Guess what time it is? Movie recap time! Have I really been at this for eight years now? Apparently yes. To the tune of a running total of 438 movies seen in the theater, even though my annual total this year was a measly 45. I don’t even want to do the math and add up what this obsession hobby has cost, even figuring in free passes (hardly any since I now mostly use Discover Cashback Rewards on Amazon) or tickets from loyalty programs (although I will say I now gladly pay $10 a year for AMC Stubs).
I can pretty much sum up 2015 at the movies with one word: sigh. Maybe it’s because I see so many movies that it takes more to captivate me now than it used to, but this year, especially following last year’s crop of mostly losers, just felt like yet another year of meh movies, even as 2015 went down in history as Hollywood’s most lucrative year ever ($11 billion in box office revenue). Actually, I take that back slightly–there were some great ones scattered through the meh in 2015, but overall, it was not a super year of moviegoing and I admit I lost some enthusiasm about my partaking in my favorite activity as crap movie after crap movie mostly graced the big screen.
That said, this was a banner year in terms of luxury when it came to movie theaters–reclining seats, pillows and blankets, cocktails…if only these awesome additions to the movie experience didn’t ratchet up the cost of seeing mostly crappy movies to ridiculous levels. Even I–movie theater devotee–found myself waiting for more movies to come out on DVD rather than spending big bucks to see in either dirty but expensive theaters (AMC Rio, I’m looking at you) that seemingly can’t afford to staff appropriately or even open the concession stand most of the time or ridiculously big bucks ($18 plus probably $20 for crap food) at the new, deluxe theaters (iPic Pike and Rose, ArcLight Bethesda). Even as I watched more theaters install deluxe reclining seats, I couldn’t help but wonder how long it will be before people would rather spend $25 to be able to watch a first-run movie in the comfort of their homes with huge flat screens, comfortable seating and no cell phones glaring in their faces? I hope that becomes an option soon because I, for one, would definitely do it.
So, anyway–here we go–the movies I saw in 2015 and what I thought of them. The asterix is for movies that came out in 2015 but that I saw at home, so I don’t count them in my tally.
- Blackhat*–I’m weirdly obsessed with cybersecurity so was excited for this one, but it was only in the theater for a hot minute so I had to wait till it came out on DVD. Let’s just say I can’t even remember it so it couldn’t have been that good.
- The Wedding Ringer*–I also waited for this one to come out on DVD but it was pretty entertaining. Definitely worth a rental.
- Ex Machina–LOVE this movie. Cinematically gorgeous, interesting, creepy and just good. I’ve seen it three or maybe even four times now and would watch it again.
- The Boy Next Door–Sigh. That’s about what I give this movie. Fine as a rental if you’re looking for something light to watch while you play iPad games.
- Mr. Holmes*–While I love period dramas, this one, while adorable in terms of the crusty house he lived in and his bees and garden, was pretty slow. Worth a watch if you love that stuff, but otherwise you might hate it.
- Fifty Shades of Grey–As crap as this book was, the movie was slightly less crap. That’s to say I went in with super low expectations and they were slightly exceeded. So….if you’re looking for the marriage-enhancing properties of the books, you’re probably better off just reading them again or watching actual soft porn.
- The Duff–Mimi made me see this and other than teaching me what the term “duff” means horrible(I’ve Googled it for you in case you’re curious), I’ll just say it was no 16 Candles or anything.
- Hot Tub Time Machine 2–This was slightly less than totally horrible. I’d even go so far as to say it was slightly enjoyable in only a remotely cringy, try-hard way. I’d say it’s a safe bet that there will be no more Hot Tub Time Machine movies…although there are apparently already “rumors” of another sequel.
- Focus–This was actually pretty good. Not great or anything, but I saw it in the theater then again at home and it was pretty decent both times.
- Unfinished Business*–This was hardly in the theater, which I figured meant it thoroughly sucked, but it actually was pretty decent. Definitely worth a watch–and a super high-five for the awesome stock photo promo campaign.
- Trainwreck–The funniest, best movie of the year, IMO. Ok, maybe not technically the best movie, but hilarious and launched my hero Amy Schumer into instant fame and fortune, which I’m psyched about. If you haven’t seen this, you MUST watch it. Even though Hollywood had to do its idiotic thing and force her to lose weight to star in her own brilliant film…smh.
- Get Hard–It’s no Step Brothers, but has some funny parts. Frankly, if you like Will Ferrell, you’re better off watching his super weird yet super entertaining Lifetime movie, A Deadly Adoption. THAT was amazing.
- Furious 7–I admit, I did cry during the goodbye Paul montage at the end. If you like car movies, of course you’ll like this one.
- Avengers: Age of Ultron–Marvel, please, run out of movies soon. *ducks Patrick’s slap* But seriously–yes, this movie was fine and if you like Marvel, like Patrick does, it had all kinds of nerdy Marvel stuff and you’ll of course love it…although apparently I wasn’t the only one who was not super impressed with it (so many words about one movie…). Of course, we’re in no danger of actually running out of Marvel movies anytime soon, with about a billion more on deck. Oh well, a girl can dream, right?
- Far from the Madding Crowd*–if you like crusty English countryside views, see this movie just for those scenes. But that’s about all there is to this movie in terms of enjoyment, IMO. Maybe that’s a tad harsh, but it just didn’t do it for me.
- Pitch Perfect 2–Looking for the biggest disappointment of the year, movie-wise? Look no further than Pitch Perfect 2. As good as Pitch Perfect was, this movie is equally bad. Sorry.
- True Story*–This wasn’t in the theater long but should have been, IMO–I thought it was pretty good. Props to Jonah Hill for pulling off a non-comedy role pretty well, and the story is pretty interesting.
- The Visit–This movie was actually entertaining as hell, and not really scary. If you didn’t see it because you don’t like horror movies, you should really give this a try–it’s more of a psychological thriller than a horror movie, and was actually pretty good.
- Mad Max: Fury Road–What a big-budget action movie should be—fun, cool scenery, good story, enjoyable to watch and even bonus feminist theme. Even Matthew (my son) liked it and he’s like Mikey with movies.
- Hot Pursuit*–Even as a rental, this movie sucked. #thatisall
- Spy–Spy was ok, but it was no Bridesmaids or anything. Maybe slightly better than meh, but barely.
- Irrational Man–I am an unabashed Woody Allen lover (sorry) so I loved this even though it probably wasn’t great. It wasn’t as good as Magic in the Moonlight or Blue Jasmine but I liked it. My mom, who I saw it with, hated it…so there’s that. But if you love Woody Allen movies, definitely watch this one.
- Inside Out–I only felt slightly like a creeper going to see this by myself, but it was cute. It was also, according to fun-sucking scientific analysts, “Pseudoscientific to Fairly Accurate,” so if you demand your cartoons be scientifically accurate, this one almost qualifies.
- Poltergeist*–In a nutshell: stick to the original.
- San Andreas–Loved this! I do admit I have a weird penchant for natural disaster movies, and this one didn’t disappoint. Me, at least. Granted it didn’t have fire tornadoes or anything, but was good anyway.
- Jurassic World–Speaking of disappoint…I’m still crying that this movie didn’t live up to my internal hype. Jurassic Park is one of my all-time favorite movies, and I had been waiting on pins and needles for them to announce the fourth one for years. Like seriously excited and could.not.wait for it once they finally announced Jurassic World’s release date. Don’t get me wrong–it wasn’t terrible–I mean, how could it be, with Pterodactyls figuring prominently in several scenes? But it definitely wasn’t great…and seriously, I’m still not understanding how/why they decided it was cinematically fine to have the woman running and running and running in those taupe pumps that never got dirty or broken or caused her to break an ankle.
- Insidious: Chapter 3*–The original Insidious is one of the scariest movies ever. Insidious 2 sucked. And Insidious 3–shocker–sucked even worse. But honestly…did I really believe it wouldn’t? Apparently, because I watched it. Spare yourself the misery and skip this one.
- Magic Mike XXL–Every lady over the age of….12?…couldn’t wait for this to hit the theaters…myself admittedly included. We all should have known better and stayed home and rented the first one again because this one SUCKED. Slow and just crap. There were literally three scenes worth watching in the whole movie: this one, this one and this one. You’re welcome.
- Ant-Man–I love tiny things, so this was one Marvel movie I actually enjoyed. Cute and fun.
- Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation–It was a Mission Impossible movie. Period. That’s all I remember about it–that and the fact that Tom Cruise’s hair inexplicably stays perfect even while he’s clinging to the wing of a plane at a billion feet.
- Vacation–I saw this while I was on vacation so I’m probably looking back at it more favorably than it strictly deserves, but it was not bad. Not as bad as I thought it would be, that is. I will say that if you watch it with kids, STOP the DVD before the Hangover-esque photo montage at the end unless you want them to get a lesson in male anatomy. And by “lesson in male anatomy” I mean a shot of Chris Helmsworth’s big, naked, fake penis.
- The Gift–This one gets the award for most misleading trailers. It looked like an awesome thriller with a cool twist at the end. In reality, it was meh and draggy and not at all thrilling.
- The Man from U.N.C.L.E.–Stylistically cool and fun to watch, I like this a decent amount. Definitely worth a watch.
- The Perfect Guy–This was pretty good but a bit of a disappointment from the trailers. No Good Deed from last year was better…but then again, it didn’t have Michael Ealy.
- Black Mass–I know this got a lot of hype and maybe I’m just old with a bad memory, but IMO it was kind of forgettable and therefore not that great. I’ll have to watch it again to see if I’m remembering wrong; until then, I’m sad to say, based on my inability to recall even a remote sense of enjoying this movie, I give it a meh.
- Room–I wish I could say this movie lived up to the hype but, again, IMO it fell short and, while good, it definitely wasn’t great. I could see Brie Larson getting an Oscar nomination and even possibly winning, but overall the movie was only meh, IMO.
- The Martian–Tie for best movie of the year. If The Danish Girl didn’t come out in 2015, this would have won the Oscar and Matt Damon would have won Best Actor–it is that good. I haven’t seen The Danish Girl yet but sight unseen I’m pretty sure it and/or Eddie Redmayne will win. But The Martian is a solidly awesome movie and not to be missed.
- The Intern–This movie was adorable and fun and somehow Anne Hathaway was almost likeable in it. Definitely see this, as it was a great commentary on many things: ageism in the workplace, changing family norms, a reminder that there was life before our always-on world and there were a lot of great things about that way of living, and just that De Niro is adorable and hot at any age.
- Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension–Call me crazy, but I LOVE Paranormal Activity movies, and, for me, at least, they manage to defy the sequels suck rule that is practically a universal truth. Ok, the 3D part was not necessary–I hate 3D–but the movie was fun and I am absolutely gutted that this was reportedly the last one. It can’t be! They still have never even covered the grandma, the weird coven…I am just going to pretend I didn’t read that and trust that the universe will not have this be the last Paranormal Activity movie ever.
- Spectre–2015 was definitely a year of disappointments, with Spectre being yet another big one. It was just slow and meh and not at all what I, for one, expected from this never-disappoints franchise. Spectre definitely disappointed.
- The Gallows–A little dumb but scary and fun and worth watching if you like horror movies.
- A Most Violent Year–This came out in 2014 but I saw it in 2015 and it was pretty good, if not quite as awesome as the trailers led me to believe it would be. Definitely worth a watch, but not exactly Oscar-worthy, unfortunately.
- The Imitation Game–Again, this came out in 2014 (obviously, as it won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay) but I didn’t see it till 2015. LOVED it, for the crusty scenery and just everything about it–definitely a must-see if you haven’t seen it yet.
- American Sniper–If you haven’t seen this yet, see it. Sad and great.
- Inherent Vice–Awesome and fun. Even if those mutton-chop sideburns almost killed me.
- 99 Homes–I am weirdly obsessed with movies about the 2008 housing crisis, so I pretty much ran to the theater the second this was released. It was good and absolutely worth a watch–especially combined with The Big Short (46)–but a bit slow if I’m honest.
- The Big Short–IMO this is one of the best movies of the year–it’s that good. Who knows why I’m obsessed with the housing crisis thing but for some reason I am, and this movie is the perfect indulgence for that obsession. It’s like The Wolf of Wall Street crossed with a documentary, complete with entertaining explanations for people like me who have no idea what CMOs or other mortgage/finance terms mean. Absolutely see this, if for no other reason than the chill that will (or should) go down your spine when you read the after-movie stuff, particularly the last one.
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens–If there’s a movie genre I enjoy less than Marvel movies, it’s Star Wars movies…but Patrick and Matthew love them so I go. It was fine. It was a Star Wars movie. That’s about all I have to say about this one.
- Krampus–Weirdly awesome and oddly engaging, this movie sort of rocked. I thought it would suck but was pleasantly surprised that it was fun and scary and just weird. Even knocked some Christmas spirit into me somehow.
- Brooklyn–Adorable–that’s all I have to say about this movie. So cute and fun to watch and just loved it.
- Kingsman: The Secret Service–It’s English–what’s not to like? Kind of forgettable, but fun.
- Daddy’s Home–When I described this movie as “it’s like Step Brothers, except they’re grown up” to Patrick he was like “um, they were grown up in Step Brothers.” Whatever. It was funny and fun.
- Spotlight–Loved, loved, loved this. So good and a must-see, IMO.
- Joy–Another tie for biggest disappointment. This movie pretty much flat-out SUCKED, sadly. I literally cannot understand how such an all-star cast would even appear in such a shitty film. Even with my all-time favorite, Isabella Rosselini, gracing the cast, this movie was just depressing, boring, shitty and all-out disappointing. Yes, LJo was good…but she’s always good. Was she Oscar-worthy in this role? I don’t think so–but I wouldn’t be surprised if she gets nominated. There’s a reason the trailers for this were so vague: because the movie was so shitty there wasn’t even enough fodder to scrape together a coherent teaser.
In case you didn’t want to read all that, here are my picks for worst, best and most disappointing movies of 2015:
Worst movie of 2015: I’d say Hot Pursuit, but giving it a superlative at all, even a negative one, is giving it more credit than it deserves. So I’ll say Insidious 3. Wait, actually Poltergeist. So many meh movies…it’s hard to pick a worst.
Best movie of 2015: The Martian, hands down.
Biggest Disappointment: I’m going to go with Pitch Perfect 2, although Joy is a close second.
Thanks for reading, and in case you’re looking for past year’s posts, here they are: