Well, I’ve officially been blogging for two years now! It all started on New Year’s Eve of 2013, after which I counted down my top 365 list of movies. It took longer than a year, but it gave me a sense of accomplishment. I’ve since been able to watch and review plenty more films and even take part in the occasional blogathon, and I believe my poems and reviews have improved with time and practice, especially since I don’t include so many spoilers like I did at first. While I’ve seen many movies (though not nearly as many as some people), the last year has introduced me to more new films than any other, some new releases and others I’ve just now caught up with.
For starters, this is not a best-of list for 2015 since I’ve only seen about seven movies from this year, and there are many more qualified bloggers reviewing all the Oscar-worthy stuff. (Heck, I just saw the Best Picture of 1991! I’m in no rush.) Throughout the year, I’ve been ranking each movie as List-Worthy, List Runner-Up, Honorable Mention, Dishonorable Mention, and the rare Bottom-Dweller. I’ve been liberal with the List-Worthies, and I think it doesn’t mean much if I don’t actually add these new favorites to my original list.
That’s what this post is all about. Before I post the updated list, this top twelve is dedicated to the movies that made it onto the list, based solely on my personal preferences. There were a lot of great films to choose from, including some close runners-up (Nebraska; Memento; Frozen River; Same Time, Next Year), but these are the best for me. While I have yet to review them all, I will get to each one eventually. I’ll start with the top twelve, then the fifty-five others that earned the rank of List-Worthy, followed by the original list-makers that were booted off this time (all of which I still love).
I’m struck especially by the diversity of the films that made it, including two horrors, six anime, three TV dramas, six superhero movies, and even a direct-to-video found-footage film. Any sequels, such as The Winter Soldier and Mockingjay: Part 1 and 2, will be grouped with their originals so they won’t actually have a separate place on the list. (There might be some additional grouping; Teachers, for example, will be listed with Won’t Back Down because of similar themes.) Most of these additions were new to me, though some I just needed a reminder of how good they were (such as Adventures in Babysitting and A View to a Kill).
A big thank-you to all who have followed and liked over the last two years. It’s been great fun, and I hope to see many more movies to add to my next list, while still working my way through college and writing my novel. So without further ado, here are my favorite additions to “THE LIST,” as of 2015.
- Ant-Man (2015) – Just as everyone else seemed instantly in love with Guardians of the Galaxy (I’ve warmed up to it), Ant-Man became a hit in my house. Harking back to the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe before the extinction of all mankind became a threat in practically every movie, the smaller and funnier tone of Ant-Man hit all the right notes for an origin story.
- Children Who Chase Lost Voices (2011) – The best of the new anime films I’ve added to the list, this fantasy combines all the best elements of Studio Ghibli’s films to create something familiar yet unique, weird yet deeply poignant. Plus, the animation is second to none.
- Source Code (2011) – Clearly combining the likes of Quantum Leap and Groundhog Day, this Jake Gyllenhaal time-bender puts a soldier on a repeating time loop of sorts as he tries to uncover the terrorist behind a train bombing.
- United 93 (2006) – A fitting tribute to the heroic victims of the fourth plane on September 11, Paul Greengrass’s taut drama builds suspense while keeping everything highly realistic.
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015) – I know I’m in the minority here, but I felt Mockingjay’s second half was the best of the series, a heartbreaking but satisfying conclusion to Katniss Everdeen’s story.
- X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) – What can I say? I like superhero movies, and Bryan Singer’s return to the franchise redeemed the awful mistakes of The Last Stand while telling an entertaining time-travel tale of revenge and second chances.
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) – I’m still on the fence about this one. I enjoyed the balance of nostalgia and reinvention, but I’m placing it this high with faith that future viewings will smooth over my criticisms. Still, at this point, I can’t say I like it better than the prequels. (Sorry to all the prequel-haters who just fainted.) J.J. Abrams did well, though, and I look forward to the rest of this new chapter of Star Wars.
- Inside Out (2015) – Oh, Pixar, you did it again. The fittingly emotional tale of anthropomorphized emotions inside the head of a displaced young girl is a shoo-in for Best Animated Feature and a return to form for the celebrated studio.
- Big Hero 6 (2014) – Superheroes again, but this time paired with my other favorite genre, animation. Disney’s animation department has really improved over the last few years, and Big Hero 6 became an instant favorite with its lovable robot Baymax and the mix of vengeful action and heartfelt friendship.
- Taking Chance (2009) – One more thank-you to MovieRob for introducing me to this powerful HBO drama of a real-life soldier accompanying the body of a fallen comrade back home. It offers touching character moments and genuine military honor for those who have fallen in the line of duty. Only this and the next two were able to crack my Top 100.
- Serenity (2005) – Clever and fun yet dark and intelligent, Joss Whedon’s big-screen conclusion to his cancelled sci-fi TV show Firefly was everything I could have hoped in a series finale.
- The Truman Show (1998) – Jim Carrey’s first dramatic film was actually supposed to be on the original list but was skipped for some reason. This story of a sheltered man whose entire life has been a popular reality show offers paranoia, ethical questions, a bit of Jim Carrey’s trademark goofiness, and some outstanding acting from Carrey and Ed Harris.
And here are all of the other additions, in alphabetical order:
(500) Days of Summer (2009)
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Adventures in Babysitting (1987)
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
Almost Famous (2000)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
A View to a Kill (1985)
Being There (1979)
Cannery Row (1982)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
The China Syndrome (1979)
The Conjuring (2013)
The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)
Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (2001)
Cross Creek (1983)
Die Hard 2 (1990)
Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)
Ernest and Celestine (2012)
The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Harrison Bergeron (1995)
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014)
Immediate Family (1989)
The Judge (2014)
La Bamba (1987)
The Maze Runner (2014)
The Miracle Worker (1962)
My Name is Bill W. (1989)
The Naked Gun (1988)
Ordinary People (1980)
The Others (2001)
Patema Inverted (2013)
The Prestige (2006)
Princess Mononoke (1997)
Quiz Show (1994)
Roman Holiday (1953)
Separate But Equal (1991)
Seven Samurai (1954)
Song of the Sea (2014)
Soul Man (1986)
Time after Time (1979)
The Towering Inferno (1974)
Vantage Point (2008)
Watership Down (1978)
The Way Back (2010)
The Wind Rises (2013)
Wolf Children (2012)
And here are a few unofficial “awards” to compliment the best aspects of these additions:
Best opening scene: Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
Best final scene: The Way Back
Coolest scene: Serenity
Biggest emotional impact: United 93
Oldest film: All Quiet on the Western Front
Most recent film: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Best soundtrack: Almost Famous (followed by (500) Days of Summer)
Best score: The Truman Show (followed by A Beautiful Mind)
Best special effects: Guardians of the Galaxy
Most mind-bending: The Prestige
Most family-friendly: Ernest and Celestine
Most mature: Die Hard with a Vengeance
Scariest: The Conjuring
Funniest: The Naked Gun
Most controversial: Soul Man
Best VC Pick: Cannery Row
Best male performance: Peter Sellers in Being There
Best female performance: Kathy Bates in Misery
Most represented year: 2014, with eleven films
Farewell to these 57 films (in alphabetical order) that were part of the original list and have now been replaced. Most are from the very bottom of the original list, but they are still among my favorites. They shall not be forgotten.
The African Queen (1951)
A Goofy Movie (1995)
An Extremely Goofy Movie (2000)
Apollo 13 (1995)
A Walk to Remember (2002)
Cats Don’t Dance (1997)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
City of Ember (2008)
Despicable Me (2010)
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Doctor Dolittle (1967)
The Godfather (1972)
Good Will Hunting (1997)
The Horse Whisperer (1998)
Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
The Hunt for Red October (1990)
Ice Age (2002) and Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006)
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
The Jungle Book (1967)
The Karate Kid (1984)
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
The Killing Fields (1984)
King Kong (2005)
Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
Millennium Actress (2001)
Monsters vs. Aliens (2009)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
The Muppets (2011)
One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)
The Pagemaster (1994)
Panic Room (2002)
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Puss in Boots (2011)
Rise of the Guardians (2012)
The Secret of Kells (2009)
The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)
The Spongebob SquarePants Movie (2004)
The Sword in the Stone (1963)
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
Thor (2011) (my first review)
We Are Marshall (2006)
Where the Wild Things Are (2009)
Working Girl (1988)
Here’s to another fun year of blogging!