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15 Movies From 2015 We Will Still Be Discussing In 15 Years

By Jodi Smith | Lists | December 7, 2015 |

By Jodi Smith | Lists | December 7, 2015 |

For better or worse, some movies are spoken of long after their initial release. Discussion in this case means the films are spoken of with fondness or hatred. Guess which way we think things will fall with these 15 features.

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

This is an obvious “no duh” entry on the list. The flick doesn’t even arrive in theaters until the 18th of this month and everyone knows that, succeed or fail super succeed, Star Wars movies are talked about for decades.

2. Mad Max: Fury Road

This is the best of the Mad Max films, improving upon everything that worked in the old Mel Gibson classics, burning off the rest, and turning out one of the best action films I’ve ever seen. And let’s be absolutely clear, this is the action film to put them all to rest. This is a kinetic and destructive cocaine-fueled orgy of action from the title screen to the credits. This is the film that might just kill Michael Bay in abject humiliation, because it’s clearly what he’s always wanted to make when he grew up, and every moment of its glorious transcendence is another bit of evidence of his complete failure as a filmmaker. - Steven Lloyd Wilson

3. Ex Machina

Alex Garland, the writer of 28 Days Later in his directorial debut, has created a movie of ideas. And while it would be fantastic if that’s weren’t such a refreshing rarity, this is the cinematic landscape we’re living in and at least we can appreciate the fact that this specific rarity completely nails everything it sets out to accomplish. - Vivian Kane

4. Dope

Yet if the film’s greatest sin is a reach that exceeds its grasp, its greatest strength is its determination to say the hell with it, and reach for the stars anyway. Dope isn’t just a hilarious, madcap, oddly John-Hughesian take on inner city life. It’s also smart and wickedly sharp, a biting critique of the way we look at black youth, at education, at music and life in general. It’s often an excoriating examination of what larger society thinks “black culture” is, and it breaks open that shell of mislabeling and misunderstanding and dumps its truths onto the floor for all to see. - TK

5. Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Ascending is bad. Like STAGGERINGLY bad. Not funny bad, not cheesy bad, just “how in the world did people this incompetent make The Matrix” levels of bad. When it comes to science fiction, I have no gag reflex. I can choke anything down and get some joy out of it if you give me spaceships and lasers. Jupiter Ascending makes Transformers look like Star Wars by comparison. - SLW

6. The Martian

The Martian is a perfect science fiction film and a perfect adaptation of a perfect science fiction novel. I loved everything about it from start to finish, both on its own merits, and as an adaptation of one of my favorite novels. - SLW

7. Jurassic World

Where the original told a simple story with well-developed themes and characters who acted like rational human beings, this one has all the intelligence and logic of that enormous pile of dinosaur shit in the original movie. - SLW

8. Inside Out

There are certain things we’ve come to expect from Pixar movies: They will be funny and charming; your heart will be warmed, but not overly saccharinized; you’re going to cry; there will be one or two jokes that are never raunchy but adult enough to feel borderline racy. Oh, and every kid in the audience is going to have the time of their little lives. That is a high bar that Pixar continues to clear in all aspects, usually in spades, with only brief diversions (sorry, Cars 2, you were terrible). So it really shouldn’t be surprising (though it should be impressive) to hear that with their latest, Inside Out, Pixar has outdone even themselves. - VK

9. Spotlight

Spotlight offers a thorough and thoughtful documenting of bone-chillingly grim, real events. Yet, you’d be surprised how much humanity and humor can be found in the uncovering of the world’s biggest sex scandal. - Kristy Puchko

10. Creed

In many ways, Creed succeeds because it returns back to what made [Rocky] great. It focuses on a small story, a rise to success, and it eschews the excess, glitz, and pomposity of the latter Rocky sequels. There are no cartoon villains — no Dragos or Langs, simply different fighters trying to carve a path. - TK

11. Straight Outta Compton

Straight Outta Compton is a story about a rap group, and we learn a lot about them, flaws and all (all though it’s worth noting that the group’s often horrible misogynistic tendencies are wholly ignored). It has such a tight focus on them, never giving you a scene without them, showing their birth and the camaraderie and brotherhood that they formed with such intimate detail that you feel like you’re there, like you’re one of them. You feel —regardless of your roots or your taste — like you belong. And that’s such a critical component of what they were, giving a voice to a place and a people that so many knew nothing about, making them feel like they belonged to something. - TK

12. Crimson Peak

Guillermo del Toro’s latest, Crimson Peak, puts the director back at the adult table for the first time since 2006’s Pan’s Labyrinth and reminds us that he still has a keen eye for sumptuous gothic gore and breathtakingly beautiful violence. Visually, Crimson Peak is one of the most impressive films of the year — you never know if you should be terrified of the ghosts or if you should matte them and hang them on your wall — and it also boasts a mostly terrific cast in Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska and Charle Hunnam (who is responsible for the “mostly”). The visuals and the performances are strong enough, in fact, to overlook an otherwise predictable screenplay. You may have seen a version of this story before, but you’ve never seen it look this gorgeous. - DR

13. Spectre

Spectre? More like SpecTURD. Hahahahabut no seriously. You remember when Sam Smith’s “Writing on the Wall” came out, and everyone was like “…Wow. This is really boring for a Bond song. I’m not really digging it.” Turns out, “Writing on the Wall” is fucking excellent, at least insomuch as it’s an accurate representation of the movie it’s for. - Rebecca Pahle

14. Avengers: Age of Ultron

But perhaps most importantly, Avengers: Age of Ultron is just damn fun. It’s a well-written (mostly), very serious entry that tags into the ongoing larger story, even if much of it is — wisely so — self-contained to this film. But it’s also funny and clever and at times so breezily humored that you forget that the very world is at stake. Whedon balances the light and the dark so flawlessly that you can feel a real sense of dread that someone may well not make it out of this alive, while also giving you space to breathe and laugh and maybe even clap your hands a little, because there’s a genuine sense of joy and adventure to the whole affair. Age Of Ultron succeeds in keeping your attention not just because of its whiz-bang effects or bracing action, but because, like most of the films in this universe, it has just the right amount of heart. - TK

15. Terminator Genisys

End-sum is that Terminator: Ginuwine is not only one of the worst films I’ve ever seen, but a borderline irresponsible film. It reeks of “we cast famous people in characters from the first draft so you can’t change anything” and follows through with disastrous precision. It is junk-nightmare-garbage you deserve to avoid. - Brock Wilbur
For all the set piece meh action, there was also a surprising depth to it, raising questions of machines learning to be more than machines, and of what it is that makes us human. The implications of an eternal cycle, of Skynet and John Connor always fighting each other in every one of an infinite array of timelines. Skynet pleading, “all you know how to do is destroy”. There is story here worth the watching and thinking about. - SLW

Jodi Smith is a Senior Reporter, Film & Television at Pajiba. You can email her or follow her on Twitter.