Movies of 2015
I did this in 2014 and no one cared so I'm doing one again because I hate myself. If you don't want to read the whole thing, here's my top 10 for the year:
Top 10 released in 2015:
- The Hateful Eight
- The Revenant
- It Follows
- Me, and Earl, and the Dying Girl
- The End of the Tour
- Mistress America
- Diary of a Teenage Girl
And now, the bulk of the post, split into multiple sections because of character limits.
This is a list of all the movies I watched in 2015 in chronological order. Paired with each movie is a rating and some thoughts. I started doing this in 2014 for fun and now it’s something I plan to do for every year in the foreseeable future. In 2014 I watched 92 movies and this year I watched 124. For 2016 I hope to reach around 150 and my goal is to watch more old films since I rarely go back further than the 70s. If you end up reading this then you can read the whole thing or just scroll down to find movies you’ve heard of (or the highest rated ones). The quality of writing in this is pretty bad because I’m not spending too much time on each film but rather just doing a quick overview. Also I’m doing very little revising after I just vomit the words onto the page. The longer I write, the more fatigued I get too so see if you can pick out the ones I wrote when I was tired. Excuses, excuses. Anyway, thanks for reading and I’ll possibly/probably be doing more of these in the near future.
tl;dr: There’s a top 10 of the year at the top and bottom if you just want some quick recommendations.
Movies marked with an asterisk were seen in the theater.
- The Babadook: 6/10 – This Australian horror film was praised for being a return to form for the horror genre and caused quite the buzz online among film forums. I liked it when I first saw it but on subsequent watches I didn’t enjoy it as much and actually found it pretty average. But with some terrifying moments and a very tense atmosphere, it’s still worth seeing if you’re a fan of horror.
- Paranormal Activity 5: 3.5/10 – Yet another mediocre installment of the Paranormal Activity series. The first PA was a masterpiece of low-budget modern horror and revolutionized the genre in the same way Blair Witch did. Unfortunately, the rest of the series was no such masterpiece. If I were to rate them I would go: 1, 3, 2, 5, 4. PA4 was TERRIBLE. I don’t recommend unless you’re bored at a sleepover or something.
- Nightcrawler: 7/10 – This was getting a lot of buzz in late 2014 and I was lucky enough to get my hands on a Screener copy meant for the academy awards. This was one of the sleeper hits of 2014 and it really showcased Jake Gyllenhaal as a great actor. If you enjoyed Taxi Driver, American Psycho, and Drive (2011) then you’ll probably like this one. A true recommendation.
- American Sniper: 6/10 – Clint Eastwood’s newest movie, this one got a lot of flak for being an “American Propaganda” film. I, however, didn’t feel like it was propaganda. A lot of people criticized it for its negative portrayal of Middle Eastern people but those people probably don’t know anyone in the military. Coming from a Navy town, the negative sentiment towards Middle Easterns is how a lot of people in the military think and not just Eastwood trying to be anti-Muslim. I felt it was actually an anti-war film since it basically has the theme of “war follows you home” what with the PTSD experienced by Chris Kyle.
- Birdman: 9/10 – I loved this movie. I LOVED this movie. Michael Keaton killed it and Alejandro Iñárritu showed off his directing chops with this theatrical surrealist film. If you haven’t seen this yet then do yourself a favor and watch it. The Academy isn’t great but at least they got this one right with Best Picture. Watch it.
- The Road to El Dorado: 7/10 – One of my favorite animated movies and one I have a deep nostalgia for. This was one of those traditional animation films from the late 90s/early 2000s alongside Disney’s Atlantis that didn’t do well in the box office but would go on to become a sort of cult classic.
- Whiplash: 8/10 – After starring in the mediocre Divergent movies Miles Teller received his breakout role as Andrew Neiman in Whiplash. The real star of this movie, however, is J.K. Simmons who puts in an award-winning, powerhouse performance. If you haven’t seen this movie yet then you’re missing out. It also contains one of the greatest climax scenes in film history that will make you jump out of your seat with excitement (maybe that’s just me).
- Inherent Vice*: 8/10 – Paul Thomas Anderson is one of those directors whose films guarantee a good time. Other directors like this include Wes Anderson, the Coen Brothers and Quentin Tarantino. Inherent Vice is no exception. Adapted from the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name, this movie takes place in 1970 Southern California. It really captures the end of the hippy era and a time when the future was relatively complicated and uncertain. It’s a somewhat neo-noir film like The Big Lebowski where there are many intersecting motivations and character arcs that influence you to try and piece together the story. If you’re a fan of Paul Thomas Anderson (and you should be since he’s one of the best directors working today) then I would tell you to drop whatever you’re doing and watch this right now. You won’t regret it (although you might want to watch it twice since it is IMMENSELY confusing the first time).
- There Will Be Blood: 10/10 – Another Paul Thomas Anderson movie and arguably one of the greatest films of all time. This is what I consider a perfect movie. Daniel Day Lewis puts forth a legendary performance and secures his place as one of the best actors of all time. This is pretty much required viewing at this point.
- The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou: 7.5/10 – I watch this a few times a year and I think it’s my favorite Wes Anderson movie (although Grand Budapest is pretty great too). Bill Murray plays Steve Zissou, a Jacques Cousteau-esque character who is washed up after the death of his friend and partner Esteban. He vows to find the shark that ate him and kill it. This gets a definite recommendation from me as it is one of the most accessible Wes Anderson films.
- The Mist: 6/10 – Adapted from a Steven King novel, this is truly a terrifying movie about a town enveloped by a mist that contains weird, murderous, otherworldly creatures. The CGI is a bit dated but the story is legitimately scary. Funny story actually, my mom took me to see this when I was like 11 and she apologized to me after it was over because of how disturbing it was.
- Project Almanac*: 2/10 – This movie sucked.
- Punch-Drunk Love: 7/10 – This Paul Thomas Anderson movie is probably one of his worst, which means it’s still pretty good. Adam Sandler gives a surprisingly great performance in this simple love story between a plunger salesman and a pretty girl. I need to watch this a second time.
- The Master: 9/10 – Paul Thomas Anderson you magnificent bastard. This movie starring Joaquin Phoenix and Phillip Seymour Hoffman (RIP) is a sort of criticism of Scientology that crosses over into the realm of surrealism. The Master is truly a mind-fuck and a masterpiece of a film in every sense. Might take a couple watches to “get it.”
- Wild: 6/10 – Reese Witherspoon stars in this adaptation of the novel of the same name by Cheryl Strayed about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. It was pretty okay and it gave me some serious wanderlust.
- The Big Lebowski: 9/10 – One of my favorite movies, Jeff Bridges stars in this late 90s Coen Brothers movie about a chill Dude who gets thrust into a plot far bigger and more complicated than himself. With a supporting cast of John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Julianne Moore, this film is a tried and true classic.
- Foxcatcher*: 5/10 – This movie received a ton of praise and the only reason I can think of is Steve Carell’s performance. It’s true that Carell was almost unrecognizable in this but the plot was so slow and meandering that it was an absolute chore to get through. I don’t recommend this one.
- Boyhood: 6/10 – DID YOU KNOW THAT IT TOOK 12 YEARS TO MAKE??? Of all the overrated movies, this is one of them. I can’t fucking believe that this got a nomination for best picture. With a bland “story” where nothing happens and an awful performance from everyone but Ethan Hawke, Boyhood is a true disappointment. Although it was a feat to make this over 12 years, it’s nothing more than a gimmick to me. The best thing about this was Vampire Weekend and Arcade Fire on the soundtrack.
- My Dinner with Andre: 9/10 – Wallace Shawn (INCONCEIVABLE) and Andre Gregory (famous theatre director) haven’t seen each other in five years and agree to sit down for a meal together. The result is literally two hours of them having a conversation. It is a movie devoid of all clichés and it is heartwarming as it is charming. I would definitely recommend this to fans of theatre since that’s how it resonated the most with me.
- Cinderella (2014)*: 5/10 – Another needless live-action reboot of a fairytale. The costumes were really good at least.
- The Imitation Game: 6.5/10 – Blueberry Cucumberbelt gave a great performance as Alan Turing but this was still pretty Oscar-baity. I enjoyed it though.
- Annie Hall: 10/10 – One of my favorite movies of all time, Woody Allen’s Annie Hall is regarded as one of his best alongside Manhattan and Hannah and Her Sisters. I don’t even know how to describe this film other than charming and overall just a masterpiece of cinema. Watch it if you haven’t.
- The Grand Budapest Hotel: 9/10 – Wes Anderson’s most Wes Anderson-y film to date. Probably his best. Of course I’m going to recommend it.
- Chef: 7/10 – An all around feel good movie. There was no real conflict in this at all, which surprisingly wasn’t a bad thing. Don’t watch this movie while hungry or you will die.
- Insurgent*: 4/10 – Stop adapting shitty young adult dystopian novels into movies please. This shit is cliché as hell.
- The Captive: 4/10 – A movie with Ryan Reynolds that I didn’t want to watch. My expectations were correct and this movie was not very good at all.
- World’s Greatest Dad: 6/10 – Robin Williams plays a dad whose son accidentally kills himself. Williams forges a suicide note to spare his son the embarrassment but the lie spins out of control. A pretty okay movie. RIP Robin Williams.
- Get Hard*: 5/10 – Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart. Meh. I laughed a few times.
- It’s Such a Beautiful Day: 7/10 – This is an animated film by Don Hertzfeldt who you may know as the creator of Rejected (https://youtu.be/MuOvqeABHvQ). This movie is on netflix and it’s pretty surreal and depressing. I recommend it if you’re having a good day and want to get all sad and introspective before crying yourself to sleep.
- Kingsman: The Secret Service: 7.5/10 – A real surprise this year. A pretty good R-rated spy movie with Samuel L. Jackson and some British people. One scene in particular stands out as truly great (if you’ve seen it you know which one).
- The Great Mouse Detective: 7/10 – An old Disney classic about Basil of Baker Street (aka Sherlock Holmes: mouse edition). A classic.
- Forgetting Sarah Marshall: 8/10 – One of the best comedies of all time in my opinion. It’s the perfect movie for after a break up or just when you’re feeling a bit down (or any other time really). Jason Segel and Mila Kunis kill it while Paul Rudd offers up some seriously quotable lines like, “When life gives you lemons, just say fuck it and bail.”
- Get Him to the Greek: 7.5/10 – One of those comedies you can watch over and over again. There are some seriously great moments in this movie like TJ Miller dealing drugs to Jonah Hill, the Vegas party, and the Today show bit. Russel Brand is especially great.
- A Serious Man: 8/10 – The Coen brothers are true geniuses and this film is no exception. Mirroring the story of Job from the Bible, this film follows a Jewish man as a series of terrible things happen to him. Highly recommended.
- The Last of the Unjust: 7/10 – At over three and a half hours, this Holocaust documentary is a spiritual sequel to Shoah, the ten hour documentary by the same director (Claude Lanzmann). A very important documentary but a very difficult one to get through.
- Avengers: Age of Ultron*: 6/10 –Joss Wedon is good at writing snappy, humorous dialogue but when there’s supposed to be a real threat like Ultron, all that does is kill any possible tension. Marvel movies are usually great but this was the weakest in a while.
- It Follows*: 8/10 – This was a real surprise. I had heard great things about this movie but finally seeing it was on another level of fucking amazing. The soundtrack is killer, the premise is great, and it’s a completely solid horror movie. If you enjoy horror then do not miss this movie.
- Ex Machina*: 8/10 – I knew nothing about this going in and I preferred it that way. Basically Oscar Isaac and Domnhall Gleeson (both rising stars) lead this amazing science fiction/drama film about AI and robotics. One of the best of the year.
- Wet Hot American Summer: 7.5/10 – I can’t believe I didn’t see this movie until now. Paul Rudd, Jon Benjamin, Bradley Cooper, Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, Janeane Garofalo, Amy Poehler, and Elizabeth Banks also star in this movie.
- Clouds of Sils Maria*: 6/10 – A real indie film. Kristen Stewart really showcases her acting ability here with a believable and honest performance. Chloe Grace Moretz also kills it. Recommended if you’re a hipster fuck who likes art house movies like me.
- Knocked Up: 7/10 - Can’t believe I didn’t see this until now. Great movie. Everyone knows this.
- Mad Max: Fury Road*: 8/10 – When I first watched this I didn’t really like it. It had so much online buzz as this huge movie that could be the best of the year. I guess my expectations were too high but I was really disappointed. On subsequent watches, however, I realized why the movie was so praised. The art direction of the film is amazing, the sound design is spectacular, and the camerawork is seriously impressive. When you’re watching it just think about how they got each shot. It will blow your mind.
- Ouija: 3/10 – This movie is ass.
- Jurassic Park: 9/10 – It’s Jurassic Park you know it’s good.
- Poltergeist (2015)*: 3/10 – This movie was awful and the original definitely didn’t need to be remade. Sam Rockwell was the only redeeming quality of this movie but even he couldn’t save it.