Flickcharters Rank Movies 20 Million Times to Determine The Top 20 Films of 2015
19,902,401 times. All throughout the year, people around the world have clicked and tapped between two movies nearly 20 million times to determine the greatest films of the year, and of all-time. That’s over 50,000 movie rankings a day. The results are a mix of critical darlings, cineplex blockbusters, and perhaps a few surprises!
Remember – this is NOT just the bloggers’ picks – this is the result of your rankings, my rankings, and each and every Flickcharter’s rankings aggregated together to form the combined chart of the highest ranked, best movies of 2015.
Out of 964 total movies released in 2015, as of today, here are your current picks for the Top 20 of 2015:
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is essentially the anti-Fault in Our Stars. Right away, it’s presented as not a love story, even hinting that in a different story, our main protagonists would likely fall in love and live happily ever after for their short lives. But Me and Earl and the Dying Girl just feels more real than anything John Green could capture, presenting a world where happy endings aren’t so easy, love isn’t always the answer and the end isn’t necessarily always the end of the story. Just like Greg’s short films he makes with his best friend/coworker Earl, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl proves that life is confusing, hard and doesn’t make sense in the ways we always want it to. – Ross Bonaime
#19 – Bridge of Spies
Coming from someone who isn’t a particularly big fan of Steven Spielberg, Bridge of Spies is deservedly one of the best films of 2015 and a welcome return to top form for the acclaimed director. Where Spielberg’s efforts in recent years have fallen into an overly schmaltzy territory, this film succeeds based on a very strong script from the equally excellent (superior in my mind) Coen Brothers. Tom Hanks shines brightly in his role as attorney James Donovan, assigned to defend a captured Communist spy during the height of Cold War tension in 1950’s America. Though given this job simply as a show of justice, Donovan rises to the occasion and intends on doing his job properly no matter the consequences. Hanks delivers with a combination of determined patriotism and a glowing heart that has defined many of his roles, yet here he feels the freshest he has been in a decade – playing the role with an eager earnestness that he clearly feels right at home in. He is complemented by the excellent Mark Rylance, who portrays the Communist spy with the proper mixture of humor and determinism. This helps flesh the character out and manages to get the audience to emphathize with him, despite his character being a technical enemy of the US. Rylance more than deserves an Oscar nomination for the brilliance he shows here.
Spielberg again shows his mastery behind the camera with a combination of brilliant shots, and while there are the typical Spielberg tropes, they serve the film very well and help deliver the film’s powerful message of loyalty, values, and freedom. Though the film drags somewhat in the middle act as it switches gears to become focused on Hanks negotiating the exchange of a captured US spy with both the USSR and Germany, the film quickly picks back up due to Spielberg’s skillful pacing and the Coen’s ability to connect the entire film thematically. This tense political thriller is a riveting picture from start to finish and is sure to fill the heart of every American with pride by showing that the values our country was founded may not be out of reach yet. – Connor Adamson
#18 – Steve Jobs
Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs essentially lives or dies on the strength of the performances, and Michael Fassbender brings a portrayal of Jobs that is perfect: Arrogant, talented, and selfish. It suits both the movie and Aaron Sorkin’s wonderful structure like a glove. But if it were just about Fassbender’s otherworldly performance, then we would be giving short shrift to the other performers throughout. Kate Winslet is nearly flawless, Seth Rogen is an absolute revelation, and Jeff Daniels makes a perfect adversary to Jobs himself. Yet the best thing about this movie comes back to its structure. By not making it a straightforward biopic and focusing on three of the most important product launches of Jobs’s career, we watch events unfold like a stage play while Sorkin’s excellent dialogue crackles with a true amount of energy that keeps us glued to the screen until the very end. – Nicholas Vargo
#17 – Furious 7
We’ve finally reached an equilibrium at which there are more good Fast & Furious movies than poor ones. The original is effectively a remake of Point Break, but introduced us to the worlds of Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker). That world has grown since then, with an ensemble so large that these movies have pushed actors like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kurt Russell, and Tyrese Gibson into the sidelines of Furious 7. It’s also grown in the absurdity of the stunts; where Fast Five turned heads for a particularly imaginative vault heist, Furious 7 repeatedly sends cars flying where cars have absolutely no business flying and men holding powerful chain guns in L.A. highways. The film also still has room for a particularly good “infiltration” sequence, similar to those found in the Mission: Impossible films, some great martial arts (partly due to the introduction of Jason Statham and Tony Jaa as villains,) and a fairly effective romance arc. Then the film takes a turn, concluding with a sort of memorial to the original star, Paul Walker, who died during production; few films take the time in the text to acknowledge a tragic loss, and the sequence concludes with a simple and beautiful touch. – Alex Lovendahl
#16 – The Hateful Eight
Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film is a masterpiece that crackles with energy and smashingly fun dialogue. It may look and feel like a Western but it’s got other layers underneath its coating. It unfolds slowly, letting you take in each and every one of its characters until the moment they essentially lock themselves shut at Minnie’s Haberdashery. Once there, trust is no option and every one of the eight is expendable as secrets come out, plans are exposed, and fates are sealed. Every performance is a gold mine but it is Jennifer Jason Leigh who steals the show. She might get beat up terribly but she is strong and steadfast until the bitter end. Robert Richardson’s cinematography (shot in 70mm Ultra Panavision!) looks glorious, especially projected on film, and should be given due Oscar consideration. Also Oscar-worthy is Ennio Morricone’s dark and foreboding music score that just has layers upon layers of sneakiness and dread. It really feels like one of those music scores from the glory days of the Roadshow era. And at the helm, Tarantino is in top form, as The Hateful Eight is not just a movie but an experience that stays with you long after the credits are finished. – Nicholas Vargo
#15 – Spotlight
Academy Award prognosticators seem to indicate that Spotlight has, in many ways, already won Best Picture, and I fear those who tend toward the “Pulp Fiction should’ve beaten Forrest Gump” attitude are already turning their heads. I implore you to ignore that impulse; Spotlight is the rare film that seems right up the Academy’s alley that also is a deserving contender for the big prize. Set upon the Catholic priest molestation scandal of the early 2000s, the film takes the perspective of the reporters at the Boston Globe investigating the story. The film manages to create drama not by threats of physical or professional violence, or by incompetence limiting its protagonists, but rather by making the choices themselves difficult. This is not a film about good vs. evil (though the evils of pederasty are not softened, and victims are given due time) nor about simple iniquity, but about people who do their jobs well who still don’t know quite what to do. Unlike the obvious comparison point in All The President’s Men, Spotlight doesn’t play as a mystery thriller but as an activist drama. Watching Spotlight reveals another way to write about the fourth estate. – Alex Lovendahl
#14 – Straight Outta Compton
(NOTE: I was originally tasked with writing about Trainwreck. While I was watching the movie, Straight Out of Compton took its place in the rankings. Trainwreck’s now at #22 for 2015. No one else volunteered to cover Compton so I offered to write about that instead. In the spirit of Flickchart, and not wanting my viewing of Trainwreck to be for naught, my contribution will be in the form of a brief Trainwreck vs. Compton comparison.)
These movies could be seen as a journey by the protagonists into domestic stability. In Compton, the three main characters Ice Cube, Eazy-E and Dr, Dre all use their creativity and street cred to escape the hood and have normal lives. In Trainwreck, Amy Schumer, who was raised by a philandering father, has avoided commitment her entire life. She wastes her talents working for a vacuous men’s magazine, filling the rest of her time with empty sexual encounters and recreational drug use. The guys in Compton get involved with the sex and partying thing as well, but this appears to be more of a sowing of wild oats type of deal. By the end of the movie, Ice Cube has settled down with a family. Schumer is disdainful of the domestic life from the beginning, often making fun of her happily married sister.
The turning point for Schumer occurs when she is assigned to write an article on an altruistic sports doctor. Interestingly, there is a scene in Compton where Ice Cube refers to himself as a journalist who is reporting about the reality of the streets through his music. He believes in what he’s rapping about. Schumer, on the other hand, has no interest in athletics or sports medicine. It’s not until she is inspired by the doctor’s thoughtful nature and falls in love with him that she aspires to be a real journalist, and leave behind her unfulfilling lifestyle. She even becomes more soft-hearted toward her sister’s family. The journalists from the two films live happily ever after. (This may be stretching, but the most similar “character” to Schumer’s in Compton seems to be Eazy-E, whose story does not end well. Is there a conventionally moral message going on in Trainwreck? Discuss.) – Chad Hoolihan
#13 – Spectre
Most Bond movies fare well on Flickchart because, like comic book movies, they’re fun and stylish and have an established audience. Compared to the other Craig films, Spectre puts a special emphasis on the “fun” part of Bond, giving us a throwback supervillain in Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld. Ralph Fiennes’s M comes into his own in this installment; like Judi Dench before him, he’s proving to be a relatively active M in the field. Spectre‘s moderately serialized plot ties together all previous Craig films, helping to redeem even the widely disliked Quantum of Solace. Some people object, and not without reason, to the amount of information the Craig films have given us about Bond’s childhood, and Spectre goes further even than Skyfall in that regard. Yet the explosive pre-title sequence in Mexico and the shadowy boardroom meeting in the middle of the film stack up well with classic Bonds and help Spectre secure a solid position on the 2015 chart. – David Conrad
#12 – Jurassic World
Jurassic World did more than pay homage to the original movie with callbacks to scenes and visiting locations first featured in Jurassic Park. It brought back the sense of wonder and magic of the first film, and made it one heck of a ride. Gone is the lecturing of The Lost World or the half-hearted effort of Jurassic Park III. Yes, the film did receive come criticism, whether fairly or unfairly, for its portrayal of the female lead played by Bryce Dallas Howard. But the truth is she’s not really the main female character. That honor is shared by an adorable raptor named Blue and one very ticked off T-Rex who are featured front and center during one epic, final fight. This movie goes all out when it comes to awesome action sequences and killer dinosaurs. The movie embraces its outlandish, beyond-belief, utterly fantastic self, and when it has its hero ride a motorcycle alongside velociraptors, it does so with pizzazz, enthusiasm, and sheer shamelessness. This movie is a ride meant to be enjoyed with your brain off and the fun meters set to maximum. And there’s nothing wrong with that. – Naomi Laeuchli
#11 – Creed
In a year in which more series than you can count blurred the line between sequel and reboot, the most unexpectedly great new entry may have come from a series that should have logically ended years ago. At nearly 70 years old, Sylvester Stallone can no longer play Rocky as a fighter, but who knew how much we’d love watching him show off his acting chops in the crusty old trainer role?
The answer is director Ryan Coogler, who pitched this idea to Stallone with his Fruitvale Station star Michael B. Jordan in mind as the offspring of boxing royalty, now trying to make his own name in the sport. Creed pulses with a life and energy that is absolutely startling, new-school in all the right ways and deceptively old-school in its narrative beats and rhythms. The result is easily the most enthralling sports movie of the year, and one of the most enthralling, period. With Jordan installed as the center of this franchise now, it might even have more rounds remaining than the other stalwart franchises that were its 2015 competition. – Derek Armstrong
#10 – Sicario
One of the most exciting breakout directors of the past few years took another huge step forward in 2015 with Sicario, a cold stare into the ruthless eyes of the Mexican drug trade. Fresh from the stunning duo of Prisoners and Enemy, Denis Villeneuve kept things grim by giving us the far more than fifty shades of morality that govern both the law-abiding and law-breaking sides of this violent international stalemate. With an intense lead performance by Emily Blunt, clutch supporting work from Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro, and the astonishing camerawork of Roger Deakins, Sicario bursts with life – and death. Bodies hanging casually in the streets of Juarez, Mexico (with Mexico City standing in for shooting purposes) punctuate just how much is lost on a daily basis for those caught in this crossfire, the innocents and the guilty alike. Blunt plays one of those innocents, an FBI agent trying to do good, until Brolin’s murky shadow organization takes her down a path she doesn’t want and can’t soon forget. You won’t forget Sicario, either. – Derek Armstrong
If Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation had bowed in May instead of August, would it have gotten a summer’s worth of press about strong female characters that instead went to Mad Max: Fury Road? Well, Rogue Nation may still not quite pass the Bechdel test, but there’s no denying that Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust is just as badass and capable as Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, even pulling our “hero” out of a few messes that would have proven just a little too impossible for him to handle on his own. Couple this with some of the most astonishing action sequences in a year that has seen a lot of astonishing action sequences. That plane stunt that the trailers gave away? It didn’t even end a way I expected, and it works like the pre-credits sequence of a Bond film, simply whetting your appetite for more. And more is what we get: a motorcycle chase that is a perfect callback to M:I-2, while outdoing that previous film in every way; and an underwater infiltration sequence that wears the Impossible brand proudly on its sleeve. It’s all woven around a delightful Christopher McQuarrie plot that is twisty, but not impenetrable. Part of the fun of the first three M:I movies was how different in style they were from director to director. But even though they’ve become a bit stylistically homogenous under the Bad Robot banner, they’ve also achieved a level of consistent quality that just makes me want more. – Nigel Druitt
#8 – Ant-Man
If you’re a member of the MMMS (Marvel Merry Marching Society), or F.O.O.M. (Friends of Ol’ Marvel), or any other way of expressing old school Marvel fandom, the success of the Marvel Studios movies is becoming a bounty of riches. Now that we have live action versions of Rocket Raccoon, Arnim Zola, Batroc the Leaper, and the Purple Man, there are really no limits on what characters might someday get their own movies. Movies for Squirrel Girl and the Great Lake Avengers, The Incredible Herc, Daimon Hellstrom: Son of Satan, and the Pet Avengers by 2030? Sure, why not! For the most part, however, Marvel is tackling their adaptations in loosely chronological order. When Black Panther joins the Avengers, the cinematic version will have had most of the team members ala 1968. But one of the founders of the team was Ant-Man (and his wife Wasp is the one that actually named them “the Avengers”).
Enter: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Michael Pena, and Evangeline Lilly (continuing her tour of nerd franchises, after LOST and Tolkien). This summer Marvel proved their characters could adapt any traditional genre, following up the “political thriller” and “space opera” from last year with the “heist movie” of Ant-Man. The movie was funny, self-aware, and visually creative (aided by Edgar Wright’s time on the film), given a mainstream polish by director Peyton Reed (Down with Love, The Break Up). And it rewards comics fans by figuring out how to include Yellowjacket in a Scott Lang movie without making Henry Pym a villain (though that might change in the 2018 sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp). If 2014 was the year of Chris Pratt, the new Marvel star of 2015 was Paul Rudd as Ant-Man; self-effacing, with just enough of a rogueish charm. Ant-Man is a four quadrant crowd pleaser of a superhero/heist movie. – Greg Dean Schmitz
Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service is the kind of spy pic that we want from the movies: something new, daring, exciting, and absolutely fall-down funny. It delivers all of this in spades while also redefining the genre. It’s hard to reveal the film’s many surprises without giving something away, but the entire movie runs on the principal that if you’ve seen either My Fair Lady or Trading Places, you essentially know where it will go. After years of essentially playing good guys, Samuel L. Jackson makes a welcome return in the villain role, playing it with a lisp that makes it as funny as it is threatening. Kingsman is simply fun all the way through, although the violence maybe too extreme for some. Still, any movie that ends like this one needs to be given props for going there. It’s an all-out blast! – Nicholas Vargo
Avengers: Age of Ultron was one of this year’s most highly anticipated films, being the sequel to 2012’s game-changing superhero team up, the hugely successful and much beloved The Avengers. With expectations so high, it should come as no surprise that writer/director Joss Whedon’s second outing with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes failed to satisfy some fans. However, although the film is slightly overstuffed with characters and subplots, there is ultimately far more to love in this film than to complain about. First of all, any time you get to see Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, and Thor in the same movie, you are in for a treat. The actors who portray these heroes are so comfortable with their characters at this point that it is simply a joy to watch them banter with each other and fight alongside one another (and against one another). Whedon’s typically sharp and witty dialogue is present throughout the film, providing plenty of fun quips and running jokes between the heroes and the new villain, James Spader’s Ultron, while also facilitating poignant and meaningful exchanges in the film’s quieter moments. The Vision, played brilliantly by Paul Bettany, is a welcome addition to the team and is given some of the most eloquent dialogue that Whedon has ever written; the final scene between him and Ultron is one of the best in the entire MCU canon.
The characters – in particular Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Bruce Banner – are given effective character arcs and come out of the film having changed and grown through the experience, which is no easy feat for a film as big and action-packed as this one. Speaking of action, there is plenty here to satisfy any comic book or blockbuster movie fan. Whether the Avengers are facing off against Hydra, Ultron, the Maximoff twins, or each other, the action set pieces are exciting, entertaining, and fun. The most notable sequence in the film, in this regard, is probably the Hulkbuster battle, which is a sheer delight to watch. What’s not to love about watching a souped-up Iron Man duke it out with everybody’s favorite giant green rage-monster? Not only is this fight thrilling, but it also features some of the funniest moments in the film. When you think about what you want to see in a superhero movie, it really doesn’t get much better than that. – Matt Ray
#5 – Ex Machina
Alex Garland’s Ex Machina is a finely tuned, intelligent, psychological sci-fi thriller. It excels at its most basic cinematic goals, crafting an intriguing story buoyed by solid performances and dynamic production design. While its plot may seem too intricate and pretentious for its own good, Ex Machina delivers an almost pitch-perfect dark, philosophical labyrinth. It has just the right amount of insanity to placate the social psychology. It’s a cleverly paced film; structured in such a way that the viewer forgets exactly how much time has passed. And that’s the most rewarding part about Ex Machina – the things that you don’t notice. The film works because it plays with the audience’s expectations of plot, and their own wits. It says, “Suppose this?” Ten minutes later, after you’ve locked onto your careful deconstruction of facts and ideas, it just slaps you in the face with an entirely different theory. That would be frustrating if this were a movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan, but thank Kubrick, it’s not. – Amy Matthew
#4 – The Martian
From Saving Private Ryan to last year’s Interstellar, we’ve had to save Matt Damon a lot. Ridley Scott’s The Martian continues that trend. Scott has had a filmography slump over the past ten or so years, with duds such as A Good Year, Robin Hood, The Counselor, and Exodus: Gods and Kings. I think we were all surprised to see that The Martian was a delightful science fiction adaptation of the Andy Weir novel that hearkens back to the days of Alien and Blade Runner. The cast is one of the most impressive things about the film, including Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Michael Pena, Sean Bean, Jeff Daniels, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Kristen Wiig also gets to show her dramatic side which is always a nice reversal from her. The screenplay from Drew Goddard is exceptional and keeps the film going at an extremely fast pace. The soundtrack is a part of the story and fits nicely with a throwback feel. All in all, The Martian is riveting, old-school entertainment that contains Damon and the director at the top of their game. – Conner Wood
#3 – Inside Out
Pixar has been known as a studio that pushes boundaries when it comes to children’s animation and storytelling, and that is on display again once more in Inside Out, their most unique and original film in years. We follow the story of a young girl named Riley — or, more specifically, the story of Joy and the other personified emotions that live inside Riley’s brain and help her make decisions. When the family moves across the country to San Francisco, things get messy, and the emotions make an even bigger mess trying to straighten things out. The movie is technically excellent, with spot-on voice acting and gorgeous animation, and it takes full advantage of its creative premise, playing around in Riley’s mind to show us her dreams, her subconscious, and her childhood daydreams. But the heart of the movie is what it has to say about the human experience.
Joy appreciates all her fellow emotions except for Sadness, a droopy blue creature who cries about everything and whose favorite thing to do is to feel miserable in wet boots in the rain. What positive role could Sadness possibly have in a young girl’s life? Wouldn’t it be better to always chase it away with happier thoughts? But as the story goes on, Joy and the audience begins to see the value of Sadness and how to bring out that value. When Sadness is stifled, she’s no good at all, but when she’s allowed to speak, she can empathize more easily than her cheery counterpart, and when Riley in turn voices her sorrow at the end (in a scene that brought this blogger dangerously close to audible sobbing in the theater), it brings the whole family closer together. The balance and purpose of human emotion is a pretty complex concept for a kids’ film to explore in such depth, but if there’s any animation studio that can do it well, it’s Pixar, and, wow, they do it well. – Hannah Keefer
#2 – Mad Max: Fury Road
Welcome, class, to Blockbuster Action Filmmaking 101. Your instructor today will be director George Miller, who has resurrected his seminal post-apocalyptic action franchise, Mad Max, after taking a couple of decades off to make movies about talking pigs and dancing penguins, among other things. How do you make an effective action film in this day and age? Start with a simple idiom: a picture is worth a thousand words. Why bother with pages of expository dialogue when simply showing the audience what your world is all about will do? Populate your cast with compelling actors who can give the audience a sense of your characters without having to needlessly pontificate. Maintain pace, but keep your action sequences coherent; audiences won’t care about your fancy shaky-cam or zip-pans or creative camera angles if they can’t follow what’s happening. Do as much as you can in-camera, and people will praise you for “keeping it real” no matter how much CGI you use. And remember: There’s no reason that the damsel in distress can’t be strong enough to rescue herself. There are lessons that can still be learned about action filmmaking, and Mad Max: Fury Road has the answers, if you’re willing to look for them. Now, Hollywood: Were you paying attention? – Nigel Druitt
For the vast majority of fans, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a culmination of many hopes and wishes for a new Star Wars entry. Its release was followed by such a cathartic expression of joy by many – and a huge sigh of relief. The outpouring of acclaim for TFA is tantamount to what should have happened with the prequels – but never came. And the less said about those movies, the better. However, when J.J. Abrams was announced to take the lead, I was optimistic. Cautiously optimistic, but still optimistic. I knew that if there was a good story to tell, J.J. would find it, and by all accounts, indeed he has. The new additions to the universe are welcome ones – Rey, Finn, even BB-8. And seeing Han Solo, Leia, Chewbacca and Luke return to the roles that were forever theirs was like greeting old friends after a long absence. And speaking of BB-8, as I saw all the merchandise roll out (get it?) into stores, I kept my distance, as I didn’t want BB-8 to turn out like Heesa-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named-Betcha-Betcha. Thankfully, he is adorable and fun. And the story that echoes A New Hope resonated with me completely. Despite its detractors, I feel that the story echoes the original intentionally. I fully subscribe to the Ring Theory (look it up!), and it makes the whole series make sense as a singular piece. I know that my few words only barely do the movie any justice, but I would like to impress upon you the importance of this movie as a cultural touchstone of its own – certainly the most significant cultural event of 2015. – Jeff Lombardi
So – what do you think of how the year ended up? Were there any of your favorites missing? Do you think this is all wrong and needs to be completely rearranged? Rank all the 2015 movies! Make your voice heard and change it! Don’t forget that you can also further filter the chart to get the best of 2015 combined with your favorite actors, directors, genres, and franchises. You have the power to refine the charts and decide which films should represent the best cinema has to offer from 2015.
This post is only accurate up to the minute this post was published, so if you’re coming to this post after the fact and want to see how things have shaken up, you can always check the daily stats at http://www.flickchart.com/charts/2015.
Want to see where the rest of the year’s best films ended up? You can also check out: