What is the point of a personal top ten films of 2015 list? Art is subjective and it’s silly to say what is the best and what is the worst. However it’s fun to have these debates. A lot of hard work goes into a movie, even a bad one despite what our resident film critic Sean Patrick may say. I appreciate that hard work and by making a top ten list I want to celebrate the movies I love with the hopes that maybe one of you will give them a chance.
10: Steve Jobs
Whenever you see a movie that all of your friends saw first and loved, you’re never going to love it as much as they did. That’s what happened to me with “Steve Jobs.” Movie going is all about the experience, there are outside factors that play a roll in that experience. Am I having a bad day, a good day etc etc. During our podcast Sean called “Steve Jobs” his favorite movie since “Les Miserable.” The bar was set ultra high for me. Now I don’t think this is the best movie in three years nor do I think this is the best movie of the year, but I think it’s a damn good movie. Aaron Sorkin and Danny Boyle are a perfect combo. When you mix in Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet not to mention Seth Rogen it gets that much better. It is unfortunate that this movie is being considered a bomb because it truly is fantastic. It’s stylish, well acted and full of emotion. Please bring this movie back to life when it becomes available in your home.
9: The Big Short
I have a hard time considering “The Big Short” a movie. I like to refer to it as required viewing. This movie should piss you off more than just about anything, whether you’re a republican, democrat or someone who thinks for his or her self. We all got screwed when the housing market crashed. We weren’t screwed, we were cheated. We were illegally cheated and nobody paid the price. In fact those that screwed us were rewarded with nine figure bonuses. This was one of the biggest failure in the history of journalism because so many of us still don’t quite realize what happened. We get hung up on distractions like gun control and terrorism that we don’t even realize that there’s a bigger problem in our country. That statement alone could get me in trouble, (a bigger problem than terrorism?) but that’s what makes me right. Steve Carrell’s character in this movie has a moment that captures me perfectly. Please see this movie. This isn’t a left wing or right wing movie, this is an educational movie.
8: Ex Machina
This is one of the truly great Sci Fi movies of the past…well forever. Three of the best performances of the year. This was a movie that had me so invested that I didn’t know where it was gonna go. It had me glued to my chair and I just enjoyed every minute of it. It’s a very simple story inside a very complicated idea. The only thing that really keeps me from loving this movie as much as I could is that simple story. Definitely see this movie if you haven’t. It’s one I’ve already seen multiple times this year.
I’m a fan boy for David O’Russell. “Joy” is not a movie everybody is going to love, but they should. It is your standard rags to riches tale with David O’Russell’s style. He’s not interested in the tale though, he’s interested in the characters and he uses the story to make these characters pop off screen. It was such a neat thing to watch that I couldn’t help but put it on my list. Jennifer Lawrence is phenomenal as always, but it’s Robert DeNiro that makes me happy. David O’Russell has single handedly kept DeNiro good and I love that about him.
6: Mad Max: Fury Road
“Mad Max Fury Road” is probably the second most overrated movie of 2015. You know what the number one movie is, you’ve probably already seen it three times in December. That said I love this movie. It seems like everybody wants it to be this phenomenon like “Jaws” or the original “Star Wars” but it’s not that, it’s fucking “Mad Max” and it’s fucking awesome and that’s all that needs to be said. It doesn’t have to be those movies, it doesn’t have to change the game. It’s an achievement in filmmaking and I loved every second of it.
5: Love & Mercy
My first love before film is music, specifically rock music. The story of Brian Wilson is a tragic one that fortunately hasn’t ended yet but will end happily. The man is/was a musical genius who was the victim of abuse his entire life up until Melinda Ledbetter played by Elizabeth Banks set him free. The music is secondary in the movie, but it’s still there. When Brian turns “Good Vibrations” from a stock song into a magical song the hair on your neck can’t help but rise. Mix that in with this story of abuse and you have one of the most underrated movies of the year.
Look, “Rocky” is my favorite movie of all time. I was both dreading this movie and looking forward to it at the same time. How can you make another “Rocky” movie…again? Hasn’t that character done all there is to do? I thought for sure this was gonna be a let down and instead my mind was blown. How did they make a movie where Rocky is a supporting character and wasn’t a distraction? How did they overcome all the cheesiness that was “Rocky 2 through 4” or that crap that was in “Rocky 5?” How did they do this? I don’t know but they did. “Rocky” hasn’t been this real since the original “Rocky.” But forget about Stallone for a second, Michael B Jordan knocks it out of the park and if he didn’t it wouldn’t have mattered how good Stallone was. Both of these guys deserve a shot at an Oscar.
3: The Hateful Eight
What can I say about Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight?” I can’t let this movie go. I liked it when I left the 70 mm screening that we went to last week, but the further I get away from it the more I love it. Nobody can do characters the way Tarantino does characters. He becomes his characters when he’s writing them and then turns them over to his trusted actors and they become them. It’s his most technical film to date but another master piece no doubt. I’m beginning to think Tarantino can do no wrong.
2: The Revenant
I’m not really sure who’s a better director than Alejandro González Iñárritu right now. In three years he’s given us “Gravity,” “Birman” and now “The Revenant.” These are huge movies that look like they took a ton of work and he did them in three consecutive years. David Fincher doesn’t do that, Christopher Nolan doesn’t do that. This movie is an endurance test. Watching it is like have a three hour drive ahead of you at midnight. That last hour you really have to use the rest room, your body is falling asleep on you and all you want to do is get in bed and feel comfort. This movie will grab you and punish you, but my god is it impressive. As hard as it is to watch it is something to look at. This movie was a lot lower on my cohost Josh Adam’s list (number 9 to be exact) and I get that. I think we feel the exact same way about this movie and we had it at two very different spots on our top ten list. It’s that kind of movie.
“Spotlight” is the last great tale of journalism in this country, possibly in the world. All media is owned by large corporations and even if a great journalist stumbles across something his superiors aren’t going to let him report on it or they’re going to twist it or they’ll bury it. “Spotlight” is a very conventional story with a tremendous ensemble cast. This movie helps you realize just how important good journalism is. Then you realize this particular story was the last time journalism has been great…and it was thirteen years ago. Then you go back and look at movies like “The Big Short” and just want to hurt the people that are allowing this to happen. Seriously fuck you to all of you responsible for this. I know you don’t give a shit because you’re profiting off of it but really…fuck you.