Best Films of 2015

2015 was yet another fascinating year for film, which made composing this year-end list that much harder. It hurts to select ten movies; it’s even more agonizing to go about ranking them. For me, it’s a factor of two things: emotion and staying power. Any film can impact you in the moment. But the truly great ones stay with you long after you’ve left the theater. That is how I define great cinema. Here are the most memorable cinematic experiences I had in 2015.

  1. The Big Short the-big-short

Adam McKay’s first foray into drama is as irreverent and wonderfully madcap as any of his feature comedies, but with a much sharper focus. The Big Short isn’t just a scathing indictment of the system, it’s a critique on our own indifference. We got so comfortable in our collective disgust towards Wall Street that we failed to see the doomsday clock ticking right in front of us. We disarmed ourselves by obsessing over YouTube, smartphones, and the next reality TV star. With a bit of irony, McKay pokes fun at our fixation on celebrities by bringing in surprise cameos like Margot Robbie and Selena Gomez to break the fourth wall and deliver the blood-boiling truth behind the collapse. You can almost feel McKay’s serrated comedy edge cutting into your skin as you’re bellying over with laughter. Christian Bale disappears into yet another dynamic role; Ryan Gosling matches McKay’s satiric bite; and Steve Carrell gives a soulful performance. The Big Short is as entertaining as it is infuriating. You almost forget that these characters profited from the nation’s financial meltdown. Almost.  Continue reading

5 Best Books I Read in 2015

I’ve never done one of these before and I’m ashamed to say it’s because I’ve put a lot more emphasis on TV and film, much to the detriment of the storyteller in me. But every once in a while I do have a book in my hands. What I’ve compiled here is a list of books that spoke to me on a personal level while expanding my world view (great books know how to strike a delicate balance between the two). These aren’t all exclusively 2015 releases, just ones that I stumbled upon over the year, though you might recognize one or two. However you want to define it, here are the 5 best books that I read in 2015.

  1. YOU’RE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET (almost) by Felicia Day 960

Geek-extraordinaire Felicia Day chronicles her very humble beginnings as a homeschooled child to her joyous discovery of online gaming – a subculture that often doesn’t welcome women with open arms, yet she embraced gaming all the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re an expert or a novice; Felicia Day strikes a conversational tone that makes you feel as if you’re getting to know her over dinner. She takes us through the inspiration behind The Guild – the web-series that launched her unique brand of all things nerd, the crippling pressure of spear-heading said brand, and processes her feelings on Gamergate. At the end, she leaves us with a thoughtful reminder that in the vile and Nyan Cat-ridden corners of the internet, we are all weirdos. Something about that is oddly comforting.  Continue reading