Surprise surprise, my favorite film of 2015 is Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This was my most anticipated film of my entire life thus far. There is no reality in which this movie isn’t my favorite film of the year so in some ways I’m incredibly biased. That being said, JJ Abrams finally delivered the goods. Of course the realistic feel and the mind blowing visuals were great but what really knocked this film out of the park was the cast. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Adam Driver are my new favorite people on this planet. The old cast was perfectly used sparingly so that you don’t notice their age. This film is firing on all Star Wars cylinders for me, so surprise, it’s my number one.
2. It Follows
Now that Star Wars is out of the way, this can get interesting. It Follows steadily remained my favorite film of the year until December came around. I love this movie. It’s a love letter to everything I love; John Carpenter-esque horror. The premise will turn most people off right away but if it doesn’t, you’ve got to see this movie. It’s surprising that It Follows was only made for $2 million because at times it looks like a bigger budget studio film. The score really steals the show here though. This is easily one of the best horror scores of the last decade.
3. Jurassic World
This film feels extremely similar to my number three pick last year, Godzilla. Jurassic World isn’t a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination. It is however some of the most fun I’ve had at the movies in a long time. I love the cast of this film. Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt in particular shine together in the second half. I’m also a sucker for giant monster movies and that’s what this film sort of became. I was really impressed with how director Colin Trevorrow managed to fit in a giant monster fight in the climax of Jurassic World. Spoilers, it’s awesome.
4. What We Do In The Shadows
This is easily the funniest film that I saw all year. The premise of the film is simple, a group of vampires live in a house together and hilarity ensues. Several times throughout watching this film I was laughing out loud, which is saying quite a bit. The film explores day to day happenings and struggles of what being a vampire would actually be like. One example is that since vampires can’t see themselves in the mirror, they must dress puppets to see if they will look good for the day. Obviously seems extremely simple but the film portrays several of these struggles with great fun. Everyone should see this movie as soon as possible.
5. TheHateful Eight
Another year, another Tarantino film makes my end of the year list. The Hateful Eight is a master class in storytelling. The film plays out as if it were a stage play, right down to an actual narration of the story by none other than Tarantino himself. This film features gorgeous 70mm photography, fantastic actors and a progressively bloody affair. Like all Tarantino films, Hateful Eight packs a massive punch for the third act and this one doesn’t disappoint. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you to see this movie, but please, see this movie.
6. Mad Max: Fury Road
This is easily the most bonkers film of 2015. In fact, this is easily one of the most bonkers films I’ve ever seen. George Miller returns to his franchise which I honestly never had much affinity for. This film however completely blew me away. The amount of practical effects on display throughout Mad Max: Fury Road boggle the mind. Simply put, this film feels dangerous. It seems that at any moment, things could go wrong and a lot of people are going to get hurt. Top it all off with a great character from Charlize Theron and you’ve got one of the best films of 2015.
Predestination was the most surprising film of the year for me. This film is about a sort of time cop that travels back in time to catch a notorious serial killer. Easy sci-fi premise right? What follows is a mind blowing film that turns out to be an emotional roller coaster. The film is ultimately about what it means to love another person. The film also explores identity and self identification. If you do seek this one out, get ready for a crazy ride through time. You will be rewarded in the end.
8. The Martian
This film is just an absolute crowd pleaser. I went into this film hoping for Interstellar type ideas about space and the expanse. What I got was much more grounded in reality. That being said I loved this film. Matt Damon is completely hamming it up as Mark Watney, an astronaut stranded alone on Mars. He is asked to carry much of the film by himself and he pulls it off with ease. While I can’t say this film explores any deep thought provoking ideas, it does remind us that space travel can be done. We just have to work together. While it seems like a simple proposition, it’s easily forgotten.
9. Straight Outta Compton
Who knew that a film about the beginnings of N.W.A. would end up being this good? The actors picked for these iconic figures are remarkable. My favorite newcomer that has inevitably gained quite a bit of attention following this film’s release is Corey Hawkins. His portrayal of Dr. Dre is the heart of this film for me. Having said all of that the direction of this film is top notch film making by F. Gary Gray. All around, this film is a perfect rendition of the hip-hop business. Did I mention seeing Straight Outta Compton in the theater meant you got to hear N.W.A. songs blasting out of 7.1 surround sound?
I was set up to love this film for a multitude of reasons and guess what? I love this film. Krampus is directed by Michael Dougherty, the same man behind the best Halloween film of all time, Trick r’ Treat. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that he managed to craft a great Christmas horror movie. That being said this film doesn’t rise to Trick r’ Treat level for me but it is great. Krampus is full of inventive Christmas creatures that are all a ton of fun. This film instantly became regular viewing every holiday season from now on.
Best Television of The Year
The Leftovers Season 2
I created an all new category for my end of the year list just so I could include this pick. The second season of The Leftovers repeatedly knocked me out of my chair episode after episode. This show was created by Damon Lindelof of Lost fame but it’s a completely different type of show. Over its ten episode second season I’m pretty sure I cried at least once an episode. I don’t mind admitting that because The Leftovers is that strong. This season culminated with three of the best episodes of television I have ever seen, and I don’t say that lightly. Please, I beg you, give this show a chance. You won’t regret it.
Worst Movie of The Year
I hated this film from beginning to end. It’s a boring retread of the Terminator films we know and love. It’s a waste of a franchise that could actually be viable. I found myself pondering throughout the film, why on earth was this boring piece of crap made? What is the point? Why are we wasting Emilia Clarke on such an idiotic plot in a shameless Terminator sequel? These are questions we will never know the answers to. Luckily the sequels that were planned after this film have been canceled. Hallelujah.
The Revenant is a film that was much higher on my list as soon as I saw it. As I’ve thought about the film I’ve decided to move it lower. It’s still as really good movie and I LOVED the directing. It’s still one of the best directed films I’ve probably ever seen. As far as shots go anyway.
Surprising, Trumbo made it in the top of my list. This is a film that I only recently saw in order to catch up with the Oscars but I really enjoyed it. I’m a sucker for most Hollywood tales especially about screenwriting. Throw Bryan Cranston on top of that and wow.
8. Ex Machina
I must admit that although I enjoyed Ex Machina the first time I watched it I didn’t love it as much as some people did. It’s taken me rewatching it a few times to realize how much I actually like this film. Visually the movie is stunning and the screenplay will hopefully win an Academy Award this year. Ex Machina also stars one of my favorite actors of today, Oscar Isaac.
7. Kingsman: The Secret Service
At the beginning of the year Kingsman was really high on my list but then fell as I saw more films. However, as I was thinking about all of the movies I’ve saw in 2015, Kingsman stood out and I had to move it back up on my list. I remember being hesitant as I went into the theater for this one but came out completely overjoyed. Matthew Vaughn really nailed this film with action, comedy, and overall style. Hopefully the sequel is just as good.
6. Steve Jobs
I think I loved the Steve Jobs movie more than the average person. It got okay reviews but no one seemed to really appreciate it like it should have been. I was curious going into this film but didn’t expect much given the drama behind it and the fact that I though Fassbender looked nothing like Jobs. However, Fassbender, who gave one of the best performances of the year, became Steve Jobs and made this film along with Kate Winslet. I also can’t even express how great of a screenplay Aaron Sorkin wrote for this film. Possibly one of the biggest Oscar snubs ever.
5. The Night Before
I’m a big Seth Rogen fan and I had loved the last film he did with Levitt (50/50). I’m also a sucker for Christmas films if done right. The Night Before is going to be one of those Christmas films that I watch every year. It’s that good. The movie was fucking hilarious and definitely better than 2014′s The Interview which I found somewhat disappointing. I can not wait to get this film on blu-ray so I can watch it again.
Sicario was a movie I had anticipated very much because of how much I loved Prisoners, which was also directed by Denis Villeneuve. Emily Blunt is also one of my favorite actresses. The film was incredible but the stand out performance of the movie was from Benicio Del Toro who was hugely snubbed at this years Oscars. His performance was outstanding. The film also had some of the best Cinematography in film history with a chilling score that should be legendary.
The Rocky series is one of my favorite series of all time. I couldn’t have been more excited to see this film especially knowing that Ryan Coogler was directing. Creed was such a terrific film. It not only hit home for Rocky fans but stood on it’s own as well and gave us another legendary character, Adonis Creed.
I can’t even explain how much I loved this film. I literally couldn’t stop the water coming from my eyes for the complete second half of the film. If a movie can make you cry that much it’s fucking great. I can’t believe I ever hesitated about seeing this film. Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay gave the two best performances of 2015, hands down.
1. Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
Is there really any surprise here? The Force Awakens is my second favorite film of all time right now, beating out all of the other Star Wars films. It’s a masterpiece in my eyes. I don’t care that it had some throwbacks to Episode IV. The characters were beyond perfect unlike any other Star Wars film and made a continuation of the original trilogy for our generation. The Force Awakens was the best movie going experience I’ve ever had.