Seattle Times movie critics Moira Macdonald and Soren Andersen wrap up the film year with 2015 Dubious Achievements in Cinema.
Almost time to close the door on the movie year — but, before we bid 2015 goodbye, here’s one last tradition, courtesy of our predecessor John Hartl: the year’s Dubious Achievements in Cinema.
Best performance in a lost cause: Dakota Johnson in “Fifty Shades of Grey,” Gugu Mbatha-Raw in “Concussion,” Simon Pegg in “Kill Me Three Times,” Alan Rickman in “A Little Chaos,” Cate Blanchett in “Truth.”
Best chemistry: Saoirse Ronan and Emory Cohen, “Brooklyn”; Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett, “Carol”; John Cusack and Elizabeth Banks, “Love & Mercy”; Patricia Clarkson and Ben Kingsley, “Learning to Drive”; Amy Schumer and Bill Hader, “Trainwreck.”
Worst chemistry: Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, “Fifty Shades of Grey”; Emma Stone and Bradley Cooper, “Aloha”; Will Smith and Margot Robbie, “Focus.”
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Funniest chemistry: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, “Sisters”; Melissa McCarthy and Jude Law, “Spy.”
Scariest chemistry: Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, “Macbeth.”
Best chemistry to no avail: Rest assured that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie-Pitt create plenty of spark in “By the Sea,” thus making it undoubtedly the hottest two-people-stare-at-each-other-for-two-hours movie you’ll ever see.
No. 1 with a bullet: “American Sniper.”
Baby, it’s warm inside … this dead horse. Frontier survival strategies for the very cold mountain man, courtesy of Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant.”
Best breakthrough: Jason Segel, “The End of the Tour”; Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”; Bel Powley, “The Diary of a Teenage Girl”; Kristen Stewart (no, really), “Clouds of Sils Maria.”
Best popcorn movies: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Spy,” “Jurassic World,” “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.”
Best directorial debut: Alex Garland’s “Ex Machina.”
Speed limits? We don’t heed no stinking speed limits: The operating principle behind the car chases in “Spectre” (through downtown Rome, no less) and “Furious 7.”
Best sequel: “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
Worst sequel: “Terminator Genisys.”
Most adorable gibberish: It’s a tie between the Twinkie-shaped minions of “Minions” and the beach-ball-shaped droid BB-8 in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Best vampires: Could somebody please remake “Twilight” with the roommate crew from “What We Do in the Shadows”? And please be sure to keep the immortal line, “Just leave me alone to do my dark bidding on the Internet.”
Worst father of the year: Steve Jobs in “Steve Jobs.”
Worst person of the year: Steve Jobs in “Steve Jobs” and Macbeth, that most murderous, disloyal thane, in “Macbeth.” And both played by Michael Fassbender, who’s just the best at playing the worst.
These boots were made for flying: Channing Tatum’s rocket-propelled footwear in “Jupiter Ascending.”
Manly men doing manly, manly things: Things like fighting a bear in “The Revenant” and surfing humongous waves and snowboarding down sheer mountainsides in “Point Break.”
Best hero: Shaun the Sheep, from “Shaun the Sheep Movie,” natch.
Best villains: Cate Blanchett’s snarly Stepmother in “Cinderella,” Samuel L. Jackson as the evil mastermind in “Kingsman: The Secret Service.”
Most disappointing villain: Christoph Waltz, in “Spectre,” was pretty dull for a Bond baddie.
Best final shot: It’s got to be “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” right? That scene in which … oh, like we’re going to tell you.
The song that says it all about what’s going on in this picture: “I’m My Own Grandpa,” in the twisty time-travel sci-fi movie “Predestination.”
Ethan Hawke is having quite the year: He stars in two of the best little-seen indie movies of the year — “Predestination,” playing a time traveler, and “Good Kill,” playing a morally conflicted drone pilot — and directs the fine documentary “Seymour: An Introduction.”
Best evidence that the romantic comedy isn’t dead: Um, other than “Trainwreck” (which wasn’t half bad) … where were all the rom-coms this year?
Best evidence that the romantic comedy is, in fact, dead: See above.
Best performance by an article of clothing: A lovely silk scarf that has to carry the brunt of an emotional scene in “The Danish Girl,” and does so quite nicely.
Best performance by an umbrella: Colin Firth’s versatile secret-agent-adapted brolly in “Kingsman: The Secret Service.”
Best kid performance: Jacob Tremblay, “Room”; twins Aundrea and Gia Gadsby, “People Places Things”; Imogene Wolodarsky and Audrey Aufderheide, “Infinitely Polar Bear.”
Coolest fortress redoubt for a sinister genius: The architecturally austere yet stylish home for Oscar Isaac’s character in “Ex Machina.”
Best use of family ties: O’Shea Jackson playing his real-life father Ice Cube in “Straight Outta Compton”; real-life mother-daughter duo Meryl Streep and Mamie Gummer as mother and daughter in “Ricki and the Flash.”
Most likely to save the world: When The Big One strikes, as it did in “San Andreas,” better hope you’re standing somewhere near Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Slyest scene-stealing: LeBron James in “Trainwreck,” Helen Mirren in “Trumbo,” Hana Mae Lee in “Pitch Perfect 2,” Sam Elliott in “Grandma.”
Best singing: Meryl Streep in “Ricki and the Flash,” Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan in “The Last Five Years,” Bill Murray’s rendition of “The Wheels on the Bus” in “Aloha” (which is, we’re sorry to say, the highlight of that movie).
Best dancing: The very snake-hipped Channing Tatum in “Magic Mike XXL.”
Best transformation: Did anyone recognize Johnny Depp in “Black Mass”? Or Tilda Swinton in “Trainwreck”?
Best reason to look forward to 2016: “Hail, Caesar!” New from the Coen Brothers. With George Clooney! So good in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” About old-time Hollywood. Like “Barton Fink.” Coming in February. We’re so there.