The 'Shroom:Issue 105/Tucayo's Ten
HI, everyone! I'm your cinephile guest writer, Tucayo, here with Tucayo's Ten! Which is basically a Top Ten with a catchier name or a Ten Things with a broader title. Boy, do I love top ten's. This article is none other than Tucayo's Ten Best Movies of 2015. It's always really hard to decide on a subject, but after careful meditation (by which I mean looking at the suggestions Dippy gave us), I realized I had gone to the movies a lot this year, which made me feel confident enough to list ten movies that I would definitely recommend. I watched pretty much every major release and all movies that caught my interest, so if a major film is not on this list it's very probable I didn't like it enough. Oh, and a bonus five movies that you should by all means avoid. Seriously, if you don't trust me on the best movies at least trust me on the worst ones. Don't worry, I'll keep this spoiler-free so you can read away!
Author's note: I'm taking into account the date of each movie's wide release. Some films here were shown at festivals or had limited releases in 2014. Additionally, some movies that were released here in 2015 were actually released worldwide in 2014 (sorry,and some others).
Alright, let's start right off the bat with what could be the most controversial call on this list. By far, Pixels is the movie on this list with the worst critical response, but despite this it had a considerably good performance at the office box (it tripled its budget). What's the reason for this discrepancy between audiences and critics? Easily, the nostalgia factor, which could very well be why this movie manage to sneak in at #10. The film tells the story of an alien invasion, except this time our galactic neighbors are taking the form of '80s videogames. And who'll ever be able to defend us from such attack? No, it's not any army or intergovernmental coalition, it's a group of four gamer friends, among which is the President of the United States (for real). As you can see, the plot is nothing stellar, but it's a movie you can just sit and enjoy, trying to get all the references in the meantime. It definitely won't go down in time as a classic, but for two hours you'll definitely be entertained with the overall premise and the good share of funny moments.
Woman in Gold is based on the true story of an elderly Jewish woman, Maria Altmann, portrayed by the brilliant Helen Mirren, who fights the Austrian Government to reclaim possession of an iconic painting that was stolen from her family by the Nazis. Maria is aided by a young American lawyer, Randy Schoenberg, played by Ryan Reynolds. The case itself made it all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States and for which the Government of Austria fought until the very end. Out of the movies based on real events on this list, this is the one that deviates the most from the original story, but that doesn't hinder its ability to relay this fascinating story. If you are looking for a movie with some action, this is definitely not it, but this film makes something very interesting of an even more interesting real-life story.
There's a reason this is the only animated film on this list, and that is that they usually don't stand out to me and I don't end up watching them. But I wasn't about to let a Disney Pixar movie pass, and I'm really glad I didn't. And that's the great thing about Disney Pixar's films, they manage to appeal to every age group; when you leave the theater you don't even feel like you just watched a kids movie because you are thinking about your emotions and trying to hide the fact that you shed some tears. The concept is original and fresh, and it's executed perfectly. And naturally, as all movies on this genre, Inside Out aims to teach us a lesson (a valuable one, may I add), and I think it did succeed at both that and at entertaining all generations.
Possibly one of the movies that got the most hype this year, The Martian really lives up to it. Without spoiling much of the plot, I'll just tell you Matt Damon gets stranded in Mars, which is pretty much what you can tell from the poster. (Important note: this movie is not based on a true story, despite what many people would believe). This is quite a thrilling movie, as it's the most popular movie that shows the actual concerns of human missions to Mars, rather than being some kind of horror movie in Mars. Scientifically, the movie is quite accurate, as NASA was quite involved with it; most of what you see in the movie can actually happen in Mars. The sole difference that could make any difference is Mars' climate, which is way colder than seen on the film. Oh, and it should be noted that the science is definitely not as complicated as was the case with. My main complaint about the movie is that at times it feels very slow; it's 2 hours 20 minutes long but the fact that the character is isolated makes some scenes feel like they are dragging longer than they actually are. Regardless, this an excellent science-fiction movie.
Contrary to every other movie on this list, The Intern covers an everyday life subject; an old man with the need to feel useful again, portrayed by Robert de Niro, and a young CEO with a promising startup in her hands, played by Anne Hathaway. The film tells us the story of how de Niro suddenly becomes a senior intern for Hathaway and how their relationship gives both valuable lessons. This may sound a bit cliché, how two seemingly incompatible people end up learning a lot from each other, but both actors have a very good chemistry on the film, the movie has its fair share of funny moments, and it just flows so well, not one scene feels out of place. I was afraid the movie would take the character's relationship in a direction I did not want it go, but luckily they had the tact not to do it and The Intern shines by the power of its premise and its leads.
American Sniper had its wide release on January 16, 2015, so it's the movie on this list I watched the longest ago; despite that, the movie has stuck with me since it's so good. The movie tells the story of Chris Kyle, the deadliest American sniper. In the role of Kyle we have Bradley Cooper, who successfully manages to relay the ups and the downs of Kyle's life with some great insight into the toll members of the military take. As is the case with movies about military, it was very controversial regarding its message. Is it a war movie or an antiwar film? Are the Iraqi people portrayed as the evil ones or is it the American military? It's not easy to label it as any, because the movie covers many aspects of what war is and its effects, so you'll have to watch it for yourself and decide. What I can tell you is this movie for sure will make you think about the subject.
One more movie based on true events, this time it's Everest, which tells the events of a disaster on this mountain (Mount Everest, in case it wasn't clear) that took place in 1996. The film is about two expedition groups, one led by Rob Hall, portrayed by Jason Clarke, and the other commanded by Scott Fischer, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, which get stranded during a blizzard and have to fight for their survival. The movie starts off a bit slow, but from there it only goes up, as by the final moments of the film you will be on the edge of your seat. Visuals are simply stunning and there are times when you'll feel genuinely terrified for the characters. Additionally, the movie does a great job at showing all the logistics and all the work needed to climb a mountain. This is as good as "Man VS Nature" movies get.
I like superhero movies, especially Marvel's, but not seeing one – or two, or a whole series – is not something that keeps me up at night. For me, the problem with those movies is that they usually don't stick with me for much longer than what it takes me to get out of the mall. They are often predictable, and while they could be good movies, I think they don't have that factor that makes them stand out when compared to other genres. However, months after having seen it, Ant-Man definitely stands out as my third favorite movie of 2015. No other movie this year made me laugh as hard, and this is not even meant to be a comedy. There was a very cool tie-in with Avengers: Age of Ultron and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Paul Rudd was the perfect actor for this role, achieving an extremely likeable main character, and Michael Douglas was fantastic too, even if the whole "father-daughter conflict" theme may feel a bit tired. Regardless, the movie was a much-needed breath of fresh air for a superheroes genre that had begun to stall.
Coming strong in second place we have The Age of Adaline, a movie starring Blake Lively and Harrison Ford in which Lively suffers an accident which makes her unable to age ever again, and with that comes all the problems you would expect from such condition. Now, the movie is meant to be an "epic romance fantasy" film if we go by what Wikipedia says, but you won't feel much the "romance" part, this is pretty much an epic fantasy movie similar to. I wasn't a huge fan of Lively but she manages to convey all the problems you would expect from this apparent blessing. Harrison Ford does what many media have come to call his . Some minor elements feel out of place, like the narrator giving unnecessary explanations, but regardless I recommend this movie for everyone, no matter your age, as it's quite enjoyable and flows very smoothly. Definitely a good alternative to all the huge releases this year.
- It's worth saying again, there are no spoilers on this section.
With that out of the way, I'll just state The Force Awakens lives up to the hype and will match all your expectations. You don't need much more than a basic knowledge of Star Wars to enjoy the film and understand the general plot, but if you do want to get all references you definitely need to watch the rest of the saga. I had never seen such emotion from an audience, it was just exciting to see how excited other people in the cinema were. There's nothing more I can say without spoiling at least something of the movie, so, if you feel like it, you can get my spoiler-laden thoughts.
The moment I started this article I knew Bridge of Spies was going to be my #1 movie, and no other came even close. The film tells the story of an insurance lawyer, portrayed by Tom Hanks, who in the middle of the Cold War is assigned to defend a convicted Soviet spy, which is every bit as tough as it sounds. Sure, there are plenty of Cold War spy movies, but this one does a great job at relaying the tension of the plot to the viewers; it never feels slow-paced and the performances are superb, there's not one actor that wasn't in their top game. Additionally, the movie gives a great insight into the politics of the Cold War and all the intricacies of a prisoner exchange; and may I add, this movie is very accurate, historically speaking, as the few artistic freedoms that were taken did not change the story in any way. If you like this subject, this movie is a must-watch. And even if you aren't particularly crazy about Cold War spies, I can guarantee you'll enjoy this film.
I'll be honest with you, I like the vast majority of the movies I see. I like some films more than others, evidently, but I tend to enjoy almost every movie. However, these five movies made me want to outright leave the theater. Here they are, in no particular order since they are all bad:
- – OK, maybe Scorch Trials was enjoyable for many, and admittedly, this is the best-rated movie out of these bottom five, but I am also judging it as an adaptation, and let me tell you in my opinion it's the worst film adaptation since , and man, Eragon was bad. Scorch Trials significantly changed the book's plot and therefore will also change following films. Let's see what The Death Cure gives us in 2017.
- – There's a reason this movie's release was constantly delayed until Lionsgate decided it wasn't even worth a wide release, and that's because the movie is terrible. Actually, before looking at its IMDb page, I didn't even know the movie was meant to be a comedy.
- – Disney's gamble on a movie based on a theme park where George Clooney creates a better future for humankind didn't pay off. I was actually excited about the movie but it just fell flat. The story is nothing new and doesn't shine, its optimism is way too much even by Disney's standards, and even then, the movie completely fails to excite.
- – Talk about unfunny films. Hot Pursuit abuses the odd-couple mechanic and has at most one genuinely-funny moment. I've personally never found Sofía Vergara funny, and this movie does nothing to change that. There are gifs which make you laugh more than this entire film.
- – Even if you're old enough to want to watch it, don't. The plot is incredibly poor, and if you want to watch a similar movie with a terrible plot, there are much better places to look.