My 10 Favorite Flicks of 2015

The Art of Nerding Out

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If you saw “Clerks 2”, you may remember that one of that movie’s themes was the dangers of living according to someone else’s expectations. Living your life based on what others expect of you is a sure-fire recipe for misery. I can tell you that from experience.

However, there are times when you have no choice but to buckle to the expectations of others. For example, at the end of the year every movie critic is expected to throw down a list of his or her 10 best movies of the year. Since I’m a list-making cat anyway, I have no problem sharing my choice for my 10 favorite movies I saw this year. Read ‘em and weep!

10. “The Gift”

10 The Gift

What a surprise! The trailers for this suspenseful yarn made it look like a by-the-numbers yawn. But writer/director/star Joel Edgerton crafted a tense, twisty movie with a great message and killer performances from Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall. And it may compel you to be a little nicer to people after you see it.

9. “Ant-Man”

9 Ant-man

Marvel movies usually end with our heroes battling an innumerable enemy to save the world. “Ant-Man” sidesteps that tiring tendency, instead hitting us with a zippy, amusing heist flick. The premise of a shrinking superhero who controls ants is quirky enough to hold your interest, but the characters in the film are guys you might actually want to hang out with. And the final battle between Ant-Man and the movie’s main heavy is priceless.

8. “Once I was a Beehive”

8 Once I Was a Beehive

Easily the most surprisingly enjoyable movie I saw this year, “Beehive” brims with laughs, heart and love for its characters. It’s the first LDS comedy where the laughs come from the characters themselves, instead of making fun of what makes Mormons different from everyone else. That’s actually quite an achievement.

7. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

7 Star Wars copy

Come one, you KNEW this one would be in here somewhere. “Force Awakens” suffers from impatient pacing, too much Prequel-hater butt-kissing and an antagonist who’s less threatening than a bratty 5-year-old. But the film overcomes these flaws thanks to good writing and great acting. “Force Awakens” has enough fun, energy, action and humor to be a welcome return to a much-beloved cinematic universe.

6. “Straight Outta Compton”

6 Straight Outta copy

Great story. Great acting. Great soundtrack. It may have failed to show some of the more negative aspects of N.W.A.’s rise to the top, but it’s immensely entertaining and captures the spirit of a music revolution.

5. “Kingsman: The Secret Service”

5 kingsman

First thing: This movie will change the way you think about Colin Firth. Second thing: Samuel L. Jackson gives us the most memorable and entertaining movie villain of the year. Final thing: This movie reminded me that “Give It Up” by KC & The Sunshine Band is a pretty wicked awesome tune.

4. “Ex Machina”

4 Ex Machina

Before “Star Wars”, Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson co-starred in this twisted, dark take on the “Pinocchio” story. You may think this is just a movie where people sit around talking, but pay attention. You’ll find what the characters are saying is pretty interesting stuff. And what the characters say without speaking is downright fascinating.

3. “Creed”

3 Creed

This “Rocky” spin-off could have been dreadful, but Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone don’t let that happen. Instead, we get a winning coming-of-age tale that packs an emotional punch. Watching Jordan and Stallone verbally spar in “Creed” is one of the most enjoyable cinematic experiences you have this year.

2. “The Martian”

2 The Martain

Astronaut Mark Watney takes on a whole planet in a battle for survival. Matt Damon gives a terrific performance as Watney, a guy in an impossible situation who decides to kick butt instead of wallowing in self-pity. Add Watney’s exploits to the gorgeous Martian landscapes and director Ridley Scott’s visual flair, and you have a whopper of a watchable movie.

1. “Mad Max: Fury Road”

1 Mad Max copy

This is it. Though it’s a little short on story, “Fury Road” is overloaded with spectacle, energy and eye-popping action. It also gives one of the baddest (as in “one of the best”) female characters since Ellen Ripley from the “Aliens” films. Plus, a dude bungie-strapped to the front of a semi truck while playing metal riffs on a flame-throwing guitar? That’s the most awesome thing ever.

So, there you go. Do you agree? If not, what was your favorite movie of the year? Let’s get a dialogue going. Cuz talking about movies is FUN.