Okay. One week into 2016 and we finally have the last of my End of the Year posts. Welcome, friends, to the 2015 Movie Superlatives! (Feel free to imagine some loud cheering here, like you’re at a colosseum death match or something.)
Other people are around to tell you the Most Raw Method Performance or the Most Inspirational True Life Story of Whoever. I rarely watch those kinds of movies, though, unless someone’s forcing me to. If, on the other hand, you want to know who won awards like Worst Romance, Most Fabulous Fashion, and Chief Asshat, well, you’ve come to the right place.
OBLIGATORY MY GEEK BLASPHEMY DISCLAIMERS:
1. Any movie I watched for the first time this year, whether it came out in 2015 or not, is eligible. Movies are also eligible if it’s been so long since I’ve seen them that I remember virtually nothing about what happened.
2. I’ve created my typical Spoiler Section to discuss the more plot twist-y and death awards, but be warned: I am going to talk about the movies at least a little above that line. So if you haven’t seen the film in question and don’t want to know anything about it, like, scroll faster or something.
FAVORITE FEMALE HEROINE
Furiosa (Mad Max); Ilsa (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation); Rey (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
I know. Starting off with a tie from the get-go, and a three-way one at that? I assure you, I’m properly ashamed of myself, but, well, I got over it, because I tried and tried and could not pick between these three women. Which, actually, is kind of awesome.
On one hand, Furiosa is obviously great. She is super competent and a better shot than our hero and has her own agenda that doesn’t have anything to do with winning a man. I was super bummed when I realized the planned sequel didn’t include her character because while I really enjoy Mad Max himself, Furiosa kind of owned that movie for me.
But Ilsa is also made of win. She saves the hero’s life no less than four times throughout Rogue Nation. She’s funny and kickass and I’m deeply happy that she, at least, is on board for the next Mission Impossible movie. In fact, I would happily watch either of these two ladies in their own spin-off franchises.
And then, of course, there’s Rey, our new chosen one from the Star Wars franchise. Rey is fun and scrappy and just basically everything a girl nerd could hope for in a Star Wars heroine. She was delightful to watch on the big screen, along with Furiosa and Ilsa, so yeah. I refuse to pick.
Honorable Mentions: Black Widow (Age of Ultron); Claire (Don’t Blink); Rita (Edge of Tomorrow)
The Dog – The Artist
I feel a little bad, picking a dog over Simon Pegg (who would surely have won this award otherwise), but . . . this dog is just so cute, and useful too, like, he saves lives and everything. In fact, he’s kind of like Lassie, but way, way more adorable. (I don’t know what it is I have against Collies. I’ve just never particularly cared for them.)
Honorable Mentions: Benji (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation); Stu (What We Do in the Shadows)
BEST SCENE STEALER
Bill Paxton – Edge of Tomorrow & Jena Malone – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part II
Oh, Bill Paxton. I just adore this guy. In the grand scheme of things, his character really isn’t particularly important, but Paxton brings such energy and humor to the role that he effectively steals the scene from Tom Cruise every single time they share it.
Still, I love everything about Jena Malone’s performance in The Hunger Games movies, too, except how little of it we get. Johanna is such a defiant, fierce, and unapologetically bloodthirsty badass, and I want to see Malone headline an antihero action film now.
Honorable Mentions: Benedict Wong (The Martian); John Goodman (The Artist); Coma-Doof Warrior (Mad Max: Fury Road)
BEST DYNAMIC DUO
Max & Furiosa – Mad Max: Fury Road
This was tough. Rey & Finn are right up there (Finn & Poe too, although they share less screen time), but ultimately I decided to go with Max and Furiosa because . . . well, just because I loved these two. I watched this movie and immediately went home and drowned myself in all kinds of Max & Furiosa fanfiction. (I don’t particularly ship Max/Furiosa in the movie itself, but I enjoyed reading shipper and friendship fic alike.) I didn’t just want them to have more individual adventures, you see; that would still be cool, but really, I wanted them to have more adventures together. They’re an awesome team, and I would pay good money to watch more of them.
Honorable Mentions: Rey & Finn (Star Wars: The Force Awakens); Finn & Poe (Star Wars: The Force Awakens); Ethan & Ilsa (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation), George & Dog (The Artist)
James Spader – Avengers: Age of Ultron
This was incredibly close. There were a lot of great casting calls this year, and I almost gave this one to Colin Firth in Kingsman: The Secret Service because it was just such an inspired and unlikely choice. Ultimately, though, I had to go with James Spader, partially because it was so nice to see Marvel finally manage to come up with a charismatic villain besides Loki, but mostly because James Spader plays Ultron almost like he’s playing Tony Stark, and that really, really worked for me. (Ultron, BTW, also takes BEST VILLAIN.) I found him delightful, and I’m not convinced that there’s another actor out there who would have been more suited to the role.
Honorable Mentions: Colin Firth (Kingsman: The Secret Service); Clark Gable (Gone With the Wind); Malin Ackerman (The Final Girls); Eleanor Audley (Sleeping Beauty); Jean Dujardin (The Artist); Bérénice Bejo (The Artist); Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow); Rebecca Ferguson (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation); Sidney Poiter (In the Heat of the Night); Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road); Matt Damon (The Martian); Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens); John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Elizabeth Berkley – Showgirls
Look, this is low-hanging fruit, I know. Showgirls has virtually nothing going for it. You certainly can’t blame the whole movie on Berkley’s performance when the entire thing is one colossal, boob-tastic train wreck . . . but still, she’s pretty unforgivably bad, and I mean right from the very start. I was laughing at her line deliveries within the first three minutes. That’s never a great sign for things to come.
Honorable Mentions: Calvin Lockhart (The Beast Must Die)
WORST WASTE OF AN ACTOR’S CONSIDERABLE TALENT
Gwendoline Christie – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part II
Christie also didn’t have nearly enough to do in The Force Awakens, which was disappointing, but at least there will be sequels in which she’ll hopefully come back and have the opportunity to prove how truly awesome she is. Such will not be the case with Mockingjay, Part II, as the series is obviously over. Plus, her role was just even more depressingly useless, like, Commander Lyme truly could have been played by just about anybody. Christie’s a force on Game of Thrones; it sucks that she was so underutilized here.
Honorable Mentions: Kyle MacLachlan (Showgirls); Beth Grant (The Artist)
WORST INSPIRING SPEECH
Finnick’s Distraction Speech – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part I
I’ll admit, I mostly made this award up last year to make fun of Snow White and the Huntsman, but Finnick’s speech in Mockingjay, Part I was pretty bad, too. Maybe not Snow White bad, but still. It’s distracting and muddled and doesn’t seem to know if it ought to be triumphant or not, which is particularly unfortunate, considering it’s supposed to be a pretty big character moment for Finnick.
Let’s Drink and Chat Instead of, oh, Trying to SURVIVE – Fermat’s Room
This is the premise of Fermat’s Room: four brilliant mathematicians are lured into a giant death trap, which is basically the garbage compactor room from A New Hope (but with better furnishings and less underwater monsters). They have a certain amount of time to finish mathematical puzzles, and if they do not solve them in that time, the walls begin closing in. The only way they can stop the walls (at least temporarily) is to correctly solve the puzzle, so you think they’d, you know, get to doing that. And admittedly, it’s obvious from the get-go that the puzzles are just going to keep coming until they’re eventually squished, so yeah, it’s important to figure out why they’re all there in the first place and if there’s another way out. But with the way these characters act, often paying far more attention to their own slowly and dramatically delivered backstories than the actual fucking puzzles their lives depend on, you’d think they didn’t want to survive. Which is frustrating because their apparent apathy towards living cuts a lot of the tension from a really fun premise.
Honorable Mentions: Katniss only cares about saving Peeta (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part I); Scarlett’s continued love/obsession with Ashley (Gone With the Wind); Megan flirting with Tommy while her friends go missing (Friday the 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives); Jack taking Ella upstairs for a nap/sexy times during seriously spooky shit (Don’t Blink); George’s amazing whininess after his career fails (The Artist)
MOST FABULOUS FASHION
Scarlett’s White Dress – Gone With the Wind
This was not one of my favorite movies of the year, like, at all, but I can’t deny that the fashion was amazing. Scarlett has many dresses to choose from, of course, and I know her curtain gown is probably the more obvious pick, but I fell head over heels for this white dress with the red belt and bow. I didn’t think I was such a sucker for ruffles, honestly, but apparently I am.
Honorable Mentions: Caroline’s Dining Outfit (The Beast Must Die); Maleficent’s outfit (Sleeping Beauty)
Tom’s Entire Wardrobe – The Beast Must Die
Between Tom’s disco dining shirt (which is apparently his only fancy shirt, despite being a millionaire, because he wears it for two nights in a row) and his black leather outfit that he reserves for the weird dual purposes of napping and hunting . . . yeah, his wardrobe is as terrible as his wife’s is excellent.
Why Vampires Drink Virgin Blood – What We Do In the Shadows
I’ll just go ahead and give you the dialogue here:
Deacon: “I think we drink virgin blood because it sounds cool.”
Vladislav: “I think of it like this: if you were going to eat a sandwich, you would just enjoy it more if you knew no one had fucked it.”
It’s hard to argue that.
MOST UTTERLY RIDICULOUS TALENT
Eggsy’s Mad Driving Skillz – Kingsman: The Secret Service
Dude. Forget being a spy; this kid should just get rich by doing crazy driving stunts on Youtube and becoming an internet sensation. His joyriding scene is as delightful as it is ludicrous.
Sam’s terrible blond surfer cut – Don’t Blink
Dude, why? The only person who even semi-successfully rocked this look was Dick Casablancas, and he was supposed to be a giant tool, probably a natural blond, and ten years younger besides. This does not work for you at all.
Honorable Mentions: Bangs (Fermat’s Room); Zack (Showgirls)
Cressida – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part I and II
Admittedly, I’m not really sure what Natalie Dormer could do to her hair to make her look less attractive, but. Yes, please. This is fantastic hair. (In fact, I’m still blown away by how great it looked on the red carpet. I might even try out this cut in a couple of years once my hair grows out long enough.)
Honorable Mentions: Ms. Perkins (John Wick)
This was an amazing soundtrack. For one, it featured music by David Bowie, Gloria Estefan, Donna Summer, and Gloria Gaynor, making it accurate to the source material (where disco was one of Mark Watney’s primary causes for despair, other than the lack of food and just the whole unfortunate ‘stuck alone on Mars’ thing). But it also just perfectly nailed the fun and upbeat tone of the story.
Honorable Mentions: Kingsman: The Secret Service; The Final Girls; The French Connection
FAVORITE OPENING CREDITS
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
I’m just a huge sucker for opening credits that come with flashes of the film itself. Since that’s always been Mission Impossible’s modus operandi, it’s no surprise Rogue Nation won this one.
Honorable Mention: Fermat’s Room
MOST OVERUSED WORD OR PHRASE
“Mockingjay” – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part I
I know. It’s the name of your movie. It’s the inspirational code name of your heroine. I really get it. But there’s no need to use the word this many times, especially if you’re all going to keep using it in solemn tones, like, “She’s the Mockingjay.”
I KNOW. WE ALL KNOW. PLEASE STOP TELLING US.
Honorable Mention: “Shy girl with the clipboard and the guitar” (The Final Girls)
MOST WASTED POTENTIAL
The Beast Must Die
This could have been such a fun movie. A dinner party mystery where the guests have to discover which one among them is a werewolf? The cheese potential is FANTASTIC. And yet, aside from the Werewolf Break gimmick (which remains one of my favorite things I’ve seen all year, if not ever), this movie was long and dull and ridiculous in somehow completely boring ways. And let’s just say that the absurd 70’s score didn’t help matters any.
Stop remaking already great movies, Hollywood, and remake something like this.
Honorable Mentions: The Maze Runner; Fermat’s Room
MOST DISAPPOINTING MOVIE
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Age of Ultron was not a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination. (It technically wins FAVORITE SUPERHERO MOVIE by default, but of course then it also wins LEAST FAVORITE SUPERHERO MOVIE too. Yes, I still haven’t seen Ant Man.) I own Age of Ultron and I like a lot about it, but after how awesome The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier were, Age of Ultron just did not live up to my expectations. There’s far, far too much going on, and while I desperately wanted to ship Bruce and Natasha, their romance felt mishandled to me, rushed and punctuated with some bizarre and kinda sexist presumptions on Bruce’s part, who has, thus far, never struck me as particularly sexist. And with the new lineup of B-team Avengers (save Falcon, who’s clearly the best), my interest in the whole MCU has suffered somewhat as a result.
Honorable Mentions: Don’t Blink; The French Connection
FAVORITE BOOK ADAPTATION
Okay, this is kind of a cheat because I didn’t see any other book adaptations this year (or rather, not ones where I’d actually read the book in order to compare it). But it deserves special props for doing what no other book adaptation has ever done for me: I prefer the film to the book, even though I read the book first. And the book’s not bad at all, but it did frustrate way me in some ways that just didn’t happen with the movie. The movie itself is not perfect, of course, but it had a great cast, great cinematography, and was a lot of fun to watch.
FAVORITE BEST PICTURE WINNER
In the Heat of Night
Okay, so I only watched, like, four of my twelve Best Picture winners before just giving up on my challenge and accepting Showgirls/defeat. But I liked In the Heat of the Night. It’s a solid mystery and Sidney Poitier is amazing in it. It still kills me that he didn’t even get nominated for this role.
Honorable Mention: The Artist
LEAST FAVORITE BEST PICTURE WINNER
The French Connection
Gone With the Wind may have driven me desperately insane at certain points, but there was very, very little I liked about The French Connection at all. The score was fun, and there was one good story turn at the end of the movie that I didn’t see coming. One pretty awesome car chase scene. And . . . that’s about all. Otherwise, it was a slow, kind of miserable watch with a protagonist I despised and a story that didn’t seem to be saying much. I’m honestly still at a loss as to why it won so many Academy Awards in the first place.
Honorable Mention: Gone With the Wind
LEAST FAVORITE MOVIE
The Beast Must Die
It’s not just that this is, without a doubt, the worst film I saw all year. It’s presumably very low-budget and also from the 1970’s; I can give it a pass on some things, like egregiously terrible night-for-day shots or using a German Shepherd as a werewolf. (Still beats BTVS. Sorry, Whedon.) But it should have been fun and engaging or, at the very least, entertaining in its ridiculousness, not so tediously slow that you just wanna drive spikes in your eyes. (Well. If you’re the melodramatic sort that favors eye-spiking over more reasonable solutions, like just turning off the movie, that is.)
Albus Dumbledore is in this movie. Grand Moff Tarkin is in this movie. THERE IS AN HONEST TO GOD WEREWOLF BREAK. And still, none of that can save this one from being a total disaster.
Honorable Mentions: The French Connection; Gone With the Wind; Showgirls
The Final Girls & Mad Max: Fury Road
If ever there was a movie made just for me, it’s The Final Girls. It’s a hilarious horror comedy, a moving story about grief, a fantastic play on horror tropes, and features not only girl friendships but a romantic lead who actually admits his fear. I hoped I would like this movie, but even I don’t think I was expecting how much I would fall in love with it. (By the by, it also wins for BEST EXAMPLE OF A MOVIE TURNING A STORY ON ITS HEAD.)
But Mad Max: Fury Road was pretty damn awesome too. I had such a great time watching it in theater (it, in fact, narrowly wins out over The Force Awakens and Rogue Nation as my FAVORITE MOVIE I SAW IN THEATERS), and it’s really grown on me over time and with repeat viewings, too. I still feel that its victories in feminism say more about the failings of the action genre than they do about the movie itself (although this year has given us some awesome moments for women in action films, like maybe we’re on an upward trend?), but that doesn’t mean those moments aren’t worthy of praise. And this was just a gloriously, gorgeously, insane two-hour car chase of a movie. This is popcorn done right.
Honorable Mentions: Star Wars: The Force Awakens; Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation; The Martian; Kingsman: The Secret Service
MOST ANTICIPATED MOVIE OF 2016
Yeah, it’s not the film I thought I was going to pick, either.
I’m nervous about Deadpool, but mostly because it looks so fucking awesome that I don’t want it to disappoint. (That, and my God, does Ryan Reynolds deserve a win.) I’m super pumped about seeing it because it just looks like so much great R-rated fun, like this really is a superhero story we haven’t seen on the big screen before.)
Civil War, on the other hand, also looks pretty fantastic . . . but I find I’m much more trepidatious about it after being disappointed by Age of Ultron. (Plus, while I love me some angst, I don’t know how much I’m looking forward to Steve vs. Tony or Steve vs. Natasha.) I was into the Star Trek Beyond trailer (yes, Beastie Boys and all), but Into Darkness was my Most Disappointing Movie in 2013, so that impression’s hard to shake. And I’m absolutely going to see Dawn of Justice, but . . . well, my hopes aren’t exactly high.
So, yeah. While there’s a lot of big movies coming this year that I plan to see, I think I’m looking forward to Deadpool more than anything.
Honorable Mentions: Captain America: Civil War; Pride and Prejudice and Zombies; Star Trek Beyond; Suicide Squad
All right. Here we go with everything else.
WEAKEST FEMALE CHARACTER
Roxy – Kingsman: The Secret Service
I thought for sure Nomi from Showgirls would get this, but as awful as she is, Nomi at least has her own agenda. Roxy, though. Kingsman wants to pretend that Roxy is somehow important, since she becomes Lancelot and has an oh-so-important mission at the end of the movie. But let’s be real here: that mission was bullshit, and Roxy serves zero purpose in this story except to worry about the hero. She is a cliche I’ve seen a dozen times over and is especially disappointing here since Kingsman was, other than its treatment of female characters, a lot of fun.
(Since I’m on the subject: Kingsman also wins FILM THAT SORELY TESTED MY FEMINISM. It’s certainly not more offensive than Showgirls or Gone With the Wind–both of which featured awful, awful rape stories–but in 2015 I kind of want better than useless female characters, sex trophy characters, and bullshit gratuitous ass shots.)
Honorable Mentions: Nomi (Showgirls); Megan (Friday the 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives); Oliva (Fermat’s Room); The Princess (Kingsman: The Secret Service); Delores (In the Heat of the Night); Teresa (The Maze Runner)
Ethan & Benji – Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
The Science Bros fangirl in me is dying a little right now, but Bruce and Tony don’t have so much time together in Age of Ultron, and besides, I like Ethan and Benji’s friendship. Because Ethan’s GONE ROGUE, Benji has to fool a polygraph every week and act like the bromance is dead, like he doesn’t still totally heart his big action hero buddy. It’s so damn awwww. Also, Ethan tries to nobly protect Benji and send him out of danger, as BFF spies are wont to do, and Benji, appropriately, yells at Ethan for it. That was a pretty good movie moment for me.
Honorable Mentions: Tony & Bruce (Avengers: Age of Ultron); Finn & Poe (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Max, Vicki, & Gertie – The Final Girls
There isn’t a lot of time spent on girl friendships in Hollywood, so I appreciate it when a movie takes the time to have female characters know other female characters and have dialogue that doesn’t just boil down to “Oh my god, you stole my man!” Here, Gertie and Max are best friends, Vicki and Max used to be best friends, and Gertie and Vicki hate each other. The dock scene between the three of them is just perfect, not to mention the little touches beforehand to show you that Vicki still cares about Max, even though Max pulled away. And Vicki and Gertie dying together, holding hands. UGH. Stop killing my heart, movie.
BEST PLATONIC FRIENDSHIP
Rey & Finn – Star Wars: The Force Awakens; Natasha & Steve – Avengers: Age of Ultron
I fear Rey and Finn aren’t going to stay platonic for the rest of the series, but I hope they do, and not just because I desperately ship Finn & Poe. I just really like their energy as a friends, and it would mean a lot to me if Finn was willing to infiltrate the First Order (who he fears more than anything) to save someone he wasn’t in luv with, and likewise, if Rey was desperate to protect him even though she doesn’t necessarily want to ride him like a pogo stick.
But there’s just something about Natasha and Steve, man. I know Natasha and Clint have been best buddies for longer, and my interest in Natasha and Steve being bros is partially fueled by The Winter Solider (where they have much more time together). Still, I just adore that scene in Age of Ultron where Cap’s like, “You and Bruce? Yeah, I ship it.” I just want to watch these two give each other dating advice for, like, ever.
Honorable Mentions: Clint & Natasha (Avengers: Age of Ultron); Rhett & Mellie (Gone With the Wind)
Robert Picardo – Don’t Blink
I know there are probably more high profile cameos from bigger movies that I could have picked, but there’s just something so inherently right about the choice of Robert Picardo as this enigmatic government agent dude who, apparently, never blinks. Maybe I was just happy to see Robert Picardo again. I’m not ashamed of that. I miss you and your totally random opera, Doctor!
Honorable Mentions: Mark Hamil (Kingsman: The Secret Service); Hayley Atwell (Avengers: Age of Ultron); Majel Barrett (Westworld)
Scarlett & Rhett – Gone With the Wind
Nope. I don’t even want to hear it, you guys. I am not wrong here. YOU ARE ALL THE CRAZY ONES.
Look, Rhett and Scarlett totally had chemistry. I will give you that. And I shipped them too, for a while, but you know when I stopped shipping them? About that unfortunate time when Rhett raped his wife. I know a lot of people don’t consider marital rape to be a thing, and that you have to take the time period into consideration, and that rape is weirdly a part of many romance stories, but . . . nope. Not having it. (This movie wins WORST RAPE MOMENT/SUBPLOT/SCENE as well, but Showgirls came very, very close. These two are just awful to one another, and by the end of this movie I absolutely don’t ship them at all.
Melanie, though. Everyone can be shipped with Melanie.
Honorable Mentions: Nomi & James (Showgirls); Tommy & Megan (Friday the 13th: Part VI: Jason Lives); Sleeping Beauty & Prince Charming (Sleeping Beauty)
Finn & Poe – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
It may never happen in canon, but it will live forever in my heart. And on A03.
Honorable Mention: Scarlett & Mellie (Gone With the Wind)
BEST BOO-YAH MOMENT
Virgil Tibbs slaps Endicott – In the Heat of the Night
This isn’t necessarily the gasp-inducing and revolutionary moment that it surely was 1967, but it was still extremely satisfying to watch. I love you, Mr. Tibbs.
Honorable Mentions: Furiosa killing Immortan Joe (Mad Max: Fury Road); Furiosa shooting bad guy over Max’s shoulder (Mad Max: Fury Road); Katniss killing Alma Coin (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part II); Rey picking up the lightsaber (Star Wars: The Force Awakens); Finn picking up the lightsaber (Star Wars: The Force Awakens); Natasha making the Hulk come out and play (The Avengers: Age of Ultron); Scarlett killing Union Soldier and burying him with Mellie’s help (Gone With the Wind); Ilsa killing the Bone Doctor (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation)
WORST HEART KNOWLEDGE
Brandt and Luther divine Ethan’s location by searching for Ilsa after finding a sketched picture of her in one of Ethan’s hideouts and realizing, somehow, that he trusts her – Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Yeah, it’s as dumb as it sounds. Actually, it’s worse: Ilsa’s picture isn’t the only one they find. They also find a picture of Big Bad Solomon Lane. But Brandt and Luther can tell just by looking at Ethan’s sketch that he obviously trusts Ilsa, so that’s whose picture they run through facial recognition. Why they don’t just, I don’t know, run both pictures through facial recognition, I could hardly guess. But apparently they only had time for one, and I’m guessing they could see kindness in Ilsa’s eyes or something?
It is a very special kind of bullshit because there is absolutely zero need for it.
Honorable Mentions: Megan knows that Tommy’s good, somehow (Friday the 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives); Claire knows Tracy is pregnant just by glancing at her (Don’t Blink); Popeye is sure the deal hasn’t happened yet for no apparent reason (The French Connection)
Gone With the Wind
Cause holy shit racism. That’s why.
President Snow taunts Katniss – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part I
Okay, this isn’t dead tribble bad or anything. Still, I groaned out loud when President Snow, smirking as hard as Donald Sutherland can possibly smirk, tells Katniss, “It’s the things we love most that destroy us. I want you to remember that I said that.” They’ve just been talking about Peeta the very second before, so basically everyone in the audience now knows that Peeta is going to try and kill Katniss. But in case it isn’t clear enough, Snow also tells Katniss that he knows the good guys are trying to rescue Peeta, and shortly after that, Gale says, apparently completely befuddled, that Snow just let them go.
Gosh. WHAT COULD IT ALL MEAN?
Honorable Mentions: Chuck’s token (The Maze Runner); “As long as there’s light, we’ve got a chance.” (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Oliva slept with Hilbert – Fermat’s Room
Part of the fun of escape-the-room thrillers is learning what secrets each of our characters are holding and how those secrets fit into the bigger puzzle of why they’re all there and how they’re going to escape. Oliva’s big secret, though, is that she apparently had super depraved sex with the old guy after he seduced her with Sexy Online Chess, all so he could confirm something he could easily have figured out on Google. And that’s it. That’s all our one female character brings to the table. It’s massively disappointing.
Bonnie Blue – Gone With the Wind & Fermat – Fermat’s Room
Because dying by irony is the very, very worst, unless it’s actually supposed to be vindictive and/or funny. (And even then, it’s a hard trick to pull off.) Little Bonnie Blue dies for even more needless melodrama in the exact same way Scarlett’s father kicked the bucket, while Fermat dies while finally putting on a safety device that’s been triggered to kill him. Needless and annoying, the both of them.
Nancy – The Final Girls
This scene also almost won out for Best Individual Song because “Bette Davis Eyes” is now inextricably linked to tears and death in my mind. Thanks, you bastards.
Seriously, though. This is such a good scene. Nancy sacrificing herself so that Max can be the final girl isn’t a hugely shocking plot twist, but it’s still a huge gut punch when it happens, partially because Max has fought so hard to save her, and partially because Nancy is lip-synching the same song that Amanda was when she died. (Before this year, I could never have possibly anticipated that someone doing a PG-rated strip dance while lip-synching to a Kim Carnes song would someday make me tear up. Also, this movie definitely wins MOVIE THAT MADE ME CRY LIKE A BABY, although The Martian was also a surprising contender for that one. Damn you, Matt Damon.)
It’s not surprising that Nancy doesn’t get to live in the real world, going to college and discovering the joys of online shopping, but you’re still hoping for it anyway, so when that hope is taken away, man. Brutal. And yet Malin Ackerman manages to bring a certain amount of joy and love to the scene, which takes serious talent.
Honorable Mentions: Cage — ah, the one where he unsuccessfully tries to roll away to freedom under a truck (Edge of Tomorrow); Harry (Kingsman: The Secret Service); John (Westworld); Gertie & Vickie (The Final Girls)
Daisy – John Wick
Sometimes, even often, the best executed deaths aren’t necessarily the ones that have you doing your best “Will Smith in Independence Day after Harry Connick Jr. bought the farm” impression. Sometimes, movies kill helpless, adorable dogs.
I won’t pretend I’m one of those people who gets so upset about fictional animal deaths that I can’t watch movies where they take place, but that doesn’t mean I clap with fiendish delight when someone shoots The Most Adorable Dog alive, either. (Really, there should have been a superlative this year about Cutest Dog, but I couldn’t possibly choose between this dog and the one from The Artist. Also, the dog from The Beast Must Die, who wasn’t quite as ridiculously endearing as the first two, but still pretty cute and also the only character you’re really rooting for, alas.)
I knew going in, of course, that Daisy wasn’t going to survive, that this was the movie that would make Dogs in Refrigerators a thing, and still the dog’s death was like, “NOOOOOO! NOT YOU, DOG, NOT YOU!!!!!!”
Honorable Mentions: Vickie & Gertie (The Final Girls); The Dog (The Beast Must Die); Finnick (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part II)
Mark Watney – The Martian
Okay, this isn’t much of a spoiler. Can you imagine how depressing of a movie this would be if they didn’t manage to save Matt Damon? Still, the dude got stranded on Mars, and not for like a couple of hours and with a giant supply of hot dogs and Pop Tarts, you know?You manage to fend off starvation by using your own poop to grow potatoes on another planet, and you pretty much have Ultimate Survivor in the bag.
Honorable Mentions: Katniss (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part II)
Duncan – The Final Girls
Because even in a horror comedy, turning your back on the supposedly harmless serial killer to take a selfie with him means you deserve to die. Badly.
Galois – Fermat’s Room
Galois (or Bangs, as I referred to him throughout my review) is just generally a whiny and useless piece of shit throughout the film, but he manages to be this year’s Chief Asshat because, in the midst of a giant temper tantrum, he breaks the one thing that can stop the room he’s in from squeezing shut and crushing him (and others) to death. And let me be clear about this: it’s not like a careless whoopsie, like he drops the PDA and accidentally steps on it because he’s not wearing his glasses or something. The one thing keeping everyone from squishy horrible doom, and Galois throws it to the floor and busts it while acting like a godamn three-year-old.
Ultimately, the good guys escape, but it’s zero thanks to this fucker. Disappointingly, nobody slaps him across the face or tries to drown him in the lake.
Honorable Mentions: Tom (The Beast Must Die); Popeye (The French Connection); Scarlett (Gone With the Wind); Rhett (Gone With the Wind); Tommy (Friday the 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives); Sheriff (Friday the 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives); Zack (Showgirls); James (Showgirls); Nomi (Showgirls); Iosef (John Wick); Endicott (In the Heat of the Night)
BEST FIGHT SCENE
Harry vs The Westboro Church – Kingsman: The Secret Service
Well, okay. Practically the Westboro Church, anyway.
There were some really awesome fight sequences this year but unfortunately for everyone else, this award was pretty much decided way back in April because the glorious, wanton violence on display here was just on a whole other level. Watching Colin Firth kill the hell out of everybody in that church was easily one of my favorite moments in theater this year; hell, probably one of my favorite theater moments of all time.
Yes, I’m aware that makes me sound like a sociopath. I don’t care.
Honorable Mentions: Max vs. Furiosa & Wives vs. Nux (Mad Max: Fury Road); John Wick vs. Henchmen at Club (John Wick); Hulkbuster vs. Hulk (Age of Ultron); Ilsa & Ethan vs. Henchmen (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation); Ilsa vs. Bone Doctor (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation); Rey & Finn vs Kylo Ren (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
BEST INDIVIDUAL SONG
“Pomp & Circumstance” – Kingsman: The Secret Service; “Think” (Kaleida) – John Wick
Oh, I just give up. These are awesome for completely different reasons. The head-bursting scene set to “Pomp and Circumstance” is just so perfectly hilarious. I laughed so hard watching this in theater. Easily one of my favorite parts of the whole movie.
But I adore “Think” too. (It’s the music that plays for the first 2 1/2 minutes of the video.) It’s awesome and unusual, absolutely not the kind of song that people generally use for scenes like “Big Badass Infiltrates the Bad Guys’ Club.” Fictional violence set to unusual music is the best kind of fictional violence. Also, I own this song and am listening to it now.
Honorable Mentions: “Bette Davis Eyes” – Kim Carnes (The Final Girls); “Mickey” (The Final Girls); “Freebird” – Lynyrd Skynyrd (Kingsman: The Secret Service)
MOST UNINTENTIONALLY HILARIOUS MOMENT
The, uh, old mentor returns for some sage advice – Showgirls
Oh, man. This one was hard. The Beast Must Die had some hysterically bad moments, and of course Showgirls is notorious for it’s epileptic aquatic sex scene. But still, there was just something about Robert Davi’s character coming back like he was some godamn Obi-Wan/father figure type instead of, you know, an old rapey boss, and being all, “Saw the show. You were good, real good. You take care, kid . . . it must be weird, not having anybody cum on you.”
I was dying because seriously. What the flying fuck?
Honorable Mentions: Epileptic aquatic sex (Showgirls); The Werewolf Break (The Beast Must Die); The heartless murder of an innocent helicopter (The Beast Must Die); Surviving the car crash (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation); “I never loved you!” (The Artist); “That dog was the final gift from my DYING WIFE.” (John Wick); Gale promising to mercy kill Peeta like it’s some big sacrifice on his part (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part II)
WORST PLOT CONTRIVANCE
Not using amnesia darts on kids who fail the Loyalty Test – Kingsman: The Secret Service
Honestly. Why do you even have amnesia darts if you’re not going to administer them to people who prove that they will betray you if violent, squishy death is on the line? There’s no way that King Douchebag (not pictured above) would still have his memories intact after this. And yet he has to, even if it makes absolutely zero sense, because a) he has to screw Eggsy over at an inopportune time and b) if all the flunking recruits got their memories wiped, Eggsy couldn’t save the day at the end.
It doesn’t ruin the movie or anything, but it is pretty stupidly convenient.
Honorable Mentions: Almost all the employees conveniently gathered in one place to die (Westworld); Viggo not killing John Wick (John Wick); Jack taking Ella upstairs for a nap/sexy times (Don’t Blink)
For the same reason it wins for WORST PAYOFF: there is none. At all. I was surprised by how much I got into Don’t Blink (honestly, the characters and dialogue in this movie are better than 80% of most horror films, at least), but that conclusion didn’t even feel open-ended to me; it felt like the filmmakers had no idea how to solve their mystery and just gave up trying. (Seriously, the hell is up with the weather in this place?) And while that’s probably not the actual case, I was deeply disappointed by this film’s total lack of resolution.
Honorable Mentions: Edge of Tomorrow; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay; Part II; Gone With the Wind
First, there are worse ways to end your movie than with a big, joyful tap dance. I can’t lie: I love me a good tap dance. More importantly, though, the transition back to sound is beautifully done and is especially effective after the past two hours sans any kind of noise at all, other than music. Hearing everyone’s voices (well, save Bérénice Bejo’s, sadly) is definitely jarring, but in a weirdly great way. The fact that I wanted to shake George around for most of the movie did detract from my enjoyment of The Artist, but the conclusion itself is perfection.
Honorable Mentions: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part I; Star Wars: The Force Awakens; Mad Max: Fury Road; The Final Girls
FAVORITE MOVIE QUOTE
“Sir, Ethan Hunt is the living manifestation of destiny.” – Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Because Alec Baldwin manages to say it with a straight face, and because it makes me laugh every single time I think about it. Don’t you just desperately want to have the opportunity to say something like that? I should start putting it in my writer’s bio when I submit shit: Carlie St. George is a Clarion West graduate, an active SFWA member, and the living manifestation of destiny.
And now, finally, I give you all the other awesome movie quotes. Warning: there are, uh, more than a few, and that’s with me instituting my Seven Quotes Per Movie Rule. (It was supposed to be five, but I basically started weeping once I got to Age of Ultron, so I upped the max limit.)
Anton: “Hey, don’t swear! What are we?”
Werewolves: “We’re werewolves, not swear-wolves.” – What We Do In the Shadows
Vladislav: “Stu is the first human friend I’ve had in a long time. With humans, there is the tendency to die.” – What We Do In the Shadows
Deacon: “I think we drink virgin blood because it sounds cool.”
Vladislav: I think of it like this: if you were going to eat a sandwich, you would just enjoy it more if you knew no one had fucked it.” – What We Do in the Shadows
Viago: “Yeah, some of our clothes are from our victims. You might bite someone and then think, ‘Oooh, these are nice pants’.” – What We Do In the Shadows
Galois: “You think it’ll resist?”
Pascal: “Pressure is unpredictable. It can turn coal into dust or a diamond.”
Hilbert: “Was that Archimedes?”
Pascal: “MacGyver.” – Fermat’s Room
Ultron: “I’m glad you asked that because I wanted to take this time to explain my evil plan.” – Avengers: Age of Ultron
Natasha: “I adore you . . . but I need the Other Guy.” – Avengers: Age of Ultron
Tony: “How do we cope with something like that?”
Tony: “We’ll lose.”
Steve: “We’ll do that together, too.” — Avengers: Age of Ultron
Tony: “Good talk.”
Henchman in Background: “No, it wasn’t!” – Avengers: Age of Ultron
Natasha: “Thor, report on the Hulk.”
Thor: “The gates of Hell are filled with the screams of his victims.” – Avengers: Age of Ultron
Steve: “Sorry for barging in.”
Tony: “Yeah, we would’ve called ahead, but we were busy having no idea you existed.” –Avengers: Age of Ultron
Hawkeye: “No one would know, no one would know. Last I saw, Ultron was sitting on him. The bastard will be dearly missed. I miss him already.” – Avengers: Age of Ultron
Rhett: “You should be kissed often and by someone who knows how.” – Gone With the Wind
Rhett: “This is an honorable proposal of marriage made at what I consider a most opportune moment. I can’t go all my life waiting to catch you between husbands.” – Gone With the Wind
Scarlett: “Well, I’ve guess I’ve done murder. I won’t think about that now. I’ll think about that tomorrow.” – Gone With the Wind
Scarlett: “Go on! I want you to go! I hope a cannonball lands slap on you! I hope you’re blown into a million pieces! I — ”
Rhett: “Never mind the rest. I follow your general idea.” – Gone With the Wind
Harry: “Boys, I’ve had a rather emotional day, so whatever your beef with Eggsy is — and I’m sure it’s well-founded — I’d appreciate it if you could just leave us in peace until I’ve finished this lovely pint of Guinness.” – Kingsman: The Secret Service
Harry: “I’m a Catholic whore, currently enjoying congress out of wedlock with my black Jewish boyfriend who works at a military abortion clinic. Hail Satan, and have a lovely afternoon, madam.” – Kingsman: The Secret Service
Alma Coin: “Do you have any other conditions?”
Katniss: “. . . my sister gets to keep her cat.” – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part I
Finnick: “It takes ten times as long to pull yourself together than it does to fall apart.” – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part I
Alma Coin: “And if you’re killed?”
Katniss: “Make sure you get it on camera.” – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part I
Kurt: “What are you, a fag? You don’t like some nice big hoots? Hooting!”
Chris: “My dads are gay, so shut the hell up.”
Kurt: “Yeah, right! Gay guys can’t have kids! They’re too busy going to discos and having sex with each other. It’s actually a pretty cool lifestyle.” – The Final Girls
Nancy: “I could like go to college!”
Nancy: “And drive a convertible.”
Nancy: “And go shopping at the mall!”
Max: “Actually, people don’t really shop at malls anymore; they shop online.”
Nancy: “What’s online?”
Max: “Never mind, I made that up. Just keep going.”
Nancy: “But I want to shop online. And I want to start over, you know, I could be different in the Valley . . . what if I don’t make it, Max?”
Max: “This time you will.” – The Final Girls
Chris: “How you holding up?”
Max: “I’ve been better. How about you?”
Chris: “I’m really scared.” – The Final Girls
Max: “Vicki, you don’t have to die.”
Vicki: “I’m the mean girl in the 80’s horror movie and we’re past the midpoint, so, you know, I’d say that I’ve overstayed my welcome.” – The Final Girls
Mark Watney: “I don’t want to come off as arrogant here, but I’m the greatest botanist on this planet.” – The Martian
Mark Watney: “In the face of overwhelming odds, I’m left with only one option: I’m gonna have to science the shit out of this.” – The Martian
Mark Watney: “They say once you grow crops somewhere, you have officially colonized it. So, technically, I colonized Mars. In your face, Neil Armstrong!” – The Martian
Mark Watney: “If the oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the water reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab beaches, I’ll just kind of implode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death. So, yeah.” – The Martian
Mark Watney: “Of course I’m going to be the fastest man to ever travel in space, because they’re sending me up in a convertible.” – The Martian
Mark Watney: “No, I will not ‘turn the beat around’.” – The Martian
Mark Watney: “Mars will come to fear my botany powers.” – The Martian
Lizbeth: “I’ve seen enough horror movies to know any weirdo wearing a mask is never friendly.” – Friday the 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives
Benji: “Important note: the profile is in Slot 108. And a slightly more important note: if you haven’t switched that profile before I reach the gait analysis, I’m dead.” – Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Benji: “She tried to shoot me!”
Ethan: “That doesn’t make her a bad person.” – Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Benji: “That’s not your decision to make, Ethan! I am a field agent! I know the risks! More than that, I am your friend, no matter . . . what I con a polygraph every week. Now you called me because you needed my help. And you still do, so I’m staying. And that’s all we’re going to say about that.” – Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Benji: “Well, we have a European Head of State here at the same time we’re looking for a nefarious terrorist. And I’m sure the two things are completely unrelated.” – Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Benji: “Join the IMF, see the world! On a monitor. In a closet.” – Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
John Wick: “I lost everything. That dog was the final gift from my dying wife.” – John Wick
Maleficent: “Oh, they’re hopeless. A disgrace to the forces of evil.” – Sleeping Beauty
Alex: “The needle’s been on empty for the last ten miles.”
Sam: “Okay, there’s usually gas in the tank when the needle’s on empty.”
Alex: “Yeah, I’m well aware of the relationship between gas tank and the needle. I’ve actually driven a car before? Uh, however, eventually when the needle’s on empty long enough, it really means it.” – Don’t Blink
Jake: “Where are you going to go?
Alex: “Um, anywhere but here?”
Jake: “You have no gas. Your car’s on fumes.”
Alex: “Well, now I’m going to fucking find out how far fumes will get me, cause I’m not spending any more time in this bad fucking Twilight Zone camp-like death trap of a weekend getaway. Now fuck off.” – Don’t Blink
Amelia: “God is striking down all who have fallen off the path of righteousness.”
Alex: “Okay! But Tracy? Tracy was studying to be a kindergarten teacher. Tracy was a devout Catholic. So you tell me, why did Tracy get swallowed up by the Holy Fucking Spirit?”
Claire: “Lets, uh. Let’s pray over here, shall we?” – Don’t Blink
Alex: “I could kill him, and he’d be like a . . . a zombie? Or something? Would that explain any of this shit?”
Jack: “Not really, no.” – Don’t Blink
Claire: “Can we fix it?”
Jack: “We can try. We could find a fusebox. I don’t know where the hell it is. It’s probably outside.”
Claire: “I’m not going outside.” – Don’t Blink
Jack: “I just want it to be over. If I’m going to disappear, I just want it to happen already.”
Claire: “You know, all I ever really wanted to be was a biologist. I worked my ass of in college. I was always driven and focused and I never really lived outside of that, you know? I was never popular. I’ve been to six movies since I started up my thesis, and every single one I went to alone, so I don’t want to die. I don’t want to disappear because I really haven’t had that much time just being here to begin with.”
Jack: “Okay. Okay, I won’t give up hope, okay?”
Claire: “Okay . . . I need to tell you something, but you have to promise not to laugh.”
Claire: “I have to go to the bathroom.”
Jack: “That’s fantastic. Sorry.” – Don’t Blink
Jack: “This is really awkward.”
Claire: “Yeah, you don’t have to tell me that.”
Jack: ” . . . can I put Charlotte down now?” – Don’t Blink
Nux: “What a day, what a lovely day!” – Mad Max: Fury Road
Max: “You know, hope is a mistake. If you don’t fix what’s broke, you’ll go insane.” – Mad Max: Fury Road
Furiosa: “Out here, everything hurts.” – Mad Max: Fury Road
Ms. Giddy: “We are not things! We are not things!” – Mad Max: Fury Road
The Dag: “I thought he wasn’t insane anymore.” – Mad Max: Fury Road
Virgil: “They call me MISTER Tibbs!” – In the Heat of the Night
Gillespie: “Any reason you have to leave today?”
Virgil: “Lots of reasons.” – In the Heat of the Night
Gillespie: “I got the motive which is money and the body which is dead.” – In the Heat of the Night
Virgil: “There’s white time in jail and there’s colored time in jail. The worst kind of time you can do is colored time.” – In the Heat of the Night
Gillespie: “I do want to thank you for offering such a powerful piece of manpower as Virgil Tibbs.” – In the Heat of the Night
Cage: “Master Sergeant Farrell, you’re an American.”
Farrell: “No, sir! I’m from Kentucky.” – Edge of Tomorrow
Rita: “Ten minutes.”
Rita: “And then I’m killing you.”
Cage: “Fine.” – Edge of Tomorrow
Cage: “Wait a second, wait a second! I’ve been thinking . . . I mean, this thing is in my blood. So maybe there’s some way I can transfer it to you.”
Rita: “I’ve tried everything. It doesn’t work.”
Cage: “I mean, have you tried . . . you know . . . ALL the options?”
Rita: “Oh, you mean sex? Yeah, I tried it.”
Cage: “. . . how many times?”
Rita: “All right.”
(Rita hits Cage with a giant robot) – Edge of Tomorrow
Peeta: “You love me. Real or not real?” – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part II
Poe: “Why are you helping me?”
Finn: “Because it’s the right thing to do.”
Poe: “. . .you need a pilot.”
Finn: “I need a pilot.” – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Finn: “We’ll figure it out. We’ll use the Force!”
Han: “That’s not how the Force works!” – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Han: “Escape now. Hug later.” – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Poe: “. . . do I talk first or do you talk first? I talk first?” – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
And that’s it! HA! I’m finally done! (Also, damn it. Why is there never victory chocolate around when I could use some?)