FAVORITES (doesn’t mean they’re the best)
1. The Revenant – Seriously, how is this not the best movie of the year? Have you seen it? Holy cow. I felt like I needed to sit in a warm bath for 3 days after watching it. It’s amazing. Also just realized that my favorite movie last year was, Birdman, also directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu.
2. Beasts Of No Nation – And how did this not get nominated for ANYTHING??? My personal belief is that it’s the studios giving the finger to Netflix but man, what an incredible film. Not an easy watch though.
3. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief – There were a few great documentaries this year (Amy, Cobain: Montage of Heck, Janis) but this one drew me in from frame one. I thought the whole thing was crazy even BEFORE the giant crazy spaceship/aliens reveal. But holy crap, I actually couldn’t believe it.
4. Cop Car/Mr. Holmes – These are just two small budget but very well made films. Each crafted with it’s own style and told very well.
5. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens – Despite my having worked on it for 2 months straight (or nearly) I am still managing to put it on my list, which I almost never do for films I’ve worked on. It was just too damn fun. And I’m a fanboy.
6. The Martian – Also in the ‘too damn fun’ category. This movie is awesome and hilarious. I must be the only one thinking that ‘of course!’ it should be in the comedy category. It’s so funny and crazy and fun.
7. (The first half of) Anomalisa – Sort of a Shaun the Sheep for super depressed adults, or maybe watching it makes you depressed? I don’t know. But what I saw I loved. Well ‘loved’ isn’t the right word. But watch it and you’ll know what I mean.
7. It Follows/We Are Still Here – It was a pretty good year for horror movies. These two take very different approaches in the style of scares that they conjure but are almost equally effective.
8. Irrational Man/Steve Jobs – I think I really enjoyed the writing of both of these films. They were clever in their own ways and each had an outstanding cast.
9. Tomorrowland – I don’t get where all of the hate was coming from. It’s a PG Disney movie that is all about optimism. Maybe society was just a bit too cynical for it. Or maybe it did suck. I really liked it though.
10. (Benicio Del Toro in) Sicario – Everyone was great in this movie but come one. Benicio killed it, along with most things on screen. I thought Emily Blunt did a great job but I didn’t quite buy how naive a really smart FBI agent could be.
MY LEAST FAVORITES MOST DISAPPOINTING (because WORST is too negative)
1. Love and Mercy – I saw the trailer for this movie and thought it looked terrible. Reviews were amazing so I watched it. Turns out I wasn’t wrong, but I also wasn’t right. John Cusack and Paul Dano are great. The script no so much.
2. (The end of) Ex Machina – I was really looking forward to this one and I loved everything but the last 15 minutes. I just didn’t buy it and that’s all I can say without wrecking it.
3. Mad Max: Fury Road – Really? Best picture? Did I miss something? Because I’m pretty sure that what I watched was a car chase that stopped for a pee break after 45 minutes and then turned around and had another car chase for 45 minutes just to end up in the same stupid spot they started. So dumb. And yes, at times really awesome. Especially guitar guy.
STILL NEED TO SEE (YOU try to get out to see all these movies with 2 diapered kids at home!)
The Hateful Eight
Straight Outta Compton
The Big Short
(The rest of) Anomalisa
The Danish Girl