Better Call Saul is far, far better than it has to be. I think it’s also far better than most people expected and quite possibly the best TV show of 2015. I say that not so much from my own experience (as someone who rarely watches TV shows), but from reading many critics’ Best of 2015 posts and articles.
I saw 205 movies in 2015. Many bloggers no doubt watched more, some maybe watched less. You can read about every movie I watched here – if you’re really bored this early in the New Year – or I can just take you on a quick journey of the highlights.
I’ll be brief today, rushing to get this post in just under the wire. 2015 was a great year of movie watching and although I didn’t see as many films in December as I would’ve liked (I never do, it seems…), there were some good ones.
River of No Return (1954)
Directed by Otto Preminger (and Jean Negulesco, uncredited)
Produced by Stanley Rubin
Screenplay by Frank Fenton from a story by Louis Lantz
Cinematography by Joseph LaShelle
Edited by Louis R. Loeffler
Music by Cyril J. Mockridge
20th Century Fox
Last year I picked up The Robert Mitchum Film Collection from a Fox Connect Black Friday sale for the absolutely insane price of $3.98. That’s right, a 10-movie set that retails for $48.98. It must’ve been a mistake, but I jumped on it and was charged $3.98.
I’m just now getting around to watching them, starting with the first film in the collection, River of No Return (1954) directed by Otto Preminger, a film whose Frank Fenton screenplay is based on a short story by Louis Lantz, who based his story on the 1948 Italian neorealist classic film Bicycle Thieves. River of No Return is similar to the Vittorio De Sica film only in that a farmer named Matt Calder (Mitchum) struggles to care for his son after his horse has been stolen. Aside from that, there’s very little to connect the two films.
I have very little – perhaps nothing – to say regarding any of the details of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. What I do want to tell you is how I felt about it without giving away any part of the story. (Wish me luck…)
I’m stretching the term “new” to include movies from 2013 through 2015. Why? I just don’t get to the theater enough to see enough brand new movies, although I could walk to the local movie theater if I wanted to. (And when I did go to the theater this year, it was usually to see movies that were released 50+ years ago.) Most of the newer films I see via streaming, the library, or just buying them. Combine this with the fact that 75% of the movies I watch were made before 1980, so my scope for “new” is very limited. Still, I do try to see a few each year, so here are the 12 best “new” movies I saw in 2015:
Actually (as you’ll see in my next movies post), these movies were released before 2013. Each of these films I watched for the first time in 2015, in order of release date. These are the films I enjoyed the most, thought the most about, and/or recommended the most to friends. I hope you’ll find something here to discover.
Possibly the biggest headache for movie fans is whether to watch a new movie or revisit an older one. If you have fond memories of a movie you saw 10, 20, 30 or more years ago, you run the very real risk of shattering those fond memories forever, lacing them with poisonous regret. Yet sometimes you feel compelled to take the risk.
Some of the following rewatches were rather low-risk, while others were risks of the highest order. Here are some of the more memorable rewatches from 2015:
If you’ve spent any amount of time at all on this blog, you know that I love film noir. Yet my interest in it has really developed over just the past few years. There are so many film noir movies I haven’t seen, but I’m getting through most of the major ones.
Depending on how you define film noir, I watched at least 75 movies from that genre/style this year, most of them for the first time. I picked my Top 20 film noir movies from those I’d never seen before this year, appearing by release date. (Click on the titles for more thoughts on these films.)
Be warned: I love lists, so I’m making plenty of them in December, both for movies and comics/graphic novels. Most of this month’s posts will no doubt include some type of Best of 2015 list, so if you’re into lists like I am, kick back and enjoy.
I’m starting off my Best Movies of 2015 (which will have several categories in the coming days and weeks) with the Best Theatrical Experiences I had this year. I qualify this by saying that (1) I go to very few movies in theaters, for which I have no excuse, since (2) I could walk to the nearest movie theater. Don’t get me wrong: I love seeing movies in theaters on big screens, but I prefer to do so with other people who love movies as much as I do, not with people who are going to talk, text, and who knows what else during the film. So, here we go…