Best Movies 2015
2015 was an interesting year in movies. Going in, you would have expected it to be wall to wall blockbusters -- and in a way, it was, with ' Jurassic World ' clocking in as the #3 box office champion of all time, ' Furious 7 ' dom-inating the competition... And 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' hasn't even been released yet (as of press time).
But it was also a triumphant year for smaller movies championing big issues, from Black Lives Matter to the trans community finally getting to see themselves represented responsibly on screen.
End of the day, though, what characterized 2015 on film -- from the popcorn blockbusters, to the indie darlings -- was a beating, pulsing heart. This was the year that we felt things, where cinema engaged more than just our minds (though it did that too). With that in -- excuse me -- mind, here's MTV's 10 best movies of 2015 (and don't forget to vote for your own ).
- ' Sicario ' MTV/Lionsgate
The scariest movie of the year isn’t a horror film: it’s 'Sicario,' where the boogeymen aren’t goth ghosts or a murderous senior citizens, but Mexican drug cartels. Starring Emily Blunt as an FBI agent drafted onto a government task force led by Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro, 'Sicario' follows Blunt and the gang into Juarez, where anyone and everyone could be on the cartel’s payroll. Blunt is intentionally kept in the dark about what and who she’s working for, while the terrifying threat of extreme violence from both sides lurks in every scene, around every corner. - Renan Borelli
- 'Jurassic World' MTV/Universal
Featuring Chris Pratt adorably domesticating a group of vicious velociraptors, a fight to the death between a Tyrannosaurus Rex (real) and an Indominus Rex (fake), and arguably the most relatable character in cinematic history -- that guy who just wanted to hold on to his margaritas while thousands of people were getting their faces pecked off by dino-birds -- who could ask for anything more that 'Jurassic World'? It also managed to reinvigorate the series, and even added some social commentary on our need for everything to be BIGGER and LOUDER, even at the sake of quality. These are all great things, so we're willing to forgive Bryce Dallas Howard's ridiculous heels. Just this once. -- Shaunna Murphy
- ' Tangerine ' MTV/Magnolia Pictures
The triumph of 'Tangerine' isn't that it's a movie true to the trans experience that actually cast trans actresses in trans roles. And it isn't that the movie looks fantastic while being filmed entirely on iPhones. It's that the film also manages to be funny and have a huge amount of heart at the same time, caring for its characters and allowing them to parody themselves -- while never slipping into becoming a parody, at the same time. - Alexander Zalben
- ' Amy ' MTV/A24
Asif Kapadia’s sobering documentary opens with a baby-faced Amy Winehouse, then 14, singing 'Happy Birthday' to one of her best friends. Her voice, smoky and soulful, is unmissable. It’s a troubling reminder of what’s to come. Kapadia doesn’t set out to glorify the late singer in 'Amy,' or to excuse her poor decisions. But he also doesn’t shy away from telling us that her tragic end could have been prevented. It’s the kind of film that lingers long after you’ve left the theater.' - Crystal Bell
- ' Inside Out ' MTV/Pixar
Who knew an animated film about cute, colorful emotions could be so darn, well... Emotional? The delightfully wacky 'Inside Out' stands out as one of Pixar’s very best films of all time, thanks not only to the highly affecting story -- for children and their parents -- about the importance of sadness, but also because of the innovative world-building inside 11-year-old Riley’s brain. And nothing could prepare us for Bing Bong, Riley’s former imaginary best friend who made the ultimate sacrifice for love. We’re crying candy tears just thinking about it. - CB
- ' Creed ' MTV/Warner Bros.
You’d think that the 'Rocky' franchise would have no new stories to tell after six previous outings, and a star who firmly owns his AARP card. But director Ryan Coogler and his screen-writing partner Aaron Covington created a brand new, incredibly compelling hero in Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), who struggles to prove that he’s more than his father’s legacy – and his relationship with the septuagenarian Rocky -- in what might be Sylvester Stallone’s best performance -- is one of the most touching mentor-trainee bonds to date. -- Victoria McNally
- ' Mad Max: Fury Road ' MTV/Warner Bros.
Not only was George Miller's long-running franchise amped up to eleven with its nonstop radical, punk-western car chases, but its narrative was daring and genre-busting, too. Charlize Theron gave one of the year's best performances as Imperator Furiosa, and when a film's look at how women might realistically be treated in a fantastically violent post-apocalyptic world earns the ire of the Men's Rights movement, it's safe to say you're doing something right. -- SM
- ' Dope ' MTV/Revolt Films
This isn’t your typical coming-of-age flick. Set in South Central Los Angeles, writer-director Rick Famuyiwa’s tale about a nerdy black teen obsessed with ’90s hip-hop and anime is more like a love letter to outcasts everywhere. Newcomer Shameik Moore shines as Malcolm, whose Harvard dreams are thwarted by a stash of drugs that have quite literally fallen into his lap thanks to neighborhood gangsta Dom (played by surprise scene-stealer A$AP Rocky).
Everything from the Pharrell-curated soundtrack — featuring tracks from Public Enemy, Naughty By Nature, Digable Planets, A Tribe Called Quest and Nas — to the vibrant group of memorable supporting characters works in this nerds-in-the-hood story, but it’s Famuyiwa’s fearlessness in breaking the fourth wall in the poignant third act that really makes 'Dope' one of the most interesting, and important, films of the year. - CB
- ' Straight Outta Compton ' MTV/Universal
Like any music biopic, 'Compton' has a lot to cover in a fairly short amount of time, but it does so in such an enthralling way that it could be eleven hours long and it still wouldn’t seem like enough time. The cast are so perfectly suited to their roles that it’s difficult to remember you’re watching actors, not the real artists themselves (O’Shea Jackson Jr.’s resemblance to his father is especially mind-bending). Of course it’s not a perfectly accurate film and hand waves over many of the N.W.A’s negative traits, something that created a fair amount of discussion in the real world -- but the raw, infectious energy it brings to this story still makes it one of the best of the year. -- VM
- 'Furious 7' MTV/Universal
There was a moment before 'Furious 7' was released that star Vin Diesel boldly proclaimed it would win the Oscar for Best Picture . We'll just have to see what its chances are next year, but there's no other movie that deserves the number one slot on this list than the latest chapter in the saga of Dominic Toretto and his best friends.
It's not just that the action scenes were the most kinetic, exciting and frequently ridiculous thing seen on screen this year -- was there anything better than a group of racers dropping thousands of feet out of an airplane, then immediately getting into a high speed car chase as soon as they hit the ground? Or Vin Diesel literally breaking a parking garage with his foot? Add in Jason Statham as the villainous Deckard Shaw making the best intro scene in the history of the series, and you easily have a classic of the genre.
It wasn't just the action, though, that made 'Furious 7' special. It was the feeling of being in the theater watching with an audience as they experienced all these thrills for the first (or second, or third) time. And of course, crying along with them as we said goodbye to Paul Walker's Brian O'Conner, that made this entry transcend into something else entirely.
The beauty of it was that like the rest of the movie, the incredibly powerful ending montage wasn't taking advantage of Walker's untimely death. It was earnestly and emotionally paying tribute not just to the actor and the character, but the series as a whole. As Dom's crew revisits old locations and tricks, and eventually brings the battle back to their home turf, so too does the series raise the stakes -- while bringing everything back to the sincere roots that launched the 'Fast' franchise back in 2001.
Those roots, as Dom likes to say, are all about family. In 2015, nearly a decade and a half after it all began, we all became part of Dom's family, too. - AZ
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