Did you know United Passions only made $600? Ya, that's right. Six hundred dollars. Fortunately, it is not on this list. In part because it sucked, and in part because I didn't want to waste my time watching it. But let's talk about some of the best films of 2015 that no one saw! Ready? .............I honestly have no explanation for why I felt like bringing up United Passions, other than to mention the part where it only made $600. Buuuuuuut hush.
Honorable Mention: Z for zachariah
Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Chris Pine. How did this film only make $100,000 with that cast? That is a question I will never be able to answer, but what I can say is this was a very fun and entertaining post-apocalypse film featuring 3 wonderful performances from the only 3 people in this film. While the story isn’t the greatest thing in the world, (it’s kind of predictable) the film is gorgeous to look at, and wonderfully edited. All in all, this film definitely deserved to make more than $100,000. However, thanks to a completely nonexistent marketing campaign I think the biggest problem was that no one actually knew about this film. Whoever decided this film wasn’t good enough to warrant a strong marketing campaign needs to be, well, fired. Or sent over to Warner Brothers. Pew pew.
Honorable Mention: THe Stanford Prison Experiment
I kind of figured that this one wouldn’t make a whole lot of money, but only $600,000? This film is an incredibly loyal adaptation of one of the most famous psychology experiments of all time, so I definitely think there’s a market for this film. My guess is that in time it will grab some momentum, especially in the teaching space. I can definitely see teachers showing this film to their class to show them what this infamous experiment was truly like. Also it helps that it has such a strong cast of up-and-comers. Ezra Miller in particular was good. Seriously. When is this guy gonna get more work? Anyway, if you are even remotely fascinated in learning more about the Stanford Prison Experiment, (as we all have at least heard about it at some point in Psychology 101) check this one out. Definitely worth your time!
5) 99 Homes
Ahhhhhh Michael Shannon. It’s a damn shame that the one performance everyone knows of his is of Zod from Man of Steel, because that is without a doubt the weakest performance on his resume. This guy has been kicking ass and taking names under the table for a while, and his terrifying performance in 99 Homes just might be his best one yet. I honestly thought it deserved an Oscar nomination, but when your film only makes $1 million…..probably makes it pretty hard to justify a nomination. But, on top of that, this film has a gripping story, a fantastic performance from its other lead, Andrew Garfield, and is wonderfully shot. There’s a powerful statement on the current state of the American dream underlying this film, and it had me leaving the film saying…..damn. While there were a few holes in the story and other technical aspects of the film were just…meh, if you’re looking for a gripping narrative and wanna find out what all the buzz is about with Michael Shannon…the buck stops here.
Sorry, Inside Out fans. As great as that film was, it has nothing on Anomalisa. This film is the best animated film of 2015. Plain and simple. Unique is the best word to describe this film. Few films dare to be as unique as Anomalisa. This is the rare example of a creator refusing to sacrifice creativity for the largest common denominator. Unfortunately, this also meant that the film only made $1 million, but it also didn’t really have a marketing campaign behind it, and it doesn’t help that one cannot come up with an answer when asked, “who is this film for?” However, there are definitely people out there who love watching cinema as an art form, and this film definitely falls into that category. Featuring a wonderful narrative and brilliant voice performances from David Thewlis (from Harry Potter) and Jennifer Jason Leigh, as well as the wonderfully artistic choice of having Tom Noonan voice everyone else, Anomalisa is a spectacular little film that deserved to make far more than it did. If you want to feel cultured and watch art unfold in front of you, go see this one.
Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett. Need I say more? Ok, I’ll say more. Carol is a fantastic love story. Quite possibly the best of the year, actually. This film was a gut-wrenching film to watch and featured two of the best performances of the year. The set design is spectacular, the costumes are beautiful, and the story is fantastically engaging. Right from the beginning you love these characters, and as the film goes on you find yourself more and more invested in what’s happening in front of you. There’s a reason both Blanchett and Mara were nominated for Oscars, and, were it not for another performance later on this list, would also likely sweep both categories. This film only made $12 million, but it is worth every second of your time, especially if you are looking for a date night movie. Add this one to your list!
2) It Follows
Oh my God. This film. I really hope this film is a game changer for the horror genre. I’ve talked a lot about this film all year, and were it not for a very late addition emotionally destroying me, it would’ve been number one on the list. This film is everything the cliché horror genre isn’t. There’s only a few jump scares in this film, which makes the jump scares that much scarier. Not only that, but this film’s technical achievements are a large part of why it’s so scary. One of the best movie moments of the year (that just barely missed my list) was this. The ingenuity in this scene to use a circling camera to create the scariest moment of the year was incredibly. Yes, this tactic is not new per say, (it was the scariest moment in Paranormal Activity 2 as well) it's used better here than I've ever seen. The genius of director David Robert Mitchell absolutely stole the show here and made for a film that has resonated with me more than any other film in 2015. While it is absolutely worth watching, (especially if you like horror films) consider yourself warned. This film will break you in the most awesome way imaginable.
Wow. This film is phenomenal. Featuring the (spoiler) best performance of the year from Brie Larson, Room is an emotional train wreck. I have never cried as much over the course of a film as I did in Room. Jacob Tremblay’s character arc is ridiculously engaging, and his chemistry with Larson is undeniable. The set design here is meticulous and unspeakably loyal to its subject material, and even produces a great set in the second half of the film. The music is ridiculously good, and there is just scene after memorable scene from start to finish. I really cannot speak highly enough of this film, guys. I’m not done talking about this film yet as it will show up on the Best Films of the Year list next week, but for now….go see Room. Sadly only made $12 million, which is absolutely insulting. It’s hard not to be cynical about our culture when a film as incredible as Room only makes $12 million while a below average dinosaur porn film in Jurassic World makes over $650 million domestically, but such is the nature of our world where big budget distributors are unwilling to take a chance on an original idea. But, for all of you saying that the creative side of Hollywood is dead, I say this: as long as films like Room keep showing up, I will always disagree with you. Whether they go under the radar or not. It’s up to us to support them. So support Room and go and see it!
Well, there you have it! Those are the best films of 2015 that no one saw. You should change that. You should make that the best films of 2015 that everyone saw. WOW! AREN'T I ORIGINAL? Ya I know you're jealous. Oh, you want me to go now? Ok. I'll go now. Stay tuned next for next week when we count down the worst movies of the year, the best performances of the year, and the best films of the year! Woot woot!
http://www.thewrap.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/ZFORZACHARIAH_Pine_Ejiofor_Robbie.jpg (Z for Zachariah)
http://media2.fdncms.com/nuvo/imager/u/original/3369667/the_stanford_prison_experiment.jpg (The Stanford Prison Experiment)
https://jackblackwell.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/99-homes.jpg (99 Homes)
https://draven99.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/9e6cb-it-follows-movie-reviews-maika-monroe.jpg (It Follows)
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