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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Top 10 of 2015


It’s that time of the year, folks! Well, it’s been that time of the year since late-December, but hey, it took me awhile to get to some of these movies and now that I have them, it’s time to rank the best that 2015 had to offer!

Overall, pretty good movie year. Of course, there were some stinkers to remind me why I despise it when people make bad movies, but for the most part, it seemed like 2015 was the kind of year where most of the movies were actually quite fine, if not great. You could say that about every movie year, honestly, but really, 2015 gave some real great films.

But enough of me going on and on about nothing! Here’s my list for the Top 10 best of 2015, in a particular order, of course!

10. The Hateful Eight

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It wasn’t Tarantino’s best, but the more and more I got to thinking about it, the more I appreciated it for all of the neat, Tarantino-ish things that happened here. Of course, the cast was amazing and handled the dialogue perfectly, but it was really Tarantino who had the last laugh. He showed that he was allowed to make whatever movie he wanted to, and at this stage in his career, he doesn’t care what people say or think about him. He’s just going to make the movie he wants to make and everybody else can go screw themselves! Or, see his movie. In 70 mm, no less.

9. Cop Car

Cop3

Totally under-the-radar and under-seen, but definitely deserving of a watch. It’s the little movie that set-out to do so much, yet, at the same time, didn’t show it. Also, bonus points for making a coming-of-ager where the kids actually acted like kids, and weren’t these precocious little a-holes that we so often see in movies made about kids. Let’s hope that director/co-writer Jon Watts can keep the good vibes going with the next Spider-Man movie!

8. It Follows

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It was the rare horror movie that, yes, was scary. However, at the same time, did so many interesting, different things to make itself scary, without ever seeming like it was trying too hard, or trying to make a “statement”. If anything, it was just a generally freaky flick, that featured the age-old horror movie cliché of teens having sex, but rather than judging them for it, showed them as teens who just wanted to do the dirty, even if they knew that death was soon coming their way. Allegory about AIDS/HIV? Maybe, but then again, maybe not! Who cares? It’s scary!

7. Carol

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It doesn’t matter that the romance at the center is between two women, because it’s a story between two humans that features a romance you don’t just believe in, but actually feel, as well. Todd Haynes has always been a mixed-bag for me, but here, he really does capture the sheer emotion and passion that comes with falling in love with someone else, even if you’re not too sure you want to be with them, or what it is that you want to do with your own life. But what Haynes does best, is that he doesn’t forget about the male suitors on the side of Carol and Therese who are not only trying their hardest to get these women back into their lives, but also heartbroken about it. With this, Haynes shows that love can sometimes take on many forms and impact people differently, for better and for worse.

6. The Revenant

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As unrelenting, as bleak, and as grim as you can get with a movie. Add on the fact that it’s nearly two-and-a-half-hours and you’d think you have a slug of a movie to get through. A lot of people thought that, but not me, as the Revenant, from the very beginning, had a tight, firm grasp on me and never let go. Despite the movie looking like a natural thing of beauty, it’s surprisingly gory and gruesome, which it all the more of a treat because when’s the next time we’re going to get a big-budgeted flick like this?

5. Inside Out

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Welcome back, Pixar! Not only was Inside Out a return-to-form for Pixar in showing that it could handle heart, emotion and hilarity all in the same hand, but that their creative-genius could not be messed with. Sure, kids may have not been able to fully get or understand the premise, but it was still the perfect movie for them as it didn’t just cater to them with slap-sticky jokes and silly-looking characters, but that it also taught them a lesson about life. In other words, it’s fine to be sad; it’s a way of life and sometimes, you just have to let yourself sit down, think, and let out a little cry. It’s fine. Life will go on and you’ll feel a lot better about yourself and life as a whole.

4. The Martian

Martian3

The best “comedy” of the year? Starring Matt Damon? Directed by Ridley Scott? I never once believed it for a second, until I saw the Martian and realized that it was not only the funniest movie of the year, but perhaps the best sci-fi blockbuster in a very long time. Sure, there’s been plenty, but what the Martian did that so many of those other movies failed to do, was that it gave us a simple plot-line of one man being stranded on Mars, but didn’t once forget about the person himself, nor those who were trying to save him with all their might and incredible genius. Of course, you could look at it as some sort of living, breathing advertisement for NASA, but if that is the case, it’s fine, because as long as the people in NASA are using their noggins and constantly thinking things through, then this little planet we call Earth, will be alright.

3. Steve Jobs

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People absolutely love, or absolutely hate Aaron Sorkin with a fire-breathing passion. I’m more in the former party, which is why I was hooked on Steve Jobs from the very first second someone let out a snarky “Sorkinism”. The cast was perfectly put-together, of course, but what mattered most about Sorkin’s writing, other than that it was funny, snappy and entertaining, was that it shined more of a light on what kind of person Steve Jobs was. Sure, we’ve all heard the stories about him before, but Steve Jobs, the movie, didn’t at all turn away from the issues this man had in his life, as well as all the wonderful, albeit amazing things he did for society. Totally didn’t deserve to bomb at the box-office, but hey, sometimes the best things are the ones that nobody really sees. That’s actually not a thing, but it’s something I like to say to make myself feel better about the fact that more people probably saw Ashton Kutcher’s Jobs, over this.

2. Room

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Was going to put this in the position that Steve Jobs holds, but after much time and thought, I’ve realized that this movie had more of an emotional impact on me than that one ever did. Every step, move, or maneuver that Room makes, is surprisingly the right one and while you may not expect it to grab a hold of you the way it wants to, give it time and it’ll work its magic. That’s what happened to me and it took me until the five-minute mark of my sobbing that I realized that it was kind of tearjerker, that I was perfectly okay with pulling the box of Kleenex out at. Also, very happy to see Brie Larson getting more notice for this, as well as probably win the Oscar. Hopefully, this means a whole lot more of her for the near-future.

1. Spotlight

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It’s probably no surprise to those who know me that I chose a movie about journalism as my #1, but so be it! It wasn’t just the best movie about journalism I’ve seen for so very, very long, but it was everything that a solid movie should be. Fast, exciting, entertaining, dramatic, infuriating, funny, well-acted, intricately directed, and above all else, smart. It took certain steps to tell its story the way it wanted to, without ever burring the led. No other movie, blockbuster, indie, arthouse pic, short film, TV show, podcast, etc., this year was as electrifying as Spotlight. And at the end, it showed that something was done to open-up the scandal within the Catholic church, and although there’s plenty more to be done, at least someone finally opened their eyes, spoke up, and showed the world the true problem within. Why more movies aren’t like Spotlight is totally beyond me, but it’s the reason why I love movies to begin with.

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire, Aceshowbiz, IMDB

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17 responses to “Top 10 of 2015

  1. MovieManJackson January 29, 2016 at 4:41 am

    Great list Dan. Still need to get around to Cop Car and Room, especially.

  2. jwforeva January 29, 2016 at 4:45 am

    Fine list. It’s nice when smaller and more obscure films get spotlighted by reviewers. I haven’t even heard of cop car, but it’s on my list of movies to watch! Inside Out, The Revenant and Spotlight made my list as well, I loved the diversity in your top 10!

  3. le0pard13 January 29, 2016 at 5:12 am

    Wonderful list of favorites, Dan.

  4. Yash Bhatia January 29, 2016 at 5:38 am

    Awesome post. Listen, I’m creating a one post per day for a year thingy for movie/TV geeks on my blog for y’all. Would love some suggestions, yay’s or nay’s on the idea: https://bhatiayash60.wordpress.com/2016/01/29/2016-starts-on-february-1/

  5. mettelray January 29, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Spotlight was really good.

    I’m currently debating with myself whether I should post my “Why I hated The Hateful Eight” post because I have a feeling it might get me some hate but.. I like what you said hear about The Hateful Eight.. it is pretty much why I hated it.

  6. Brittani January 29, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    We matched up one a few – Spotlight, Room, The Martian, The Revenant, It Follows. Excellent films.

  7. Keith January 29, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Very nice list. We share #1. I love seeing Cop Car on there. Talk about a tight, well made thriller.

  8. Mark Walker January 29, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Some good ones for sure here, Dan. Overall, I was a little underwhelmed with the output of 2015. I expected it to be stronger.

  9. Russel DDK January 29, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    A list any movie fan would be proud to call his own.

  10. The Vern January 30, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    Great list Dan. Cop Car looks like a realy good movie and I hope to see that one soon. The Martian is a great example on how to do a blockbuster right. It hit all the right marks. Carol has been the best movie to show attraction and made me believe that these two people are into eachother

  11. ianthecool January 30, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    Seve Jobs was out of theaters so quickly, I didnt get a chance to see it yet.

  12. Lolo January 31, 2016 at 5:02 am

    Wonderful list! We had a lot of these on our list as well. Just saw Cop Car today, it was really good, glad to see it getting some love.

  13. Three Rows Back February 1, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Very strong list Dan; lot of respect for your picks.

  14. boxofficebuzzab February 3, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    There are some great films on this list! “The Martian” is my personal favorite of the ones you mentioned.

  15. Evan Crean February 5, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Glad to see that Hateful Eight, It Follows, Inside Out, The Martian, and Spotlight made it into your top 10. Not all of those made it into mine, but I really enjoyed them, and if they didn’t make it, they were certainly close. Didn’t see Cop Car, but now I feel like I should give it a chance. Wasn’t a fan of Carol personally. I appreciated its craft, yet felt nothing for the story. Same thing with The Revenant. Also need to see Steve Jobs before Oscar night. I thought that Room was overrated, because although the story itself was impactful it wasn’t told in a visually interesting way or compelling way that served a point. I basically just felt like I was watching people suffer for no good reason.

  16. polarbears16 February 10, 2016 at 12:16 am

    Great list! Haven’t seen Cop Car and thought The Martian was average, but aside from that I agree with your other picks. Nice to see Room that high.

  17. Ben February 29, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    Great choices. As always, too many I haven’t seen. Need to see Spotlight too, especially after yesterday’s Oscars.

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