What made the final cut for our top 5 movies of 2015 and which film is No. 1? Take a look at our list …
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Let’s start this ‘best of’ list with a disclaimer — we don’t necessarily cover every single movie that’s released into theaters so right away some of the strongest performers or most critically acclaimed films may not make our list — looking right at you Spotlight, which is probably the best movie made in 2015.
That being said, the films we do cover here at Nerdcore Movement all typically fall into a category that would seem to make sense for a site like ours to talk about and thus our list of the top five movies of 2015 comes together.
Some of the movies made us laugh, others made us cry, but what all five of these films did beyond a shadow of a doubt was keep us lodged in a theater seat for two-plus hours, caught in the marvel of the perfect chemistry of acting, directing and writing all coming together just right.
Without further ado, here are the top five movies for 2015:
5. It Follows
There has been a real horror renaissance over the last few years with a number of writers and directors truly re-inventing the genre as a whole and while a dozen copycats and/or sequels eventually come along to ruin the originality, the first of its kind is a credit to the kind of pulsating filmmaking that goes along with a truly well made scary movie.
In 2015 there was none better than the indie-horror darling of the year — It Follows.
The story centers around a curse (of sorts) that follows a person with unrelenting pursuit until they are dead — or pass along the plague to somebody else through sexual intercourse. The scariest parts of It Follows is not knowing who is hiding the monster inside them and when they finally connect with a dead-eyed stare the killer makes a beeline towards their prey with a kind of robotic, single-minded purpose that’s equal parts eerie and truly terrifying all at once.
Combine that with a soundtrack that sounds like John Carpenter personally wrote it and It Follows is the best of the classic 1980’s horror film mixed with a truly unique take on the genre. If you like being scared, nothing will frighten you more this year than It Follows.
4. The Hateful Eight
Quentin Tarantino doesn’t make movies all that often so when he does finally commit to writing and directing a new film, it’s a good bet that everybody will be paying attention and chances are it’s going to be a damn good viewing experience.
The Hateful Eight is no different except in many ways this movie takes Tarantino back to his earliest days where he wrote about a crew of jewel thieves all locked up together after a heist gone wrong in Reservoir Dogs. This time the pieces of the bloody puzzle come together after a bounty hunter bringing his prey to justice gets trapped in a make shift hotel along with a lot of interesting characters thanks to a massive snowstorm.
What results is Tarantino’s signature dialogue that eventually dissolves into one big shootout as a mystery unfolds with at least one man not exactly who they say they are in the beginning. The point of The Hateful Eight isn’t so much to unravel the tapestry that Tarantino weaves with his mystery, but instead the pleasure of this movie comes from sitting back and watching it all unfold from one great performance to the next.
Add to that a soundtrack composed by the legendary Ennio Morricone and the raw quality that comes along with Tarantino’s dedication to shooting on film and The Hateful Eight will draw you back to the days of the classic spaghetti western. And you can ask almost any other filmmaker working in Hollywood today — those aren’t easy to get made and even harder to produce. Tarantino has now managed to do two in a row and he’s really getting into his groove with The Hateful Eight.
3. Mad Max: Fury Road
Visceral. Non-stop. Pulsating. Head thumping. Action packed.
Those are just a few of the words to describe George Miller’s return to the big screen with Mad Max: Fury Road, which kick started the series into 2015 with Tom Hardy taking over the part once played by Mel Gibson and Charlize Theron playing a shaved head, feminist bad ass named Furiosa.
There is a story and a plot to Mad Max: Fury Road but you almost forget those things are going on because the action in this movie is insane and unrelenting from the start of the movie until the very end. Imagine the most intense car chase scene you’ve ever watched in a movie, add a shit load of guns, a desert wasteland, a guitar playing lunatic and enough adrenaline to bring you out of a coma and then pump you so full of energy that your eyeballs explode out of your head.
That’s Mad Max: Fury Road.
And it really was one of the most enjoyable movies to watch this year.
2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
There are no words to describe the amount of anticipation that surrounded 2015’s biggest movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but the best part about this sequel more than 30 years in the making is that it lived up to everything a fan of this series could hope for.
In all the ways that George Lucas’ prequels failed to capture the spirit and story of the original trilogy, J.J. Abrams brought Star Wars back to the big screen with a movie that will be enjoyed for decades to come. Fans who stuck around from the first movie released in 1977 all the way to kids just barely old enough to see the new film today have been enthralled by the magic and majesty that Abrams captured in the new Star Wars movie.
Sure, there are critics who haven’t loved the movie and others panned it for not being as original as they hoped — but let’s not forget one of the main reason so many people hated the prequels is that it felt far, far removed from the Star Wars trilogy we all grew up on and loved. Star Wars: The Force Awakens truly does feel like the fourth movie in the series that first started in the 70’s and Abrams and the new team behind the movies from Disney have reignited the passion for a series that has become part of pop culture legend.
If you haven’t seen this movie, run to the theater and do so now because this is the Star Wars movies we’ve been waiting for since Return of the Jedi closed out the original trilogy in 1983.
1. The Martian
It could easily be argued that the five films we chose for the best of the year could all vie for this top spot in their own way, but with only one movie able to claim the top spot, Ridley Scott’s The Martian really was a triumph in every category from start to finish.
The Martian told the story of astronaut Mark Watney (played by Matt Damon) who is accidentally left stranded on Mars after his team’s mission nearly ends in disaster and the rest of the crew leaves the planet thinking he’s already dead. Needless to say, Watney didn’t die and the next two-plus hours plays like a love letter to science and survival as he’s forced to find a way to live on a desolate planet where there is no life and the scientists and politicians back on Earth are left to find a way to save him from eventual doom.
So many great films end in tragedy or sadness, but without completely spoiling the film for those that haven’t seen it, part of the reason why The Martian is the best movie of the year is the fact that it’s so overwhelmingly uplifting. There’s a real sense of teamwork as people from all over the world join together to find a way to save Watney, while he’s left with nothing but his smarts and ingenuity to keep him breathing on a planet where there’s no air.
There’s nothing not to like about this movie and that goes a long way in the reason behind why The Martian really did stand head and shoulders above the crowd in 2015.