The Rundown: The Best of 2015

The end of the year is always a time of reflection – on the events that stood out, the people that made waves and the most memorable moments since December turned to January and 2014 became 2015.

For me, the last 12 months have been a mixture of important moments and cool stories, plus some great pop culture offerings that all combined to make this past year pretty memorable and enjoyable.

In the final Rundown of 2015, I want to shout out the things that really stood out for me last year – as a journalist, as a citizen of the world, as a consumer of pop culture, as me.

Spotlight
This was the best movie I saw all year – and I watched a bunch of movies, as you probably know. The performances turned in by Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Liev Schreiber are outstanding and the story is captivating and true, which ups the ante. It was great to sit down in the theatre and get lost in a story, not special effects and familiar characters and I expect to see Spotlight get a lot of love when the Oscar nominations come out.

Blockbusters and Big Bank
As much as there were a bunch of great movies that came out this year, the biggest takeaway from me as the resident movie guy is how much money the blockbusters and franchises brought in this year. The seven biggest films of 2015 all did more than a quarter-billion dollars domestically. That’s billion, with a B, with Jurassic World banking $652M and Star Wars: The Force Awakens registering $600M despite only opening a couple weeks ago.

Caitlyn Jenner
You may disagree with some of her politics or you might even dislike the amount of attention and praise she received in 2015, but here’s the thing: Jenner’s transition and willingness to live her authentic life in full view is going to have an indelible impact on countless lives and that can’t be undersold.

Women in Sports
From Ronda Rousey and Serena Williams to the US Women’s National Soccer Team and Becky Hammon, there is no denying that women were front and center in sports in 2015. Honestly, it’s about damn time and hopefully it continues in the future because female athletes deserve as much coverage and recognition as their male counterparts.

Sports Illustrated Media Podcast
Everybody has their own favourite podcasts and this is mine. Not only is it entertaining from week-to-week, but it’s ridiculously informative and filled with life lessons that everyone can learn from, not just would-be journalists. Plus, Richard Deitsch gets props for not just having people from SI on the show, which is something far too many outlets do these days.

Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors
The most amazing thing about Curry’s year is that he’s come back this season – after earning MVP honours last season and leading the Golden State Warriors to the NBA Championship – and been even better. The Warriors are a preposterous 28-1 and Curry’s numbers are up across the board. It’s captivating to watch.

Canadian Music
The Weeknd. Drake. Beiber – three of the biggest artists of 2015; all Canadian. Mix in Alessia Cara, whose single “Here” was one of my favourites of the year and a new album from City and Colour, who is always on point, and you have a nice little year in Canadian music.

Kick-Ass Viewing
Between television, premium cable and streaming services, there was a lot of awesomeness to sit down and enjoy in 2015. Netflix kicked ass with a bunch of great offers, HBO delivered their usual assortment of quality offerings and The Amy Schumer Show was terrific. Then you had out-of-nowhere successes like Mr. Robot, the end of Mad Men, Broad City, Fargo, Transparent and on and on and on.

UFC 189
I hit the road a bunch in 2015 to cover UFC events and by far, this July show in Las Vegas was the high point of the year. Not only did Conor McGregor send the vocal Irish contingent inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena into hysterics with his win over Chad Mendes, but Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald engaged in the best fight I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes, and Thomas Almeida and Jeremy Stephens landed flying knee knockouts with a Gunnar Nelson submission win in between. It was bonkers.

To Pimp a Butterfly
This album, man. Just put it on and go. Kendrick Lamar is amazing.

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte is a freelance journalist based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and dog. In addition to his work here, he writes about sports for Complex Canada and covers the UFC for various outlets. His mom also still tells him what to do on a regular basis, even though he’s nearly 40. He tweets from @spencerkyte.

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