Let’s get this straight. I was a terrible movie viewer this year. Terrible. Too much good television to watch? Maybe. More like: I’m incapable of watching movies at home without multi-tasking. The result? A year of watching movies that make one thing clear: I’m a philistine. I’m *positive* I must have watched more foreign language movies from 2015, but…I can’t remember what they were. Despite time spent Googling “foreign movies 2014” (while watching other movies). The only two subtitled movies mentioned below I watched in the last week for the sole purpose of not revealing the depths of my cultural shallowness via this list.
3. Gone Girl: A winking ridiculous tour through American castration paranoia, and one of the funniest movies of the year. David Fincher seems like the least likely director to do Lynchian pastiche, and Trent Reznor the least likely composer, but they do it fantastically.
4. Only Lovers Left Alive: The best movie ever made about hipster (in the original sense of the word) vampires rolling languidly around a cadaverous Detroit? Could very well be.
5. Inherent Vice: Delirious and heavily Dude and Long Goodbye indebted. Something I desperately need to see again to wrap my brain around. But any movie that does a credible mashup of Pynchon, Coen Brothers, and Altman is goddamn aces in my book.
7. Whiplash: Overwrought but compelling. Thought J.K. Simmons was a bit overpraised, but it’s still a solid performance.
10. The Drop: Tom Hardy’s seductive performance is the only reason to see this slight movie. But it’s a hell of a reason.
11. The Babadook If Australian horror is this good, I need to see a lot more Australian horror.
12. Coherence: Let’s get one thing straight: this is no Primer. Instead it’s Primer’s low-rent sci-fi cousin, showing up to the dinner party wrapped in mystery and charisma but secretly being a top-notch Magic the Gathering player. But still: a good dinner party is a good dinner party.
14. Chef: Delightful and corny. Delightful because it’s corny. More worthy of standing in line for than a kimchi slaw hot dog food cart.
15. 22 Jump Street: I watched 21 by myself at home, and this in the company of others at the theater. I’ll leave the nature vs. nurture arguments to the philosophers: all I know is I laughed much harder at the sequel.
17. Guardians of the Galaxy: A nice corrective to the somber Christopher Nolan-influenced superhero tent poles. Hollywood will quickly overlearn this lesson, and we’ll be back to Batman & Robin in no time.
18. Starred Up: British prisoners are just so much more adorable than American prisoners, ya know?
20. Foxcatcher: In retrospect, having found both this and Moneyball disappointing, maybe I was always just a fan of the greatly missed Philip Seymour Hoffman and not Bennett Miller at all. Either way, I loved Capote. This was no Capote. Ruffalo's good-but-not-great performance blows away both a truly forgettable performance by Tatum and the malignancy from threadbare motive of Carrell’s nasal DuPont. All thrown together by a meandering, cliched script. Wait, I liked this movie? I did: very easy to read articles on how Michael Cuddyer was worth forgoing a draft pick through.
Locke (a more heralded but less deserving performance by Hardy) , Edge of Tomorrow (the first half), Frank (parts), A Most Wanted Man, The Guest (the menacing first half), Top Five (minus the incredibly embarrassing, dated, and prolonged gay joke), Interstellar (parts), The One I Love
Shamefully not seen:
Mr. Turner, Force Majeure, The Wind Rises, Joe, Night Moves, Selma, American Sniper,The Theory of Everything (I guess?), Ida, Goodbye to Love, A Most Violent Year, A Trip to Italy (saw the series instead, and regretted it: there is such a thing as Too Much Coogan), We Are the Best
Would be willing to commit various crimes and misdemeanors to go back in time and not see: Snowpiercer. As Woody Allen said about The Magus: "If I had to live my life again, I'd do everything the same, except that I wouldn't see Snowpiercer." Although to be fair, I wouldn't watch any of the 2009 through 2012 Mets either.
Best director/biggest letdown:
I Origins and Noah.