Hello here we are the REAL Day 1 of my Top 50 countdown. Today we’re going from 50-41 and I’m not going to waste any more of your time RAMBLING.
50. American Ultra
Directed by Nima Nourizadeh
Written by Max Landis
When I saw this in theaters, there were probably 14 people total (including my two friends and I) and we were split into three groups. My friends and I really enjoyed the movie. However, periodically throughout the movie, one of the groups behind us developed some kind of issue with the other group and they started yelling at each other. It almost turned into a fight but they calmed down. Which is great. Because I would have been pissed if I had to leave because I really liked this movie.
It’s a super violent action movie about a CIA sleeper agent (I think CIA) who is a stoner and then he gets turned on and goes nuts. It’s also really funny. I’m a big Max Landis fan (he wrote it). It’s easily one of the most fun (and underrated) movies I saw this year.
Directed by John Crowley
Written by Nick Hornby
Brooklyn is such a pretty movie. It’s one of the few period immigrant dramas that doesn’t dwell on how shitty things were (and are) for immigrants. While that may sound like a problem, it’s (I can’t believe I’m saying this) really nice to have a relatively pleasant movie come along. There’s some definitely beyond sad scenes in it, but overall, this is a pretty happy, uplifting story about finding love in a new country.
Directed by Spike Lee
Written by Spike Lee and Kevin Willmott
Spike Lee’s latest is about a woman named Lysistrata (the ancient Greek tragedy this is based on). It’s a satirical musical dramedy about gang violence in Chicago and other, more broad societal issues. It covers racism, sexism, police brutality and more. It’s very relevant, while also occasionally looking at tragedy through a comedic lens. I’m not saying it makes fun of the tragedy. It’s actually much more of a bitter humor. As though there’s nothing left to do but laugh because the situation has gotten so bad.
47. Bridge of Spies
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Written by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, and Matt Charman
Spielberg directing a Coen Brothers script should be a pretty obvious formula for success. And, unsurprisingly, it is. What a great movie. It’s about a lawyer (Tom Hanks) who is elected to represent an accused Soviet spy (Mark Rylance) in court and takes it much further than anyone expected, or wanted, him to. Mark Rylance totally deserved that Oscar.
46. White God (Fehér isten)
Directed by Kornél Mundruczó
Written by Kornél Mundruczó, Viktória Petrányi, and Kata Wéber
This movie is about an oppressive alternate world that I hate where people hate dogs. It’s actually a metaphor for Hungarian feelings toward immigrants. There are specific laws dealing with mixed breed dogs, and they aren’t treated well. When a little girl’s father throws her dog out of the car on the highway he has to survive on his own and eventually leads a Rise of the Planet of the Apes-style revolt on a medium-sized Hungarian city. All of the dogs in the film were rescues (including the pictured lead dog who wore a BOW TIE to the Cannes premiere) trained for the film and then given to loving homes. Thinking about this movie is making my eyes well up again so I’m going to end it here. See it it’s on Netflix.
45. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Written by Jesse Andrews
While at first it may seem like one of those endless indie comedies aimed and old teens and young adults, this one definitely transcends those stereotypes. It follows a kid and his friend and they make movies (mostly parodies of Criterion movies) until they meet a girl who has cancer. There’s no budding young romance. No annoying, boring love triangle crap. This is a movie about disaffected teenagers having to deal with life and death and real, platonic friendship. It’s a great movie, especially for the TEENS.
44. The Big Short
Directed by Adam McKay
Written by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
The Big Short is about the total collapse of the US housing market a couple of years ago. It’s a comedy, but it’s not really very funny. Not that the humor isn’t good, because it is, it’s not funny because the situation is not funny. It’s tragic and terrible and full of rage. Just like the humor in this movie. Like Chi-Raq, it’s a very bitter sense of humor. It’s also very boldly-edited. It follows a bunch of different characters who occasionally break the fourth wall and interact with us. It also has random parts where bigger economic concepts are explained by celebrities like Margot Robbie, Anthony Bourdain, and Selena Gomez in easy-to-understand versions.
It’s very funny. But it’s not really funny at all.
Directed by Sean S. Baker
Written by Sean S. Baker and Chris Bergoch
Tangerine is about a trans prostitute who gets out of prison only to discover a rumor that her pimp and lover has been sleeping around. The movie follows her attempts to find him over the course of Christmas Eve. Meanwhile, her friend has a concert and a cab driver tries to hide his affinity for transwomen from his wife and her mother. Without spoiling anything, the final scene (the “Donut Time” scene) is easily one of the best, most explosive scenes in film in 2015.
Directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven
Written by Deniz Gamze Ergüven and Alice Winocour
A group of sisters are caught by a neighbor swimming with boys so they are forced to stay locked in their home for the summer by their Uncle and (I think) their grandmother. At first they rebel, but eventually they each begin to relent to the conservative ways of their culture, one-by-one. All of them but the youngest, who remains resolute in the face of ancient customs and patriarchal oppression.
It’s so good guys. It’s sort of the Turkish Virgin Suicides (but does not end that way).
41. Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter
Directed by David Zellner
Written by David and Nathan Zellner
Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter is about a Japanese woman (Rinko Kikuchi, who is wonderful at all times) who is obsessed with finding treasure. Presumably so she can get out of her terribly mundane life (she works for an asshole in Tokyo and lives alone with her rabbit). She clearly has some sort of issue, but it is purposefully unexplored beyond her strange behavior. So she finds a VHS copy of Fargo in a cave and watches until the end (with the money and the red ice scraper, if you haven’t seen Fargo, jesus christ, see it), at which point she decides that the film is a treasure map. So she books a trip to Fargo, North Dakota to find untold riches.
It definitely sounds like more of a comedy than it is. I don’t want to give away too much, and there are funny parts, but don’t go in expecting a riotous absurd comedy. It’s certainly absurdist, but it’s no comedy. Rinko Kikuchi is so great. In this and many other movies (LIKE PACIFIC RIM).
OKAY GUYS that’s it for 50-41. I highly recommend you watch ALL OF THEM. Check in hopefully tomorrow for 40-31.
For your convenience, I will now list legal ways in which you can view each film RIGHT NOW:
Tangerine: Netflix (USA, Canada, like 8+ other countries), DVD, Blu Ray, VOD
White God: Netflix (USA, UK, Ireland, Canada), DVD, Blu Ray, VOD
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: Netflix (Canada only), DVD, Blu Ray, VOD
Chi-Raq: Free with Amazon Prime, DVD, Blu Ray, VOD
Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter: Free with Amazon Prime, DVD, Blu Ray, VOD
American Ultra: DVD, Blu Ray, VOD
Brooklyn: DVD, Blu Ray, VOD
Bridge of Spies: DVD, Blu Ray, VOD
The Big Short: DVD, Blu Ray, VOD
Mustang: DVD, Blu Ray, VOD