Goodbye, 2015! With the beginning of 2016r, the Buns look back on what they loved about last year. Let’s see what they have to say.
What We Do in the Shadows
You might have seen this New Zealand mockumentary in 2014 when it was haunting the film festival circuit. I missed it at Whistler and finally caught the film during its short run at my local theatre. Written and directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, the film’s three vampires attempt to get by in the modern world, dealing with chores around the flat and nightclubs that won’t invite them in. Using classic vampire lore and stereotypes, the humorous misadventures of the vampires become a touching tale of outsiders and the curse of immortality. Also, there’s werewolves. It’s basically amazing.
Fallout 4 with runner up Tales from the Borderlands
Arguably the most anticipated game of the year, Fallout 4 hit my 2015 like a hurricane. Social media exploded, I couldn’t find the boyfriend for days, my friends went missing, and it was all people were talking about at work. Sadly, we share one PS4 and I’ve fallen behind. I call my game play style “Mother of Dragons”, so I’m pretty set on saving everyone if I can. I want to be the strong, dynamic leader I wish Daenerys Targaryen would be. Put your big girl panties on and make a stand already!! I’m getting distracted. Fallout 4 is an experience you lose yourself in. Be prepared to go deep with this one. That’s why I’ve put my runner up for this category as Tales from the Borderlands from Telltale Games. If you don’t have the time or mental energy to sacrifice yourself for Fallout 4, get crazy Borderlands style with some point and click adventure comedy. Best no guns battle scene of the year.
Star Wars – The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire, Battlefront, and The Force Awakens
I’m listing Star Wars as one of my favourite things of 2015. Generally, just the whole enchilada, the new film, the merchandise I can’t stop buying, and the sweet games we’ve seen leading up to TFA. If you watched the trailer for Knights of the Fallen Empire, you know that The Old Republic is going strong. I’m subscribed and still happily force choking my way across the universe. We played the Battlefront open beta, along with nine and a half million other players, and loved it. With awesome solo and two player material, we’ll be occupied for the next two years with Battlefront content. BRB, this AT-AT isn’t going to take itself down.
Steven Universe with runner up The Muppets
I’m slightly cheating here. I was told about Steven Universe in 2015 but I started the show with the turn of the New Year. I’m working on building a time machine to go back and slap myself, forcing 2015 Roz to watch Steven Universe or let a basket of kittens drown, but so far the technology escapes me. Also, I know that all the time travelling Rozlyns will want to start a band and that never works out. Steven Universe is… I’m tearing up. It’s adorable and beautiful and charming and important and goddamn fucking wonderful. Just watch it. LION FOR LIFE.
Rat Queens From Image
Rat Queens is a fucking awesome fantasy comic about four kickass lady adventures. Writer Kurtis Wiebe described the series as “Lord of the Rings meets Bridesmaids,” and if that doesn’t make you drop that antique goblet you’re polishing and consume delicious, delicious feminist content, we probably can’t be friends. You’ll be going back to issues from 2013 to get started, but 2015 was my year for Rat Queens. Get reading!
Mad Max: Fury Road
This film is the definite proof that you can still make good, innovative, even smart action movies. It took the third place in my personal list of favourite films without a sweat, landing right after Princess Mononoke and Pan’s Labyrinth. I love everything about it. Everything. I want a fire-spitting guitar for my birthday.
I’ll never say it enough: I am sorry for ever doubting Pixar’s ability to make great films. This last installment in the repertoire of Pixar’s classics is the best since Up and maybe even their best, period. I know some people complain that the story should have been more centered around Riley, but I’ll argue that it was. I made a full article about why I think Riley and Joy go through the same emotional arc, and I would gladly discuss how the film makes sure we don’t forget that it is ultimately about Riley with anybody who will sit down with me for more than 5 minutes. It’s smart, daring, funny, and touching. It’s everything I’d want today’s kids to see.
This year has seen the revival of my love for Robin Hobb’s work. I read her Royal Assassin trilogy dozens of time when I was in high school and almost died of sheer joy when she announced that she would pick up that story again. Robin Hobb’s universe is a fascinating mix of magic, political intrigue, and societal crises, all seen through the eyes of one particular member of the Six Duchies’ royal family. Hobb is one of the few authors I know who can make a POV story work, and also one who knows the difference between writing a female character because of the sexist world she evolves in and writing a female character into the sexist world she evolves in. With that said, Fool’s Quest, the second volume of her latest series of books, delivered all that was promised to the fanbase, which is way more tears and heartbreak than any human being should ask for. Robin Hobb tortures her readers and we want more. MOAR.
One Punch Man
Late discovery of the year and loads of fun packed into 12 beautifully animated episodes. One Punch Man takes the shounen genre and flips it on its head. Forget about training and becoming the strongest: Saitama’s already done all that. He wins all his fights in one punch, which means becoming a super hero isn’t as life-changing as he’d hoped and he is as bored as humanly possible. The show walks the line between dead serious and rolling-on-the-floor hilarious with a surprising ease. It starts off a little slow for such a short series, but it is definitely a must-see for anime fans. As for me, I shall wait for an eventual season two while chasing down every available page of the manga.
I first came across the title of this movie a while ag. I didn’t really pay attention to it until, months later, Disney announced that two actual Pacific Islanders were going to voice the leads of their next big project. It’s not much. After all, the movie is still in the works and we have no idea if it will be, if not good, at least not insulting to the culture that inspired its creators, but it made me feel hopeful. After all, 2015 saw some great female characters both on the big and the small screen, and our highest grossing movie of the year is a little science-fiction flick led by a woman and a black man. 2015 made me hope for more diversity in entertainment in the years to come. Beware, 2016, for I am excited. Don’t let me down.
Yes, at times it made no sense and it was full of plot holes, and I’m still rolling my eyes every time I think of the ‘dinos in military’ idea. But! But I grew up with the Jurassic Park films and I LOVE dinosaurs. Also, Chris Pratt? Yes, thank you! Jurassic World might not be the kind of film you take seriously, but I still enjoyed it immensely, so there you go.
The Good Dinosaur
Let’s not go into what is it with me a dinosaurs. The Good Dinosaur is a story of an Apatosaurus named Arlo who, in his determination to leave a mark – do something big and good – ends up with a caveboy named Spot as the two of them face the challenge of finding their respective families. I didn’t expect much of it, assuming it would be something for a younger audience – like Minions. But The Good Dinosaur, being a Disney film, turned out being so much more than this! It was cute and heartbreaking at times, and definitely hilarious more often than not. Granted, it couldn’t beat Inside Out, but it was a solid second best animated film of 2015.
Mosquitoland, by David Arnold, is the story of Mary Iris “Mim” Malone, a teenage girl with schizophrenia who, after her parents get divorced, ends up living with her dad and (most definitely evil) stepmom in Mississippi, which she refers to as Mosquitoland. When the letter from Mim’s real mom suddenly stop coming, she decides to travel back to her hometown and find out what’s going on. I guess I don’t need to tell you how hard it is these days to find decent YA novels that don’t make your brain hurt with cheesiness and teenage stupidity. Mosquitoland is definitely a rare example of what I’d call a win. Arnold’s portrayal of a character who has to question her reality, peppered with witty dialogue make a wonderful read.
Quantico is a new American thriller that premiered on Sept 27 on ABC, starring Priyanka Chopra as Alex Parish who goes from being an excellent student at the FBI Academy to a person accused of terrorism and government conspiracies who is desperate to prove her innocence. The best thing about Quantico is, hands down, a diverse cast and intricate storylines, so entwined with one another you can barely keep your head from spinning the longer you watch the show. You get to enjoy a much needed diversity – yay! – and some really good writing. I cannot even begin to emphasize how awesome this show it.
Adele’s 25. No comment here, really. Adele’s voice is something and I DID NOT cry a million times while playing “When We Were Young” on repeat for 6 hours straight. On a serious note, she’s absolutely wonderful and her new album is everything I wanted for my playlist.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Very few movies leave the entire audience’s mouths hanging wide open in awe. Mad Max is hands down, by far, one of the best action movies I’ve seen in years. Hell, it may even be the best action movie I’ve seen EVER. Also, who knew a post-apocalyptic movie about explosions and weaponized cars could be the Hope Diamond of all feminist films out there? I seriously can’t wait for the sequel, because that shit was pants-wettingly awesome.
Beasts of No Nation
If you haven’t seen this movie yet, then you better clear out your afternoon, because this movie is going to ruin your entire day. I remember feeling like someone had dropped a boulder on my soul when I finished the movie. It’s one of the most horrifying, violent, and uncomfortable depictions of a third-world country at war that I have seen to date. The way it presented issues like rape, child abuse, torture, and warfare was so visceral and demoralizing. It is definitely a must watch, for any citizen of the world, but it’s something that I will probably never watch again.
Master of None
I don’t know what prompted me to watch this in the first place. My aversion to Aziz Ansari probably stems from the fact that I think Tom Haverford is one of the most annoying characters on television (but in an endearing, face-punchy sort of way), and my boyfriend’s obsession with annoying me with his obnoxious Tom Haverford impression didn’t help matters. However, after reading Aziz’s essay on Time on modern romances, I started to wonder if there was a different dimension to this nasally waif-ish man that I didn’t know before. After burning through the first season in a matter of hours, colour me impressed. His take on dating in the modern world, and life as children of immigrants spoke to me on so many different levels – as a person who has experienced both. So thank you, Aziz, for showing the world a view less seen.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
I fucking love this show. I recently got back into the office, and Ellie Kemper’s infectious energy was just too good to waste. I’m so thrilled that she has a show of her that she can show off her tireless optimism and brilliant happiness. Watching Kimmy Schmidt was like diving into a barrel of rainbow-coloured candy. A barrel that just so happens to contain one of the most fabulous gay guys I’ve ever seen, and also, Jon Hamm. Never forget about ponytail Jon Hamm. Never.
I’m a little hesitant on adding this movie to the list, because as much as I enjoyed it, I had my issues with it. Namely changing the ethnicities of several key characters, and the terrible casting choices for the Chinese actors (I mean, is it really that hard to find someone who speaks actual Chinese?) but asides from these minor snags, it was a fantastic film. The science was there, the emotion was there, MATT DAMON was there. I’ve always loved the comedic side of Matt, so to see him be his big goofy self on the big screen was just so awesome.