Best and Worst Movies for 2015 – The Boomtown Rap

Wild Tales cooks
Waiting with bated breath – will our movie (Wild Tales) make the Boomtown Rap ‘Absolute Best of 2015’? You betcha!


  • “Best” and “worst” movie lists are inevitably reductive and subjective, and in general meaningful only to the compiler. Your idea of a great movie might differ from mine. It’s not entirely down to personal taste, though – there are such things as informed opinions and specialist expertise. I’m not suggesting movie buff eggheads set the standard in ratings, though – far from it. In fact, I’m with Stravinsky, who was quoted in a recent movie as claiming that “intellectuals have no taste.” All very complex and tricky, then, this taste and ratings stuff. So forget it and just accept that I know what makes a great movie and you don’t…unless you do.
  • I did not see every movie released in 2015. I’ve listed the major ones I missed at the bottom of this post.
  • My viewing is heavily weighted towards arthouse/indie (eg: of the 20 highest grossing films in Australia for 2015 I saw only one – The Martian).
  • My categories reflect an attempt to factor in the subjective nature of these types of lists. Some are therefore necessarily idiosyncratic.
  • Yes, I know there are a lot of flicks that made my “Absolute Best Movies of 2015” list. What can I say? It was a very good year (in film, if nothing else).
  • Films in each category are listed in alphabetical order and linked to my reviews except where otherwise indicated.

Absolute Best Movies of 2015
Amy (doco)
Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina
Far From Men
Iris (doco)
Queen and Country
The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Two Days, One Night
Wild Tales

Other Great Movies of 2015
Dark Horse: The Story of Dream Alliance
Love and Mercy
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Highly Recommended
Mississippi Grind [not reviewed]
Mr Holmes
Testament of Youth
The Martian
While We’re Young

Terrif, but if you’re not arthouse-tolerant forget it!
Clouds of Sils Maria
The Assassin

Worth Seeing
Foxcatcher [not reviewed]
Joy (for Jennifer Lawrence’s performance)
Legend (unmissable dual-lead performance from Tom Hardy)
99 Homes
Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago

Worth Seeing If You Like Woody Allen (I do)
Irrational Man

Frothy But Fun
Blind Date
Man Up
She’s Funny That Way [not reviewed]

Force Majeure
Jimmy’s Hall

Lawd O Lawdy!
The Last Witch Hunter

Far from the Madding Crowd [not reviewed]
– Underwhelming. Didn’t help that Carey Mulligan was badly miscast.
– Coulda and shoulda been good, but the dialogue was hard to hear and often indiscernible! Shakespeare doesn’t work all that well as a picture book, even if the pictures move.

Most over-rated
The Lobster [not reviewed]
– Look, it was novel and out there, but best film of the year, as some critics claimed? Pah! For a start, it outwore its premise, flagging in the last third, and got less and less weird as it went on. Doesn’t come close to the truly great absurdist stuff, like Kafka or Gogol, where an unhinged whacked out world is sustained brilliantly to the last word. OK, you can’t compare lit with film, but still…
– Some gushing reviews, but more style than substance.

Probably Not Worth Seeing But Better Than ‘Meh’
A Little Chaos
Kumiko the Treasure Hunter

Infinitely Polar Bear
Latin Lover [not reviewed]
The Age of Adaline
The Crow’s Egg
Fantastic 4 [not reviewed]
Samba [not reviewed]
The Mafia Kills Only In Summer
The Wolf Pack [not reviewed]

Brooklyn [not reviewed]
Cut Snake
The Longest Ride
Trash [not reviewed – apt title]

Most Annoying Film of the Year
3 Coeurs [not reviewed]
– See below.

Dog Of The Year
3 Coeurs
– 3 curs might have been more appropriate. When the French get a rom-com wrong, they don’t get more wrong than this. Faaark.

Disclaimer: The following movies were not included because I didn’t see them:

A Perfect Day
A Royal Night Out
Black Sea
Boy Choir
He Named Me Malala
Hip Hop-eration
In Harmony
Learning to Drive
Love is Strange
Madame Bovary
Manny Lewis
Mistress America
People, Places, Things
Tale of Tales
The Divergent Series: Insurgent
The Gunman
The Nightingale
The Program
Winter Sleep

Top 20 Highest Grossing Films in Australia 2015) (of these, saw only The Martian)
1. Furious 7
2. Jurassic World
3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
4. Avengers: Age of Ultron
5. Spectre
6. Minions
7. Inside Out
8. Pitch Perfect 2
9. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
10. Cinderella (2015)
11. The Martian
12. Fifty Shades of Grey
13. Mad Max: Fury Road
14. American Sniper
15. Home (2015)
16. Kingsman: The Secret Service
17. The Imitation Game
18. The Dressmaker
19. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
20. Penguins of Madagascar

Happy New Year folx, and here’s to a bumper year of movies in 2016!


Previous Annual Movie Best/Worst ofs
The Boomtown Rap: Movies of 2014 – Best, Worst etc
The Boomtown Rap Movie Awards For 2013
The Boomtown Rap Movie Awards For 2012
The Boomtown Rap Movie Awards For 2011
The Boomtown Rap Awards For 2010
The Boomtown Rap Awards For 2009
The Boomtown Rap Awards For 2008
The Boomtown Rap Awards For 2007

7 thoughts on “Best and Worst Movies for 2015 – The Boomtown Rap”

  1. Hahaha – feel like I just got my end of year school report. How I am gonna go home with that, Mr McDonald?

    I do realise that I should be grateful to be receiving feedback from a master. But in despair I must ask, how can I match the Times wing-ed wankers roundup from your esteemed site? And especially the July entry? Do you blame me for quitting and crossing to the other side? Well, do ya?


  2. Instead of classifying your2016 movies in a series of categories, why not apply the real “get down to brass tacks, no shit” criterion that I continue to advocate: how many times would you watch the movie for pleasure?

    Now, you will listen to a favourite piece of music dozens of times and get a bang out of it every time; so why can’t you watch a movie more than a handful of times before you’re sick of the bloody thing?

    I’m guessing that even your “Great” movies wouldn’t warrant more than a few viewings so how in the name of Christ do you rate them as “Great”? I’m also betting that a good percentage of your list you never intend to see again and I think a movie you don’t want to seat least twice has to be rated as “Crap”.

  3. Err, “seat” should read “see at” – but then your high-IQ readership would already have realized this so sorry for insulting your collective intelligence.

  4. Old Codger,

    Your assessment criterion has no meaning whatever for me. My situation and yours is entirely different. How long has it been since you actually watched a flick in a cinema setting? 30 years? 40? You only see movies at home on DVD or Blu-ray, and very recently on the Fox “Classic Movies” channel, correct? So, with no exposure to new releases, all your viewing comes from your home collection. You choose when to watch what from a limited inventory. Little wonder you habitually re-watch movies.

    I rarely do. Why? Firstly, just no time. I already see as many movies as I can take, and most of them are new releases I attend whenever the distributors schedule a screening. I do not collect movies, so my private viewing is of flicks recorded off SBS or ABC free-to-air TV (about 60 banked up, all things I really want to see, both old and newer), plus DVDs or Blu-rays good folk like you lend me on request. In other words, I cannot find the time to see all the movies I have waiting for me when I already have a constant stream of preview screenings that never stops. Of course, I could prioritise re-watching favourite flicks in my spare time, but I’d rather catch up on all those I have “cued up”. My circumstances are different from yours, my choices are wider, and thus my priorities are different.

    Also, I’m far more interested in contemporary film than you. Your viewing is generally heavily weighted towards “classic” movies, I think? I love the great old films as much as you or anyone, but am equally interested in the movies of now. Many are tremendous. In my view, you’re missing out on some wonderful contemporary stuff by locking yourself into “classic cinema”. That’s sorta musty of you, if you ask me. Then again, this is what old codgers do, so…

    Your music analogy is just too ridiculous to respond to, as is your ludicrous declaration that a movie you don’t want to see least twice has to be rated as “Crap”. If you’re gonna dangle flame-bait, you’ll have to be a bit more clever about it than that.

    Maybe try throwing the windows open on your “classic movie” closet and let the 21st C air in from time to time. And here’s a little sumpin’ to ponder. Movies are made to be seen on the big screen in a cinema. That’s the intended medium. There’s a dimension to film you’re missing out on if you view only at home. Some films you just won’t “get” on home theatre equipment (eg: see my review of the new release, The Revenant). Why not venture out to the cinema occasionally and experience what you’re missing out on?


  5. Umm, before I’m classified into “nostalgia-only” BOF territory – and thus easily dismissed, I do quite regularly watch new-fangled movies and, yes, sometimes actually enjoy them! Hard to believe, but true! And as for being predominantly interested in the “classics”(whatever they are) I tend to find most of the critics’ darlings from the past overrated.

    Your reply, I have to say, is full of irrelevancies. Yes, you’re a busy man, etc etc, but my suggested criterion was not about how many times you will actually watch the movies on your list but how many times you WANT to see them (due to your busyness, of course, you can’t actually do so – all you can do is pine: “Oh, I do SO WISH I could see “The Diary Of A Teenage Girl” the numerous times it warrants as an Absolute Best but alas! life is short and there is so much to see!”).

    You say that my criterion (how many times you want to see a movie) is meaningless although your “reason” for this is something like “this is the 21st Century, Bud. Get a Life!” and which is, I can only say with the utmost charity, a non sequitur. And you say that my musical analogy is self-evidently ludicrous. Could you please specify exactly why? Surely if a movie (or any ostensible work of art) is not worth revisiting at least ONCE then it can’t be much good – now, can it?

    Even if it IS the 21st Century.

  6. Well hello again, Old C.

    None of my response was irrelevant, but I didn’t do much of a job of relating it back to your comments, I acknowledge. I assumed you’d be able to just join the dots. Anyway, doesn’t matter. Can’t see you changing your view or conceding a thing whatever I say.

    “Classic movies” is a rather nebulous category, certainly, and not one I’d generally use (which is why I enclosed the term in inverted commas), but I suggest you’re being just a little disingenuous and pedantic here. Why would you subscribe to Fox’s ‘Classic Movies’ channel without having some idea of the type of fare you’d be served up? Will leave that for you to ponder.

    Now that you’ve been more precise on your assessment criterion, I can say that if my time was unlimited and I did not have a long list of must-watch movies cued, and was not invited to a steady stream of preview screenings, I would indeed like to re-watch most of the movies in my first 3 categories (and The Diary of a Teenage Girl would be right up towards the top of them – your implied assessing of it by its title is sort of understandable, but a big mistake).

    That said, I still completely reject your criterion. There are movies I love that I do not have any “yearning” to see again. To choose one I know you’ve seen: Anvil – The Story of Anvil. Is it a model of documentary excellence? Probably not – can’t say I watched it with that sort of appraisal in mind. Let’s say it’s no masterpiece. So what? It’s an endearing, heartwarming little charmer, made with belief. And I enjoyed it so much I didn’t hesitate to award it ‘Best Doco for 2009’ (a category it shared with the wonderful In Search of Beethoven). But why see it again? I know what happens, so the novelty value and emotional impact would not be anywhere near as great. I’m not saying I would never watch it again, but I am saying I will not be prioritizing doing so. Yes, I bought the DVD during a JBs sale, but really for you, because I knew you’d enjoy the flick and wouldn’t get to see it otherwise. I haven’t watched the DVD myself.

    Dunno about you, but how I FEEL in response to a movie is critical to my assessment. I’m not much interested in re-watching a flick to examine the technicals, or narrative structure, or cinematography, or whatever. That’s film school stuff, and I had more than enough of it when I studied film and TV at uni. There are, of course, movies that beg a second or more viewing, because there are layers you want to experience that eluded you the first time around, or elements that were so absorbing or exciting or moving or beautiful or whatever that you want to experience them again. But that doesn’t necessarily make the more modest, less complex pieces unworthy, or crap.

    To me, there’s an implied absolutism about the tone of your declarations and your criterion that speaks of a type of grandiosity. Regardless, it goes without saying that you’re entitled to your views, which are doubtless traceable to a clear aesthetic sensibility. However, others who are at least as serious about their movies as you have relatively recently become, and possibly a lot better informed, might differ. Doesn’t make you wrong or them right, or vice versa. It is possible to have different perspectives that are equally valid. Including mine.

    As for the music analogy (which I note you’ve toned down bigtime in your recent comment), it would take an expansive response to properly elaborate on why it doesn’t work, and this ain’t the time or place. Suffice it to say that music and film are very different genres, and to equate one with the other in relation to your assessment criterion does not take that into account. Since I do not accept your criterion as sensible or valid, it seems pointless and a waste of time to pursue this further.

    Appreciate your feedback and thoughts, but to be honest, I think you’re taking my annual movie roundup way too seriously. I refer you to my disclaimer at the introduction to the post, the tone and content of which was intended to suggest that the assessments were not to be taken too seriously. My ratings make perfect sense to me, and I believe I am an educated, reasonably sophisticated viewer, but that’s where my claim to authority ends.


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