JoBlo.com's Top 10 Films of Summer 2015!
Well, we've got another summer in the books, which was full of ups, downs, crashes, burns, and a few surprises. While many of us thought that AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON would be the clear winner in terms of box office and entertainment, we ended up with dinosaurs, ants, spies, emotions, and post-apocalyptic warriors besting it in one category or another. The summer most definitely benefited from a last minute addition from team Cruise, as well as a late in the game hit with a rap biopic and a creepy twist thriller, but there's also a few sleepers in there that we really loved, but didn't get quite as much attention as they deserved. All that said, it was a fun summer for movies with some solid hits that are well worth rewatching for years to come (and a few to avoid for the rest of your days).
Like any Top 10, there's always room for debate and one's own opinion, so while this is our collective feeling of the best of summer, we'd love to hear yours as well, so sound off with your own feelings on summer 2015 in the comments! See you next summer!
Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejonís moving and often richly humorous ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL was a true gem this summer season. The lead performances were terrific, including Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler and Olivia Cooke. And the supporting cast was inspired. Nick Offerman, Connie Britton and Molly Shannon are all fantastic. There is true heart and soul in this remarkably satisfying examination of love, death and dysfunction. Add to that, it offers a unique look at the power of film. Itís a real shame more people didnít get a chance to see this wonderful little movie. Here is hoping that the home video and VOD release will open audiences up to these three charismatic characters and their heartfelt fable - JimmyO
While it wasn't quite the sleeper hit many anticipated it would be coming out of the Sundance Film Festival, Rick Famuyiwa's DOPE nonetheless wound up being one of the highest-grossing indies of the summer. Additionally, breakout star Shameik Moore would up landing a leading role on Baz Luhrmann's new Netflix series, The Get-Down, and big things are expected for all involved in the next few years. A kind of modern, urban RISKY BUSINESS with a bit more edge, DOPE was funny, creative and exciting in a way very few indies managed this year and feels like a future cult hit just waiting to happen. It's still one of my favorite movies of the year (so far) and director Famuyiwa managed to make a feature on-par with many of the summer tent-poles with a relatively measly $700,000 budget. Someone needs to sign this guy up for a major movie - fast. - Chris Bumbray
Otherwise known as the movie with the ending you either fully dug or really despised, The Gift is a very special anomaly in a summer of superheroes, sequels and reboots: A quiet, character-driven suspense thriller. Joel Edgerton's directorial debut could have been a standard "creepy stalker" flick replete with jump scares and by-the-numbers plotting, but the writer-director chose to take a different path, delivering an unpredictable - and uncomfortable - drama tinged with anxiety. And yes, that "twist" at the end is quite disturbing, and while some may hate it, it can't be denied it's a memorable capper to a movie that is itself rather twisted. - Eric Walkuski
While it often seems Marvel Studios can do no wrong, Ant-Man was a particularly risky move. Despite the fact you couldn't continue building the Marvel Cinematic Universe without him, to the average Joe a character calling himself Ant-Man is a tough sell. Add to that the behind-the-scenes drama (a beloved director bails on the project at the last minute; multiple writers are brought in to fix the mess) and most of us were probably anticipating a minor disaster. How comforting is it, then, to find that director Peyton Reed and star/co-writer Paul Rudd were able to craft a fun, exciting and refreshingly upbeat superhero flick, one that doesn't take itself too seriously while fitting nicely into the established MCU. If we look back at Summer 2015 as a yearbook, Ant-Man's the movie most likely to leave you grinning ear-to-ear. - Eric Walkuski
It has been incredible to watch Jake Gyllenhaal continually grow as an actor. And with this summerís SOUTHPAW, he not only gives a phenomenal (thanks for that, Eminem) performance, he was one hundred percent believable as a boxer physically speaking. Sharply directed by Antoine Fuqua - with a script by Kurt Sutter - this compelling story of a boxer facing impossible odds to get his daughter back offers up real emotional heft. With this, and the upcoming CREED, boxing movies are once again proving to make for a great story to tell. And with SOUTHPAW, it is Gyllenhaal who truly shines in this powerful sports drama. - JimmyO
Judd Apatow has always had a knack for minting unlikely movie stars. What he did for Steve Carell and Seth Rogen he does for Amy Schumer in TRAINWRECK. A kind of rom-com gender swap, Schumer plays the rebellious, self-destructive one while Bill Hader cleverly plays the too-good-to-be-true love interest. While the first half, where Schumer's at her most outrageous, is arguably better than the more conventional second half, TRAINWRECK is probably Apatow's all-out funniest movie since KNOCKED UP (it's worth noting that Schumer has sole screenplay credit). Schumer's got great chemistry with the genial Hader, while scenes are stolen by the unconventional but brilliant supporting cast, which includes LeBron James (who really thinks you should go to Cleveland) playing himself, one-hundred-year-old Norman Lloyd and a surprisingly poignant Colin Quinn. - Chris Bumbray
I'm still surprised that no one expected F. Gary Gray's N.W.A biopic to be such a sleeper hit. For one thing, Gray's commercial instincts are spot on, with his long-track-record of hit movies (including THE ITALIAN JOB remake and LAW ABIDING CITIZEN) making it obvious that whatever this was going to be, it was going for more than just a hardcore rap audience. Secondly, Dr.Dre and Ice Cube have become industry powerhouses, and with the irresistible hook of Cube's doppelganger son O'Shea Jackson playing his dad, how could COMPTON lose? While a little long Gray's made one of the most exciting music biopics to come out in years, with it boasting a memorable performance by Paul Giamatti, and a breakout turn by Jason Mitchell, whose Easy-E emerges as the film's tragic heart and soul. Heck, even if you've never heard of N.W.A this is well-worth checking out. - Chris Bumbray
One of the very first things I said to a colleague upon leaving Inside Out was, "That was a movie made for human beings." Sounds like a sardonic understatement, sure, but the fact is virtually every person on the planet can relate to something in Inside Out, the latest incredible victory for Pixar. (Which, admittedly, needed a boost after a handful of so-so features.) A movie about the goings-on inside a young girl's head initially seemed like a dicey proposition, but director Pete Doctor and Pixar's bevy of geniuses created an unorthodox, funny, touching and stirringly imaginative look at the human brain unlike any we've seen before, or will ever see again. Plus, it's impossible to beat that voice cast, led by Amy Poehler as the indefatigable Joy, one of the most likable characters of the year. - Eric Walkuski
It seems that Paramount made a pretty brilliant move by moving ROGUE NATION up from its original X-Mas 2015 release date to the summer as a few under-performing would-be blockbusters (FANTASTIC FOUR and THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E) gave it a wide berth at the box office, with its success proving once-again that nobody delivers like Tom Cruise. Despite being in his fifties, there's nothing Cruise won't do to satisfy his audience, which now includes hanging off a plane 5000 ft in the air. Heck - and that's just the pre-credits sequence! And let's not forget breakout star Rebecca Ferguson, who gives Cruise a run for his money in the badass department. A truly thrilling action spectacle, ROGUE NATION proves that both the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE franchise and Cruise himself are as vital as ever. I can't wait for the next one. - Chris Bumbray
There is whole heaping of praise to place on George Millerís glorious return to post-apocalyptic action. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD is an exceptional film on every level. Tom Hardy is absolutely terrific as Max, but the real surprise is the fantastic Charlize Theron. The actress gives one of the most impressive - and iconic - performances of the year as Furiosa. This is the type of role that will be remembered along with Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley. The action and effects are mostly practical and insanely incredible, and the score is marvelous. This is a powerhouse of a film that holds up especially well upon repeat viewings. If this is what we will get when we enter Valhalla, then letís ride eternalÖ you know the rest. - JimmyO