Monday, January 2, 2017

Top Ten Movies of 2016 (That I Saw in a Theater)

Say what you will about 2016. It has sucked. The world lost so many great artists. The first week of November in America was especially sure shit. The first week of December was a personal worst for me that saw the passing of my Dad. But the silver lining is:  There were some GREAT movies in what feels like a really solid year for cinema. And going into 2017, I can say, at least, that I have a great family and I have my health. What more should a man ask for?

So I raise a toast... "Here's to the ones who dream..."

The ones who dream of living in a bigger city, where the movies of 2016 come out in 2016. (hehe!)

Like most of us, it will be late February (at least) before I get to see all of the critical darlings (you know...the ones I pine for, knowing full-well I'll never get to them all). I only saw 21 movies at a movie theater in 2016 (a very low number, even for me), but nearly all of them were good, most actually great.

The most striking thing about the movies I chose to go out and spend money on is the strong humor in damn near all of them. I have three straight up comedies on the list you're about to see, all of them hilarious in their own right and full to the brim with heart (Zootopia, The Nice Guys, and The Edge of Seventeen). Then, I have Manchester by the Sea, the heaviest drama of the year, which is also one of the most humanly funny films of the year. Arrival and Midnight Special lean their engaging sci-fi on sheer humanity and wit, while La La Land has both of those things plus song and dance numbers and simply replaces the sci-fi with a romance two ways (one for a bygone era of the cinema we desperately need, one between two movie stars with unending chemistry).

Only to add to the magnificent (not of The...Seven fame, I should be clear when using that adjective) range of 2016 as a year in movies, the most beautifully filmed movie of the year in a story about a repressed young black man, who ends up a drug dealer with the blues and called Black. And, just when you think it's done, you have Hell or High Water, the story of two very white brothers trying to survive in a doomed present-day America by Robin Hood-ing its main man, the banks.

Oh, and The Lobster...

From powerfully topical to humorously vibrant to purely magic, 2016 had great stories to tell. What follows is my ranked Top Ten of 2016...as of right now. Click on the posters to link to full reviews.

10

9

8


7

6


5



4



3



2


1

Full on Top Ten (or more) coming in late January! Stay tuned. 

20 comments:

  1. La La Land at #5? NO SIR!!!

    LOL, I'm still dreaming about that movie...it will be in my head for years to come.

    That being said, I can't argue the greatness of Arrival...and I haven't seen your other 3 (I need Manchester By the Sea in my life so badly...that is such a ME movie).

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    1. This list is a major work in progress. I just wrote my full review, and it's better than number five of the year. Just didn't know it yet when I put this together. It's gonna jump Arrival actually, when I make my final 2016 list later this month.

      Please do go see Manchester by the Sea and let me know when you do. I so want to talk to you about it.

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    2. I agree. I would definitely place La La Land higher!

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  2. The Lobster was my favourite. But I haven't seen most of these, like La La Land, Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight. For those I'll have to wait the end of January and mid February.

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    1. Loved The Lobster for sure, even though I still don't know what to make of the ending. You have some great viewing in store! Happy New Year!

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  3. I've only seen Arrival and Zootopia. Both are very worthy. Looking forward to seeing the rest.

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    1. Right on, man. Can't wait to read your posts as you get caught up.

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  4. Saying 2016 sucked is an understatement. It was a catastro-fuck. Trump got elected, Brexit happened, Bernie Sanders didn't get the Democratic Party presidential nomination, the worst mass shooting in American history occurred, more celebrities died, 2 of my best friends ended up screwing me over, my uncle died, my grandpa died, & The Accountant went into theaters.

    Now, on to the good... the friends I still have stuck by me, my family is well, I saw Kevin Smith do a live podcast at a great theatre in Detroit, I went to a great concert where I saw the Barenaked Ladies, OMD & Howard Jones, & I saw some absolutely amazing movies this year, in a year I can safely say is the best year for film since the magical year that was 2007. I saw 62 movies in the movie theater this year, which is by & far the most I've ever seen in one year.

    So... now you're obviously wondering, what are my top 10 movies of the year so far?

    10. Fences - One of the best-acted films of the year.
    9. The Lobster - An absolutely fascinating dark comedy that kept me thinking for a long time.
    8. Nocturnal Animals - This was disturbing, intense, & surprisingly satirical.
    7. Everybody Wants Some!! - One of Richard Linklater's best films, along with Boyhood, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight, & Dazed & Confused.
    6. Moonlight - A brilliant film that is told from a perspective seen far too little in cinema.
    5. The Edge of Seventeen - One of the most hilarious, heartfelt & truthful coming-of-age films in years.
    4. Hell or High Water - The best crime drama in years.
    3. Arrival - The best sci-fi film I've ever seen, & it kept me thinking for a LONG TIME.
    2. Manchester by the Sea - The greatest drama of the year, filled with such natural, amazing performances, that was filled with such powerful, raw emotion. I saw it again today & I think I loved it more than I did the first time, & it made me more emotional this time (especially during that scene with Casey Affleck & Michelle Williams, which is the best scene of the year. You know what scene I'm talking about).
    1. La La Land - WOW. WOW. WOW. I LOVED ALL 128 MINUTES OF THIS FILM. Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone are excellent here. Every single aspect of the film (especially the cinematography, film editing, costume design & production design), & the music is so freaking good. This may be my favorite movie of all time. It was so full of joy that you can't help but love it, hug it, & never let it go.

    (Note: 20th Century Women will be on this list once I see it. I already know I'll absolutely love that movie).

    Happy New Year!

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    1. I agree with you about La La Land. Such a fun, uplifting movie, and after it and The Nice Guys, I need to watch every Ryan Gosling movie!

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    2. Yeah, Cameron, your passion for La La Land is everything. You have a great list. I'm only missing Nocturnal Animals and Fences. I'm stoked about 20th Century Women as well. Mike Mills makes movies just for me.

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  5. I can't believe my theater hasn't gotten La La Land yet. It's ridiculous.

    I won't have my "Best of" list until later too as I'm still waiting for La La Land, Christine, Jackie, and Lion specifically.

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    1. That's crazy. I thought it hit pretty wide on Christmas Day. It's supposed to get another release for IMAX, I heard, soon. It's a must at the theater. I guess I need to see Lion. It doesn't appeal to me in the slightest. I've heard almost nothing about it. Christine came to the Regal arthouse place around here, and I never saw it before it went. Should have.

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  6. I am still upset about not going to Zootopia that day when I coordinated 600+ kids and 40+ adults walking to the theater to see it! I think my list would be very similar to yours minus Moonlight since I haven't seen it and adding Fantastic Beasts because, well you know, I am a dork for it. I think La La Land would be higher for me.

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    1. La La Land will be higher. I was still thinking on it when I made this. Zootopia is awesome. Let's watch it soon. Just let me know.

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  7. I have at least seen The Nice Guys which is hilarious and I love that kid. The others...I want to see them all.

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    1. It's so good, The Nice Guys. Loved it.

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  8. Well I guess I need to see Hell or High Water now :)

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  9. Hell or High Water is endlessly rewatchable. I watched it again a few days ago, and I forgot how much hinged on Foster's early delivery of, ".......you're stupid." That's the first sign that the film is going to have a sense of humor. I love that.

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    1. I don't know why I've waited so long to re-watch. It's been on Blu ray for a minute now. Will probably buy that one. Foster is so great, right? Damn. I loved the humor in this movie, one of the many reasons it ranks so high for me.

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