Zombies are the middle children of the otherworldly family. Vampires are the oldest brother who gets to have a room in the attic, all tripped out with a disco ball and shag carpet. Werewolves are the youngest, the babies, always getting pinched and told they're cute. With all that attention stolen away from the middle child zombie, no wonder she shuffles off grumbling, "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha."

- Kevin James Breaux

Saturday, January 30, 2016

2015 YEAR END REVIEW: “At the Movies”

2015 was a big year for me as I viewed a whopping 274 films for the first time; this number does not reflect any films that I may have a repeat viewing nor any television series.  Over the course of my own personal evaluation I’ve realized that I watched a lot of horror films (as to be expected) but I also watched a lot of documentary films.  Another surprise for me was that I watched so few animation films.  I’ll try to keep this short by hitting upon the highlights and looking at 2015 “by the numbers.” 

First off I watched twenty-seven films theatrically with five of those films in 3D.  This may surprise many people that may only go to the theater 3-5 a year much less see five films in 3D.  I actually enjoy watching films in 3D so I try to see some of the bigger films in this format (i.e. Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World, Mad Max: Fury Road, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, and Terminator: Genysis).  My theatrical highlights are as follows 1)Mad Max: Fury Road, 2)Spotlight, 3)Ex Machina, 4)Creed, 5)Crimson Peak, 6)The Gift, 7)The Visit, 8)A Walk in the Woods, 9)Insidious: Chapter 3, and 10)Unfriended.  My favorite film in 3D was Mad Max: Fury Road with Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension being a close second (although the film itself was just “okay” viewing it in 3D was worth it).

I watched fifty-seven films on Netflix all of various genres but most importantly this is how I viewed over 85% of my documentaries.  Netflix has an amazing selection of documentary films which is one of the main reasons I use the service.  I also viewed a ton of television series here as well but since I wasn’t keeping track of those I don’t have specific numbers.  I watched one hundred eighty-four films via DVD/Blu-Ray and only five films by other means (mostly You Tube or film festival).

A lot of what I watched was via DVD/BD but Netflix is my second go-to way to view films.  There are many other outlets to view films such as Vimeo, Hulu, and Amazon, to name a few, but these are not outlets I chose to use last year.  I guess I’ll have to change that for this year.

One of the reasons why I’ve been keeping track of all this is to see how much my viewing habits of films I missed from the previous years will have improved.  Part of me spent last year not only watching films released in 2015 but also catching up with films that I had missed from the previous year.  

I ended up viewing twenty-eight films released in 2015 most of which I watched theatrically.  I spent more time catching up with films released in 2014 with forty-nine.  Netflix has made it easier to catch up with films I’ve missed especially in older decades.  My favorite films to catch up with from 2014 were 1)The Babadook, 2)Cake, 3)Invaluable: The True Story of an Epic Artist, 4)Maps to the Stars, 5)Cold in July, 6)The Judge, 7)Dead Snow 2: Red Vs Dead, 8)Divergent, 9)Blood Glacier, and 10)3 Days to Kill.  I watched eighty-two films from the ‘10s and forty-five from the ‘00s but what’s more important are the films from the former decades as I tried to continuously catch up on films that I had missed or were suggested to me by friends.  

The ‘90s were a great year for me growing up but there were so few films that I needed to catch up with (only eighteen) and the same goes for the ‘80s (eleven).  In the decade of my birth the ‘70s I caught up with seventeen films that I happened to have missed.  In the decades preceding the ‘70s I viewed twenty-one films.  The major highlights of these decades are Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959), The Seventh Seal (1957), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), I Married a Witch (1942), Harvey (1950), The Long, Hot Summer (1958), Strike (1925), Breathless (1960), The Epic of Everest (1924), and Stormy Weather (1943).

With each passing year my list of films that I need to watch dwindles and with Netflix it’s become easier and easier so I’m sure that in 2016 I’ll have an even better time finding new films that I may have missed.

In terms of genre, horror is the one that exceeded all others with having watched one hundred and fourteen of which fifteen were released in 2015.  I won’t go into detail about my favorite horror films of 2015 (as that will be saved for another article) but I do want to mention some of the highlights from the years previous to 2015 – The Babdook (2014), Here Comes the Devil (2012), Don’t Look Now (1973), Thale (2012), Byzantium (2013), The Last Circus (2010), Under the Skin (2013), The Sentinel (1977), Horns (2013), Dead Snow 2: Red Vs Dead (2014), The Tall Man (2012), Rosewood Lane (2011), Maniac (2012), Blood Glacier (2014) and Black Rock (2013).  

Documentaries made up thirty-four of the films viewed but surprisingly none of them were released in 2015.  Some of these highlights included – Blackfish (2013), Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011), Invaluable: The True Story of an Epic Artist (2014), Carl Th. Dreyer: My Metier (1995), Birth of the Living Dead (2013), Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001), The Central Park Five (2012), Crips & Bloods: Made in America (2008), Living on One Dollar (2013), and The Epic of Everest (1924).  

As mentioned earlier I viewed only seven animated films none of which were released in 2015.  Of these that I viewed only two stand out which are Despicable Me (2010) and The Secret World of Arriety (2010).

As you can see I viewed a large variety of films in 2015.  If you’re wondering about the other genres, I didn’t really track them but I’ll post a complete list so you can have a clearer idea.  I tend to watch all types of films from all decades and genres and many times people suggest films to me.  I also love the classics and black and white films and many days I’ll just watch a bunch of those types of films.  I think that all films and genres have merit if you stop to take a few moments to explore them all.  I’ll certainly continue to do so and I hope that having read this article you will to.

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