It doesn’t matter how many resolutions I make: the next New Year always arrives before I’m ready to close the book on the previous year’s movies. There are too many movies I still haven’t seen (maybe next year, Paddington), or movies that probably deserve a rewatch (sorry, Carol), or movies I’m still not quite sure how to process (yeah, I’m still mulling over The Hateful Eight). But we’ve gotta wrap up 2015 sometime, and the first week of 2016 seems as good a point as any to stop and look back.
As always, I’d like to stress that these are not the “best” films of the year. They’re simply my favorites — the films that made me just a little bit happier, a little bit smarter, a little bit better at being a person in this weird wide world. After the jump, join me in counting down my top 10 movies of 2015.
In no particular order…
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
No movie this year came with as much pressure to deliver as Star Wars: The Force Awakens. That it actually lived up to the hype is a minor miracle. Sure, we can quibble over some of the details, but it’s great where it counts. I’d follow Rey, Finn, and Poe anywhere in the galaxy.
If 2015 was the year of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jupiter Ascending felt like its weirdo cousin — the one who drinks too much, laughs too loudly, and has a tendency to go off on odd tangents, but emerges as the most fascinating person at the party anyway.
Magic Mike XXL
Many of the year’s best films aimed for profundity, or emotionality, or originality. Magic Mike XXL just wanted to have a good time, and to show the audience a good time, too. It’s a puff pastry of a movie: no substance, just sweet pleasure. Nothing wrong with that.
Rather than mythologize a man who hardly needs further mythologizing, Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin go in the complete opposite direction, laying bare the bleeding, beating heart behind Apple’s clean white curves.
Rocky Balboa is on his last legs, both as a character and as a franchise, so Creed refreshes his legacy for the modern age. Michael B. Jordan establishes himself as a bonafide movie star, and Sylvester Stallone reminds us that there’s still greatness in him.
Films I Never Got Around to Watching, and Feel Really Bad About
Son of Saul
The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter