2015 gave us a few great films, a handful of good ones, and then a sea of average and trash. But this list is about happy times and celebrating the good, so here are my Top 10 films from this past year. As with any top 10 list, and movie reviews in general, it is a bit subjective, but this list is also 100% accurate, so. Yeah. Let’s get it started.
Honorable Mention: Black Mass
It was a bit disheartening that this was good and not great, but it was an engaging mob movie, and Johnny Depp gives his best performance in years (and almost makes up for “Mortdecai”).
10.) 99 Homes
Haven’t heard of this movie? Yeah, neither had I until about a month ago. But after I saw Michael Shannon earn a Golden Globe nomination, I was curious. This is an entertaining yet depressing, exciting yet slow-burning film centered on the crash of the housing market (like “Big Short” but actually interesting), and offers great performances from Shannon and Andrew Garfield.
9.) Cop Car
Another one probably not too many people saw, this is an insanely intense film about a possibly corrupt cop trying to get his stolen police cruiser back from two young boys. Director Jon Watts, who is set to direct the (*sigh*) newest Spider-Man reboot, creates such a tension-filled 90 minute ride that the anticlimactic ending is more than forgivable.
Melissa McCarthy continued her streak of following a trash movie (“Tammy”) with a good movie, which is great for this movie but means her next film, “The Boss,” is likely going to be awful. Oh well. At least this one had a hilarious Jason Statham.
7.) Star Wars: The Force Awakens
I don’t know if you’ve heard of this film, not too many people saw this one either, but it is a little indie set in a galaxy far, far away. It more than erased the prequels from our minds, and offered an immensely entertaining sci-fi action summer blockbuster (in the month of December!). Also, it gave us perhaps the best villain of the Star Wars series in Kylo Ren. Maybe. I thought so, at least (look how badass he is!!).
Perhaps the best journalism film of all-time. Tightly wound, the film does an excellent job at making you angry at the ignorance and arrogance of the Catholic Church, and offers a career performance from Rachel McAdams.
It looked like both the Rocky franchise and Sylvester Stallone’s career were down for the count when in steps Michael B. Jordan to save the day. Full of inspiring quotes, nostalgic moments and amazing fight sequences (including one match that was shot in one long take!!!), this was one of 2015’s best surprises, on top of better films.
4.) Straight Outta Compton
Speaking of surprises, there probably weren’t too many people who thought a biopic about a controversial rap group would be very good, especially after films like “Notorious” were just OK. But N.W.A.’s story was one that had incredible energy and dedicated performances (especially an underrated Jason Mitchell), and reintroduced their music to an entirely new generation.
3.) Jurassic World
I loved this movie. It was the first time in I don’t know how long since I left the theater with a sense of childhood wonderment. Chris Pratt is at his Chris Pratt-iest which is a great thing, and honestly this may be one of the better summer blockbusters of all-time. For most of the year, it sat at the number one slot, before a second viewing and a last minute addition bumped it down a few.
2.) Steve Jobs
The best part about this film is its amazing script by Aaron Sorkin, but the performances of Michael Fassbender, Kate Winselt and even Seth Rogen more than elevate this beyond standard biopic level. While he looks nothing like him, Fassbender made Steve Jobs come alive for just a few more hours, and even though he isn’t smoking weed with James Franco, Rogen turns in a sweet and still amusing performance as Woz, including two very emotional monologues. The energy of this film is insane, and it only got better with a second viewing.
1.) The Revenant
I think this is it. I think Leo will finally win his Oscar, because ho-ly-crap. DiCaprio is amazing in this film, as is every supporting actor. And it looks amazing, like oh my god. Words really don’t do this film justice; you just need to see it. It blew me away and I cannot wait to see it again. It is the best film of 2015, hands down, and, with any luck, will finally get Leo that big shiny trophy that has for so long escaped his grasp.
Thanks for sharing movies with me this year and here’s to a great 2016!