Welcome to part two of my post about the films I thought were great in 2015. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out part one where I give a more thorough explanation for what I’m doing. In the previous post I ranked my top 10 favorite films from 2015. In this post I will be ranking the top 10 films of 2015 that I actually thought were the best. Now, this is a very dangerous task. When you say a particular film is one of your favorites, no one can argue with you. They can’t say that that film is not your favorite, because it’s just your personal opinion. But when you say a film is the best, you’re declaring something as fact. In that case, they CAN argue with you, and you better be ready to defend yourself. So, the way I’m going to try and shield myself from scrutiny, (I know not many people are reading my blog yet so I shouldn’t really be worried, but it’s always good to be cautious), is by setting up rules and criteria for how I judged these films. That, and restating again that even though I’m trying to give a somewhat objective view, my personal feelings and opinions obviously are a huge part of how I ranked these movies. So, as I go along, I’ll try to state clearly how I arrived at these rankings and what the rules/criteria were. Without further ado, here are my rankings: (skip to page 2 if you don’t care about me ranking the best picture nominees and just want to see what I actually thought were the best films of 2015).
Best Picture Nominees (Best to Worst)
- The Revenant
- The Big Short
- Mad Max: Fury Road
- Bridge of Spies
- The Martian
So with the best picture nominees I started off attempting to rank them according to how well each movie accomplished what it was trying to do. It’s safe to say that all these movies did what they were trying to do very well, hence why they were nominated for best picture. So in the end it became a ranking according to the number of criticisms I had towards each of the films. I’m not going to spend too much time trying to justify this list because, honestly, I felt the same way about most of these movies, and I do want to get to the next list which is more interesting. However, here I’ll briefly explain a few of the choices I made.
Room was the only film that I could not come up with a single complaint about, nor have I found much criticism from the general public. That is why it is number 1. Spotlight accomplished what it was trying to do with its story very well. There’s not much to complain about there either. But I thought certain aspects of the movie were not as impressive as other films. Namely, the cinematography and editing. Much praise has gone to the “subtle” acting in spotlight. This serves the story well and makes it feel very realistic. But to me, subtle acting has never been all that impressive. Sure, it’s better than overacting and there is a certain high degree of skill required to pull it off. But there are already numerous films, even just this year, that could be said to have used “subtle acting”. And so I can’t bring myself to single out spotlight as being the best in that regard. In contrast, the acting in Room and The Revenant can be said to be very realistic as well, but the stories required more intense acting that, to me, felt more impressive. The same could be said for the cinematography category as well. I enjoyed the simpleness of Spotlight, but both Room and The Revenant stood out more in terms of the uniqueness in the look of the film. (Cinematography is one of my favorite categories, so you could say there is some bias there). The Martian is last on the list for several reasons. If you look at my last post you’ll see that I ranked it much higher in terms of my enjoyment of the film. But if I were to really analyze it, I would say that it is probably the least deserving of a best picture nomination. There were several things I really like about The Martian. The acting from Matt Damon was excellent, the story was exciting and the message optimistic, and I very much enjoyed the use of realistic science and the diversity in the cast. However, in terms of the actual story, I can’t help but feel like it is a compilation of several other better films. (Cast Away, Apollo 13, Gravity, Interstellar, etc). It is also a very faithful adaptation of the book, which many will see as a positive note, but ultimately makes the actual movie less impressive, (the story is already laid out for them). The comedy, which I mostly appreciated throughout, occasionally bothered me when I thought the characters ought to be acting more serious. Bridge of Spies was another great film with not much to complain about. I only put it so low because it was another typical Spielberg movie. And in terms of being a Spielberg movie, it didn’t show off anything better than what he’s done in the past. I know, it’s sort of an unfair criticism, but I thought I’d give a bit more praise to the filmmakers really trying to offer something new. As for the rest of the films: Brookyln, Mad Max, and the Big Short. They all had around the same amount of criticisms/praises from me. So it’s hard to say exactly why I ranked them that way…..I won’t bore you with all the tiny details. But now that that’s out of the way, we can get to the more interesting list: The movies I personally would have picked to be nominated for best picture.