Alright, this is the big one. Everything was just a precursor to the main event. Today I reveal my absolute favorite films of 2016! I have seen around 150 or so of them and there were a lot that I enjoyed, but there can only be a few that are actually the best. So, I’m listing the 12 Best as I have been for the last few weeks, but I’m also giving you a “best of the rest” section since there were so many movies that came close, but just didn’t quite make the cut. So, I hope you enjoy the list and look forward to seeing you at the movies in 2017!
12. Captain America: Civil War
Quite possibly the best comic book film since ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. An expertly crafted story about the consequences of policing the globe while delivering one breathtaking action sequence after another.
One of the best plays ever written about an African American family becomes one of the best movies. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis bring August Wilson’s words to vivid life and it is worth the audience paying the price.
10. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
If anyone was worried about this those worries were unfounded. ‘Rogue One’ turned out to not only be good fun, but filled with greatness. Jyn Eros is a new classic character, Vader gets a few of his best scenes in history, and director Gareth Edwards delivers a war movie for the ages.
There were lots of movies about race and diversity this year, but this might be my favorite. Somehow this script manages to walk the line between burning satire on race relations and a fun detective story about a bunny and a fox. On top of that, this is the funniest movie of the year! Amazing!
8. Hacksaw Ridge
The best movie I’ve seen in years about the power of faith. Andrew Garfield gives an Oscar worthy performance in a story that is not about the fighters, but those who save the fallen. As a former combat medic myself, it is awesome to see a movie that so glorifies the medics sacrifice. Good job Mel Gibson.
7. Pete’s Dragon
This is one of the best movies of its kind. Like watching ‘E. T.’ with a dragon instead of an alien. The performances are wonderful, but the direction is everything. David Lowery channels Spielberg in a beautiful way. A heartwarming wonder and one of the year’s best family films.
6. Kubo And The Two Strings
For me the best motion pictures are measured by their great scenes and this movie flows from one great scene to the next. Some scenes are funny, some heart breaking, and some exciting, but every one of them seems to be executed in damn near perfect fashion. This is a beautiful film and my favorite animated movie of 2016.
5. Manchester By The Sea
The thing that makes this film so great in my mind is the way Kenneth Lonergan seems to shoot and edit every shot to the exact length it should be in order to capture the moment. It’s like he put a camera into someone’s life and got the exact amount of each day needed to give you the perfect glimpse into that persons experience. It’s exceptional work. You add all the amazing performances and it’s an unforgettable film.
This movie has my favorite third act twist in recent memory and it makes everything that came before it so much more meaningful. The whole movie could have been another alien invasion flick, but instead it ends up being a deep exploration into time and the way it affects the human condition. This is a truly deep film with another career expanding performance by Amy Adams.
This is the most beloved film of the year by most of the major film critics around, and for very good reason. This is a beautifully made film about a subject that might never have been properly rendered on the silver screen. It’s not just a film about the experience of a kid growing into a man and discovering his sexuality along the way. It’s not just a beautiful love story that grows more powerful with each chapter. It’s the most vivid depiction of young black life, bullying, drugs, and growing up in the inner city that might ever have been put on screen. This is a movie that the world needed and I hope it finds its audience.
2. A Monster Calls
We go from a movie that the world needed to a movie that I needed. You see, my father died earlier this year and it was the singlets hardest thing I’ve dealt with in my life. I’ve had my ups and downs, but I had largely grown numb to my pain by the time I saw this film. Then it came along and hit me like a ton of bricks.
‘A Monster Calls’ is the single most emotional experience I had in a film all year and a movie that had my crying harder than I have in a movie in at least a decade. It’s a movie about the acceptance of death and the difficulty of life. It’s a movie about the coping mechanisms we place in order to get through the hardest part of life. And it’s a movie about coming to grips with who you become when you watch someone you love die slowly. It’s all that and a beautifully filmed fantasy with clever sequences and exceptional performances. A movie I’ll never forget.
1. La La Land
The most wonderful and heart soaring experience of the year. This movie is the best shot, edited, scored, choreographed, and just about every other thing it takes to make a movie. It has the best individual sequences of any movie this year. It has two of the most exceptional performances of any movie this year. And it will touch audiences in every way that you go to the movies for.
This movie is an adult musical that manages to stay true to life while being the perfect amount of over the top. It’s a movie that expertly shows the difference between the reality of living for your dreams and the imagined world that Hollywood provides for all its dreamers. It is a tour de force of filmmaking and should win every award that is thrown its way. ‘La La Land’ is the best film of 2016 and one of my favorite films of the century so far!
Best of the Rest
15. Hell Or High Water
16. The Edge of Seventeen
17. Nocturnal Animals
20. The Little Prince
21. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
23. Doctor Strange
25. Batman V Superman Ultimate Edition
26. Cafe Society
27. Southside with You
28. The Nice Guys
29. The Conjuring 2
30. Eye In The Sky