Instead of doing a worst list this year, I’ve decided to highlight a few movies that didn’t set the world on fire but were kind of worth your time anyway with
The Top 5 films of 2015 That Weren’t As Bad As You Thought They Were Gonna Be
5. JEM & THE HOLOGRAMS
A lot of purists and fans of the cartoon didn’t even bother to see what Hollywood had cooked up for them. There really shouldn’t even be a Jem movie because the last movement of the needle on Jem interest was sometime before the Soviet Union fell. These aren’t real fans, because if you love Jem, you gotta at least answer the ransom note that Universal was sending to you. If you did, you would have seen that they at least tried to introduce the character and the same elements of the show into a modern live action setting for new kids to enjoy. It was like the SUPER MARIO BROS. movie (which isn’t exactly helping my case) but I find it interesting how to interpret things in new ways and the soundtrack brought the hot traxxx. It’s actually pretty impressive how many parts of the Jem lore they put in here and made make sense. And you really have to give them props when you realize they did all this with a 5 million dollar budget. They also gave you the best end credits tease since Skeletor promised to come back and kill He-Man and you didn’t even care. Sometimes you guys are too spoiled.
4. 50 SHADES OF GREY
This was a big hit primarily because of couples with no imaginations having nothing better to do than to go see this on Valentine’s Day weekend, but if anyone was familiar with the novel on which the movie was based, you’d know that a lot of lambs would have to be sacrificed to make something that even resembled a movie. Well, consider the desolate one please, because they managed to even surpass that high benchmark. A lot of the malarkey was excised and Dakota Johnson delivered a performance that took this from a Lifetime movie to a film truly worthy of a February release. Her, the screenwriter, and the director (all females) managed to tell the story of withdrawn girl with no life experience being thrown into an overwhelming situation and coming out stronger and wiser from it. They even made this doomed romance something that I thought about FOR MONTHS after I saw the movie. In the end, despite all the sex gimmicks, anyone could relate to the problem of loving something that isn’t good for you. Another killer soundtrack here as well. I have no hope for the sequel because the book is based off of is even more insane and the nutty author who hated this movie now has more control. Be thankful it kind of worked once.
A lot of you got caught up in the politics of this one, one way or another and never allowed yourself to get into the amazing cast conducted by the Crowe. Entertaining and all sorts of feely even though not at the levels of what he was at in his prime, the cast makes it work. I’ve seen far worse from him and he makes a ground rule double feel like a triple. I also think Emma Stone’s work this year was largely ignored. Going into dicey territory again by working with Woody Allen in IRRATIONAL MAN, she really showed this year that she was worth every bit of ink written about her in 2011 about how she was gonna save us all. We never treat our saviors well, anyway.
2. PAPER TOWNS
The fact that we’re at the point where we need to put teens in a post-apocalyptic society or give them cancer to take them seriously is a sad thing. There have been a very small group of teen films in the last few years with no outward gimmicks that really do a good job of the low-key angsty tone that these kind of movies deserve. The film doesn’t know what it wants to be, but who does when you’re that age? It gets a lot of the feelings right and has two great performances with Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne. The movie takes her away just as you’re starting to fall for her and she becomes a siren of your own design at that point, and when the movie catches up to her? It’s one of the best bits of reality done this year.
Saying that you had any preconceived opinion about this movie is saying too much. Because implies you even heard of this movie before now. But this Paramount Pictures release was kind of dumped into a Halloween slot without warning (prints of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 12 touted a special preview of this movie after the end credits, and didn’t even deliver, that’s how against the movie fate was). But just because Paramount had a movie they didn’t know how to market, didn’t mean they had a bad one. It’s actually one of the more fun surprises of the year. It’s fun, a bit bawdy but often clever and rather satisfying. This really was a movie for a small distributor to build an audience for, but it was instead the small fish in the gigantic ocean planet Splashoria. This is the best possible thing you can get from a Red Box blind rental.
Coming soon: The best 20 or so films of the year!