Best Movies: Ant-Man, Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (duh)
Best TV Shows: Jessica Jones, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Mr. Selfridge, Transparent, Orange is the New Black
Best Books (fiction): Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens Smuggler’s Run: A Han Solo Adventure by Greg Rucka
Best Video Game: Fallout 4, Arkham Knight
Best Songs: “Infinite Lives” by Mega Ran (RNDM)
Best Albums: RNDM – Mega Ran
Best Music Video: Taylor Swift: Bad Blood
Best Comic Books / Graphic Novels: Jupiter’s Circle/Jupiter’s Legacy, Invisible Republic, The Fade Out, Bitch Planet, Midnighter
Best Blu-ray/DVD Release: Ant-Man, Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Wars Digital Collection on iTunes & Disney Movies Anywhere
Most overrated thing about 2015? Mad Max: Fury Road
Most underrated thing about 2015? Amazon Prime video selection
Thing that you were most excited about in 2015? Star Wars, Ant-Man, Stan Lee coming to Boston
Thing that disappointed you most in 2015? Random shootings and violence
Thing that you’re most looking forward to in 2016? Star Wars: Rogue One, Batman V. Superman
Journalist and Cultural Critic
@whitneymatheson | whitneymatheson.com | instagram.com/thewhitneymatheson
Best Movies: Dope, Tangerine, The End of the Tour, The Overnight, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Ex Machina
Best TV Shows: The Leftovers, You’re the Worst, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Broad City, Wet Hot American Summer, Sense8, Mr. Robot, The Jinx, Bojack Horseman, UnREAL, Transparent, Manhattan, South Park … SO many!
Best Books (non-fiction): Patti Smith’s M Train, Elvis Costello’s Unfaithful Music, Grace Jones’ I’ll Never Write My Memoirs
Best Songs: Missy Elliott’s “WTF,” Howard Kremer’s “Summah Says,” Ryan Adams’ cover of “Bad Blood”
Best Albums: Courtney Barnett’s Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit ; Wilco’s Star Wars
Best Comic Books / Graphic Novels: The Fade Out, written by Ed Brubaker with art by Sean Phillips; Bitch Planet, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick with art by Valentine De Landro; The Sculptor by Scott McCloud; Fante Bukowski by Noah Van Sciver; Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine
Best Blu-ray/DVD Release: The Decline of Western Civilization series on Blu-ray (finally!)
Most overrated thing about 2015? 90% of superhero movies and TV shows
Most underrated thing about 2015? The stellar third season of Josh Thomas’ Please Like Me
Thing that you were most excited about in 2015? Bret Easton Ellis’ podcast
Thing that disappointed you most in 2015? Mainstream movie releases
Thing that you’re most looking forward to in 2016? Forget 2016, I’m counting down until Twin Peaks returns in 2017!
Thing that you were most excited about in 2015? Bill Finger receiving official credit on Batman after 76 years.
Best Movies: Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Brooklyn, Room, The Big Short
Best TV Shows: Continuum, Justified, Homeland, Vikings, Ballers, Mr. Robot
Best Video Game: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Fallout 4, Rise of the Tomb Raider
Best Blu-ray/DVD Release: Tie between Them! and The Wire: Complete Series.
Most overrated thing about 2015? Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Most underrated thing about 2015? Oreo Thins
Thing that you were most excited about in 2015? Fallout 4
Thing that disappointed you most in 2015? Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Thing that you’re most looking forward to in 2016? Star Wars: Rogue One
FOG! Columnist | Professor | Tabletop Gamer | aka “Wyatt Donnelly”
Best Movies: Mad Max Fury Road, Star Wars The Force Awakens, Jupiter Ascending (just kidding) Ex Machina
Best TV Shows: Orphan Black, Orphan Black again, Jessica Jones, Into the Badlands, Homeland, and Orphan Black again.
Best Songs/Albums: I live in a musical Pandora dimension completely outside of time, but 2015 brought me Elvis Perkins, The Tallest Man on Earth, and more Mountain Goats and Decemberists. Thank Grabthar for the Mountain Goats and the Decemberists.
Best Books (fiction): I mostly only like books more than 500 years old, but John Darnielle’s Wolf in White Van.
Best Video Game: No. The Best Tabletop Miniatures Games are Star Wars Armada and Frostgrave.
Best Comic Books: Saga, Ms. Marvel, Rat Queens, Bitch Planet, Karnak, The Wicked and the Divine
Most overrated thing about 2015? 2-Wheeled Scooters. Please just stop.
Most underrated thing about 2015? John Darnielle
Thing that you were most excited about in 2015? Star Wars, obviously!
Thing that disappointed you most in 2015? All comic book movies and shows except Jessica Jones. Yes, even Daredevil.
Thing that you’re most looking forward to in 2016? Comic Books – seriously, they are getting so so so good.
Charles J. Baserap
Former (and Future) FOG! Columnist
Best Movies: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens; Avengers: Age of Ultron; Ant-Man
Best TV Shows: Flash; Arrow; Enter the Badlands; Gotham; Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; Supergirl
Best Comic Books / Graphic Novels: Injection (Ellis/Shalvey); Batman (Snyder/Capullo); Secret Wars (Hickman/Ribic); Paper Girls (Vaughan/Chang); Justice League (Johns/Fabok); Bad Science (Remender/Scalera)
Most overrated thing about 2015? Pretty much every social media hashtag outrage of the week.
Most underrated thing about 2015? That, even at 36, I’m still a stone cold fox…
Thing that you were most excited about in 2015? The commencement and completion of my new book, a YA supernatural thriller called The Haunted.
Thing that disappointed you most in 2015? That, even in an age where information can easily be Googled in a hot second, people still need to post false memes and ignore facts during their hashtag slacktivist internet outrage du jour while also forgetting the Court of Public Opinion is not actually a real legal body.
Thing that you’re most looking forward to in 2016? Hopefully getting an agent to pick up my book and putting an overall crappy 2015 behind me.
Best Movies: Straight Outta Compton, Mad Max: Fury Road, Macbeth, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Martian, Crimson Peak
Best TV Shows: Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Agent Carter, House Of Cards, The Flash, Rick And Morty
Best Books (fiction): Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee, Memory Theater by Simon Critchley (Probably ought to read more new fiction in 2016!)
Best Books (non-fiction): You’re Never Weird On The Internet…Almost by Felicia Day (I adore Ms. Day and this biography just confirms that if we met, we’d be instant BFFs!), Modern Romance: An Investigation by Aziz Ansari
Best Video Game: Fallout 4, Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited (Bethesda were my faves in 2015!)
Best Songs: “WTF (Where They From)” by Missy Elliott, “Complexity” by Eagles Of Death Metal, “Deep Six” by Marilyn Manson, “Killpop” by Slipknot, “Murder Runs The Globe” by Akala, “Downtown” by Macklemore, “Sorry” by Justin Bieber
Best Albums: The Day Is My Enemy by The Prodigy, The Pale Emperor by Marilyn Manson, Knowledge Is Power II by Akala, The Magic Whip by Blur
Best Music Video: Blackstar by David Bowie, Bitch Better Have My Money by Rihanna, Complexity by Eagles Of Death Metal
Best Comic Books / Graphic Novels: Still on my singles pull list from last year and all of which I’m still thoroughly enjoying; Deadpool, Harley Quinn and Captain Marvel
Best Blu-ray/DVD Release: Whiplash, Birdman, Big Hero 6, Mad Max: Fury Road
Most overrated thing about 2015? Hotline Bling by Drake…also Drake, the phrase ‘on fleek’ and surprisingly for me, I wasn’t that impressed with The Avengers: The Age Of Ultron
Most underrated thing about 2015? All the amazing space discoveries including the Pluto fly-by images and the exciting NASA announcements about the manned mission to Mars! I mean, how cool?!
Thing that you were most excited about in 2015? I was mostly geeking out over Fallout 4 and the Jessica Jones Netflix series. I’ve been psyched about both for a long time! And both we’re released around my 30th birthday, which was pretty bitchin’. Oh, I should probably mention my honeymoon cruise around the Mediterranean, I was very excited about that…naturally.
Thing that disappointed you most in 2015? The way the world reacted to (or rather didn’t react to) the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe. The lack of empathy I witnessed, really upset me and made me feel ashamed to be human.
Thing that you’re most looking forward to in 2016? Deadpool, Deadpool, DEADPOOL! I can not wait for the Deadpool movie! But also, The Revenant (it’s not out in the UK yet… *sob*) and the upcoming second series of both Daredevil and Jessica Jones.
My cultural consumption in 2015 was dominated so heavily by the Original Broadway Cast recording to Hamilton that it’s the only thing I’m submitting. Lin-Manuel Miranda managed to combine hip-hop, show tunes, and damn near every other musical influence possible into something that sounds distinctly modern and distinctly American. It’s all I’ve been listening to, and I wish it were possible to get tickets to see the damn show.
Lily and Generoso Fierro
Best Movies: Alonso Ruiz Palacios’ Güeros, Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan, Hong Sang-soo’s The Day He Arrives, George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, Hou Hsiou Hsien’s The Assassin, Eskil Vogt’s Blind
Best TV Shows: Rick and Morty, Aqua Teen Hunger Force Forever, Regular Show, Mr. Robot, Man Seeking Woman, Mike Tyson Mysteries
Best Books (fiction): Douglas Graham Purdy & Thomas O’Malley’s Serpents in the Cold, Mary Gaitskill’s The Mayre, T.C. Boyle’s The Harder They Come
Best Comic Books/Graphic Novels: Trash Market by Tadao Tsuge, Bad Karma Vol. 1 by Alex Grecian, Jeremy Haun, B. Clay Moore, and Seth Peck, David Michelinie’s Bozz Chronicles, Jason Aaron’s Southern Bastards Vol. 2, Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá’s Two Brothers, Ryan North’s The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
Most Overrated Thing About 2015? In film: The outrageous acclaim for Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz’s Goodnight Mommy; in comics, the continued praise for Saga.
Most Underrated Thing About 2015? Alonso Ruiz Palacios’ Güeros, the best film of 2015 which shamefully did not make it onto many critics’ “best of” lists for 2015
The Most Excited About In 2015? AFI Fest 2015 – one week of some of the best films in the world for free in Los Angeles
The Thing That Disappointed You The Most in 2015? Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth, Black Jesus Season 2, Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor
Thing That You’re Most Looking Forward to in 2016? Ben Wheatley’s High Rise and Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Cemetery of Splendour, Keith Jones’ comic, Secretimes and the English edition of Manuele Fior’s 5,000 Kilometers Per Second
Best Movies (in alphabetical order):
Inside Out – In depicting the inner workings of the mind, the wizards at Pixar have created yet another timeless classic, one so bold in its heady ideas and execution that it towers over just about any other modern-day work of animation. The digital artistry is astonishing and shows off a wondrous, dreamlike production design. Further, the wit and pathos appeal to kids and adults alike—there are ample tickles of laughter as well as tearful tugs on the heartstrings, but the beauty of the screenplay is in how often these moments occur simultaneously. I’m not sure my kids are old enough to quite understand it all, but I know they loved every moment of it. I also felt by the end of the film that we’d all somehow gained a few I.Q. points together.
Mad Max: Fury Road – Thirty years after Beyond Thunderdome, seventy-year-old filmmaker George Miller handily shows today’s hotshot action directors how it’s done old-school style: with emphasis on practical visual effects, functional vehicles, and real stunts performed by the bravest daredevils in the history of ever. Cynics argue there’s very little new here, and this is all just a retread of the surface pleasures of the three previous movies, but beyond the amped-up elements of chase and crazy vehicular carnage lurk ideas and themes no previous Mad Max film has explored. Nearly a dozen strong female characters lend the story surprising emotional heft, and add a universe of complexity to the fluidly choreographed demolition derby. Tom Hardy makes a terrific Max of few words, but the film belongs to Charlize Theron’s fierce warrior Furiosa.
The Martian – Ridley Scott’s sci-fi castaway thriller harkens back to the soaring spirit of the best star-voyager classics, from Robinson Crusoe on Mars and The Right Stuff to Apollo 13 and Gravity. Matt Damon delivers a charismatic star turn as a NASA botanist stranded alone on Mars after his crew inadvertently leaves without him. Watching him “science the shit” out of his predicament makes for a breezily entertaining rescue, tautly directed by Scott with typical mastery and technical finesse.
Spectre – A solid return to form for James Bond, and a frothy antidote for fans who gripe the Craig-era movies are too dour and don’t feel like “classic” 007 capers. Director Sam Mendes and crew raise the bar considerably—the film is stupendously larger-than-life in scale, handsomely produced, and revives a long-dormant sense of playful humor and camp that makes for the most fun Bond flick since the heights of the Roger Moore era. For Crissakes, there’s a towering henchman, a tricked-out Aston Martin, and the main bad guy is a freakish voyeur with a fluffy white pussycat fetish, an army of stylishly uniformed minions, and an evil lair tucked away inside a hollow crater. Deja-vu perhaps, but they call it comfort food for a good reason.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Readily better than the misbegotten prequel trilogy, and even one-ups Return of the Jedi for lack of its terminal cuteness. Alas, “Episode 7” is not perfect by any stretch—the flimsy script recycles familiar elements from the original trilogy, and tiptoes around some gaping plot holes—but for the first time since 1983, a new Star Wars movie looks and smells and feels like the good old days, and it’s indeed a glorious thing. Bolstered by a host of likable and despicable new heroes and villains, the film is further elevated by a strong reliance on old-school filmmaking techniques—it was shot on celluloid, and favors practical special effects with full-scale models and occasional old-fashioned muppetry. It all stands as a hearty rebuke to the prequel trilogy with its busy-bee CGI vistas, incessant wind-bagging, and generally dispassionate atmosphere. Flawless ILM visuals and a rousing new symphony from maestro John Williams are the icing on the cake. Finally, I feel like I’m eight years old again!
Thing that disappointed you most in 2015? Avengers: Age of Ultron
Thing that you’re most looking forward to in 2016? Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Because I’m not an automatic hater and believe Ben Affleck has already atoned for past romantic and cinematic sins. Plus, it’s gotta be more stirring than Man of Steel…right?; Captain America: Civil War – Or, rather, maybe we can just call it what it is: “Avengers 3.”; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – A cinematic return to J. K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, based on a screenplay penned by the author herself? With or without a certain bespectacled Boy who Lived, I’m in with a wide-eared grin.; Ghostbusters – Because I’m not an automatic hater and Paul Feig has delivered three gut-bustingly funny comedies so far. Considering the talent involved, including the many stars and makers of the 1984 original, there’s every reason to believe this reboot will work like gangbusters.; Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – More Star Wars this time next year? Then “Episode VIII” six months after that? My geek mind will surely explode with joy.