2015 IN REVIEW: The Fifth Annual One of These Things
2015 is over. Can you believe it? For me, this was probably the most looked forward to year in movies since 2012, when The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises premiered. In fact, 2015 was in a lot of ways exactly like 2012 and had a lot of follow-ups to major films of 2012 – an Avengers film, a new James Bond film, a Hunger Games film, a new Quentin Tarantino film, a prestige Steven Spielberg historical drama, a new David O. Russell film featuring Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Robert De Niro, a new film about Alfred Hitchcock, an Aardman Animation film, a new Pixar film featuring female leads… Yup, pretty much a repeat of 2012, only 2015 featured even more familiar cash-ins than even then, with even more familiar brands making their return to the silver screen: Mad Max, the Terminator, Jurassic Park, Rocky, The Transporter, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Vacation, Taken, the Fantastic Four… Oh, and Star Wars. Can’t forget that one!
But a lot of other films did come out this year beyond just major franchises and major brand releases. I can’t say that I saw everything that was released this year, of course, and I do have to make a confession about my film viewing habits this year, too: I saw far more of those major releases over the minor ones than I had actually intended. Oops. I feel like a bad critic, particularly since I am pretty much about to break another record for number of movies I have seen for a single year. (I count Redbox and streaming services and also post-New Year’s views, too, so long as they’re before I complete the year in review, just to let you know.) I had a rather personally tumultuous year, you see, and so I do believe this resulted in me not exactly engaging my brain nearly as much as I wish I had, and so I feel like I got a little lazy in seeking out the particularly great but overlooked films that were released throughout the year. I might very well break my streak of seeing every Best Picture Oscar-nominated film in a year, in fact, which I have managed to maintain since I first did it for 2012. — Hey, look! Another 2012 parallel!
As a result, I am going to do things somewhat different this year for my year in review, but only slightly.
The major change: I am no longer covering films that were released solely in foreign markets. You see, when I first decided to start doing these year in reviews, I intended for the reviews of film I missed to reflect what was going on in the world of cinema outside the United States, too. I had good intentions, and the list of films supplied by Wikipedia was pretty extensive, particularly for Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu language films releasing out of India, and I mostly had a lot of fun finding out what was making waves in foreign box offices. However, the process of researching these films was exceedingly exhausting, as trailers were rarely in English, and so I had to seek out synopses for these films before I could even provide any sort of commentary on them. Sometimes this resulted in pure ambivalence that I feared could be misconstrued as condescension. I just don’t think I have the energy this year to do it, and I’d really like to make 2015 the year that I get the year in review completed at least by the end of January again, and so I had to sacrifice researching films I really had no chance of seeing in the first place. Foreign films won’t be completely absent, of course, as I’m still including particularly significant or interesting films that I curated while doing preliminary research, as well as foreign films that at least had limited theatrical releases here in America. So, yeah, I’m not being xenophobic, you see! It just made the most sense to lighten my workload in this area of all areas.
The minor change isn’t really an alteration of my process as much as it is an alteration of the changing way in which we watch movies. Yes, since this was the year in which Netflix decided to start releasing original films, I am now also including significant films that debuted on streaming media services from here on out, as well. (Many of them also saw limited theatrical releases, anyway, so I’m not sure how much this counts as a real change, like I said.)
Also, this year, I will actually continue to separate my Best of the Year list (or whatever I end up calling it) by genre, as I did the year before, since I find it unfair to judge the excellence of a side-splitting comedy against the excellence of a tear-inducing art house drama and declare one the victor when they set out to do completely different things and may have equally excelled at those goals, different though they may have been. I am still going to rank the Worst of the Year list by level of craptitude, however, ’cause I have no problems ranking my level of gut level disdain for each individual film!
That’s really about it, otherwise! I will continue to breakdown these lists into multiple posts, starting with a 3-part review of the films I managed to miss, a review of the middle ground films I saw and didn’t feel especially strong in either direction towards, a review of the most terrible films I saw from the year, and concluding with my favorites (’cause, again, I sometimes still really like fluff entertainment that has flaws as much as I like an expertly rendered cry! I’m dynamic like that). As per usual, here is the schedule:
- 2015 IN REVIEW: The Films I Didn’t See (January – April)
- 2015 IN REVIEW: The Films I Didn’t See (May – August)
- 2015 IN REVIEW: The Films I Didn’t See (September – December)
- 2015 IN REVIEW: Everything in Between That I’ve Seen
- 2015 IN REVIEW: The Worst Movies of the Year
- 2015 IN REVIEW: My Top Films of the Year