2015 Preview: 68 Reasons This Year Will Rule – Rolling Stone
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2015 Preview: 68 Reasons This Year Will Rule

The smash albums, blockbuster movies and water-cooler TV shows to watch out for over the next 12 months

2015 Preview

2015 may not bring everything that Back to the Future II promised it would: flying cars, self-lacing shoes, we don't see 'em happening over the next 12 months. (Then again, don't bet against Nike.) But this year will definitely pack plenty of punch when it comes to cultural happenings. Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock's Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop's Yeezus will rise again. There will be Beach Boys, Fall Out Boys, and screaming females – the last, both inside and outside screenings of Fifty Shades of Grey. With the caveat that all dates are subject to change, here are the music, movies and TV you need to know about all year long.

Lana Del Rey, Courntey Love

Getty Images

Lana Del Rey, Endless Summer Tour (Starts May 7th)

Lana Del Rey’s Endless Summer shows would be some of the hottest of the year even if eight dates of the West Coast leg didn’t feature a sure-to-be incendiary opening set from grunge firebrand Courtney Love. The two musicians became besties after Del Rey covered Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box," and Love dropped some trivia on the brooding pop star. "You do know the song is about my vagina right?" she tweeted. "Next time you sing it, think about my vagina will you?" Expect a duet. A.B.

U2

HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 02: (L-R) Musicians The Edge, Bono, Larry Mullen Jr., and Adam Clayton of U2 perform onstage during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

U2, Innocence + Experience Tour (Starts May 14th)

U2 surprised the world by beaming their last album, Songs of Innocence, directly to iPhones, but Bono says that the band has a few tricks reserved for its upcoming tour. "We are going to try to have a completely different feeling from night one to night two and have some fun playing with the idea of innocence and experience," he says. The seating chart shows that they will be performing from an unusual stage configuration – a rectangle placed hot dog-style in the middle of the floor – and the tour’s name suggests that they will be playing at least a few songs from their upcoming album Songs of Experience. N.M.

Mad Max Fury Road

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ (May 15th)

In a year of sequels to long-dormant franchises, this is the one that we are really excited about. Director George Miller, who made the original Mad Max films, is one of the architects of the modern post-apocalyptic blockbuster. Now, finally, he returns with the series that made his name, and instead of Mel Gibson, we get sensitive brute extraordinaire Tom Hardy as the titular road warrior; a bald, badass Charlize Theron is also now along for the ride. And that nutso trailer suggests this is going to take that old-school demolition-derby vibe and run wild with it. BE

Pitch Perfect

‘Pitch Perfect 2’ (May 15th)

Given the way the 2012 sleeper hit Pitch Perfect cruised to success on its zesty humor and its cast's dorky adorableness, a follow-up was inevitable. This musical sequel to the Step Up of a cappella films sends Anna Kendrick and the rest of the Barden Bellas to compete in an international singing tournament, while the ladies also cope with the looming inevitability of graduation and adulthood. The franchise adds Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) and Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy) into the mix, which also marks the feature directorial debut of producer and co-star Elizabeth Banks. T.G.

David Letterman

The Last ‘Late Show With David Letterman’ (CBS, May 20th)

We knew it had to happen one day — nothing last forever, people — but when news broke last year that David Letterman was retiring, you could hear the collective "Nooo!" echo across the nation. The man who bestowed the gifts of irony and smart-assitude upon a generation of comedians and after-hours couch potatoes will pull the plug on an entire era of late-night TV when he signs off. We're just hoping for some sentimental farewells and one more round of Stupid Pet Tricks before he walks into the sunset. D.F.

Taylor Swift

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Singer Taylor Swift performs during the 2014 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Earl's Court Exhibition Centre on December 2, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret)

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Taylor Swift, 1989 Tour (Starts May 20th)

The biggest pop star of the moment has been shaking it off for months, performing songs like "Welcome to New York" and "Blank Space" at award shows, as part of the Jingle Ball extravaganza and in the middle of Times Square. This May, she pulls together the 1989 deep cuts and hits the road, opening her new tour in Louisiana before heading to Europe and back, with the whole thing set to wrap on Halloween. But since her new hometown doesn't currently appear on the schedule, there may well be more dates yet to be announced. N.M.

James Davis

Joslyn Nyce

James Davis, ‘James Davis’ (Spring)

James Davis, it turns out, is not one artist but a group of L.A. siblings – fraternal twins Jessika and Rey and brother Auston – who make laid back, progressive soul music. "We'll just be hanging around and one of us will start humming or playing something at home, at rehearsal or at dinner," says Rey. "One song may be only two chords, we may not have a bridge or we may have five verses and no resolve." Expect the unexpected when their self-titled debut arrives at some point this spring. N.M.

Mad Men

Jon Hamm as Don Draper - Mad Men _ Season 7, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Justina Mintz/AMC

‘Mad Men’ Final Season (AMC, Spring)

You thought Don Draper's double life was a big secret? Try getting any information about upcoming Mad Men episodes out of creator Matthew Weiner sometime. Hints or no hints, the second half of Mad Men's final season (the first half, culminating in the song-and-dance death of Bert Cooper, aired last spring) is the most eagerly anticipated television finale since the end of Breaking Bad — and seems likely set to settle the AMC show's place in the pantheon once and for all. S.T.C.

Giorgio Moroder

UNSPECIFIED - JUNE 01: Photo of Georgio Moroder. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Giorgio Moroder, ’74 Is the New 24′ (Spring)

Paterfamilias for disco, techno and EDM, influencing everyone from Dr. Luke to Daft Punk, producer Giorgio Moroder will return this spring with his first album in 25 years. Of late, Moroder has been feeling his oats, remixing Coldplay and Haim while trading production tips with the likes of Avicii and David Guetta. Expect 74 Is the New 24 to feature ladies like Britney Spears, Sia, Charli XCX and Kylie Minogue. "His music has this amazing electronic sheen," MNDR's Amanda Warner said of working with Moroder. "But fundamentally, he's trying to get a human performance out of you." A.B.

Brian Wilson

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 13: Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys performs with the KLOS All Star Band at the 95.5 KLOS Christmas Show held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on December 13, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)

Tommaso Boddi/Getty

Brian Wilson, ‘No Pier Pressure’ (Spring)

A mellow autumnal aura pervades No Pier Pressure, the Beach Boys genius' first solo album of original material since 2008. Wilson channeled his disappointment at bandmate Mike Love's decision to cancel a 2012 reunion tour into tracks like "Last Song," which co-producer Joe Thomas says concerns "a missed opportunity for Brian and the guys to ride into the sunset together." Kacey Musgraves, Zooey Deschanel, and Fun.'s Nate Ruess all appear on the spring release. R.G.

Entourage

‘Entourage’ (June 5th)

OK, hear us out here. When it first premiered, this HBO comedy about a young movie star and his bro-tastic crew of besties was both a delightfully raunchy showbiz fantasy and a hilarious send-up of Hollywood venality. Over the years, it became a little too smug for its own good, but here's hoping that this new movie reconnects with what made this series so special once upon a time. Welcome back, Johnny Drama. B.E.   

Jurassic World

‘Jurassic World’ (June 12th)

The special-effects wizardry that made Jurassic Park's dinosaurs unprecedentedly realistic paved the way for the big beasts of everything from Pacific Rim to Peter Jackson's Hobbit movies. But in the 14 years since Jurassic Park III, hopes for another sequel almost went extinct themselves. Can dinosaurs rule the earth once more? Casting newly minted action superstar Chris Pratt in the lead role—and debuting the "mosasaurus," a monstrous sea creature that eats sharks like a toddler eats Goldfish crackers — give this monster movie all the genetic markers of a blockbuster hit. S.T.C.

Inside Out

‘Inside Out’ (June 19th)

Given that 2014 came and went without a Pixar film — and since it's been three years since their last non-sequel outing — just about anything new from the studio is cause for celebration. And this latest project sounds incredibly promising: a tour of the anthropomorphized emotions inside the brain of a sullen young girl, courtesy of a great voice cast (including Amy Poehler, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, and Bill Hader), Up director Pete Docter, and Toy Story 3 writer Michael Arndt. Inside every animation fan, cute little creatures named "Hope" and "Anticipation" are currently leaping giddily about. N.M.  

Brooks and Dunn

KMazur/Getty Images

Brooks & Dunn, Together in Vegas Residency (Starts June 24th)

So much for the long goodbye. Eight years after releasing their last album, Cowboy Town, Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn are coming to Vegas, playing a series of reunion shows with Reba McEntire as opening act. "We love hanging out and playing music," Brooks recently told Rolling Stone Country. "We thought, 'Let's do it somewhere besides the campfire.'" As it stands, they are scheduled for three dates at the end of June, three more at the beginning of July and six in the first two weeks of December, all at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. N.M.

Terminator Genesys

‘Terminator Genesys’ (July 1st)

Ridiculous spelling aside, Terminator Genisys the latest entry in the man-vs.-machine franchise looks the most significant addition to the long-running franchise since 1991's Terminator 2. The new picture (directed by Thor: The Dark World's Alan Taylor) reportedly serves as a simultaneous sequel and prequel — set in the future and the past — while setting up two more films that are already scheduled to come out in 2017 and 2018. Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as everyone's favorite killer cyborg, but the key players are Game of ThronesEmilia Clarke (as Sarah Connor) and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' Jason Clarke (as John Connor), who will be the series' main human heroes for the next few years. N.M.

Magic Mike

RELEASE DATE: June 29, 2012 TITLE: Magic Mike STUDIO: Nick Wechsler Productions PLOT: A male stripper teaches a younger performer how to party, pick up women, and make easy money. PICTURED: ALEX PETTYFER as The Kid, MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY as Dallas and CHANNING TATUM as Mike Martingano.(Credit: © Nick Wechsler Productions/Entertainment Pictures/ZUMAPRESS.com)

Nick Wechsler Productions

‘Magic Mike XXL’ (July 3rd)

An apparently happily retired Steven Soderbergh declined to return to direct the sequel to his surprise 2012 hit, though he is serving as the cinematographer and editor for his longtime assistant Gregory Jacobs. Magic Mike screenwriter Reid Carolin is back too, co-writing with star Channing Tatum, who leads his pals Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello through a story that sees the strippers road-tripping to a convention. It's just like that time the Bad News Bears went to Japan, only with way more man-thongs. N.M.

Ant-Man

Marvel

‘Ant-Man’ (July 17th)

The latest adaptation from the Marvel factory doesn't star an action icon but, rather, a veteran comic: The immensely charming and likable Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang, a con-man who takes over the mantle of Ant-Man from Michael Douglas's Dr. Hank Pym. Marvel has made a mint championing the little guy, from Steve Rogers to Peter Parker — but in the case of Ant-Man, we're talking about a hero who can literally shrink himself down while retaining superhuman strength. T.G.

Trainwreck

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 30: Daniel Radcliffe and Marisa Tomei film Judd Appatow's "Trainwreck" on June 30, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Sands/GC Images)

Steve Sands

‘Trainwreck’ (July 24th)

Amy Schumer and director Judd Apatow could stage a reading of old copyright-law trial transcripts and make them hilarious, so what they could do with a story about a commitment-aphobe (played by Schumer, who wrote the script) trying to get her life together. As if that was not enticing enough, the supporting cast includes Bill Hader, Daniel Radcliffe and Tilda Swinton. Schumer has already established herself as a killer stand-up and brilliant sketch comedian; this could be where she proves she's an equally talented actress to boot. D.F.

Fantastic Four

FANTASTIC FOUR, Jessica Alba, Ioan Gruffudd, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, 2005, TM & Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.

20th Century Fox

‘Fantastic Four’ (August 7th)

Face front, true believers! The superheroes that put Marvel Comics on the map way back in 1961 are getting rebooted for their return to the big screen following their two woeful Jessica Alba/Michael Chiklis–starring efforts in the mid-2000s. With the X-Men franchise rooted in the same continuity it's had ever since it launched in 2000, this is Fox's first real response to Marvel Studios' successes with Iron Man, The Avengers, et al. A terrific cast that includes Fruitvale Station's Michael B. Williams as the Human Torch and House of Cards' Kate Mara as the Invisible Woman is a good place to start. Flame on, game on! S.T.C.  

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