2015 Year in Review

Previously Published

Collider Video to YouTube to Screen Junkies Plus.  To look at my choices for the top three online video movie reviewers.

These are the guys who I listen to when I am looking for opinions on the latest movies.  Although I don’t always agree with their opinions, I respect what they say and how they say it.

#3 Chris Stuckmann. 

I enjoy Chris Stuckmann’s work quite a bit.  He is very professional and clearly knows his movies.  He speaks with clarity and confidence.

#2 The Schmoes Knows

Mark Ellis and Kristian Harloff are extremely entertaining and fun.  I also enjoyed their podcast on Thursdays while it was on.  Both are extremely funny and quick witted.  I always like to watch the Collider Movie Talk show when one or both are on.  I would give them both 5 out of 5 Schmoes.

#1 Jeremy Jahns

Jeremy Jahns is the YouTube movie reviewer that I like the best.  His videos are always entertaining, and, honestly, his opinion on movies are usually very close to mine.  I have heard him say things in his video that I had in my head after watching a movie or in my reviews of those movies.  I have even used his word “awesometacular” in my normal life.

Top Streaming Services of 2015

#5 Amazon Prime

Amazon has had some success in 2015 with their streaming service (particularly with the Emmy winning Transparent starring Jeffrey Tambor).  I have yet to become a member of Amazon Prime, but I love the shopping website so it may not be too long for me to subscribe.

#4 Screen Junkies Plus

The newest on this list, Screen Junkies Plus took all of my favorite shows from YouTube and all of my favorite critics from YouTube and made a bunch of original shows for streaming.  Screen Junkies Movie Fights has become must viewing every week and the new TV Fights has picked things right up.  Time will tell if there is enough content to warrant this channel, but, for now, it feels at the “height of their powers.” -(thanks Hal Rudnick)

#3 WWE Network

You can’t beat the savings if you are a wrestling fan of the WWE Network.  For just $9.99 a month, you have access to all of the Pay Per Views, past and present, original series, and specials.  There can be no denying that the world of professional wrestling is currently in a down turn, but the WWE Network remains a viable option for fans.

#2 Hulu

Hulu is the best option for those of us who cannot watch everything on television when it actually airs.  Now, I do not have the Tivo, so I spend several hours a week on Hulu.  In a typical week, I will watch Flash, Gotham, Castle, Heroes Reborn, Grimm, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, General Hospital on Hulu, as well as every one in awhile, Jimmy Fallon or other late night shows.  Though there are some television holes in their coverage (FX, CBS shows, AMC etc), Hulu helps me keep up to date.

#1 Netflix.

Well…duh.  Netflix has become an iconic site.  The streaming site has tons of classic movies, television shows and documentaries available for streaming, but the key to Netflix’s success is clearly its original programming.  House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Marco Polo among others has created the term “binge watching.”  Netflix is at the start of the pop culture and leads the way.

To those we lost…

In Memorandum

deaths2015

add to the In Memorandum for 2015…Harry Morgan

Another loss to add to this list is Meadowlark Lemon of the Harlem Globetrotter fame.  Meadowlark could do things on a basketball court that you just shouldn’t be able to do.

And yet another loss.  Lemmy from Motorhead.

 

2015 Meme of the Year

This was my favorite Twitter meme of this year… it was “Make a Mochrie”

colin21

Add Colin Mochrie from Whose Line Is It Anyway to any picture and it instantly made it better.

 

Villains!!!!

You can’t have a great hero without an awesome villain.  And this list of 10 (ok…11) villains are the tops of the year.

#10 (Tie) Valentine (Kingsmen) and Penguin (Gotham)

Samuel L. Jackson was awesome Kingsmen early in this year, taking what looked to be nothing more than a stereotypical character and made it a fully fleshed out entertaining character.

Oswalt Cobblepot has embraced the name Penguin.  He has taken control of the Gotham criminal world after killing Fish Mooney.  However, the new season has not been kind to Penguin as his mother was killed before his eyes.  Penguin is still the most developed and interesting character in Gotham (though Ed Nygma might be on the way soon)

#9 Agent Ward (Agents of SHIELD)

When Agent Ward debuted as a member of SHIELD, most people responded with a deafening yawn.  However, when it was revealed that Grant Ward was working or Hydra, and was really a sociopath, this character really came to life.  Ward has taken the serious step into villain land and the chances of redemption is completely gone.  And that is great.

#8 Deckard Shaw (Furious 7)

Deckard Shaw was the proverbial Energizer Bunny in the latest Fast and the Furious film.  Shaw was everywhere.  However, he brought the violence in his desire to revenge his brother.  And Jason Statham was perfect for this role.

#7 Ultron (Avengers: Age of Ultron)

Voiced by the amazing James Spader, Ultron began as an attempt to shield the earth from extraterrestrial dangers…a suit of armor around the world is what Tony Stark called it.  However, that suit of armor went horribly wrong.  We may not have seen enough of Ultron Prime in the Avengers, but there is no denying the impact the killer robot had on the MCU.

#6 Reverse Flash- Harrison Wells  (The Flash)

Harrison Wells was the brains behind Star Labs and a mentor of Barry Allen, aka The Flash.  Little did anyone know that Wells was a speedster from the future who had returned in time and had killed Barry’s mother.  Stranded, Wells created the Flash in an attempt to get himself back to the future.  He didn’t quite make it.

#5 God Doom (Marvel Secret Wars)

Even the horrid version of Dr. Doom from the Fantastic Four movie could prevent God Doom from being everything.  God Doom saved the universe from destruction and created Battleworld, placing himself as God.  In Marvel continuity, Doom is still god (because of delays of Secret Wars release dates)  We know that God falls… but we have yet to see how that might have happened.

#4 Indominus Rex (Jurassic World)

Indominus Rex was a killing machine, genetically produced as the key feature of the amusement park Jurassic World.  And, of course, the massive dinosaur escaped its cage and ransacked through the park.  The special effects of Jurassic World provided us with the amazing combination of T-Rex and Velocipators and led to the highest grossing film of the year (so far).

#3 Kylo Ren (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

I said that Jurassic World was the highest grossing film of the year so far because this one will probably take that crown away.  The return of the Star Wars franchise, led by the villainous Kylo Ren, is as anticipated as any film this year.  And Kylo Ren, who has only been seen in the trailers, is mysterious and engaging.  Is he Luke Skywalker as the rumors have indicated?  Who knows.  There is just over a couple of weeks until we find out.

#2 Kilgrave (Jessica Jones)

Kilgrave was one of the most horrible, most rotten villains of the year.  His mind control abilities were really explored in Jessica Jones on Netflix and the metaphor for the loss of power was clear.  And Kilgrave could have been a one note villain, but with the brilliant performance by David Tennant, you even started to feel for Kilgrave.  Kilgrave almost became #1 on this list, but he was just one slight step behind his Netflix companion villain…

#1 Wilson Fisk (Daredevil)

Wilson Fisk was the best part of Netflix’s Daredevil.  Played to perfection by Vincent D’Onofrio, Fisk was like a massive child, containing his anger over his tragic past and trying to find love himself.  Of course, he also wanted the power in Hell’s Kitchen and that power brought him into conflict with Daredevil.  That confrontation was amazing.  The scene when Fisk decapitated his enemy with his car door was astonishing in its violence and its beauty.  Wilson Fisk challenges Loki as the best villain in all of the MCU.  Hopefully, we will see Fisk again sometime in the future.

Best Sci Fi

This was not the greatest year for science fiction, so there is more on the worst side than the best side.  Having said that, there were two standout sci-fi films that will wind up tied for the prestigious Spock for 2015.

Best Sci-Fi (tie)

The Martian

Ex Machina

Some might argue that The Martian was sci-fi, but since we are not yet capable of landing a man on Mars, I think it fits.  The Martian was near a 5 star movie with great performances, a lot of surprising humor and brilliant cinematography.  Ex Machina was an early year favorite that dealt with a more earth based science fiction.  The characters were the key to both of these films and focusing just on the sci-fi genre, there were none better.

The Worst is an easy choice.

Some runners up would include:  Pixels, The Fantastic Four, Chappie, Last Witch Hunter

But the worst sci fi movie of the year (and one that might be in the running for worst film of the year…stay tuned) and the film that is awarded the infamous Mirror Spock Award for 2015 is…

Jupiter Ascending.

Jupiter Ascending was such a train wreck, and not in the good way.  I nearly fell asleep in the theater while I watched this.  There was a great cast, but no one does a good job.  Eddie Redmayne gave such a stinker of a performance that some believed that he might have cost himself the Oscar for his brilliant portrayal of Steven Hawking (he didn’t).  One of the worst films of the year.

Now…of course, there is a little sci-fi film coming out next week that might have taken the Spock had it come out a little sooner, but that was scheduling.  Sorry Star Wars.  Maybe next time.

Disappointment

I just came from Ron Howard’s new film, In the Heart of the Sea, and this year-end category came to mind.

The thing is… this was a weird year for this film.  I was really looking forward to In the Heart of the Sea.  I would say that it was one of my most anticipated films of 2015.  Then, they moved it from March to December, making one think that it was hoping to be considered for Oscar contention.

So I had high expectations.  But hen I started to hear the reviews.  They were mostly low.  Its percent of Rotten Tomatoes was under 60% and the movie reviewers on YouTube all kind of poo-pooed this.  So I lowered my expectations considerably, as I went into the film just hoping that they were wrong.  What I saw was a flawed movie that I ended up enjoying somewhat.  I was not that disappointed because it was better than I thought it was going to be after seeing the reviews.  Yet, with as much anticipation that I had for this earlier this year (especially after seeing that breathtaking trailer), it really does deserve to be on this list,if not win the award.

But this award can be given to a movie that I liked.  I was just hoping for more…expecting more.  So it was a disappointment.  I am a bit perplexed.  But decisions must be made… so here are the biggest disappointments of the year.

Pitch Perfect 2, Minions 2, Sicario, Spectre, Pan

and the winner of the Spider-man 3 Biggest Disappointment of the Year Award for 2015 is…

In the Heart of the Sea. 

Sorry Ron, but my lowered expectations do not excuse that you did not knock this one out of the park.  The other films on the list were all disappointing to a less extent and a couple of them will show up again on the flop list, but In the Heart of the Sea just could have been so epic.  It belongs at the top of this list for 2015.

2015: The Year of the Spy Movie.

There were several movies focused upon the spy genre in 2015, probably more than any recent year.  And several of them were just tremendous.  So here is the list of the spy movies in order according to EYG.

#7 Barely Lethal.  Terrible.  Easily the worst of the year.

#6 Man from UNCLE.  This was ok.  Good chemistry among its lead actors, but connecting it to an old 60s TV show did not make much sense.

#5 Spectre.  I was pretty disappointed with the new James Bond movie.  It was still watchable though.

#4 Bridge of Spies.  The most realistic film (based on a true story), it was a Steven Spielberg- Tom Hanks film.  That alone made it pretty decent.

#3 Spy.  Melissa McCarthy turned out a really excellent spy movie that was both surprising and funny.  McCarthy broke out of her typical mold of character for this one and it turned out really great.

#2 Kingsman: The Secret Service.  A great film.  It was fun from the beginning to the head-exploding end.  It was not afraid to go places that other films wouldn’t go.  The church slaughter scene to Freebird is one of the year’s best scenes.

and #1… spy movie of the year is:

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Tom Cruise has another great hit that was remarkably exciting and fun.  The scene of him hanging on the outside of the airplane, which seemed like the big action scene, takes place in the film’s first 10 minutes.  And it only gets better after that.  MI: Rogue Nation tops the bill for top spy movie of the year.

Best and Worst Trailer of the Year

Best Trailer

  1. In the Heart of the Sea
  2. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  3. Batman v Superman teaser trailer
  4. Captain America: Civil War
  5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Worst Trailer

  1. Chipmunks: Road Chip
  2. Aloha
  3. Chappie

The World of WWE

wwe

If we are being honest, this was not the best year for the WWE.  A rash of injuries, predictable storylines and stale creative plans have caused ratings to slump for the last part of the year. However, there have still been some real great moments.  And we are here to identify those.

Wrestler of the Year:  John Cena.  This one is a little hard to say, but no one has had a better year than John Cena.  With his “United States Championship Open Challenge” on RAW, Cena has been consistently in the best match on the show and he will appear in several of the top ten matches of the year.  Plus, when Cena took time off at the end of the year, RAW’s rating dropped significantly.  Coincidence?  I doubt it.  Cena was also great in Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck.  A great year for John Cena.  Runner-Up:  Seth Rollins, The New Day, Brock Lesnar

Tag Team of the Year: The New Day.  No contest.  The New Day combination of Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods was consistently the most entertaining part of RAW.  Each and every week, the New Day found new ways to up the ante.  How many wrestlers could get over a trombone?  The New Day is the hottest, most over group the WWE has seen in years.  And the New Day is clearly having fun.

Moment of the Year:  Diva’s Revolution.  The arrival of Charlotte, Becki Lynch, Sasha Banks to RAW to start the so called Diva’s Revolution was an incredible moment.  Sure, the follow through of the “Diva’s Revolution” was not very good… but this moment was money.  Runner up:  Seth Rollins’ cash in, Dudley’s return to WWE, Cesaro’s top rope cartwheel

Woman of the Year: Charlotte.  The top female performer of 2015 will be one of the top stars for the next several years.  Charlotte is the current Diva’s Champion and the best is yet ahead of her.  Runners Up:  Sasha Banks, Paige, Nikki Bella, Bayley

Feud of the Year:  John Cena vs. Kevin Owens.  This three match series provided three mat classics.  These two really brought out the best in each other and Kevin Owens exploded on the scene in WWE after a short stint in NXT.  Cena-Owens feud over the US Championship was compelling.  Runners Up:  Bayley vs. Sasha Banks, Roman Reigns vs. The Authority, Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt.

Breakout Star of the Year:  New Day.  The tag team of the year became so huge that they were suddenly all over RAW.  There was one episode where they were involved in like five sections.  And all because there were three men who were having fun.  Runners Up:  Kevin Owens, Sasha Banks, Cesaro

Mike Man of the Year:  Paul Heyman.  Yes, Heyman again.  There is no one better on the microphone than Heyman.  Paul had to sell the Undertaker-Lesnar match each week by himself.  He is easily the best.  If only every one else could watch Heyman and do what he does.  Runners Up:  New Day.

Biggest Waste of Talent:  Daniel Bryan.  Well, this is a questionable one.  The WWE has not cleared Bryan to resume his career despite Bryan having a doctor outside of the WWE saying that he is healthy and good to go.  Maybe this is a case of the WWE protecting its talent.  But if Bryan is able to perform, isn’t it wasteful to not let him do it?  Runners Up:  Cesaro, Neville, Damian Sandow, Stardust.

Daniel Bryan Shining through the crap award:  Neville.  Neville should be a huge star because he can do things that no one can do.  And despite being used much like a talented jobber for much of the year, Neville has looked amazing.  It would not take long to make this man a top star…and that is something the WWE needs.  Runners Up:  New Day, Cesaro, Bra Wyatt.

Best Show: NXT.  For a second year in a row, NXT is the best tv show in WWE.  RAW is too boring or full of filler and Smackdown has become more of a RAW review.  NXT is hot, and stars are wanting to go to NXT.  The sky is the limit for this show.

Worst timing:  Cesaro injured.  Yes, Cesaro had an opportunity to take that step to the next level… but then he had a torn rotator cuff and he went on the shelf for months.  I hope he gets healthy and winds up where he should be, at the top of the card.

Best PPV/Special:  NXT Takeover: Brooklyn.  The NXT Takeover specials on the WWE Network are amazing shows that allow their performers to perform and have a crowd that is engaged.  This had a great match between Bayley and Sasha Banks that was so full of emotion, a ladder match with Finn Balor and Kevin Owens, and The Vaudvillains winning the NXT Tag Team Titles.  This happened on the weekend of SummerSlam and NXT continues to shine.  Runners Up: Wrestlemania 31, Elimination Chamber, NXT Takeover: Rival.

Matches of the Year

#10.  Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks,  NXT Women’s Championship, NXT Takeover: Unstoppable, May 20

#9.  Kevin Owens vs.  Finn Balor,   NXT Championship, The Beast in the East, July 4

#8.  John Cena vs. Sami Zayn, US Open Challenge, RAW, May 4

#7.  Bayley vs. Sasha Banks,  NXT Women’s Championship, NXT: Brooklyn August 22

#6.  New Day vs. Lucha Dragons vs. The Usos  Ladder Match, WWE Tag Team Championship,  TLC  December 13

#5.  John Cena vs. Cesaro, United States Open Challenge, RAW June 29

#4.  Kevin Owens vs. John Cena, US Championship, Elimination Chamber, May 31

#3.  John Cena vs. Cesaro II, United States Open Challenge, RAW, July 6

#2.  Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins, WWE World Championship, Royal Rumble, January 25

#1.  Sasha Banks vs. Bayley, Iron Man Match, NXT Women’s Championship, NXT Women’s Championship, NXT Takeover: Respect

This match had so much emotion and had such an amazing atmosphere.  Bayley and Sasha showed how amazing they were as performers.  Both young ladies have huge futures.

By the way… John Cena was in five of the top ten matches of the year.  Then #11 may have been Cena vs. Neville on RAW which was amazing as well.  And he had two other matches with Kevin Owens that nearly matched that first one.  Congrats to the Wrestler of the Year on a truly magnificent year.

Kick Ass Female

2015 was the year of the kick ass female.  There were more female protagonists than we have had in a long time, and they were more than just the damsel in distress.  In fact, many of these characters caused the distress.

#10 Miss Piggy (The Muppets).  Having to put up with the biggest break up of the year, Miss Piggy became the star of her own late night talk show and always found the time to set trends and product placements (Piggy water anyone?)  Here’s hoping that 2016 is when Piggy finds her way back to her froggy.

#9 Daisy Johnson (Agents of SHIELD).  Daisy started the year known as Skye, but she ended it adopting her real name and she continues to explore her new life as an inhuman inside SHIELD.  The character is based on the comic book heroine Quake, and Daisy has more in her future as the Secret Avengers are coming.

#8 Sarah Manning (Orphan Black).  The amazing Tatiana Maslany brings a special kick assery to Orphan Black as she is playing much of the cast roster herself.  There might be an argument that could be made that Maslany’s most kick ass character is actually Helena, but that is really splitting DNA.  Sarah is the head of them all and so makes our list.

#7 Analise Keating (How to Get Away with Murder).  How does Analise do it?  How does she continually keep those balls in the air while still being a powerhouse defense attorney and a teacher at a law school?  Easy, she manipulates and lies and morphs into whatever she needs.  She is a wholly unlikable character whom you just can’t help but root for.

#6 Melinda May (Agents of SHIELD).  “The Cavalry”, as she was known, continues to be the coolest, most capable agent SHIELD has.  Even when her ex-husband is turning into Inhuman monsters, May does not let anything shake her outer exterior.  However, we all know the price that she pays inside.  We found out the heartbreaking reason behind the Cavalry nickname this year and Melinda May is still in our hearts.

#5 Thor (Marvel Comics).  There was all kind of controversy when Marvel Comics unleashed the new female Thor.  And yet, the comics themselves were fantastic.  Then, this year, we discovered who it was who snatched Mjolnir from the surface of the moon.  It was Jane Foster, who was still slowly dying from cancer.  This great twist kept our favorite Norse God in the forefront of Marvel Comics.

#4 Furiosa (Mad Max: Fury Road).  When you are the star of the latest Mad Max movie and your name is not Mad max, you know that you are doing something right.  Charlize Theron brought the fury to Fury Road and had people forgetting about Tom Hardy.

#3 Carol Peletier (The Walking Dead).  Carol has become one of the top characters of the zombie-survival show.  Who would have thought that a few years ago when Carol was a sad and depressed housewife of an abusive husband.  However, after the death of her daughter, Carol has become the most fearful of the group, always willing to do what has to be done to ensure their survival.  Look out Morgan.

#2 Jessica Jones (Netflix).  When Netflix announced the series of Marvel characters they were giving their own series, everyone was excited about Luke Cage or Daredevil or Iron Fist.  And everyone was wondering exactly who Jessica Jones was.  Well, no one was wondering any longer.  Perhaps the most well developed female character of the year, Jessica Jones dealt with the danger of Kilgrave while an original heroine.  She drank.  She slept around.  She was mouthy.  She did not suffer fools.  She was violent.  And Jessica Jones the series was all the better for it.

#1 Rey (Star Wars: The Force Awakens).  If you would have said tome that I was doing a list of kick ass females of 2015 and Jessica Jones would not be number one, I would have laughed at you.  And then I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and all bets were off.  Rey is the most kick ass female of the year, and would ahve to be considered one of the most kick ass characters, regardless of sex, of the year.   She has tapped into the Force, she battled Kylo Ren, she handled a staff and a lightsaber and even used the Jedi Mind Trick.  Played by the fresh faced Daisy Ridley, Rey is perfectly set up to be the main protagonist for the Star Wars franchise moving forward.  And I, for one, am extremely happy.

John Carter

There was some serious competition for the John Carter Memorial Award this year.

There was so much competition that Fantastic Four (Fant4stic) is not even in the finalists for the award.

Wow.

There are several films looking to join the company of films that have received this infamous award from EYG.  The past receivers included John Carter (2012), Lone Ranger (2013) and A Million Ways to Die in the West and Expendable 3 (2104).  There were two “winners” last year. This year we will need to split the award three ways.

Taking into consideration that a flop is more than just failure at the box office (though that is a major factor as well), we have several runner ups.  We Are your Friends starring Zac Efron had a horrible box office take,but expectations were pretty low for that film.  No one saw that as being a huge hit.  Jupiter Ascending moved from the summer into January for a reason.  It was so bad that people thought it might cost Eddie Redmayne his Oscar.  Tomorrowland lost a ton of money for the studio after a horrible ad campaign that confused everyone.  And the aforementioned Fantastic Four.

So here are the three movies that tied for the biggest flops of 2015 according to EYG.

Jem and the Holograms

Pan

Rock the Casbah

Jem started week one on 2.413 screens and made $1.37 million.  Week two, it had 2,417 screens and made $387, 925 and then Universal stopped reporting its box office performance.  The is an epic fail.

Pan was a large budget film with very little return on its investment.  It had a budget of $150 million and opened to $15 million.

And Rock the Casbah, according to an article in Business Insiders:

“The film also holds the No. 5 spot for the worst wide opening (2,000-2,499 theaters) since 1982 on Box Office Mojo.”

2015 was really the year of the flop and the fact that Fantastic Four, a movie in August I was preparing to give this award to, was passed by three separate films (and honestly, We Are Your Friends would be ahead of it too), is a remarkable thing.  It has been such a strange year since we also have two films break the Avengers’ opening weekend record (Jurassic World and Star wars: The Force Awakens) that it was just the weaker films that no one cares about.

Lets hope that there is not four winners of the John Carter Memorial Award next year.

TV

Television Shows

There has been an amazing reinvention of how people watch television programs over the last few years.  More and more people are watching online, with DVRs and with other devices.  Shows are appearing on Netflix, Amazon, cable networks, streaming services, among many others.  The days of ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX are gone.

A second trend we are seeing is the specialty shows.  Shows that are anywhere from 8 episodes long to 15 episodes.  The days of 23 episode seasons are slowly coming to an end.  Because of this, we have made a decision.  Instead of listing the top television programs, we have split them into two categories.  Category One:  Shows where they have a “full” season.  Category Two:  Shows that are “shortened” seasons.

“Full” season shows- Top Ten

#10. Grimm (NBC).  Grimm has had its ups and downs this year, but it still has strong characters and one of my personal favorites in Monroe.

#9.  Once Upon a Time (ABC).  OUAT has also been up and down this season.  Its use of Frozen characters was interesting, but its use of Camelot characters were not as successful.  Dark Swan seems to be pretty cliche by now, but the great love story between Emma Swan and Captain Hook helps bring this show strength.

#8.  Flash (CW).  The Flash really picked up speed this past year (forgive the pun).  They have great villains in Zoom, Reverse Flash, Gorilla Grodd.. but it does tend to deal with the metahuman of the week too much.

#7.  Gotham (FOX).  Gotham has really made some improvements this year.  Last year, Gotham tried to cram too much (too many characters, too many storylines) into individual episodes.  This year the show has been so much better. It has come close to becoming too campy, but it has carefully avoided those problems.  If Gotham continues to make these kind of improvements, then the show will be very safe.

#6.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS).  The show has really been anchoring itself to the strength of the relationship between Sheldon and Amy.  Sheldon Cooper has made as many strides as a character this last year as he has in all of the previous years.  And that is a good thing.

#5.  Scandal (ABC).  Scandal has slipped some over the last year.  I hated the kidnapped Olivia storyline and I was not fond about the story that followed.  I have never liked President Fitz.  I even wrote a blog post stating that Fitz is the worst fictionalized president ever.  And yet, Scandal still knows how to do a great episode.

#4.  Whose Line is it Anyway? (CW).  Still extremely funny.  As long as Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles are on this show, it will be worth watching.

#3.  Castle (ABC).  The show is feeling its age.  It is in its eighth season, and it feels like they may be coming to an end soon.  Having said this, this is still one of the first shows I watch on Hulu.  Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic are still great as a couple and the show still is humorous.

#2.  The Muppets (ABC).  I know some people are not fond of this version of the Muppets, but I find it extremely funny.  And the episode where the Swedish Chef did karaoke rapping was just mind boggling.

#1.  Agents of SHIELD (ABC).  Last year’s overall #1 is this year’s “full” season #1.  SHIELD has the most consistent episodes with the most entertaining characters.  Phil Coulson is one of the best characters on television and his portrayer, Clark Gregg, has as much charisma as you will find.  The show also has great stories involving Inhumans including Lash, visited an extraterrestrial planet (EGO?), and fought with the traitor Grant Ward and Hydra.  The midseason finale prepared to change the status quo around once again.

Shortened Season Television Shows

Top Ten

#10.  House of Cards (Netflix) Streaming 13 episodes with the great Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright.  House of Cards season three was not as strong as seasons one and two, but there is always fun to be had with President Frank Underwood.

#9.  Agent Carter (ABC).  A shortened 8 episode season during the break of Agents of SHIELD, Peggy Carter became one of Marvel’s top cinematic agents.  The pairing of Agent Carter and Jarvis was inspired and brought great humor and excitement.

#8.  Orphan Black (BBC).  Tatiana Maslany is unbelievable as the series of clones.  It is amazing how different these characters are despite being played by the same actress.  There are many times where I forget that these are the same actress.  Tatiana Maslany received an Emmy nomination this year and it was long overdue.

#7.  How to Get Away With Murder (ABC).  This would have been a little higher on the list but the second season has been a little disjointed.  Season one was truly amazing.  No matter what season you are watching, Viola Davis is a revelation.  The character of Connor is another breakout character on this show.

#6.  Orange is the New Black (Netflix).  Season three of OITNB really made strides to improve from the iffy season two.  The season finale of OITNB wa one of the best episodes of the year.

#5. Fargo (FX).  I just binge watched this season’s episodes and I loved it.  The fact that this second season of the anthology series has been successful (unlike that of True Detective) shows how great this show is.  They even brought in a UFO.  Great actors and actresses get involved in quality like this.

#4.  Jessica Jones (Netflix).  This is the most surprising addition to this list.  Who would have thought that Jessica Jones, a b-type character of the Marvel Universe, would have been a brilliant series?  And yet, it was.  Kilgrave was an amazing villain and his power allowed the creators of the series a chance to explore topics that no super hero show have explored before.  It was real and gritty and rough.  And it was great.

#3.  Bates Motel (A & E).  This show just keeps getting better and better as Norman Bates continues his trip toward madness.  You cheer for Norman, but you know it is a hopeless situation.  And yet, you cheer anyway.

#2. The Walking Dead (AMC).  One of the most consistent shows every year.  You never know who may die.  There is a definite tension on this show.  The “death” of Glenn may have hit the show with a bit, but most of the time, when someone dies on the show, they die.  There have been several times when I thought that maybe even Rick would die.  No other show has that feel to it.

#1 Daredevil (Netflix).  This is the over all number one show for 2015.  Daredevil was just brilliant.  Everything about it was amazing, especially the performance of Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk.  The action was hard nosed and violent.  The fight scenes were movie quality

 

Honorable mention:  American Horror Story, Heroes Reborn, Fear the Walking Dead, Under the Dome, Mr. Robot

One more honorable mention was ABC’s Secrets and Lies which I enjoyed quite a bit.

 Best Television Shows I do not watch

There are only so many hours in a day and I cannot watch everything.  Because of that, there are several great shows that the world may love that does not fit on my list.  These are some of those.

Scorpion (CBS)

Game of Thrones (HBO)

Better Call Saul (A & E)

Empire (FOX)

Last Man on Earth (FOX)

Quantico (ABC)

Silicon Valley (HBO)

Television Awards

Best Actor in a Shortened SeasonVincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil).  The Netflix series was amazing, but the key to the success was its villain.  Vincent D’Onofrio was breathtaking as the criminal mastermind Wilson Fisk.  He could be considered the MCU’s best villain.  Runners-up:  Charlie Cox, Kevin Spacy, Freddie Highmore

Best Actor in a Full SeasonJim Parsons (Big Bang Theory).  This was one of the surprises as I sat down to do this, but Sheldon Cooper has developed more this past year than any character on tv and the amazing performance of Jim Parsons is one of the reasons.  Runners-up:  Clark Gregg, Nathan Fillion, Grant Gustin

Best Actress in a Shortened SeasonKrysten Ritter (Jessica Jones).  Jessica Jones was a revelation on Netflix and Krysten Ritter played one of the most well developed and three dimensional characters on television.  Jessica Jones was yet another hit on the streaming site.  Runners-up:  Robin Wright, Viola Davis, Vera Farmiga, Tatiana Maslany

Best Actress in a Full SeasonKerry Washington (Scandal).  Yes I was not a fan of much of the storyline that featured the kidnapping of Olivia Pope, but you could not argue that Kerry Washington was great showing the tortured side of the gladiator.  Runners-up:  Ming-Na Wen, Stana Katic, Mayim Bialik, Chloe Bennet

Best Late Night Show:  The Tonight Show.  Jimmy Fallon is still the trend in late night.  His games such as lip sync battle has even become a television show of its own.  Runners Up:  The Daily Show, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel Live. 

Best Animated SeriesGuardians of the Galaxy.  Based after the great Marvel Studios movie of the same name, Marvel animation has a hit on its hands with the new GotG.  Runner Up:  The Simpsons

Show that fell FlatTrue Detective.  Season two of the HBO series was anxiously awaited after the fantastic season one, but the sophomore season was deadly dull and never found its footing.  Runners-up:  Fear the Walking Dead, Into the Badlands

Podcast of the YearHollywood Babble-On. Starring Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman, this podcast talks about movies and other geeky things.  And the king of the podcasts Kevin Smith continues to entertain.  Runner up:  The Stone Cold Podcast, Fatman on Batman, The Schmoes Knows

Best CoupleJessica Jones and Luke Cage (Jessica Jones).  I loved the pairing of these heroes and I cannot wait to see this relationship continue.  They were the best couple of a great year.  Runners Up: Glenn and Maggie, Castle and Beckett, Sheldon and Amy, Connor and Oliver, Frank and Claire Underwood, Emma and Hook

Worst CoupleOlivia Pope and Fitzgerald Grant (Scandal).  This pairing is what they built Scandal around, but it is anything but a pairing to root for.  In fact, when Fitz started a war to keep Olivia safe, the relationship went from unlikable to treasonous.  Absolutely terrible.  Runners up:  Daisy and Lincoln, Kermit the Frog and Denise

Best Death:  Rebecca (How to Get Away With Murder).  This one was a surprise.  After being a major player in season one, Rebecca is murdered in the season finale, and her death led to much of the second season troubles.  Runners-Up:  Deanne, Ward, Hook, Harrison

Worst Death: Glann (Walking Dead).  Understand, I am happy that Glenn is not dead.  However, the bait and switch pulled by the show is not a good idea.  Making it look like Glenn was devoured by Walkers only to reveal that he was underneath is a cheap move.   Runners-up:  Hiro

Looking forward to mostX-Files returns to FOX.  Yes, I cannot wait for the six episode event of the X-Files.  Mulder and Sculley return in January and I am so excited.

The Top 15 of 2015…. the biggest geek moments of the year….

cropped-glasses.jpg

#15.  True Detective Season Two fails.  After a hugely successful season one, the HBO series was one of the most anticipated show for the new year, and a great cast didn’t hurt either.  The problem?  The show just did not bring the excitement, the drama the intelligent story telling that the first season brought.  Many people fought their way through the season with hopes that the next week would be the week where the story finally got better, but it was not to be.

#14 Jon Snow dies.

I am not a viewer of Game of Thrones, but even I understand that this death is a huge one.  Jon Snow was one of the main characters of the HBO series and his death marks a major shift in direction for the series.  There have been some questions raised recently that bring into doubt that he is actually dead (like someone else on this list), but this does follow the books.  If Jon Snow is dead, then the show should be commended for keeping its fans on their collective toes.

#13.  Netflix has two huge hits in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Marvel Television had two huge successes on the streaming service this year with the debut of Daredevil and Jessica Jones.  Fans across the globe binge watched both high quality series and debated which one was better.  Both series were able to take their time and develop characters (especially their two individual villains- Wilson Fisk and Kilgrave) and tell the story like they were telling a 13 hour long movie.  These successes have led to the announcement of a Daredevil Season Two coming next year featuring the Punisher and Elektra.  And we hope to see more of Jessica Jones in the upcoming Luke Cage series… all leading to the Defenders!

#12.  The Fantastic Four film bombs on an epic scale.  The movie itself was terrible, but that was not the major story.  There have been other comic book movies that did not come out like we had hoped.  No, it was the behind the scenes drama surrounding Fant4stic that truly was more interesting than the film.  FOX tried to hide the film from the public, not allowing any critics to see it.  But the biggest thing was the director, Josh Trank, tweeted that this was not the film that he had wanted.  That led to a massively disappointing debut weekend that sent FF into obscurity and, perhaps, sending it right back into the waiting arms of Marvel Studios.  Maybe one day some one will do a documentary on the “making of the Fant4stic.”  That would be a huge success.

#11.  David Letterman and Jon Stewart leave their late night shows.  2015 saw the end of two of the greats in late night television.  David Letterman retired from the Late Show and Jon Stewart left his seat on the Daily Show.  Both of these late night comedy icons had their programs passed to successors (Stephen Colbert took over for David while Trevor Noah took the reigns from Stewart).  Late night will never be the same again.

#10.  “Killed them all, of course.”  HBO’s documentary series called The Jinx made television history and became a true crime first as infamous reputed killer Robert Durst, who has been suspected as the killer of his wife back in the 1980s and his friend in 2001, appeared as the subject of the series.  The finale made all kinds of noise as “Bob” seemingly confessed to the crimes accidentally, not suspecting that his microphone was “live” after a unexpected interview by documentary director Andrew Jarecki.  It was the most jaw dropping moment of the year and it was all real.  Durst was arrested the day before the series finale aired on HBO and he is being extradited to California for trial.

#9.  Secret Wars destroys the Marvel Universe.  Or at least, temporarily.  Marvel’s big blockbuster event for 2015 was a new version of Secret Wars, where the Marvel Universe was destroyed.  Events taking place in the pages of the Avengers led to the event, but the one and only Dr. Doom prevent everything from being destroyed.  Of course, Dr. Doom set himself up as a God over the new land known as “Battleworld” but what do you really expect?  It is Dr. Doom.  It was clear that the Marvel comic universe was not going to be destroyed forever and the publisher rebooted all of its series in October.  Still, Secret Wars was must read story telling.

#8. Caitlyn Jenner.  One time athlete Bruce Jenner completed his journey in 2015 that he started on E! Entertaiment’s Keeping Up With the Kardashians.  In April of this year, Bruce Jenner revealed his identity as a trans gender woman and asked the world to call her Caitlyn.  In September of this year, the former athlete made the switch permanent with a gender altering operation.  Appearing on the cover of Vanity Fair, Caitlyn Jenner became a poster child for the transgender community and helped bring about the subject for discussion across the country.

#7.  Atticus Finch, racist.  Controversy was stirred up earlier this year as the second novel by Harper Lee, author of the beloved classic To Kill a Mockingbird, was scheduled to be released and took the classic character Atticus Finch and made him a member of the KKK.  The public was outraged that a man who was shown as such a beacon of civil rights as Atticus Finch could become a southern racist.  The publication of the novel Go Set a Watchman did not help matters as many critics bashed the book as inferior to Mockingbird in every way.  The novel, originally written by Lee in the 1950s but only now published, was released in the summer and set a record for the highest adult novel one day sales at Barnes and Noble.

#6.  Adele hits it big with 25.  Adele’s newest album, featuring her hit song “Hello”, was released on November 20th and immediately became a world wide success.  The album sold 3.38 million copies in the United States alone.  The album debuted at number one on the album chart in more than 25 markets.  In an article in The Independent written by Andy Gill, 25was described as saving the music industry, which was seeing dwindling profits with downloading and streaming as the popular methods of music consumption.”

#5.  Glenn “dies” on the Walking Dead.  Yeah, not so much.  Glenn appeared to have fallen from a dumpster and into a pack of Walkers at the end of season 6, episode three entitled “Thank You.”  But there were clues that he had not really bit the big one, including not appearing on the Talking Dead couch that follows the show.  There were theories across the Internet, but the show kept the fans guessing as they did not reveal that Glenn had actually escaped until episode six where we see that Glenn is able to crawl out from beneath Nicholas’s body (which is what we see being devoured).  It certainly had fans debating Glenn’s fate.

#4. Jurassic World passes Avengers as biggest opening weekend ever.  (At least for now).  Jurassic World surprised everyone with its amazing opening weekend.  No pundits expected Jurassic World to come anywhere near close to the 207 million dollar opening of Marvel’s Avengers, but it surpassed it by about a million dollars.  It was a huge success for the dinosaur sequel/reboot.  Jurassic World also found that it had quite the legs as the film stuck around through the entire summer, ending with around 1.7 billion in worldwide box office receipts.

#3. Donald Trump runs for President of the United States.  I wish I were kidding.  Trump declared his candidacy for POTUS causing Jon Stewart to joke about reconsidering his leaving.  However, the joke may be on us as Donald Trump is currently leading the GOP pack.  Trump has used his over-the-top personality and his “I’ll say anything” demeanor to put the nation in a trance and shake up the politics as usual community.  Now, if we can just make sure that he doesn’t actually win.

#2.  Spider-man comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  In a shocking deal, Marvel and Sony agreed to allow the character of Spider-man to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe while still allowing Sony to produce stand alone Spider-man movies.  It was unbelievable, but after the e-mail hacks and the loss of expectations of Amazing Spider-man 2, Sony saw the writing on the wall and decided to listen to what the fans wanted.  The deal will allow Spider-man to appear in MCU films (starting next year with Captain America: Civil War).  The role of Peter Parker (despite some fan desire to see Miles Morales instead) was won by young actor Tom Holland.  The lack of excitement for Spidey in films immediately was thrown out the window as the chance to see Spidey with Iron Man and Cap took over.

And #1….

Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrives.  The seventh film in the Star Wars series debuted this December to critical and monetary success.  The Force Awakens made 248 million dollars in its opening weekend, destroying the record set earlier in the year by Jurassic World.  There are some who believe that Star Wars: The Force Awakens has a chance to pass Avatar’s all time record of 2.8 billion.  The fans came out in droves and the film created a wave of excitement and nostalgia like no film in recent memory.  Plus, it was really good too, introducing the world to new characters such as Rey and Finn as well as bringing back old favorites like Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia.  JJ Abrams directed the newest episode and placed himself square in Geek Culture upper echelon of directors currently working.  Star Wars is everywhere and it is easily the top Geek moment of 2015.

Gomer

The official Gomer for the Surprise of the Year is…

The Gift

The trailer made this film look like a typical stalker film.  However, it was way more than that.  It was a psychological thriller, one of the best psychological thrillers of the year.  Add a mind bending performance from Joel Edgerton and solid work from Jason Bateman (playing against type) and you have a serious surprise at the movie theater.

runners up:  The Duff  I never thought that I would enjoy this one, but it was very funny and way more entertaining than it ever should have been.

and Paddington.

This was an early year film, and I thought it was going to be horrendous.  However, Paddington was a total shock.  It was a remarkably fun and thoroughly entertaining movie.

Stan Lee

This year, we officially name this year end award after “The Man” himself.  Stan Lee has spent the last 10 years or so making cameo appearances in comic book movies.  Part of the fun of the newest Marvel movie is watching for Stan Lee.  No one deserves the honor more.

So… without further adieu… here is the top five cameos of 2015 (By the way…#1 may be considered a spoiler yet…so you are warned)

#5.  50 Cent from Spy.  The rapper makes a short, yet important cameo in the Melissa McCarthy movie, lending out his personal helicopter for the ending deus ex machina.

#4.  Mark Hamill from Kingsmen: The Secret Service.  The appearance of Mark Hamill at the beginning of Kingsmen told us that this movie was going to be all kinds of awesome.  And it was.

#3.  Stan Lee from Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Yes, Stan Lee does not win the award that he has been named after.  I am not sure that that is irony, but it sure feels like it.  Stan had a great two scene cameo in AoU, and even got to mutter his classic catchphrase, “excelsior.”

#2.  Anthony Mackie from Ant Man.  The appearance of the Falcon was one of the best moments in a list of great moments in marvel’s latest hit film.  The fight between Falcon and Ant man set a great tone for the movie, but Mackie returned at the end to help direct Ant man toward Civil War.

#1.  John Cena from Daddy’s Home.

This was a total surprise and it returned to a joke that was made way back in “Trainwreck” earlier this year.  John Cena’s character was referred to as “Mark Wahlberg” and John Cena said that “Mark Wahlberg is like 150 pounds! I’m 250 lean – I look like Mark Wahlberg *ate* Mark Wahlberg!”

I was extremely impressed with the sudden appearance of John Cena, and I have been pretty impressed with Cena this year as well.  He was also one of the better parts of “Sisters” with Amy Poehler and Tina Fey and he was awesome in “Trainwreck” as Amy Schumer’s closeted boyfriend.  Plus, we named Cena wrestler of the year here at EYG.

Who would have thought?

Kid Actor

This year’s top child actor is starring on a film that I have yet to see.  I know that might be a bit of a cheat, but all I have heard is great things about this performance.  It has been so good that there are even some out there who think this young actor has a chance to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards.

So with that, I have to give the “I See Kid Actor” Award for 2015 to …

Jacob Tremblay for his work in “The Room”

I am really looking forward to the opportunity to watch this film.  Congrats, Jacob.

Top 5 Movie Songs

Music

#5  We Belong, Pitch Perfect 2

#4 Phenomenal, Southpaw

#3 Don’t Look Down, Danny Collins

#2 One Kind of Love, Love & War

#1 See You Again, Furious 7

Batman and Robin

Here are the worst of the worst.  Earning the infamous Batman and Robin Award for Rottenness.  They are the Batman & Robins.

Ironically, two of the three worst actor/actresses I am giving are Academy Award nominees.  So, in many times, it is not the actor, but the role.

Worst Actor:  Eddie Redmayne (Jupiter Ascending).  This is the worst performance you could imagine.  People thought that this role in Jupiter Ascending might have cost Redmayne his Oscar for the Theory of Everything.  It didn’t, but just the thought was amazing.

Worst Actresses (tie):  Reese Witherspoon & Sofia Vergara (Hot Pursuit). This pairing was just horrible.  Witherspoon was just coming off a great performance and an Oscar nomination for Wild, but she was completely ridiculous here.  Hot Pursuit was one of the worst of the year, and these two ladies did not elevate the material.

Worst Special Effects:  Last Witch Hunter.  The special effects of this film were very poor, and that is a shame in this new world.  When even poor movies look great, there is no excuse to have the special effects that look like this.

Worst Sequel:  Transporter Refueled.  (runner up:  Paul Blart 2).  This was so bad.  I wanted to include Paul Blart 2 because it was awful, but Transporter Refueled was just epically bad.

Worst Movie I Haven’t Seen:  Jem and the Holograms.  I just did not make it to Jem, and that was a good thing.  It was not in the theaters very long since it had such a dismal box office and there were several films out that weekend.  I prioritized and that meant..no Jem.

Worst Comic Book Movie:  Fantastic Four… or Fan4stic, as they had on early posters.  FF was the huge disaster of a film.  Even the director of the film knew it.  A great cast that was completely wasted.  And they did a worse job on Dr. Doom than the previous FF movies had done.

Best Scene in a bad movieJulia Roberts cries over her murdered daughter, The Secret in Their Eyes.  This came early in the film, and the rest of The Secret in Their Eyes was horrendous.  However, Julia Roberts really brought it with this scene.

Worst Trailer for Awesome movie:  Paddington.  The trailers for Paddington made it look so dull and childish.  That could not have been more wrong.  Paddington was fantastic and I never would have believed that because of those trailers.

Best trailer for a terrible film:  Fantastic Four.  The trailers almost fooled us.  They really looked pretty good.  Of course, several shots from the trailer did not make the final film, and I wonder if they would have left it in, would it have been better?

I’m Walkin’:  Magic Mike XXL:  First time I walked out of a movie was this past year… and it was Magic Mike XXL. I had not seen the original Magic Mike but I heard lots of good things about it.  Magic Mike XXL had nothing good about it.  And I left after about an hour.  Horror

This year was a slow one when it came to horror, as there were not very many really good ones and not really that many huge flops.  There were mostly middle ground movies.  Films such as Crimson Peak, Krampus, The Woman in Black 2, Insidious Chapter 3, The Lazerus Effect, Sinister II… all were in the same general range.  Nothing good, nothing bad.  Just basically unremarkable.

There are a few that I personally would not consider a horror movie that some might.  For example, I would not consider Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse a horror movie.  It is more of a Monster Squad type humor filled action/adventure.  I am also not considering The Visit a horror movie, though it may share some traits in common.  I would consider that a thriller.

So here are the best and worst.

Starting with the worst.

# 2. Poltergeist.  Not a good remake and one that really did not need remaking.  Just Hollywood reaching into its history for ideas again.  Inconsistent tone hurt this film as it felt like there were times that they wanted to play this for jokes.

# 1.  The Gallows.  Before the final 20 minutes of the Gallows, I thought it was going to compete for the worst movie of the year, but the ending was able to pull the grade up some.  This had a definite Scooby Doo feel to it though, as it felt like the gang was ready to catch and unmask the Hangman.

Now:  I did not see the newest Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension and from what I heard, that was a terrible movie.  But since I did not see it, I cannot comment.

The Best of the Year.

#2.  Unfriended.  This was a surprise as these kids were on their computers and the spirit of an old friend came back to seek her revenge.  This was an original idea and was pretty entertaining, bringing horror into the age of texting and Tweeting and Facebooking.

#1.  It Follows.  This was a no brainer.  Easily the best horror movie of the year, It Follows was a creepy ride from the first moment of the film.  It also was able to use its monster as a metaphor for sexually transmitted disease.  Really creepy and a serious scare.

Expendables

New this year… it is the Expendables Award for Acting Excellence.  Because, there are performers who have starred in the (currently) three movies of the Expendables that usually phone in their performances.  They do the same old things in their films and can do them blindfolded.  I believe it is worth the time to recognize those members of the Expendables casts that do something different..something special… something original…and do it well.

We have three recipients for the Expendable Award for Acting Excellence for 2015.  They are :

Best Expendable Actor in a Motion Picture:

Arnold Schwarzenegger for Maggie.

This is the basis for the award.  Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a father whose daughter has been infected by a disease that is turning her into a zombie and he struggles for the right thing to do.  The film is heartbreaking and Arnold gives one of his better performances of his career.  It certainly had him stepping outside of his comfort zone.

The former Governor of California should be commended for joining a movie about zombies that does not require him to be blasting through them with guns or chopping off heads.

Harrison Ford in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens does not have the emotional punch if Harrison Ford does not return to the role of Han Solo.  The film also would not be as effective in passing the torch to the next generation of Star Wars characters such as Finn, Rey, Kylo Ren, Poe etc. had Han Solo not been there to tie the future Star wars to that of the past to make it the now.  Ford was the key character in allowing that to happen.

And Harrison Ford really brought it to the film.  We have seen Ford not interested in films before.  One could argue that he phoned in his performance in the last Indian Jones movie.  Some have claimed many of his recent performances have been basically playing himself.  But in Star Wars, from the moment that he stepped on the Millennium Falcon, he was Han Solo.  He was the smuggler, scoundrel, hero that we all remembered, and he played those thirty years of baggage well.  Ford deserves a lot of props for the success of The Force Awakens.

Best Expendable Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture:

Silvester Stallone for Creed

Who thought Silvester Stallone was capable of this level of performance again?

Returning to the familiar ground of Rocky Balboa is one thing, but returning as Rocky in the background…as a trainer for the son of Apollo Creed, well that is a different thing.  Yet, Stallone was one of the best parts of Creed.

Creed was not directed by Stallone, and this looks like Stallone had the opportunity to just sit back and work on his acting.  And he knocked it so far out of the park that it is possible that Sylvester Stallone could receive an Academy Award nomination for his performance.  If anyone would have said that after Expendables 3 or Grudge Match or Bullet to the Head, Stallone would have a chance for an Oscar, I would have laughed in their face.

Yet, here he is.  And it would be very deserving if he were nominated.  In fact, I am rooting for him.

One more underdog story for Rocky.

EYG Star of the Year

staroftheyear

#4.  Adele.  Adele saved music in 2015 with her massively successful album 25.

#3. Chris Pratt.  Star of the (now) 2nd most successful film of the year in Jurassic World.

#2. Jennifer Lawrence.  Jennifer Lawrence seems to be in this list every year, and this year is no exception.  She appeared in the final Hunger Games film this year, with Mockingjay Part 2 and she had an Oscar contender with Joy, where she is wonderful.

#1 EYG Star of the Year is…

JJ Abrams

JJ Abrams has done what everyone on the planet had hoped he would do.  And that was to recreate Star Wars and save the franchise and set it on course for a new generation.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens does exactly that.  Using great new characters and familiar characters from the past, JJ created an amalgam that pleased most everyone.  Box office proves it too, as Star Wars: The Force Awakens has become the fastest film to reach $1 billion dollars (in just 12 says) worldwide.  That was without even opening in China yet.  The Force Awakens is a pop culture juggernaut and it has a chance to surpass the box office king Avatar as biggest film ever.  I wouldn’t vote against it.  Thank you JJ for bringing us what we had wanted.

Supporting Actors and Actresses in Motion Pictures

Supporting Actors

#5.  Michael Rylance (Bridge of Spies)

#4.  Michael Douglas (Ant Man)

#3.  Paul Dano (Love and Mercy)

#2.  Christian Bale (The Big Short)

#1.  Sylvester Stallone (Creed)

Stallone was just amazing in the movie Creed.  He fell back into his role of Rocky (the most iconic role Stallone has ever had) like he never left it, and without the need to be directing or leading the film, Stallone really made the film special.

Supporting Actress

#5.  Elizabeth Banks (Love and Mercy)

#4.  Olivia Cooke ( Me & Earl & the Dying Girl)

#3.  Rachel McAdams (Spotlight)

#2.  Helen Mirren (Trumbo)

and #1.  Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)

The best Sci-fi movie of the year featured one of the best supporting performances you will ever see.  Alicia Vikander brought more life to the role of a robot than most actresses bring to real life characters.  She was one of the best parts of the film.

director

The EYG Director of the Year

#5.  Ridley Scott (The Martian).  Ridley Scott had had several failures in a row before hitting out of the park with The Martian.  It is good to have him back.  The Martian was one of the best films of the year and the direction was superb.

#4.  Adam McKay (The Big Short).  I truly enjoyed the way The Big Short was put together, with the celeb cameos to explain things and the way characters would break the 4th wall. Adam McKay really put that all together with some great performances.

#3.  George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road).  The 70 year old George Miller came up with something special this year with his mostly real effects of Mad Max.  While everyone is using CGI, George Miller did something old school.

#2.  JJ Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens).  JJ Abrams did what we all wanted.  Make Star Wars relevant again.  Not just relevant, but also enjoyable.  He blended the past and the future together seamlessly and created what could be the biggest film of all time.

And the DeMille goes to….

#1.  Tom McCarthy (Spotlight).  McCarthy created a near perfect film.  Not only was Spotlight brilliant, it took a subject matter that was difficult and horrified us.  We saw how journalists went about investigating their reports and we were engulfed in the story.  Plus, he got a great performance out of everyone in that ensemble cast.  He may be a leading candidate for an Oscar this year.

The Liz

“The Liz” EYG Award for Best Actress of the 2015.

Here are the runners up:

#5.  Amy Schumer (Trainwreck)  Amy Schumer went from television to the big screen in an extremely entertaining film that she wrote and starred in.  It was funny and it had a great relationship at its base.  Plus, John Cena was really solid.

#4.  Melissa McCarthy (Spy).  Another comedienne.  It was a good year for funny females.  Mccarthy was outstanding in the role as a office worker who winds up having to go into the field.  She was really funny and played a better character than she had been playing before.

#3.  Jennifer Lawrence (Joy).  Lawrence’s performance was definitely the best thing about Joy, which, as a movie, was only an okay film.  Whatever success Joy has is because of Jennifer Lawrence’s layered performance.

#2.  Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens).  One of the best new characters in Star Wars was played beautifully by the fresh faced Daisy Ridley.  She is going to be such a huge star, and she was one of my favorite parts of this film.

and 2015 “The Liz” goes to….

#1.  Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)

Charlize Theron is really the main character in Mad Max:  Fury Road.  She showed that she could carry an action movie, and this was one of the best action movies of the year.  Furiosa was also one of the more compelling characters in a film that did not have a great story behind it.  Charlize Theron is the actress of the year.

Strangelove

The Strangelove Award for Best Actor will be given from now on in honor of our own EYG Hall of Famer Peter Sellers, who was playing several characters in that great comedy.  So here are the runners-up for 2015…

#5.  Will Smith (Concussion).  Will Smith does a great job in a movie that brings the NFL under scrutiny for the concussions being suffered by their players.  Will Smith does a really great job playing the doctor behind the discovery of the problem.  “Tell the truth…”

#4.  Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight).  The Spotlight movie is a great ensemble cast, but Mark Ruffalo really stood out at one of the main reasons the movie was go great.  Ruffalo was wonderful as a member of these journalists from the Boston Globe that was so important in uncovering this horrible secret that wasn’t that secret.

#3.  Sir Ian McKellen (Mr. Holmes).  Seeing Sir Ian McKellen play an older Sherlock Holmes nearing the end of his life was amazing.  But we also got to see McKellen playing Holmes near the end of his final case.  And it was a mystery.  Mr. Holmes was one of the most underrated film of the year, and McKellen was brilliant.

#2.  Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs).  This was the film that got Steve Jobs right, and Fassbender was Oscar worthy in his portrayal.  He showed us the weirdness of the real Steve Jobs and showed how human the man actually was.  Fassbender was amazing.

and “The Strangelove” winner for 2015 is…

#1.  Bryan Cranston (Trumbo).

Bryan Cranston has a great oeuvre of work, but this was the first time that he is the lead actor in a feature film.  And he so embodied the real life person of Dalton Trumbo, the movie writer who was blacklisted during the Communist fear of the 1940s.  The film looked at the problems of prejudice and hatred and fear of what is different.  Cranston was really perfect in this role.  You really wanted to support him and you love it when he succeeds.

Ok, the time is here. 

The Top 20 Worst Films of 2015!

First, some qualifiers:

Of course, only films that I have seen in the calendar year of 2015 can make this list. So such classics as Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension or Jem and the Holograms will not appear on the worst list because I did not see them.  They probably would have made it if I had.

Second, I have a special dishonorable mention.  I walked out of Magic Mike XXL this year and I gave it one of the lowest scores of any film this year.  And yet, it will also not appear on this list.  I decided that because I did not stick in the film until the end, I could not legitimately include it on my list.  It was possible, however slightly, that the end of the film would have improved Magic Mike XXL’s score.  For example, I was sure that Daddy’s Home, the new comedy starring Will Ferrell and Mark Whalberg was heading for this list, but an entertaining and surprising third act really changed my mind.  Magic Mike XXL did not get that chance, so it is officially off the list.

And the final qualifier is this:  the ratings I give  a movie during the year will not be specifically followed.  A film that got one star may be listed higher on this list than one that earned 0.8 star.  It is just the subjective manner of this type of list.  Of course, this is my list and, in such, the opinions listed here are mine and mind only.

So… here is the Top 20 worst films of the year.

There were a lot of bad films in 2015.  This year had some really great films, but it had more than its share of stinkers.

Dishonorable mention (The films that did not quite stink it up enough to make the top 20):  Spongebob Squarepants: Sponge Out of Water, Fant4stic, Inherent Vice, Pixels (yeah, I know, that surprises me too), Pan

#20. The Gunman.  Starring Sean Penn, the story of a sniper who had to go into hiding after a successful assassination.  What was really killed here was my interest level.

#19.  The Gallows.  The worst of the horror movies this year makes the list at nineteen.  This was another example of a decent ending to a movie saving it from being considered near the top of this list.  It still makes it, however.

#18.  Secret In Their Eyes.  It boasts a great cast.  There are even a few solid scenes.  However, the story is just stupid and the double twist ending spoiled any good will it may have picked up along the way.

#17.  Seventh Son.  Jeff Bridges.  Julianne Moore. Alicia Vikander.  You would think that this could not fail.  But it had been delayed several times for a reason.  It was terrible.

#16.  Aloha.  Another film with a great cast, but a stupid story.  Emma Stone as Allison Ng?  It was convoluted and dull.  And it featured one of the most annoying trailers of the year.  I was glad to say aloha to Aloha.

#15.  The Last Witch Hunter.  The continuing saga in trying to find Vin Diesel a franchise that does not include cars.  Some of the worst Special Effects are found in this film.  Keep trying Vin.

#14.  The Loft.  Another film that had been delayed (pushed into January, which is never a good sign) An inane murder mystery with a group of characters that were so unlikable that I would have loved to see all of them go away.  This was one that I had some high hopes for, but they were dashed very quickly.  There was some women hatred going on in this one.

#13.  Paul Blart 2.  I kind of enjoyed the first movie of this series for the quirky and light hearted romp it was.  This one too it too far, sending Paul Blart to Vegas.  What followed was a typical Kevin James unfunny movie with a predictable finish.

#12.  Mortdecai.  Johnny Depp?  What were you thinking?

#11.  The Boy Next Door.  Jennifer Lopez is a beautiful woman.  That is about what this re imagining of Fatal Attraction has going for it.  Story?  Nah. Acting?  Come on….

And now… we shall start to Top Ten…

#10.  Point Break.  The remake that was so unnecessary.  They slapped the name of Point Break on it though it really had little to do with it.  It was basically the X Games movie weaved together with some exposition.  Not what you want to see.

#9.  Vacation.  Another remake (although this may be more of a sequel) that was just not funny.  There were plenty of offensive parts, but offensive parts can still be funny. These weren’t.  Chris Hemsworth was the best part of this steaming pile.

#8.  50 Shades of Grey.  This is so poorly written and it was boring.  You would go into the film hoping for, at least, some good sex scenes.  Nope.  The S & M scenes were not sexy or a turn on.  Such a miss.

#7.  Jupiter Ascending.  An attempt to create a new sci-fi property that had been delayed from the previous summer.  It went into January.  Horrible.  I nearly fell asleep a couple of times.

#6.  Hitman Agent 47.  Just a large video game, with action that was as ridiculous as you would think.  I was ready for this movie to be over 20 minutes into it.

#5.  Barely Lethal.  This was a small independent film and it was a terrible spy movie.  Not many people saw it.  It was bad.

#4.  We Are Your Friends.  Some interesting music.  No story.  No characters worth anything.  Zac Efron failed epically in this film.

#3.  Unfinished Business.  Another comedy that was not funny.  Vince Vaughn must have been working on his dramatic chops for season two of True Detectives because he just was not funny.  Seriously stupid and predictable and terrible.

#2.  Hot Pursuit.  People were laughing in this theater when I watched Hot Pursuit and it made me question the intelligence of the people around me.  This was so bad and almost became the worst film of the year.  Reese Witherspoon was right off a great performance in Wild only to come here and have absolutely no charisma with Sofia Vergara.  And it was not funny…no matter what the laughter in that theater said.

and the worst movie of the year…

#1.  Transporter Refueled.  I saw this on the same day as I saw We Are Your Friends.  There is a double feature for you.  This had no story.  No excitement.  No villains worth anything.  The trailers were horrid.  This was the fourth film in the series and hopefully it will be the last.

And now…here it is.

The Top 25 movies of 2015.

Again, just like the Worst films of the year, these are my subjective opinions and only mine.  It will only include movies that I have seen in the calendar year of 2015.  That means that The Revenant, which I have not yet seen (even though it is going to be considered for Oscars) will not appear on this list.

There are also a couple of films that most people had on their 2014 lists, but I had not seen them until January of 2015, so they are here on this list.

Again, the ratings that I give throughout the year really does not go into consideration for this list.  I will have some 5 star movies that are lower than some that I did not give 5 stars to.  That is just the way of the beast.  Deal with it.

Starting off with a long list of Honorable MentionLove & Mercy, The Visit, Peanuts: The Movie, The Walk, It Follows, Paper Towns, Black Mass, Unfriended, Selma, The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?, Danny Collins, Pawn Sacrifice, Maggie

You would think that with that many honorable mentions that I would think that 2015 was a great year for movies, but I do not think so. I think there were way too many movies that were middle of the road/meh movies.  Honestly, I hope for a stronger 2016.

However, when the movies got it right, there were some real gems (not Jem) this year.

#25.  Goosebumps.  I found htis very entertaining and one of the bigger surprises of the year.  I was pretty sure this one was going to be really bad, and yet, Jack Black and the group of Goosebump monsters brought some definite nostalgia to the theater.

#24.  Trainwreck.  The film starring Amy Schumer was funny, and contaioned a great performance by John Cena.  Amy Schumer has a bright future in the film industry ahead of her.  This was a rom-com that really kind of flipped the genre on its ear.

#23.  Dope.  This was another surprise this year.  Dope was a coming of age story of a group of young geeks who try everything they can (including selling dope) to get to college.  Great music and great humorous moments.

#22.  Spy.  A film that brought Melissa McCarthy back to the forefront of comedy.  She was floundering a bit with her films and then Spy came along and changed the narrative enough to really become a huge hit.  And it was very funny in the year of the spy movie.

#21.  Mockingjack Part 2.  The conclusion to the Hunger Games series was very satisfying, but I found it pretty depressing in many ways.  I had not read the book series so I was not prepared for the carnage that would follow the attack on the capital.  Jennifer Lawrence was great as always.

#20. Mad Max: Fury Road.  I debated about this one, because I did not love the Mad Max movies as much as others, though I know it was a great film. It was beautifully shot and the practical effects were astounding.  The story was just a little thin.  Still, it made the top 20.

#19.  Paddington.  I so loved this movie.  It was early in the year and I expected nothing out of it and it was just so good.  Everything about Paddington was great.  After the controversy of Colin Firth leaving the film, I did not have high hopes and this turned out wonderfully.

#18.  Ex Machina.  One of the best sci-fi movies of the year, Ex Machina showed more humanity with its non humans than a lot of movies.  Alicia Vikander hit it huge in this film and Oscar Isaac continues to be one of our best actors.

#17.  Kingsman: The Secret Service.  Another early year hit, full of over-the-top moments that were both shocking and hilarious.  The scene at the church to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Freebird has to be one of the best scenes in movies this year.  Taron Egerton has a huge career ahead of him.

#16.  The Gift.  The winner of the Gomer for the biggest surprise of the year, The Gift looked to be just another crazy, stalker type move, but it was so much more than that.  Written and directed by star Joel Edgerton, The Gift was one of he best psychological thrillers of the year.

#15.  Me & Earl & the Dying Girl.  I loved this movie.  When it first came out, I gave it five stars.  That might have been a little over rate, but it was completely original and emotional, with a great group of interesting characters dealing with important life-altering choices.  Still one of the best coming of age stories out there.

#14.  Creed.  Another one that I thought might wind up higher on this list, but in the final figuring, was lower.  A great performance by Michael B. Jordan and a brilliant supporting performance by Sly Stallone made this next installment in the Rocky franchise its own animal.  Ryan Coogler directed this and now is going to direct Marvel’s Black Panther.

#13.  Trumbo.  I really enjoyed this period piece.  The story of the Hollywood writers who had been blackballed as Communists during the 1940s and one man who was able to fight back by still writing movies under a variety of aliases.  Dalton Trumbo was a real life warrior, brought to the screen brilliantly by Bryan Cranston.

#12.  Steve Jobs.  I loved this movie and Michael Fassbender was amazing as the Apple head.  The film was not a strict bio pic, as it focused on several different product launches and the behind the scenes drama that happened.  It was brilliantly told and fully entertaining.

#11.  The Martian.  Ridley Scott is back.  He created an amazing sci-fi story about an astronaut stranded on Mars and the attempt to rescue him.  The movie is so effective that it felt like a true story.  Matt Damon has amazing dialogue and is very funny as he struggles to survive using science.

#10.  Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.  Tom Cruise was epic in this film, hanging on the side of airplanes and riding motorcycles at insane angles.  This was the best spy movie of the year of the spy.  The Mission Impossible franchise seems to keep getting better with each film.

#9.  The Big Short.  Another five star film that wound up a little lower than I had planned (even as of two days ago, I had this as high as #6).  I loved the way this was put together with the celebrity cameos to explain concepts and the breaking of the fourth wall.  It was a great ensemble cast as well with Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt among others.

#8.  The Hateful Eight.  The newest film on the list is the newest Quentin Tarantino classic.  Amazing dialogue that carries a scene between unbelievably compelling characters.  And of course, Tarantino gore as well.  The nearly three hour run time seemed to fly by.

#7.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  It is possible that this film will become the biggest film of all time.  It has already flown past $1 billion dollars worldwide.  It also brought the Star Wars universe back to where it should be after the travesties of the prequels.  SWTFA makes it feel like Star Wars again.  It is one of the most surreal experiences of the year.

#6.  Ant Man.  Marvel’s undersized hero proved to be a box office star.  Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas in a comic book movie?  What a great world we live in.  Ant Man was a really fun, smaller (excuse the pun) story that still felt like it had consequences.  The fight with Falcon was pure gold as was the ending sequence in Ant Man’s daughter room.  That final fight scene with Yellowjacket was one of the best third acts of the year.  It had everything.

#5.  Spotlight.  The great ensemble cast brought to life the story of a group of Boston Globe reporters who broke the story about Catholic priests abusing young children and how much the Catholic Church knew about it.  It was uncomfortable.  It was real.  It was compelling.  It may be a leading candidate for the Academy Award.

#4.  Mr. Holmes.  I so loved this movie with Sir Ian McKellen taking up the iconic role of Sherlock Holmes late in his life.  There was another mystery to solve, and it was one that Mr. Holmes couldn’t remember.  This film tells the sometimes difficult story of getting older and how life has to change.  There was also a great performance from the young actor, Milo Parker (who might have gotten the “I See Child Actors” Award if not for the special performance of Justin Trembley.

#3.  Whiplash.  This one was the hold over from last year.  I did not see it until mid January so it qualified for this list.  And my goodness, did JK Simmons deserve that Oscar, or what?  Miles Teller was every bit as good as the acting partner of JK.  The final drumming scene was as intense as you can get.

#2.  Avengers: Age of Ultron.  A lot of people have bad mouthed this film and that was not fair.  I still loved it.  I thought Ultron was great as a villain.  I thought there was a great emotional moment in the film.  And the Avengers were acting as heroes, saving people.

and the #1 film of 2015…

#1 Inside Out.  Pixar’s brilliance shined through this year with an animated movie that told an amazing story of a young girl and the emotions that live in her head, causing her to feel what she feels.  The story was emotional.  The animation continued Pixar’s magic.  It was funny, and it had, quite legitimately, the most emotional moment of the year. Every time I saw it, tears came from my eyes.  Inside Out is a masterpiece and it was as creative as it was beautiful.  The settings inside the little girl’s head was wonderfully laid out.  I had a feeling this would be the number one film when I first saw it, and nothing else was able to provide as brilliant of a time at the theater as Inside Out did.

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