31 December 2015
Three years into this year-end tradition and the list just keeps getting longer. Last year’s rankings of every new release movie I saw topped out at 110 but this year I hit 140. Of course, no matter how many films I saw, I have yet to recapture the magic that was the 2012 film season and 2015 in general left me a bit underwhelmed, but there are surely some gems in this bunch. As always, late releases left a few promising films off the list and pushed a few hits from 2014 onto the list. My general rule of thumb is that if something hits wide/its widest release in 2015, it’s a 2015 movie even if it was in the previous year’s Oscar race, so don’t get confused when you see Selma but you don’t see… actually, I think I may have managed to fit in most of the big late-release films this year, just not some smaller prestige stuff like Youth and Beasts of No Nation.
At the very bottom, number 140, you’ll find one of the highest grossing films of all time followed by one of the year’s most hotly anticipated awards season darlings. My number 1 is, as it always seems to be, a tiny, personal film that very people saw, but then the top ten starts to round out pretty quickly with an intellectual masterpiece or two and more than a few studio blockbusters (and also more tiny, personal films no one saw). The film you all loved the most is number 19. The film I’m betting will win the Oscar for Best Picture is number 21 (Update: never mind, it’s going to lose to #83; ugh… *More Recent Update: never mind the never mind, it won after all!*).
Last year I was all-caps yelled at on Facebook by an old high school friend who was very perturbed by the number of musical adaptations in my top ten so let me reiterate, once again, This Is Not A List Of the Best Films Of the Year. This is not a definitive ranking based on some sort of arbitrary but generally agreed upon criteria for “quality”. Though my opinion is swayed by artistic merit, it’s not completely defined by it and I do not care at all if your cinematography is brilliant if none of your characters are worth rooting for. I like what I like. Sometimes that’s a brilliantly made film, sometimes it’s a decent adaptation of something I already love, sometimes it’s the Backstreet Boys documentary (actually, I was really disappointed in the Backstreet Boys documentary but we’ve already talked about this). I think criticism is most effective when readers seek out writers who share their taste rather than expecting all critics to reach some sort of group-think consensus on what’s “best”. So I’m telling you what I liked most (and what I liked least, and what I thought of everything in between) in 2015, subjectively, because subjective is all any of us can ever really be.
Without Further Ado…