As I ponder my favorite films of 2016, I realize I never made a list for 2015. Oh, that’s exactly what everyone else is already doing, I remember thinking at the time. I should challenge myself to find a different angle on this, some way to stand out from all the other “top ten of 2015” lists. That’s why I instead wrote about my favorite individual scenes of the year.
It’s a year later, and it might be fun to now attempt my own personal top ten of 2015. After all, our relationships with our favorite movies are fluid, ever evolving over time. What you regard as your favorite film of 2016 might fade from memory over the next couple of months or years, replaced by another film whose true value announces itself to you only over time and not at first glance. Or perhaps the opposite will happen and your love for your favorite film of the moment will only strengthen over time.
Did anything like that happen for me and the films of 2015? Is the list I put together today the same as the one I would have put together this time last year? Actually, yes. I haven’t really fallen out of love with any of the films. There are certainly some which have started to fade a bit from memory, particularly the specifics of the plot of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and the twists in Sicario. However, I still remember the individual scenes which put those films over the top for me, i.e., the opera house assassination sequence in Rogue Nation, the masterfully tense border crossing sequence in Sicario.
More than anything else, that seems to be what sticks with me: individual scenes. For example, I am now more aware of and sympathetic to the arguments about Force Awakens being a glorified imitation of New Hope, yet I still get goosebumps when I think about Luke’s lightsaber coming to Rey during the final fight. Don’t you dare mention Inside Out’s Bing Bong to me. You’d better not quote “take her to the moon”at me. Can’t. Take. The. Pain. As even cornier as it might seem now, I still get verklempt thinking about the climactic moment in Creed when Michael B. Jordan finally earns the iconic Rocky theme, forced to get up off the mat by visions of his father, the same father whose legacy has hung over him his entire life (for some reason that How I Met Your Mother scene where the girls joke about how they don’t understand why all the guys they know love Field of Dreams, and then the guys are seen discussing and struggling to not-cry over Field of Dreams just popped into my head).
So, here’s the list, copied from my Letterboxd page:
Actually, hold on. Before you look (assuming you haven’t already simply glanced down at it) you should be warned that Mad Max: Fury Road is not on there.
Sorry. I know. I dig dystopian, chase scene feminism with a side helping of steam punk and extraneous guitar solos, just not as much as everyone else. Should you now feel the need to disagree with everything I ever say ever again and completely ignore my list then so be it. If you do at least glance at the list I won’t mind if you do so while thinking “Fury Road is better than that…and that….and that….” Feel free to do so with some of the other biggies not on my list, like Room, 45 Years, The Revenant and Anomalisa.