ByRyan Gavalier, writer at

2015 is over half way done, and we have definitely seen some highs and lows in the movie business. There have been masterpieces, including "Love and Mercy," and there have been disasters like "Paul Blart Mall Cop 2." The thing that I have noticed the most though is that this has been a year of surprises. Below I provide a list of my current favorites of this year. This may change by December 31st, but for now, lets savor in these treasures we have now....

1. "Love and Mercy"

The Beach Boys have been one of my favorite bands for a long time, and I was beyond excited to see this movie. It was nothing like I expected it to be, but that was definitely for the better. Beautifully shot, acted with sincerity, and depicting the genius of Brian Wilson with a spot-on accuracy, this film triumphed in every way. I definitely see many Oscars coming its way.

2. "Inside Out"

Inside Out: not just for kids
Inside Out: not just for kids

This film was the biggest shocker for me so far, as it was a completely different product than I had envisioned. Advertised as a cute kid's movie, I expected it to be no more than a solid Pixar hit. After spending near two hours in the theaters, I witnessed a creation that was deeper than many of the recent adult-oriented films. Animated with a precision I have never seen before, a screenplay with razor-sharp wit, and many moments that left me touched or pondering for a long time. This was definitely the greatest animated film I have ever seen.

3. "Mad Max: Fury Road"

I am always skeptical about sequels/reboots to series I love, and this one didn't make any exception for me. As I started to hear the buzz about this film though, I felt a dire need to come see it as soon as possible. To my surprise, I was able to call this my favorite film of the entire Mad Max series. The action scenes were the most original and chaotic ones I have ever seen, the cinematography was very intricate, and George Miller's directing talent hit new heights. This was definitely one of the best reboots I have ever seen, and it gave me even more faith for the ones coming soon this year.

4. "Jurassic World"

Chris Pratt in Jurassic World
Chris Pratt in Jurassic World

The Jurassic Park series has always been bittersweet to me, because the first film was amazing, and the second and third were absolutely terrible. I went to this movie with friends reluctantly, and I was expecting a CGI mess from Jurassic World. I was definitely wrong. While there were some minor flaws throughout (occasional dialogue or plot elements), I haven't had as much fun in a theater experience as I did during this movie. People have always told me about how the crowd got pumped during "Star Wars," and I had since wanted to experience the same magic. At the opening night of this film, people were in the air cheering during the fight scenes, and I happened to be one of these participants. While the first film may technically be better, I feel that this one was much more enjoyable to watch, and it is therefore my favorite.

5. "McFarland USA"

Disney has been putting out sports films for decades, and they all follow a formula. Regardless, I have enjoyed the majority of them greatly. Going into this movie, I was expecting no more than the others, if not less. In reality, this film went above and beyond, and it turned out to be my favorite of the sports films Disney has created. It was touching, exhilarating, well acted, and directed with a special touch. This is definitely not a film to miss, and I am so glad to say I have seen it myself.

The year still has a ways to go, and there will be many more movies to come. Lets hope for some more cinema magic in this great year of 2015!

What have been your favorite films of the year?


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