The moment of truth is here. These are the cream of the crop, the best of the best, the “umphs” at the end of triumphs, and the Campbell’s Ham and Potato Chowder of the last year. These are the best movies of 2015 so sayeth I and what I sayeth will be indoctrinated into the hearts and minds of all SO SPEAKETH THE KINGDOM OF RATHBONE!
Ahem…sorry. Here’s the list, starting with some honorable mentions (alphabetically) that didn’t crack my top ten. Maybe they would’ve had I gone with 20. But what is this? Communist Brazil?
-Avengers: Age of Ultron
-Beasts of No Nation
-Kingsman: The Secret Service
-Straight Outta Compton
So…it begins…(also in no particular order)…(except for #1)
11. What We Do in the Shadows
Okay, okay, this one is cheating a bit. One, because it stands at 11, which goes against the Rule of 10 set down by the Brotherhood in 1828 at Puerto Viarta. Also, because it technically came out in 2014. But only in its native New Zealand…and Australia…and at Sundance. But we all know nothing is a thing until its a thing in America, and it came out here in early 2015. Plus, it’s just too g-danged funny to not include. I was immediately taken in by its ridiculous presence and couldn’t stop laughing at the utter weirdness of this vampire spoof. There’s not to like about the off-color humor or often deadpan performances. I also hear there is a spin-off on the works called, “We’re Wolves.” I’m also pretty sure this was one reason co-director Taika Waititi landed the job helming the new Thor movie.
Here is a movie that is too good for the future. It will most likely rack up the big awards come Oscar time, but in the end the mainstream public will trash it, citing how bigger flicks like Revenant, Mad Max or non-nominee Straight Outta Compton should’ve won. But its a fantastic piece of traditional cinema and it deserves all the praise.
9. The Big Short
I wasn’t sure if I really liked this movie when I walked out of the theater. It’s unusual style was a bit off-putting and its pace nerve-racking. But I let it marinate like a nice ham and what came out was a delicious meal with so much going on for it I don’t know where to start. Funny, poignant, perfectly-acted and timely, The Big Short is an odd little movie of grand proportions.
Don’t watch a movie by Denis Villeneuve unless you’re ready for a grim day. Dark, atmospheric, intense, engaging and bolstered by a tremendous cast, this take on the unrelenting nature along the Mexican border is a testament to doom of the War on Drugs. There is so much more going on than we realize and, sadly, it’s not gonna go the way people hope.
7. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Here is the movie 2015 forgot. Winner of both the coveted Audience and Grand Jury prizes at Sundance (like last years Oscar nominee Whiplash), and yet ignored by the time awards season rolled around, this coming-of-age comedy puts all others in its genre to shame. Much like with Shadows I instantly fell in love with this little indie, realizing this was not your average sad teen flick. I was then shocked at how many tears poured out of me when it does become a sad teen flick. I have to stop typing now and move on. I can already feel the waterworks coming.
6. the martian
This movie is just pure Hollywood entertainment. Loveable lead, traditional rescue story and a great ensemble. Now take it and throw in some amazing science and you have a blockbuster for the ages that encourages intelligence for future generations. Nough’ said.
5. The Gift
This movie blew my mind when I saw it. Not only because its a fantastic f-ing thriller, but because of how lame I thought it was gonna be when I saw the first promotional material. Really? A movie called The Gift with a tagline, “You may be through with the past, but the past ain’t through with you.” Give me a break. Then you watch it. Then you watch the ending. The you realize that the poster, the premise, the tagline are all deceptively simple. This is a thriller so perfect you wish you would’ve thought of it.
4. Mad Max: Fury Road
Mad Max is like a roller coaster through Hell that has claimed the lives of a thousand children while chimps throw flaming apples at you. The second its done you go, “Again, again!!” All you YA novel reading tweens take notice: this is how you do the apocalypse.
Creed proves there’s nothing wrong with a reboot or a sequel as long as its done right. And the only thing you need to do to get it done right is a talented filmmaker who give a shit. That director is Ryan Coogler, who has said he made the film for his father, a massive Rocky fan. The result is a movie with a fiery passion and kinetic energy accompanied by the thumping soundtrack infused with the old-school Rocky music. Like its lead character, Creed is a movie with a blazing heart with award-worthy performances from Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone.
2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
J.J. Abrams did it. He rekindled the childlike wonder of the movies for a generations young and old to relish in. There are few examples of what the movies are really about. The Star Wars series of one of them, and Force Awakens is among the best in the bunch.
The Winner at #1: Inside Out
Call me a child. Call me over-sentimental. No movie made me feel the way Inside Out did. Pixar has created one of its best works here resulting in the funniest, heartwarming and rewarding movie-going experience of the year. It has everything all the other movies on this list have in multiples, like a steroid infused concoction of all the amazing work this year had to offer. I will love it forever and show my children when they become cognizant…and before the government realizes I am not fit to raise children and they are sent to a farm somewhere. Still, Inside Out will make those years count.