Category Archives: Top List
In 2017 I watched 72 new releases, mostly in movie theaters (I am a junkie) and while there were a few films I really hated, mostly I saw a lot of films I really enjoyed. I discovered a love for documentary cinema (I saw fourteen documentaries this year!). I watched 32 new release films directed by women (with my total new-to-me directed by women clocking in at 79 this year; more on that when I do my year-end review tomorrow). For the second year in a row my favorite film of the year was not directed by a woman, but as per tradition it was also a queer romance. I am pretty easy to please. As a final reminder, I am not a fan of the term best. Film is an art that allows the viewer to bring themselves in conversation with it, and therefore what each person sees in a film will be different from what anyone else sees. This is a list of favorites and why these films resonated so with me. There are some spoilers, so beware.
After last year’s A Year With Women I was apprehensive dipping my toes back into to the world of cinema directed by men. Luckily, one thing 2015 taught me was that I could skip movies that I knew I wouldn’t enjoy instead of seeing everything just to be part of the conversation (although I did see a few things this year that I thought I would hate for that very reason and then I hated them anyways; not happening in 2017, I swear!). Overall, there were lots of films released in 2016 that I truly loved. There are a few late released 2016 films that haven’t come to Atlanta yet that probably would have made this list, but I doubt any of them would dethrone my #1 favorite of the year. For the first time since 2012, my favorite film of the year was actually directed by a man. I am as shocked as you are! As always, you’ll find my favorite films of the year after the cut, as well as some brief thoughts.
As you probably remember, I spent 2015 only watching films directed by women (save for Noirvember, where I watched films that were written by women), and although I still have one new-to-me film I’m going to watch this afternoon, it’s time to post my favorite 2015 releases. Last year I watched 67 “new” releases; this year I watched 66 (and I missed/skipped a few films). People talk a lot about the small number of female directors working today, but the key thing is that they are working and we can support them. I live in Los Angeles, so I was able to see a lot of films that I know don’t make it to other markets, but I also watched a lot of these new releases on VOD – and that’s something you can do anywhere in the USA. I urge everyone to take up Women In Film – Los Angeles’ #52FilmsByWomen challenge in 2016 and put their money where their mouth is! That said, you can see all 66 new films I watched here and tomorrow I will be posting both an end-of-the-month wrap up for December and an end of the year post, so look out for those! And now, without further ado, here are my Favorite Fifteen Films of 2015!
Lately I’ve become more and more frustrated with the various “best ever” lists that have been released because they rarely feature films by women, or if they do it’s usually one or two films. I think this is more a reflection of those who are polled for these kinds of lists, as well as a compounding of history on itself. For so long films by men have made up the bulk of the film canon and I think people are afraid to add new films to these revered lists. I also think many people haven’t seen very many films by women, or if they have it’s always the same handful of films. In an attempt to create a better, more inclusive list of great films by women, I polled over 500 critics, filmmakers, bloggers, historians, professors and casual film viewers, asking them to tell me what films directed (or co-directed) by women are essential viewing. Some people only responded with as little as five votes, others submitted hundreds of films. In the end, I received over 7,000 votes for 1,100+ different films. After tallying up this data, with ties factored in, I then had a list of 103 essential films directed by women.
Last year there were films I enjoyed, but mostly I was just really underwhelmed. This year, however, it was really hard to narrow it down to fifteen films. I think part of this was living in Los Angeles and being able to see those little films that only play for a week in some small theater. I’m so grateful to be able to do that! If you are interested in all of the 2014 releases I saw this year, you can check out the full list here.
I don’t know if I saw the wrong movies this year or if cinema just really let me down this year or maybe I’m just getting burned out, but I didn’t fall in love with movies as much this year as previous years. Last year was the same. I think the last year I saw a lot of movies that I truly loved was 2011 (and 2009. Boy, I loved 2009). That said, you can see all the 2013 releases I watched here and after the cut you can see the fifteen that rose to the top of my favor this year.
I really loved most of what I saw in 2011 (and actually my favorite film from 2011 I saw in 2012, but I will post more about that tomorrow). As for 2012, a lot of what I saw I felt kind of neutral about and a handful of films I downright hated (which is a rarity for me, really). I’m not sure what it was, but 2012 just didn’t live up to my expectations. That said, I did compile a list of fifteen films that I really loved. I wasn’t able to see Zero Dark Thirty or Amour before the end of the year, which I would have liked to have seen before compiling this list. Alas, they don’t open in San Francisco until after the new year. If you want to see all the 2012 releases I watched, you can do so here.
Well, it’s Valentine’s Day again. Some people love this day. Some people hate this day. Some people have no feelings. I’m not sure how I feel about Valentine’s Day, personally. I will say, I do love romance. In that respect, every day might as well be Valentine’s Day in my world. But I figured since this is the traditional day to celebrate it, I’d do some sort of post. Basically, what I did was take a long hard look at my DVD collection and pick out ten scenes that I find insanely romantic. This is not my “top ten” most romantic scenes or anything. This is in no way a complete and definitive list. It is simply ten scenes from ten films that I own that tug at my heartstrings.
While, for me, 2011 was not as a great a year in cinema as 2009 (many of the films I loved from that year I didn’t get to see until Jan of 2010, but still), I found myself loving more films this year than I did last year. In fact, you may notice that although I claim this is a list of fifteen films, it in fact contains sixteen films. There is one tie and I will explain my choice when I get to it. Last year before the year ended I managed to watch 53 new releases; this year I saw 57 (which is kind of pitifully low when you consider how many new-to-me films I saw this year; but that’s neither here nor there and you have to wait until tomorrow to read about that cinematic odyssey). I want to point out that my top five films have not changed since October, but the ten (eleven) that follow have been shifted and adjusted many, many times since then. Probably when I rewatch those films late on this list might still evolve some. I also want to mention that there were at least two films that I wanted to see before the end of the year that I was not able to see (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn); as always, there is no way to know whether those films would have even made the list had I seen them, but I wanted to point out that I’ve yet to see them so that comments of “where is ***?!” didn’t ensue. Okay, enough chatter, on to the list.
Original credit for the idea goes to Beau Kaelin, who’s directive read:
Rather than posting your 100 favorite films (which has been done and overdone), you simply post your favorite things about movies. I dig the concept, because instead of obsessing over whether the films you put on a list are “objectively good enough” to put on said list, you simply jot down 100 moments/lines/visuals that have made a lasting impression on you or sneak their way into running gags between you and your friends.
At first I thought this would be excruciating to compile. Then I decided that I would just do the first 100 things that came to mind, because really what I love about the movies is everything. So here’s the list.