Mike’s Top Ten of 2015 (REMIX)

When you see this article go up, that means the end of the year is upon us. This is my way of getting last year out of the way so we can recap this year.

I always feel like my Top Ten list each December is, in one way or another, full of compromises. Films I put in the Top Ten because they feel like better choices in the moment, rather than what will be in a few years. Sometimes I just overthink it and can’t see the forest for the trees. Shit happens.

So what I do is go back a year later and redo everything. I see what, if anything, has changed. I don’t care so much about how many things I got “wrong,” so to speak. I only care about making sure I get it right. People change, tastes change. So the list will be updated to reflect that.

I went back and looked over everything I watched last year to see which movies truly were my ten favorites of the year. The thing about 2015 is that there were so many great films I could have easily swapped out half of the top 15 into the top 10 and there would be very little difference for me. And that’s sort of the case. Certain films that barely missed the top ten now came on, and others that still feel really close to top tens barely missed out.

Here is my revised Top Ten list of 2015:

1. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

This is still my favorite film of 2015, and still the first film that was my #1 for the year to not get any form of awards love in five years. But hey, you love what you love, and I love this movie. This is the film on this list I’ve watched more than every other one on here. It’s beautiful.

2. Inside Out

This is Pixar’s best movie in five years, and maybe one of their three best all-time. I love this movie so much, and I think it’s not going to be surpassed by anything tehy do for a while.

3. Mad Max: Fury Road

This movie is still amazing. We all love this, and this was probably everyone’s consensus favorite film of the year, and with good reason. It’s a masterpiece. It reminded us what you can do when you have a real vision and don’t let animators handle your action for you.

4. Steve Jobs

I still think this is one of the best films of the year. I don’t even care that some people hate it. I can’t get enough of it. I could put this on and watch it all the way through every time. Aaron Sorkin is a genius, and the performances in this movie are so perfect. This will always be top five for me for 2015.

5. The Martian

I’ve watched this one a bunch too. It’s eminently watchable and is actually one of the best movies Ridley Scott has made in the past twenty years. This one will hold up over time. It’s that good.

6. Room

Another movie that’s absolutely perfect that people were starting to catch onto toward the end of the awards season. Few films affected me as much as this one did, and I’m gonna fight to make sure this one gets remembered over time, because I feel it could easily be forgotten (not out of dislike, just out of it being not as big as the others on this list).

7. The Hateful Eight

I watched this three times before February and I liked it more each time. I watched it again a few months ago as well, and it still holds up. This gets better with repeated viewings and, while I don’t love it as much as I love some of his other films, this is by no means a detriment to his filmography. I’m glad I stuck to my guns and kept this in the top ten. This one paid off.

8. The Revenant

You’ll notice that 1-7 didn’t move. This is our first change from what I originally listed. And I sort of knew it too, at the time. I knew this was gonna end up in the top ten. And I should have done it. But I was coming off Star Wars mania and was blinded by that. But that’s why this list is here. To correct one’s shortsightedness. This movie is astounding and gets better every time I watch it. For sure a top ten for me for 2015, and it will remain here for years to come.

9. Brooklyn

This was the one I knew at the time that I was going to keep, even if there were more tempting options to put on. I knew I was gonna cherish this film more than those other ones, and that has not changed at all. If anything, my opinion of it has only gone up. I think this is a beautiful movie that more people need to see, because it’s perfect in every way.

10. The Big Short

Another one that I sort of knew last year that, if I had more spots this would have made it. But I’ve watched this film casually about three times over the course of the year, post-Oscars, and I can just throw it on any time and enjoy it. And that’s what a top ten is all about. I really like this film a lot. This could be the one that shifts out over time as I watch others again, but for now, this is the one that deserves a top ten spot.

– – – – –

Only changes: Star Wars (#8) and Sicario (#9) come off, and Revenant (#8) and Big Short (#10) go on.

– – – – –

11. Sicario — I feel bad for this film. Because I loved it. And I knew that it was subject to being dropped for no other reason than me not going back to watch it as much as others. Which doesn’t make it any worse, it just makes it a victim of unfortunate circumstance. This movie is wonderful, and absolutely deserves to be in the conversation of the top 15 films of 2015, no matter where it ends up ranked.

12. Spotlight — My opinion of this one hasn’t changed one bit. I love it, I think it’s great, I think it’s a wonderful film. But it’s not a top ten for me. It’s just outside of it. Like Lincoln. Love Lincoln, but it wasn’t a top ten for me that year. 11-20 is no penalty. I still really loved this. Just not enough to put it in the top ten. That’s all.

13. Star Wars: The Force Awakens — This feels right. It’s great, it’s fun, it’s watchable, but it’ll always be wholly dependent on nostalgia for the franchise. Maybe I’ll hit that nostalgia mark and come back to this as a top ten movie, but my miscalculation last year was that I was gonna watch this a lot, which somehow would make it a top ten movie over time. But that’s not true — you also need to love it like a top ten movie. So, in a weaker year, that could have worked. But not 2015, where there are a few alternatives for that top ten spot. I only really liked this as an 11-20. So that’s where it goes.

14. Bridge of Spies — This one held up for me even more so. This one got better with rewatches. This is great Spielberg, and this one will hold up as one of his better films over time. It’s so watchable, and so well done. Hanks is really good here too, which you don’t notice upon first viewing. Definite top 15 movie for me.

15. Spectre — It’s Bond. I love Bond. Sure, it’s not perfect, but that doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of it. In terms of quality, it’s probably 20 of 20 on this list, but who cares? I love Bond movies and this is so easy for me to watch and enjoy, and that’s really what it’s all about.

16. Love & Mercy — This is the Chef of 2015. The film that kept creeping up for me in terms of how much I like it. This could potentially end up a top ten in five years. That’s how much I like it. It’s really good. Paul Dano and John Cusack are perfect, and it’s such a wonderfully made film. This is, in its way, the most underrated film of 2015.

17. Son of Saul — This will never drop out of the top 20. My god. This is one of the most harrowing experiences I’ve ever had with a movie. Everyone deserves to see this one. It’s incredible.

18. Anomalisa — Another masterpiece that I didn’t love enough to put top ten, but really, really like a lot. This will always be a top 20 film for me.

19. Ex Machina — This one has endured, and will endure. Because it’s so compact and perfect. And that dance scene is just one of the greatest scenes ever put to film.

20. Creed — This one could slip out over time, but I still think this is great. It’s the most worthy Rocky film in 30 years. It’s also dependent on nostalgia, but I think that helps it, in a way. I’m a huge fan of this movie, and while it could end up in tier two, it hasn’t yet.

– – – – –

Only change is Love & Mercy going on and Joy (which was #20 last time) drops down.

– – – – –

Tier two:

  • 99 Homes
  • Babysitting
  • Beasts of No Nation
  • Black Mass
  • Bone Tomahawk
  • Carol
  • Crimson Peak
  • Dope
  • Everest
  • A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
  • Joy
  • Jurassic World
  • Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter
  • The Lobster
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
  • Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
  • Victoria
  • The Walk
  • When Marnie Was There
  • Youth

– – – – –

No changes here, except for the Love & Mercy/Joy swap mentioned above.

– – – – –

Tier three:

  • Cop Car
  • Entertainment
  • The Final Girls
  • Grandma
  • Infinitely Polar Bear
  • It Follows
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service
  • The Last Five Years
  • Magic Mike XXL
  • The Night Before
  • Spring
  • The Stanford Prison Experiment
  • Straight Outta Compton
  • Tangerine
  • Time Out of Mind
  • Trash
  • Trumbo
  • The Voices
  • The Witch
  • Z for Zachariah

– – – – –

One change. Suffragette drops down and Entertainment moves up.

One note here: The Witch will make its way to 2016 eventually, since it’s really a 2016 film. But since I saw it in 2015 and ranked it there, it’ll stay there for now.

– – – – –

Tier four:

  • Ant-Man
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Boy and the World
  • Chi-Raq
  • Christmas, Again
  • The Danish Girl
  • Faults
  • Legend
  • The Little Prince
  • Macbeth
  • McFarland, USA
  • Mississippi Grind
  • Mr. Holmes
  • Mustang
  • Night Owls
  • Road Hard
  • The Second Mother
  • Spy
  • Suffragette
  • The Tribe

– – – – –

Here, In the Heart of the Sea and Far from the Madding Crowd come off, and The Tribe and Faults come on.

Also, the Little Prince is technically a 2016 film as well, so that’ll make its way over there in time.

– – – – – – – – – – –

So that’s 2015 in the books (again). And tomorrow we’ll start getting into the year-end stuff. Exciting.


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