So in last year’s list I lamented how I had avoided watching emotionally taxing movies and movies with subtitles because I was incapable of watching movies without being on my laptop and reading about the Mets….and then the Mets got to the World Series!!! So this year: I watched no good movies at all so the Mets will win it all!!! In particular, I watched Carol, which proved that Todd Haynes is the most talented filmmaker alive…at making a Patricia Highsmith adaptation painfully boring and insufferable! Some said it was impossible. Congrats, Todd! Go get me that ring, Cespedes!
Specifically, I did not watch 71, Hateful Eight, The Look of Silence, The Big Short, Beasts of No Nation, The Revenant, Mustang, and Mommy. I did, however, watch Southpaw and Meadowland, so really: the Mets better win this thing.
P.S. Why the heck wasn’t Spectre as good as those first ten minutes in Mexico City?
24. We Are Still Here: A nice horror throwback. Director to watch.
23. Straight Outta Compton: Diverting, but man: this movie was long.
22. Digging for Fire: Not Swanberg's best, but still solid.
20. 99 Homes: Michael Shannon is great, and the first half of this movie is pretty great too.
19. Inside Out: Diverting, but I’m a bit bewildered by the praise.
18. Queen of Earth: A fascinating mess of a film. In a weird way, very Cronenbergian, which is high praise for me.
17. The Diary of a Teenage Girl: I eye-rolled so hard at the trailer that it gave me a headache. But this was touching and funny, and even better: unapologetic.
15. The End of the Tour: A movie that works even when it shouldn't.
14. Amy: Such a mess. Such a fun, ridiculous mess.
13. Trainwreck: Dumb and funny. I really am glad I didn't get to see Matt and Katherine enjoy the LeBron scenes.
12. Brooklyn: A nice period piece.
11. Bridge of Spies: Spielberg tries on David Fincher's color palette and the Coens Spielberg-ize their writing. It's a weird fit, but worked far, far better than it should have. Maybe Mark Rylance won't win best supporting actor, but he goddamn well should.
9. It Follows: A nice piece of John Carpenter homage that maybe thrills in its sense of otherness a bit much (like seriously: that stupid clamshell e-reader), but a great thrilling horror movie is a great thrilling horror movie.
8. Ex Machina: I'm not ashamed of this being in my top ten (okay: I am).
7. The Lobster: What happens when you throw Wes Anderson, Lars von Trier, and The Hunger Games in a blender. Not as unhinged as Lanthimos's Dogtooth, but funny until the joke goes on for too long.
6. Mad Max: Fury Road: So much pretty-ugly nonsense.
4. Room: The first half of this movie...holy hell. What a ride. It overshot its natural end by telling the aftermath (instead of hinting at it), but an admirable piece of moviemaking.
3. Timbuktu: A flawed film in many ways, scattershot with some amateurish moments, but so damn beautiful and heartbreaking: and that's just the music. An illustration: the central murder scene is so poorly staged I stopped watching for a minute and almost missed one of the most stunning retreats I've ever scene in a film. The ball-less soccer game? Perfection.
2. The Martian: Wide, funny, fun, tense. Sure, a fair amount of Hollywood hackery, but it's damn good Hollywood hackery.
1. Spotlight: As good as this was, it's pretty lame that this is my #1 movie of 2015. It's an excellent spiritual successor to All the President's Men, and is much better than it needs to be. But...that's what it is. Good, tense, excellent, but only a fool would tell someone who had watched neither to choose Spotlight. If this really is the best movie I saw this year, thank God it's 2016.