MikeyB's Top 5 Movies of 2015

 Well another year has come and gone and again I find myself wanting to provide another arbitrary list ranking my favorite movies from the previous year. Now keep in mind these are my own personal favorites of the films I saw in 2015 so while reading please remember this is just one mans humble opinion, so don't be surprised if my views don't line up with your own. I of course had to set myself rules and they are as follows: The movies had to be released in 2015 and I had to see them in that year. Now at the time of writing this post I have seen two other films Id love to put on this list and one that even tops it (More on that later), but as they say: rules is rules and thems the rules. So without further jabbering on my part lets dive right in!

#5: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
Director: JJ Abrams
Starring: Harrison Ford, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley

 Plot: Its been three decades since The Rebel Alliance destroyed the second Death Star. Luke Skywalker has disappeared and a new threat to peace in the galaxy, The First Order, has risen from the ashes of The Empire.

 Opinion: This one makes the list on a wave of sheer nostalgia. JJ Abrams pulled off the impossible in my opinion: He added a new installment to a beloved franchise that brings immense joy to long time fan such as myself and at the same time introduces new characters that I can already see becoming just as loved as the original cast.

Trivia Tidbit from IMDB:

 Kevin Smith and Benedict Cumberbatch visited the set. Smith, infamous for his open and talkative nature, was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement, and J.J. Abrams had World War 2 style propaganda posters titled "Loose Lips Sink Starships" hung up around the set as a reminder to Smith not to reveal spoilers for the film to the public. True to his word, the only tidbit Smith revealed about his visit was that he cried when he stood on the Millennium Falcon set, as it reminded him of how much he loved Star Wars as a child.

#4: What We Do In The Shadows (2015)
Directors: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi
Starring: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonny Brugh

 Plot: A mockumentary about a group of Vampires living together and trying to survive in modern day New Zealand.

 Opinion: Wholly original and utterly hilarious from start to finish. This movie wasn't just one of the best of the year, it is one of my favorite Horror/Comedies of all time.

Trivia Tidbit from IMDB:

Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi wrote 150 pages of actual script but chose not to show it to a single person involved in the film (both crew and cast). The reasoning was to keep things spontaneous and actors to be surprised by the events unfolding before their eyes.

#3: Love & Mercy (2015)
Director: Bill Pohlad
Starring: Paul Dano, John Cusack, Elizabeth Banks

 Plot: The true story of Brian Wilson who was the creative genius and driving soul behind the Beach Boys and his battles against mental illness.

 Opinion: Cusack and Dano are perfectly cast as the old/young versions of Wilson. Banks, primarily known for her comedic roles, puts in a fantastic serious turn as "Melinda" who just wants to help Brian be free from his immoral leech of a physician. (Played with aplomb by Paul Giamatti.) The real standout for me though was the excellent sound design that is used to showcase the amazing soundtrack and substantiate Brian's hallucinations to the audience.

Trivia Tidbit from IMDB:

 Some parts of Wilson's life were so outlandish that the filmmakers briefly considered falsifying events or downplaying character performances in order to make it all appear less clichéd and grandstanding. In the end, Pohlad says, "We tried to make it as genuine as we could and to be straightforward about it and not back away." 

#2: Brooklyn (2015)
Director: John Crowely
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson

 Plot: A young woman immigrates to America from a post WWII Ireland and finds love and a new life in Brooklyn, New York. When she is called home because of a family tragedy she finds her new life tested and must decide between the old world and the new.

 Opinion: This is one of those perfect date movies that both partners will love. The performances are pitch prefect, its beautifully shot, and the characters feel like real people. I defy you to not fall in love with Saoirse Ronan or alternatively Emory Cohen.

Trivia Tidbit from IMDB:

 John Crowley divided the movie into three different visual movements. The first movement is before Eilis leaves post-war Ireland and is with tight frames and filled with green tones. The color scheme was created by photographic reference of the time. The second movement begins when Ellis leaves for Brooklyn and the first proper wide shot is featured, while the colors become more playful as a nod to how America in 1952 was on the cusp of pop culture kicking off. The third movement is back in Ireland, brighter, more glamor and "subtly more colorful" than the first movement. Crowley wanted to showcase Eilis has changed and looks very different: "There is a slight dreamy quality to that last third," he says.

#1: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Director: Georege Miller
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult

 Plot: The tale of a woman who defies a tyrannical man in a post apocalyptic world gone mad and a lone wanderer of the wasteland named Max who gets caught up in the chase.

 Opinion: This movie is absolutely insane. Who in their right mind gives a sixty five year old director two hundred million dollars to go to Africa and film a two hour long chase scene with practical effects, impossible vehicles, and dangerous stunt work based on a franchise that hasn't been seen on the big screen in twenty years? Well thankfully Warner Brothers had a brain fart because it happened and what has resulted is bar none one of the best action movies of all time, let alone of the year. What I love even more then the mayhem that ensues though is the wonderful subtext and imagination that is found running throughout the entire piece. You can enjoy it as a mindless actioneer or you can dig a bit deeper and enjoy the social commentary and surprisingly upbeat message to be found.

 Trivia Tidbit from IMDB:

 Over 80% of the effects seen in the film are real practical effects, stunts, make-up and sets. CGI was used sparingly mainly to enhance the Namibian landscape, remove stunt rigging and for Charlize Theron's left hand which in the film is a prosthetic arm.

Late to the table Honorable Mentions:

 Well as I said above there were two films that may have released in 2015 but I failed to see till early this year. Thus making them ineligible for this list. First one goes to Quentin Tarantino's eighth film The Hateful 8 . Think of Tarantino directing a Broadway play and that is exactly how "8" comes off. Its a surprisingly perfect match for Tarantino's trademark dialogue, character building, and long takes. 

 Lastly but definitely not least is Spotlight. This is the film that would take my top spot if I had seen it earlier. Its the heartbreaking and fascinating true story of the Boston Globe's investigative reporting team Spotlight and their look into the catholic priest molestation scandal. Every actor on screen is great but Mark Ruffalo is truly stupendous and delivered my favorite performance of the year. When I say heartbreaking, boy you bet your ass do I mean it. Its one of only three films that I can think of that have left me sobbing as the credits rolled. Truly powerful film making.

 Well that seems to wrap it up. Feel free to comment with your opinions or your own favorite list and as always thank you for reading.


  1. What are the other 2 movies that have left you sobbing? Do tell!

    1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and United 93. I love and still rewatch Benjamin Button but Ive never rewatched United 93 again. That movie destroyed me.


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