I urge my few readers to give a movie or two listed below a chance -- more than half are streaming in some capacity, so check them out if any of them pique your interest.
Best Films of 2015
(SoN = Streaming on Netflix / SoA = Streaming on Amazon / SoH = Streaming on HBO)
#50 - Cinderella --- #49- The Peanuts Movie (SoH)
#48 - Manson Family Vacation (SoN) --- #47 - The Voices (SoA)
#46 - 45 Years --- #45 - Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (SoA)
#44 - Batkid Begins (SoN) --- #43 - Grandma
#42 - 6 Years (SoN) --- #41 - I Smile Back (SoA)
#40 - Victoria (SoN) --- #39 - Everest (SoH) --- #38 - Circle (SoN)
#37 - I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story (SoA)
#36 - We Are Still Here (SoN) --- #35 - The Gift
#34 - Jurassic World (SoH) --- #33 - Straight Outta Compton (SoH)
#32 - The Age of Adaline (SoA) --- #31 - Spectre
- #30 - Me and Earl and the Dying Girl - (B) - A hip irreverence makes this cancer comedy a winner (SoH)
- #29 - Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief - (B) - One-sided, but rather damning in its indictment of this unique religion (SoH)
- #28 - The Girl in the Book - (B) - A sleeper film with two very nice female performances at its center (SoN)
- #27 - The Hateful Eight - (B) - Typical Tarantino, and while I'd like to see him branch out a little more, this is a solid piece squarely in his wheelhouse
- #26 - In the Heart of the Sea - (B) - Much better and much more interesting than its lack of box office implies (SoH)
- #25 - Beasts of No Nation - (B) - A sad tale detailing a horrific atmosphere that is occurring in our world today (SoN)
- #24 - Anomalisa - (B) - A unique animated tale for adults
- #23 - Sicario - (B) - Frighteningly realistic in its take on the US/Mexico drug war
- #22 - About Elly - (B) - Another interesting flick from director Asghar Farhadi that details cultures unknown to most Americans (SoN)
- #21 - Shaun the Sheep Movie - (B+) - Wonderfully animated and very clever in its ability to tell a story with hardly a word spoken
And the Top Twenty Are...
#20 - Amy - B+
Amy Winehouse never really impacted by musical landscape and it certainly didn't help that her heavily scrutinized public life made her quite unappealing to me. However, this documentary told completely through interviews with Amy's family, friends, and the singer herself details the tragic story of Ms. Winehouse's early death at the age of 27. Director Asif Kapadia never presents Amy as a victim, martyr, or saint, but hearing her own words describe the pleasure of the addictions that led to her downfall makes the singer's tragic end all the more poignant. (SoA)
#19 - McFarland, USA - B+
We've seen this underdog sports story many, many times before, yet thanks to a heartwarming turn from Kevin Costner, a well-cast group of unknown actors portraying the McFarland High School track team, and a sentimental story that comes off surprisingly non-treacly, McFarland, USA is a sleeper hit that hopefully more people will come to appreciate in years to come.
#18 - Danny Collins - B+
Danny Collins is an example of one of those little hidden gems that I love to come across over a year of film. The talented cast take what may have been a typical dramedy about an aging rockstar (albeit with some very clever dialog) and transform it into something more engaging than could be expected. Underrated and under-seen, Danny Collins is one you should definitely add to your viewing queue. (SoA)
#17 - Inside Out - B+
I didn't hold quite the same affinity towards Inside Out as most critics, finding the film to be a bit lacking in the "heart" department despite attempts by the screenwriters and directors to try and pull on the heartstrings a few times. For that, Inside Out doesn't land in the upper echelon of Pixar films story-wise for me. However, visually, it's a bit of a masterpiece. With wonderfully developed characters expertly voiced by their respective actors, Inside Out is a clever piece of animation.
#16 - The Last Five Years - B
Attentive readers will notice that my RyMickey Rating for The Last Five Years is a 'B' which is lower than the previously discussed five films in this list which all garnered a 'B+'. However, The Last Five Years provided a unique experience for me. I know it's a flawed film. But I really like it. Detailing the story of the relationship of Cathy and Jamie, the film is told in a unique manner -- Cathy's side of their story is told from the end to the beginning, whereas Jamie's side of the story is told from the beginning to the end. The two sides of the story intertwine creating a sometimes disconcerting experience, but an immensely watchable one. And it's a musical with some heartbreaking and heartwarming songs from composer Jason Robert Brown. All I'll say is give this one a chance. It will not be for everyone -- in fact, I've shown it to a few people who think it's one of the worst things they've seen. But, as I quote at the top of my blog, "The joy of watching movies...is arguing about them." (SoN)
The Top 15 will be revealed by clicking that tiny little "Read More" to the lower left!