Whaaaaat?! I didn’t FORGET to post this yesterday. You just forgot to notice that this sentence doesn’t make any temporal sense.
Ok so I admit I didn’t post this yesterday. You got me. But I was VERY busy.
Ok I was playing Dark Souls.
Anyway read on, fans.
Directed by Paul Weitz
Written by Paul Weitz
Grandma is a movie about a girl who needs an abortion, but is having trouble getting the money together (for a variety of reasons, including having a deadbeat boyfriend who is featured in the best scene of the movie). She’s too afraid to ask her mom, so she goes to her former hippie and current lesbian poet Grandma (played by an Oscar-worthy Lily Tomlin). Unfortunately, Grandma doesn’t have any money either, so it sort of turns into a small-town road movie and it’s about Grandmother and Granddaughter bonding. It’s great. It’s funny, heartwarming, sad, and empowering. I highly recommend it.
Also Sam Elliott plays a total asshole and it’s insane to see him play a bad guy. He’s good at it though.
29. The Martian
Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by Drew Goddard
The Martian (if you didn’t see it, which doesn’t apply to most Americans) is about a man who gets stuck on Mars because his crew thought he was dead and he has to survive for a while. Eventually he starts to figure stuff out, but the movie is so wonderful that I’ll let you see how he does it for yourself. It’s often funny, sometimes intense, and just one of the most all-around great movies of the year. I really hope Ridley Scott is immortal. I don’t think I could live in a world without his films.
Directed by Ryan Coogler
Written by Ryan Coogler and Aaron Covington
Creed is sort of Rocky 7, but also Rocky: The Reboot. It’s about Apollo Creed’s illegitimate son who is an amateur boxer. He fights in Mexico. Then you know, Rocky trains him. Rocky becomes Mick. Creed’s son becomes Rocky. It’s pretty easily the best Rocky movie since the original (besides Rocky IV, which should replace America’s Constitution and Declaration of Independence). Michael B. Jordan definitely should have been nominated for an Oscar but. You know…
27. The End of the Tour
Directed by James Ponsoldt
Written by Donald Margulies
The End of the Tour is about a Rolling Stone journalist who spends a few days with author David Foster Wallace right after he released Infinite Jest, arguably his most famous book. I admit I know very little about David Foster Wallace, but from what people have said, Jason Segel played him very well (which people weren’t expecting). I can’t attest to the accuracy of his portrayal past having seen a few Wallace interviews, but he captured it pretty well from what I know, and also the acting was excellent regardless. I guess the best way to sum up how good this movie is is this: Infinite Jest is over a thousand pages and seeing this movie made me want to read it and other Wallace books.
26. Black Mass
Directed by Scott Cooper
Written by Jez Butterworth and Mark Mallouk
Man, when this movie came out people were going nuts. They were talking about how great the movie was, how fantastic Depp was, and how he literally disappeared into the role. My friend (who has seen his fair share of Depp movies) didn’t even realize Johnny Depp was Bulger. And then awards season rolled around and nothing. No notice for this movie. There was a little here and there but NONE at the Oscars. I thought for sure Depp would get nominated. He probably should have too. Easily over Eddie Redmayne (for my opinions on THAT role, check out my “worst movies of 2015” list and also my pre-oscars post).
Anyway Johnny Depp plays Irish-American mob boss Whitey Bulger. He does it REALLY well. If you like gangster movies, true-crime, and/or biopics, this one is definitely for you.
25. The Duke of Burgundy
Directed by Peter Strickland
Written by Peter Strickland
So one problem I’ve been having while writing this list is that I’m sometimes having trouble remembering enough about the movies to talk about specific scenes or plot points. I remember why I liked them, how much I liked them, etc. But sometimes I don’t go too much into the detail of the movies. Part of it is because I’m writing 50 of these damned things, and another part is that I either only saw the movies once, or saw them way earlier in 2015. So if you have any questions about any specific movies, please feel free to ask, and I may be able to elaborate a little bit more.
This is not the case for The Duke of Burgundy. I watched this AFTER I thought I had my Top 50 finalized, because I thought it sounded pretty good, but didn’t expect it to really be something I would consider for my Top 50. BOY HOWDY was I incorrect. As you can see by its placement at number 25.
The Duke of Burgundy is about two women in a relationship (I guess you could call them lesbians, but I’m pretty sure this movie takes place in a world that literally has no men at all, so it feels sort of odd to label them that way). They’re both etymologists with a focus on moths (I’m pretty sure it’s moths even though Netflix says butterflies *just looked it up it’s both moths and butterflies so Netflix and I are both right, as usual*) and they’re also super into S&M, specifically power-based S&M (I don’t know S&M terms, but one of them is dominant and one is submissive). Eventually things get weird (in every sense of the word) and their relationship gets a little rocky.
This movie feels kind of like David Lynch with a little bit of Cronenberg mixed in. It’s great if you enjoy high-concept stuff and also experimental, dream-like imagery.
24. The Assassin (刺客聶隱娘)
Directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien
Written by Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Chu Tien-wen, Hsieh Hai-Meng, and Zhong Acheng
The Assassin is kind of a wuxia movie, but not in the “normal” sense. Crouching Tiger , Hidden Dragon has the pageantry, the costuming, the beautiful set design, and crazy, high-flying wire-work as well as on the ground excellent fight choreography. This movie attempts a more realistic depiction of that era of Chinese history. It’s much less fantasy. It’s still absolutely beautiful. It’s about a woman who is sent to assassinate corrupt government officials. She’s very good at that.
There’s a much more complex narrative at play here, but to get too into it would probably require a lot more thought, give me a headache, and require a much longer post than I’m planning to write. So I’ll just say it’s beautiful, complex, slow (but very rewarding), and one of the best martial arts movies of the past few years (although my favorite recent one is still The Grandmaster).
Also the end credits music is AMAZING.
23. The Tribe (Плем’я, Plemya)
Directed by Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy
Written by Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy
The Tribe is a Ukrainian film about teenagers at a school for deaf children. It has no subtitles. However, through facial expressions, the intensity of the sign language, and the context of the events, a clear narrative begins to form. Slowly but surely, you forget that the movie has no dialogue or subtitles and you just absorb the story. This is pure visual storytelling at its finest. I heard that eventually American screenings were sometimes showing the film with subtitles, and I’ll probably watch that version eventually. But I don’t feel like I need to. I know the story. I recommend this movie to anyone (be warned, it is VERY disturbing at times). I also recommend that you trust me and watch with no subtitles.
22. Inside Out
Directed by Pete Docter
Written by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, and Josh Cooley
What can I say about Inside Out that hasn’t already been said? It’s amazing. I highly recommend it. It’s Pixar, it’s heartfelt, it’s their most highly philosophical project so far. This movie has something for everyone.
21. Beasts of No Nation
Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga
Written by Cary Joji Fukunaga
Beasts of No Nation is about the life of a child soldier in a fictional conflict (but inspired by years and years of actual conflict there) in Western Africa. I think it speaks for itself, but I will say that it is highly upsetting, so don’t expect to come out of the movie smiling. Idris Elba plays his most terrifying role yet as the leader of the band of soldiers. Abraham Attah plays the boy we are following. They both deserved as many awards as exist for acting.
Okay that’s it for my list today. Two left! The HOME STRETCH if you will (I will).
Beasts of No Nation was produced by Netflix so it’s available in all regions I think. It is not, however, available on any other home media (yet, anyway)
The Duke of Burgundy – Netflix (USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia), DVD, Blu Ray, VOD
The Assassin – Netflix (USA only), DVD, Blu Ray, VOD
Inside Out – Netflix (Canada, Australia, Belgium, Netherlands), DVD, Blu Ray, VOD
Grandma – DVD, Blu Ray, VOD
The Martian – DVD, Blu Ray, VOD
Creed – DVD, Blu Ray, VOD
Black Mass – DVD, Blu Ray, VOD
The Tribe – DVD, Blu Ray, VOD