NBR stands for the National Board of Review and it was established in 1909. Every year they pick roughly 10 movies that they deem to be the best of the year, and they name one movie of the year. It is a bucket list accomplishment for me to eventually conclude every year’s list in full.

If you are curious in the lists, there is a fabulous Wikipedia page they has everything you need. I also have a tab on my Stanko Movie List – Google Sheets.

At this point in my life, I have only completely one year in full, and that year is the fabulous year of 2015. Below are the movies (listed in alphabetical order) that NBR deemed the best of 2015.

  • Bridge Of Spies
  • Creed
  • Inside Out
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Room
  • Sicario
  • Spotlight
  • Straight Outta Compton
  • The Hateful Eight
  • The Martian

Now here is my time to rank these movies. I am going to blend entertainment value and my interpretation of the film making. As with all lists, this is subjective. Feel free to let me know what you think of these movies and my rankings.

My Rankings Of the 2015 NBR Top 10 Movies

10. Bridge Of Spies

Bridge Of Spies is in the midst of the run during this time of fairly heavy dramas. He went War Horse (2011) to Lincoln (2012), to Bridge Of Spies and then after this he had The BFG (2016) and The Post (2017).

Bridge Of Spies is a perfectly fine drama that doesn’t rise above the level of recommendable.

STANKO RATING: B (3.5/5 Stars)

9. The Martian

The Martian is good. Is The Martian great? I don’t think so.

This is a Matt Damon showcase, and he rises to the challenge. I remember not loving the ending, even thought it is a mostly happy one.

If you are a science fan, The Martian is higher than nine on your list.

STANKO RATING: A- (4.0/5 Stars)

8. The Hateful Eight

The Hateful Eight is not one of Quentin Tarantino’s best movies, but an average Tarantino is still better than most movies. I also admit that I am a huge sucker for quick dialogue and eccentric characters interacting in a room.

A random thought here, but Kurt Russell really thrives in Tarantino movies. I wish I saw him in more things and having more fun. By my count he is in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019), Death Proof (2007) and The Hateful Eight.

STANKO RATING: B (3.5/5 Stars)

7. Room

Room is the movie that put Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay on the map for me. I think this is when Billy on the Streets went around and shamed people for not knowing Tremblay and then shoved it in his pedestrians faces?

Room is a tough movie to rewatch, but it is a must watch once. You will be cheering at the end while you are trying to wipe away the tears.

STANKO RATING: A (4.5/5 Stars)

6. Straight Outta Compton

Straight Outta Compton was a craze when it came out. I was skeptical, but damn I was proven wrong. Straight Outta Compton is a very entertaining that benefits from being fairly educational. I learned things in this movie, that is for sure.

O’Shea Jackson Jr. is very good as Ice Cube. He, as a character in this movie, has the most emotional heft to lift. Jackson Jr. is up to the fight.

Straight Outta Compton is very rewatchable, and that is why it is higher on this list than some other high-rated movies

STANKO RATING: B (3.5/5 Stars)

5. Inside Out

Never have I cried more in an animated movie than I did during Inside Out. Holy hell this movie is heavy. I remember going to a 10 AM Saturday morning showing when I lived in Boston and being the only solo attender; the rest where kids and their families. I then remember walking out holding back tears, as were all the other adults in the room as well.

Inside Out has a stellar voice cast, but none are as standout as Lewis Black as anger. This is just perfect casting. Literally, perfect.

I was bawling my eyes out at the end of Inside Out when the family reunites, and then minutes later I was laughing my ass off with the soon to be boyfriend of Riley freaking out about her talking to him. Add onto this the short that was published about Riley’s dad learning about the rock habits of the new guy…just dynamite stuff.

STANKO RATING: A (4.5/5 Stars)

4. Creed

Creed does a remarkable job of creating its own aura while still paying homage to the franchise that the movie itself is based on. Michael B. Jordan is an incredibly credible boxer, as is proven by his ability and willingness to get legit knocked the fuck out when taping scenes in the ring.

Sylvester Stallone was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his part as Rocky, and we have to think that this was the last possible time the Academy could have gotten him an acting accolade. He had momentum building up to the show, but didn’t take it home. Mary Rylance won for Bridge Of Spies, for a role that I don’t remember much at all.

Creed III (2022) is scheduled to come out some time in 2022 with Jonathan Majors playing the newest threat to Creed.

STANKO RATING: A (4.5/5 Stars)

3. Sicario

The bridge scene.

There you go, that as I need to say. IYKYK.

Okay, on a serious note, Sicario is a wonderfully rewatchable movie. You can go back and analyze the way Kate (Emily Blunt) gets manipulated throughout the story. You can just stare of Benicio Del Toro as Alejandro and appreciate that despite speaking the fewest lines, he tells the audience the most.

Sicario is part of the arrival of Denis Villeneuve (see what I did there), and it is the debut of Taylor Sheridan as a screenwriter. Sicario is a preview of what Hollywood is going to look like in the future.

STANKO RATING: A- (3.5/5 Stars)

2. Spotlight

“They knew and they let it happen! “ – Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo)

Spotlight is the best journalism movie since All The Presidents Men (1976). It has the best relationship between an editor and his writers of any journalism movie I can remember.

Spotlight won two Oscars; Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture. Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams were nominated for their supporting roles, and in my mind Michael Keaton was deserving of a nod as well. The movie as a whole is one of the few heavy dramas (dealing with molestation, children abuse, etc) that remains immensely watchable.

STANKO RATING: A+ (5.0/5 Stars)

1. Mad Max Fury Road

Mad Max Fury Road is the latest and greatest action movie. It is a remarkable feat of practical effects and if you read into the relationships on the set and the production issues, then Mad Max Fury Road is a super large feather in the cap of George Miller.

Mad Max Fury Road is one of the super rare adrenaline movies that got award accreditation. The movie won six Oscars: Best Costume, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup & Hairstyling, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Production Design. It had the second most nominations at the 88th Academy Awards with 10.

Mad Max Fury Road runs over you, then reveres over you, and then drags you by the ankles. The crazy thing is that you are along for the entire ride, and the whiplash of the action is as climatic as the first time you had your mom’s favorite homemade dish.

STANKO RATING: A (4.5/5 Stars)

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