The Best Films of 2015

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Let’s be honest, 2015 has been a pretty great year for movies. Sure there were huge expectations that didn’t meet up in the end and there were a good chunk of bad films, but 2015 felt like it had a lot to offer with film, especially in November and December. Not only were some of the huge films great (hello Star Wars), but the smaller ones were equally as enjoyable. By the point you’ve already read my list of the worst 2015 films from the other day. I ended up only listing 8 films on that list. At first I felt strange about making it not the same amount of films as the best list. So I tried and tried to make my list longer (partially the reason why the list took so long to come out), and eventually I realized that those 8 films on that list were really the only ones I actually remembered not liking. I mean I went through my ratings on IMDb and there were a few I was going to include like Self / Less or Sisters, but it didn’t feel right to include those because I didn’t really hate them or really remember them that much after I saw them. And it also came down to the fact that I think there the amount of good films in 2015 completely took over the bad ones. This also had me thinking about the films in 2014. For me, 2014 was almost the opposite of 2015. Not because there were worse films, but more because there was nothing that blew me away, nothing that I really remember that much. Sure we had Birdman and Boyhood as the big contenders for that year, but neither of those REALLY stood out for me. What I think I’m trying to say is that I found myself enjoying the movies that came out in 2015 and I hope that 2016 can offer the same, even if at this point I’m not thaaat pumped for much (like guys we get it, people love superhero movies .. doesn’t mean we need 10 of them in one year), but hey! Hopefully I’ll be surprised! And with that being said, here are my top 10 movies of 2015.

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10. Joy

I’ll admit it, I really enjoy Jennifer Lawrence. So when I saw the first trailer for Joy I was excited. The trailer didn’t even really have a story line in it at all it was just music, but it was just the fact that it was basically the cast of Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle in another movie together and I smiled seeing all of these actors together again. I really don’t understand the recent (well, more like for the past 2 or 3 years), criticisms about Lawrence and David O. Russell working together. I guess I can kind of understand the age thing with Lawrence due to the fact that she’s in her mid twenties and she’s always playing someone in their thirties or forties, but even that doesn’t bother me! I always find her so convincing that I forget her age and I’m just entranced by her performance. This movie hasn’t exactly found a whole lot of love, it’s found some, but not nearly the amount that the past two Russell films have gotten, which I find odd because I’ll just be truthful, I had a better time with this than American Hustle. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy that film but it felt more like a Scoresese film and there was just too much Bradley Cooper for me (I’m sorry, he can be great but a little can go a long way). This felt fresh and there was an energy to it that really got me into everything that was happening. Obviously Lawrence is at the top of her game here, but I also think that Robert De Niro deserves talk as do Virginia Madsen and Isabella Rossellini who I feel don’t ever get the film roles they deserve anymore. What I would say for this one is to ignore the reviews, ignore all the talk about it and just go see it, it’s a fun experience.

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9. Spy

Since Bridesmaids I feel like Paul Feig has mastered a certain type of comedy for film. I even enjoyed The Heat to an extent when it came out! There’s always a sense of fun in his films and they’re actually funny and smart at the same time (who knew that could be a thing??). I really think that Spy is a pretty close tie with Bridesmaids in the sense that almost every joke lands (there’s a few here and there that are a little meh), especially when dealing with Rose Byrne. Actually let’s talk about her for a second. Rose Byrne is one of the funniest parts of this movie, she plays no bullshit so well and she is one of my favorite “villains” in a film. Melissa McCarthy, as always (besides in Tammy), is great and just chews every scene she has up. I really don’t have that much to say about this one other than the fact that I had so much fun with it and it has my vote for the best comedy of the year, I’ve seen it maybe four times at this point and it still holds up. So when you have the time and are in the mood for something that’ll make you laugh, check this one out.

(L-R) ROONEY MARA and CATE BLANCHETT star in CAROL.

8. Carol

It’s true, Carol really is one of the best romance films of the year (for me 1 of 2). Not only does this film showcase a love that seems unfairly forbidden but it also shows the toxicness of falling in love perfectly. There are two characters/performances that I fell in love with any time they were on screen, and those were Abby played by Sarah Paulson and Carol played by Cate Blanchett. I know what you’re thinking, what the hell! What about Rooney Mara?!?? I have nothing against Rooney Mara, I actually think that she’s one of the better newer actresses that we have (her performance in the American remake of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Side Effects were amazing), and I love her in this but I think that for me, Abby and Carol were the characters that stood out for me so much in the run time. And I think that this is another example that Sarah Paulson can have only a few scenes in a film but be so memorable. Her portrayal as Abby is perfect and I really couldn’t see any other actress playing that role. The reason why I think this is such a damn good love story is the fact that it’s so limited. The film is really just about Carol and Therese and their budding relationship. Sure, we get a little bit of story with Carol’s soon to be ex husband (wonderfully played by Kyle Chandler), but a good portion of the film is spent on a road trip with just our two main characters. I also loved how nothing felt insanely over dramatic with the fact that these two women are in love. We get a few brief subtle scenes with reactions from other people in Carol’s life, but it doesn’t feel like it’s being thrown in your face. Carol is such a fantastic little film, and I really do hope that it actually wins something at the Oscars and doesn’t get snubbed, because this movie really does deserve it!

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7. The Martian

I went into this not really knowing how I was going to react when I walked out of it. I didn’t really know much about the film, I had seen snippets of the trailer, but I went in cold and I think that was the best way to experience it. I had a lot of moments where I just kept saying “oh!” while watching, especially when another actor that I knew would just turn up out of nowhere (seriously, this cast is fucking gigantic and I love it). The more I think about The Martian, I think about the fact that it’s basically Cast Away on Mars (I know I’m not the first person to say that calm down), and I don’t mind that! Yeah it’s familiar, but it’s familiarity done well. Which leads me to the fact that Ridley Scott directed the shit out of this movie, I mean I know he could direct a space movie but not like this! Another thing that was an unexpected surprise was the amount of comedy in this. When I look at the cast now it’s a little more obvious when you have Kristen Wiig and such but I really kind of thought this would be another Interstellar, which leads me to ANOTHER point! I really couldn’t stand Interstellar when it came out. Maybe it was the 169 minutes of Matthew McConaughey whisper mumble talking or just the painfully slow pace of space happenings but it just annoyed the shit out of me, and I usually can enjoy a Christopher Nolan movie! And ironically Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain were in that too, but I’ll just save you the time now and tell you that they’re much better in this and have a lot more to do. Luckily, to my surprise, this was nothing like Interstellar, and if you’re going to watch this thinking it’s just another space movie I think you might have to think again because it’s so much more than that.

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6. Amy

It seems as if no one is talking about this spectacular film at the moment and I can’t seem to figure out why! This is the best documentary of the year and I am sure of it! There’s really no need to explain this film, especially if you were around when a lot of her shenanigans were captured by paparazzi. I remember the day that Amy Winehouse passed very specifically. I don’t remember being surprised necessarily but I just felt so sad because she was so fucking talented and life seemed so tough on her, and that is highlighted much more in this film. One of my favorite elements of Amy is the fact that it’s a documentary but you never see the people that are being interviewed, you just hear them over a bunch of videos and pictures from Amy’s life. While it isn’t the most original form of documentary making, it’s still so effective in a documentary like this. An emotion that for sure took over me throughout Amy was anger. I got so pissed at these people that treated her like shit, and just used her. Her parents especially. There is a scene where you hear about the time Amy told her her mother that she basically has an eating disorder and it is one of the most anger inducing moments. I really really hope that this film is recognized for a long time, I hope that it will show that this woman was such a rare talent and she was gone too soon.

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5. Brooklyn

THIS was the companion to Carol with my two favorite romance films of the year! Like Carol, Brooklyn is another example of a story that could be done so terribly and really has been done terribly, but wasn’t. You can feel the warmth and heart of this movie just oozing through the screen as you watch it. Saoirse Ronan is fantastic, as is every other performance throughout this. I couldn’t help but smile through a good amount of Brooklyn, it’s that type of movie. That wasn’t the only emotion I felt though! Like the previous film, I felt anger, but in a good way. Once you get to somewhere around the middle of this film there are things that occur that are so real and it makes you feel all sorts of emotions that can’t be explained if you haven’t seen it. I’ve seen Brooklyn four times now and it’s still just as good as it was the first time around, so I would HIGHLY recommend you take a look at this one.

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4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I cannot get enough of this movie, I love it so much. It’s funny when I think about myself making that statement because I was never really a big Star Wars person. Sure I’ve seen them all and they’re fun, but I never fell into this world of Star Wars obsession that a lot of people seemed to do when I was younger and still do now. But when I went to go see The Force Awakens with my niece I was blown away. I think it’s clear to most people, even ones that aren’t fans, the prequels suck, they’re just not good. So while watching this movie I felt like there was a sense of fun and adventure that has been brought back to this, what seems like long dead, series. I think that has to do with the fact that there is a lot of funny stuff here and there are some great new characters. Daisy Ridley is scene stealing as Rey and John Boyega (also amazing in Attack the Block), is just as dazzling, as well as Oscar Isaac along with others. The film is also great at being nostalgic just enough to the point where it doesn’t feel like we’re just watching a cash grab. Harrison Ford is also, expectedly, a stand out in this (Carrie Fisher is great too, love her to death, but she’s only in it for a few scenes), bringing the love that so many have always had for Han Solo back along with some great scenes that he has with Chewbacca. It’s easy to tell that I am really into this and I could watch it a hundred more times, and probably will!

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3. Spotlight

Holy SHIT this movie is a roller coaster of emotions!! From the minute Spotlight begins there is an energy that you just know will mesh so well with just everything. I think for some, they don’t want to even get into this movie because the subject matter is so tough, but it’s not just a depressing movie it’s exhilarating, it’s infuriating, and it’s kind of scary. I think it’s safe to say that the acting is undoubtedly supreme in this, with a line up like that how could it not be?? I really don’t want to say much else about this because I think it’s best when you just go in cold turkey and watch it! This is one of the best journalism films we’ve had in a while, and it couldn’t have come out at a better time.

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2. Room

It’s incredible to me that people are really just figuring out that Brie Larson is a fantastic actress. Short Term 12 is probably one of the most underrated movies and it showed me how she was really a breath of fresh air, I mean I could even tell she was great in United States of Tara (if you don’t know that show, it’s probably for a reason). I’ve seen Room twice now and watching it the second time I noticed little things I couldn’t see the first time around, and that’s what made me put this at #2. I love when a movie makes you feel for the characters you’re watching and brings out real feelings that you don’t think will come out while watching something a screen. While Brie Larson is a gem in this you can’t mention her without mentioning the other half of this film, Jacob Tremblay. While talking about the film I think they mentioned that he was 7 when they filmed, and that’s fantastic to me because he’s probably the best child actor that I’ve seen in the past 10 years. He makes Jack feel like a real kid and not just a kid written by adults, you could tell that he was given the freedom to incorporate himself in there. It’s not always an easy watch but once you finish Room I think you will see that it’s a rewarding experience.

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1. Mad Max: Fury Road

Is it surprising that Mad Max on here? Probably not. Does it deserve the title for best movie of the year, absolutely. You could mute this movie and it would still be gold because along with everything else, Fury Road looks like a masterpiece. It’s also the most exciting and thrilling films of 2015, it’s everything you want in an action movie. When you hear action movie you think it’s just going to be dumb action and no substance, but Fury Road is everything bundled into one. It’s a badass action movie, an empowering action movie, and a batshit crazy action movie. Don’t be deceived by the title though because Max is not the only lead in this one. We also get Furiosa played by the fantastic Charlize Theron, and it’s really more her movie than anything, and it’s perfect. We didn’t need more Max, we already have three movies about him for god’s sake. In this installment he’s still a big character and a presence but Furiosa is the leader of this ship. Mad Max: Fury Road is a film that shows how genius George Miller is and whether you loved the original films or are going in with fresh eyes, this is the best film that 2015 could present to us and there’s no doubt about it.

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So that’s it! We can finally leave 2015 behind and move onto the interesting looking year of 2016. Thank you so much for checking out my post, and if you liked this make sure to check out my other posts! I also now have a Twitter so make sure to follow me on there! The link and all that good stuff should be on the page. Hope you liked the movies of 2015 as much as I did and here’s to another year!

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