This is not a list of my favourite movies, this is a list of the happy times I’ve spent going to the movies with friends, families, and sometimes even celebrities. I’m keeping this to a top 15 for 2015 but I’m feeling awfully chuffed that the list could have been much longer.
(In chronological order)
Selma: Technically a 2014 movie, I didn’t see it until very early in 2015, at an advance screening here in Ottawa. Some of you will comment that you “no longer go to the cinema” and that’s cool if it floats your boat, but this is why I DO go to the cinema: because there is something powerful about witnessing something together. And movies are meant to be enjoyed as a group. The reason we started this site was because we often enjoy talking about movies more than we enjoy seeing them, but in this case, Selma brought down the house. 300 of us held our breath in the same spots, let out sighs of relief in the same spots, wept in the same spots, burst into applause in the same spots, and filed out red-eyed, and maybe a little changed. Damn. That’s good film.
Mr. Turner: Again, technically a ’14, Matt and I took this one in at the Bytowne in anticipation of Oscar season, and only our dedication to seeing all the nominated films could have induced us to sit through this snooze-fest. It was a chore. But we watched it at the Bytowne, our beloved “art house” cinema, the one that plays all the cool movies, where seniors go to take their afternoon naps, and the best popcorn is popped. We watched it with an additional soundtrack of old, confused people coaching each other through it, and we were delighted to catch up with Sean afterward (for some very yummy thai, if memory serves) to tell him all about it.
Paris & The Oscars: Our little group of friends gets a modicum less friendly around Oscar season. We get competitive! We’ve had a pool going in one form or another for as long as we’ve known each other, we’ve dressed up, dressed down, sipped specialty cocktails, feasted on miniature cakes, even refused to evacuate for a smoke alarm (not recommended) all in the name of taking money from each other. There’s just one little catch: the Oscars love to schedule their ceremony to conflict with our anniversary (mine & Sean’s), and usually we travel for our anniversary. This year was no different – we were in Paris for 10 days, stopped in at Amelie‘s favourite cafe, posed under the Inception bridge, saw the apartment from Last Tango In Paris, and it was all quite lovely, but it meant we were only getting home the day of the Awards. We were exhausted and scheduled to work the next morning, but did we still make an appearance at the Oscar party? You bet we did – with wines and macarons for everyone. (And I collected my money the next day when I inevitably won the pool again – undefeated, yo!)
Live Action Fairy Tales: We did all see Cinderella together, come to think of it, but this is not about Cinderella. This is about a weekend where Matt, Sean and I all got trashed in our basement prepping for Wandering Through The Shelves’ weekly challenge. We watched some real doozies and laughed our asses off. Did you know Reese Witherspoon once did a vulgar Red Riding Hood adaptation? It doesn’t have to be a good movie to be a good movie moment.
VIPs: We were among the very first through the doors when the VIP cineplex opened at Lansdowne this year, and we’ve been reclining and getting our drink on ever since. In fact, we’ve seen some of least favourite movies of the year at twice the going rate just so we could match our martinis to our movies (Matt waited 6 whole months to try the 007!).
Mad Max: Fury Road: Did it help that I had been drinking alcohol out of a boot in the hours before? Couldn’t have hurt! But not only did I love this movie, I loved that we got to see it en masse: Matt, Sean, and I were accompanied by my baby sister, who was blessing us with a rare visit from out of town, and we met up with recovering Asshole Luc and his lovely wife Mel, who we’d barely seen since they’d had a baby only a few months prior. And then we all sat through this high-octane, punch-in-the-nuts movie and left the theatre with silly, stunned looks on our faces (where we encountered MORE friends – hi Saif!). Some of us had to go for additional drinks just to decompress. Phew!
Hollywood: Matt, Sean & I travelled together a lot this year, more than usual anyway. This summer we went down to California, which you may know, is where movies come from! We followed the Walk of Fame, visited Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and toured Universal Studios where we met Transformers, pet a dinosaur from Jurassic World, got an overly familiar pat from Doc from Back To The Future, got chomped at by Jaws, were turned into Minions, became involved in a high-speed chase with Vin Diesel, and drank Duff beer right in Springfield! Vacation high!
TIFF: Once fall started to roll in though we were all about the Toronto International Film Festival where we saw tonnes of great movies sitting alongside their famous stars, but two are standouts for me: 1) Seeing Room. Because it was #1 on my list, but I failed to get tickets. But then due to the magic of litigious producers, one movie got pulled, there was an opening in the schedule, and poof: a surprise additional screening for Room! Only catch? I was about 500km away. But my amazing husband threw me in the car and we raced to Toronto and won the day! 2) Seeing Christopher Walken. The movie he was in was a little forgettable but it’s goddamned Christopher Walken, and he was just so Christopher Walkeny!
NHFF: Only a couple of weeks later, Sean and I hit up the New Hampshire Film Festival, hereby known as our favourite film festival, where I saw lots of great stuff but will take the opportunity to rave again about one of my favourite films this year: Chicken. The guys who made it were so young and bashful but their execution was excellent and it got me right in the feels!
Horror FX: For Matt’s birthday, we celebrated by getting mauled by a bear, Revenant style. Well, okay, not really. But we sure looked like we did. We met and interviewed a makeup effects artist who taught us the ins and outs of her craft, and our faces were her canvas.
Dan Aykroyd: And then the next weekend we were off to meet Dan Aykroyd and drink his delicious crystal skull vodka. He pulled up to the St. Lawrence International Film Festival opening gala in an actual Bluesmobile where he introduced an anniversary screening of Blues Brothers and then later took to the stage to play some tunes. Life goal!
Spectre: This movie bored me silly but the epic he said–she said fight that ensued right here at Assholes Watching Movies made it all worthwhile. The best part? That so many of you joined in! 2015 has been kind to us in many ways, but I really value having made so many connections through this site, and from visiting yours. We love every single comment, we slurp them right up, and we love love love when you become part of the fracas!
WFF: Ah, Whistler. A bit of a dud as a film festival, but a super beautiful place to visit. And I got to see the North American premiere of The Legend of Barney Thomson introduced by star and director Robert Carlyle, which rocked my socks. Emma Thompson is UPROARIOUS and the night was one I’ll never forget, what with the idyllic mountainside snowfall.
The Year of the Franchise: Now, you have probably heard that I LOATHE franchises for the most part, and 2015 was particularly hard on me. But Sean took absolutely no pity, and managed to drag me to every. stupid. thing. Including, but not limited to: Terminator whatever it was, Star Wars Something Something, and The New Rocky – these 3 especially notable because they were all my first entries into their respective series. And so I beg of you, 2016: SOME NEW MATERIAL PLEASE!
Happy new year friends, and here’s to lots of happy memories, cinematic and not.