2015 was another mediocre years for movies. Our last great year was 2007. The last great one before that was 1972. At this pace, watch out for 2032.
This is the first year ever that a children’s movie scored #1 on my year-end list. The strangest movie on this list is #3. The most beautiful is #15. The most suspenseful — and most moral — is #7. Here’s to hoping 2016 bests 2015.
- Paddington. A “practically perfect” movie in every way.
- Sicario. If you don’t like the CIA before watching this movie, you’ll abominate it afterward. Another memorable performance by Benicio Del Toro.
- Mad Max: Fury Road. The whitest-knuckled movie since … maybe ever.
- Creed. A fine drama under the guise of a boxing movie. A compelling, understated performance by Michael B. Jordan. And who said Sylvester Stallone can’t act?
- Last Days in Viet Nam. Evenhanded documentary detailing one of the darkest times in U. S. history.
- Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. Quality late iterations in a movie franchise are hard to sustain. This one is an exception.
- The Gift. Unbearably suspenseful morality tale.
- Diplomacy [foreign]. Two actors (French and German) in one room (in Paris) carry a powerful movie.
- Avengers: Age of Ultron. A guiltless pleasure.
- Best of Enemies. Absorbing documentary about William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal’s 1968 debates spanning the Republican and Democratic Conventions.
- Ant Man. A major miniature superhero movie.
- Black Mass. Johnny Depp is mesmerizing as true-life crime lord who corrupts an FBI agent.
- Slow West. Slowest, and best, Western of the year.
- The Big Short. Left-leaning but funny account of the 2008 economic collapse by the guys who made millions betting against the housing market.
- Far from the Madding Crowd. Lovely recent rendition of the Thomas Hardy classic novel.
Bridge of Spies
The Peanuts Movie