Monday, January 4, 2016

A Look Back at 2015 and a Look Ahead to 2016


Circumstances were such in 2015 that my contract as a Project Manager continued throughout the year, with some time off in November.  The hours continued to be full time plus, and when combined with my commute time, it meant my hours for movie watching and post writing were still curtailed. 

As the year went on my movie watching took priority and I posted less and less often.  Writing reviews started to feel more like homework assignments.  I find I write short “reviews” on Letterboxd now and those seem to mostly satisfy my desire to get some words down on a movie.  That may change (see 2016).

Major lists I completed during 2015 were the They Shoot Pictures Don’t They (2015 Edition), Roger Ebert’s Great Movies, and all the Oscar Best Picture Nominees. 

Other lists completed in 2015 include Empire Magazine’s Top 100 World films (2010 edition), the top 301 films of all time (2014 edition), and the top 500 films of all time (2008 edition).  Also completed were Entertainment Weekly’s 2013 list of the top 100 films, the BBC’s 2015 list of the top 100 American films, and the 101 Horror Movies You Must See Before You Die (put out by the same people who do the 1001 Movies books.)

In the year 2015 I saw a total of 345 movies that were new to me.  I also re-watched another 9 films. (Note: I don’t count watching a DVD/BD with the commentary track as being a re-watch or my number would be higher.)  And I watched/re-watched 10 full seasons of various TV shows on DVD/BD/Streaming.

During 2015 I saw 41 films that I would rate at least four stars (14 more than in 2014).  They are, in chronological order within ranking:

5 stars:  The Orphanage (2007), (and a special mention for the TV show Orphan Black, which I would also give five stars to – especially the first season).

4.5 stars: Inside Out (2015), Twinsters (2015), The Martian (2015)

4 stars: Life Itself (2014), The Imitation Game (2014), American Sniper (2014), Boyhood (2014), Birdman (2014), Citizenfour (2014), Interstellar (2014), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014), The History of Future Folk (2012), The One I Love (2014), Nightcrawler (2014), Dinosaur 13 (2014), 30 for 30: Four Days in October (2010), Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Samurai Rebellion (1967), Only Lovers Left Alive (2014), The Grey Zone (2001), Predestination (2015), Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015), 30 for 30: Unguarded (2011), Looney Toons Golden Collection Vol 1 (2003), Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), Muppets Most Wanted (2014), The Train (1964), The More the Merrier (1943), Furious Seven (2015), David Ortiz: In the Moment (2014), Tomorrowland (2015), Riley’s First Date? (2015), Mr. Holmes (2015), Trainwreck (2015), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), The Peanuts Movie (2015), Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015), Spotlight (2015), The Hateful Eight (2015)

As always, I will post my Top 10 films for 2015 after the Oscars are chosen (which allows me time to see many of the films others picked as the best.)


Barring sudden incompetence on my part (or large budgeting changes) my job should continue throughout the entire year.

In regards to movies, right now I am trying to play catch up on recent, popular films (primarily 2013-2015) that I have missed, rather than working my way through any “official” list.  I am watching a few films from the five remaining 101 [Genre] Movies You Must See Before You Die lists as I get the DVDs from Netflix.  These will very likely be the next large set of movies I complete, and since I have just under 100 left I hope to do them all in 2016.

Assuming I have the time and/or inclination my next large set of movies after the 101 Genre ones may be Top British films or the movies that have been preserved by the U.S. National Film Registry.  Mixed in may be some “low hanging fruit” – lists where I have only a few entries left to complete.

There are also lists that change or expand every year.  I just updated my consolidated and weighted IMDB Top 250 list with the 2015 year end, as well as old lists from 1996 and 1997.  As a result I have 15 new films to watch to once again be complete.  In February the newest version of the TSPDT list should be coming out and I intend to knock off whatever new ones appear.  In the fall there will be a new edition of the 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die with the resultant dozen or so additions to watch.

And of course, coming up shortly are the 2016 Oscar nominations and my goal is to watch and review (if worthy of recommendation) all the Best Picture nominees, just like I have in all prior years I’ve had this site.  That will mean posting more frequently than I have been in recent months.  I do wonder if this might get me back into the swing of things again, and make me feel like reviewing categories of films like I used to.  We shall see.

Regardless, in 2016 Steve Honeywell and I have agreed to continue to do once a month reviews of films the other has selected.  And I will also do my monthly status posts with mini-reviews, so there will still be some activity here, even if it doesn’t turn out I continue with full movie reviews after the Oscars are over.

I’d like to wish everyone a belated Happy New Year and I hope you have a great 2016.


  1. Well done completing those lists! I see the majority of the 4.5 star and 4 star films are from this century. Or maybe you just watched more recent than older films in 2015?
    Look forward to your Best Picture nominee reviews.

    1. As it happens, I saw almost no 2014 Oscar contenders until into 2015, but this year I was able to see many 2015 Oscar contenders before the end of the year. Those tend to be better movies, so that's why there are so many recent ones.

      As for older films, I have completed several different movies lists, so when I watch an older movie now that is new to me that means that none of these several different lists considered it good enough to include. That means that for older films I've seen many, or possibly even most, of the ones that will get top marks from me. The oldest film I gave 4 stars to was The More the Merrier (1943), which actually was on a couple other lists I have, just not ones I've completed yet. I'll have to take a look at my 3 and 3.5 star films from 2015 and see how many older films are in those ratings.

    2. Okay, I did a quick count. In addition to the three last century films I rated as a 4, I also had 25 I rated 3.5 stars, and 60 that I rated 3 stars - my threshold for recommending them.

    3. I figured you'd watched a lot of old movies from the lists you've been working on. Thanks for clearing that up. I can check your letterboxd for the titles of the older films.

    4. Just a heads up on my Letterboxd - I wasn't "reviewing" every movie I watched there until some time in 2015. I can't remember when I started. I would just go in and rate many of them, but not put a date in, so it wasn't recording them in my Diary. If you are looking for completeness my monthly status posts here have every film I watched, the rating I gave, and a few words on it.

  2. Wishing you many four and five star movies in 2016! I hope you decide to do Top British Films. I've been enjoying catching up with them very much.

    1. Thanks. I wish the same for you.

      Right now, British films are more likely because I have fewer of those to watch to complete a couple different Top 100 lists I have from Empire and BFI.

  3. Good job, Chip. Sometimes work and other obligations mean that you don't get around to watch as many movies as you wished for, but is just how it is.
    I still think you should consider more thematic posts. They were quite good and I miss them.

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