Mad Maz’s Top Ten Movies of 2015

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If it isn’t abundantly clear, I see a lot of movies. I don’t get paid to see them, or even write about them, even though that would be fantastic. Going to the theater is something I have always done my whole life, it is like breathing for me. So naturally, as it is one of my few hobbies, I see many movies each year at the astonishment of my friends, family and co-workers. By my count, I am up to about 63-65 movies in 2015 and that isn’t even including multiple viewings… for instance, I have seen Creed and Star Wars three times each…and that may hold true for Inside Out as well. But I don’t usually make a ranking of the best, maybe I do subconsciously, but I have never went out of my way to keep track. BUT!!! This is also the first time I have had a website of my own, right? So let’s begin a new tradition!!

I have a compiled a list of my favorite and least favorite movies of 2015– but I got bored with that so I compiled additional categories like “Best Male Actor” or “Best Animated/Kids Movie” and I even did a “Best Action Sequences” category! Keep in mind that my lists are entirely subjective, so If you don’t like my ranking or choices…well… tough shit. Just try to be civil. Also, keep in mind that for me to rank a movie, I first would have had to see said movie. So as much as I would want Bridge of Spies to be on ANY of my categories, because who doesn’t love T. Hanks, I can’t… because I never saw the movie. But I would love to see comments about what your favorite movies were in a given category and why, so don’t be afraid to share your opinions with me.

Oh and also! The lists will be in order so the movie in the #1 spot is my most favorite.

So, without further ado, here is my first category (and arguably the most important):

Mad Maz’s Top Ten Movies of 2015

#1 Creed

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Release date: November 25, 2015 (USA)
Director: Ryan Coogler
Film series: Rocky
Music composed by: Ludwig Göransson
Screenplay: Ryan Coogler, Aaron Covington
Gross:  $96,141,653 (USA) (25 December 2015)
Production Co: MGM, Warner Bros.
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Slyvester Stalone, Tessa Thompson
Admittedly, While Creed is one of the best films of 2015, the reason it ranks at #1 for me is due to my own bias… that is the honest truth. The Rocky franchise is near and dear to my heart and this movie is a classic Rocky movie pure and simple. The film follows Adoniss Johnson, the illegitemate son of the late Apollo Creed. Adoniss decides to take up the rough path of boxing and enlists the help of Apollo’s closest friend, Rocky Balboa. Part of what I love about this film is just how purely it captures the essence of the original rocky films, it fits perfectly into that saga while stamping out and earning its own right for future films. Additionally, Michael B. Jordan puts out a spectacular performance for a character that could have been rather unlikable. It also houses some of the BEST boxing scenes in a boxing move that I have ever seen and I hope to see more from this franchise in the future.

#2 The Martian

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Release date: October 2, 2015 (USA)
Director: Ridley Scott
Story by: Andy Weir
Screenplay: Drew Goddard
Music composed by: Harry Gregson-Williams
Gross: $224,853,519 (USA) (25 December 2015)
Production Co: Twentieth Century Fox
Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristin Wiig, Kate Mara, Jeff Daniels
After reading the book by the same title, the Martian quickly became one of my most anticipated movies of 2015. And it definitely delivered. The Martian follows to main stories. The first is that of Mark Whatney (Matt Damon) who is left stranded on Mars after an intense storm causes the crew of the Hermes to abort the mission. He has to stay alive, using his meager resources and considerably large mental capacities, until help is able to arrive to help him– presumably 4 years later. The Second, is that of the folks at NASA and their banning together not just one country, but the world, to save one man, Whatney. Matt Damon Captures the sarcasm, wit, intelligence and light-heartedness of Watney perfectly. The film is equal parts Robinson Crusoe and Tom Hanks from Cast Away, but brings in enough elements from earth and NASA that it feels like a docu-drama that is focused on Mark Watney’s rescue mission. It balances two completely different movies extremely well.

#3 Star Wars: the Force Awakens

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Release date: December 18, 2015 (USA)
Director: J.J. Abrams
Film series: Star Wars
Story by: J.J Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, Michael Arndt
Music composed by: John Williams
Gross:  $600,949,526 (USA) (29 December 2015)
Production Co: Lucasfilm
Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Adam Driver
If The Martian was my most anticipated movie of 2015, The Force Awakens seemed to be everybody else’s. And for good reason! The Force Awakens is the Star Wars movie that we have all waited years to see. It revitalizes life into the franchise and introduces new characters for a younger generation to latch onto. The movie follows Han, Rey, Finn and Chewbacca as they attempt to not only return BB-8, a cute droid holding a piece of a map that leads to Luke Skywalker, to The Resistance, but also as they attempt to take down the evil Dark side-run organization known as The First Order. While the film does hit a lot of the same beats as A New Hope, it does a fantastic job out the future for a bunch of new characters that I am excited to follow. And, let’s be honest, it is pretty awesome seeing it destroy  every other movie in existence, right?

#4 The Hateful Eight

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Release date: December 25, 2015 (USA)
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino
Music composed by: Ennio Morricone
Gross:  $4,610,676 (USA) (25 December 2015)
Production Co: Weinstein Company
Starring: Sam Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Walton Goggins, Demian Bichir, Bruce Dern, James Parks
The Heightful Eight Is full of fantastic performances that I really didn’t expect and each and every character is both easy to like and hate.While racing toward the town of Red Rock in post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunter John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his fugitive prisoner encounter another bounty hunter (Samuel L. Jackson) and a man who claims to be a sheriff. Hoping to find shelter from a blizzard, the group travels to a stagecoach stopover located on a mountain pass. Greeted there by four strangers, the eight travelers soon learn that they may not make it to their destination after all. This film is great for the mystery and the mindless fun that it contains but shouldn’t be overlooked simply because of its gore and foul language. This may be one of the best movies of 2015 and Tarantino really hit his stride with this film!

#5 Straight Outta Compton

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Release date: August 14, 2015 (USA)
Director: F. Gary Gray
Music composed by: Joseph Trapanese
Produced by: Ice Cube, Tomica Wright, Matt Alvarez, F. Gary Gray, Dr. Dre
Screenplay: Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman
Gross:$161,029,270 (USA) (16 October 2015)
Production Co: Circle of Confusion
Starring: O’Shea Jackson Jr, Jason Mitchel, Corey Hawkins, Aldis Hodge, F. Gary Gray
I had no intention of seeing this film based on the previews. I didn’t know much about Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E or N.W.A., it was before my time and I honestly though it wouldn’t be a good film. I was invited to see it by my brother and, since I go and see every film, I figured why not? I was blown away by this film as the actors were amazing Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., WAS Ice Cube. The story was extremely interesting and the film was actually less raunchy than I thought it would be. This is currently my favorite film of the year because it was able to achieve a lot of emotion and depth and stay true (based on what I have researched anyways) to the core material.

#6 Steve Jobs

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Release date: October 9, 2015 (USA)
Director: Danny Boyle
Story by: Walter Isaacson
Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin
Music composed by: Daniel Pemberton
Gross: $17,750,583 (USA) (4 December 2015)
Production Co: Universal Pictures
Starring: Jeff Daniels, Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet
This film was the probably the best movie of 2015 that no one watched. We follow Jobs as her traverses three different, but equally important, product launches throughout his life. Steve Jobs has a lot of Oscar-worthy scenes and dialogue and it is truly a shame that many people will overlook this movie or skip it entirely simply because of the 2013 Jobs film.

#7 The Peanuts Movie

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Release date: November 6, 2015 (USA)
Director: Steve Martino
Story by: Charles M. Schulz
Music composed by: Christophe Beck
Production companies: Blue Sky Studios, 20th Century Fox Animation
Starring: Trombone Shorty, Rebecca Bloom, Anastasia  Bredikhina, Kristin Chenoweth, Alexander Garfin, Noah Johnston, Hadley Miller, Bill Melendez, Noah Schnapp, Mariel Sheets, Venus Schultheis, Madisyn Shipman, A.J. Tecce, Francesca Capaldi
The Peanuts Movie Couples everything you love about the classic Peanuts franchise with an accessible and heart-warming plot not often seen in big-budget movies today. I highly recommend it both as a family movie as well as a date movie. Charlie Brown will warm your heart as he attempts to battle his own insecurities and self doubt to win the heart of the Little Red-Haired Girl.

#8 Inside Out

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Release date: June 19, 2015 (USA)
Directors: Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
Story by: Pete Docter
Production companies: Pixar, Walt Disney Pictures
Screenplay: Pete Docter, Josh Cooley, Meg LeFauve
Gross: $356,454,367 (USA) (4 December 2015)
Starring: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Richard Kind, Kaitlyn Dias
What can be better than a film exploring how emotions work inside ourselves? Oh I don’t know, a movie where said emotions are perfectly cast and adorable!!! And that is what we get with Inside Out. When Joy, named after the emotion she governs, and Sadness accidentally get ejected from headquarters, along with Riley’s (their human) core memories that make up “Riley”, they must traverse the long and dangerous path that is long-term memory and make it back in time to save their beloved human before something worse becomes of her. This movie was unique, charming and awesome in all the right places and has good lessons to be learned throughout and it honestly might have been it’s big-budget nature that stopped it from overtaking Peanuts for me…

#9 Spy

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Release date: June 5, 2015 (USA)
Director: Paul Feig
Screenplay: Paul Feig
Music composed by: Theodore Shapiro
Gross: $110,822,419 (USA) (2 October 2015)
Production Co: Twentieth Century Fox
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Jude Law, Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart
Spy was my biggest surprise enjoyment of 2015 hands down. I really REALLY didn’t want to see this film, my wife practically forced me! But man…. I could not have been more foolish! I expected to see Tammy the Sequel, but what I got was a truly great comedy that had my ribs hurting right from the very beginning.

 

#10 The Man From U.N.C.L.E

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Release date: August 14, 2015 (USA)
Director: Guy Ritchie
Music composed by: Daniel Pemberton
Story by: Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram, Sam Rolfe, David C. Wilson, Jeff Kleeman
Screenplay: Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram, David C. Wilson, Scott Z. Burns
Gross: $45,434,443 (USA) (16 October 2015)
Production Co:  Warner Bros, RatPac-Dune Entertainment
Starring: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Hugh Grant

The tale of two unlikely partners during the Cold War: One a rough and tough Soviet-Spy and the other a Suave and sophisticated con-man turned American spy have to ban together to save the world from ab evil organization housing weapons of mass destruction. This spy-comedy isn’t afraid to make fun of the genre and isn’t afraid to glorify it either. The constant back-and-forth between the two main characters allows for a very funny and surprisingly solid film.

 

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