The Best Movies of 2016
- by Steve Garcia, 2 January 2017
I just can’t let this year go! 2016 was quite memorable for cinema (for better or worse), so here’s my personal picks for the best of the best.
DISCLAIMER: I’m not a rich man, nor did I have all the time in the world, so unfortunately, I missed out on critically acclaimed hits like Arrival, Moonlight, and Hacksaw Ridge, just to name a few. But a few honorable mentions I did check out and would like to bring up before I begin include Deadpool, Captain America: Civil War, The Jungle Book, and Popstar: Never Stop Stopping. Now, onto the juicy stuff.
10. Kubo and the Two Strings
Outside of Wallace and Gromit, stop motion animation was never my thing. I’ve always felt it was too gimmicky to ever be taken seriously… But along came Kubo. This film was so breathtakingly inviting and beautiful that it’s still hard to believe that it was handmade and all that wasn’t made in a computer. Based on that achievement alone, I’ll be rooting for it come Oscar time and it deserves a spot on this list.
9. Hell or High Water
Who says Hollywood isn’t original anymore? In a world where big budget blockbusters reign supreme, a movie like Hell or High Water is just as rare as it is refreshing. A quiet film, it takes all the time in the world to explore the emotions of its incredibly memorable characters. The astounding performance from the always amazing Jeff Bridges was enough to make it exceptional, but the true standout were none other than Star Trek’s own Chris Pine and the surprisingly excellent chemistry he shared with Ben Foster-- keep it up, and those men are going to be heading places.
8. La La Land
They ought to just rename this movie “Raw Talent” because that’s exactly what it delivered. La La Land takes the charming wit of Emma Stone, the dreamy suaveness of Ryan Gosling, and makes them sing, dance, laugh, love, and cry in an emotional tale that simply begs any lover of cinema to sit back and absorb the entertainment. A true love letter to classic Hollywood, this will no doubt be a Best Picture contender, and for a multitude of good reasons. And it’ll actually make you care about jazz music in the year 2016. Props.
7. The Nice Guys
Yet another original masterpiece that will likely become a classic in years to come, The Nice Guys is the buddy cop movie audiences have been missing for a long time. The chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe is simply unmatched in what was my favorite comedy of the year. If having a good time is what going to the movies is all about, look no further than this one. And if there’s any disagreement with that sentiment, we can always play a game of “shut up unless you’re me.” I love that game.
Zootopia may be the most important Disney movie released in the past fifteen years at least. It's smart, endearing, funny, and chock full of messages about the dangers of stereotyping and racism, and overcoming those obstacles so that you can be whatever you want to be. Between this movie and that other animated feature from the House of Mouse that came out this year, I think it’s safe to say that Disney has entered a new renaissance. Oh, and if I were to compile a list of the best movie moments of the year, the DMV scene wins forever always.
5. Eddie the Eagle
Flying in almost completely under my radar (see what I did there?) was this captivating little inspirational tale, Eddie the Eagle. It might be the best sports film I've seen in a little while, giving 2015’s Creed a run for its money. Enchanting, the soundtrack was enticing to the ears, and it was nice seeing Hugh Jackman as not Wolverine for a change, despite the fact that I still can't not see him as Wolverine. Bravo to Kingsman’s own Taron Egerton, too-- if he keeps up these role choices, he’ll be on track towards being one of the greats one day.
4. The Witch
Horror comes in many different forms, and of 2016’s surprisingly impressive spooky catalogue, none of the other films tested those boundaries like The Witch. A steady build combined with an eerie atmosphere with a dash of hysteria and dread for what’s to come, it’s the quintessentially perfect satanic fairytale. Being that it was Robert Eggers’s feature length directorial debut, to call it an impressive accomplishment is an understatement. Simply put, he’s a guy that needs to be on everyone’s radar for his impeccable attention to detail alone.
3. 10 Cloverfield Lane
If you told me that the Cloverfield sequel would make it in my top 3 films of the year, I would’ve called you the world’s worst liar. From the opening credits to the fade to black at the end, 10 Cloverfield Lane was an intense rollercoaster ride that was so ballsy with its ending that, even if you hated it, you still have to admire its supreme ambition. And I haven’t even gotten to the best part: I’ve always felt that John Goodman should be in every movie, and this one sealed the deal. His absolutely spellbinding performance in this was perhaps the greatest of his career-- and that’s a rich career.
2. Nocturnal Animals
In the same vein as John Goodman, it has come to the point where if Jake Gyllenhaal is in a movie, I’ll rush out and buy half a dozen tickets opening night. An alluring plot with hands down the best editing in between, it’s another film fit to enter the Oscar race for Best Picture. But even more impressive than all that, what really caught me off guard was that I didn’t even know the guy who played Kick-Ass was in this movie. Aaron Taylor Johnson was so great, that he completely disappeared, which is exactly what separates “good” actors from “great” ones. More so than the other names I mentioned in this list, his performance was simply god-tier, which carried it to my number two spot.
I’ll be frank: I had zero expectations for Moana. Usually, when any studio puts out more than one animated features in a year, one of them turns out to be “the great one,” while the other one tends to be a shabby toy-seller. When the first quarter brought in Zootopia, I knew in my heart of hearts that this one was going to be that rinkydink dud… And since the weekday morning I gave it a chance out of sheer boredom, the songs have been trapped in my brain and I haven’t stopped thinking of the multiple times I cried watching this mesmerizing delight of a film. I can’t even think about what to write about it right now. All I want to do is replay “We Know The Way” over and over and over again. And Dwayne The Rock Johnson? The level of charisma he has is so unfair that it totally transferred over into animated form so much so, that Maui has earned the right to be alongside Robin Williams’s Genie in conversation. It’s a movie I will watch repeatedly and still be able to fall in love with it each time. This is the Disney I love.
And that’s all I have to say about that. But the beauty of film is that it’s all subjective. So what’s on your list?
Tagged: movies & TV.