As crazy as it seems, I watched 122 movies from 2015. I actually watched a couple more, but for some reason didn’t keep track of those. I don;t remember why. But anyway yea, alongside all of the OTHER movies I watched in 2015, I made time for 122 movies released during the year. You know what? Some of them were terrible garbage that was awful and not the least bit pleasurable to sit through. They were dumb and loud and boring and all kind of other horrible descriptive terms. These movies though. They were the best of the best. And the following 10 were even better than the previous 10 (I guess. I only put SO MUCH thought into the order of the movies behind 25).
40. Goodnight Mommy
Directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala
Written by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala
Goodnight Mommy had one of the best twist endings I’ve ever seen in film history. I feel like it’s not much of a spoiler to say that this movie has a twist ending because if you know anything about psychological horror, you should know that a twist is something of a given.
The performances were very solid all-around, but the best thing about the movie was the whole atmosphere. I don’t necessarily mean the plot, the tone, the dialogue, the cinematography or the setting. I mean the combination of all of that. This movie works so much better than most of the garbage horror they keep cranking out these days. It’s smart. It’s difficult. It makes you really think. Even when you know everything, you still have questions. The first thing you want to do when you finish this movie is watch it again. If that’s not a sign of a great movie, then I don’t know what is.
I know I didn’t describe the plot. That was intentional.
Directed by Jay Roach
Written by John McNamara
Dalton Trumbo wrote Spartacus and Roman Holiday. He won Oscars. He was highly respected, but most people didn’t know they respected him until later. He had to write his films under a pseudonym because he was a communist, and he was writing at the height of McCarthy’s reign of Red Terror.
This is a movie that really wants to be a Coen Brothers movie, and actually comes pretty close to succeeding. The movie covers most of the second half of Trumbo’s career. It’s a well-done biopic that almost totally successfully mimics the Coen Brothers. John Goodman is in it (alongside a VERY talented ensemble) and Bryan Cranston got nominated for his first Oscar for it. It’s definitely worth watching.
Directed by Peyton Reed
Written by Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, and Paul Rudd
It’s a real shame we didn’t get to see Edgar Wright’s full vision for Ant-Man. That being said, it was still easily one of Marvel’s best movies. It is weird, funny, and visually stunning. The scene in which Scott Lang (Rudd) first shrinks to the size of an ant is one of my favorite scenes of the year. Was the bad guy kind of boring? Yeah. But he looked cool and it was a great fight, so I’m OK with that.
And Michael Douglas is in it!
37. The Visit
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Written by M. Night Shyamalan
M. Night Shyamalan made a good movie. I haven’t thought that since 2002. And even then, Signs was just OK. His last truly very good movie was Unbreakable in 2000. Since then, he’s created some of the most laughable big budget sci fi movies of the 2000s (I don’t think Lady in the Water was TERRIBLE , but it was a great example of style over substance and big ideas that just weren’t executed well).
Anyway The Visit was great. Found footage, when done well, is very effective. This movie had some solid scary parts. It was mostly really funny, but there were some good scares mixed in. I definitely recommend it. Even if you don’t like found footage, the story is so well-constructed. This is prime Shyamalan. Not like the crap that he put out since Signs.
Directed by Yann Demange
Written by Gregory Burke
Jack O’Connell is so hot right now. With good reason, he’s a fantastic actor. in 2014 he was in Unbroken and Starred Up, in 2015 he was in this, and in 2016 he’s in a pretty decent-looking movie called Money Monster. And he was on Skins. The kids love Skins.
This is a movie about a British soldier in Northern Ireland in 1971, when The Troubles were reeeaaalllly bad. He gets stuck in IRA territory alone, and has to survive. It’s a very tense, suspenseful movie.
One thing I want to add is that, although it follows a British soldier, this movie doesn’t take sides. It shows good and bad people on both sides, which to my knowledge, is very accurate to the events of The Troubles.
35. Straight Outta Compton
Directed by F. Gary Gray
Written by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff
Straight Outta Compton is a biography of N.W.A, but it mostly follows Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Eazy-E. MC Ren and DJ Yella are in it too, but since they never really got that famous, the movie isn’t quite as concerned with them.
Which is fine because Cube, Dre, and E are more interesting. I’m kidding but also I’m not.
Anyway Ice Cube’s son plays his dad really well, and the guy from Walking Dead plays Dre really well, but Jason Mitchell should have been nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Eazy-E. It was seriously one of the best performances of the year.
Directed by Michael Dougherty
Written by Todd Casey, Michael Dougherty, and Zach Shields
Krampus is the best Christmas monster movie since Gremlins.
In fact, it’s almost as good as Gremlins.
Gremlins warms my heart like no other movie can.
I love Gremlins.
33. Slow West
Directed by John Maclean
Written by John Maclean
Slow West is exactly what it sounds like for about 3/4 of the movie. It’s a slow-burn, and then it explodes.
It’s the story of an Irish immigrant trying to find the woman he loved who moved to America. So he finds Michael Fassbender and asks him to help out.
It’s a somewhat run-of-the-mill western and then goes nuts. I love westerns. I love nuts. So I loved this movie. Also this was Michael Fassbender’s best performance of the year. I thought Steve Jobs was great, but *spoiler* it’s not on my list.
Directed by Rick Famuyiwa
Written by Rick Famuyiwa
Despite being more dramatic and definitely more coherent, Dope really reminded me of The Big Lebowski. They’re both Califnornia neo-noir comedies and they’re both excellent.
The movie follows a high schooler and his two friends. They aren’t thought of very highly by many of their classmates. They have a “punk” band (punk is debatable, they sound more like MIA or Rage Against the Machine, depending on the song. The music is good though) and they dress like they’re still living in the 90s.
They get involved in a big crazy drug deal/heist/conspiracy thing. Like I’ve said a million times before, I don’t want to give too much away. See Dope.
31. Bone Tomahawk
Directed by S. Craig Zahler
Written by S. Craig Zahler
I love westerns. I love horror. The idea of a horror western is awesome. It’s been done, but rarely. This is a tense, visceral, extraordinarily well-acted movie.
It features Kurt Russell (from The Thing!), Patrick Wilson (from Watchmen!), Richard Jenkins (from Cabin in the Woods!), Matthew Fox (from Lost!), Sid Haig (from EVERYTHING!), David Arquette (from Scream!), Lili Simmons (from the TV shows Banshee and True Detective Season 1!), and Sean Young (From Blade Runner!). The cast is STACKED for genre films.
It’s about a woman who is kidnapped by cannibals in the old west and the posse who goes to find her. That’s it. This isn’t a crazy, layered story. It doesn’t need to be. The story is primarily visual. The cannibals, the barren landscape, the facial expressions. The movie doesn’t tell you a story as much as it shows you one.
If you think that a “horror western” sounds gimmicky and dumb, I assure you, it absolutely could have been. But this movie is a far cry from that. This is a deep, layered movie. Maybe not philosophically deep, but you know. That stuff about visual storytelling in the last paragraph. It’s way more subtle than it has any right to be. It’s the kind of movie I really want to make one day.
Anyway ok guys that’s today. Look out tomorrow for numbers 30-21!
And now, the legal availability of today’s movies:
Dope – Netflix (USA), DVD, Blu Ray, and VOD
Slow West – Amazon Prime Instant, Netflix (UK and Ireland), DVD, Blu Ray, and VOD
’71 – Amazon Prime Instant, DVD, Blu Ray, and VOD
Bone Tomahawk – Amazon Prime Instant, DVD, Blu Ray, and VOD
Goodnight Mommy – Amazon Prime Instant, DVD, Blu Ray, and VOD
Ant-Man – Netflix (Canana, Belgium, Netherlands), DVD, Blu Ray, and VOD
Trumbo – DVD, Blu Ray, and VOD
The Visit – DVD, Blu Ray, and VOD
Straight Outta Compton – DVD, Blu Ray, and VOD
Krampus – DVD, Blu Ray, and VOD