Ah, the Top 10 list. The yearly tradition among critics, industry professionals, and cinephiles the world over that allows us to take stock of the last year in film and single out the ten pictures we most loved. Or, at least, that’s my criteria. It’s likely different for everyone and most writers I know (including this one) spend too much time agonizing over their final choices, falling prey to last-minute swaps and the temptation to seem smarter, more cultured. It’s a silly thing to do for a piece of writing that ultimately has little to no importance in the scheme of things. After all, what is the best film? How would one even measure such a thing? It’s so subjective. Cinema is so wide and varied and wonderful. Who is anybody to look at an entire year’s worth of creation and say, “Yes, that’s it. That’s the best one”?
How could I make a list of the best films of the year that doesn’t have such impeccably crafted and technically excellent films as Sicario and Steve Jobs? How could Todd Haynes‘ stunning and evocative love story Carol fail to make the list? I mean have you seen that movie? It’s flawless! What about the seductive decadence of Crimson Peak, the unrelenting dread of Goodnight Mommy, the droning insanity of Queen of Earth, or the big beating heart of Brooklyn? And how does one ignore the engulfing experience of seeing a new Star Wars film on the big screen again? I don’t know. Those movies, and many more (Room, Tokyo Tribe, The End of the Tour, The Look of Silence among them), have a place in any discussion of 2015’s best. All I can offer as an answer, as a guide to my “best of” list, is that the ten films below are the ones that pushed and pulled me the most. The ones that prodded at some emotion or concept, that challenged or fulfilled me in some significant way. I have no idea what the best movie of 2015 is, but I know what my favorites are, and you can check them out below.
(Note: As you can probably guess from that intro, I think ranking films is an insane and futile effort. Comparing Spotlight to Mad Max: Fury Road is ridiculous. But the internet loves ranked stuff, so there’s numbers next to these titles. It doesn’t mean much. In truth, I love all the Top 6 equally. Picture the numbers as dancing monkeys for all I care. The point is that movies — these movies in particular — are fantastic, wonderful things. Let’s celebrate them, shall we?)