My life has become such that I now see 150+ new releases every year. As of now, I’ve seen just over 200 movies from 2015, with another 40 or so that I want to see that I haven’t gotten to yet. There’s a chance this list could change (I’ll have an update in late January!), but I’m really happy with where this list is right now.
One important note: Just like the “Best TV from 2015” list, these aren’t really the “best” movies of the year, but rather my favorites. Sorry for lying to you! “Best” lists are boring; in theory, everyone’s “best” list should be the same. If you want to know what the best movies of the year are, go see Brooklyn and Spotlight. I love them both, but neither are in my favorite ten films. Away we go!
10. The Hateful Eight
I always knew that I’d like The Hateful Eight, but I was sort of worried about how much I’d like it. After watching it in glorious Ultra Panavision 70mm on Christmas morning, I couldn’t have left any happier. The film is terrific and far more of a mystery movie than I thought it’d be. I love just about everyone in this movie, and most have never been better.
9. Green Room
I like Murder Party and Blue Ruin, the first two films from Jeremy Saulnier. The word “like” isn’t strong enough for Green Room, though, which is far-and-away his best film to date and the one I like most. Officially landing in theaters in mid-April, Green Room is one of the most tense movies I saw all year. It’s terrific from start to finish.
8. The Brand New Testament
Movies with absurd concepts can be hit-or-miss. The idea behind The Brand New Testament — that God lives in an apartment in Brussels with his family, who hates him — could have gone either way, but director (and co-writer) Jaco Van Dormael absolutely nails it. This movie is as bizarre as it is hilarious and wonderful.
I love Marvel movies, and I’ll see every one on its opening weekend. In spite of my fandom, though, The Avengers: Age of Ultron left me a little underwhelmed. I really liked it, but didn’t love it. Its missteps plus Marvel’s return to form with Ant-Man made the latter one of my favorite films this year. It’s funny, fresh, and great — just like Marvel’s best.
6. Liza the Fox-Fairy
Aside from The Brand New Testament, no other film at Fantastic Fest 2015 came close to leaving me in awe quite like Liza the Fox-Fairy. This movie is charming and delightful, and it absolutely blew me away. It’s one of the funniest black comedies I’ve seen in years; just thinking about it makes me smile. I can’t wait to watch it again.
5. Inside Out
I liked The Good Dinosaur more than most people, but there was never a debate as to which Pixar movie from 2015 was the best. Inside Out was funny, sweet, and sad, and one of the best films Pixar has ever made. Amy Poehler is absolute perfection as Joy, and the rest of the cast isn’t far behind her. Also: Bing Bong.
4. The Witch
Horror movies have gotten a bad reputation lately. I love them, but even ones I love can be discredited as “good for a horror movie.” It’s frustrating that people feel they can ignore an entire genre because of a few bad eggs. Well, guess what? The Witch is great as both a horror movie — and just a movie. “Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?” Yes, please.
Charlie Kaufman has yet to make a movie I don’t like, so I had high hopes when I saw Anomalisa. It’s hard to compare his movies to one another, because they’re so wholly different from one another, but Anomalisa is one of his best. The stop-motion photography is gorgeous, and the minutiae the script covers is hilarious in its banality.
2. Kingsman: The Secret Service
When I saw Kingsman: The Secret Service waaaaaay back in February, I said I’d be surprised if any movie topped it on this list. Ten months later, only one movie has fulfilled that tall order. Kingsman is something special, and may just be the best James Bond movie ever made — even though he’s not in it. Matthew Vaughn is a tremendous filmmaker, able to perfectly blend satire and genre send-ups with genuinely great action.
1. Mad Max: Fury Road
What’s left to say about Mad Max: Fury Road? It’s at or near the top of just about every year-end list, and for good reason. It’s a (literal) non-stop thrill ride from start to finish, and it’s so engrossing that I let my food get cold rather than take my eyes of the screen for long enough to take a bite. It’s visually stunning and tremendously inventive. Knowing that nearly every effect was practical (rather than CGI) only adds to the wonder.
An important note! If I hadn’t put It Follows on my favorite movies list from 2014, it would rank as my #3 movie this year. Go see it if you haven’t already.
Also, because I had them all ranked anyway, here are all 202 movies from 2015 that I’ve seen so far, in order. For the most part.