Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Year-End Reflections of 2015

2015 is coming to an ending and honestly, thank goodness it was over. It was an alright year that had a lot of things happening but it was also a tough one where I didn’t get to see as many films as I wanted to as I was also dealing with personal things. Notably the passing of my dog Prissy on October 9 as it’s something I’m still not over as the recent passing of Lemmy Kilmister and Scott Weiland has hit me quite hard as well. It was a tough year as the only thing to do left is to see what I saw in the entire year and reflect on it.

In the year of 2015, I saw a total of 420 films in 258 first-timers and 162 re-watches. Not bad though it was very short of a personal goal that I was aiming for in 2015 which was to see 500 films for the year. Maybe I’ll try that again for another time. Among these highlights are the films that I saw for the 2015 Blind Spot Series as here is how I rank them:

1. Suspiria

2. The Long Goodbye

3. Singin' in the Rain

4. Man with a Movie Camera

5. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

6. The Human Condition Trilogy

7. Scarface

8. My Darling Clementine

9. Charulata

10. The General

11. Sullivan's Travels

12. Alphaville

2015 was a damn good year in not just the Blind Spots that I saw but also in the numerous amount of first-timers that I saw. Some of which were old films and some were new or recent films. This list of the 50 best First-Timers that I saw for 2015 as there were some that were better than my Blind Spot choices. I should note that the list will feature films that came out before the year 2010 as the films from 2010 to 2015 will be part of a future list of the best films of the 2010s coming in 2020. Maybe. Here are the 50 Best First-Timers that I saw for 2015:

1. House

2. Hiroshima Mon Amour

3. Patton

4. Cleo from 5 to 7

5. The Straight Story

6. Children of Paradise

7. Red Desert

8. Dressed to Kill

9. Sherlock Jr.

10. Mother

11. My Life as a Dog

12. Escape from New York

13. El Sur

14. La Cienaga

15. The Freshman

16. Au Revoir Les Enfants

17. Il Sorpasso

18. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

19. Cria Cuervos

20. I Stand Alone

21. Trafic

22. The Ascent

23. Bay of Angels

24. The Great Train Robbery

25. Elevator to the Gallows

26. A Night at the Opera

27. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

28. The Headless Woman

29. The Cameraman

30. Tess

31. Du cote de la cote

32. The Fire Within

33. Ride the High Country

34. Zazie Dans Le Metro

35. Beauty and the Beast

36. In the Mouth of Madness

37. Pierrot Le Fou

38. The Crowd

39. To Catch a Thief

40. Intolerance

41. Horse Feathers

42. The Magician

43. Donkey Skin

44. Reds

45. Stromboli

46. Europa '51

47. Journey to Italy

48. Dial M for Murder

49. Sweet Smell of Success

50. The Earrings of Madame de...

2015 was a big year in terms of the film I saw but it was also a year of some major discoveries and events that came throughout the year. Here are things that were important to me in 2015:

1. Xavier Dolan

No filmmaker this year made an impact for me than Xavier Dolan. Before 2015, I had heard of him but hadn’t seen anything about him. There was no way to ignore him as I decided to see his films for an Auteurs piece on him and it is clear that man is for real. What is more surprising that he is in his 20s and is already making films that wannabe filmmakers or established filmmakers wish they could do. For me, he’s made three films that will be among the some of the best films ever along with music videos that are phenomenal and two more films that add to his status as the best filmmaker working today.

2. Ring of Honor

Having now becoming disconnected with the WWE and its awful product, there was a need for me to find an alternative. While there is New Japan and Lucha Underground, I couldn’t find the time to watch and record the former while I don’t have access to watch the latter. I have heard of Ring of Honor for years but never found the chance to watch them on TV as they have been a source of comfort for me. It took me a while to get used to their production values as well as the fact that they’re all wrestling and nothing else but it was exactly what I needed. Just good in-ring action with amazing talent and champions that are credible.

3. The Rise of Strong Female Protagonists

For me, this was a great year for great women characters in films. Whether it’s Melissa McCarthy being funny and kicking ass in Spy, Brie Larson trying to be strong and deal with reality for her son in Room, or Mia Wasikowska being in a haunted house with ghosts in Crimson Peak. It was a year where some of the world’s best filmmakers and some of Hollywood’s key players decide to let the ladies rule. Yet, the best example come in not one but two of some of the best features of the year in the world of blockbuster cinema. Charlize Theron’s performance as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road and Daisy Ridley’s breakthrough performance as Rey in The Force Awakens are a key example of women being the ones kicking ass and taking names.

4. Finally Attending a 70mm Screening.

Having been immersed in the world of films, there were a lot of things that I want to do and there’s still some things I would love to do as someone that loves films. This past Monday, I finally crossed something off the bucket list where I finally attended my first 70mm screening for The Hateful Eight. This is second time I attended a roadshow screening (the first was Che in early 2009) as I knew this was going to be an event. Especially for a film like this as I felt I was experience something that rarely happens in film as it still feels fresh. At the same time, you get a sense of what it was like back then and what it could be in an age where movies are being treated as commodities rather than something else.

5. David Lynch

Knowing that Twin Peaks is going to return in 2017, I knew it was time to do an Auteurs piece on him as it would also allow me to revisit some of his work as well as see the short films that he did. It also gave me the chance to see the show that made him an icon in Twin Peaks though I’m about half-way finished with the second and final season which I hope to complete in early 2016. It is no question that he is one of the finest figures in popular culture and in cinema as maybe the return of Twin Peaks will give him the chance to make possibly one more film.

Well, that is all for 2015. It was a rough year but one that was also kind of fun. Now it’s time to move on and get ready for the New Year. Until then, this is thevoid99 saying Happy New Year and goodbye to 2015.

© thevoid99 2015


Dell said...

I hope 2016 is an easier one for you. And even though it was short of your goal, I'm very impressed with your total of over 400 films watched over the course of the year. Without counting, m
I would guesstimate that I came in at about half that number, give or take a few. Looking forward to continuing to hang around this place this year.

Big Screen Small Words said...

That's an impressive number of films! 2015 was a great for female protagonists, and I hope the momentum doesn't stop there.

thevoid99 said...

@Wendell-I'll be looking forward to commenting. I don't think I'll do 500 this year but I'll just go for another 400.

@Wendell-Same here. More women ass-kickers.

Chris said...

Happy New Year! The rise of strong female protagonists this year were noticable to me too. Doesn't look like stopping in 2016 with The Huntsman: Winter's War, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and also female Ghostbusters. Xavier Dolan is one to watch for sure.

thevoid99 said...

@Chris-Thank you. Happy New Year to you too. I'm glad there is more happening for women as I kinda want to see the new Ghostbusters. Let's not forget that there's a new Star Wars movie coming out in about a year with Felicity Jones in the lead role.