2015 In Review: Best In Film Part 1

Yesterday, I did the “Worst” in film for 2015. Now, I’m going to make my way through the BEST in Film from 2015. Here are the first few categories.

FUNNIEST FILM OF THE YEAR:
Spy
Ted 2
Cooties
Trainwreck
Pitch Perfect 2

For this category, I chose the five films that actually made me laugh out loud the most this year. The films with the most “jokes per second”, as it were. Sometimes, it’s not really about quality, it’s about what makes you laugh. What tickles your funny bone. These five films exemplify my style of humor, and made me laugh a lot this past year. But… which film will walk away with the title of FUNNIEST FILM OF THE YEAR?

And The Winner Is…
SPY

Melissa McCarthy’s Spy wins funniest film of the year. Not only was she funny, but she had the help of both Jason Statham and Rose Byrne, who brought memorable performances to the table.

FUNNIEST PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR:
Melissa McCarthy (Spy)
Jason Statham (Spy)
Rainn Wilson (Cooties)
Amy Schumer (Trainwreck)
Bill Hader (Trainwreck)

The five people who made me laugh the most in each film. But, who really delivered the most memorable performance on the list? Is it McCarthy? Is it Schumer?

AND THE WINNER IS….
Jason Statham (Spy)

I thought Jason Statham really delivered in spades in Spy. I had no idea he even knew how to be funny, but his blend of super-serious and shtick really sent Spy over the top. Sometimes, when an actor is unexpectedly hilarious, it’s that much more rewarding. We expect greatness from the other four contenders, but not Jason Statham.

BEST FILM YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T SEE THIS YEAR (Made less than 1M Domestic)
Beasts Of No Nation
Tangerine
The Hunting Ground
Mississippi Grind
Cooties

Five films that I thought were terrific, and yet didn’t resonate with Domestic audiences. Beasts Of No Nation has a domestic gross of 90K, Tangerine made 702K, The Hunting Ground made 405K, Mississippi Grind made 130K, and Cooties made 60K. I chose not to include Anomalisa, because part of the reason it grossed so little has to do with its release pattern. It potentially could gross more than 1M, if given an expansion, whereas the other films have basically ended their theatrical runs.

AND THE WINNER IS….
TIE: Beasts Of No Nation and Tangerine

I graded both films with an A, and on my personal list where I rank the 125 films I saw in 2015, I have them back-to-back in positioning. Both films are so wildly different. I promise not to use the tie often, but this is the one category where I truly felt I needed to. Beasts Of No Nation probably has a larger audience because of Netflix, but it still ranks as one of the more impactful films I saw this year. It’s a tough film to watch, and a journey I’m not sure I’d ever want to take again, but it’s still a tremendous effort and one of the years best films. Tangerine is one of the most unique experiences I’ve had watching a film in a long time. I went in not knowing what to expect, and came out feeling like I had seen something truly unique. Funny, fresh, and full of perspective, Tangerine deserves this award just as much as Beasts Of No Nation.

BEST SEQUEL/REBOOT/SPINOFF:
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Mad Max: Fury Road
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Jurassic World
Creed

And, my last award of the day goes to the film that really did the best job for the franchise it’s a part of. Even though I loved it, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is probably less deserving of this award than the other four because it followed an already great sequel. It just kept the momentum going. Creed rebooted the Rocky franchise, unexpectedly to greatness. Jurassic World reinvented a dead franchise. Mad Max: Fury Road also reinvented a dead franchise. And somehow, Star Wars: The Force Awakens lived up to the insane amount of hype and managed to actually be good. But which one is the “BEST”?

AND THE WINNER IS….
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

For the most part, it introduced people to the world of Mad Max. It’s the rare sequel that is far more entertaining, and ends up outgrossing its predecessor by a lot. This is like Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, where suddenly a franchise becomes a juggernaut out of nowhere. This was the first time many people saw anything in the Mad Max franchise, and it represented gloriously. I hope the Academy feels the same way, and rewards it with a Best Picture nomination. Sometimes, you can be a big budget action film and be award worthy at the same time.

More coming later, from my 2015 In Review.

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