Hey all. It’s that time again where I take another break from fashion posting (this time I have an actual valid excuse … giving birth and all) and give my two-cents on the film industry. And um … well, 2016 just about killed it for me — not in the good way, either. Starting in January and going all the way to August, it was looking pretty abysmal. Granted, there were maybe 2 or 3 movies in between there that really weren’t all that bad (which will be discussed further), but MAN, compared to last year’s movie roster, 2016 was like all the bad Tinder matches single people put up with.
Thankfully, August and on has ALMOST made up for the lack of good movies this year has offered. And while I still have several ones to watch that are really generating Oscar buzz (Manchester By the Sea, Moonlight, Silence), right now the #1 priority in my life is taking care of my new baby. So those will have to wait. But until then, here are my picks for the best, worst, dumbest, craziest, & everything in between films of 2016!
Movies Seen in 2016: 39
Movies Yet to See: 40
Best Film of 2016 (seen thus far): Arrival — science fiction in film covers many, many facets of subject matter and spectacle, and this film offered something completely different from what I’d been used to seeing: the thinking man’s alien subgenre. No heavy action, and no overuse of CGI, it’s completely reliant on mystery and intrigue without flashy dialogue or menace. Without giving anything away, the element of family relations really kicked me in the gut, hard, and that is the reason Arrival is my pick for the best movie I’ve seen so far. It’s just an amazing experience that transcended mere filmgoing for me. Watch it, then watch it again and again and again. I know I will.
Favorite Film of 2016: Rogue One — last year’s Star Wars movie came a very, very close 2nd on my favorite. This year, though? All hail Rogue One, ’cause it’s at the top. Is it a perfect film? Far from it. Is it better than Force Awakens or Empire? Nope. BUT as its own Star Wars standalone movie, the first of its kind thus far, it does a mighty fine job of being a great film. It’s gloomy, dark and full of dread, definitely different from the episodic films that came before. There’s more weight and desperation in the characters’ actions, and you feel it. Oh, and I will go on record with the rest of the world and say that the last 30 minutes of the movie are the most AMAZING footage ever recorded to a Star Wars film. Seriously.
Somebody Give These People A Bloody Oscar Already: Kubo and the Two Strings (Laika Entertainment) — Kubo is the movie that my husband and I saw in August that made us both say, “2016! You FINALLY give us a movie that was worth the price of a ticket!” Laika Entertainment got my attention with Coraline in 2009, and Kubo somehow managed to best their previous efforts. It’s a beautiful movie with a wonderful story that uses thrills and humor to the fullest. And like Arrival, the family element is used so brilliantly that if it doesn’t choke you up, even just a tiny bit, you’re basically a robot. (Also, if this movie doesn’t win the Best Animated Feature Oscar, I will riot in the street.)
Obviously This Will Win the Best Picture Oscar, and It Totally Deserves It: La La Land — well, folks, the hype is justifiable this time around: La La Land is simply. Wonderful. Like 2011’s The Artist, it is the perfect callback/homage to an arguably simpler and better Hollywood, while injecting enough modern charm and spunk to appeal to nowaday’s moviegoing crowd. This film is classy, cute, and toe-tapping, and I had a big smile on my goofy face pretty much the whole movie. It helps that Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have some of the best chemistry ever. If this doesn’t win the Oscar, I will be genuinely shocked. I can’t sing (ha ha) higher praises for this one.
Proof That Indie Films Are Generally Better Than Big-Budget Blockbusters: Hunt for the Wilderpeople — Taika Waititi is basically the New Zealand version of Wes Anderson … which basically translates to, I frickin’ love anything this guy makes. Hunt for the Wilderpeople is hilarious. I haven’t laughed in a movie this much for a long time; its ridiculous humor is right up my alley. And once again, this has a great element of family that has a lot of heart without being schmaltzy. If this film is any indication of how Thor: Ragnarok will be, then the world almost doesn’t deserve Taika Waititi. Almost.
Guilty Pleasure Film of 2016: Batman v Superman – Dawn of Justice — look, I get it. Batman v Superman is not an amazing movie, by any means. It’s kind of a super stinker. But if anything, it gives further proof that, had Hollywood NOT given Zac Snyder the director’s chair, Zac Snyder could be the most formidable creative director working in Hollywood today. For all its lacking in story and common sense, this film is GLORIOUS to look at. I felt like I was literally watching a comic book come to life: almost every shot looks like a panel from a comic book, which is something Snyder is honestly a master at presenting in his films. And um, if there’s one thing that people CAN’T complain about with this … Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne? ABSOLUTE BOSS.
The Only Film I Saw More Than Once in the Theatre: Captain America – Civil War — can I just say that this was much better than Winter Soldier? But guess what, this film is basically the same plot of Batman v Superman, and NOBODY wants to admit it! Yes, its overall story and action is a lot better than its competition, but come on, guys. It is the same plot! Though I will say: Black Panther is an awesome superhero I can’t wait to see more of, and Ant-Man/Paul Rudd is a friggin’ national treasure.
Wait, Actually I Saw Another Film in the Theatre More Than Once: Sully — based on the true story of the emergency airline landing in the Hudson River, this movie packs a lot of thrills and heart in a relatively short runtime (just over 90 minutes). Tom Hanks is always great, Clint Eastwood really shines as a director here, and Todd Komarnicki’s script does an exceptional job of putting common sense, and human reaction, on display. Kind of like last year’s Spotlight, only not as righteously outrageous.
Biggest Disappointment of 2016: Suicide Squad — guys, I can’t even with this one. It’s the classic case of having an absolutely phenomenal promotional campaign … and then the end result is such a huge letdown. This was supposed to be DC’s film to shoot them out of mediocrity and into the same realm as Marvel. That didn’t happen, obviously. If you want a truly awesome representation of the Suicide Squad, watch the superb DC Animation movie, Batman: Assault on Arkham. Here’s hoping next year’s Wonder Woman will redeem DC.
Most Underrated Film of 2016: The Little Prince — this was released officially through Netflix, and it definitely needs more love. It’s such a cute film! It stays true to the book (which is great, by the way) whilst weaving in a story that resonates with our modern society. The mix of computer animation and stop-motion is a really nice touch; it’s fun to see the original drawings from the book come to life! And the messages are very touching — I teared up quite a bit at the end. Check it out!
Most Overrated Movie of 2016: Hell or High Water — Hail, Ceasar! was in the running for this title, but lost out by just a hair. I’d heard nothing but rave reviews of Hell or High Water, so when I had the chance to watch it on VidAngel (no judgment, y’all) I was pretty excited to be blown away … and then I wasn’t. Wah-wah. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fine movie … just not as riveting as all the critics made it out to be. And the fact that it was written by the same guy who wrote Sicario (which is an AMAZING film) kind of makes me feel let down. Oh, well, can’t win ’em all.
I Advise Not Watching This If You Get Easy Anxiety: Deepwater Horizon — why oh why did I let my husband take me to this when I was in the middle of my pregnancy?? It was one of the most stressful movie experiences I’ve ever had! The whole story is sad and unsettling, much like last year’s Everest, so maybe watch this on a day where a) you’re feeling especially sorry for yourself and want to delve into further woefulness, or b) you want to feel better about your provincial life.
What The Actual Crap Did I Just Watch: The Lobster — if ever there was a film that proves that “not every movie is made for everyone”, this would be the one to do so. The Lobster came into my radar in 2015 as it was making its way around the film fests, and when it was released on VidAngel a few months ago, I sat down to watch what all the fuss was about. And it was … erm … an experience. The entire time I kept thinking, “What am I watching? What am I watching here?? Dear Lord, what the heck am I watching???” The first half was very intriguing and funny, I’ll admit, but the second half was just plain bizarre and, to me, a little offputting. Like 2 films that tried to be 1 cohesive film, but just didn’t mesh well together. Colin Farrell is great in this, though, and it DOES feature my pick for the best movie line this year, but I’m definitely not going to be watching this again anytime soon.
I Feel Incredibly Guilty I Watched This: Deadpool — chimichangas! Deadpool is actually my 2nd all-time favorite superhero (anti-hero, if we’re being technical), but man, I felt guilty after I watched this. And it was on VidAngel, where I edited it down to a PG-13 rating! Yes, the movie was a true representation of the character, but even so, I felt a lot of the dialogue was lacking in originality and relied too much on raunchy humor. Again, it’s a true representation of Deadpool … it just didn’t really click with me. However, this movie does have some of the funniest lines I’ve heard … so idk, I’m torn. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
This Year’s Jurassic World Award of Inferiority/Worst Movie of 2016: Independence Day Resurgence — wait … so you’re telling me, these filmmakers had 20 years to come up with an epic sequel for one of the best sci-fi action films ever … and THIS is what we get? REALLY? You had 20 frickin’ years to write something that could’ve been awesome and fun and thrilling, and THIS is the stinking pile of dog crud we get?! You’ve got to be kidding. I HAVE SO MUCH RAGE FOR THIS MOVIE I CAN’T EVEN BEGIN TO DESCRIBE IT. But you probably get the idea. Ugh.
Appreciation For Matt Damon, Part II: Jason Bourne — I understand the lackluster reviews for this. By no means is this the best Bourne movie (that still belongs to Ultimatum), but honestly, I really enjoyed this one. It was smart and had good action; I’m a Paul Greengrass fan, what can I say? And uh, yeah, friggin’ Matt Damon, man … guy just gets better with age. Perhaps the Appreciation for Matt Damon award will become an annual thing … though I don’t know how he’ll fare with that goshawful-looking The Great Wall looks. Who knows.
Most Anticipated Movie I Still Need To Watch: A Monster Calls — this beats out Manchester, Moonlight, Silence, Fences, Moana, Paterson, and Passengers. A Monster Calls is one of the best books I’ve ever read; it made me cry, and I NEVER cry in books. (I know, I’m heartless.) And the fact that it’s now a movie, AND it’s getting rave reviews, makes me very anxious to see it. Like, now. Get to my city already, movie! I need to see youuuu!
Favorite Soundtrack: La La Land — what can I say, I’m a big sucker for jazz. Justin Hurwitz did music work in Damien Chazelle’s other movie (Whiplash), which revolves around jazz band. So his work in La La Land is wonderful, since jazz is a big influence/part of the story and music. Plus, the entire soundtrack has been stuck in my head for a week now, so that’s got to say something.
Best Movie Line of 2016: “If you encounter any problems you cannot resolve yourselves, you will be assigned children, that usually helps.” – The Lobster
Funniest Movie Lines: “A fourth wall break inside a fourth wall break? That’s like, sixteen walls.”
“That’s right! You’re about to be killed by a zamboni!”
“I had another Liam Neeson nightmare. I kidnapped his daughter and he just wasn’t having it. They made three of those movies. At some point you have to wonder if he’s just a bad parent.”
– Deadpool (I couldn’t choose. All 3 made me LOL, hard.)
Saddest Movie Line:“We love you, little sister.” – Rogue One
Most Powerful Movie Line: “Like you? I go outta here every morning, I bust my butt ’cause I like you? You’re about the biggest fool I ever saw. A man is supposed to take care of his family. You live in my house, feed your belly with my food, put your behind on my bed because you’re my son. It’s my duty to take care of you, I owe a responsibility to you, I ain’t got to like you! Now, I gave everything I got to give you! I gave you your life! Me and your Mama worked out between us and liking your black ass wasn’t part of the bargain! Now don’t you go through life worrying about whether somebody like you or not! You best be makin’ sure that they’re doin’ right by you! You understand what I’m sayin’?” – Fences (I know I haven’t seen this yet, but when this appeared on the trailer for the movie … chills, man.)
Favorite Movie Posters:
So 2016 has been kind of a letdown year, but 2017 definitely is looking up. A ton of my favorite directors all have movies coming out — Spielberg, Nolan, Anderson, Villeneuve, Johnson, Waititi — including a new Star Wars. Here’s hoping it can make up for 2016!