The annual Top 10 list is a vainglorious exercise where film critics show off how many movies they’ve seen and distill down what they believe are the best ten. If you’re just looking to see how your personal top ten compares to a critic’s, then it’s a waste of everyone’s time. There is no objective list or metric for art. There is no formula. The closest you can reach is a consensus, and you can go get that right now over on Rotten Tomatoes.
A good Top 10 list shouldn’t be about which film ranked higher or lower, or what made the cut. It should be about guiding you to see movies you wouldn’t think to see otherwise or making a case about why a particular film stuck with the author more than other movies seen that year. It’s not a competition, it’s a celebration, and I’m happy to celebrate the following ten films I saw in 2015.
Full disclaimer: I could have had a much better 2015 with regards to film. I still feel like I only scratched the surface and while my count on Letterboxd says I ended up seeing about 260 films this year, too many of those were movies I had already seen (that’s partly from the demands of doing retrospectives) and not enough indies. I didn’t make time for films like The Voices, The Duke of Burgundy, Tangerine, The Wolfpack, Cartel Land, Queen of Earth, and many more that should be in my schedule. That’s not to mention older films that are still massive blind spots in my filmography (one of my New Year’s resolutions is to see every single Spielberg and possibly every Scorsese). I’m going to do better by my own viewing habits and by you in the New Year.
All that being said, I’m more than confident in my picks for 2015; if you haven’t seen these films, I strongly encourage you to seek them out.
Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order): The Big Short, Carol, The Hateful Eight, Listen to Me Marlon, Z for Zachariah