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The 10 Best Films of 2015: A Collection of Beach Boys, Authors and a Guy Named Earl

December 31, 2015

I haven’t been able to catch every film that was released this year so my “best of” list isn’t all inclusive. However, I’ve watched a boatload of movies and wanted to share my favorite films. 2015 has been a great year for film because it has featured some great big budget blockbusters and a rejuvenated horror landscape. The following list is uber eclectic and features Beach Boys, space potatoes and Jason Statham wearing a fake mustache. If you are interested check out my other best of 2015 posts (you will love them!).

The 2015 Random Awards

The Best Non-Human Characters of 2015

The Best Villains of 2015

The Best Horror Films of 2015

The Best MFF Articles of 2015

Here is the list! I wanted to start at my favorite films and work my way down.

  1. Love & Mercy

Love & Mercy is a beautiful film. I loved every second of the biopic and the only other movie I can think of that hit me as hard was Take Shelter (one of my favorites).  It is a beautifully told story that eschews the standard biopic cliches and travels back and forth during Brian Wilson’s life. Paul Dano and John Cusack are perfectly cast as young/old Brian Wilson and Elizabeth Banks finally found herself in a dramatic role worthy of her talents. I loved learning how Pet Sounds was created and I was so happy to see John Cusack back in form after some very uneven films.

Love and Mercy Paul Dano

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2. The End of the Tour

The End of the Tour centers around the five day interview between David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) and Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg). Lipsky joined up with Wallace at the end of his 1996 book tour for Infinite Jest and the following interview was pure gold. Jason Segel is stellar in the role and I love that he didn’t add massive flourishes or “acting” touches to the role. Director James Ponsoldt (Smashed, Spectacular Now) knows how to capture conversations organically and The End of the Tour flows along nicely towards its beautiful final shot. I loved the exploration into a brilliant mind and I hope Segel gets remembered come award time.

 

The End of the Tour

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3. The Martian

Movies don’t get any nicer or crowd pleasing than The Martian. Everybody was on their A-game (even the potatoes) and I love how it remained faithful to the book. I loved The Martian because it was about a bunch of smart people trying to help another smart man get back home. You don’t want the movie to end and I can’t remember the last time I had such a big smile on my face while leaving a theater. Also, Sean Bean lives!

The Martian Matt Damon

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4. Brooklyn

Everything about Brooklyn is nice. It is the rare film that manages to create three-dimensional characters doing believable things. I love the chemistry between Saoirse Ronan and Emory Cohen and I think they are the best couple of 2015. Writer Nick Hornby is one of my favorite writers and he managed to take a popular book and translate it into a crowd pleasing yet tear jerking tour de force.

Brookyln Ronan

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5. Bridge of Spies

Tom Hanks is so good in Bridge of Spies I’m pretty sure people won’t appreciate how good he is. His character James Donovan is a good man that loves whiskey and is respected by everyone. He won’t back down from a fight and I love how he clenches his fists when things get real.  I love that Bridge of Spies only cost $40 million and it felt like an epic story of spies and the cold war. Steven Spielberg knocked Bridge out of the park and not a second of on-screen time is wasted.

Bridge of Spies hanks

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6. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

I love Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. It blends quirkiness with intelligence and manages to avoid thinking  it is too clever. This Sundance favorite is self-aware and the cinematography by Chung-hoon Chung (Oldboy, Stoker) is pretty amazing. I love that director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon allowed the camera to linger on the actors faces and you can tell he trusted their performances. Also, the fake movies are pretty glorious.

 

Me and Earl fake movie posters

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7. Spy

Spy is the funniest movie of 2015 and I can’t think of a movie with a deeper bench of funny movie characters. Director Paul Feig is a genius and he gathered the San Antonio Spurs of the acting world to do his bidding. Everybody is unselfish and it leads to a beautiful comedy that is infinitely rewatchable.  I was so happy to see Jason Statham back in Snatch/Lock Stock form and it proves he has no problem making himself look dumb. I was stoked to see it nominated for several Golden Globes and I want everyone to get a spin-off movie.

Jason Statham Spy mustache

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8. Mad Max: Fury Road

What I love about Mad Max: Fury Road is that it feels like an incredibly expensive hand made film. Every stunt feels like it hurts and I can only imagine how long it took to accomplish each stunt. George Miller wanted everything on his set to be functional and it all looks f**king amazing. The world is fully fleshed out and I’m amazed at the skill and care that each character receives. Films like this can never be recreated because they left no blueprint. Charlize Theron stated that their would be days when there was no script and director George Miller was shooting from the hip. Fury Road works because the crew worked their asses off for six months in the deserts of Africa. It is a labor of love that feels totally fleshed out.

600px-MadMaxFuryRoad-SKS-Furiosa-TRAILER

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9. What We Do in the Shadows

What We Do in the Shadows is a glorious comedy/horror mockumentary that centers around four vampires who live in New Zealand. The horror hybrid blends comedy with lots of gore and features some of funniest characters of the last several years. It is a creative blast of niceness and violence that will most certainly become a cult classic. The 85 minute film is so full of one-liners, sight gags and hilarious characters you need to watch it more than once.

What we do in the shadows 1946

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10. The Hateful Eight/Bone Tomahawk

The reason I lumped these movies together is because Kurt Russell is awesome. He plays a major role in both of these westerns and he is fantastic. I love that both of them subverted the western genre while feeling totally original. They are bloody, brutal, ugly and lyrically written. I wouldn’t watch them back to back (your soul would be crushed) but I totally recommend them. Both films are loaded with fantastic performances and some of my favorite actors like Samuel L. Jackson, Patrick Wilson, Richard Jenkins and Demian Bichir get a chance to shine.

Hateful eight Kurt Russell mustache

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11. It Follows, Backcountry, Spring and Creep

2015 was loaded with solid horror and these four films are very good. They do a great job creating new villains, worlds and love stories. They are stuffed with dread, urgency, believable villains (good thing) and I can’t wait to watch them again.  I totally recommend you check them out and appreciate the indie horror boom.

Creep wolf mask Mark Duplass

 

 

 

 

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