09 January 2016
For the past three years, I’ve been ranking every film I see- just the new releases, from January 1st to December 31st. The rankings are subjective, based entirely on how much I enjoyed and/or connected with or appreciated the film rather than on some sort of objective artistic criteria. Basically, this is a list of 140 films released in 2015 ranked according to how much I liked them.
Read the Full 2015 List HERE.
Let’s start with the worst, if only so that things will get better from here. The following are the ten films I liked the least in 2015. I disliked a few of these as larger symbols for what I think Hollywood is doing wrong; on the other end of the spectrum, a few come from so far outside the system that they just lack professional execution. Some tell misguided stories, crazy stories, or stories that I couldn’t connect with no matter how hard I tried. For whatever reason, I was generally happy when the credits finally rolled on these ones.
Ugh. Spectre is everything I don’t like about the Daniel Craig era of Bond. There’s no fun (unless Q is on screen, which thankfully he is a bit more than usual here), no charm, no self-awareness. In pretending that everything in the previous films was really just a set up for this one, Spectre undermines the better work that came before it (much as I hate Craig’s Bond, I like Skyfall). Poor Christoph Waltz demonstrates yet again that only Tarantino knows what to do with him and poor (brilliant) Rory Kinnear demonstrates yet again that the entire film industry has no idea what to do with him. Please let the next Bond be even a little bit suave and, I don’t know, moderately funny occasionally? Self-serious Bond is absurd.
132. Relative Happiness
Melissa Bergland is cute as a button as the plus size lead of this maritime rom-com but, unfortunately, the film is so caught up in the novelty of having a plus size lead (complete with an almost entirely AdditionElle wardrobe) that it forgets to give her a fresh story.
133. Pretend We’re Kissing
Is this the most Toronto movie ever made? Scenes shot at the Rex and Toronto Island; an Honest Ed’s cameo! Unfortunately it’s fairly shoddily made and I never really cared about the characters.
Mya Taylor has her moments (mostly the last one) of sad empathy as the secondary lead and James Ransone is a hoot as boyfriend/pimp/drugdealer/fifthbusiness Chester but this crazy microbudget dark comedy is too frenetic to make much of a connection until literally the final few minutes. It’s very impressive that the whole thing was shot on an iphone (I can’t even take non-blurry pictures on my iphone) but I didn’t really care about these characters or their plight until the very end so this was a hard one to get through.
135. Inherent Vice
One of those movies that belonged in the 2014 season but didn’t actually make it to theatres beyond the festival circuit until 2015. It’s atmospheric and well acted but completely nonsensical and hard to relate to. I really just don’t get Paul Thomas Anderson. I fear I never will.
136. Being Canadian
This superficial doc is essentially a vanity piece for its director. An ex-pat tired of hearing beaver jokes, Robert Cohen embarks on a 9-day cross-country journey while also interviewing celebrities about Canada. It could have been a great movie, or at least a pretty good one, but the fundamentally uninteresting and definitely not funny Cohen makes it all about himself, spending more time repeating the phrase “I was worried I wouldn’t find the answer” than looking for the answer and more time reflecting on middle school than revealing some of the lesser-known interesting parts of Canadian history (and there are some, many more than he reports). The Canadian celebrities are fun to see (Seth Rogen doesn’t spend enough time acknowledging his Canadianess) but Cohen claims to set out to dispel myths about Canada and all he does is perpetuate them. He purports to be driving across Canada in 9 days before Canada Day (which he never tells us is July 1st but it’s July 1st) but his stop in Ontario is thoroughly snow-covered. Instead of fessing up that he filmed his Toronto segments months earlier, he claims that as he crosses out of Quebec, the Weather Takes A Turn For the Worse (as it does in Canada, he claims). This thing isn’t funny enough to be billed as a comedy so it’s being called a documentary, the one thing it absolutely isn’t because I’m pretty sure those are supposed to be true.
137. Jenny’s Wedding
This movie is infuriating. Not because of the many many homophobic characters (that part was on purpose and there’s no harm in showing us darkness as long as there’s a point to it), it’s infuriating because they’re all just bad characters. Not misguided people with closed minds, bad people- petty, immature, lying, unhappy self-righteous, self-pitying people not worth watching. Alexis Bledel as Katherine Heigl’s underwritten partner is pretty darn charming but the excellent actors in all the other roles (Grace Gummer, Tom Wilkinson, even Heigl is better than you remember) all come off as detestable. The one actually worthy character (Heigl’s brother, played by Matthew Metzger with all the understated empathy in the world) has exactly ONE showcase scene (by far the film’s best). It’s maddening, it drags, and, at best, it might have been a decently useful film had it come out like a decade ago. Alas, in 2015, there’s nothing here except the repeated over-use of “Same Love”, in case you were somehow missing the point.
138. Jupiter Ascending
I mean, really?! This utterly nonsensical “space opera” is so ridiculous it honestly seems like a practical joke. Or a dare. Does Warner Bros. owe The Wachowskis money? Do the siblings have blackmail photos of Jeff Robinov? This thing makes one of the best actors of this generation look like one of the worst (seriously, what is going on with Eddie Redmayne in this movie?). The visuals are cool, I guess, but definitely not cool enough to make up for the film’s general emptiness. The best thing about it was the opportunity to stare at Douglas Booth’s face for an extended period of time.
I hated this movie. It is not, I suppose, a bad movie but this is my list and I hated it, so here it is, as close to the bottom as it can get without being Jurassic World. This “strong, self-made woman” fable is an accidental ode to knowing the right people and lucking into all the right things: *spoilers* Joy’s dad is dating a millionaire’s widow who can invest in her invention. Joy’s ex-husband happens to know the man who runs QVC where she can sell said invention. She happens to be Jennifer Lawrence-hot and thus the perfect salesperson for her own product (related note: Dear David O. Russell, I know you think she’s an old soul but I beg of you to stop casting Lawrence in roles she’s a full decade too young for; it’s getting on my nerves). Oh, and a realistic but fatal early-goings screw-up just happens to be fixable with basic blackmail because it turns out the antagonists were just plain villains the whole time and she caught them with A Single Phonecall! Stupidest movie ever. But also a wildly unpleasant one, filled with more detestable people than The Hateful Eight (and that film tells you its characters are hateful In The Title!). There was a single moment that touched my heart (when her best friend’s voice saves her from a stupor) but the rest stuck in my craw.
140. Jurassic World
This movie is an atrocity. Backwards gender politics and terrible haircuts aren’t the half of it- it’s just plain bad. The dialogue is terrible, the plot is nonsensical, overloaded and derivative, and the acting is so awkward and un-engaging you’d think the stars were anyone but one of the more underrated actresses of her generation and the most charming man on the face of the planet. Jake Johnson is mildly funny, that is my one positive note. Can’t Hollywood just learn to leave well enough alone? Make me a new movie!