The Best Films of 2015 (That I saw)

Every year I watch a ton of movies. Last year I averaged watching one like every 45 hours. I haven't compiled my entire list yet for this year, but I don't think it's very far off from that. I've studied film seriously for almost four years now and have been out of film school for two years. I make my own narrative short films and work on large scale commercial projects in the Charlotte area. This is not to say that my opinion matters more than anyone else's. You're going to enjoy what you're going to enjoy. However, good filmmaking should transcend expectation and embody what matters more than any of the countless other aspects of the craft: effective storytelling i.e. writing. Layering characters with subtext and appropriate motivation, or lack thereof. Calculating the visual experience in combination with the characters' ups and downs. Creating a narrative arc that we can remember and watch time and time again. This is my philosophy, and this is how the following list was conceived:

Best Character - Steve Jobs (Steve Jobs) Runner up - Ava (Ex Machina)

Best Production Design - Room

Best Sound Design - Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Editing - The Big Short

Best Cinematography - Spotlight Runner up - Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Supporting Performances (Ranked in order) - 

1. Alicia Vikander - Ex Machina

2. Jacob Tremblay - Room

3. Michael Shannon - 99 Homes

4. Kate Winslet - Steve Jobs

5. Michael Stuhlbarg - Pawn Sacrifice

6. Samuel L. Jackson - The Hateful Eight

7. Benicio Del Toro - Sicario

8. Mark Ruffalo - Spotlight

9. Ezra Miller - The Stanford Prison Experiment

Best Leading Performances (Ranked in order) - 

1. Michael Fassbender - Steve Jobs

2. Brie Larson - Room

3. Brit Marling - The Keeping Room

4. Tobey Maguire - Pawn Sacrifice

5. Matt Damon - The Martian

Best Screenplay - Jurassic World ...................... GOT EEM! ....................... Steve Jobs Runners up - The Keeping Room - Room - Spotlight - The Hateful Eight

Best Directing - Room Runner up - Spotlight

Best Film (Ranked in order) - 

1. Room

2. Spotlight

3. The Keeping Room

4. Ex Machina

5. Steve Jobs

6. Mad Max: Fury Road

7. The Big Short

8. The Hateful Eight

9. Pawn Sacrifice

10. The Martian

Worst Film (Ranked in order) - 

1. Jurassic World (Seriously, Mega Python VS. Gatoroid has a better script than this)

2. Kingsman: The Secret Service (All style, absolutely no substance)

3. While We're Young (Pretentious hipster garbage. Really disappointed in Noah Baumbach for this.)

Guilty Pleasure - The Green Inferno

Best Surprise - Tomorrowland

IN CLOSING:

I'll be pulling really hard for Room come Oscar time. That film transported me in a way no other did this year. Also, there were some really great blockbusters in 2015. Namely, Mad Max, The Martian, and Tomorrowland. This gives me hope that great stories can still be told at that level. However, just like every year since I started studying/working in film, indie reigns supreme. So many great independent films this year, just like last year and the year before that. Long live independent productions!