167 Different Languages Spoken Here

I saw the same 30 new films in 2015 as I do every year--31, to be precise--but, if you were to add in the older films I saw in theatres, I’m pretty sure my movie-going is on the decline. Three reasons I can think of, in no particular order: 1) I caught up with the rest of the world and watched a lot more television (meaning some of those big-deal shows that people talk about and that the internet obsesses over). It started with Mad Men over the 2014-15 holiday break (again, I’m catching up), followed by Friday Night Lights, House of Cards, Mr. Robot, True Detective, and The Leftovers. The first two I loved (and wrote about), the other four captured my interest enough, and often much more than enough, to keep me home. 2) The person I used to go to a lot of movies with, that kind of ended the summer before last. It definitely ended; the “kind of” is because I was never quite sure what “it” was. But we did see a lot of movies, and now I see fewer. 3) Ever-dwindling energy level. Of the films I went out to see on my own, I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a single time where I didn’t have to force myself either a little or a lot. With even the first-run films I most want to see, I tend to delay and delay--is it going to be playing next week? if I miss it there, will it show up somewhere else?--and end up either catching the last possible screening or, as with The Stanford Prison Experiment, miss it altogether and rent it out at Queen Video months later. As I mentioned on Facebook, the only thing that really got to me at the movies this year was a Charlie Rose interview with William Buckley that turned up in Best of Enemies (a really good film that was made great for me by what amounted to an epilogue about Buckley and Vidal after people stopped caring about what they had to say). “Because I’m tired of life...” It’s like that Jackson C. Frank song: the thought of ending up in that place is terrifying (and occasionally wondering if you're already there even more so). I might be forgetting something (I only remembered True Story today), but here’s a Top 10 for the year, followed by everything else. Fifteen of the 31 films were narrative, 16 documentaries, an almost even split. As Cybill Shepherd once said by way of Kris Kristof- ferson, partly truth and partly fiction--a walking contradiction. 1. Best of Enemies 2. In Jackson Heights 3. Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict 4. Diary of a Teenage Girl 5. Mistress America 6. The Martian 7. Eden 8. Hitchcock/Truffaut 9. Straight Outta Compton 10.(tie) She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution Rest of the Documentaries: Deep Web, The Wolfpack, Dior & I, Listen to Me Marlon, Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, Tab Hunter Confidential, Very Semi-Serious, Requiem for the American Dream, All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records, A Lego Brickumentary. (Didn’t care for The Wolfpack or the Lego film, the rest I more or less liked.) Rest of the Not-Documentaries: Spotlight, Tangerine, Room, True Story, While We’re Young, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Love & Mercy, The End of the Tour, Blackhat, Maps to the Stars. (The two I flat-out didn’t like were Blackhat and--one of the most acclaimed films of the year--Tangerine. A couple of others were iffy but had something I liked--a song, a performance--the rest were pretty good. I do think Spotlight is overrated.)

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