In December 2013, when I first sat down to compile my ten favorite films I’d seen that year, I opened my list with a brief statement on what cinema meant for me. “It was like seeing the world for the very first time”, I wrote.
A year later, I could not believe the luck I had at having watched so many incredible films, and said as much in the introduction to the list.
Looking back at them right now, I shiver at the mere glance of movie titles which I continue to carry with me, if not in my heart then surely in my memory. And I cannot help but feel slightly disappointed with 2015. It’s not that I did not watch enough movies; my journal informs me I watched 176 of them. Nor that I did not see enough good ones. There were a few times in which I felt elation at what was going on inside the screen. I suppose the answer is simple: I watched better ones before than I did this year.
Here they are then, the best ones of 2015.
1. World of Tomorrow
With a documentary topping my list in 2014, and this animated short taking the honor in 2015, I wonder if 2016 will see an experimental film or something crowned. Anyways, World of Tomorrow is perfect.
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
I fear no hyperbole this time. This is by far the best action movie I have ever seen; one of the finest action spectacles ever produced in Hollywood history; and, unless George Miller convinces the gods of madness to inspire him one more time and he produces a sequel to Fury Road, will not ever be topped by any other product of its kind.
On May 12th, 2015, I waved my friends and family goodbye, hopped on a plane and left El Salvador for California in order to go to school. I have not seen them since.
I wrote at length about Boyhood at the time, but let me mention another story.
Sometimes, when I’m riding the bus by myself and start reminiscing on the loved ones I left back home, my mind wanders to I ponder on the briefness of time and the life we are given to live and the small moments that turn into precious memories. That Richard Linklater managed to contain all of this and more into a 140 minute picture is nothing short of miraculous.
4. It Follows
This year’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but with demons haunting the protagonists at every turn. This horror film is already one of my favorite movies of all time. If you want to know how much I love this one, open me up and examine my insides.
5. Love & Mercy
The more I think about this film, the more I like it. Paul Dano’s superb performance aside, this movie took such a fresh approach to the old and repetitive biographical picture concept, that it would get high marks just for trying. But it succeeds. And that final, closing scene…Shivers.
6. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
I will watch this a second time and love it just as much.
Clocking in at over 4 hours, I did not expect this to make it to my list. But I never could shake off Benicio del Toro’s impersonation of Che Guevara, nor the way Steven Soderbergh shot the different episodes that make up this narration. The director focuses on four events which could be considered the pillars of the life of the character: Che in Argentina before he became a revolutionary; Che leading the successful Cuban revolution; Che speaking at the United Nations; and Che failing miserably in the jungles of Bolivia, which led to his demise.
If this journal has any loyal readers, and one or the only one has made it this far down the list, then be sure to add this movie to your must watch list.
8. Schindler’s List
Of course this was going to show up here.
9. The Act of Killing
As important as it is disturbing, this is much more than just cinema. This works as a historical document and indictment against all those people who kill in the name of their twisted sense of morality.
10. Run All Night
The only movie that made it to both my Favorite Scenes list and this one, Run All Night never left the back of my mind, even after having watched it at the beginning of the year. I dare say I empathized more with this Liam Neeson than the one at number eight.