As per usual, I'm not letting the "best of" lists ring off without TDF Everything having a say! It'll be interesting to see how this list matches up with the list I did at the beginning of the year listing what I was excited to see in 2015.
It'll be even more interesting to see if I can repeat 2014 and have the same pick as the Oscars for the movie of the year!
Alright, let me show my work here!
What I Saw:
The Wedding Ringer
January's winner is... The Wedding Ringer. Here's the thing; I still would have picked this movie even it was in competition with other movies. I enjoyed some of the ideas in the movie. Flawed though it may have been, I'm a sucker for friends coming through for each other just when it looks like all is lost.
February's winner is... Kingsman! An early win this year, and it still stayed top of mind. If this movie dropped the awkward sex proposition at the end I would say it was everything I ever wanted and more. I'd also like to thank Matthew for showing he's a true Filmakers fan word to the title sequence music!
What We Do brought that FOTC feel back which is always welcome! I had to decide if this movie more fun for me than Kingsman. Because, if not, than I can't have a tie here. You'll understand later on in this list why it was important to make that distinction.
I can't do a three way tie but Focus would have made it into that equation. Watching Will Smith get back toimpish charmer was nice. That betting on football scene THO! And who doesn't want to get a preview of Deadshot and Harley interacting on film?
Fifty Shades was for Pauline, and I think she hated it more than I did... which is to say no one had a good time at all watching this experiment in charisma vacuums speaking at each other.
March's winner is... Chappie. I was ready to write Neill Blomkamp off after Elysium but this movie wasn't that bad. I think I'm alone in enjoying this movie that wasn't without it's faults. While Die Antwoord is an awkward choice for leads in a movie, Chappie makes up for all that by being an engaging character. However, I was not checking for Dev Patel's wimp of a character who got way too preachy and god-complexy for a supposedly sympathetic character.
Cinderella is not as good as everyone is telling you. trust me. I mean there's nothing new added and I wasn't that taken with Lily James in the lead. I get the sense people just like that it wasn't a step back. However to me it was like Gus Van Sant's shot for shot remake of Psycho... sure it's not in black and white (psycho)/animated (Cinderella) anymore but what else?
Unfinished Business went deeper than I thought it would with the bullying storyline, but like Get Hard, it seemed like a waste of the talent on screen.
April's winner is... Ex Machina! If you're ever wondering why Oscar Issac is always praised check out his performance in this movie. Domhnall and Alica get it in in this movie for sure, but the most quotable character has to be Nathan. This movie will have you laughing, on the edge of your seat, and a bunch of stuff in between so it's the clear winner for this month.
Furious 7 stuck the Paul Walker is dead landing no matter what Ben says. The only thing is that this definitely should have been the last movie in the series. Knowing they are planning like 3 more movies kind of undercuts the pathos at the end of this movie.
I just couldn't sustain interest in Child 44. It started off cool with dueling Rick Flaggs, and then it just didn't do what I wanted it to do. I also got the sense that they misused Gary Oldman just like they did in Lawless, but whatever.
May's winner is... Fury Road. Yeah this movie is really that good. There's no complicated plot or amazing line of dialogue that will have people talking for years to come. It's simply a masterclass in direction. The chaos that takes place on screen is a wonder to behold and there is no denying that the execution of this film was flawless.
All I have to say about Age of Ultron is that it did not hold up against future viewings, so this episode of my podcast is as positive as you'll hear me get about this movie. I had a good time talking about Pitch Perfect and its sequel with Pauline. However, I preferred the first one.
Tomorrowland disappointed people, but I really dug it! Not sure why people didn't like that it wanted people to get back to being creative and exploratory... but ok... It also sported a child actor who didn't annoy me and sold that weird love story with George Clooney! It also made me tear up at the end when they showed the new roster of people invited to make a better world! Diversity in age and ethnicity will always get me.
I did not like San Andreas. The Rock found his limitation as far as I'm concerned. I need him to be one of many engaging characters. He can't be the only thing going for the movie.
June's winner is... Inside Out! Pixar firing on all cylinders! I have already written about this movie earlier this year. To reiterate, I got my money's worth on this film, I was engaged by what was going on outside the head and inside!
Love & Mercy, Dope, and Spy were strong contenders for this month! I wanted Dope to be Dear White People 2 but it did not live up to that expectation and Spy was just out charmed by Inside Out. Love & Mercy had more in common with the NWA flick than people would have wanted to admit at first glance, but I had to cool my jets and realize that my enthusiasm for the movie was dampened by that 2001: A Space Odyssey-esque last scene in Brian's bedroom.
I really wanted to like Slow West more but it really just turned out to be a really cool looking movie starring Magneto, Nightcrawler, Dagget, and The Hound!
I don't get hate for the Entourage movie beyond people who already hated the movie. It was exactly what you expected. I don't belive anyone who thought it was any less or more offensive than the TV show. It actually accomplished being an extended episode of the TV show so... however you felt about that show would line up with this movie. Well done them.
Jurassic World had some insufferable kids THO. I get into the movie even more here. I maintain that the first movie is the best and the only one I will think of fondly.
Ted 2 suffered from a serious dearth of Mila Kunis. However, a guy came into my theatre during the second half to laugh and point out all the obvious jokes and that was fun for me.
July's winner is... Ant-Man! Look I was guilty of complaining about the loss of an Edgar Wright movie, but it's time to leave that alone and recognize this was a strong entry in the MCU. It didn't have the gravitas of The Winter Soldier, but, it stuck to the script as far as having a breezy heist movie set in the MCU. This movie gets major points for acknowledging that it's a part of a greater universe while giving a perfectly good explanation as to why none of the heavy hitters are present. Plus the sight gags were on point! Listen to more of my thoughts here.
Trainwreck was aiight! But would have I dug it as much if it didn't have the guy who had not so nice words for my girl, Tina? I don't think so. Colin Quinn made that movie for me. Oh, and, Method Man needs to retire from doing accents in movies.
Yikes Rogue Nation! Nothing aggressively offensive, but there was just an empty feeling to the whole affair. Thanks for Rebecca Fergusson, though. She was engaging (I hate saying that due to the pervy camera angles, but she legit carried the movie).
I talked about Terminator here. I don't have strong feelings about it either way, in case you had to guess what I think about it at the moment. The best thing I have to say about Southpaw is that it gave us a soundtrack that doubled as a Slaughterhouse/Royce Da 5'9/Eminem/Bad Meets Evil compilation album... that's dope! Having Jake Gyllenhaal mumble all movie and casting Rachel McAdams in that role was not!
Minions was what I should have thought it would be. I should have never thought that those little scene-stealers were meant to be the focus of any movie.
August's winner is... Straight Outta Compton! Yeah it was an easy month to win. However, this is the movie that knocked What We Do out of the top 5! I went back and forth on this one, but Straight Outta Compton was a great music biopic, and we all know how I feel about those! More than that though; there were strong performances throughout and I went to see it twice and never got bored. They should have put in the Dee Barnes stuff, but history is written by the victors and all that. I will say though it surprised me that I was arguing for more MC Ren over Cube... but here we are. Way to pull it off Dre, Cube, and Gary!
Man from U.N.C.L.E. was dope! It's problem is that I didn't watch the show and my parents, who did, didn't recognize their beloved show on the screen. Either way I was glad to see Batman v Superman early! Plus Alicia killed it again in this movie!
September's winner is... The Walk! I didn't have HIGH hopes for this movie. I don't really like documentaries but I dug Man on Wire so I didn't see what the point in making this movie was. Well Bobby Z really showed me what for when he framed the story of Philippe Petit as a whimsical heist movie where the thing to be stolen was the world's hearts from between the twin towers!
Speaking of decent performances with blue eye contacts, I really liked Black Mass. The only reason I went with The Walk over Johnny Depp's reminder that he can act was that The Walk was greater than the sum of its parts at the end of the day. Black Mass really just had some dope cinematography and A solid lead performance.
The Intern was a nice movie. I don't have anything really negative to say other than I see you, Robert, thinking you slick taking shots at Hov in a movie with Anne Hathaway, the O.G. Elder Price, Ay-ayron, and 2/3 of The Workaholics.
October's winner is... Steve Jobs! TALK THAT TALK Aaron Sorkin! I'm a sucker for pithy rapid fire dialogue; sue me! I was initially disappointed by the set up of three scenes playing out in real time, but boy did I hang off of most every word. Some great line delivery to make me forget that I wasn't get a typical biopic, just a three moments in the life of a controversial figure.
Nothing but respect for Sicario, but maybe I need a bit more Mary Sue in my lead characters than people like these days. I think Emily Blunt did a great job but sometimes I like to see my protagonists get a win, or persevere, not just go through the wringer. Think about it, she comes in with all these ideals, then slowly has to acquiesce to the ol' boys club in the end. Benicio, THO! Can we also take time to realize that though Emily hasn't joined Marvel's ranks yet, she was supposed to be Black Widow and could be Captain Marvel, Benicio and Josh held it down in Guardians, the Punisher showed up, Victor's all up in The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, and Daniel was in the lesser Kick-Ass!
The Maritan was almost tied with Jobs. However, I realized I just had low expectations and they were exceeded. I was sad to see Troy play Abed, but loved Donald Glover getting that look. The diverse cast that got a lot to do while Matt held it down on Mars without ever boring me was a nice touch too. I just think Steve Jobs will stand up to multiple viewings better.
Beasts of no Nation was great! I was charmed by Idris and think that Abraham Attah killed his closing scenes! I mean he didn't get assaulted by a bear but maybe he could get some award season love too??? I do wish the film felt a bit tighter. Seemed like some scenes lagged.
Room seems like a one shot deal. You'll definitely find something to enjoy your first time 'round with it but I can't imagine revisiting that movie. You can listen to my thoughts on Spectre HERE. I didn't like it as much as Skyfall... Birdge of Spies had its moments but it seemed like a waste of a director and a set of dope WRITERS!. At least it looked pretty.
November's winner is... Creed! Much like Mad Max, I have never seen any of the previous entries in this series but the trailer let me know I couldn't not see this movie. Boy did that trailer tell the truth. So many amazing big moments, mixed with some true heart with Sly and Mike! It can't be talked about enough how the young director from the movie that almost made me cry and made Pauline drop what she was doing to yell at the screen hit back with a dream project of his that showed he could be himself and play in a sandbox. LET'S GO #RYAN4BLACKPANTHER!!!
Well it's official, I liked the even numbered Hunger Games movies the best, and this one while better than Mockingjay-Part 1 for me, was still weaker than Catching Fire. Don't hate my opinion!
Spotlight and the Night Before both had their claim to the title of best November movie for different reasons but equally valid ones. Spotlight was great and I was engaged the whole way through, and yet I still felt like the ending dropped the ball on such a serious and complex subject. Doesn't stop the movie from being great, but Creed finished strong and didn't have such a complicated subject to tackle so I didn't have to scrutinize as much. The Night Before might become mandatory viewing in the GrantPatrick home every Christmas season, it's that charming and filled with holiday cheer! They even sneaked that James reveal past me.
December's winner is... The Force Awakens... and yes, Major Warren... we have room for one more; The Hateful Eight makes December a tie! I've obviously just seen these films. You want two great experiences in the movies go see these two movies. Force Awakens takes you back to the awe and wonder(ing about Rey's lineage) of the O.G. trilogy but IF FINN DIES WE RIOT! If you can catch Hateful 8 in roadshow format, it's a true treat and night out at the movies with overture and intermission to boot.
Legend had a strong start but then was just running on fumes of Tom Hardy having not one but two distinct roles in the movie. It took a weird turn from the fun of Snatch. to some weird movie were actions have consequences... sometimes. It got muddled.
The Big Short was going to be Wolf of Wall Street for me, and ended up being it's own beast which is good. It just lost out to more enjoyable experiences in the movie theatre.
Sisters was funny! You can't deny that. But what was it doing in the December market? This was a breezy summer comedy if I ever saw one.
Look I want Will to win an Oscar! This ain't the movie for that. Trust me, he did a great job and I enjoyed how the movie TACKLED CTE in NFL, but this movie succeeded when Will held things down and people like Albert Brooks and David Morse came in to amp up the energy. It kills me to say that as a fair-weather Al Brooks fan and true blue Will fan.
2015's winner is... Mad Max: Fury Road! This was hard for me this year. I thought for sure Hateful 8 or The Force Awakens at first but seriously, if I'm saying they tied for December, it's clear I need to spend more time with them. Right now Hateful is my 5th favourite Quentin movie but it could be higher with more views. The Force was just what I wanted in a movie. I get that people don't like that this movie was all fan service and dressing up old story beats with new characters but... be real... that's what you wanted too!
I had a long time of thinking Kingsman and Straight Outta Compton were going to take it home but the sex act joke at the end seemed out of place no matter what Matthew Vaughn says and Straight Outta Compton had too much revisionist history for my liking. For instance, I know Cube and Dre didn't visit Eazy in the hospital. I bet Suge was worse than he was portrayed, and I wanted more SNOOP!!! The Dee Barnes subject is also weird... realistically, you'd have to have a straight up Dr. Dre movie to deal with his woman abuse and not pull all focus from the actual group NWA but I realize how insensitive that sounds.
So here we are Mad Max coming out unscathed. I have nothing negative to say about this movie, just flawless execution of an idea with no fat to trim!