Dalin’s Best and Worst Films of 2015

Here it is folks, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! The creme de la creme of all movie lists–the yearly best and worst. From weirdo fan fictions brought to life, to reboots of franchises, sequels, original indies, and even a few adventures into your own mind–2015 was a year of all kind of adventures, good and bad, light and dark, Jedi and Sith. But which of these movies made the top 10 of each respective list? Well grab your yearly bucket of popcorn, and let’s get this show on the road!

Worst 

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10. Jupiter Ascending

Sometimes on my worst list, I like to give some mention of movies that I deem “so bad they’re good,” and Jupiter Ascending fills that position with such pride. Never have I seen a movie that is so brilliantly stupid, it evokes all of my 13 year old anime loving fan fiction fantasies. Hot boy with angel wings who is half human half wolf? Check. Ridiculous amounts of pretty dresses for no reason? Check. Weirdo creepy skinny hot guys who I shouldn’t be attracted to, but I am? Check. A special snowflake plot line? Check. Oh yes, Jupiter Ascending is certainly not a good movie. But at least it was a fun movie, One my inner nerdy pre-teen adores way too much.

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9. Strange Magic

Just like number 10, Strange Magic is a movie I have watched several times. No, not because it is good, but because it is so interesting to figure out exactly what went wrong here. The movie has a decent enough plot–retelling Midsummer Night’s Dream as a kid friendly musical–but instead of making such a concept work in the most simple of ways, the movie falls flat on itself almost instantly. At least there is Alan Cumming and Evan Rachel Wood duets throughout to keep you going, but otherwise, this is a stinker–big time.

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8. Entourage

You know what’s a great idea? Making movies out of finished HBO series. You know what’s a bad idea? Making one of those movies out of a show that didn’t need a film adaptation in the first place. I will be one of the few women to admit that I love Entourage as a TV show. It might have been “bro talk” the show, but I fell so much in love with the banter of Ari Gold and the other boys that I couldn’t stop watching. Sadly, none of that translated very well in movie form, and felt like a bloated abandoned episode that should have gotten a direct to DVD release. Sorry Vinny and crew, this was disappointing.

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7. Terminator Genisys

Ah, Terminator. The franchise I used to respect and adore. What happened to you? I thought your worst was your third installment–or maybe your fourth–but apparently you just keep getting harder to swallow the further you continue. You’re like a poor animal that needs to be put out of its misery–but no one has the heart to, for fear of not making any money. But considering that is exactly what happened with this new installment, let’s hope the studio executives learned their lesson.

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6. Pixels

You know what I hate? Comedies that aren’t funny. You know what I hate even more? Adam Sandler. Put the two together and you get any of his recent movies, but particularly, Pixels. Not only did this movie give another terrible example of video games on film, but it performed the worst crime of all–it made Peter Dinklage appear boring. Just think about that for a minute–this movie took one of the greatest recent acting discoveries in the last 10 years and made him just seem like a regular run of the mill Adam Sandler stand in. Shame on you Pixels, shame.

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5. The Longest Ride

Oh hurray, another Nicolas Sparks movie! If you weren’t tired of his literary antics being brought to the silver screen before, The Longest Ride doesn’t help that case at all. There’s not much to say with specifics because, if you know the Sparks formula, you can pretty much guess what happens in this movie. But instead of soldiers or doctors, this one is filled with bull riders and horses. Yep, Sparks delivers the failure yet again.

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4. The Seventh Son

Sometimes there are movies that are so bad, they’re laughable. Then there are ones that make you incredibly angry. But then there are the worst ones of all–boring films. And The Seventh Son definitely takes that spot for 2015. I’ll be honest that I was pretty excited for this one. Sure, it looked like popcorn fun at best, but it had Jeff Bridges doing Jeff Bridges things in a fantasy setting. But the movie couldn’t even deliver on that most simple of fangirl requests. Bad special effects, and bad use of the Bridges–sounds like another one to toss in the Walmart discount pile.

A film still from “Jem and the Holograms.”

3. Jem and the Holograms

Some of you I’m sure were expecting this one to take the top spot, but there were two other films that were even more disturbing than this one, if you could imagine. But that shouldn’t distract you from the fact that Jem is bad, like really, really bad. Why? Well, you can read my countless articles about its awfulness here. But to put it simply, this movie was way more generic than it should have been. And when you are based on a franchise as fun and adorable as Jem, then that is a crime you can never back away from. Definitely truly outrageous, if you ask me.

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2. Pan

Some will disagree with me on this choice, but I’ll put it as blunt as I can: Pan might be one of the worst screenplays of 2015. Why? Because if you thought the weak writing in Jem was bad–with its shoehorned in catch phrases and weird plot decisions–then you don’t know the treasure trove of fail that Pan provides. Somehow, in the span of a little under two hours, I was forced to watch my precious Garrett Hedlund do a terrible Jack Nicholson impersonation, hear a butchered random cover of Blitzkrieg Bop, see the most confusing interpretation of Tiger Lily ever put to screen, all the while forcing down a terrible origin story of a character that already had a couple of decent origin stories to chose from for your enjoyment. It’s a shame newcomer Levi Miller had to debut in this, he deserves much better.

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1. Fifty Shades of Grey

Let me get this out of the way: Fifty Shades of Grey might be one of the funniest films I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. No, it wasn’t supposed to be funny–in fact it was meant to be a romantic drama. But instead, I found myself laughing consistently throughout, as if I was watching a skit on Whose’s Line Is It Anyway? or SNL. From the terrible, horrendous acting of the two leads, to the laughable adaptation of the already terrible novel, this is 2015’s Mommy Dearest, with such memorable scenes as Anastasia confessing her virginity, any part that takes place in the hardware store, and of course, the epic moments near Christian’s piano. Bring those unintentional laugh crying tissues, because this one sure is a weirdo knee slapper.

Best

Honorable Mentions:

Peanuts Movie

Somehow, Blue Sky Studios managed to create a fantastic tribute to The Peanuts comics, a movie they should definitely be proud of.

Cinderella

Most recent live action Disney adaptations have felt less like Mouse House creations and more like Hot Topic ads. But Cinderella broke that mold and made something that we don’t often find for families anymore: an honest to God classic fairy tale brought to proper, stunning life.

Kingsmen: The Secret Service

Its hard to top Bond in the spy movie genre, but somehow, Kingsmen did it in 2015. With the incredible casting of Colin Firth and newcomer Taron Egerton, this movie got a lot right of what most spy films get wrong.

Ex Machina

Though the plot was a tad predictable, Ex Machina is an achievement that should definitely not go unnoticed. The three leads shine here, and prove that they are a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood, along with effects supervisor Andrew Whitehurst.

Infinity Polar Bear

There were a lot of great Indie films in 2015, but one of the bunch that stood out the most was Infinity Polar Bear. A simple story of a very complicated family, this film beautifully portrays the struggles of growing up with a parent who is not completely together themselves, where the kids are more grown up than the actual grown ups.

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10. Far from the Madding Crowd

A movie that sadly got overshadowed by many in 2015 was Far from Madding Crowd, an adaptation of the famous novel of the same name, but one that accomplishes the goals that other cinematic versions couldn’t. Carey Mulligan shines here as iconic heroine Bathsheba Everdene, portraying a character that if put into the wrong acting hands could have come across as too much of a good thing. But Mulligan plays this part to perfection, and along with co-stars Matthias Schoenaerts and Michael Sheen, brings to life a story that many would deem didn’t need another cinematic retelling, but actually created the best version ever put to celluloid.

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9. It Follows

I’m very picky when it comes to films within the horror genre. Some are too gimmicky for my tastes, while others are just carbon copies of better films made 30 years ago. But It Follows is different. Sure, it has some plot holes and tiny flaws that some will argue over, but at the end of the day, it has a unique spark that no other horror film had this year. It pays tribute to the ’80s slasher and fantasy based horror flicks of the past, while retaining its own bizarre sense of self. With a haunting soundtrack that will never leave my head, It Follows is a movie that has yet to escape my movie loving mind.

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8. Spy

I’ve said on several occasions that I am not a big fan of comedies. Why? Well I don’t like to sit in a movie and be forced to find things funny. I like humor that comes naturally, or from a place of true comedic brilliance. Spy for the most part, does this. Why? Because much like Kingsmen, Paul Feig creates an incredible tribute to the spy film genre, while at the same time delivering not one, but many powerful hilarious characters–particularly of the female variety. Improving on elements that Austin Powers never got quite right, Spy is a treasure that might not be for everyone, but for the people it is for, it is incredible.

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7. Predestination

Though it came out everywhere else in 2014, one of the best discoveries of  2015 was Predestination, a super underrated sci-fi movie. This is one of those cinematic adventures that is best left completely cold when seeing for the first time, because any big reveal of the plot will ruin the magic of piecing the clues together. Though some will argue that those clues are pretty spelled out towards the end, it was a theme park ride I never wanted to get off of.

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6. Carol

There are many movies this year that hung onto their Oscar buzz and have nothing else really that interesting about them. But thank goodness for movies like Carol that show you can stand on your own with or without the buzz, because it is just a good movie. With career defining performances by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, Carol is a stunning piece of filmmaking, with a story that is as relevant as it is timeless.

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5. Crimson Peak

Many will argue if this movie should be on the list, but considering the fact I saw this movie 4 times in the span of 5 days, I deem it something that is required to be part of this pack. Sure, Crimson Peak might not have been what everyone was expecting it to be, but it was definitely the kind of film that remains in my mind for the best of reasons. It was my favorite director’s (Guillermo Del Toro) homage to Hammer Horror films of the ’60s and ’70s, with hints of tributes to Hitchcock’s Rebecca and many other famous Victorian Horrors. And if there is any proof needed that Del Toro could make one hell of a Haunted Mansion movie for Disney, here is your proof, in all its over dramatic gothic splendor. Definitely for an acquired taste, Crimson Peak is the horror fantasy of my (and many people’s) wildest dreams.

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4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Well duh, did you think this one wasn’t going to make the list? By far, The Force Awakens is the greatest movie event this year, if not this decade. It has taken the world by storm, and for good reason, because it is actually a fantastic film. With characters that never lose their steam, stunning action sequences, and fantastic film fun–this is the Star Wars movie I’ve been waiting for my whole nerd loving life. And if this one is that good, I can’t wait to see how Episode 8 and 9 turn out.

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3. Inside Out

Pixar had been in a rough patch for the past couple of years. But with Inside Out, the animation studio is officially back in business, providing not just one of the great animated movies, but just overall movies in recent year. With a concept that has been done before, but not to this creative an extent, Inside Out brings out the pure emotions (pun intended) that many films these days just lack completely. Featuring incredible animation, voice work, and some of the best lines in 2015 (“Congratulations San Francisco, you ruined pizza!”) Inside Out will always be a treasure in the Pixar collection, and rightly so.

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2. Spotlight

Though many movies are labeled as Oscar bait, there are some that truly deserve the praise they get, and Spotlight is one of them. I grew up when this particular news about the Catholic Church broke, and it was a story I found incredibly captivating and intense, and this film portrays that feeling in as real a fashion as a movie should, to almost documentary type levels. Though this is definitely a film that works as an acting ensemble gold mine, what truly shines the most is the screenwriting, which is as good as it gets. Powerful to the core, this is a movie that delivers all the Oscar buzz it gets.

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1. Mad Max: Fury Road

Yeah, sure, there are a lot of great movies here, but still without a doubt, Mad Max: Fury Road was the film that topped them all for me. For no film has in such a long time filled me with such adrenaline and pure cinematic joy than this movie has. Sure, it leaves us with a lot more questions than answers, and some feel the movie was mislabeled due to who the real standout characters were. But at the end of the day, this is the kind of movie that moved me to want to work in the industry in the first place. The kind of film that takes me away to a place I never would have looked, and made my heart beat faster with every frame. It was an extended chase scene, but one that should be recognized for its brilliance. George Miller made me feel like a kid again, one who was looking for the epic and grandness that film could provide, which Fury Road most certainly did, without fail.

So those are my top picks! What were yours? Tell us all your best and worst movies of the year in the comments below. Were you all about Star Wars? Which of the two Pixar movies was on your top list? Did you hate Fifty Shades just as much as me? Tell us all the feels down in the comments section! And until then, Happy New Year!

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