for some reason it didn’t grab me like similar films of the genre.|
|31||THE INTERN||DeNiro was as charming in this as he’s ever been.|
|32||SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE||Alison Brie needs to be in more stuff. She is great.|
|33||THE NIGHT BEFORE||Charming but fluffy.|
|34||TED 2||I’m a Serh Macfarlane fan. I get why others wouldn’t dig it.|
|35||JURASSIC WORLD||Fun movie if you ignore the action tropes.|
|36||FANTASTIC FOUR||The critics got it wrong.|
|37||AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON||Disappointment based on high standards|
|38||EX MACHINA||Good but not without its faults.|
|39||CINDERELLA||Sweet family friendly movie.|
|40||GOOSEBUMPS||Creative take on the series.|
|42||SOUTHPAW||Good but a bit heavy handed.|
|43||WHILE WE’RE YOUNG||Could have been great.|
|44||MCFARLAND USA||Good but a little too Disney.|
|45||THE 33||Inspiring adaptation of a great moment of the human spirit.|
|46||THE WRECKING CREW||Tame story. Great music!!!|
|47||BACK IN TIME||A great topic with a mediocre presentation.|
|48||I AM EVEL KNIEVAL||Not an amazing doc, but a fascinating subject.|
|49||THE PRIMARY INSTINCT||Pretty much just a filmed version of an interesting TEDTalk. .|
|50||TERMINATOR: GENYSIS||Clunky but fun.|
|51||PEANUTS MOVIE||Beautiful animation, but really just a rehash of the history of Charlie Brown.|
|52||A LEGO BRICKUMENTARY||Fun but played like a corporate investor relations video.|
|53||I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS||Cute but unmemorable.|
|54||MERCHANTS OF DOUBT||More about what they are refuting than the scoundrels themselves.|
|55||GET HARD||Fine for discount theater.|
|56||FOCUS||Clunky but pretty.|
|57||SAN ANDREAS||Fine when no one was talking.|
|58||THE WEDDING RINGER||“Looks like the Goonies grew up and became rapists…”|
|59||ENTOURAGE||This movie should be lower, but I love this franchise.|
|60||PITCH PERFECT 2||Unnecessary sequel that was only good because of the music and Fat Amy’s kootch.|
|61||HUNGER GAMES 4||Exactly what I expected.|
|62||71||Slow but impressive.|
|63||PLAYING IT COOL||The Human Torch tries to steal Mr Fantastic’s girl.|
|64||IN SEARCH OF GENERAL TSO||The search for the origin of General Tso’s chicken takes us on tour of Chinese history and the history of the Chinese in America. No matter how full you are when watching this, you may want to call for take out.|
|65||PREDESTINATION||A heady time travel movie. Take two Advil before watching.|
|66||UNFRIENDED||Fun look at social media and cyber bullying in a horror setting.|
|67||THE REWRITE||Needed a bit of a rewrite but otherwise passable.|
|68||AMIRA & SAM||Cute but a little too simplistic.|
|69||I AM CHRIS FARLEY||Low brow and all SPIKE TV. Glossed over the addiciton.|
|70||SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL||More of the same|
|71||MATCH||Would rather watch the original play.|
|72||TRUE STORY||Feels like a missed opportunity.|
|73||MAZE RUNNER: SCORCH TRIALS||None of the charm of the first movie.|
|74||MINIONS||Like a short cartoon stretched to 90 minutes.|
|75||SELF/LESS||Ryan Reynolds needs a better agent.|
|76||MR HOLMES||Boring and meandering.|
|77||HOT GIRLS WANTED||Could have been more sophisticated.|
|79||EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL||Stafford connection.|
|80||HOME||Mediocre animated offering with a few nice sequences.|
|81||MAGGIE||Meandering and boring|
|82||UNFINISHED BUSINESS||Not even $2 worthy.|
|83||GTFO||Made its point in the first 10 minutes and was largely redundant the rest of the doc.|
|84||DUFF||biggest RT inflation I’ve seen in a comedy.|
|85||DELI MAN||Didn’t have a strong central narrative.|
|86||A YEAR IN CHAMPAGNE||Offered nothing new I hadn’t seen.|
|87||BLACK AND WHITE||A sloppy and simplistic exploration of a serious topic.|
|88||PROJECT ALMANAC||Pretty illustrative of the weakness of found footage.|
|89||MINECRAFT||I love Collin|
|90||PUTIN IS BACK||Not interesting.|
|91||BALLET 422||No hook to draw me into the subject.|
|92||MANNY||Only the boxing clips were compelling.|
|93||JUPITER ASCENDING||Wachowskis as new Lucas|
|94||HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2||Even playing on my phone, this was bad.|
|95||THE COBBLER||Couldn’t figure out if they were Happy Gilmore or Punch Drunk Love|
|96||PIXELS||Wish it hadn’t been a Sandler movie.|
|97||CHAPPIE||More like CRAPPY. Closest thing to a Jar Jar solo film.|
|98||SEVENTH SON||An Oscar winner eating a bag of marbles.|
|100||MORTDECAI||Depp must have been jealous of how bad Mike Meyer’s The Love Guru stunk.|