Struck’s Favorite Things 2015 — Movies

Whether braving the crowds at the theater or browsing our ever-growing streaming queue, Struckers love their movies. To finish out the year we asked our friends and colleagues about the moving pictures that made them look past the $12 popcorn and held our attention long enough to keep “Netflix and Chill” firmly in “Netflix” territory and save the “Chill” for later.

Essie Nagler — Associate Producer

Mad Max: Fury Road

How amazing is this movie? SUPER AMAZING! Tom Hardy probably has a total of 5 lines in the entire movie. There is a guy in a santa suit hooked to the front of one of the war rigs playing a guitar with FIRE shooting out of it. Oh and by the way, all of the war rigs are real, no CGI, they are actual real cars that people fabricated. Can you imagine the production that went into just that alone? SUPER awesome. Spoiler Alert: Immortan Joe gets his face ripped off. WHAT? So cool! I’d also like to add that a female is kicking everyone’s ass. This was the by far the best movie of the year. Go see it.

Chris George — Art Director

Inside Out

This movie made me feel things.

That can really sum up the whole movie but to break it down a bit. Pixar did an amazing job of conveying the inner mind battle that we ALL can relate to at times via a young teenage girl who’s family moves to San Fransisco from Minnesota during her 6th grade wonder years. The topic of emotional roller coasters and psychological disorders hasn’t been too much of a popular theme in years past mostly because our Gen X parents raised us with the attitude of “if you’re sad, just go play outside or do something nice for someone else” making it so we didn’t dwell on our crazy emotions. But with more depression, anxiety, and other psychological mayhems popping up within snake person’s, it’s shown that just more sunshine can’t cure all things.

Inside Out helps reveal how that struggle of the new generations inner workings could be a bit more complicated than we think. This movie causes you to sympathize with anyone who struggles with an emotional disorder; perhaps their “Joy” is just getting pushed around a bit more than usual by the other emotions at the control panel. This movie made my top 3 because I don’t think any other “kids” movie has made me think and think some more about my own life, emotions and somehow made me feel a bit better with all the highs and lows of the past. Sometimes our core memories just have to get broken down to make more room for amazing memories that help define us as the unique individual that we are and always becoming.

Nadya Bratt — Senior Interactive Designer

Mommy

Mommy is a French-Canadian drama directed by the incredibly talented Xavier Dolan. The movie follows the lives of widowed Diane and her hyperactive, loud and often violent son Steve. It’s an intense, claustrophobic film shot in 1:1 aspect ratio to further emphasize their restricted horizons while also adding a level of unexpected privacy. The cramped images, just like their small apartment, can barely hold two people and the sparks start flying. Mommy is an outpour of teenage angst and absurd defiance that somehow still manages to evoke strong feelings of sympathy and identification with the characters.

Joanna Papaleo — Interactive Designer

What We Do In The Shadows

I went to see What We Do in the Shadows without really knowing much about it, all I did know is that it was staring Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords and that was enough for me. I’d say it was the funniest damn movie of the year, but ‘we’re werewolves not swearwolves.’ I literally laughed the entire movie, seriously my face hurt. What We Do in the Shadows takes all of my favorite things and wraps it into one movie, Vampires, Christopher Guest style humor, as previously stated Jemaine, dancing, accents, great outfits, ‘flat meetings’ and ‘basghetti’. Just watch it, you’ll want to watch it over and over again, but probably not with your religious parents.

Patrick Sullivan— Developer

Insurgent

Whiplash is one of the greatest movies I have ever seen. The acting is phenomenal and the depth of the story extracts all of the viewers’ emotions from surprise and happiness to hatred and confusion. But it turns out that came out in 2014. Insurgent is definitely not Whiplash, BUT it does feature Miles Teller…so let’s go with that.

Insurgent is a great movie in its own-right because it serves its role absolutely perfectly. It is a post-apocalyptic action-adventure film and like a 20-pack of dark chocolate, almond and caramel clusters, it’s my guilty pleasure. Also, much like the chocolate clusters, it is best consumed in series with no remorse and with full devotion to the experience. In this case, it is recommended to watch Insurgent just after the first of the trilogy (Divergent) for the full aforementioned “experience.” This riveting journey takes the viewer on a soul-searching quest where the main characters fight not only for their lives, but fight to define who they wish to be in the world. Insurgent is truly immersive and is the kind of movie that convinces even this acrophobic that jumping off skyscrapers into the unknown is not only a great idea, but pretty much required to continue living. Spoiler alert: I still haven’t jumped off anything higher than a stair since I’ve seen it.

So, if you’re looking to completely lose yourself in a series of action packed, sexy tattooed leading men-filled, and world-saving films then just ask Matt Anderson to borrow his Fast and Furious DVD set. But, if you want all of that AND a post-apocalyptic setting that makes you want to claim a deserted island and start your own society of segmented socio-economic groups that inevitably revolt against you, then go see Insurgent…and then maybe re-think that whole island idea.

Jeremy W Chase — Director Of Client Services

Star Wars Episode VII — The Force Awakens

If anything, Star Wars: The Force Awakens dispels the notion of everyone living happily ever after. That joyous, goofy Ewok victory party on Endor at the end of sixth episode Return of the Jedi? Yay! Yeah. It had to end. This movie, in part, explains there was a wicked hangover and recovery period. Life went on. That means Evil lives on. So does Good, too, but we learn it’s plenty complicated and far from ideal.

That’s interesting turf to work with. And sets up a wonderful transition story blending beloved original trilogy heroes like Han, Leia, and Luke with new hero characters named Rey, Finn, and Poe (btw: ask matt anderson’s theory on these names). On the villain side, there’s new Dark Side practitioner Kylo Ren, under the tutelage of the shadowy holograph of Supreme Leader Snoke.

They lead a new military faction called The First Order, which means plenty of Stormtroopers and TIE Fighters fighting against everything the good guys (The Resistance) can muster against them, including cool new looking X-Wing fighters.

Without getting into a long fanboy breakdown, I truly loved this movie. In the face of crazy, impossible expectations. However, JJ Abrams and franchise vet writer Lawrence Kasdan made this into something that gives geeks like me all the satisfaction of the familiar with new and unexpected twists to keep the story (and entire saga) moving forward. It reaffirms Star Wars as a lasting cultural legacy, or else that could be the marketing onslaught Disney unleashed to remind us.

In any event, for a couple hours on December 18 I became a giddy and goofy 10 year old Star Wars kid again, enjoying a tale told from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

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