Opinion: The top ten movies of 2015
A few ground rules, if this is your first time reading one of my top ten lists; first of all, this list is mine, so please keep all insults about atrocious taste in movies directed at me, not Flayrah's editorial staff, nor its contributors, who had nothing to do with this, so its not their fault. Second of all, though this is a furry site, this is not an exclusively furry list; I beg your indulgence, arguing that, in order to better review various actually furry movies, it is necessary to see other genre offerings, and offer opinions on them (also, it's fun). Third of all, these movies consist of those theatrically released in 2016, and, obviously, I had to see them (though not necessarily in the theater; this is the first year where I actually managed to see all ten movies theatrically). All the movies are American releases, but that isn't a fourth rule; it's just the reality of the guy compiling the list living in America.
Now for a little vague editorializing about the list in general; though I have no problems with sequels (four movies on the list are sequels), none are sequels to movies that have appeared on previous top tens. In fact, that seems to be a pattern. Only one director joined the two time club this year; surprisingly, my list contains two movies with directors whose previous movies had appeared on my "Worst of the Year" mentions. It was not a good year for furry movies, in my opinion; basically, you've just got one, which is also the only animated movie. And, finally, I seem to have gotten over my fetish for the letter G.
Now, a few odds and ends before the list proper:
Best Furry Movie: Shaun the Sheep Movie (Runner-up: The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water)
Best Animated Movie: Shaun the Sheep (Runner-up: Inside Out)
Best Live Action Movie: Mad Max: Fury Road (Runner-up: Jurassic World)
Best Sequel: Mad Max: Fury Road (Runner-up: Jurassic World)
Best Original Movie: It Follows (Runner-up: Krampus)
Franchise I’m Most Looking Forward To the Next Installment Of: Jurassic Park (Runner-up: James Bond)
Franchise That Needs to Stop Now: Ted (Runner-up: The Hunger Games)
Best Song: "Mean Old Moon" from Ted 2 (Runner-up: "Feels Like Summer" from Shaun the Sheep)
Worst Movie: Ted 2
2014 Honorable Mention: Whiplash (Runner-up: Paddington)
2015 Most Anticipated Movie: Zootopia (Runner-up: Kung Fu Panda 3)
Well, let's move on to the main course, shall we? Without further ado, let the bodies hit the floor:
I'm a fan of Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air, which this movie is not adapted from, Krakauer thanks you very much. But this is a true story that haunts me; previous lists have shown that I'm a big fan of survival stories. I think the reason why Krakauer was up their, at least nominally, is telling; he was there to do a story on the commercialization of Mt. Everest. Basically, a story on how easy it was becoming to climb the mountain. That's not how things wound up. At all.
But I say "nominally" for a reason. The real reason Krakauer was climbing that mountain was because he wanted to climb that mountain. And of course he didn't want to climb the mountain because it was easy; he wanted to climb the mountain because it was hard. It's not an easy mindset to understand; they didn't go up there to die. They went up there to live.
This is definitely a love it or hate it kind of movie; I've seen it featured on other year end best lists, and I've seen it featured on year end worst lists. On the same movie site. It made my year end top ten list, so I think you can guess where I stand. But I can see the divisiveness; sometimes you get a Matthew Vaughn adaptation of a Mark Millar comic, and it kicks ass, and then other times its number two. It all depends on whether or not Vaughn can rein in Millar's nastiness. It worked for me this time.
Of course, it helps that this was the best Bond movie of the year. It's unfortunate that there was an actual Bond movie out this year (and seriously, spies were thick as thieves in 2015 cinema), but this movie just did a better job at being an over the top action-adventure spy flick. Also, you got to love a movie that has a "save the cat" scene, and the cat is actually a fox.
8. The Martian
Let's get one thing straight, here. Gravity is still the crown jewel of the "uh oh in space" science fiction sub-genre. But this spot on my list is now apparently reserved for this kind of movie (Interstellar had the same spot last year). But this might be the most hopeful version to make my lists; its certainly the funniest.
Going back a few spaces, I've already said I like these survival type stories, whichever planet they're set on. I find them ultimately to be very hopeful movies. They're about facing death, pain, fear and all the other negative things you can think of, then having characters stand up and say, you know what, worth it. Because survival stories are about surviving, after all.
So, anyway, this has been a good year for seventh movies in a franchise. Uh, spoiler alert for farther down. But the Rocky movies are different than that other franchise we will get to. They aren't as geeky. And, seeing as how this is a furry site, we're more inclined to the geeky. We know that. We've seen the chart.
So, it's the underdog franchise coming in on this list. It was never going to win, but then, that wasn't really its style. You don't have to win. You just have to be there. And, for what it's worth, it earned its nostalgic reprise of its classic theme way better than Star Wars. Uh, whoops.
Look, I'm not really into hip hop music. Like, at all. Let's face it, I'm a white guy from the Midwest who reviews children's cartoons on the Internet. I'm not even going to pretend to understand where these people are coming from. I don't get it.
So, when a movie comes along that is nearly two and a half hours, about a topic I have next to no interest or, really, previous experience with, and I am riveted to my seat, well, that's a pretty good movie. That it gave me a glimpse, if only a brief glimpse, at a world I don't know, well, even better.
It was the single most apprehensive moment I had in a theater all year. I'd heard that people liked it, that it surprised them, that it got a really big reaction. All I could think was, come on, Disney. You've got this. You can do it. And it happened, and the reaction was real. Everyone loved it; they really loved it!
But enough about the Zootopia sloth trailer. Star Wars: The Force Awakens was pretty good too. I've actually heard a lot of people complaining about it, but then saying, no, it was still pretty good. I think we've all just had to come to terms with the fact that there won't be a Plinkett review. That's the most disappointing thing since The Phantom Menace.
4. Shaun the Sheep Movie
It's not every year a basically silent movie based on a British children's show makes your top ten list. But this is an Aardman production. They make up for the lack of dialogue with a visual punch that tells the story, and sets up the jokes, better than many more vocal movies.
This movie is pure visual wit; you don't need to explain anything when you have as expressive animation as this. Other animation houses put out some fine examples of animation, as well, but none of them matched story to action quite as well. All in all, I found it a disappointing year for animation, which isn't knocking Shaun the Sheep. It just makes it stand out as the wonder it is even more.
3. It Follows
I could tell you about this movie's incredible visuals. Or I could tell you about it's deep treatment of really dark themes that run through all sorts of horror movies. I could tell you about it's absolutely amazing music.
But this is what you need to know. This is a movie about something creeping up behind you. I watched it in a theater empty besides me. And about half way through, I began to think I was, well, seeing someone out of the corner of my eye. I don't think I need to say anything else.
2. Jurassic World
Oh, look, another movie about giant, prehistoric reptiles in second place. Will there be awkward religious metaphors this time, as well? Yes. Yes, there will be. God made T. rex, and T. rex is beautiful. Man made Jurassic World and the Indomitus rex, and it is a disaster.
Wait a minute, am I talking about the movie, or am I talking about the park in the movie? Sometimes, the movie isn't so sure itself; is it a pointed parody of big special effects movies, or is it a big special effects movie? Who cares? Because, this is the year Star Wars came back, but, strangely, Star Wars isn't my Star Wars. Jurassic Park is my Star Wars. So, for me, this is it. This is what it's all about. This isn't the year Star Wars came back for me. This the year T. rex came back. And she's still beautiful.
1. Mad Max: Fury Road
So, it comes down to this. Another movie that's all in the details of what isn't said, rather than the details of what is. Oh, it's so pretty. But, also, you know, a really, really, really great action movie. With just insane visuals all over the place. People balanced on swaying poles on top of giant moving vehicles. Aged women in a pitched battle, also atop giant moving vehicles. A guy with a flame-throwing guitar, for Pete's sake! And, yes, those are all real people doing real stunts. Even the old ladies.
This movie didn't really represent much in the best moments of the year list, because it all seems like one big moment. Some people point out that the story is simplistic, which it is. They seem to think this is a flaw. I tend to think that it's not the movie with a flaw, here. Because the outline isn't the important part. It's what happens in the moment. And like I said, it's all one big moment.