Star Wars: The Force Awakens
2015 will forever be defined as the year of “The Force Awakens.” The record breaking “Episode 7” was great comfort for all of us jilted Star Wars fans who, still bitter from the disappointment of the prequels, breathed a giant sigh of relief as JJ Abrams revived the proud franchise. “Force Awakens” was the perfect blend of strongly paced action with well-timed humor as the old guard passed the torch to a new generation of Star Wars heroes.
I don’t think a motion picture studio today exists that pulls at the emotions the way Pixar does. So it was only a matter of time before the innovators of digital animation released a movie that dealt only with emotions. And the well-cast emotions of Riley (the film’s featured human who must endure the rigors of her preteen years in the middle of her family moving) made “Inside Out” one of Pixar’s best movies to date (and with Pixar’s track record, that’s saying something).
If you want to pluck holes into every motion picture for it’s plot, acting, and screenwriting, then Jurassic World does not belong on your list. But I had more fun watching this movie than any other film I saw in 2015 (well, until I saw “The Force Awakens”). It definitely helped that my expectations were fairly low for the film, which I only expected three things from: 1. dinosaurs (check) 2. dinosaurs chasing and eating stupid people (check) 3. dinosaurs fighting dinosaurs (check). And we also got the bonus of Jimmy Buffett running away from pterodactyls, but not without his Margaritas.
The true moral of the story here is that we all need a movie every couple of years where people run from dinosaurs and “Jurassic World” quenched our thirst for now.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Tom Hardy is my favorite actor in the whole world. I’ve seen the movie This Means War about 1,000 times just because he’s in it. The Mad Max franchise just also happens to be my favorite film series in the whole world, and when I heard that my boy Tom Tom was gonna be playing Max Rockatansky I literally s**t my pants. I’m not kidding. I was standing in the middle of Subway waiting on my veggie sub, just scrolling through The Mary Sue and there it was. “Tom Hardy to star as the title character in new Mad Max film”. I just couldn’t physically contain myself. Anyway, it was worth it. This movie is FABULOUS! Go rent or buy it right now!
Straight Outta Compton
I love rap music. I started getting into it with Tyler, The Creator and the Odd Future crew, but lately I’ve been more into guys like Pitbull and Flo Rida. Obviously I’d heard of Doctor Dre and Shoop Dog and Iced Cube, but I really didn’t know much about the original rap super-group, The NWA. This movie was absolutely fantastic! It’s all about the fellas and how they came up to be one of the more popular groups in rap music. It also has Paul Giamatti in it, playing that group’s manager, and I didn’t intentionally know that he was in it. I was pleasantly surprised because he’s one of my favorite actors of all time.
I read this book and so I had to see the movie. I was really glad I did because it’s become one of my favorite movies now. It’s got Matt Damon staring as an astronaut who gets stranded on the planet Mars and has to grow potatoes to survive until NASA can save him. It was fantastic! Boy, I’ll tell ya what, had that been me, I’d need more than potatoes to survive if I was stranded on Mars. I’d need like cheeseburgers, and tacos, and onion rings, and root beer, and Chex mix, and beef jerky, and Snickers, and more tacos, and maybe some apples too I guess. Anyway, good on Matt Damon for making it with potatoes.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
I’m not going to lie to you. I put this movie on here before I’d even seen it. Lucky for me, I saw it this afternoon and I was completely blown away by it. Very few films have been surrounded by the amount of hype this movie has, and even fewer have lived up to it, but Star Wars: The Force Awakens is far and away they best movie of the year. The story is highly entertaining, and the characters – both new and old – are incredible. This movie is for sure one I will be catching a few more times while it is in theaters, and I never go to the theaters twice for the same movie. Drop whatever you are doing no matter how important it may be and go see this film. You won’t regret it.
The Martian follows astronaut Mark Watney, played fantastically by Matt Damon, as he has to figure out how to survive alone on Mars until NASA can figure out a way to save him. The novel was far and away one of my favorite books I’ve read over the past year or two so naturally, the movie adaptation was high on the list for movies I wanted to see. Lucky for me, Ridley Scott adds another great sci-fi movie to his belt. Everything about this movie – from the cinematography to the acting – works and works well.
The addition of this film surprised even me. When it first came out I planned on seeing it, but just sort of forgot about it. My wife and I decided to rent it on one of the few nights we had away from the kids (because we are obviously a lot of fun), and man was it great. Ian McKellan plays an aging Sherlock Holmes who is beginning to lose his mental faculties. After seeing a film of his last case, he realizes that the idealized version of that case is not what happened because whatever happened caused him to hang up his deerstalker cap (that he never actually wore). The problem is he just can’t remember exactly how that case ended. While Holmes works to fill in the blanks, he befriends the son of his housekeeper who encourages Holmes by reading his case notes.
First off, we’re all kidding ourselves if anyone acts like The Force Awakens wasn’t the absolute most exciting movie-going experience of the year. With that in mind, I’ve decided to do my list a little differently than the others (plus it’s *technically* my article so I get to be Cartman and do what I want). See, I typically choose my favorite films list by looking at which films I saw multiple times in the theater and/or bought on Blu-ray. It just so happens that all 3 of the films at the top of my favorite movies of 2015 list I’ve already done reviews on, so there’s really nothing else I can say about them that I didn’t already say. I hope that, if you haven’t already, you’ll check out my reviews for these 3 fantastic films of 2015:
Rather than regurgitate everything I’ve already said about these three films, I’ve decided to go Fiona-Apple-at-the-1997-MTV-Video-Music-Awards an “use this opportunity the way I want to use it.” I’d like to acknowledge a film that had a lot of hype and then for some reason seemed to fizzle with audiences…
Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak.
This movie was marketed as a horror film but when I saw it I realized how it’s much more complex than that simplistic genre association can convey. It has many horror elements but at its heart it is a suspenseful drama with horror themes used to carry the story along. Think, more Exorcism of Emily Rose than The Exorcist. It’s also a period-style film with brilliant performances from Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, & Charlie Hunnam. I watched this movie in an empty theater all by myself and, to put it in sophisticated terminology, I was genuinely creeped the f*** out. There were scenes that made my skin crawl, as well as film shots that took my breath away. I feel like this movie has become criminally underrated and I hope that you guys will check it out when it drops on Blu-ray and DVD.