Top Ten Films of 2015

2015 was an especially great year for films. There were more films that I liked rather than hated. Sure, there are those films too, but this is a Top 10 list, not a bottom ten list.

Top Ten Films of 2015

10.) Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

I am not against anyone’s beliefs. I have my own and so do a lot of other people. It is a good thing to have beliefs and if yours deals in a higher power than that is a great thing. The problem with beliefs is when they turn into religion. Religion is a man-made thing and is fallible by its very definition. Religion is not that great of a thing when you think about it, but that is a subject for another day.
Going Clear examines all the bullshit that Scientology has been giving us for the last decade. The film starts with the founding of Scientology by L. Ron Hubbard and goes to the present day. We are shown the routines that members have to go through, but the most damaging is the section about the head of Scientology and his missing wife, who has been missing since 2007. Anyone who watches this will hate Scientology and see the shit that they make people go through when they are at their weakest (spoiler: they take all of your money and give you shit for it.)

9.) Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I love the Star Wars films. I also love The Clone Wars tv show from a few years back that Disney canceled because they didn’t want anyone else to have control over their product. (Warner Bros. had the rights to Clone Wars.) I do not shit on the prequel trilogy as much as the most hardened fan. (They are pretty shitty though). I can tell you this: I was really excited to see The Force Awakens. I remember going to see it the Monday after it was released (would have seen it on opening day, but I have a problem with crowds.) My car wouldn’t start and was just having a shit day. My wife told me to take her car and go see the film anyway. I did and I was glad I did.
The Force Awakens is a great film. I didn’t realize it the day I saw it though. It wasn’t until I watched at home on blu-ray that I was able to appreciate it for what it is. This is the film that we should have gotten back in 1999 instead of the film about trade negotiations. The excitement and thrills are all there. The love and compassion for the series are there too. This film was made by fans for fans. Speaking as a fan we deserved it.

8.) Krampus
Krampus is a throwback to the type of horror films we got in the 80’s. Gremlins, Poltergeist, The Gate, etc. This is a PG-13 horror film that is made so that older kids and adults can enjoy it together. This film looks great with enough atmosphere for ten horror films. The film is scary and funny and never cheapens itself because it carries the PG-13 rating. The monsters (yes I said monsters) are creepy and Krampus himself is something we have never seen before. This is a Christmas films that will join the line-up of films that get watched every year in December.

7.) Furious 7

The makers of Furious 7 did something that has never been done before to the extent that they did it. As we all know, Paul Walker died while filming was still being done. He had shot a bunch of his scenes but there was still a long way to go. Instead of scrapping what had already been shot, the filmmakers decided to pay tribute to Walker (who is the only person to appear in 6 out of the 7 films) and make a film that he would be proud of and give him the best going away party ever. Except for one shot at the end of the film, no one can tell real Walker from the CGI one that was created with the help of Walker’s brothers. In fact, I had told my wife that it must have been nice to have two fight scenes with Tony Jaa, not knowing that these scenes were doubled and CGI.  Not knowing is a testament to the work that CGI guys did. The film is fun from beginning to end and gets bigger and bigger as it goes on. The film also gives us a touching tribute to Walker at the end of the film that made so many men cry that there should be a Facebook page for men to talk about it. I have never seen a big budget action film stop the plot a little bit earlier than planned to give Walker his last scene and give his costars a way of saying goodbye.

6.) Predestination
I am not going to say much about this film because it is better to see the film and discover its secrets without prior knowledge. The film is about time travel, terrorism, love, happiness, regret , and sex. This is one of the, if not the best, time travel films I have ever seen. This is a film that needs to be watched.

5.) Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films

I grew up in the 80’s and as such, was a fan of Cannon Films. They were the first studio I had ever heard of and they defined the 80’s. Death Wish 2-4, Missing in Action 1-2, American Ninja 1-4, Enter the Ninja, Revenge of the Ninja, Ninja III:  The Domination, Invasion U.S.A., and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace are just some of the films that they gave us.
This film gives us the story on how they were able to make so many films in such a short time frame and the stories here are fantastic. Anyone who loves action films needs to see this just for the discovery of so many films. I have seen the film twice now and have seen new things each time I watch. If you can import the blu-ray. It is region free and the cost is just a few dollars more. We didn’t get a blu-ray release, so it best to import.

4.) It Follows
I don’t get scared by horror films. Sure, the jump scare lives up to its name, but that is not being scared, it is being startled. There is a difference. It Follows scared me. The look of the film is beautiful and calm, but once “it” starts following everything changes and the film gives us some good, earned scares.
The film is about  a girl who has sex with her boyfriend only to find out that she has been given a curse of sorts. No matter where she is there will always be someone walking toward her. The someone is always someone different and only she can see it. If “it” catches her, it will kill her. This is a scary film that will stay with you long after you have seen it.

3.) The Editor

I love spoofs. They are the type of films that are really easy to mess up, but when done right they can be some of the best films out there. Naked Gun, Airplane!, Scary Movie, Top Secret. I love these films. I call The Editor a spoof because it contains the same type of scenes that Black Dynamite has. I call them “recall scenes”. These are scenes that are mostly the same as the scene in the original film, only jokes and whatnot are added to the scene to give it something different. There are a lot of these scenes in The Editor, but someone not familiar with “Giallo” films will not get the references.  This does not stop The Editor from being the funniest film of 2015.

The makers of this film are Astron-6, a group of five Canadians who specialize in disturbing and funny films. They have made a love letter to Troma (Father’s Day), a tribute to post-apocalyptic films,(Man-Borg), and finally their love letter to Giallos with The Editor. I love this film because you never know what is going to happen next. These guys know how to make a film and keep their audience interested. Even of you don’t know or like Giallos, The Editor is a great film.

2.) The Hateful Eight

By now we can say that Tarantino is his own genre. Like Hitchcock and Kurosawa before him, Tarantino does not stick to one genre. In fact, he has dabbled in just about every genre there is. The only genres that I can of that he hasn’t tackled are Sci-fi and porn. Tarantino likes to take from other films, music, and books and turn into his own thing.
The Hateful Eight is a film that starts off very slow and builds into a crescendo of violence and hate that we can not look away. The film tackles the recent cop-on-black violence by making us look it square in the face and we can not do anything but watch the brutality on screen.
The Hateful Eight is a very angry and violent film that is gorgeous to look at and is a great time at the movies. Tarantino says that he only has two films left to go before he retires. Let’s hope that they are as good as The Hateful Eight.

1.) Mad Max: Fury Road

George Miller is a mad man. If look over the films that he has made you can see this. He started with the original Mad Max, which is a punch to the gut, even today. The Road Warrior is brilliant post-apocalyptic masterpiece. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome has a brilliant first half that falls apart only to pick itself back up again (Miller did not direct the scene with the children ie, the worst part of the film.) He gave us Babe: Pig in the City, a film that should have been more loved than it was.
Mad Max: Fury Road is a film that actually lived up to its hype. A film that gives us the best action scenes that we have seen in years and does them practically. Those are real stuntmen jumping off of cars and swinging around. Those are actual cars being blown up and driving at high speeds. There is real danger in this film and Miller captures it beautifully.  Miller is a mad man, a mad man who needs to make more films. Mad Max: Fury Road is the best film of 2015 and possibly the whole decade.

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