My favorite movies of last year and my reasoning why. Click through to find out
2016 was a pretty great year for movies! There were some disappointments for sure, but it seems that the good outweighed the bad at the end of it all. And 2016 was really one of the first years where I tried to see almost every movie that even slightly had my interest which was a shit ton of movies. I had to leave a few movies off this list that I really enjoyed, but thems the breaks.
(These are listed in descending order)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Firstly, I’m a huge Star Wars fan. I know everybody says that now because it’s cool to say that, but Star Wars is part of the reason that I started to love movies. My mom made me watch the original trilogy prior to taking me to see Episode I in theaters. I was in love. So when Disney bought Lucasfilm to make more movies I was shocked, excited, and nervous all at the same time. Fast forward to after Force Awakens has been a critical and commercial success and the shock has gone away. The nervousness and excitement is still there for their upcoming films, however. And boy did Rogue One deliver. Director Gareth Edwards crafted a great movie in the Star Wars world and really showed us why it’s called Star Wars. The movie is dark and gritty while still staying true to the timeline that we already know. But, the main reason this movie made my top 10 is list is due to the third act. Once they get to Scariff it is the best action movie of the year. Even though I didn’t really feel like I knew the characters, or really cared that much about them to be honest, I was worried for each and every one of them once the battle starts both in the air and on the ground. And holy fucking shit that hallway. I was most nervous about the “Star Wars Story” movies and this movie gave me something; Hope.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
It seems that I will be defending this movie until the day that I die. I must have seen a different movie than what most other people saw apparently. The movie has it’s flaws. There is no denying that and I will not argue those (i.e. “WHY DID YOU SAY THAT NAME?!?!?!?!”). But, what it does have is something that most superheroes lack and that is a uniqueness. It feels like a Zack Snyder movie. Especially the Ultimate Edition which actually explains a ton of plot details that had to be left on the cutting room floor for the theatrical edit which is a real shame. But, they finally created a Batman that you understand why people are scared of him. His introduction scene is straight out of a horror movie. And he’s evil. He straight up kills a big gang of people a few times. And for a movie to make it’s own stamp on something sometimes they do have to deviate from the source material which is totally fine with me. I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the shows. I’ve seen the past movies. Give me something I haven’t seen yet without completely forgetting who the character is (i.e. most of the characters in Suicide Squad). And Wonder Woman was pretty damn awesome too. I love it for what it is and I just hope that Warner Bros. can fix a lot of the problems this movie had along with the mess that was Suicide Squad to right the ship of the DCEU because I want to see these movies succeed with all my heart.
Picture this! An alien invasion movie where nobody punches anything and it’s all about learning and discovery and a deeply emotional story of a woman and her family! Still with me? Then you would love the movie that Denis Villeneuve has crafted. It is expertly directed and shot. And wow! What a performance Amy Adams gives. You don’t fully appreciate her performance until you’re thinking about the movie once the credits are rolling. It is truly a shame she did not get an Oscar nod for her role in this. It’s a sci-fi movie without feeling like one. Meaning you know this is fake, but it feels so true and real that you almost believe it. The creature design is very interesting. And the reveal at the end is really quite astonishing. Villeneuve has made some of my favorite movies of the last few years and I cannot wait to see what he does in the future.
The Nice Guys
Every year there is a great movie that is overlooked by the people. The Nice Guys pulled the short straw on that one in 2016. Shane Black crafted a movie that is both hilarious and intriguing. And a lot of the times you have to take one or the other. Who would’ve that the Russel Crowe and Ryan Gosling would make such a dynamic comedic duo? And Gosling really goes against his normal character to play a real piece of shit so well. It truly is a shame this movie didn’t get the credit it deserved in terms of awards recognition because it also had one of the best screenplays of the year. Hopefully, this movie will garner a bit of a cult following soon and get the recognition it deserves.
Captain America: Civil War
Clearly Marvel Studios is doing something right. We know that for sure. So why can’t these other companies make their universes so easy? Because Marvel has been patient and has learned from their mistakes which came mostly from Phase One. Which is why the build to this movie and emotional payoff throughout is so deserving. The directors Joe and Anthony Russo know you already know all of the characters and don’t waste anytime filling anything in or catching you up. They start off the movie strong and don’t let up. You know they have some serious groundwork already covered when one of the best scenes is Black Widow giving Captain America a hug at a funeral because she knew he needed someone. It’s these small moments that keep the MCU so strong. They take there time with their characters to really make you feel like you know them. Which is why the emotional fight at the end between Tony and Steve makes it so tough to watch. Oh yeah! And this movie also has TWELVE superheroes slug it out with each other right in the middle of the movie. And this movie introduced us to Black Panther and the new Spider-Man without sacrificing the main story at hand. What an amazing feat. I look forward to every single MCU movie that comes out and I don’t see that ending any time soon. #teamtony
10 Cloverfield Lane
If I was to make a movie, no matter what it’s about, I want John Goodman in it. Because no matter how my movie turns out, he’ll give me an incredible performance. Which is exactly what he did in this movie. All 3 actors were great in their roles, but Goodman really puts the whole movie on his shoulders with his performance. He’s equal parts terrifying, sweet, strange and almost makes you feel bad for him at times. I really wish the Academy would’ve recognized his performance because he was my favorite supporting actor this year. And the movie itself is very good on it’s own. It was intense and engrossing and had me guessing all the way until the end. At times it made me feel like I was in the bunker with them. I’m looking forward to what other movies come from the Cloverfield family.
Mel Gibson knows how to make a damn movie. I’m glad it seems Hollywood has mostly moved past his exile and has let him back into the light. Andrew Garfield really understands the role that he is in and plays it with such delicacy and tenacity that you can’t help but root for him. The war scenes are some of the most brutal shots of battle I’ve seen since Saving Private Ryan and it really makes you terrified the same way that they were. And Garfield proves that he is one of the best actors out there with the way he’s able to completely transform into every character he plays. What was crafted with this movie is one of the best war movies to ever come out.
Hell or High Water
It is very hard for me to believe two random actors are brothers. I think that is toughest familial relationship to pull off and make believable. Because they either just act like best friends that live in the same house or enemies that live in the same house or when there is such an age gap the older one is always the father figure. But, I believed every second of Chris Pine and Ben Foster as brothers in what was their best performances of their careers. Pine really showed that he’s more than just a romantic lead and I hope this movie leads him to doing more dramatic work because he was fantastic. This movie was such a fantastic way of showing what family will do for each other when they are needed. And Jeff Bridges is great as always as the Ranger that is assigned to catch the brothers who are robbing banks. The movie is great throughout starting off with an interesting robbery that really sets the tone for how this movie is going to be. But, what makes this movie #3 on my list is the final scene. The final scene, which I won’t spoil, is what pushed this from a great movie to an incredible one.
Manchester by the Sea
Writer/Director Kenneth Lonergan made one of the most real/authentic movies I’ve ever seen. Holy shit is it sad though. Casey Affleck gives the best performance of the year in what is a heartbreaking turn. And every other actor in the movie matches the high bar that is set by Affleck. It’s such a great story about how people deal with grief differently and how life still goes on even after tragedy. The honesty the movie shows it’s characters with is something that is so rare. People have flaws and those don’t get magically fixed in real life and that is okay. This movie had me weeping throughout most of it. It’s not necessarily a “tear-jerker” in the way some movies try to just simply make you cry, but it had me pretty fucked up throughout.
La La Land
This. This God damn movie. Not only is it my favorite movie of 2016, it is now one of the movies that has moved itself into my top 10 ALL-TIME. Writer/Director Damien Chazelle has crafted a masterpiece. At its base level of being a musical it is excellent! The music is catchy and very reminiscent of the older musicals movies from the 40’s and 50’s, the dance numbers are spectacular, and the singing is top notch. I grew up doing plays and musicals so they will always have a spot in my heart and that probably already gave this movie an unfair advantage from the start. But, when you delve into the story they tell and the characters the story is about it becomes such an incredible thing. The leads, played by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, have never been better. Their chemistry on screen is undeniable. You see them as a couple and not as two actors giving each other a dreamy-eyed look. And the energy and life that is brought on screen was never matched in 2016. The only word I can use to describe this movie is, “magical“.
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