You may remember that a few of us here at Failed Critics got together back in July to tell you which five films were topping our list at the midway point through the year. Mad Max: Fury Road appeared to be doing well in the first half of 2015, whereas United Passions had sufficiently pissed off more than one of us to be the most (least?) popular “worst” film of the year.
It occurred to me the other day: How can I keep insisting that you vote in the Failed Critics Awards this year without letting you know how we will be voting?
Therefore, to follow up on July’s article, I caught up with everyone to find out if their top five films have changed at all since then. The short answer is that for most who contributed, not much is different.
In fact, Paul Field, not usually one to mince his words, said 2015 had been an “absolute shit house year so far”. Well, quite!
He added: “The Hateful Eight not landing til January, Kill Your Friends disappeared whilst I was on holiday. Fucking shambles.”
There was only one film to break into Paul’s list – and that was a test screening for an incomplete movie (The Comedians Guide to Survival) that isn’t even due out until next year.
Matt Lambourne concurred with Paul’s comments about 2015 being a “baron year since Mad Max“. Although he did make a few amendments to his previous list (right) when submitting his votes in the end of year awards.
That’s with the proviso, of course, that he can make amendments should Star Wars turn out to be any good.
Even podcast host Steve Norman was pretty much in agreement. “Ask me again on Thursday,” he said in reply to my question. Once Star Wars Episode VII finally comes out, it could make a huge different to everyone’s lists.
But Matt seemed confident that our most prolific writer, Andrew Brooker, could “come up with the goods”. Indeed, he is the first to make significant changes to his previous top 5, whilst acknowledging that picking a film from the back half of the year was a tough prospect.
“I’ve seen a lot of old guff the last few months and rarely have I seen anything worth cheering about,” he said, before revealing that Kill Your Friends was a film that ticked all of his boxes.
Describing it as dark, politically incorrect and beautifully acted movie, he emphasised that “it’s really funny and, it’s worth mentioning again, it’s so very dark”. Brooker doesn’t leave us in much doubt about it being one of his films of the year. Take a look at his review below to see why:
The tale of Steven Stelfox (Nicholas Hoult), quite literally murdering his way through the mid-90’s British music industry, whose celluloid inspirations of films like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels oozes from the screen and makes for an amazing hour and a half. Ok, so it maybe works a little too hard to be offensive, but its source material does the same and it’s that very point that makes it my top film of the last six months. In a day and age where we work so hard to not offend every beautiful and unique snowflake in the world, the brash and brazen way that Kill Your Friends just screams “Fuck you!” at all those people makes it a wonderfully crafted thing of beauty.
And man, what an amazing soundtrack.
Brooker isn’t the only one of our contributors to make changes to his summer choices. Our resident self-described “hopeless, old-fashioned romantic at heart”, Callum Petch, also finally found the true romance that has been sorely lacking from the cinema for him for a while.
He said: “For some utterly bizarre reason, the idea of falling in love with a literal Nazi doesn’t set my heart all aflutter.
“Much like the part in a romantic comedy where the idealistic female lead is about to give up on ever finding real love, in walked Carol to prove that romance isn’t dead after all.”
Having described Carol as the “perfect movie” recently on our podcast, the least we could do was to get Callum to update us in writing on why it’s made such an impact on him:
A film that actually takes the time to build its romance, that imbues the clichés and hallmarks of the romantic drama with genuine life, passion and sincerity, that places great emphasis on physical contact so that every touch carries genuine weight, where the sexual tension is not just palpable but is practically a main character in its own right, impeccably acted by its two leads (Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett), and capable of knifing the viewer in the heart without ever becoming miserable (its ending is one of the most beautiful that I have experienced in a long time). Carol is absolutely the best film of 2015, too perfect to do proper justice to in just 238 words, and I had to take 20 minutes to compose myself in the toilets afterwards to ensure I wouldn’t burst into tears again.
I guess the only person left to share their opinion is.. well.. me.
Whilst I’m fairly certain that when it comes to sending in my own votes for the FC Awards, I’ll omit documentaries and put them into the separate category, I’m still not budging from my top choice. In the upcoming Christmas Special podcast that you can catch next week, I defend choosing Birdman even further. Until then, I’ll have to point out one glaring omission in my original list.
Of those who have already taken the time to tell us what their top 10 films of 2015 are, there are two films consistently placing highly. Predictably, Mad Max is up there, just like it is in our own lists – as is the stunning US drama, Whiplash, which really should have been on my list the first time around.
Whiplash was originally released in the US in 2014, yet didn’t make it to these shores until January. Therefore I feel fully justified in rectifying my list as it is easily one of the best movies of the year. Here’s why:
Back in February, ahead of the Oscars, I put together a short 7 minute preview of Whiplash for Tony Black’s former podcast, Black Hole Cinema [pre-edited audio]. In it, I doubted director Damien Chazelle’s chances of winning too many awards this year, but that it would be a travesty if JK Simmons didn’t pick up a deserving Best Supporting Actor gong. His intense, terrifying and fierce performance as the violently obsessive music maestro, Terence Fletcher, is scarily good. All of his obscene tirades (of which there are plenty) at the ambitious young jazz drummer Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) – and student of the fictional academy, the Shaffer Conservatory – left me quaking in my boots! I don’t think I’ve been quite as close to the edge of my seat as I was during the scenes climactic few moments in any other movie all year. It’s strangely ironic that a film all about performance exceeding art, often ends up being praised a lot for its actors’ performance, but until you see it for yourself, it’s difficult to convey just how impressive they really are.
With our updated selection, picking out the films that we will be voting for before the deadline on Sunday 27th December, hopefully it will give you some inspiration before deciding on your final top 10.
When you’re happy with your choices, just click here to go straight to the submission page and vote in the Failed Critics Awards 2015.