2015: The Skinny

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Hello again my friends! Once again we find ourselves at the end of the year, the fifth yearly review since I opened up here in late 2011! 2015 was a strange time for this venerable blog. This year, I found myself moving to a new home, in a new state, and I advanced forward in my career. To accommodate this, I pretty much dropped any “skinnys” on TV, video games, or comic books.  I even saw many less movies than my average (17!)This led to my first ever DROP in readers…(you deceitful sows!). yes, 2014 had a viewership of 6700 and we have 4700 now. I did not realize how many readers of comics, tv, and games there were, but fear not! I have some good news on that front! This good news can be can be read in my “2016, and Beyond!” post. There are some exciting changes coming to this Blog and I hope all (3) of you enjoy the ride!

The purpose of this post, however, is not to look ahead… but behind!

Now, before we move forward with the lists, below are some links to the previous 404 films I have seen in theaters. Please pardon the lack of cohesive design in these pages. They were written at different times, and for different purposes. Together, they give an overview of my 28 years in cinema, as well as my thoughts on each year.

Disclaimer: This is the place where I mention that this list includes not only movies I have seen in theaters, but also on home video release or streaming. Every year I tend to watch all the Oscar nominees before the awards ceremony. This year had some doozies too, but they were all 2014 films. I can say only this regarding them: If I had seen Grand Budapest Hotel in 2014, it would have been the top film of the year. Other than these Oscar movies, I did not rent or stream anything new. Therefore, all the films on this list were seen at the Cinema.

I must also remind you that I have not seen, or read, everything. I am not a professional reviewer, and am only able to see a small, very small, fraction of the major releases never mind every indie movie that is the darling of expensive film festivals. Judge me accordingly.

Without further delay, let’s get it done!

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Before we start on films, lets look at some other categories:

Television:

This was another phenomenal year for television. Here are my top 5:

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Honorable Mention: WWE – Yes! 2015 was the year I got sucked back into Professional Wrestling. We watched diligently from Wrestlemania to this week’s abysmal episode of Raw. We even attended 2 Smackdown tapings! Addictive. Standouts- Seth Rollins as champ, Undertaker’s 25th, and NEW. DAY, ROCKS!

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5: Gotham – After a first season that I would call “okay” at best, the second season roared to life with some gripping drama, amazing music, and excellent acting. For comic shows, it is tough to choose between this, Arrow, and Flash but this was the one I felt the need to watch immediately.

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4: House of Cards – I thought this would be in the top spot this year, but I suppose it is tough to follow up the triumph that was season 2. President Frank is up to his old shenanigans, but is failing! This season showed an Underwood that seemed to always be on the defensive as his Presidency, and marriage, crumbled. Outstanding show.

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3: Community – The long promised 6th season has come and gone. Harmon gave us a wonderful send off. I loved the slightly altered format of the Yahoo season. Now…give us the damn movie!

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2: Game of Thrones – Stunning as always. The TV viewers finally caught up to us book readers and we were all surprised as the show moved ever so slightly beyond the novels. White Walkers. Awesome. R+L=J

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1: Better Call Saul – I did not think it was possible to make a prequel to Breaking Bad which was watchable. It was watchable. It was well made. It was stunning. Odenkirk BROUGHT IT. Jimmy Mcgill is a far more interesting version of “s’all good man”. The supporting cast was perfect. The writing was up to par with the best of Breaking Bad. Season 2 cannot come soon enough.

Comic Books

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5: Airboy – Robinson is BACK! This hilariously cathartic view on the life of comic creators is raw and original. Best penises drawn in a comic of the year!

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4: The Fade Out – Brubaker and Phillips near completion on this wonderful look at the blacklist era of Hollywood. One issue left. It will be missed.

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3: Jupiter’s Circle – The fantastic prequel to Jupiter’s legacy. The story moves back several decades to the time of the original superheroes, the parents of the main characters in the original. Published amazingly regularly. My hat is off to Millar and Quitely.

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2: Deadly Class – Ah, Remender. You broke my heart with Maria. This stunning look at a 1980’s high school for assassins really took off this year. The new arc just began, and looks to be the best!

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1: Saga – How could it be anything else? The BEST comic of 2015, and one of the best ever made. Vaughan and Staples are the best.

Movies

These are movies everyone had access to at the local cinema. There are several I WISH I had seen (Furious 7, Fantastic Four, Jobs, and many others) but I just did not have the chance. I am also not seeing as many bad movies as I once did. My crap filter has developed to the point where I can save myself a lot of aggravation. Of the 17 movies I saw in 2015, these are the notables.  Enjoy.

Original reviews can be found on the 2015 Review Page

Terminator Genisys: This belongs to Fantastic Four. If I could have brought myself to see that P.O.S. it would have ruled the goddamn roost. However, of the 17, this was the weakest. It is better than Terminator 3, but under Salvation. It is also no where near the original 2. It’s not even that bad of a movie, but it earned this spot based on it’s competition.

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These films were not that bad, but nowhere near the best. In no particular order:

Spectre: An enjoyable film, but not as good as Casino Royale or Skyfall. Waltz was great though, just wasted.

Jurassic World: The biggest movie of 2015….Ooops. Sorry about that Dinosaurs. The FORMER biggest movie of 2015. It was fun, Chris Pratt was great.

The Night Before: Rogan and company gave us an entertaining stoner comedy.

Sisters: Nothing special. Just an enjoyable time at the movies.

Tomorrowland: I liked it, but it was flawed. I appreciate the message it tried to send, and loved the sights.

Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 2: A satisfying end to the story, but it suffered from being split in 2 parts.

Black Mass: Good movie. Depp played him like a Lizard. Strange choice, but it worked.

Honorable Mention

Jaws – Yes, this movie is 40 years old. This anniversary release was also the first time I have seen it on the big screen. Amazingly good, even after all this time.

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Yes, only eight were good enough to make the cut this year. Let’s see what they were!

8: Avengers: Age of Ultron – One of the best of 2015, but not quite as good as the first. Whedon was definitely getting beaten down by the process at this point. Spader was fantastic.

7: Ant-Man – The best Marvel film of the year. Rudd was an ideal Ant-Man. Douglas was a fantastic Pym, and let’s hear it for the WASP!

6: Trumbo – A bravura performance as the irascible Dalton Trumbo, Cranston has a shot at his Oscar for this one. The supporting actors were on point as well.

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5: The Martian – How many times do we have to save this guy’s ass?! Damon should be in Oscar contention as well. Essentially a one man show. Always entertaining. I must read the book.

4: Creed – The best Rocky movie since the original. Jordan is an amazing lead and Stallone delivers his best performance in years. He’s got a major shot as Best Supporting Actor.

3: The Hateful 8 – A tour de force of acting talent with the best dialogue writer in the business at the top of his game. Sam Jackson should get an Oscar nom for this one. It might be his best performance…ever.

2: Mad Max: Fury Road – I was completely ready to crown this the best of 2015. It very well might win Best Picture. Many are listing it as their best of the year. This movie was a revelation, a pure masterpiece of action cinema. The best of the series and the best action film in decades.

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1: Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Up until 10:40pm on December 17th, Mad Max was the top film. Over the next 2+ hours, it faded into the past. I sat there, waiting for it to get bad… but it never did. It was good. It was great. I exceeded my already heightened expectations. The writing, the acting, the effects, the MUSIC! This IS Star Wars. JJ beat George Miller by a hair. Mad Max is a masterpiece, but this is a cultural touchstone. This is the moment Star Wars came back to us, shiny and chrome.

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This is the movie that people will look back on. This is well on the way to becoming the biggest box office sensation, ever. I have seen it 3 times, with 3 more viewings scheduled over the next couple of weeks.

The Force Awakens is the best film of 2015.

See you next year!

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